Know What Is Really Going On

by Michael Haberman on November 17, 2010 · 0 comments


Reading the various (and numerous) newsletters and email alerts that I receive I came across one this morning that is entitled 3 Keys to Business Success (or, 3 Things to Avoid That Will Screw It Up). It was put out by the folks at TLNT and was a republish of the article written by Patty Azzarello. Her advice centered around People, Process and Profit. Most of this advice seemed directed at CEOs, but there was one sentence that struck me as being critical to HR professionals. Actually there was alot of good advice, especially in the Process section so go and read it.

The one that struck me the most was

Know what’s (really) going on. Come out of your corner office and spend time in the trenches.

Through all the time I have been in HR I have met alot of HR people who have not been out of their offices to spend time in their plant, their call center, or on the second shift or third shift, or wherever. With the advent of email and instant messaging it has become easy to “manage” from your desk. But I have always found that being seen, being accessible and being there at the moment is often the best way to know what is going on, in the business and in the lifes of employees. Walking by and talking to someone may prompt them to tell you something that they may not have wanted to come to your office for, or did not want to put in an email. Plus, if you are in a 24 hour operation, spending time with folks in their time frame will help you realize that they are much more talkative during a break than they are at the end of their shift.

So if you want to be more effective in your HR job and want to know what is really going on, get out and spend some time with employees. Go to them instead of having them come to you.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous November 17, 2010 at 4:40 pm

It's very effective when done right. I'd advise people to do it, and to always carry a note pad and pen. Associates will ask about things, and some stuff isn't always HR related. If you don't make notes it's easy to forget by the time you get back to your office. Then you lose credibility when things don't get done.

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Clark November 17, 2010 at 11:04 pm

I like your point on coming out of the office and spending time in the trenches. It's truly the only way to get to know and understand your employees. I'd like to recommend a new book by Andria Corso called From Gatekeeper to Trusted Advisor. It explains in detail how to deal with employees and how to get them to trust/respect their advisors. The book also has some great tips which correlate perfectly with what you've posted here.

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Cathy Missildine-Martin, SPHR November 18, 2010 at 7:15 am

I so agree with that…also I think you need to know what's going on externally. So, research your competition, join industry groups, scan the environment, read, read, read…..

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working girl November 24, 2010 at 7:12 am

Great advice! An open door policy isn't enough – people will only use it when they're desparate. It's better to avoid that situation in the first place.

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