Food for thought

Up in the air

Human are assets, not resources. I think that the HR managers should be called HA managers. Like computers, desks, the building are assets for a company humans are assets. I would say the most important asset. Nothing can be achieved without them. So what can we do to take care about our people in this online work approach?

We lose something that is of a paramount importance: the human touch(obviously not recommended during these times). But you got the idea. Computers are now doing the talking. People are hired and fired over 1 and 0s. We cannot shake hands. Some would say that this is much better. After all we don’t waste time in traffic and searching for a parking spot. We work more. The C-level is happier. But humans are social animals. These so called social networks are not enough. We need more. Have you tried to give presentations online? I did. All of the attendees had the camera off. I did not know if I was talking alone or there was someone listening. Could not see any reactions. Sure we can get to more people easily. As an engineer I know everything is a tradeoff.

Did you see the movie “Up in the air”?

Long story short. Companies hire another company to fire people. This is done by sending “external firing assets”(Natalie and Ryan) to tell people that their services are no longer required. All of this is done face to face. After Natalie joins the company, she proposes to fire people by using online meetings. This is some of the things they found out.

  • Natalie Keener: He broke up with me by text.
  • Ryan Bingham: That’s kind of like firing someone from a computer.

How would you react in this kind of situation?

  • Ryan Bingham: Mr. Gregory hired me, he’s the only one who can fire me. You know what, I’m gonna go talk to him.
  • Natalie Keener: Mr. Bingham…
  • Ryan Bingham: No, no, you can’t follow me, you’re on a computer screen.

Even if this is just a movie, we can learn some things from it. First of all, why would you hire some else to fire your managers? Isn’t it our responsibility as managers to deliver bad or good news? Is it easier to fire over online meetings? How do people react to news delivered this way?

I guess it all depends on your management style. Recently I attended an online session called “How to be a better manager and leader in this new hybrid reality?”. I was surprised by the fact that a person told me that as managers we manage positions/roles and not humans. I was shocked. Refused to believe this. Obviously I might be wrong. I guess time will tell.

Change is inevitable. Adaptation is required. I found that a hybrid approach will do the trick. Some days in the office, some days remote. But must not be imposed. The only way to do convince people of something is to make them want that thing. People must want to come in the office. Office pizza days are powerful magnets. Every time we are in the office, we are happy. Happy the we see each other face to face, joking, having lunch. People will want to be there if they see it’s fun to be in the office.

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