Don’t Be A Lazy HR Daisy

Usually, on Wednesdays, my post is about something written by another blogger. However, I am switching things up this week and keeping with the Lazy HR theme …

Daisy Chandler was ready to retire. Her little office was full of pictures and artwork from her grandchildren and her calendar was decorated with family events, not work deadlines or appointments. She told everyone who would listen to her that she was putting in her papers just as soon as her husband gave her the OK to do it. Daisy was on the countdown — and the rest of us were counting down with her.

She’d worked almost 20 years for the company in our Legal department. Part of her job was to monitor completion of the drug tests and backgrounds checks for all new hires and promotions. If these we not complete, the employee couldn’t start work or move into a new position. When information was missing, it was Daisy’s responsibility to get it. When a candidate did not meet the requirement, it was Daisy’s responsibility to notify all affected parties.

Daisy kept a list of everything she received and its status. She sent the list out weekly. And that was it.

No phones calls, no emails, no stopping into someone’s office or any other follow up to make sure missing information was obtained. Just the list.

If you asked her a question about the status of something, she would respond “Check the list.” If you asked why something remained pending for so long, she would say “I don’t know. I put it on the list. No one responded.” If you needed something that wasn’t on the list, she would say “Ok. I’ll put it on the list and get it to you as soon as I get it.”

Daisy’s list became a bit of a running gag and joke in the office. I felt bad that people were making fun of her so I decided to talk to her. I was hoping I could convince her to scrap the list and take a more active approach to getting missing information so we could reduce the turn-around time on hires and promotions.

So I paid a visit to Daisy’s office to inquire about the status on the appeal of a promotion. It was on the list but I hadn’t seen an update in almost a month. When she told me that it was on the list and she was still waiting to hear back from the decision-maker, I asked if she was going to do anything else to follow up.

“Why? It’s on the list. He knows I’m waiting for it”

  • When other people’s ability to work depends on you getting answers from someone else, you should follow up to avoid creating a bottleneck in the flow of work.

“Well, what am I supposed to do about it? I can’t make him respond”

  • No, you cannot make someone respond. However, you can remind the person that you are waiting on a response and cannot move forward without it.

“Oh no! I can’t do that. That’s nagging”

  • Reminders are not nagging. Perhaps the person missed your initial message or got pulled away and forgot or didn’t realize the matter was still pending — or maybe the person already responded and you didn’t get it. A reminder just lets the person know that you are waiting for an answer. It puts the ball clearly in their court.

“And when I nag and still get no response, then what?”

  • Sometimes, you may need to notify a person’s superior when an issue has been pending for too long and the person hasn’t responded.

“Oh no! I’m not a tattle”

  • If there are no ill-intentions, it is not tattling. The goal is to get the response you need to make sure the work gets done. You may need assistance from someone’s supervisor to make sure that happens. It is not the preferred method, but it may be necessary to get results.

“Chasing people down with phone calls and emails will take 1/2 the day. I don’t have time for all that. I think I’ll just stay with the list”

Sigh.

I never got through to Daisy. Hopefully, this post will get through to someone.

We have a duty to keep work flowing and produce results. When our method or process causes a bottleneck or stoppage in the flow, something has got to change!

Don’t be just another lazy Daisy! Take the initiative to go out there, get answers and produce results!

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2 Comments

  1. The message goes for e-mailers too! Just because you sent it, doesn’t mean the person got it. Follow up with a phone call (remember those??) or some kind of reminder.
    Lazy Daisy retired thinking she did her job. How sad that she became a legend for her inaction.

    • Buzz Rooney

      August 21, 2011 at 4:54 PM

      I agree. Simple follow up makes all the difference.

      Daisy couldn’t transition her thinking and practices as the business moved forward. We miss her kindness but not “Chandler’s List.”

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