In an era when technology reigns supreme and HR professionals are constantly communicating via email, social media, and other online networks, is there a point where we say that all HR professionals are losing the human touch? Does the daily routine of sourcing candidates all across the Internet hurt our “soft” skill set and make us unable to communicate effectively offline? In my opinion, they don’t. As easy as it is to hide behind the iron curtain of your computer monitor, I believe that human resource professionals have yet to lose that human touch.

But the danger is there, so it’s important to understand why human touch and interaction is indispensable in the HR industry. Here are a few reasons why this type of connection is so valuable.

The Value of Being Present

Anyone who is on LinkedIn has seen the number of profiles that have 500+ connections and seem to be the ultimate networking geniuses. Unfortunately for the majority of these people, the connections they’ve acquired on networking sites like LinkedIn are just that, connections. It’s safe to assume that a large percentage of these connections are random or added for marketing purposes. Going beyond electronic communication to a more direct, physical contact is important if you want to establish a real connection with someone.

Potential Within Networking

Having connections online is one thing, but being able to network and interact in person creates a sense of building a relationship. It’s so easy to email back and forth and seemingly be best friends without even meeting in today’s technological age. Communicating in person is a proven method to improve efficiency in your workplace. Even if you’re bound by geographical limits, use programs such as Skype to create a face-to-face interaction with someone, or at least talk on the phone from time to time.

Developing Relationships

When it comes to developing future business relationships or relationships between different departments, it’s hard to really build something sustainable when the relationship is behind a computer screen. The importance of face-to-face networking is that it adds that personal, human connection you need for real collaboration. Encouraging this type of communication will allow your office to be more flexible and even make working from home a few days a week more feasible. If you have a strong personal relationship with your employees, they’re more likely to have a strong work ethic in your company.

So, have all human resource professionals lost touch with the human aspect of recruiting and development? Again, I would say no. I think there are those who might have lost some type of touch, but most understand the value of this aspect of human resources and how important it is to keep it alive.

In what ways, if any, have you lost the “human” touch as an HR professional?

Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, is an author, speaker, Human Resources professional, and workplace social media expert who has a passion for recruiting, training, and all things social media. She is the president and CEO of Xceptional HR, and a leader in the HR community with more than 12 years of industry experience. The author of Tweet This! Twitter for Business, Jessica was named by HR Examiner as the second most influential recruiter on the Internet and the seventh most powerful woman on Twitter. She is a columnist for both SmartBrief and The Huffington Post, in addition to Blogging4Jobs and Human Resources One on One. Jessica has been interviewed for professional articles in CIO Magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine, SHRM’s HR Magazine, and on CBS. Jessica earned a Senior Professional in Human Resources designation in 2008, and holds a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and Business from Kansas State University. Originally from a small town in Kansas, Jessica currently lives near Oklahoma City with her husband, Greg and daughter, Ryleigh.

3 Comments

  • Avatar Rachel Preson says:

    Not only that they are losing touch with the human factor at home, but also losing touch with what’s going on at home. I’ve started to exchange e-mails with my son about his activities. I mostly know what is going on with him now by our email and SMS exchange. It’s true that I travel a lot, but I still can’t shake the feeling that I’m losing contact with the people around me, just because it’s so easy to communicate with the use of technology.

  • Avatar Sorin Lunt says:

    That’s a pretty freaky thing to say, Rachel. And really blunt. It’s been a while since I’ve heard somebody criticize their own person like that. Pretty brave. But on the topic at hand. I haven’t feel this way before I read the article. But know, that I’m thinking about it, it looks like the ease of communicating online and in bulk, has made me keep verbal communication to a minimum. But that’s also because having a log of what you do and say can come pretty handy when the shit hits the fan.

    • Avatar Ian Welsh says:

      Great question, Jessica, and with so many implications.

      Sorin, I see nothing strange about Rachel’s comment. Nothing brave, nothing outrageous, just sharing the feeling of possibly losing contact. We have to be honest with ourselves to identify things that perhaps we may want to change. It is probably braver of you to admit that you keep a record of what you do or say as protection. The negative side is that anything (negative or positive) you have on email can be subpoenaed. Just a thought.

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