Rethinking Your HR Approach

The human resources methods used today are a product of decades of corporate culture best practices with rules, systems and policies that can be overwhelming at times.

But one of the advantages of owning a small to medium-size business is that you can create your own unique culture that works for your company. One virtual assistance firm has found that by breaking some of the well-established rules of American corporate culture, it can thrive.

At GlobeTask, a Jerusalem-based human resources company, the philosophy is that you can’t change who a person is. Rather than establishing a static company policy that different personalities have to work around, the company’s founders embrace the employees’ inherent and individual traits. In that way, GlobeTask executives take full advantage of having a staff of 50 employees, rather than 5,000.

Sure, there are rules. But within that framework, employees are encouraged to shine for their strengths. GlobeTask’s executives acknowledge that there are a variety of ways to follow the company’s rules. And they rely on the company’s managers to help their employees find those ways. For example, disorganization isn’t tolerated.

“Otherwise, it’s inevitable that a client’s project will fall through the cracks,” says Richard Weinberg, president of human resources.

Since the company is a technology-based company, employees have access to large variety of virtual tools. But GlobeTask executives realize that there might be an employee who isn’t able to stay organized in such a way. So, in that case, the whiteboard comes out.

Also, company executives desire employees who are not too self-reliant. But they recognize that there are those who just can’t help it.

“We always try to take those employees who are more self-reliant and give them overseeing-type jobs,” says Weinberg.

For example, a self-reliant employee might act as a coordinator for projects that require communication between multiple teams.

“It’s actually a sign of a good manager,” he says.

At GlobeTask, managers periodically conduct random check-ins with employees to see how they’re doing personally and otherwise. If an employee has a tendency toward a bad habit, the manager knows to check in and ask about specifics of a project. This gives the manager a window into how the employee is handling that habit.

GlobeTask prides itself on good communication, for obvious reasons. But while it encourages employees to communicate with each other, GlobeTask’s executives recognize that some people are better at it than others.

“If it’s not going to be a problem, if they’re not going to share, then we don’t force them,” Weinberg says.

The company is service-centric, so good customer relations are central to the company’s policies. But there are times when a virtual assistant has a tendency to be abrupt. Rather than calling them on the carpet, a complaining client is transferred to another virtual assistant with the people skills that better suit the customer.

“We know now that (the employee) has that tendency and we make sure we don’t give them clients who would be bothered by that,” says Weinberg. “We’re not going to change them. Instead, we’re going to give them people who can work well with them.”

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