Keeping the “Human” in Human Resources


July 14, 2009

Tonight was a rewarding night for me.  Not monetarily, but as a Human Resource professional.  I attended a pre-training networking event where I was able to spend some quality time with participants who work in offices I support.  These employees are people I often only get to talk with via phone and email.   As I drove home after the event, I realized that I had done more relationship building in the last two or three hours than I can accomplish over the phone or via email in weeks. 

Technology is a great thing, but it can never truly replace that human connection.  Whether you are a  HR generalist, specialist, recruiter, or tech expert, or consultant, we are spending more time “connecting” through less personal means.  While this is a great way to share information or ask questions, it certainly cannot build relationships as quickly as meeting in person.  That’s why people who use social media sites are starting to participate more in tweetups and face-to-face meetings.  By only talking online or via phone, we greatly limit the opportunity for the relationships to develop.

The key to a stronger relationship is ultimately trust.  Trust is one of those funny things that you cannot pinpoint exactly how it is built between people, but face-to-face interaction is one component of trust building that is critical to it’s existance.  Humans are very visual creatures.  We need to look eachother in the eye.  We need to watch the other person’s body language.  These are all key signs to whether or not we will trust someone and build a stronger relationship with that person.

So I challenge you to take (or make) as many opportunities as you can to meet with people in person.  Although it may take a bit more time to coordinate, the time spent will be well worth it.


  • I agree. I think we sometimes get so caught up in our day-to-day and checking things off of our list that we forget about the ‘human’ connection. Good post!

  • Nice post, Trish. Making those connections is really important, even with our ‘virtual’ community. Really great advice.

  • Good post. I agree that phone, e-mail, and social media offer HR professionals many benefits, but we cannot lose sight of the value of face-to-face meetings. Face-to-face meetings lead to the majority of long-lasting relationships.

  • More than once, I’ve had my opinion changed on a course of action after meeting with an employee face to face. Sometimes to their detriment but most often to their benefit. Nothing beats eye to eye contcat.

  • I haven’t spoken to a bank employee in years. While I embrace the convenience, it makes me sad when I really sit down and look at it.

    Great post.

  • Body language and eye contact. Bang. You hit the nail on the head. Experts have told me that over 50% of communication between humans is via body language.
    We certainly press on that with regard to personal safety.
    Even just hearing a voice (instead of reading another e mail) brings the interaction from one to three dimensional. A phone call….what a concept!!
    And when I do receive a phone call I always remember the basics. Get up. Leave the desk area, walk around and SMILE while talking.
    Thanks for this post Trish. Good reminder to all of us!!

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About Trish

A former HR executive and HCM product leader with over 20 years of experience.



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