Back To Basics: Treating People As People


Every successful organization is built around people. Men and women who don’t merely shuttle money, but interest, give gifts, and connect”  ~Seth Godin

I have worked at small and large organizations. I have worked in the private, non-profit and government sectors.  For me, nothing is worse than being treated like a number – a faceless person in a crowd.

I remember specifically at one organization when I had to contact payroll to ask some questions about deductions on my pay. Being new, I asked my other co-workers how to get in touch with payroll as I did not know a specific person to contact. I was given a generic email. Not even a person’s name. I sent the email and was sent an automatic reply stating that I would receive a response within a week.

I waited.

And I waited.

Two weeks later I still had no reply to my email, so I searched for a phone number to call payroll.  I called and no one answered. It went straight to voicemail with a generic, pre-recorded message telling me to leave my information and someone would get back to me within the week.  I left my details and explained how I already sent an email and was still awaiting a response.

A week later, I still had heard nothing, so I emailed again.

I admit that I am not a patient person. It is something that I work on but as an employee I do expect an answer within a reasonable amount of time. I think that waiting over three weeks for a response in this circumstance was not reasonable. And not having a contact person within my own organization was not reasonable either.

Last week I received an email from Steve Browne mentioning that it is HR Carnival time. We were asked to complete the following phrase:

“In 2015, I’d make HR better by…”

My response would apply to the whole organization – not just HR.

It’s simple….Treat People AS People

Stop treating people as numbers, metrics, and the bottom line.

This is how I envision and define the various departments in organizations:

Bosses (Leaders / Managers):  People managing, leading and guiding other people.  People inspiring and helping other people.

Marketing: People influencing and persuading other people.

Communications: People talking to and providing a clear, consistent message to other people.

Teams, Employees, Colleagues: People working with, collaborating with and innovating with other people.

Human Resources: People hiring other people. People helping people get along.

It’s all about people.

Is this an over-simplification? Maybe.  But as soon as we start treating and seeing people as people we realize that everyone has something to offer and that they are special.  It is about getting back to basics.

The people that work in your organization are also your customers, brand ambassadors and the most important capital that you have.

All of this can start with HR. Instead of sending a generic email to an applicant, pick up the phone and call.  If you told a candidate that you will have an answer by next week, be sure to follow up with them next week. Even if it is to tell them that you have no answer yet.  Communicate. Listen. Provide guidance and advice.

Everyone has a unique skillset that they bring to an organization. When people are nurtured and encouraged to grow and develop their talents and abilities, organizations flourish and people end up feeling happy and enjoy the places where they work.


Photo credit: Pixabay


  1. Steve Borek – Baldwinsville, NY – Since we're all going to die, what do you want to do with the time between now and when that day comes? I'm an Executive and Leadership Coach who works with clients worldwide. My firm is End Game Business. Work with me. The people you lead will be raving fans. Your customers will say they'd be out of their minds to do business with anyone but you. My professional coaching certifications are PCC, BCC, and CUCG. I've coached over 275 people, over 2K hours, in a half dozen countries. What's your end game?
    Steve Borek says:

    Being present with each person is key to understanding their brilliance or uniqueness. Most people don’t take the time to provide the gift of presence.

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