My Sametime (IBM internal instant messaging tool) status says ‘Let’s interact’ as I feel the more we connect the more productive we become. I never liked the plain old vanilla ‘Available.’ I see the green button, I know you are available. I also like what Tim Collins, Director, HR Talent, Development & Resources, IBM and my manager has as his ST status, ‘How can I help you?’ In this era of virtual connectivity, the more genuine human emotions we express, the better it is for all of us. It goes a long way in bringing people closer in the world ‘w i d e’ web.
Last week, someone, (I will not disclose the name, though I am tempted to) reached out to me for some support on one of the initiatives they are working on. I was busy, but I am cognizant that it is my personal responsibility to help others. And, that is one of IBM’s values too, “Trust and personal responsibility in all relationships.” We spent 45 minutes over the phone and then it snowballed into a series of connects (Sametime chats, calls, meetings, IBM SmartCloud et al). Throughout the process, I hand-held the person through tools, usage and advice. This went on for a few days, but not even once, I was thanked, which made me wonder, if I should step back? We, in IBM, follow the culture of ‘thank you’ and recognition. So, I continued to support, but I was unhappy.
Today, I read an internal blog post by Mary Barton, Vice President, Workforce Engagement and Analytics, IBM about how one statement of compassion got her to respond to this ‘one’ chat request, while she was buried under work. The message said: “Mary, pardon the interruption.” The way we conduct ourselves brings people closer to us. The way we say thank you makes them feel good. It is all about being human! Now, I know how to reach out to Mary! #wink.
So next time, you interact virtually or in person, understand that others’ time and efforts are as important as yours and the need for human emotions goes beyond all boundaries. The secret sauce to success is how others around us perceive us and the value we create for them. And, that is an important tenet of being social and open. ‘We’ create and sustain the social culture at the workplace. Make it better for yourself and others.
Thank you for reading this piece. I would be interested in knowing your thoughts around relationships in the workplace and how it impacts employee engagement.
Edited by: Vanitha Poojary