Before I began my career in Human Resources, I would have described myself as “selectively” detail oriented. I paid attention to that which was directly of interest to me, and ignored more or less everything else.
…Conversely, after working first in the labor and employee relations space, then compensation (where you’re dealing with people’s pay) and later as an HR rep at a union site (where everything that isn’t exactly by the book will be grieved), details became something I no longer had the luxury of ignoring.
Case in point: In an investigation, I follow up on seemingly inconsequential/off the cuff statements – not because I assume they’re consequential, but rather because I don’t assume. I talk to everyone about what happened. I notice subtle shifts in body language. “Think before you act” is a way of life for me; if you act first who knows what you may have missed in your haste?
With that said, in dotting my I’s and crossing my T’s I’ve learned another lesson that is just as important:
Sometimes (*sometimes*) it’s a good idea to let the small things go. Sure, slippery slopes can be pretty steep, but I’m of the view that HR is not meant to play the role of police. We enforce the rules… but we should do that with a mind towards why the rules are there.
If one enforces rules with the “why” of the rule’s existence in mind, what you sacrifice in consistency you gain in credibility with the workforce.
Much of this is common sense, but it was on my mind this morning and so I wanted to share.
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