The Death of My Inbox
Oh my aching to do list.
It’s no secret - we are all doing much more with a lot less. As organizations have thinned ranks and taken out layers of support while adding more controls, processes, and procedures, it is easy to understand why many of us feel overwhelmed, not to mention frustrated by the time it takes to move all of the little things off our “to do list” while not moving the big important initiatives forward.
Fact: I hate wasting time. When I have a rare five minutes of downtime in my workday, I try to at least knock something off of that dreaded “to do list.” So what do I normally do? Yes, I check my email. Right now there are 473 unread emails in my inbox. Emails one through 38 are definitely not urgent, but I have to open each one of them to understand their level of importance. Ok my five minutes are gone and I am only on email 14. I’ll get through more later.
Fast forward - it’s tomorrow and now I have lots of time. I have a whole 45 minutes during my commute on the train to go back in my inbox. 78 NEW unread emails - but I have the genius idea of going back to email 14 to pick up where I left off yesterday. I dig deep and get all the way back to what was email 39 only a day ago. Here is what I find in my dear inbox:
Old numbers 9-53 include several approval reminders. When I get to my office I must login to a myriad of different systems to officially approve a number of things:
- Someone’s vacation request (I see I have received the same reminder 10 times)
- Someone’s purchase order (Oh that sounds important; I had better do that first)
- Ten expense reports (I received twenty reminders for ten people waiting for money – that’s important too)
And then I see it. Right there in email 54. Tom tells me that the vacation request he has put in the system is for time off for his WEDDING AND HONEYMOON. He and his fiancée wonder if I could please approve this ASAP so they can get busy making their plans.
By the way – two things I should mention right here and now:
- While I was busy beating myself up over not seeing Tom’s email a lot sooner, 30 more emails came in. Don’t worry – none look very urgent.
- Did I tell you I have five huge HR initiatives on the docket and I haven’t moved any of them forward this entire week? And this is how I spend a good portion of my day - figuring out how to manage my inbox so people can do things that are important to them – like get paid, take time off, and get their benefits squared away? There has to be a better way to make use of my time.
I want the administrative portion of my job to be minimal so my people can get what they need from me and we can all spend our time working on the more exciting stuff. We all say we have or we are getting “manager and employee self-services and single sign on.” At the same time, I know, and you know, that most of us continue to log into a bunch of different places. Single sign on for me has been signing on to a collection of different systems that don’t typically talk to one another, albeit with one login ID.
Could someone just give me a way to sign in once and put this stuff in front of me for when I have a free moment – and please put it on my mobile device?
My Wish Granted. Really?
Over the course of the past year, I have been fortunate enough to be part of an amazing team that has taught me a new way to work. Every day is getting better and better and I love what I am learning. But today is REALLY special. Now I understand what the acquisition of a cool company in Germany means for me and for my friends who manage HR in great companies, of all shapes and sizes, all around the world.
Today, every routine task and approval imaginable is available to me with one login and accessible from any one of my devices. Now, in those free moments waiting for the coffee to brew, waiting for the plane to take off, waiting for the conference call to start – I am getting ALL of this stuff done. One place to sign in. Everything I need to do is right there. It doesn’t matter if I have my laptop, tablet, or smartphone. Layer in our robust social technology and all of the conversation I need to have about any sort of request is right there too. I believe I have reached self-service Nirvana.
I know lots of people from terrific companies come to you with HR solutions to make your whole organization more efficient. There is no doubt that there are some cool applications out there which will help you do everything from facilitating benefits to open enrollment to approving leave requests to tracking the progress of your top talent. What I believe differentiates what Sitrion offers today is that we offer one platform that allows users to access and process multiple HR tasks in one very flexible, easy-to-use environment. With our collaborative social technology, what you have is one place to go where all information is exchanged and approvals take place.
But is My Inbox Really Dead?
The title of this blog refers to the death of my inbox but right now you probably think it is only badly injured right? Well that’s why this is only PART ONE. I will continue to share my new ways of working in future blogs. Once you understand how I am using our self-services capabilities along with our social technology, you will see that YES, my inbox is truly dead. R.I.P.