For Daily Success, Commit or Quit
A local newspaper reported that the recent hacking of the Virginia Tech human resources server—which involved employment and education information for thousands of job applicants, in addition to driver’s license data—was the result of an employee who did not follow security protocols.
A spokesperson told The Roanoke Times: “‘We have protections and protocols in place’ to prevent hackers from accessing sensitive information, he said. ‘They were not followed. It was human error.’”
Sure, HR is the science of managing people, but these days it seems to require as much tech know-how as people skills. Just as important as understanding the technology, however, is understanding the value it provides the organization. This individual likely forgot a step done one million times before—but you can bet that this protocol-following person now knows how critical that step is and, realizing that value, won’t be forgetting it again.
Sometimes it takes believing in the value of something to help us remember why we take an extra step (we just hope to be fortunate enough to see that value without taking such a massive misstep). Consider how differently you might implement a policy sent down from your C-suite with instructions to “just do it” versus implementing a policy that you truly believe has value for the organization. Often we just follow the motions, adopting new technology or processes because we are told to do it or because our competitors do it, not because we have come to appreciate how it could the company save money, grow productivity or improve the lives of employees. This is especially true in those instances when that new computer program or extra step in hiring ends up taking more time to implement in the beginning. But if HR isn’t completely onboard with corporate efforts to improve the day-to-day for employees, isn’t it only a matter of time before other employees start to grumble about wasting time on extra steps or complicated new tools?
By way of another example, in our feature on alternate workplace strategies, one expert suggests that allowing flex scheduling at your workplace simply because employees point out that your competitors are doing it is one of the biggest impediments to successful implementation of such a program. There are a number of nuanced steps to take to ensure employee remain productive from home—from having the right tools to connect with the office to asking the right questions to gauge productivity—that, if overlooked, could set this beneficially productive schedule on a crash course to failure. Worse yet, if HR doesn’t believe in the benefits of allowing telecommuting, for example, it could be a matter of time before your in-office workers start grumbling about the privileged few who work from home. Taking a step back to talk with employee and employer, and understanding the cost savings and/or other benefits to your company, might make a major difference in your willingness to invest the time and energy in something new, and how you communicate it to your workforce.