1) listen to him,
2) understand him, and
3) help him.
While I was flattered he trusted me, this made me sad because honestly, this man’s perception is one I hear a lot.
Too often do HR professionals fail to listen!
We have a tendency to railroad the conversation; we can’t seem to help ourselves and we interrupt the flow of information! We struggle with seeing past our own perspectives and sadly, are unable to adequately put ourselves in the others’ shoes. In addition, we often attempt to multi-task during the exchange or act like we are paying attention but fail to really hear.
We must develop and utilize good listening skills. This means we must keep an open mind, we must see things from the employee’s perspective, and we must allow them to talk, vent or otherwise “get it all out.” We should give the employee our full, undivided attention to ensure they know they are important and valued.
Employee’s concerns, issues and problems are complex to them.
If they believed they were easy to fix, or if they could figure it out themselves, they wouldn’t bother coming to us! That being said, we need to appreciate there is a degree of vulnerability with the employee who comes to us…and with that comes the need to be understood! The employee needs to leave trusting his/her needs will be met and this assurance will not come if we fail to truly understand what they need or desire from us.
We need to develop and utilize good interviewing skills. This is not just asking a few questions! It includes active listening techniques such as paraphrasing and summarizing the information offered. It includes using our knowledge of verbal, para-verbal and non-verbal communication cues to fully recognize and appreciate the thoughts of the employee. It includes logical reasoning and critical thinking skills so we can draw some conclusions (and validate them with employee) and/or anticipate what other issues may come up regarding the situation. What it boils down to is this…we need to commit to understand…to do whatever it takes to ensure the employee trusts that we “get it.”
However, some HR Professionals forget there is an employee in that relationship; we sometimes forget we must represent both the employer and the employee. I know this is a shaky fence to sit on but nonetheless, we need to balance!
That being said, we must help every employee, potential employee and exiting employee. We should get them the information they need, we should act on their behalf, we should be their voice when needed, etc. In a nutshell, we must advocate for and serve them!
I won’t say these things are easy…I will never discount our profession and the challenges we are faced with every day!
However, as HR professionals, we cannot shy away from the hard stuff.
If we are to prove our worth, if we are to develop trust, if we are to be deserving of respect, we must listen, understand and help.