It is true of life (as well as the specifics of any service industry) that when we do things for people or have them done for us, we have an expectation of when it might need to happen. We could debate the nature of time and relative busyness, but unless there is not an understanding of basic timescales on both part (said or unsaid), tasks could drift off into the ether.
Have a think about the example of getting the dishwasher unloaded in time for the next meal. No one sets a deadline for it, but you know that it needs to be done or the kids will start to adopt your sloppy standards. If they come running down the stairs at dinner time and the plates are still in there, they will delight in giving you their feedback.
“Daddy hasn’t emptied the dishwasher again.”
You must understand that this example isn’t about me – I am one of those hyper-organised types, but work and home life is busy and every now and again you will be given a polite reminder to do something that should really have been done already.
For me, this should be seen as a failure.
People have better things to do than remind you to do things that you have already promised to do, especially if the deadline has long passed. It shouldn’t be the norm.
In recruitment, this is a challenge. We talk to huge numbers of candidates and clients every week and there are often multiple touch points in any given relationship in the recruitment process. At every stage it is the solemn duty of a recruiter to keep people informed of progress. Admittedly you will get the odd keeno candidate who will annoyingly chase you more often than you would like, but as long as you set the expectations, it should be possible to be proactive in letting people know what is going on.
It is the same with running a youth sports team. I coach a local boys rugby team and I always try to keep the parents in the loop about all aspects of their child’s progress. You know that most parents won’t want to “bother” the coach, but this is no excuse to keep them in the dark. The moment they ask whether Rufus has been picked is the moment that you realise that you are not doing your job.
To give a third example, a partner who asks “do you love me?” is a partner who has already mentally drifted away. You have to let your loved ones know that they are loved and although this is not always easy, it is one of the most important bits of feedback that you can give in this life. Hopefully they will feed back to you on a regular basis too!
For me, there is a link between feedback and gratitude. Feedback is the what keeps relationships going and sets the scene for further progress. If we make it part of our routine, it does not have to take a lot of effort. On the other hand, if we build it up into a monumental task, it will seem overwhelming and we won’t do it anywhere near enough.
Giving people feedback is a vital part of where I consider that I am making a difference to people. If I work with you and you would like me to improve in this area, please do let me know. It is something that I really do care about.
If a candidate has to chase for an update, I am not doing my job properly!
Written by Alex Turner, Edited by Paul Drury