Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Front Line

I have a busy job. I am responsible for a number of areas, along with some direct programs in Human Resources. I like to sit around and think big thoughts. In Strengths, I am high in Strategic, Intellection and Ideation. I like thinking, ideas and planning. Unfortunately, few employers pay employees to sit around and think, unless it's a think tank. I don't work for a think tank, so I actually have to produce. Something.

This is an incredibly busy time at work right now. We are planning the return of our faculty and staff. New people are starting, lots of churn, questions, meetings and tyranny of the urgent problems. We can feel the tension starting to build as many people get ready to return. And it affects us all.

There was a wonderful post on Evil HR Lady's blog about the front line. She wrote an excellent post (and her experience) about the importance of having your best people front and center. That post got me thinking about our front line. I believe that it is critical to have our best people front and center and that it is equally important to know what happens up there! Every so often, I enjoy a turn on the front line. I like to answer the phones, help the 'walk in' traffic and direct wayward souls looking for somewhere else, possibly anywhere else other than the HR office.

It is an excellent opportunity to experience first hand the phone calls, people and problems that start at the front. We have over time identified how and why people come in through the front door (or phone) and how we can be more efficient, at the same time helping people before they have to come to us. It's great to be able to ask the question - what did we miss and how could we make it better for you?

I had that opportunity on Friday to help some lost parents, talk to some new adjunct faculty and answer a few phone calls. A good reminder, timely reminder of what happens on the front line.

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