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What Lionel Richie’s Lyrics Can Teach Us About Human Resources

What Lionel Richie’s Lyrics Can Teach Us About Human Resources

What HR Professionals Can Learn from Lionel Ritchie Lyrics

Last Updated April 5, 2024

SHRM19 attendees were treated to a performance by 1980s hitmaker Lionel Richie. While Richie’s many popular tunes might seem reason enough for a concert, a closer look at his career and a reading of his lyrics reveal a keen understanding of the challenges HR employees face in today’s workplace.

A look at the conference’s breakout sessions provided several instances in which HR issues and Richie’s hit tunes seem to be speaking the same language. 

Here are some of SHRM’s and Richie’s greatest hits.

Banish Stress and Cultivate Extreme Resilience: A Proven Methodology

Stress isn’t uncommon in the workplace but if it’s not handled correctly it can impact everything from physical health to the organization’s outcomes. If you’re ready to swap your high-tension office atmosphere for one that’s “Easy” like Sunday morning, this session can begin your turnaround. You’ll be free to know the things you do are right. After all, you paid your dues to make it.

Ditch the Drama: Innovation and Collaboration Are Your Natural State When the Drama’s Gone

Richie has proven more than once that innovation and collaboration can produce good work and outcomes. His band, the Commodores, was known for energetic funk music, but Richie’s love ballads broke that mold and became the band’s biggest hits. Songs written for Kenny Rogers (“Lady”) and recorded with the band Alabama (“Deep River Woman”) became hits on the country chart. He collaborated with Diana Ross for a No. 1 hit, “Endless Love,” and co-wrote another – “We Are the World” – with Michael Jackson. Working with others as well as working outside your comfort zone can be a refreshing – and profitable – change.

Seven Steps to Creating Bulletproof Documentation

Dealing with a problem employee – one who can’t slow down, one who’s running with the night all night long (all night) and dragging into work late every morning (or afternoon) – can be difficult. In fact, he or she may continue to deny there’s a problem unless incidents are documented. It’s one thing to tell an employee they were rumored to have been dancing on the ceiling at the holiday party. It’s quite another if you have video.

Leadership Skills for the Senior HR Professional: Mastering the Art of Negotiation

Say you, say me, say what you will, but negotiation, whether over a business merger or an employee’s pay raise, is a part of the human resources job. This session breaks down negotiation into a step-by-step process that results in win-win outcomes. For HR personnel who dread the negotiating process, this session is a dream – an awesome dream – come true.

20 Strategies for Resolving Conflict Quickly and Effectively

Workplace conflict isn’t uncommon. Sometimes an employee finds the job just isn’t their cup of tea. One co-worker may feel they have nothing else to lose, while another is tired of feeling used. There may be a few employees you wish would just sail on down the line, and you don’t really want to know where they’re going. This session introduces the tools necessary to cut through the emotions and look at these differences in a calm and clear-eyed manner to help increase the chances for a positive outcome on both sides. After all, we’re all just looking for a good time.

Richie graduated from Tuskegee University in 1974 with a degree in economics. Music, though, was his first love, and his choice and success can’t be denied. Still, one wonders what might have been if Richie had succumbed to the lure of a career in human resources. He seems like a natural.