The HR Bucket List


A bucket list: a list of experiences or achievements to accomplish. This article is focused on the ideal experiences or achievements that an organization should attempt to achieve. The HR Department has evolved over time from culture and party planning to compliance and risk mitigation. Present day, HR is a balance of all things related to compliance, culture, and staying relevant. If possible, adding the following bucket list initiatives to the role of an HR team could shift an organization from adequate to awe-inspiring.


An organization should experience positive collaboration and teamwork

  • Ensure regular 1:1 meetings are being held with your team; prepare an agenda for time management, and recap afterward to ensure closed-loop communication.
  • Team meetings should be like 1:1’s (with agendas and recaps), but make sure attendees have gained something useful as well as having a bit of fun (or food).
  • Listen- too often we inform the people we employ rather than hear their feedback; avoid venting, focus on problem-solving, but be open to hear what the frontline has to say.


  • Recognition does not always have to be tangible; find out how your people like to receive praise and recognition and adopt a customized approach to doing so. Provide a balance of intrinsic (internal factors that motivate, such as confidence, pride, etc.) rewards, as well as extrinsic (tangible, usually money, award, etc.) rewards. Know what this means to each of your people so they really feel the thought and time spent on their recognition.


When there is a concern, offer solutions and be open to new ideas. Provide regular and ongoing feedback to your staff, include both praise and constructive feedback. Explain the why behind a change or new direction; it helps get people more invested if they understand the bottom line (defined as business goals).


The camaraderie of a company event where your colleagues are celebrated, and the company shares it’s successes with the team is an experience worth the money (investment in your people). Having an annual company event is a great way to get everyone together and share in the success, create solid work-friendships, build up morale, and feel a sense of pride to be part of the organization. Company events, whether small and regular, or rare and extravagant, are an excellent morale booster and retention aid. Have a theme, provide praise and recognition, encourage all to attend, make it fun, applicable, and rewarding.


Achievements come when you are strong in people, processes, and profit.

People– while technology is ever-present in today’s business world, your people are the people (driving force that) that make a company great. Hire the right people from the beginning (ensure solid screening and vetting processes), get others involved in hiring to ensure collaborative and team-focused employees, and create solid training for both new hires and existing employees, (as well as focused trainings for your people leaders). Less turnover, less risk, less costs. Achieving greatness with your people will make your company stand above the rest!

Process– companies who have achieved greatness have clearly defined processes. Not only are the processes defined, but they are also measurable. Make sure the processes are sustainable through time and reviewed often. Ensure your processes speak to all departments and adjust accordingly.

Profit– provides sustainability and security. Profit is good for your stakeholders and for your employees. Profit means more to spend on growing, opening new locations, developing new products or services, offering more pay, benefits, or companywide experiences. Profit is a good thing, but it does not come overnight, and it should not be a company’s primary focus.

Other achievements may come in the form of recognition and awards which could create brand awareness for your company, attract talent, open opportunities for funding and/or partnerships, etc. Some achievements may be as simple as keeping your employees employed and business operating; don’t take meeting the mark to not equal a great achievement.

Milestones are a significant stage of accomplishment or success. Achieving a milestone is a huge achievement and should be celebrated. Whether the company has quarterly business reviews, semi-annual all-hands meetings, or annual town halls, milestones should be celebrated. Think about the first time you had a repeat customer or a positive customer review= milestone. When you became profitable or won a grant/funding for a project= milestone. Track the milestones, share the company’s story of how they started, where they came from, and where you are going. These milestones show achievements to your people, but also your community, customers, and competitors; celebrate them!

Experiences and achievements come in many forms for an organization; but more importantly, what are you trying to achieve? Set goals, set standards, aim high, correct if low, and focus on being a great place to work. Companies that are known to be a great place to work and are often recognized and rewarded as such have common traits. They have a well-balanced compensation and benefits package; they have an exceptional culture where staff feel valued and appreciated but also continue to grow and develop in their roles. There is a sense of belonging and community, there is trust and respect, even in times of disagreement; if the goal is to achieve success, then people bend and adapt for the common goal, not their personal interests.

What is your purpose at the company you work for? What are the goals the company wants to achieve? What is your bucket list? When you begin to explore your bucket list of goals, set a goal date and a path on how to achieve and experience greatness at any organization.


About Author

Heather Wall is the director of Human Resources at Brightways Counseling Group. She has 15 years in the HR profession, a master’s degree in management, SHRM-CP, certified strategic HR business partner, certified in strategic workforce planning and a certified human capital strategist. Residing in Central Oregon for the last two years, Wall has worked with several small to mid-size business throughout the state of Oregon, Washington and California as a business partner focusing on building HR infrastructure and balancing compliance and culture within the workplace. In addition to her HR work, Wall volunteers as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) in Deschutes County, serving as an advocate for children in foster care. She resides in Sisters with her husband and two sons. In her spare time, she enjoys doing puzzles, playing in the snow and water (depending on the season), exploring new restaurants and spending time with friends and family.

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