5 ‘House of Cards’ Quotes That Apply to HR

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House of Cards_ gif Editorial Note: This blog contains spoilers of seasons one and two of ‘House of Cards’. If you don’t want to know where the show left off at the end of season two, don’t read this. Instead,  go home right now and watch it on Netflix — and then come back and read this blog.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been waiting patiently (or maybe not so patiently) for season 3 of the Netflix original series House of Cards. If you’ve seen the show, you know that main character Frank Underwood, played by Academy Award winning actor Kevin Spacey, is a force to be reckoned with. Starting off as a lowly congressman with a grudge, he quickly ascended to the highest role in the land: President of the United States. To say that Frank is ruthless is a massive understatement. He’s the type of person who decides what he wants and is willing to do absolutely anything to achieve it — even if that means throwing an unsuspecting person in front of a train. He’s the most cunning, conniving, and confident president in the history of the United States. He also happens to be completely fictional, though he’s such a strong and powerful character, that’s sometimes easy to forget.

As Netflix’s revolutionary House of Cards returns for a third season on February 28, it’s natural to want to “binge-watch” the first two seasons to make sure that you’re up to speed. As you do, you’ll begin to notice that when Frank Underwood speaks eloquently about strategy and power, he isn’t necessarily just talking about his own quest to one day become the Commander in Chief by any means necessary. He often seems to be commenting on the world of HR in particular.

  1. “Even Achilles was only as strong as his heel.”

On the surface, this quote just appears to be Underwood’s own retelling of the classic saying — “A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.” When you really think about it, however, it’s easy to see how this applies to the world of HR.

If you aren’t staffing your facility with the people who are the best fit for their positions, you aren’t doing everything that you can to improve the patient and resident experience. People who understand their strengths and, more importantly, their role in a larger organization tend to be the most committed to achieving that goal of delivering a great experience.

  1. “I can smell which way the wind is blowing.”

In essence, Frank seems to be talking about the importance of paying attention to trends to help guide you from the present to the future. In the case of a healthcare facility, you might look towards those around you for a similar type of guidance. What do your employees wish was different about your facility? What would make them happier? What would make their jobs easier on a daily basis?

By answering these questions and implementing these suggestions, you’re increasing employee satisfaction by creating the structure and the processes required to support your most valuable assets — your employees. You’re also creating a workforce that is more engaged than ever before — so long as you’re not stuck in your “old ways,” that is. When the direction of that proverbial wind begins to change, it’s time to change with it.

  1. “I have no patience for useless things.”

For the healthcare HR professional, Frank’s message here is abundantly clear: get rid of the noise. Any element of your organization — from a software solution to an employee — that isn’t directly contributing to your goal is only preventing you from achieving it. Streamline your operations in any way that you can, as doing so will allow you to cut right to the core of the issue — providing the best healthcare experience at all times.

  1. “Pay attention to the fine print… it’s more important than the selling price.”

It’s almost impossible to think that this Frank Underwood quote is about anything other than retaining high value employees. By doing your very best to hold onto employees who not only understand what is expected of them but also the role that they play in the much larger picture within your organization, you’re creating an environment where everyone is working towards the same unified goal for the success of the organization as a whole.

Talent management software solutions are a great way to accomplish exactly that. They allow you to create a workforce that is simultaneously more competent and more engaged, or as Frank would undoubtedly put it, “stacked just the way you need them.” All of this goes a long way towards improving patient care a little bit more each and every day.

  1. “You know what I like about people? They stack so well.”

If nothing else, Underwood’s quotes like this one truly seem to be focusing in one a few key ideas — one of which has to do with the people you’re working with on a daily basis. While Frank does seem to take an admittedly more cynical approach to his fellow employees, the larger message still applies: nothing is more important than having the right people in the right roles. And this is especially true in the world of healthcare HR where you’re responsible for recruiting and retaining the “right” people for the right positions to deliver high quality patient and resident care.


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Rachel Weeks

About Rachel Weeks

Rachel Weeks is the Senior Director of Marketing at HealthcareSource where she leads the team responsible for demand generation, corporate communications and marketing operations. Rachel has extensive experience building and managing successful teams, she’s a die-hard Boston sports fan and wishes she had more time to watch TV.