The people finder (also known as a corporate directory or Yellow Pages) is an organization’s who’s who and who’s where guide. It is important that it is kept up to date and includes name, a photograph and contact details.
Some people seem to expect HR or the IT department to maintain the people finder. In my experience, this could not be further from the truth. If the organization has designed the people finder directory properly, the design should allow the profile owner (you) to amend their (your) own profile, with IT and HR working in the background in a supportive role, ensuring security is in place and the directory is easy to use.
If any team is deemed to be responsible for the people finder, I would point to the knowledge management team. They are the ones who care about ensuring people are contactable, who should be reminding people of their obligation to keep profiles updated, and ensuring that all parties across the organization are involved. The catch is though …..
It’s your responsibility to keep your details up to date
We (the individual) should assume responsibility for our own profile that appears in the people finder. This applies to everyone, at every level. No delegating. Yes, even if you consider yourself very senior, very busy, very important. If you can keep your profile on LinkedIn up to date (and you should), you can do this for the people finder.
In these days of flexible working, it is the individual who is best placed to provide their favoured photograph, the phone number they choose to use and the location they choose to work from.
What’s in a name?
The reason I am so passionate about this is because this is personal. My name is Susan Chan. If I was new to an organization and they added my name to the people finder without my photograph, chances are that people might assume I was Chinese. Perhaps even a short, cute Chinese woman. I may be a woman and who knows, you might think me cute. I am most certainly not Chinese nor am I short. This is where a photograph comes in. It helps you to identify the individual immediately. It still won’t show whether I am short. We will keep that as a surprise.