When The Phone Stops Ringing

I so often hear complaints about the amount of calls and questions we get in our Human Resources departments, but what if they stopped coming? 

I’m guilty sometimes too. From time to time I let out a huge sigh or say, “What now?!?!” before I pick up the phone, but I remind myself quickly of one major thing before I answer it to get me in the right head space. Human Resources should be the epitome of Customer Service.

Clients (internal or external) don’t constantly call people they don’t trust or can’t depend on. Every call we get is an opportunity to not only help make a difference, but an opportunity to put our offices on the positive map and boost confidence in our service.

We teach customer service to company employees, but we aren’t exempt from delivering the same level of treatment that we preach. We should welcome the calls and questions, as being the first line of defense helps eliminate the issues where we are the last line of defense. When responding to client issues, it’s important for us to not sound as if we are doing them a favor or as if we are being inconvenienced…because it’s far more inconvenient when we have to deal with escalated situations that could have been avoided had we gotten involved sooner.

Remembering these things helps me to clear up that little attitude I may have before answering calls and reminds me to answer that phone or reply to that email with the very level of service that I expect when I reach out to someone for help. 

Even when we don’t think that we operate in a Customer Service role, everything we do…and more importantly how we do things affects and impacts someone else. This huge responsibility is motivation to be the resource that we have been called to be to our employees and in our organizations. Making someone else’s day will almost always help to make yours as well.

ringing-phoneWhen the phone stops ringing and the email notifications are no longer popping up, it could quite possibly mean that we are no longer on the radar…that what we have to say is no longer welcomed or relevant in the eyes of our public, or that no one wants to deal with us because we are just plain rude. And when we are no longer relevant and no one is depending on us for the answers or assistance, we have at some point failed and fallen short of our purpose, which should include treating every person as a valued customer while contributing positively to the bottom lines of our companies.

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Does Your Performance Eval Stack Up?

Check out my latest post over at Performance I Create, where we are discussing everyone’s favorite time of the year, Performance Evaluation time! Here is a sample:

performance-evaluationIf you’ve ever dreaded delivering a Performance Evaluation or if employees would rather get a root canal than sit through their review, your evaluation may need to be updated. The only reason for a manager to dread the process is if they know the feedback will lead to push-back and conflict. Employees hate them because they are tired of hearing opinionated fluff.

Please click HERE to view the remainder of the article and please share!

Check out my post and those of my fellow contributors for relevant, in-your-face, performance altering insight at Performance I Create!

Now What?

I am fresh back from a wonderful conference in Baton Rouge, Louisiana (LASHRM) and I am still pumped up and excited about my profession.

As I emptied my conference bag and began sorting through all of the pamphlets, pens and notes, I reflected and thought to myself, “Now what?”

We go to all of these conferences for development , fellowship, and to meet our Social Media peers and friends in person, but what good is all of that development and fellowship if the organizations that we return to don’t see and reap any benefit?

What are we going to do? What are we going to change? How are we better and will the colleagues we work with daily see it? Or are we just going to hoard all of the cool stuff we learned and keep all of the free pens and water bottles to ourselves.

I saw something special in that convention center, and because of that I’m motivated to share until my colleagues get tired of me.

I had the pleasure of working with my Performance I Create colleagues as the Social Media team for the event. We had a ball, sharing session content, promoting social media, blogging, etc. As the River Center staff began breaking down the exhibit tables and attendees were clearing out, we thought that our work was done. Just then a volunteer approached us and said that there were a couple of attendees that really needed to talk to us. Agreeing, a couple of us walked out to where our Social Engagement Portal was (that staff broke those tables down fast!) and we were immediately hit with a series of questions about how “Social” could help them in their workplace. They wanted to know how to move their thoughts from ideas to execution…and which tools and mediums would be best for what they were trying to accomplish.

connectAs we engaged them (my colleague did most of the talking, ahem), you could see light bulbs not only coming on but exploding. The concepts we spoke of were not complicated. They just needed some of that stuff that we teach and talk about to come off of the screen, out of the blogs and made plain to them in person…right there in their hands so that they could grab it and implement. What they needed was the knowledge that we had gained from doing…ideas that we got from conferences….strategies that we picked up from our peers. They needed it to make sense and tie in to what they were dealing with every day in their organization…and that if they had questions afterwards that they could reach out and get support.

“Don’t just help light bulbs come on, help them explode!” – Justin Harris, 2014

That’s what stuck with me. That’s what made me realize that it’s not that the people upstairs from me don’t care to do things differently, it’s that they don’t know exactly where to start. They have ideas, but they need help planning. Those of us that say we’re experts are needed to reach out occasionally and break it down for them. Because sometimes our messages are too big and they can’t run with that load. If we break the messages into manageable chunks, focus on process instead of the presentation, we’ll see more people grab hold and put the stuff in action.

So it starts in my shop. Being the change that I talk about and helping others to implement. Helping others to get involved and learn more about the tools of our trade. Because the Resources that we have are no good if we are not sharing them with other Humans.

To Your Network and Beyond

In March of 2013, my Performance I Create colleague Steve Browne wrote a post entitled “HR Evangelism”, charging those of us in the HR profession to “Push” and “Share” the good news of our HR community. I loved his post for so many reasons:

  • Because this type of “evangelism” is how I became interested in blogging and began incorporating social media into my practice of HR.
  • Because I love sharing thoughts and ideas; and we can ALWAYS learn from one another regardless of experience, title or perceived expertise
  • It encourages HR thinkers, practitioners, bloggers, speakers, and whatever other title there is to support one another’s work, projects, websites and endeavors.

One Step Further
One message I’ve heard at churches for years is that true evangelism goes far beyond the structure of whatever your church is. Think about it like this, in a church, most of the attendees already know the “good news”, they may just need reminders, encouragement or a different perspective. But recycling the message among a group of people who already “get it” only does so much good…especially when there are those that have never been exposed to the wonderful messages we all have to share.

I love blogging and expressing my thoughts and views via this site, but what good does it really do to only share my views to the people in my immediate professional network? One thing I hear all of the time is, “Hey UnlikelyHRGuy, my manager needs to read that post!” or “My friend/coworker was just talking about that issue!” The people who may really need the help or some enlightenment are those that may not be on social media or even know I exist!

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  • It may be the middle manager that doesn’t have the best example to follow
  • It may be the overlooked supervisor that has no idea how to effectively motivate his staff
  • It may be that recently promoted leader that has been given all of the online training and compliance webinars, but doesn’t know how to practically apply all of the stuff that’s been crammed in their head
  • It may be the employee at my dry cleaners or my barber or the lady in front of me in the grocery line that’s complaining about work

If our message is so good and if we love our profession so, why are we only sharing it with each other? How good is the news if the same 30 people are the only ones seeing/hearing it?

So in the spirit of Steve’s original charge to “push the great work” of HR, I want to add that we should not only push to one another but to those that we may not normally share with or touch often. We are not writing, speaking and teaching just to prove our value to one another! We expect people to actually use this stuff and to help multiple organizations grow and succeed.

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We must share beyond HR for our message to truly take root and change our workplaces. Take this and articles like it and share them with anyone that has a manager, is a manager, anyone that is looking for a job or needs help with a resume. Share with anyone that has had a bad day at work. Share with anyone that cares about how people are treated or anyone that has been recruited for a position. That means share with just about anyone over the he age of 16! For HR to be effective and for our words to resonate and create change in the workplace, we must share beyond HR and live the life we preach about.

The Power of Words

I love this time of year!

Not only t’is the season of giving, but I feel as if it should be one of reflection and planning.  This month at Performance I Create we are posting Video Blogs discussing our favorite Holiday memories, Holiday wishes, etc.

Please click HERE to see/hear me share a special Holiday story from early in my management career!

Check out my post and those of my fellow contributors for relevant, in-your-face, performance altering insight at Performance I Create!

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Delegating EmPowers EmPloyees

Today I’m posting at Performance I Create, focusing on using delegation as a tool of empowerment.

EmpowerIt’s been said that the ability to delegate determines one’s success. Equally as important to the overall and long-term success of a company are employees that are being delegated to. While this sounds like a simple concept, if we took the time to delve into what most consider delegation, we would find that….

Click HERE to view the remainder of the article and please share!

Check out my post and those of my fellow contributors for relevant, in-your-face, performance altering insight at Performance I Create!

Blogaversary | Holy Grail

In May of 2012 I was forced to make many tough professional decisions. While trying to find my way, I did what self-help folks have been preaching for years…make goals, write them down and post them where I can see them everyday.

Holy GrailI accepted the challenge. Because these goals were being drafted at a professionally unfulfilling time, it was difficult planning long-term while short-term hell was all around me. To escape the hell, I had to run toward something, not just from something. I had to make sure that the goals I set were not a destination, but a never-ending journey for sustained success. I needed a “Quest” to prove myself to myself, but I didn’t want to find comfort in achievements as we often times do.

I wrote 20 goals in all, 12 of which I actually accomplished. 4 of the main goals/checkpoints for the year were:

  • Start and maintain a blog
  • Get a twitter account and attract 500 meaningful followers
  • Get more involved with SHRM, locally and nationally
  • Attain HR certification

Checkpoint 1: Blogging
I barely knew what a blog was a year ago. On July 16, 2012, I started ruHRelevant.com because I couldn’t let my thoughts and philosophies be buried in the bureaucracy and routine of “traditional” HR. My first post was Are You Listening To Your Body, addressing the lack of communication I saw coming from management in these traditional environments.

My little blog now has a regular following and I also contribute to a multi-contributor site called Performance I Create with 9 other rock stars. But I’m thirsty for more.

blog picCheckpoint 2: Social Media
This time last year I had a barely active twitter account that I hardly looked at. It was hard for me to get into it and I couldn’t figure out why everyone was using “pound signs”! But I was amazed at the number of practitioners that were willing to teach and share their expertise with me through this medium. When people down and across the hall would hold back info and knowledge, my connections around the world poured into me directly and indirectly. In one year I’ve obtained over 900 meaningful followers and I’m learning from them daily. But I am still thirsty for more!

TNSHRMCheckpoint 3: MTSHRM and SHRM
Having never attended a SHRM conference, I’ve been really looking forward to opportunities to meet many of my fellow practitioners face-to-face and to soak up as much knowledge as possible. Shortly after rejoining my local chapter, I was given the opportunity to join the Social Media team for the TNSHRM13 state conference here in Nashville. I’ll be treating my time there like I’m headlining…and ensuring that everyone there knows how to do the Wobble. It’s still not enough though. I want more.

phrCheckpoint 4: Certification
At the time I had written out my goal list, I had already failed my Professional in Human Resources (PHR) once. So that was my grail of grails. I spent an insane amount of time preparing. Maintaining balance was extremely difficult…family time, work, and my new writing commitments. On June 8, 2013, after 2 years of attempts and exactly 1 year to the date of putting the goal on paper, I attained my HR certification. I learned a lot not only from the books and tests but also from the process itself. Though the PHR has been attained, the desire for more knowledge and understanding cannot end with the letters.

This post serves as a challenge, and a reminder for myself that we cannot get complacent when accomplishments are marked off of our lists. Our goals should merely be checkpoints and rest stops along the way to bigger and better things. Reaching one grail must motivate and propel us to the next.

This has been a great year for us. And I will continue to chase multiple grails, because they can only hold so much at a time…and my thirst for impact and achievement in this world can’t be contained in just one. And while the cup runneth over and I drink, I’m already planning for the next…and I believe that we will all benefit from the overflow.

Stay thirsty my friends!

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