HR Pros Are Hug Deprived


September 1, 2010

I’ve spent the last six days away at a couple HR-related conferences and want to know something I’ve learned?  HR pros really are hug deprived.

Let’s face it.  HR is not an easy job.  We’re the ones who get called to make, or help make, many of the most difficult discussions happen.  We’re the ones that have to help the managers terminate employees.  We investigate some of the most challenging claims in the workplace.  There is no softness in that.  There are no pats on the back or ‘attta boys.  So what happens when you get a couple hundred or 1,400 of us together?

A hugfest.

Personally, I’m a hugger so I fit right in.  I just bet that if any of our employees saw us like that they would be surprised.  Maybe HR is like this because we operate at the other extreme in our daily work.  I don’t know.  What do you think?  Are you in HR and are you a hugger?

Weigh in.


  • I too am a hugger and a toucher as well; and that can bring litigation in some instances. Although I am a hugger, trees are out of my hugging realm – just HR ppl. Great job from HRFL10!

  • Absolutely a hugger !! I agree with your thoughts Trish. HR people need hugs because they are more of an encouragement than most other efforts. Glad to see you bring this out for others !!

    Interesting that the 1st three comments on this are from men. Hmmm ???

  • Yep, I’m a hugger and a “toucher” too. It’s who I am in and outside of work. I love getting hugs and wish there were better signals on when it’s okay to give hugs. There are many folks who are sensitive to personal space issues so I wouldn’t want to hug someone and freak them out.

    When I recently met Steve Levy IRL, I was happy to learn that he was a hugger too! 🙂

  • I used to be more of a hugger and toucher. Unfortunately, when you work with 18-22 year olds everyday, you learn to tone it down, so that the sentiment is not misconstrued.

  • Honest answer (and I have discussed this in the past) I’m just not a hugger. It is not my first response. So if I seem stand-off-ish sometimes it may take a minute. It is not personal. We could shake hands at the beginning of a conversation and hug at the end. Though I would never turn down an open-armed greeting.

    Did anyone see that skit on SNL a few weeks ago with the family that kissed on the lips for EVERYTHING? Hilarious juxtaposition of boundaries.

  • I have never been a hugger. However, I am giving a speech today on the merits of reconnecting with people by touch. It doesn’t need to be as sizeable as a bear hug, but a light tap on the forearm works wonders!-Improves mood, incurs health benefits, lowers stress, makes the giver seem warmer and friendlier, makes the recipient more open to hear what the giver has to say. We live in a litigious society that makes touch taboo…Especially in the workplace. I think we need to re-examine HR’s stance on this.

  • I hug if hugged. My first instinct has always been a handshake.

    Admittedly, hugging was much easier once I left HR. I once worked in an environment that was essentially no touching except a handshake and pat on the shoulder. I became very good at blocking hugs.

    I didn’t put that on my resume though.

  • At work…no hugs. At conferences or gathering of HR friends, hugs are encouraged.

  • I think hugging is fine, IF, like in any other circumstance, you know your audience. Knowing ‘who’ you are hugging makes all the difference in the world!

Comments are closed.

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About Trish

A former HR executive and HCM product leader with over 20 years of experience.


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