Keeping It In-Office at the HR Water Cooler

Internalizing the HR news for the week ending July 5th, 2013:

Focus on the Frontline

Empowering staff is no easy task, especially in a customer service role. Working in a fast-paced environment while dealing with irritable customers often makes it hard for representatives to stay enthusiastic. Here are some tips from Harvard Business Review on empowering customer service employees:

  1. Get Started: Connect the front line to the customer strategy.
  2. Empower Your Workforce: Teach people to think for themselves.
  3. Experiment to Implement: Grant front line workers latitude to experiment.
  4. Eliminate the Barriers: Smash your hierarchies.
  5. Invest in Your Frontline: Allocate budget space towards it.

Interviewing Internally

all in the office HR water cooler manMany employees start off on the frontlines as customer service representatives, and are then given the opportunity to grow with the company. This week Harvard Business Review also offered up some tips on “How to Ace an Internal Interview” for people in that position.

Many people aren’t comfortable telling their current manager that they’re applying for other roles, but middle management will find out eventually. That’s why it’s important for HR to be clear that growth within the company is encouraged, and to accept internal references.

At the same time, make sure to be clear with internal applicants that just because they know the culture, it doesn’t mean the job is theirs. Always treat hiring as a competitive process, or you won’t get the best person for the job.

When the cat’s away the mice will play…

Getting work done without a boss breathing down your neck has its upsides. In a recent article for Forbes, Jacquelyn Smith touches on ways to be productive despite your manager’s absence. 

With new technology, managers don’t have to be in the office with their employees at all times. So for employees, it’s important to have opportunities to communicate with management even when they’re not at hand. When working independently, staying organized is essential to battle becoming overwhelmed.

Keeping creativity

Creativity is the key to innovation and problem solving. Business Insider highlights some of the many ways that managers can help improve the flow of ideas in the workplace.

Firstly, employees must be made aware that their ideas will be considered. Upper management should create an environment where good ideas are allowed to flourish. If an idea is used, then the employee should be recognized and rewarded to promote more innovations across the team.

Having a diverse team brainstorm together allows people with different expertise (maybe even from different departments) to work on big-picture problems together. Provide every employee with an open workspace that helps them blossom creatively. 

Interested in more HR tips? Register for free email updates or take a look at last week’s HR Water Cooler.


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