Last week I saw U2 perform in San Jose. My sister Patty, a superfan of the band, flew in from Tampa to see them and treated me to the concert. Between tours in the U.S. and Ireland, this was her thirty first concert. My second. As last minute luck would have it, we were in the right place at the right time to personally meet Bono several hours before the show started.
Upon meeting the legendary Paul David Hewson, (his real name), I couldn’t help but be impressed about who I observed as the person on the street with his fans outside the stadium that afternoon and Bono, the icon, on stage in front of thousands that night.
Overall, he showed a high respect and regard for the people-side of his business, despite all his privileges and touring being old hat for him. Just for fun, I wondered how he might fit as a human resource professional, which also requires a high respect and regard for the people-side of business. I’m sure he’s not looking to change careers, but here is why I would hire Bono to work in a human resources role:
Makes others feel special. Despite his popularity over decades and the fact that he’s swarmed by fans everywhere he goes, he took the time to shake hands, share a few words, answer a question, take a photo or give a wink. There was no shortage of giving something back to a fan during each brief exchange.
Possessing the ability to make an employee feel special goes a long way. It often provides a level of engagement, authenticity and /or acknowledgement that is extremely motivating to a staff member.
Displays availability. As meet and greets go, spending 50 minutes with the crowd was notable. Bono’s car pulled up to the crowd on a simple back street. Although there were body guards with him, he stepped right up to each person he spoke with. At the end, he turned down a ride into the stadium and simply walked in the back door.
Being reachable to employees is a key attribute of an HR professional. Employees want to know you are available to them and not off limits in some hidden office away from the staff. Make a practice to step away from the desk and walk the floors.
Demonstrates patience. You can imagine how many of the same questions Bono gets asked by fans. Plus all the items he is asked to sign. I saw 3 people that day ask to have their arms signed so they could parlay the signature into a tattoo. Bono took his time, listened and showed an interest in each person. While he moved through the process, he had a way of not making the person feel cut off.
Employees often seek HR for similar information or complaints. No matter how often these events come our way, and how busy we are, it’s important to always be able to take a breath and respond to an employee need with interest and patience.
Is a team player. U2 was formed in 1971 with the same four original members of the band that still play together today. Bono acknowledges the 3 musicians behind him as the best in the world and credits them largely with their longstanding success. For any band to stay together that long and work well as a team is extremely rare and noteworthy.
Human Resources is a team, not individual sport. To be successful, you must be able to work collaboratively with colleagues, employees, management, and HR providers. You must possess a giving spirit toward others.
Uses flexibility when needed. As the meet and greet kicked off, Bono was guided not to take photos with fans. That lasted less than ten minutes. He slowly eased that restriction because of the favorable conditions to do so. It just made for better PR and good sense.to make this accommodation for fans.
Knowing when to apply judgement toward an employee or work situation when the need for flexibility on a guideline makes sense is a valuable quality in any HR professional. Foremost, we must always remember we are dealing with people and varying situations. Following guidelines just for the sake of following them to the letter is not wise, nor does it guarantee the best results.
Whether he’s your cup of Irish tea or not, Bono’s doing something right. He has the distinction of being an enduring rock and roll star and is among the world’s highest paid musicians. Yet, in spite of his rise, he has remained grounded on treating others well.
While Bono may not be your next new hire, we can help you with your own superstar employees once you’re ready to onboard them. Explore the possibilities of Onboardia and talk with our HR Consulting Team. Call us at 800-771-8610, visit us at http://www.onboardia.com or Schedule a Demo today.
Cathy A. Reilly is the CEO & Founder of Onboardia, Inc., HR software, HR Consultant and the author of “The Temp Factor: The Complete Guide to Temporary Employment”.