Monday, 28 March 2011

Safe at Home

 My latest post is a little different this week in that the subject matter has been inspired by the Carnival of HR that some of you might be aware of by the sterling work that Evil HR Lady and her HR Minion do on behalf of it.

For the current carnival HR bloggers were given a suggested post title and were then asked to come up with something, the title this time being ‘Safe at Home’. Below is what came to mind for me – hope you enjoy!

(NB Want to find more details out about the Carnival of HR, Evil HR Lady and HR Minion? Find them on Twitter for more useful HR debate, insight and just all round good stuff: @HR_Minion @realevilhrlady)

The post title immediately made me think of a Question of Sport. For those not in the UK it is a long running quiz show with the following format: two teams of sports (retired, current or otherwise) personalities (“personalities”) compete answering a variety of questions , guessing who the mystery star is in one round, working out anagrams of other athletes names, and so on.

One segment of the show allows for the contestants to answer questions that are dubbed either ‘Home’ or ‘Away’ – Home being the sport that they compete in, Away of one which they did not with their being double points on offer for those who answered the later correctly.

I think there is sometimes a danger as HR professionals that we play it ‘Safe at Home’ in a variety of ways. One in particular (which I have been guilty of) is when we might not be on site with our client groups/departments, so just fall back on emails rather than a phone call or visiting – the irony being although it allows for quick communication it can arguably be misinterpreted more easily by the person receiving it.

This is staying at home, playing it safe. Ever wonder if you are doing enough playing away and doubling up on your points with your contacts from a professional relationship prospective?

How about trying this next time you know you might have to deal with an awkward customer or client – rather than emailing, phone to say ‘Hey I thought about emailing but thought it might be great to catch up – whats going on with you guys? Is there a time you would be free to meet?’

Some might get edgy at first – if there was no reason to meet, the first question might be what have I done for you to want to meet? This might lead to a legion of unprompted confessions such as ‘is it related to the stapler and post its I took home last Tuesday? You gotta believe me when I say that was an accident and I will return it damn it!”

Ok, maybe not that but you will probably be asked why. Explain you want to build bridges and get to know their needs better – you never know, you might pre-empt some sort of problem they had been storing up but could not think of the correct opportunity to approach you with it.

Alternatively nothing of interest might come up - but what you have you got to lose from making the first move and building up a connection

So next time you are about to send out an email, stop and think could I call or arrange to meet this person - you might find you double up on points for playing away and not sticking to the safe bet at home.

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  1. Great points, Patrick
    I am sure I would like the quiz show. I certainly agree with your communications advice - so easy to avoid direct contact.
    In fact I was going to telephone my comment but not knowing if you were home or away, I'll do it the standard way.
    Thanks - a great post,

  2. Delighted you liked it - I would recommend any editions on youtube and the ‘What happened next?’ sections.

    Will have to give out my address for home visits in future to stay true to the spirit of this post!

    All the best,