Bedside Manner

An outstanding week followed by a miserable weekend offered some interesting considerations for the work I do.

I attended HR Connect, a networking event co-sponsored by SHRM, SmartBrief and RecruitingBlogs.  The event and a few meetings around it provided an outstanding opportunity to catch up with clients, colleagues and friends who are passionate about HR and Recruiting.  The ‘Tweet-Up’ (my 2nd official happy hour focused on people connected on Twitter meeting up) affirmed the real desire that people have to connect face to face, with other people, who share a passion for their profession (I wasn’t the only one who got on a plane and flew in for the event).  Using social media makes events like this more rewarding for me and strengthens my network.  But the secret to social media is really all about the relationship.  And its clear to me the conference/event model is far from dead.  To the contrary, people have a deep need and desire to connect live, in person and learn, share and grow.  So, while formats may evolve, good conferences with progressive content aren’t going to be extinct anytime soon.  Social media is simply an accelerator.

I attend a lot of HR conferences.  Often, I am speaking.  Always, I am interested in meeting new people and having meaningful conversations. And while so many of the conferences provide valuable content and connections the HR event circuit can be a bit insular.  And its valuable to gain outside perspective specific to the work you do.  I attended a non HR workshop/event in my hometown a couple weeks ago.  The focus was on social media for business and the audience was comprised of mostly business professionals.  Marketers, Entrepreneurs, Consultants etc. looking to learn more about leveraging new tools/technology.  And part of the workshop general discussion the topic of recruiting and social media was raised.  I was a bit surprised by what happened next.

A gentleman in the audience stood up (not required as part of the discussion format), looked around at the 200 or so people in the room, and in an elevated tone suggested that, “Recruiting is absolutely the most disrespectful business process…..ever.”  He had my attention now. And went on to explain how it was simply unconscionable for companies to treat candidates the way they do during the job search.  Some of it was what you might expect.  Lack of communication.  No feedback.  Minimal, if any human contact.  Horrendous turnaround time.  He was angry to be certain.  And had it stopped there, you could write it off as one disgruntled person having a hard time with a job search.  But it didn’t.  What it did was open the dialogue, all affirming stories acknowledging the problem.  The snowball could have turned into an avalanche had we not had facilitation and the discussion was closed on the story from the candidate, who 30 days after he was hired and started working for his new employer, received an automated email from the recruiting organization updating him on the status of his resume.  Oops.

Sometimes it pays to get perspective outside of your profession.  And it was clear to me this snapshot of dialogue offered some indication that companies have a long way to go with respect to how they respect candidates during the recruiting process.  Some of it comes right down to bedside manner.  And I think some recruiting organizations could learn a lot from Dr. Black.

Dr. Black was my personal weekend Physician.  Heading back from DC Thursday evening I had slight pains in my chest and side.  Writing it off to bad airport pizza I gutted out Friday’s work day with the pain worsening a bit.  By Friday night I knew something was definitely wrong and I ended up in the ER.  EKG, discussion of blod clots, fluid in my chest and lungs, worsening pain and an escalating fever.  No fun. No diagnosis.  Nobody quite sure what exactly is wrong.  Enter Dr. Black.

She offered clear and concise communication with a personal touch.  She explained herself.  Her thoughts about what might be wrong.  What they wanted to rule out and why.  She patiently answered questions.  And stopped back an hour later just to see if I had any more.  And under the circumstances I actually felt so much better having her around.  It wasn’t so much what she said, as the way she said it.  I trusted her.  And because of her I felt good (and still do) about the entire hospital/organization. Dr. Black circled back around and amid my ailment we chatted a bit about work, passion and bedside manner.  I learned that although she had been practicing in this very ER for 11 years she didn’t necessarily think medicine was her true calling.  She is a full time mother and very part time artist.  And would love to have more time to create. We talked about the danger/trap of getting really good at the wrong thing…..and she knew she was good at her job.  Real good.  And her confidence and charisma carried over into a bedside manner that absolutely elevated the patient experience.  Although this might not have been her true passion, her sense of purpose to serve never wavered.  I’ve been to the ER before.  And I have never had a Doctor follow up with 2 phone calls to me personally the next day.  Of course, I wasn’t in the care of Dr. Black.  People make the business.  And the brand.

When you are in the business of saving lives (or starting careers) its easy to put the human element on auto pilot.  But the best in the business don’t.  They remember that it isn’t just what you do, but the way you do it that often makes the difference.  And doing it with elevated communication, care, compassion and consideration make all the difference in the world.

Antibiotics and rest will get me better.  Likely pneumonia or a really bad infection.

Dr. Black’s bedside manner made me feel better when it really mattered.  A great lesson.

Read More leadership

And join our email community to receive bi-weekly insights with actionable tips and videos, new research, and inspiration and ideas for cultivating growth in business and life.