Help Yourself, Help Others

By Karen Turner, Turner Efficiency

You’re no doubt familiar with the part of the flight attendant’s speech when you’re reminded to secure your oxygen mask before assisting others with theirs, so why do many HR professionals violate this simple rule, by putting others needs before their own to the detriment of all?

Incorporate these simple tips to ensure that your metaphorical oxygen mask is in place, by achieving optimal everyday efficiency and being prepared to support your fellow passengers when they need you.

  1. OHIO Everything: Apply the OHIO principle (below) to decisively move work closer to completion with every step, every time.

  2. Store Stuff Somewhere: Your email inbox is not for file storage. This disappoints many people at first, but they are invariably liberated by the alternative – organization.

  3. Post Your Passion: Having a visible reminder of what you’re passionate about will inspire you to work efficiently.

  4. Train-By-Transfer: Cultivate others’ talents from within your organization by transferring work to them that develops their skills and reduces your load.

  5. Minimize Meetings, Maximize Strategy: Develop programs that prepare your staff to handle foreseeable (and reoccurring) situations, like interviewing new staff, so your presence won’t be required.

How to implement these five critical skills:

  1. OHIO Everything: Peggy, Human Resources Manager at RPS Energy, saw big changes when she committed to OHIO – Only Handle It Once. “It” was papers, emails, phone messages, and all the other work that piled up on her desk. Through focused determination and swift decisions to tackle, task, toss, or transfer these things, she was able to create order among chaos. “It is a paradigm shift for me,” says Peggy, “but I have successfully archived all of my email, and I’m working with the OHIO method daily. It’s kind of surprising how it makes things so much clearer. My stress level regarding email has decreased, and more is getting done.”

  1. Store Stuff Somewhere: “We need to manage emailed resumes better as the volume grows and grows.” Julianne and the rest of the Travel Alberta HR team utilized Outlook’s Rules and Categories features as a part of their organizational system to streamline workflow and manage data archives effectively. By using internal resources to meet their immediate needs, they were able to apply the principles of OHIO quickly and easily with minimal investment of time and money.

  1. Post Your Passion: Jennifer, Director of HR at Fairmont Hotels, says that wanting to “get outside more with my girls” is what drives her to focus on completing her work and directing her colleagues’ HR needs to the expertise of her capable team members. Although she would love to help each of them herself, seeing a photo of her children’s smiling faces from the corner of her eye is enough to remind her of her life’s greater calling.

  1. Train-By-Transfer: Like Jennifer and many other great relationship builders, Lori once felt guilty when she directed people’s needs to another team member. “If you had known me for the past twenty years, you’d know how hard it is for me to give work away, and I’m now doing it daily!” Lori recognized that delegating work was in her best interest and the firm’s, because it facilitated knowledge transfer that built her team’s competencies and served as a natural succession plan. Now she enjoys the positive payoff of having more time for herself, stating, “I’ve made a baby blanket, and one for myself, now that I’ve been going home on time EVERY day this week!” 

  1. Minimize Meetings, Maximize Strategy: Lisa, Manager of Human Resources, watched the accounting department work feverishly each time pay-week approached. Rather than making a tactical choice to hire or transfer more staff to support this strained department, she strategically chose to arrange a ‘lunch-and-learn’ to teach them how to manage their workload more efficiently. Even the people they interacted with on a daily basis benefitted from the individuals’ decreased stress levels and their planned approach to projects that used to be panicked. Many participants even signed up for personal coaching to implement the new concepts, which yielded such comments:

“I like the drag-and-dropping; I didn’t know any of that.”

“Working off-line, making distribution lists, and using different signatures are very helpful.”

“5/5 – I cleaned up my calendar, so now it accurately shows when I’m open.”

“Thanks, thanks again for showing me everything. My inbox is never this short.”

These few examples, derived from 5,500+ cases, demonstrate that changes to HR effectiveness are driven by the specific actions of individuals on a daily, moment-by-moment basis. What actions do you take to ensure that you’re taken care of and ready to support others?

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