As an employee retention speaker and employee retention author, when I tell managers to enhance their visibility with their people as part of their employee retention strategies I often hear that “an office environment is different” or “a hospital environment is unique” or some sort of reason that makes it impossible for them to get out of your office, wander around and talk to people. These environments are factories. They are just factories that produce different products or services than ones that produce metal widgets.

If you have ever been in a factory you will see people working in cells or on individual machines. That is exactly what you have in an office. People will be grouped as teams or sitting in individual cubes. All you have to do is wander around and stick your head in a cube and ask “how are you doing?” or “how’s the family?” It is no different than walking up to someone who is working on their CNC machine. I have worked in a software company. They aren’t terribly different. One person is producing software and the other is producing metal widgets.

Hospitals are the same way. They run 24/7 with multiple shifts like a sugar processing factory or oil refinery. They are big, spread out, and have multiple floors…just like a hospital. Is it harder to wander around? You bet. But somehow leaders there manage to wander around these sprawling complexes to say “hi” and get to know people. Harder than their size is the 24/7 operation. That requires some time on the weekends to stop in and wander around. Is it fun coming in on a weekend on occasion to catch the graveyard shift? Not really…but it’s part of the job if you are in human resources. That being said, I loved dropping in on weekends to see the night shift. People loved you because they knew you cared enough to take the time to stop in and visit for a bit.

When we take a good close look, what we see is that in some ways, most environments have similarities. We need to ask ourselves, what is one environment doing that is better than what I am doing and adapt it. After all, look at the number of diverse industries that study Disney to learn about customer service!