Guest post from Allison West

Allison West, of Employment Practices Specialists (on the West Coast) has wonderfully captured some insights shared by Jerry Seinfeld at last week’s SHRM Conference. Now you may not think of Mr. Seinfeld as an HR practitioner, but Allison has distilled some of his thinking and applied it beautifully to Human Resources.  Thank you Allison for allowing me to share your thoughts here as we Continue the Conversation.

What I Learned From Jerry Seinfeld by Allison West
Last week Jerry Seinfeld was the entertainment at the SHRM Annual Conference held in Atlanta. He was dressed in a suit which I greatly admired – he took his audience seriously. He was in perfect form and had about 15,000 of us laughing for over an hour. Here are some takeaways from his wonderful performance:

1. Watch your tone. Now Jerry spent quite a bit of time relaying how his wife didn’t like his “tone.”  I am sure you can all relate whether it is your wife, husband or parents telling you about your tone.  When it comes to the workplace, how HR and managers relay their message is often impacted by the tone we use.  Pay attention to how others view your words, demeanor and intent. Do they line up?

2. Stop sitting so much.  Jerry’s opening routine was about sitting. We are all looking for the next place to sit.  One popular management technique is to manage by walking around. The same holds true for HR. Get up out of your chair and walk around – visit with employees and managers.  Let them know that your open door attitude goes both ways and that you are willing to get out of your chair to meet, greet and assist.  By walking around you may actually learn more about issues, concerns and ways you can help.

3.  Watch your words.  Pay attention to the words you use and how you use them – they have many meanings.  Ask folks for their definitions – listen and connect.  For example, an employee may say they feel “uncomfortable.”  I know what that word means and so do you. But, maybe the employee has a different definition and by asking you can gain insight to a particular issue going on.  The words we select can give away a lot of information – don’t miss out on a great opportunity to learn and be able to assist your employees.

Tone, Movement, and Language. Excellent reminders Allison, thanks for sharing.

Have a safe and happy Fourth of July everyone.
Remember, fireworks, like HR, are best left in the hands of professionals!

Only the best,

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