I’m just back from the WI SHRM 2014 State Conference. I saw lots of booths on the expo floor. People stood around and talked about HR technology, employee engagement, payroll and health & welfare benefits.
I think the most interesting booth was the psoriasis awareness booth. You may wonder — what the hell is that kind of not-for-profit doing at an HR conference? Well, you’re not alone. A lot of people wondered why they were there.
Psoriasis affects 7.5 million people in the United States according to the National Psoriasis Foundation. Those are people who have pain, discomfort and embarrassment about their appearance. It’s a common disorder with a wide spectrum of symptoms.
I was drawn to the booth because I had guttate psoriasis that cleared up after I had my tonsils removed. I had lesions and red patches of dry skin on my ears and scalp. Luckily, it’s been ten years since I’ve had a flare-up. I went over to the booth and talked with the representatives, and that’s when I learned that even Kim Kardashian suffers from psoriasis!
(She steals all my stuff.)
Ya know crazy things keep people out of work and off the job. Some consultants want human resources professionals to focus on data and technology to solve employee absences and improve morale. I want you to be human. Learn about conditions like psoriasis. Think about how people feel shame for unfortunate reasons. And encourage your employees to use the hell out of their employee assistance programs if something is wrong in life.
Psoriasis is painful, but it’s not shameful. It should not keep people out of work as much as it does.