No one cares. Work harder.

Lamar Jackson, young quarterback of the Baltimore Ravens, has been making news  wearing a t-shirt that said, “No one cares. Work harder.” “That’s every day. Nobody cares about what you’re doing,” Jackson told Sports Illustrated. “You’ve got to work harder. If you want to be the best, you’ve got to work hard at being the best. If they’re doubting you, work harder, it [doesn’t] matter.”. 

While I certainly respect the journey of this young man and I find his perseverance inspiring, I had an immediate reaction of disbelief when I first came across this news story.  “No one cares about anything that might be affecting your work.  Get over it.  And while you’re at it, give even more of yourself to your employer or team.” As an HR professional and leadership coach, I know that when leaders care about their team members, an environment is created that motivates people to work harder while increasing loyalty—not the other way around.

I also had an immediate emotional reaction because of my own experience working while in cancer treatment.  I chose to continue to work during cancer treatment for several reasons, including that I was leading an office build-out and relocation during a time when my boss was assuming the leadership of the Board of Directors of ASAE and needed my support.  Thankfully, for me, “no one cares” could not have been further from the truth as to how I was treated by leaders and co-workers.  I received many kind and caring gestures that enabled me to do my job despite the time away from work and side effects of my treatment.  When I needed to attend a meeting in D.C. on my first scheduled workday after chemotherapy while still feeling lousy, my boss sent the executive car service to take me there and back.  He rearranged board meeting agenda items so that I could give my presentation and go home to bed.  After my treatment ended, I worked for this association for another seven years. 

As an HR professional, I’ve encountered numerous situations during which employees needed care and compassion due to personal or family illness, loss of family members, and other devastating personal circumstances.  One employee lost the use of her home after gallons of heating fuel was dumped into her basement by mistake.  Her homeowners’ and the delivery company’s insurers were pointing fingers at each other, leaving her without financial assistance and essentially homeless.  We rallied around her and identified her needs, the primary one being help with the extra costs of living in hotels or AirBnB and having to eat out more frequently.  Her coworkers gave her gift cards for local grocery stores and restaurants.  I cannot adequately describe the emotional and grateful response from this employee for the help and assistance she received.  Despite the challenges she faced, she refused to take time off from work and gave over 100% of herself to her work. 

When employees feel that their leader cares about them, their personal lives, and their professional goals, we know that the employees feel more committed.  Committed workers benefit a company in several ways.  They are more productive during their scheduled work hours and are more likely to give of their discretionary time to the company when needed.  Employees give back to companies that are generous to them.

Creating an Environment of We Care. Moving the Needle

Create a "JUST ASK" Environment

“Studies show that asking for help makes us better and less frustrated at our jobs.  It helps us find new opportunities and new talent.  It unlocks new ideas and solutions, and enhances team performance.  And it helps us get the things we need outside the workplace as well.  And yet, we rarely give ourselves permission to ask.  Luckily, the research shows that asking—and getting—what we need is much easier than we think.”

Wayne Baker –  Professor of Management & Organizations at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business.

Read his new book:All You Have to Do is Ask


“Research shows that establishing a giving culture makes organizations more successful, increases customer satisfaction, and improves employee retention, engagement, and efficiency.

All of which sounds great…but building a genuine culture of giving requires more than sprinkling the word “giving” throughout your culture deck. The real key is to make asking for help easy–and just as importantly, to make providing help easy.”

Jeff Haden – Read more on or Try Givitas to “connect employees, customers, members, donors, or any other stakeholder group that  needs equal access to the collective intelligence, knowledge, and experience of experts and peers.”


“As a starting point, regularly check in with your employees. Have managers set up recurring one-on-one meetings with their direct reports and have your HR team touch base with each employee every so often. During these meetings, ask employees how their workloads are, which projects they’re the most passionate about, and if there’s anything you can do to support their career growth. 

Beyond these meetings, also outline measurable steps employees can take to grow in their careers. For example, share a step-by-step career path and key goals employees need to reach to move up the career path. Continue to meet with employees regularly to see how they’re tracking toward these goals, and outline any steps they can take to improve. “

Read more from Adam Robinson Co-founder and CEO, Hireology on


“ ‘Leaders prime the emotional state of the organization,’ Bradberry [author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0] says. ‘So when they’re ineffective, when they set poor examples of how they treat other people, that trickles down throughout the company.’

The result could be low employee engagement or high turnover because of the toxic interactions between people.

‘It’s very hard on morale, and you start to lose that discretionary effort that you get from people who love their jobs and work in motivating, comfortable environments,’ he says.”

Read more in “​Emotional Intelligence Is Key to Outstanding Leadership” in HRMagazine.

Mark Your Calendar

You’re invited to join Association CareerHQ on December 11th at 3:00 pm Eastern for our first Association HR Pulse Facebook Live Session featuring a lively and informative discussion on the pros and cons of evolving your vacation policy.

Association Pulse is a new periodic series that features interactive discussions of some of today’s hottest recruitment and retention topics. In this inaugural session, HR expert Mary Ellen Brennan, MBA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP will facilitate the conversation with a panel of association leaders including Michele Rackey, ChFEBC, MBA, Executive Director/CEO of the Government Employees’ Benefit Association and Bob Skelton, CAE, Chief Administrative Officer of ASAE.

So, mark your calendar now and on December 11th plan on grabbing a cup of coffee, logging in, learning what other organizations are doing, and coming away with insights, tips, and tactics that you can use with your workforce.

Key Details

  • How to Participate: On the day of the event – December 11, 2019, just follow the main ASAE Facebook Page at the time of the event – 3:00 pm Eastern. (Note it may be a few minutes after the start time before the video begins.)
  • Questions for the Panelists: Submit your questions ahead of the session to and we will make sure to address them during the live discussion.
  • Questions for Us: If you have any questions about this event, please contact us at or 202-626-2891