How important it is to meet employees, face to face, apart from answering / responding to their emails or phone calls? For HR personnel it is highly important to reach out to employees, know them, create that difference and bond with them.
Trust me bonding with employees gets easier when you talk to them face to face. There might be disgruntled employees around, you might not be able to solve their problems right away or maybe never be able to offer a solution to some of their problems, but even after that, talking to them one on one and lending your ears and time to them, will make a difference.
Sharing one of my recent experiences with you all:
One of our senior Technical Architect (TA) level employees, newly joined, emailed the network team to allow him to change his system’s wallpaper to his choice. A little background here: our company follows a common wallpaper policy, which means on any and every machine in the company, you’ll find same wallpaper with company logo. To break the monotony HR selects wallpapers every few days, sometime suiting to the festivals, months and days of the year and other times general. Overall, this policy has its own pros and cons. Anyway, so back to the case in point: Network team directed the TA to HR asking for my permission. The TA asked me to allow him to use his own wallpaper; he mentioned he wants to use his family photos, which keeps him happy and motivated the entire day!
What a noble & genuine thought. But I could not have decided to change the policy right away, without giving it a proper thought, because the very fact this policy was brought into the picture was due to some very strong reason. So, I had this little problem at hand to solve.
At first I replied to the TA, via email, explaining him whys and why nots of the policy. He wrote back with (self- explanatory) logic and still asked for the permission. I realized this is not reaching anywhere if I continued to play email-email with him. This will only irritate him and make him think that HR is adamant!
I decided to walk up to his desk. I met him, generally shared my honest view of how even I do understand the importance of having family pictures around, and subtly told him a no for that moment. He was more than willing to accept that ‘no’ and smiled and said “I understand what you’re saying, and it is important for you to guard the policies, it’s okay, I’ll manage pinning the photos to pin board at my desk”. All of this, with a humble smile.
What did I gain in this? His trust, that I saved being an employee getting disgruntled for a small thing and I saved him from creating an image of HR in his mind that we care least of employees’ feelings. I also became happy in turn, because the more you’re able to give happiness, the happier you yourself get!!!
In this case I could have carried on the conversation on the email chain and let him be, after all I was just saying no to him for a change in organizational policy, was I doing anything wrong? Nope! So I could have saved myself a round to his desk and would have done some of my other email writing work instead, right? 🙂 Wrong!
Employee connect is so very important. I know we’re in such an age where twitter, FB, blogs and the works, work. But even after these social media tools, I think face to face discussions win hands down.
We follow an internal policy of “EORO” which means each of the HR team members will touch base with targeted number of employees each month. Not with an intention and a list in hand, ticking off the names once the meeting is done, but with compassion, a little dash of casual meeting and with open ears: to listen, understand and reach out to employees to know the pulse of the organization!
Image Courtesy: HERE
Now tell me can an email or a virtual shout out do this magic?