I am the Director of Human Resources in a 100 employee operation. This affords me the opportunity that might not be available to folks
in larger organizations. One of those things is that I get to do is go out “on the road”: and spend time with our sales representatives. We have a handful of off-site/remote employees. They deal with our customers directly. I feel that it is important that they get some attention from Headquarters, other than just the sales department, or the accounting department banging on them for expense reports.
Fortunately our Company President agrees with this concept, so periodically I get out of the office to work shows, visit customers or just ride along with our sales folks. Just this week I went on one of these little adventures. I was in Minneapolis, in February – my timing is not all that great. On this particular trip there were a number of us who went with our sales rep to visit customers.
While the concept of the so called HR guy getting out in front of customers is nearly alarming to some folks, I usually get a very positive response. I recall what one Company President said after I met him at a show. After meeting me he replied “An HR guy, what in the heck are you doing here?” I simply told him, supporting our sales staff and seeing what our customers need. He thought about that a moment and said, “hmm sounds like a good idea, maybe I should have my HR people get out and meet with our customers.”
Ok so the point of this post is not to blow my own horn, but rather to discuss some HR practices I have established that are going on at larger organizations. My Project Social Partner Laura @workgal is also a remote employee. She works in a large organization, and is faced with many of those remote employee challenges. You can read her take on the subject here. Now Laura tells me some of my practices are called employee engagement. (Actually I already knew that.).
The point is this, My Company’s sales staff do live a long way from corporate headquarters, they do not interact with company employees everyday and what they do for our Company is huge. Effective employee engagement can run the gambit from being very formal and structured as Laura has discussed in her post, or fairly informal and not too structured, by simply spending some face time with remote employees, talking to them making sure their needs are being met. Either way can work, but you have to remember them and pay attention to them. Because if you just assume they are doing their job and everything is ok, – well let’s just say we all know what happens when you ass-u-me!