When you are tasked with the welfare of hundreds or thousands of colleagues, it is all too easy to prioritise only the necessary relationships at any given time.
A certain project might bring you particularly close to your sales team. You focus your energies on their needs, getting to know some of them incredibly well along the way. Then, when the project comes to its conclusion, your priorities shift to other people. That is pretty normal, but what about those people that you got to know so well?
Will you let them drift away or will you try to keep in touch?
In my experience, the most effective HR professionals are obsessed with keeping their internal and external relationships warm. It might not make business sense to dedicate the same time to people after an intense period of cooperation, but if you neglect them entirely, then all that good work is lost. You need to continue to show them that you still care – they’ll understand that you have other things on your plate.
From brief chats in the corridor to stolen conversations at a conference, the opportunities to “keep in touch” with colleagues are always there. While someone in IT might not always see much point in being a social animal, it should be in the DNA of anyone in HR. I’m sure that this is the case, but when the stresses are mounting and deadlines are looming, far from every HR professional will choose to spent that extra couple of minutes on empty conversation. Their time is precious and as a business resource, they have a duty to consider the impact of their time – keeping in touch with colleagues is a “nice to have.”
Too many HR people do not value the potential marginal gains of keeping in touch.
Just a few words to support someone could help them to make a decision which could have a huge impact on the business. A brief warning could make them think twice. An impartial comment could help them see beyond the end of their nose. Sometimes people simply need to talk – it needn’t take long and it certainly needn’t be every day, but if they know that there is someone in HR who is open to keeping in touch, they will seek them out in those small times of need. All those moments will add up across the business, and all of a sudden keeping in touch is delivering a pretty weighting return on the time spent doing it.
Many people don’t keep in touch because they don’t see the point. It is only those select few who are able to cultivate the habit over the years who reap the rewards of all those tiny seeds that they have sown. Every acorn has the potential to grow into a mighty oak – if you have the time to sew enough of them, your potential impact is that much bigger.
Why wouldn’t HR make an extra effort to keep in touch?
Come to think of it, maybe we all need to do it that little bit more.