Last Saturday I was at a reception for the opening of a new office for my financial advisor. One of the people that I was chatting with brought up the subject of things that upset customers. He said he had read a great article on five things that annoyed customers. I immediately thought customers equals employees, so I needed to go look at the article. I am not sure I found the article he was speaking about but I did find Five things that annoy your customers by Ava Lucanus. She lists five things that I think are translatable into a list of five things HR needs to be aware of as well.
Annoyance # 1- We don’t care
Most HR departments would be appalled to think they have the reputation that they don’t care, but it is a common complaint about HR. From my personal experience the cause of this is we are very busy people and as a result we often don’t pay attention or at least have the appearance of not paying attention. For most employees caring consists of active listening and appropriate responses. So pay attention to your behavior to make sure you are engaging in behaviors that convey “caring.”
Annoyance # 2- We don’t listen
In many cases we don’t hear or at least don’t give the appearance of hearing what someone is saying. That needs to be corrected. The process of “active listening”, as stated in #1 is important. But you need to realize that hearing and listening are not the same things. Listening requires a step beyond just hearing the words. It requires a perception, an intuition if you will, to understand the meaning hidden in the words that are being spoken.
Annoyance # 3- We have a bad attitude
HR is often the place where someone goes to be told what they CAN”T do. People come to HR for help. To then be told they can’t do something or they can’t get something certainly gives them a negative view of HR and gives HR the reputation of having a bad attitude. Don’t be the “NO” department. Try to understand what their goal is and see if there is some way of helping them accomplish their goal.
Annoyance # 4- We use the wrong words
HR is often accused of to0 much use of “jargon.” To be honest with you, we do. I was reminded of that at the conference I was at this week. Sitting around listening to HR people chat it is like being at a jargon festival. At a conference it is understandable, after all FLSA, ADA, FMLA, and the NLRA is the language of our business. But employees don’t know that language. To get your meaning across you need to be clearer in the language you use.
Annoyance # 5- We don’t see things from the employee’s point of view
A big issue to an employee may just be a small issue in a long list of issues for us. We see it as one more thing we have to do. We need to see how big an issue it is for them, even if you know it is not really a big issue. It being important to us is part of the process in defusing any situation. Being able to see things from the employee’s point of view will help you show them your point of view.
It is remarkable how well this dovetails with my post from yesterday on RESPECT. Showing employees that you care about them is showing them respect and that goes a long way to promoting a harmonious workplace.