WIFO – A New Approach

It’s time for HR to quit trying to focus on the “me” side of HR and look at focusing on others. This approach isn’t happening today and imagine if it did !!

Have you been to HR seminars where they emphasize the WIFM effect of employees?  You know, “what’s in it for me?” There are entire marketing efforts and focuses that try to figure this out from a consumer’s perspective.  I get it.  I’m attracted to things that meet my preferences and styles, but I’m sure they don’t fit anyone else’s choices.

We’re all unique as people.  HR struggles with this.  How can we provide the “what’s in it for me” factor if everyone is different?  It’s impossible !!! Or, is it ??

I think it’s time for HR to try the WIFO approach – What’s in it for others?  If we’d do this, we’d be more successful in the end in meeting the needs of most – not all.

Using the WIFO approach, you can really put people first.  HR needs to understand that without people, we’re nothing but a giant bureaucratic machine that people see in negative connotations.  We have to put others first – all the time !!  This may not seem fair, but it really works.

More often than not, HR departments approach the least common denominator when it comes to policies, programs and initiatives.  We have a small sample of employees who either make the most noise, or cause the most problems and Wah-lah !! – something new magically appears that we now impose on everyone.

You have to ask yourself, “When I go talk to employees, am I talking about a situation, or am I focusing on them as a person first?”  Is it more important to get resolution, or understand what’s happening to them as a person? Try it. Focus on your employees as people first.

I think we don’t think of others first because people rarely think about us as people.  Why don’t we change that? If you would take the time this week to e-mail, call or visit an HR peer and just ask them how they’re doing, how do you think the profession would change?  I think it’d be amazing !!  Intentionally reaching out to others to model what we could do for our organizations.

People are difficult, challenging, amazing, creative, unpredictable and that’s a great reason to be in HR !!  You and I need to remember . . . we’re people too.

If I were you, I’d be on the lookout for a call . . .

6 thoughts on “WIFO – A New Approach”

  1. Spot on, Steve. We’re working on major projects, and every one of them includes a “WIFM” piece. But as a team I often feel like we are losing focus in the needs of the users, and a “WIFO” might be a great place to start the discussion.

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Hi Steve,

    You are so right! Too often I find HR will impose policies or rules for the few who do not follow the rules. When we do this we are punishing those who do follow the rules. I would love to see HR viewed in a different more positive light and I realize it must start with us…. the HR professionals!
    Love WIFO!

  3. Well said Steve. We are working on a “Think Customer” initiative, where the customer is internal as far as HR is concerned. We think at times we (HR) are delivering fantastic products to employees and leaders, but our employees see them as basic.
    You don’t have to know who has a baseball player and who has a dancer they are proud of (although it helps!), you just have to remember that you are working with people who have wants, needs, problems, victories, and personal stories that are all different. And most are amazing.

  4. Steve,

    This is right in line with many of the principles put forth in the Servant-Leadership philosophy by Robert Greenleaf. By placing the needs of others, we certainly have the ability to feed our own passions and flourish. Putting the “human” back into human resources is certainly something worthy of pursuing on a daily basis.


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