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Putting the Human Touch Back Into Our Jobs

    We recently sent one of our first line supervisors for some formal supervisory training.  He is a newly promoted supervisor from the ranks.  Thus far, he is doing a good job and the results are visible.  His enthusiasm for the training has been great and he appears to be able to apply what he has learned into this everyday work.  I couldn’t help but get caught up in his enthusiasm.   It occurred to me that this was a perfect opportunity to further challenge this supervisor and at the same time, increase my understanding of the operations.

    I told our supervisor that I wanted to meet with him once a week and have him show me something I probably didn’t know about our warehouse operations.  He said to me “Well, what are you doing right now”.  To which I said “Let’s go”.  What I learned I can honestly say I didn’t know.  Long story short:  there’s a lot more to loading an 18th wheeled truck than I would have ever thought there was.  There is a certain order items go into the trailer so it’s readily available as it is unloaded (logistics) then there’s the whole thing about weight distribution so it’s evenly distributed over the axles (safety). 

    The supervisor was having a great time showing me this stuff and I enjoyed learning it. It gave me a whole new perspective on the important job these people do for our company and it will serve me well as I interview candidates in the future. I will be better able to select the best people for our hiring managers.  Moreover, I think when managers from other departments (accounting, human resources, and maybe even those IT guys) show genuine interest in the line operations with employees, let them show you the job they do at your company; it builds a degree respect that you just cannot get any other way.

    It is obvious really: isn’t it?  But it is easy to forget while we are busy attending to the daily issues of human resource management and trying to keep abreast of the constantly changing nature of our work.  But it is “human resources”, isn’t it?  So taking some time to just walk our facilities or offices, meet with the employees, and let them show you something is definitely a good thing.  I know I’ll be doing it as much as possible and I encourage you all the same.  You might be surprised what you find out.

    Please have a great holiday season. 

    Greg Carpenter