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HR Leadership Can Make All the Difference: #TChat Recap

We wish that the world defined us only by our successes, but the reality is we define ourselves continually by our failures. We build monuments to greatness like statues and skyscrapers and sweeping internal processes, while the foundations of each are filled with poor decisions, inefficient planning, half-hearted executions and the shell casings of emotional gunfire.

In fact, we long to point out where the bodies lay lifeless, and we remain excited even after they’re removed. We want to feel better about our failures, but because societal and religious mores force those feelings to be repressed, the feelings seep out and stain like sweat rings on a hot day. Then we cover our eyes quickly as if being forced to look into that same hot sun.

Imagine dealing with this everyday, throughout the entire lifespan of each and every employee. Shatter the glass half empty at your feet and you’ve got wet shards of different sizes, from full-time to part-time to flex-time to contractor. Human resource professionals have to manage all this mess as well as facilitate and mediate the supervisors in between. It’s no wonder we’ve got so many rules and regulations around people management.

Maybe if we explored what it means to be more human on the HR job and how that pays dividends in small business and the enterprise we’d come closer to reconciling the ratio of failure to success. Maybe if we took a more holistic and transparent approach to performance management instead of transactional silos of shame we’d come a lot closer to growth Nirvana, both personally and professionally.

Thankfully that’s the way it begins — change — the movement from one state to another, from a static status quo state to a hopefully more progressive and productive state. Like moving from flat two dimensions to a vibrant three. The change begins in small groups, the sharing of new knowledge of what can be done that hasn’t been done before and the return of that “change” investment. The new knowledge fills the room, some of it permeating each exposed pore, entering the bloodstream and flooding our brains with possibility.

The possibility that our failures truly define our success and understanding the why of it all — that’s where HR can truly make a difference today: to know the business, staff the business, teach the business and grow the business, all predicated on managing the messy yet mingled bad with the good.

Join us for our first-ever World of Work live #TChat Session at the 13th Annual Illinois HR Conference & Exposition, one of the many HR Super Social Hero events that occur throughout the year. We want to personally thank Dave Ryan (@DaveTheHRCzar), Susan Avello (@SusanAvello),  Donna Rogers (@DonnaRogersHR), John Jorgensen (@jkjhr), and many, many other friends who have always supported our efforts to make the World of Work more social. We certainly like hanging out with our friends in the trenches, and it all starts with #ILSHRM coming up next week, on Aug. 5-7, 2012. Our live session will be Monday, Aug. 6, from 5-6 pm CST.

In the meantime, did you miss this week’s preview? Go here, and be on the watch for more tweets and slideshows from us. You Rock!

Image credit: Sears Tower, by Marcin Wichary

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#TChat INSIGHTS: Becoming (Social) HR Leaders

Storified by TalentCulture · Fri, Aug 03 2012 07:38:46

…. RT @rmcgahen Who else is ready for another kick ass #tchat [today]? I know I am. http://pic.twitter.com/aVi6lREuTalentCulture
RT @SabrinaLBaker: Woo Hoo RT @talentculture: We’re amped to be #TChat-ing w/ @DwaneLay @DonnaRogersHR at #ILSHRM! http://su.pr/2mWMCE http://pic.twitter.com/sNY1MqtUDonna Rogers, SPHR
Q1: In HR & the world of work, what does it mean to do the opposite of what’s been done to spark disruptive change? #TChat RT @susanavelloSean Charles
A1: Doing something different than what was done in the past to get over staleness. #tchatRob McGahen
A1 give up control. Truly involve and engage people. Have real conversations. Trust. #tchatPam Ross
a1. Learn the job and business inside out… then look for ways to make it better. Knowledge is power. #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A1: Change doesn’t have to be done for the sake of change, innovation is not always revolution but evolution is necessary #tchatJen Olney
A1 Is it how HR sees itself? I don’t think so. It changing the view of the “brand”. #tchatMarla Gottschalk PhD
A1: Your job is not to say no. Start with yes, then modify to fit. #TChatTrepability
@MeghanMBiro @susanavello A1 #TChat it means to #bealeaderBurke Allen
A1: Back up disruption with business case using real data, not emotional attachment to #SoMe #TChatTom Bolt
A1: Make everyone a brand ambassador, regardless of what they do, and in what capacity they do it. #tchatKevin W. Grossman
#Tchat A1 Change for the sake of change is not effective. Must have bona fide reason and facts to back it up.Cyndy Trivella
A1 Partner with people that you know think differently from you. #TChatMary E. Wright
A1: Encourages folks to think outside the box and see things differently. #TChatJess ‘Babs’ Bahr
A1: Change or disruption for its own sake is pointless. Too often we change just to do it – first determine need/rationale. #tchatDoctor Daniel Crosby
A1 keep the lawyers at arms length #TChatBill Boorman
A1-Get some skin in the game vs. policy-police. Be upfront, outspoken, and available. #HR #TchatInsperity Careers
A1: Emphasize the “social” but never lose sight of the fact that it is a business activity. Encourage innovative enhancement #TChatTom Bolt
Joining for a bit for #tchat. A1: flexibility!Elizabeth Rominger
#Tchat A1 When people re-evaluate the history of a system or procedure, often times an update or refresh is needed to the process.Cyndy Trivella
A1 make sure everyone has all the information to educate and inform rather than regulate #TChatBill Boorman
A1: Be genuine! Ppl are sick of disingenuous actions that don’t get them anywhere. #tchatPlatinum Resource
#TChat A1 – Quit trying to herd cats and start trying to motivate and inspire people.Joan Ginsberg
A1 Quash cynicism, not enthusiasm. #TChatMary E. Wright
A1: Mired in status quo? Remind ppl there are other “quos” to consider <= stupid stuff I say sometimes. #TChatTom Bolt
A1: Don’t try to “disrupt”, try to see things from a diff view, and innovation just happens. Don’t force it #tchatDeb Maher
A1 Work out how you can do things rather than why you cant #TChatBill Boorman
A1: Being an early adopter also can mean you become the SME in the field faster. #tchatDawn Rasmussen
A1 Being the innovators in the organization, not blocking it. Collaborating and sharing, not secret keeping. #tchatPam Ross
A1 Technology is reshaping the landscape to create new possibilities for shifting the paradigm. Embrace it! #tchatDawn Rasmussen
#Tchat A1 Working with the best interest of the company in mind sets the stage for credibility.Cyndy Trivella
A1 Welcome the messenger for change. #TChatMary E. Wright
A1: Keep it simple and be social first #TChatBill Boorman
A1: It means to turn the corporate hierarchy on its head every once in a while & lead from beside. #TChatBrent Skinner
A1 Being a change agent and not being afraid to go against the grain even if it means dealing with political backlash #TChatJanine Truitt
A1 think of the old quote “if you don’t like change you’ll like irrelevance even less” – never be afraid to challenge status quo #TChatmatthew papuchis
A1: Letting full-time employees take flex time when needed as long as the biz isn’t disrupted, only the status quo. #tchatKevin W. Grossman
A1 stopping crying about a seat at the table, sitting down and engaging with leaders to build business thru people #tchatPam Ross
A1. Don’t be scared to ask “Why?” Asking why is how businesses find innovative ways to work more efficiently. #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
#Tchat A1 Staying ahead of the curve on new technology for example, helps set someone apart.Cyndy Trivella
A1: Challenge is not to be an early adopter but to build bridge over the gap before everybody else. #TChatTom Bolt
A1: Actually understanding the business so you can be that “strategic partner” #tchatJoshua Barger
A1- Be out in front and be OK with it. #tchatAndrea Jenkins
A1: Stepping outside of the old/narrow admin role and becoming more active and visible in other areas of the business #tchatBright.com
A1: Always keep the business goals in mind and devise new ways to reach the objectives #TChatChina Gorman
A1: My best ideas come from closing my eyes and opening my mind in an org that let’s me dream. #tchatDeb Maher
A1. Do not accept the statement “it can’t be done.” Find a way to get it done and show the naysayers #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A1: being an early adopter and working against stereotypes #TChatChina Gorman
You guys will love this one > Q2: What are the traits that make for a great HR pro? #tchatSusan Avello
A2: Honest, truthful and open to change! #tchatRob McGahen
A2 More important now than ever b4 for HR pros to know how market dynamics impact IT, marketing, sales, etc. competencies. #tchatJoe Sanchez
A2: #tchat HR practitioners who work in recruitment are most effective when they can point job seekers to alternative occupations.Catherine Chambers
#TCHAT A2: A person who understands the linkage between investing in people and organizational success, and who champions this cause.Catherine Chambers
A2: HR is people-marketing. #TChatTrepability
A2 Think Global, create granular. #TChatMary E. Wright
A2 A great HR pro never thinks they know it all or have done it all. They have a passion of learning and staying ahead of the curve. #TChatJanine Truitt
A2: HR pros are catalysts for change. Many gr8 leaders today but too many mired in the past. #TChatTom Bolt
a2. to know how to make employees feel like assets of the business… because, well… they are :) #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A2 The ability to create and enforce policy without losing respect for those to whom it applies. #TChatMary E. Wright
A2: HR pros know that business is human at the core #tchatJen Olney
A2 They are on the cutting edge of organization – help leaders align talent with that direction… #tchatMarla Gottschalk PhD
A2: A great HR Pro is a business professional first with a speciality in HR #tchatJoshua Barger
A2 HR has to have the ability to see doom and gloom before it hits and be ready with solutions for their partners. #TChatJanine Truitt
A2: Start with being you. That’s pretty good, you know. Next, learn more, get practice, become an expert. #TChatTrepability
A2: Self love and love for the people of the company. #TChatSean Charles
A2 be willing to influence without glory #TChatBill Boorman
A2: Know the business, staff the business, teach the business, grow the business. #tchatKevin W. Grossman
A2: HR Pros first and foremost understand people. Businesses are “People” -> The great ones know that! #TChatDaniel Newman
A2 Someone who gets people and knows their craft, creative, can think on their feet and above all fair and ethical. #TChatJanine Truitt
A2 The ability to plan and work to plan, while retaining the spirit and ability to pivot. #TChatMary E. Wright
A2: Manage HR like a business. What do your customers need? How do I measure value, optimize? What strategic goals can I support? #tchatAlyssa Burkus
A2 A passion for people is number one #TChatBill Boorman
#TChat A2 – biz smarts, positive outlook/personality, intellectual curiosityJoan Ginsberg
#Tchat A2 When HR settles, the whole company suffers. Must have courage to stand up for what is in company’s best interest.Cyndy Trivella
A2 Ability to reach for business goals without losing sight of employee needs, wants, rights. #TChatMary E. Wright
A2 flexible to business need and patient #TChatBill Boorman
A2. the ability to see talent in people and embrace it before the business even realizes they needed it. One-step-ahead. #hiresmart #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A2: You can’t get everything in one person so start with what you need – how does this person need to interact with people? #TChatTrepability
A2: A Great HR Pro has all the great #Leadership qualities. Perhaps #Empathy is the most important. #TchatDaniel Newman
A2: I remember an #HR pro once saying to me, “you control ethics, professionalism & integrity. Everything else is an externality.” #tchatCLOUDTalent
A2: Being HUMAN ;-) #TChat cc: @pamelamaerossBrent Skinner
A2) the best HR pros straddle the line between policies and people. Genuine interest in both and can work in both worlds #tchatKyle Irwin
A2: Empathy. Anyone can do the admin work, but connecting with emps makes you a great #hr pro. #tchatScott Williams
A2 an enabler rather than a regulator #TChatBill Boorman
A2 Flexible thinker – excellent listener – representative of the organizational “heart”. #tchatMarla Gottschalk PhD
A2. Empathy! And the ability to see potential in employees and pair it up with situations that can help them progress #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A2: Learn to listen and learn. The true pro understands they don’t know it all <= stole that one from Plato #TChatTom Bolt
A2: no different than any other business leadership position – except mastery of the #HR body of knowledge #TChat why any different?China Gorman
A2: Lead Genuine….Be Social…Try Something New. #SocialHR #TChatMeghan M. Biro
A2- In general be open, honest, innovative and TOUGH. #tchatAndrea Jenkins
A2 – An HR Pro has to be able to rip her heart out and watch it bleed on the table! #TChat #RequiredSkillsJason Lee Overbey
#Tchat A2 A thirst for knowledge and inner directive to do what is right for the company and people it employs, along with strong biz acumenCyndy Trivella
A2: #HR #people that lead with their heart, their mind and their creativity. A balance…Always! #TChatMeghan M. Biro
A2. The best #HR pros start with business problems. #tchatJustin Mass
A2: Ability to empathize with others, HR is the gatekeepers & have to deal w/all sorts of folks #TChatJess ‘Babs’ Bahr
A2: a retentless desire to win #tchatpaul jacobs
A2 #tchat Continuous learning & an evolving mind w few fixed traits.Michael Leiter
A2: swhat you know about business needs to be as important as what you know about HR #TChatChina Gorman
A2 The ability to absorb panic and display calm in response. #TChatMary E. Wright
A2: business acumen, vision, courage, #TchatChina Gorman
Moving right along ………..Q3: How do great leaders lead in business today and why? #tchatSusan Avello
A3: By working well not just up the ladder, but down as well. #tchatRob McGahen
A3 #hrtech tool #3 @Axonify – bursts of training, gamified learning, much faster time to competence #tchatPam Ross
A3: Great leaders lead with out even knowing it. It’s the passion that leads. #tchatBeverly Davis
A3) A leader is the dealer. He needs others to play and makes sure they have a stake in the game. Solitaire is a time suck. #TChatMary E. Wright
#Tchat A3 At the end of the day, a confident & capable leader will be able to back up any decision and maintain the respect of others.Cyndy Trivella
A3- Respected leaders are thoughtful, open, decisive (they can say “No”), inspirational, dependable and real. #tchatAndrea Jenkins
A3: Seems to me, a business is all about people. Great ideas, great products, great success all flow out from them. #tchatCLOUDTalent
A3. Keep it real. I’d rather trust a person who makes mistakes and learns than someone who tries to always display a perfect version. #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A3. I’ve heard a case made for iconic leadership, eg. Steve Jobs, Phil Jackson, Bono. Not always “serve” or get-out-of-the-way types. #tchatBob Merberg
A3: A leader is whatever (S)he needs to be in the moment. No one right answer. #tchatDoctor Daniel Crosby
A3: Spend more time listening than speaking #TChatSean Charles
A3: Positive attitude and excellent communication mixed with productive behaviors #TChatSean Charles
A3 Delegate the good jobs, too. It breeds enthusiasm. #TChatMary E. Wright
A3 – Compassion (learned that from my previous CEO – @jeffweiner ) @TalentCulture #TChatCole Fox
A3: By caring about their employees #TChatJess ‘Babs’ Bahr
A3: Sometimes, they lead from the front, & other times from behind. But mostly, #leaders 2day lead from beside. #TChatBrent Skinner
A3: Great leaders need binoculars and a rear-view mirror. And a moral frickin’ compass. #tchatKevin W. Grossman
A3) A great leader Influences. There, I said it! Influence comes through and permeates throughout the culture of the organization #tchatSusan Avello
A3 great leaders create purpose for the team. They influence behavior rather than control it. They align people with results #tchatPam Ross
A3: never stop learning + embrace change + empower employees to do the same #TChatSylvia Dahlby
A3. A leader that knows they don’t know everything and are humble enough to open up and listen to others gets a gold star from me! #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A3: Inspiration, not perspiration. Never let em see you sweat. You won’t if you focus on inspiring. #TChatTrepability
A3: Intuition seasoned with Logic #TChatSean Charles
A3 By pulling people up ladder, not by pulling ladder up behind them. People follow passion: succession/mentoring/ display passion #TChatMary E. Wright
A3: There is NO difference between #HR and a #Leader < What if we all looked at it this way? Can you imagine? #TChatMeghan M. Biro
A3: Leaders are inspiration to others. There is no followership training so they have to come willingly. #TChatTom Bolt
A3: Leader needs to keep one eye inside the org and one on the market/biz landscape. #TChatTrepability
A3. Leaders make followers feel like they’re all in it together and that every contribution truly makes a difference. Inspiration! #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A3: The bestest (yes) HR leaders have an eye for innovation, a thirst for process improvement, and a good dose of humanity. #tchatDawn Rasmussen
A3: Great leaders inspire civility, respect and cultivate cultures that inspire beyond just a paycheck, loyalty is revered #tchatJen Olney
A3. By showing a vision, listening and inspiring employees to lead – so they feel empowered within the company. #tchatAnita
A3: great leaders engage their people in meeting the goals of the org thru the execution of the strategy. They lead people. #TChatChina Gorman
#Tchat A3 HR needs to ask a lot of questions and listen well. That is how strategic and well-formed solutions will be developed.Cyndy Trivella
A3: have the positive attitude to lead and inspire others to greatness. #tchatPlatinum Resource
A3 #tchat Great leaders know it’s not really all about them; it’s about the othersMichael Leiter
A3: Leadership is about non-coercive influence toward an objective. If you can do that, boom. #TChatDoctor Daniel Crosby
A3: Great leaders know what needs to be done, and trusts their team to use their creativity to make it happen #tchatBright.com
A3 with passion, integrity, trust, openness, transparency #tchatPam Ross
A3 -put the right people in the right roles with the right goals then get out of their way! Surround yourself with other gr8 leaders #TChatmatthew papuchis
A3 By example. Its a trust thing. #TChatMary E. Wright
a3. they don’t just lead and expect others to follow. they jump in the crowd, socialize, listen, determine needs, and put to practice #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A3: Great leaders of today stay open-minded and try to keep a beat on what’s going on. #tchatEmilie Mecklenborg
A3: Leaders are decisive. Followers smell weakness without looking for it. #TChatTom Bolt
A3: As an Apple alum, the leader doesn’t so much lead as set the vision & then allow all to lead from that core. #tchatCLOUDTalent
A3 great leaders know when to lead, when to manage and when to command #TChatBill Boorman
A3 #tchat Great leaders inspire respectful, creative interactions among their team membersMichael Leiter
A3: Great HR leaders translate business vision into acquisition of skilled talent that embody that vision and company culture. #tchatDawn Rasmussen
We’re at ………..>Q4: What are the cool new HR technology tools and why? #tchatSusan Avello
A4: Anything that makes information exchange better, easier and more meaningful. #tchatRob McGahen
A4 If you don’t have analytics tied to real business objectives, why measure? Imbed holistic analytics in your #HRIS #tchatDeb Maher
@pamelamaeross: A4 #hrtech tool #4 @smallimprove – socializes workplace, simplifies performance management, 360s etc great for SMB #TChatPam Ross
A4: The tech is the vehicle; the people are the power, the fuel. #TChat cc: @CLOUDTalentBrent Skinner
A4 #hrtech tool #5 the many options for internal social networks for collaboration, connection, groups, etc. #TChatPam Ross
A4 Focus on EEs, not tech- that’s where the innovation happens #tchatDeb Maher
A4 I must say- I don’t know where the Instagram thing is going in the #HR space, but the companies that are doing deserve a kudos #TChatJanine Truitt
A4 Can I be really simplistic and say how much I love Doodle? #TChatMary E. Wright
A4: Tech that gets us from transactional silos of data death to predictive insight across the enterprise (and the hall). #tchatKevin W. Grossman
A4. HR tech can be great but we need to make sure everyone is trained and utilizing it efficiently, otherwise there’s no point. #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A4:I have grown fond of sharepoint – great way to build collaboration and sense of community – esp important in decentralized orgs. #TChatmatthew papuchis
A4: Now that the ATS is in the cloud, it can be accessed by anyone from everywhere. Hiring is now truly a team sport! #TChatSimplicant
A4: Make sure you know where you’re going before you rev up the engine. #TChatTrepability
@susanavello A4: #tchat and we have gr8 tech to help with preventing the watering down of a culture from the top to the edgesBurke Allen
A4: i don’t care about cool. I care about effective; about getting better results w/employees, customers, etc. #TchatChina Gorman
A4: I like what is getting built on Salesforce right now #TChatBill Boorman
A4: I like the HR Magazine app. Room for improvement, but saves on paper. #tchatKami McClelland
#Tchat A4 Technology needs to provide seamless access 24/7/365 to keep up with the demands of a fast-paced workforce.Cyndy Trivella
A4: #talentnetworks #tchat #subjective :)Sean Sheppard
A4 #hrtech tool #1: @rypple. Helps build culture of continuous feedback, holds people accountable, shares objectives openly #tchatPam Ross
A4: Anything that helps you understand how to put teams together and make the struggling ones better. #Teamability cc: @teamingtech #TChatTrepability
A4. Social Media like Yammer and WorkSimple can be a tool too- Performance management, reward, and recognition tool #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
#Tchat A4 Any technology that can connect the dots between one piece of software and another is A+Cyndy Trivella
Last question before I go have my beer > • Q5: Where does social media make sense as an HR and recruiting tool and why? #tchatSusan Avello
A5: When you are looking for the best and brightest. #tchatRob McGahen
A5: May get some flack — for all the higher #HR functions, #SoMe works everywhere, but needs good leaders. #TChatBrent Skinner
A5: Social media helps get the word out re: co brand/culture. Tell about your great co, and they will want to work there 2. #tchatKami McClelland
A5 SoMe best tool for internal messaging of HR policies. Immediate, fetching and tracks receipt, too! #TChatMary E. Wright
A5: It gives us access to insights on candidates not available anywhere else to make better decisions #TChatSean Charles
A5 Rethink what u mean by social media in #HR.Not just twitter /FB. Internal social media: profiles,chat rooms in an #HRIS #tchatDeb Maher
A5: Social media is not a magic solution, it requires dedication and effort to be effective to engage and communicate #tchatJen Olney
A5: There is probably a best-fit social niche for most companies. #TChatTrepability
A5: Where? in use. Why? because it works. #TChatSean Charles
A5 You find talent-Sourcing. Talent finds you-Branding. Both are acts of social media. No choice. Talent hunt is now on steroids. #TChatMary E. Wright
A5 SoMe is good for branding, engagement, boosting morale-need I go on… #TChatJanine Truitt
A5- It’s good way to look deeper than just a resume. Aids in a culture fit, influence in the community etc… #tchatAndrea Jenkins
A5: #SocialHR #HRTech is NOW — We’ve been waiting and the market is here. Listen, Research and then DO. #TChatMeghan M. Biro
A5: Social media is another vehicle for communication and shouldn’t be looked at as a separate entity. #TChatJess ‘Babs’ Bahr
A5 Focus on INTERNAL Social Media-imbed in ur #HRIS just in time while ee is in a process-connect w experts in org #tchatDeb Maher
A5. SM can be a way to show how amazing a company and its culture is. This can make talent want to apply and fight to get in. #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A5 Social media is great for showing off your brand to a huge audience. Makes people think “I’d love to work there!” Great ROI #tchatKyle Irwin
#Tchat A5 The beauty abt social is that it’s easy and it’s everywhere. Don’t need to over think it.Cyndy Trivella
A5 if your not a social business, social media wont work #TChatBill Boorman
A5 -opportunities to connect employment brand to consumer brand. Lots of orgs have gr8 customer brands w/no connection to emp. brand #TChatmatthew papuchis
A5. Not everyone is a super awesome resume writer. SM can be a saving grace if recruiters are looking at it. #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A5: If you think #socmedia and #hr only meet at recruiting and perf mgmt, you’re missing a big opportunity #tchatAndrea
A5: When #SoMe is fully integrated into HR life, asking where it applies would be like asking where the telephone applies. #TChatTom Bolt
Social media form one of the largest and most effective networks. Optimize your message and they can work well! #tchat A5Lois Martin
A5: Recruiting using social streams to look for candidate influence, engagement, and personality / cultural fit in action. #TChatKeith C Rogers
A5. SM can bring more of a personality to go along with a resume. I’m impressed by ppl on SM vs. their resume sometimes. #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A5: It’s all about using #HRTech Smart and Soon…Really. Do your research! #TChatMeghan M. Biro
#Tchat A5 HR needs to maintain pace with job seeker demand. If job seekers want to apply via mobile (for example) then HR needs to get thereCyndy Trivella
A5: stop talking about social media and just integrate #TChatBill Boorman
A5: As a recruiting tool, new services are developing that can help make sense of that unstructured data to uncover new talent pools #tchatBright.com
A5: Utilizing social media properly can “sell” your company for you, making recruitment of grade A candidates that much easier. #tchatScott Williams
A5. Also, it can be good for recruiters to track candidates. Resumes don’t always show all the candidate’s abilities/potential #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A5: Social media doesn’t have to make sense. It exists. There is a high noise to signal ratio. But it isn’t going away. #TChatTrepability
A5. As I said earlier, it can be a way to do performance management #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A5: Anywhere it works. #TChatTom Bolt
great and inspiring chat! Thanks all for my 60 minute weekly leadership course :) @susanavello #TChatmatthew papuchis
Great chat. Thanks all! #tchatCLOUDTalent
Super #TChat tonight! Thanks.China Gorman
Thanks all for another great #tchatBright.com
That was a fun first #tchat for me! Thanks guys! Hope to be back next week.Scott Williams
The #TChat community never disappoints! Thanks for another great chat – don’t forget, the #TChat stream is open 24/7. Keep sharing, people!TalentCulture
Thanks to all of you who participated in our discussion. We hope you walk away with great insight! I know I am! #tchatSusan Avello

It's Maslow's World. We Just Live In It: #TChat Recap

The other day, my friend couldn’t find her Droid. So we looked and looked until we found it. …in the back pocket of the pants she’d been wearing the whole time. And then there was last weekend, when I searched what seemed like every nook and cranny of the house: My Jeep’s keys were nowhere to be found. …until I remembered I’d left them in the ignition; my home is in the sticks, on a dirt road where nary a bad guy lurks to take away my stuff.

The palm of my hand traveled to my forehead. So, too, did hers. Together, we experienced a “double facepalm.” Employers have them all the time, and especially when they realize that the talent they’re looking for is right there, inside.

Pet Theories

Here’s a pet theory: Employees work to make money. I know: I could be wrong. But money is probably the primary reason a majority work, and for a majority, money used to be one of the only reasons.

Employees would look for the greatest amount of security in making that money over the greatest amount of time — ideally, a lifetime’s worth of time. And they found those conditions almost everywhere. They found them in big corporations that paid well and provided room for advancement — to be paid even better, over several decades, till retirement knocked. They stayed because they wanted to, and for these conditions specifically. But they also stayed because society told them they had to. Seeing to it was an ingrained, shared ethos that honestly couldn’t fathom anyone wanting to leave a secure job.

And here’s another pet theory: Today, it’s Maslow’s world, and we just live in it. Employees stay because they want to. But they don’t have to — unless they really do have to, but for reasons entirely divorced from that old ethos, which has faded into memory. In an economy that is weak, employees stay for security, but they may resent the security, especially if the pay just barely provides the security. And they will concurrently pine for work more self-fulfilling, more self-advancing. As a world of work, we’ve moved further up Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, above survival to self-actualization.

Looking Within

Here’s one more point, before we get to the main one:

A common bit of advice says to look within for answers to the spirit’s ailments. Looking outside one’s self for answers rarely brings authentic or lasting happiness, the saying goes. And that’s true. And a kernel of the saying’s truth applies to the topic of recruiting. Yes, the answer to an organization’s ailments often is a need for talent that’s outside, waiting to be recruited; just as often, however, a relentless recruitment of talent not there yet is a symptom of deep unhappiness within the organization, or lack of appreciation for the talent already there.

Or (and?), this unending need for outside talent reflects the organization’s inattention to self. When an organization neglects its self, looking outside to fix what’s broken inside is an unconscious cry for help. An addiction to new employees sets in, a salve for the continual pain wrought by the organization’s dysfunctional home life — the dynamics intended and unintended that govern workers’ daily grind. The organization must instead acknowledge that the inside is broken — and focus on fixing the inside with inside parts.

Those inside parts are your employees, and many are chomping at the bit to self-actualize, in their jobs. Individuals have self-help books and mentors to help fix what’s broken inside. Organizations have HR and HR technology. HR people implement processes to heal an organization, and HR technology provides more and better tools than ever for organizations to see, understand and cater to their talent inside.

Right In Front of You

My keys were where I left them, and my friend’s Droid was in her back pocket. We each searched a long time before realizing those items were right there, right in front of us. Where is your talent? It might be right in front of you. Remove your palms from your foreheads, like we did, and get on with it. She made a call. I fired up the engine in my truck. Organizations, provide your employees with the conditions that’ll lead them to want to stay.

Thank you for joining us last night. Your tweets ran the gamut of good thinking, as always, and below is a slide show of them. We thank  Rob Garcia (@robgarciasj) for his peerless guest moderation. Did you miss this week’s preview? Click here. We look forward to seeing you next Wednesday.

Image Credit: Facepalm-Picard by DarkUncle

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Get Creative: Take Your Organization Off-Road

A recent Articles.com piece notes that unorthodox recruiting styles may actually pay off. Looking in unique places and creating a non-traditional way of recruiting can be an alternative to the tried and true.

But how do we push beyond our boundaries? HR folks and leaders typically attend many of the same conferences and seminars, so much of what is being done becomes somewhat incestuous. Learning what has worked with others is great, but don’t let that limit your options.

Many leaders may be okay with taking a new approach to how things are done. What really gets feathers ruffled is when structure and processes are approached with the same sense of flexibility. Difficult to argue against words like “quantifiable”, “metrics”, “strategy” and others of a similar ilk begin getting thrown around. Out of fear, loyalty and “good business sense” is questioned and the feral uprising is summarily squashed.

Leadership, regardless of level and department, requires things quite different than what was necessary or effective say 10 years ago. The latest catch phrase, 21st century leadership, has some merit behind it (at least until it gets used to death). A post on The Customer Collective makes a great point.

Leaders of the future will also have to be emotionally efficient. They will promote variation, rather than promoting people in their own likeness. They will encourage experimentation and enable people to learn from failure. They will build and develop people.

If we look at many of the most successful and growing organizations, they all have at least one thing in common: Taking their organization off-road in some way. It’s incredible how the success rate of doing this seems to have little to no bearing on those still humming along in the granny lane.

Going off the map isn’t comfortable for anyone, but when given the choice between the anxiety of venturing into the unexplored and the anxiety of wondering about future viability, I’ll take the former any day of the week. I think if leadership were painfully honest, they would feel the same way.

Here are some tips to help you put on some honkin’ mudder tires and have a go with going off-road with your organization.

  • Ease into it – Nothing says you have to have your entire organization jump in with both feet and throw caution to the wind. Choose an area that could result in a significant change and get you toes a bit wet. People don’t respond well to the revolutionary dynamic of sudden and drastic changes, so don’t think you have to do everything at once.
  • Find your adventurers – Every organization has a group of them. Those who are free spirits and are quick to adopt new things out of mere curiosity. They typically get excited about trying something different just because it’s different. It will be like handing the key to the chicken coop to the fox. They will most likely drool the moment they have the opportunity to develop an alternative option than the status quo.
  • Support the effort – As with any initiative, there must be support from leadership. Consider having a member of the C-Suite, or at least the VP level, act as a sponsor so there is a little more chance of things having the freedom to succeed.
  • Give it a fair chance – It’s going to be ugly, awkward and uneasy at first. Manage your expectations. Don’t approach it from a right/wrong perspective, but rather one of “what worked, what didn’t work?” Nothing wrong with piecing together a solution.

Diversity Still Matters in Today’s Workplace? #TChat Preview

Originally posted by Joe Gerstandt on MonsterThinking Blog


Intersections baby, its all about the intersections…

The majority of the work that we do around diversity and inclusion as HR professionals is focused on identity diversity, which is differences in our social identities…things like age, gender, race, ethnicity, orientation, physical ability, etc.

I think that there are probably some interesting discussions to be had  about how effective this work has been and currently is, but I think we can at least agree that there is a lot of work still to be done.

I would suggest that, not only do we need to be more aggressive and more innovative with this body of work, we need to do a better job of integrating other kinds of difference into the conversation as well.  Differences in who we are and where we come from certainly do matter; as do differences in what and how we think, or cognitive diversity.

The ability to leverage cognitive diversity is becoming critical to the success of our organizations, yet it still has not received much serious attention.

“Cognitive diversity is the extent to which the group reflects differences in knowledge, including beliefs, preferences and perspectives.” -Miller, et al (1998) Strategic Management Journal

Regardless of the organization or industry, decision making, problem solving and innovation are increasingly important competencies and opportunities for competitive advantage and all of these things are all fed by cognitive diversity.

With all the talk there is about innovation and creative problem solving, you would assume that our understanding of the mechanics involved exists on the level of common sense, but that is obviously not the case.

While we work very hard in this profession to get good at figuring out how to find and hire the right person…we seem to care little about building the right kinds of teams. Hiring the person with the right education or grades or certifications does not necessarily mean that we are building the right kind of team.

The fact of the matter is that groups of really, really smart individuals can collectively be very dumb.

“Groups of diverse problem solvers can outperform groups of high-ability problem solvers.Lu Hong, Scott Page

Not only do we need to get better at understanding the value of thinking differently, we need to make sure that we are not being wasteful with the cognitive diversity that we already have on board.  Teams, whether they are work teams or leadership teams often are not terribly good at disagreeing with each other.

In some organizations disagreeing is seen as counterproductive or even disrespectful.  While it needs to be done respectfully, disagreeing is incredibly important; if we are not able to do that we are wasting any and all cognitive diversity that we have access to.

“Groups often fail to outperform individuals because they prematurely move to consensus, with dissenting opinions being suppressed or dismissed.-Hackman & Morris, Advances in Experimental Social Psychology

For more on driving innovation through cognitive diversity, make sure to check out Joe’s SHRM 2011 presentation, “Great Minds DO NOT Think Alike! Putting Cognitive Diversity to Work For Your Organization,” June 28, 2011 from 2:15-3:30 PM at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

#TChat Questions and Recommended Reading: 06.21.2011

We hope you can join us tonight at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT for this week’s #TChat: Does Diversity Still Matter in Today’s World of Work? We’ll be discussing the current state of diversity and inclusion in the workplace, what employees and employers really think about diversity initiatives and taking a look at opportunities – and challenges – of building and maintaining a diverse workforce in today’s evolving world of work.

It’s sure to be a lively discussion, so we hope you can join us at 8 PM ET on Twitter for #TChat.

Here are tonight’s questions, along with some related posts on leadership and talent  we think are worth checking out.  This background reading isn’t mandatory to get in on tonight’s joint #TChat action, but we suggest checking out these articles by top diversity and inclusion thought leaders before the chat (or if you missed it):

Q1: What Does “Diversity” Mean to You in 140 Characters or Less?

Read: What Affirmative Action, Diversity and Inclusion Mean to Workers

Q2: What role does diversity plan in an employer’s bigger talent picture?

Read: Why Organizations Struggle With Diversity Recruiting Initiatives

Q3: Has anything changed about the way employers and employees look at diversity?

Read: Diversity’s Three Legged Stool

Q4: How can organizations benefit from building and maintaining a diverse workforce?

Read: Diversity and Inclusion: From Corrective Action to Competitive Advantage

Q5: What are some of the biggest myths or misconceptions about diversity in today’s workplace?

Read: Stop Stereotyping: Overcome Your Worst Diversity Enemy

Q6: What role should leaders play in diversity and inclusion?

Read: To Achieve Workplace Diversity, Go Beyond Good Intentions

Q7: Does diversity still matter in today’s world of work?  What’s the future of diversity look like?

Read: The New Diversity of Workplace: The Diversity of Thought?

Visit www.talentculture.com for more great information on #TChat, as well as other great resources on careers and hiring.

Monster’s social media team supports #TChat’s mission of sharing “ideas to help your business and your career accelerate — the right people, the right ideas, at the right time.”

We’ll be joining the conversation this Tuesday night as co-hosts with Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman from 8-9 p.m. (Eastern) via @MonsterCareers and @Monster_Works.

Leaders Create Solutions, Not Dysfunction: #TChat Recap

There’s a scene in the movie The Company Men where a laid-off executive (Tommy Lee Jones) confronts his old CEO (Craig T. Nelson), who happens to be his partner with whom he started the now struggling shipping business.

The fired exec taunts his CEO about all the recent lay offs and his selfish focus on shareholder value. The CEO fires back “this is a business, not a charity.” And when the CEO reveals that the company was bought out at $X per share for a lucrative return, the fired exec says, “Good for you.”

Then the CEO asks his old partner pointedly, “How many shares did you have?”

I won’t spoil the plot any further with what happens next, but the story tells of the divergence in leadership choices, business and personal lives, and the ultimate impact of those choices. We’ve seen this plot play-out in reality again and again – through boom years – and most recently through the protracted bust.

The reality is that business leaders are responsible for growing a business, which means they have an important hand in selecting who helps them do just that, which means their employees must be a partner in that if they want to share in any success, but not at the expense of all our humanity and our very livelihoods.

That sentimental gibberish used to get you shot in the executive washroom, but these times they’ve been a-changin’, again, with corporate social responsibility taking center stage in many early-stage ventures, start-ups and growing SMB’s with the focus on the talent that makes it all happen, as opposed to the focus making it all happen at the expense of the talent.

These new business leaders, and those of the reformed nature, understand that they need to work with their “talent” acquisition and development teams to align business strategy with needed competencies/skills and a splash of authenticity, transparency, salt and pepper to taste and bam! We’ve got the new age of talent management. Today’s street-smart business leaders know not everyone can be a complete “right” fit, but they’re smarter if they work with those with promise, actually welcoming them into the fold and talking with them directly about the business and their new role. Business leaders today also need the “crystal ball” insight into their talent with predictive workforce analytics, so then workforce planning can take promising shape. Without direct involvement and detailed insight, organizations are just flailing in the dark.

And as Matt wrote in his #TChat preview, “when it comes to attracting and retaining talent, active, engaged and innovative leaders provide a key competitive advantage. After all, it’s that magnetism they possess which creates a powerful draw for potential workers (and customers), not to mention providing a potent, and public, voice for communicating with both internal and external stakeholders.”

And as a leader, if you’re not part of the talent solution from the beginning, then you’re probably part of the self-serving dysfunction that destroys businesses and lives in the end, regardless of how much you cash in. Conservative and progressive leaders alike and all in between, if you’re not of mindful presence and high emotional intelligence, then as far as I’m concerned you shouldn’t be leading anything except a 12-step program. Everyone’s a leader of self and Me, Inc., but that doesn’t mean it’s at the expense of building and growing a company.

Inspire your team to own it as you do, baby. That’s the truest form of success.

Again, you can read the #TChat preview for the first ever, and highly successful, joint #TChat and #LeadershipChat last night. A very special thanks to Lisa Petrilli and Steve Woodruff from #LeadershipChat! Here were the questions we explored:

  • Q1: What is the role of a leader when it comes to making talent decisions?
  • Q2: What should a leader consider when addressing “talent alignment?”
  • Q3: How can a leader show genuine authenticity to new recruits and current employees?
  • Q4: How does being a genuine leader impact a workplace culture brand?

Transforming the Workplace: Charting a Path to a Better Place

Originally posted by Chris Jones, a TalentCulture contributing writer. He is an IT Strategy & Change Management consultant, with a passion for driving new levels of engagement and learning in the modern organization. His research areas include the dynamics of organization culture, and more recently, the importance and implications of critical thinking. Check out his blog, Driving Innovation in a Complex World, for more.

In my last TC post, we did a deep dive on critical thinking in the workplace.  We discussed ways to drive innovation in our day to day exchanges by tracing the value of engagement in the modern organization and focusing on the mechanics of collaboration as a more rigorous way to solve problems.

These are all core elements of a desirable future state culture.  If achieved, they could serve to foster organization-wide learning.

But what about culture change itself?

So often executives will speak of the need to drive a full transformation of the business or its culture. It’s not too difficult to imagine an alternate future state.  But it can be difficult to know how to get there.

The research I’ve done in this space indicates that culture change can be guided by leadership, provided there is a focused, coordinated, and ongoing effort to achieve it. Too often culture is viewed as a quick fix, a “memo” to the team (remember those?), or a simple expectation of management for the troops to ‘figure it out’.

Organization change is too complex for simple solutions. Learned behaviors run deep into the fabric of the organization, and are not easily changed.

I see value in attacking the problem at two levels simultaneously, a simple, high-level framing like the one recently popularized by Chip and Dan Heath in Switch (2010), supplemented by a more detailed approach, such as the one famously outlined by John Kotter in Leading Change (1996).  A combination provides a reinforcing framework, a ‘scaffolding’ of sorts, that will be resilient due to its diverse structure.

Let’s take a look at a synthesis of these two models, and outline what the core transformational elements might be:

Viability of an Organization’s Vision

Stakeholders must be able to see themselves in the future state, and will gain value from participating in the visioning exercises.  The vision must be achievable and actionable, and defined in a language recognizable to those who must seek it.

Ability of Leaders to Motivate

A guiding coalition must form around the change effort to create a believable, unified front to shepherd the changes through.  This coalition, representing elements of the entire organization, must be able to articulate a clear “value” story for stakeholders to rally behind. A “burning platform” is ideal to create a sense of urgency.  There must be an emotional appeal for an organization to be truly motivated, and a sense of empowerment that gets people engaged.

Ability of Managers to Clear a Path

Hurdles and roadblocks will invariably get raised, because human nature is to avoid change and maintain a status quo.  Pockets of resistance and politics will resit new approaches, and the guiding coalition must be sure that the team receives full support.  Communication will be critical, as well as establishing momentum, and, eventually, being sure to embed changes into daily operations.

Neither a checklist nor a new framework will be sufficient for an organization’s transformation to be successful.  It takes commitment and focus, and an investment of energy over the long-term.  Working together, stakeholders can build a transformation road map, charting a path to a better place.

Do you think these steps could serve as a means for driving change in an organization? Which of these steps have worked for you?  What do you see as challenges?

Let’s discuss adoption.  It would be great to compare notes, and to drive this thinking forward.

IMAGE VIA bbsc30

Fighting the Beast of Unemployment: An Economic Boost is Needed

Repeat after me: there are no magic job wands.

Whether you believe there’s a talent war or not, there are still too many of us out of work. There are shortages of skills, a growing global competitiveness and industries with jobs that will most likely never be heard from again.

But buying into the fairy tale that [insert politician and/or political party of choice here] can and should be the magical job creator that will save us from ourselves only lends us false hope. Unfortunately we’re going to hear a lot of that rhetoric in the next 18 months.

This is just brings false hope that will be defaulted on time and time again. And listen, I’m a Keynesian, one who believes that when the private sector fails miserably – think Great Depression and our very recent economic ice age we’re still thawing from – the public sector needs to take monetary action to try and stabilize the financial markets and get folks back to work in the short term.

I’m not an economist, but I am an econ hobbyist who cares about tempering the beast of business’s destructive nature. Whether you agreed with it or not, short-term public stimulus can help spark long-term job growth if channeled at improving the infrastructure that makes it easier to conduct business in the US and beyond (think trains, planes and automobiles).

But that’s only part of the picture. You also have to have sustainable economic growth and incentives to invest in growing your talent base locally, virtually and globally. And if you have a sound business model, customers and sustainable growth, investors may come a-knockin’ to give you the capital you need to further grow, and maybe, just maybe, hire more talent.

On one of my recent trips across the US I caught up on one of my favorite podcast shows – NPR Planet Money. In one episode titled How do you create a job?, the hosts asked Princeton economist Orley Ashenfelter what he thinks when politicians say they created jobs:

I usually laugh. … When someone says that they are stating a fact: “While I was in office, employment increased by 150,000,” or whatever it increased by. Whether or not you can attribute that to what they did is another, much more difficult question…And by the way, you don’t often hear people say, “I destroyed 150 thousand jobs.”

The true bottom line here is that the government has to appeal to corporate greed. You have to incent business with lower taxes and/or improve the infrastructure in which we conduct business in order to stimulate job growth.

And even then there are no guarantees companies will start hiring. Many are sitting on mounds of cash, investing in stock buybacks, R&D or hiring outside of the US in emerging markets.

It’s called the marginal efficiency of investment – how much of a dollar you invest do you get to keep in profits. Businesses are not in the business of keeping people employed. They’re in the business of making money, and along the way they employ folks as a means to that end. But if you woo the beast, then maybe, just maybe they’ll start hiring, if the cost of paying someone to do a job is less than the output the job produces in revenue. Thankfully there is hiring happening in the US. Not enough to dramatically chip away at the unemployment rate, but it is happening.

I know this all sounds at odds from harmonizing workplace humanity I usually write about. It’s not, though. I’ve learned more about the economics of 21st century life in the past year to fill, well, a lifetime, and I’m a supporter of the Zero Unemployment movement (my recent rants with them were captured on video here and here).

There are no magic job wands. If there were, you know I’d be waving mine.

IMAGE VIA Nieve44/La Luz

Candidate Experience: Internship Applicants Are People Too

Written by Kevin Wang

As college students are finally starting to understand the long-term value of internships and actively pursuing them, it has subsequently become more difficult for them to successfully secure one. For example, in 2009, advertising agency Mullen received almost 600 summer internship applications from all over the United States for only 24 slots in their Boston office. The rise in internship applicants has kept Recruiting and Human Resource departments busy, burdening them with a flood of cover letters and resumes to review.

There are many great articles scattered across blogs on the Internet, focusing on what proper etiquette for internship applicants should be. Students are reminded to always send thank-you notes, maintain a professional tone in the cover letter, and research companies before interviews, along with many other bits of valuable and timeless career advice.

However, I’ve rarely seen anyone discuss what proper candidate experience etiquette should be when handling and communicating with internship applicants from the workplace perspective. With record numbers of applicants and applications, it’s very easy for hiring departments to forget that each individual application was painstakingly filled out by an actual human being, and carries the hopes and dreams of that individual. It’s also carelessly easy to view individual applicants as one of many and disregard them. By doing so, businesses are permanently damaging their relationships with their biggest fans and alienating their most enthusiastic advocates. Prospective interns, while at the bottom of the hierarchy at any organization, still deserve to be treated fairly.

Here’s how leaders can improve their workplace culture branding experience and better handle the internship applicant communication:

  • Be clear up front about the details of the program. That includes properly communicating the expected hours, responsibilities, pay, and other elements. If students aren’t eligible, straight up tell them! Email the applicants if any significant changes occur to the program.
  • Send a decision, regardless of whether it’s positive or not. It may sting for them to be told that they didn’t make it, but they’ll respect you for it.
  • Complete the review process in a timely manner. Students don’t have all the time in the world to finalize their plans for the upcoming semester or summer. Let them know as early as possible so they can assess their options well before crunch time.
  • Leave the door open. Don’t kick your rejected applicants to the curb. Let them know that they’re just unfortunately part of of an extremely competitive pool, and encourage them to apply again in the future.
  • Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Stress to all your employees that internal referrals for an applicant does NOT guarantee them a position. Also, don’t mislead applicants or hint at anything with correspondence. It’s better to be tight-lipped about the whole affair until you’re ready to make announcements.

Finally, the Golden Rule: treat others the way you would want to be treated.

We may be interns, and maybe that’s not much, but remember, we’re people too.

IMAGE VIA Flickr

Trends from The HREvolution Frontlines: #TChat Preview

Originally posted by Matt Charneyone of #TChat’s moderators, on MonsterThinking Blog

No one grows up wanting to be a “human capital strategist” or a “talent acquisition consultant” or, really, any of the litany of titles that add to our profession’s mystique of mistaken identity (at least for those professionals who aren’t HR professionals).

Because no one really knows what HR does. And, most of the time, that includes HR itself.

See, for people in the people business, there are some instances where HR is seen as, by employees at least, more of an antagonist than an ally. If employees work in a global company, it’s likely they couldn’t pick their HR business partner out of a line-up.

And it’s easy to ascribe blame to a faceless group who many employees think are responsible for their career development and job satisfaction. Particularly when that group writes policies and governs things like promotions and compensation.

If employees could really see what HR does, if they could put a face to the signature on their annual reviews, they’d likely be surprised.  And maybe, just maybe, they’d understand that HR and talent professionals are just like them, a diverse group of people from a confluence of backgrounds.

People whose careers happened more by happy coincidence than careful planning. People whose professional passion and purpose is to help improve the work, lives, and working life of their employer’s employees.

But the HR trenches have a protocol. HR is rarely visible, by necessity, design or choice, and operates beyond closed doors and self-service HRIS, employee relations resolutions and miles of red tape.

While HR professionals are rarely understood, the truth of the matter is, they’re also not fully appreciated for doing the mission critical work they do. It’s not an easy job, but it’s an important one, and one that touches the lives of every employee, every day. That goes for you, too.

The HR and recruiting professionals converging on Atlanta this weekend for the third HREvolution represent a cross-section of specialties, companies and geographies. They also share a belief in transparency, in sharing best practices, solving problems and driving real change, not in a theoretical vacuum, but on the front-lines Monday morning, at an office near you. Hope you’re paying attention.

According to the official website, HREvolution “is an event for human resources professionals, recruiters, and business leaders to come together and talk about the problems facing businesses today. This is where thought leadership and action meet.”

Another big surprise that’s very un, well, HR: “The format for HREvolution encourages interaction and every participant has the opportunity share ideas and opinions in an open manner.”

Obviously, #TChat shares a similar online format and supports HREvolution’s mission of facilitating interactions and creating an open, democratic platform where all voices are heard. That’s why tonight’s #TChat theme is: “Trench HR: Trends on the Frontlines from HREvolution.”

As always, we’ll be joined by a diverse group of employers, job seekers, HR thought leaders and social media mavens.  We’ll take a candid look at HR perceptions vs. realities from a variety of perspectives, and explore some of the topics and themes that are on this year’s HREvolution agenda.

Join HREvolution presenter Kevin W. Grossman as he leads tonight’s discussion before heading to Atlanta.  If you weren’t one of the 150 people lucky enough to get tickets, don’t worry. Tonight’s #TChat is a way to make your voice heard about the issues that matter to both HR professionals…and the employees they support.

Help shape the HREvolution conversation with tonight’s #TChat at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT and let HR and recruiters know what’s really on your mind…and what should be on theirs.  And maybe, just maybe, see the real people behind the policies.  We’re pretty cool.

Trench HR: Trends from the Frontlines of HREvolution: #TChat Questions and Recommended Reading (04.26.11)

To get you thinking and to help you get ready to #TChat, here are tonight’s questions, along with some recommended reading to help inform, and inspire, your participation in tonight’s conversation about trench HR and trends affecting the front-line – and the bottom line.

Q1: Employees: What does HR need to do differently to be an effective people manager and business partner?

Read: Employee Engagement: Top Trends in 2011 by Kevin Sheridan

Q2: HR Pros: What can employees do differently to be a better business partner and collaborator with HR?

Read: HR: 10 Things Employees Want Most by Issie Lapowsky

Q3: Is HR finally seen as a strategic executive partner in business today?  Why or why not?

Read: Finding A Seat at the Table by Ed Newman

Q4: In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge facing HR today?  How can it be overcome?

Read: Superstar Leadership: Workforce Culture Damage Control by Meghan M. Biro

Q5: How is technology today improving the HR and talent acquisition functions?

Read: Recruitment Strategies: Virtual Recruitment Tools and Tactics by Melanie Berkowitz

Q6: Is education and intellect enough to be a great people manager? What about emotional intelligence?

Read: For Good or Ill Will Come the EQ Skills by Kevin W. Grossman

Q7: What’s your biggest HR pet peeve? What about your biggest HR thrill?

Read: Top 5 Recruiter Lies (And How to Avoid Them!) by Matt Charney

Visit www.talentculture.com for more great information on #TChat and resources on culture fatigue and how to overcome it!

Our Monster social media team supports the effort behind #TChat and its mission of sharing “ideas to help your business and your career accelerate – the right people, the right ideas, at the right time.”

We’ll be joining the conversation live every Tuesday night as co-hosts with Kevin Grossman andMeghan M. Biro from 8-9 PM E.T. via @monster_works and @MonsterWW. Hope to see you tonight at 8 PM ET for #TChat!

Superstar Leadership: Workplace Damage Control

I’ve written lately about various aspects of workplace culture…People are always the number one consideration in my opinion. This topic always directly relates to recruitment and employee retention. It’s inescapable. It’s part of your workplace DNA. Performing a workplace culture audit of a prospective employer and how to nurture company culture, both as a manager and as an employee are so key.  Let’s keep tackling the dark side – repairing a damaged corporate culture.

Every workplace culture/organization (and employee) has good and bad days. Culture takes little hits on the bad days, but a string of bad days or months can turn into permanent damage. Unfortunately as those days and months grind on it can become easy to miss the signs of damage. A stressed management team may be focused on keeping the company afloat; a stressed manager with personal issues or job challenges may turn a deaf ear to rumblings of dissatisfaction.

In the first example, if management fails to communicate its trials, distrust will flower and thrive. In the latter example, also, a failure to communicate, compounded by a lack of responsibility on the part of the manager, creates a breach between employer and employee. Into that breach will creep distrust and its close cousin, unwillingness to believe anything management says. This is not good and should be stopped in it’s tracks.

Communication and trust are the underpinnings of healthy workplace culture. Other culture markers – a shared sense of mission, shared goals, respect – are rooted in trust and communication.

When trust goes, so also goes culture, that valuable mix of the personality of the workplace and its brand and the collective experience of what it means to work in the organization.

A simple measure of damage to a company’s culture is employee turnover. One local small company I know has had 95 percent turnover in the past three years. Yep, almost 100 percent. This happens.

The managers’ reaction? A tone-deaf range of comments, from ‘It was time for those people to move on’ to ‘We’re glad they didn’t go to competitors’; even the suggestion that the massive turnover is a ‘sign of growth on the part of employees fostered by the unique culture at X Company.’

Once you’ve pulled your jaw off the floor, let me assure you this example is real. Not surprisingly, this particular workplace culture is in dire need of repair. The company’s survivors are hardened and sour and new recruits into the organization are often bewildered and leaderless.

Here’s the basic prescription I would suggest to the executives if asked and from there I would refer them to my list of colleagues who specialize in this specific arena of employee retention and engagement (although this culture is so damaged they haven’t sought advice):

First, assess what’s really happened:

  • Make a list of those who left and when. Review notes from their exit interviews and look for repetition of words and themes. These repetitions are the top-level clues to what is wrong with the organization.
  • Correlate reasons given for leaving. I predict there will be very few ‘uniques’ in this group.
  • Cross-reference the above data with time of year as well as acquisition (or loss) of business.
  • Review every email sent to the company announcing a defection and look for patterns describing the person’s reason for leaving.

Now you have a lexicon of words, a vocabulary of loss of culture and cohesion. The next step is to assess what remains. This step is best taken with the help of a third party, a neutral coach or consultant.

Survey the remaining employees and any new employees on basic measures of job satisfaction:

  • Is compensation competitive? Benefits?
  • Is training adequate?
  • Is the work challenging and rewarding?
  • Do employees have a reasonable level of autonomy and responsibility?
  • How are initiative and excellence rewarded?
  • Is the physical work environment adequate? Are tools and systems in place that improve productivity and reduce drudge work?
  • Do employees feel comfortable talking to managers? If not, why?
  • Do employees feel that management tells the truth?
  • How frequent and relevant are communications?
  • Is feedback used to improve the work environment? Is it ignored?
  • Would you recruit a friend?

Now it’s time to step back and look at what employees and line managers said.

At this point, it’s imperative to commit to, and communicate, intent to change.

  • Communicate results of the survey.
  • Take ownership for the issues, and do not try to deflect responsibility.
  • If something can’t be changed or fixed say why.
  • Create a change action plan with dates, asking employees to help prioritize change items.
  • Implement the change action plan, honoring dates and milestones.
  • Communicate at every step.
  • Re-survey in three months and again in six months, and communicate the results.

Then tackle the hardest part:

  • Assign team leaders and give them responsibility and power to enact change. Support them (or they may fail.)
  • Meet with team leaders regularly and listen to them. Don’t talk over them or challenge what you hear, listen.

Without thoughtful intervention, a broken workplace culture with disheartened people can’t really be repaired. This is often the sad truth. Retention and recruiting will fail too. Employees will continue to head for the exits, and customers may even follow.

Take a look here to read about three companies using workplace culture for retention. This is a very useful case study for all to absorb.

What steps would you take to rescue a damaged corporate culture?

IMAGE via Flickr

4 Employee Engagement Drivers: Workplace Social Technology

We’ve heard the term “employee engagement” a gazillion times, and one could even say it’s now just a buzzword.  If you ask me, it is the most critical aspect of any successful organization….without a doubt!  A positive correlation exists between employee engagement scores and business results (via Right Management – “Employee Engagement, Maximizing Organizational Performance”).

I have worked with a dozen plus diverse organizations on their employee engagement strategies, not only identifying their top engagement drivers, but facilitating strategy design and execution.  I can see how it could be a buzzword to many because they have not the slightest clue how to take employee engagement beyond just simply talking about it.

Regardless, my definition of employee engagement is, “an intimate emotional connection that an employee feels for the company they work for that propels them to exert greater discretionary effort in their work.”  Take note that their are many definitions that exist, and whichever one you favor, remember this…it all comes down to the positive emotions that employees possess, individually and collectively.  In my experience the top 4 engagement drivers are the following:

  1. Strength of leadership capabilities of direct managers.
  2. Perception that advancement opportunities exist, and are attainable.
  3. Opportunities for personal growth and development.
  4. Appropriate recognition for the good work that I do.

The “What” Versus the “How”

I just listed what I have seen to be the top 4 common engagement drivers.  The next natural question would be, “now what?  How are we supposed to improve engagement if we now know where our focus needs to be?”  There is no cookie-cutter response because it depends on each organization, because each organization is unique due to the distinctive make-up of their workforces.  But, I will say this…the “how” (i.e. executing an employee engagement strategy) is as important, if not more so, than the “what” (i.e. what we need to focus on).

This is where social technology could theoretically play a huge impactful role.  I say theoretically because again, the success of strategy execution does not lie in the technology/platform itself, but in how it’s executed.  At the top of my head, key things that are required for successful execution are strong leadership, people change management, communication, trust, authenticity, and ultimately a strong perception of competence in the eyes of employees.  Notice how this is nothing different than any other major organizational initiative?

One Step Further

You need to also recognize that workforces in North America are more diverse than ever before.  Work is now fully integrated into our personal lives, rather than being completely separated like it was just a few decades ago.  We value customization, personalization, flexibility, variety and choice.  Organizations need to understand this, and find a way to fully integrate these characteristics into how employee engagement strategies are executed.  Now enter social technology!

Where Technology Could (Really Should) Play a Role

Keep in mind that technology by itself means very little.  It’s a very similar concept to strategy, which I’ve said many times before, “is just a piece of paper with words on it” (see Strategy = A Piece of Paper…).  If you don’t execute it well, it doesn’t matter how great the technology/strategy is.  All technology does is enable organizations to be flexible, offer variety and choice, enable personalization and customization.  It’s a vehicle, albeit a very effective one ONLY if you actually get the “how” part and focus on executing.

Having made my point about what technology is I will say this.  The market has just been bursting with new niche social technology platforms that aim to help make business easier, more effective and efficient, and ultimately more successful.  The mainstream platforms include the likes of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google and others.  Example niche HR platforms include Rypple, ZuzuHire, SurgeHire, Yammer, Yackstar, ClearFit, Success Factors and I Love Rewards.  Thousands more exist out there, but you get my point.

Tying it All Together…

So, I have talked about the following:

  1. Employee Engagement, Maximizing Organizational Performance
  2. How employee engagement strategy is executed is more important than what you’re executing.
  3. Impact of workforce demographics on our preferences for customization, flexibility and personalization.
  4. Work is now fully integrated into our personal lives—no longer separated.
  5. Social technology is a huge part of our lives, and social platforms are highly effective vehicles to support strategy execution.
  6. The key in all of this is that leveraging technological platforms within traditional HR functions, particularly as it relates to employee engagement strategy will enable organizations to optimize their ability to drive positive employee engagement results.

(Note: The next post in this series of 3 posts will explore a case study of an organization that integrated social technology into its employee engagement strategy to drive positive results.)

Image Credit Flickr

http://jeffwaldman.ca/?p=86St

When Employers Aren't Our Biggest Fan: #TChat Recap

If you’re supposed to be my number 1 fan, then why do you treat me like a dirty bird?

Sometimes being on the job is just plain “Misery”. Maybe you’ve read the Stephen King novel or watched the movie starring Kathy Bates and James Caan, but if not the story is about a fan (fanatic) who holds captive the object of her obsession, the writer who keeps her entertained with his romantic novels — until he no longer does.

Back to being on the miserable job. Back in the mid 1990’s I worked at a university and had a boss who had a boss who made us both miserable. That combined with limited resources to do our jobs, and the fact that I managed a group of 50+ student employees in a condemned building on campus, and the fact that one of my colleagues who worked in the same building invaded and poked holes in my personal space daily, became unbearable.

My boss and I told each other that when the work day ended and the crying began, then it was time to leave. (Which is a lot less painful than being hobbled.)

It was time to leave. For both of us. First me and then him within the year.

Fast forward to today, two downturns into the 21st century with misery everywhere. According to Matt Charney‘s @Monster_WORKS pre-TChat write up:

The upcoming seismic spike in employee turnover will look different than any we’ve seen in the past. A recent Monster.com survey showed that fully 82% of fully employed workers have updated their resumes in the past 6 months, and a whopping 96% of employees with tenures of over 5 years are openly exploring opportunities.

Now flip that on its head and read this from recent Accenture survey:

Only about two of five (43 percent) professionals are satisfied with their jobs; however, 70 percent plan to stay with their current employers, according toReinvent Opportunity: Looking Through a New Lens, a survey of 3,400 professionals in 29 countries by the New York-based global management consulting and technology services company.

And then there’s a recent study by Harris Interactive and Plateau Systems that finds:

…Nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of workers would consider a new career opportunity if approached — but they aren’t actively looking for new jobs.

Both of these were from a recent HRE online article titled Staying Put that I recommend you read as well as Matt’s highlighted Monster Thinking reads.

But wait, does all this misery make for upwards of 90% of the current workforce passively active or actively passive?

Sure, I understand how fluid these numbers can be and of course what I’m feeling changes how the world appears. But employers obviously haven’t been making many of us feeling any better, although they’re not there to make us feel better. They’re there to make make stuff and sell stuff and hopefully keep their employees “engaged” as much as possible along the way so they stay to make stuff and sell stuff. Plus, engagement is just a buzzword for, “You like what you do? Let me make sure I take care of you for that.” Then there’s, “You don’t like what you do? Did I ever tell you I’m your number 1 fan?”

Employers should communicate with their employees much more regularly beyond the annual perform-dance review. They should talk to them about the business, where it’s at and where it’s going. Transparency and inclusivity lead to ownership, intrinsic rewards and a more productive and happy workday.

Unfortunately change is always painfully glacial for many of us. Even with exciting technological advances changing the landscape of how we work and how we manage the workforce — mobile, social, collaboration — we’re still way on the front end of mainstream with many of us kicking and screaming along the way doing way too much with way less support.

We don’t live in the 1950′s. The US isn’t the only superpower economy fueling booms (and busts) and creating fairly stable (yet volatile) middle class job markets. The fact that the contingent workforce does continue to increase in the wake of high unemployment and uncertain markets tells me that we’re never going back. The full-time job with benefits and a pension and a secure retirement has fast become a retro shadow.

This is the new age of individual as startup and business owner — our personal businesses. Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter said it best last night: “We’re just looking for fair compensation, fair personal treatment and respect, and not getting sick to our stomachs every morning.”

Oh, and a little work we enjoy. Being happy never hurts.

Amen.  As I’m sure you’ve gathered, last night’s theme was “Should I Stay Or Should I Go? Workplace Culture Factors to Consider Before Leaving Your Job.” You can see our reach from last night here and the questions are here:

  • Q1: Almost 90% of workers report being “open” to looking for new jobs. Why is this number so high?
  • Q2: How can employers take advantage of these trends to recruit and hire top talent?
  • Q3: What factors should employees consider when looking for a new job opportunity?
  • Q4: What can business leaders do to improve retention  rates and morale among top talent?
  • Q5: What’s the difference between an active and a passive candidate, if any?  Does it matter?
  • Q6: What are the most significant factors employees look at when deciding to stay or leave?
  • Q7: What are some ways employers and companies can help turn the tide?  Or is it too late?

Thank you again for participating in #TChat. Next week’s topic will be: “Am I A Temp, A Consultant, An Entrepreneur or a Small Business?  The Changing Identities of Today’s Workforce.” Yours truly will be moderating.

Until then, Happy Working from all of us here at TalentCulture.

Do Generations Matter At Work?: #TChat Preview

Originally posted by Matt Charneyone of #TChat’s moderators, on MonsterThinking Blog

In 2012, the first members of Gen Y turn 30.  And while thought leaders and academics continue to depict millennials as this strange, unprecedented breed to be studied and analyzed (Bieber fever being an obvious symptom), that generation’s cutting edge has been busy acclimating into the workforce, where they’ve been for over 5 years.

Of course, this potentially disruptive force on the workplace entered a market where the workplace was already disrupted by forces far stronger than helicopter parents and socialized narcissism.

Contrary to popular myth, it’s not Gen Y who’s changing the workplace; it’s the workplace that’s changing Gen Y.  Those lucky enough to get the paucity of jobs are no longer naïve idealists, but battle hardened survivors.

While some Gen X and Boomers struggle with being overqualified, most of Gen Y haven’t had the chance to pick up those qualifications.  This new world of work, of virtual offices and inter-connectivity and contract gigs, looks a lot like the kind of impact Gen Y workers were supposed to have made. Instead, they’ve inherited what’s become their – and our – collective reality.

They call Gen Y digital natives, but in fact, most of those millennials in the workforce remember life without an internet; those who can’t remember life without social media are still in diapers.  When those true “digital natives” enter the workforce, the millennials of today are going to look a lot like Gen Xers do now.  Who’ll look a lot like Boomers today.

For Gen Y, home ownership is likely a dream that will never be realized; so too is the possibility of a defined and linear career path, job security, employer benefits, pensions or a gold watch at retirement.  Even retirement itself looks iffy.

So, it  turns out that generations in the workplace share more in common than a workplace.

We’re all just trying to do the best we can, while learning as much as we can along the way.  And aspiration is a trait that transcends generations.  We’re hoping to do the same with tonight’s #TChat, where the topic tonight is: “Do Generations Matter At Work?”

Do Generations Matter at Work?  – #TChat Questions and Recommended Reading (3.1.11)

Whether you’re a Boomer, a Gen Xer, a Millennial or an “other,” we hope you can join the #TChat conversation about generations at work tonight at 8 PM ET.

Here are the questions we’ll be discussing, along with some recommended reading to help inform, and inspire, your understanding of tonight’s topic of generations in the workplace.

Q1)  What myths exist about workplace generational dynamics? Generational realities?

Read: Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number by Matt Charney

Q2)  Are there emerging personality traits, skill sets for hiring GenY, GenX, Baby Boomers, etc.?

Read: The Non-Generational Talent of American Workers by Peter Weddle

Q3)  Who is currently the most “invisible” generation in the workplace and why? Most “visible”?

Read: Just Shut Up and Listen to What Younger Workers Have to Say by Ron Thomas

Q4) How do savvy workplace cultures recruit, engage, manage and lead all generations?

Read:A Modern Perspective on Generations and Engagement by Ryan Estis

Q5) How does new media and global connectivity help/hinder generational gaps in the workplace?

Read: The Aging Workforce and Gen Y: Bridge the Social Media Generation Gap by Rob Salkowitz

Q6) How can inter-generational workforces spark innovation and evolve culture?

Read: The ‘Whys’ for Gen Y: Workplace Culture Considerations by Heather Huhman

Q7) How does the term “reverse mentoring” help bridge generational divides in the workplace?

Read: Manager’s Tips to Mend Intergenerational Communication by Kate Wildrick

Visit www.talentculture.com for more great information on #TChat and resources on culture fatigue and how to overcome it!

Our Monster social media team supports the effort behind #TChat and its mission of sharing “ideas to help your business and your career accelerate – the right people, the right ideas, at the right time.”

We’ll be joining the conversation live every Tuesday night as co-hosts with Kevin Grossman and Meghan M. Biro from 8-9 PM E.T. via @monster_works and @MonsterWW.  Hope to see you tonight at 8 PM ET for #TChat!

New Years Resolution For The "Over-Thinker"

My personal strategy is doing lots of evaluation on important things throughout the year to gauge what’s working and not working. These regular progress and results checks suggest a range of adjustments to make (along with their potential impacts). Afterward, I decide what to change.

Given this ongoing process, I’ve never been big on New Year’s resolutions; they seem too point-in-time to be effective. Handed the assignment of doing a December 31st TalentCulture post though, it’s a topic begging to be addressed.

Based on a recent panel discussion I attended of successful entrepreneurs, I think the perfect area for a 2011 New Year’s resolution is my penchant for systematic consideration, thought, and planning in business.

During the breakfast session, four entrepreneurs on the panel shared their strategies for innovation and planning. It was clear from hearing them that careful, systematic consideration about business decisions is WAY overrated.

How OVERRATED you may ask?

Here are some of their comments from my live tweets of the event:

THAT’S how overrated planning is according to these four.  Based on their track records, it’s hard to dispute what works for them.

Listening between the lines, four factors trigger their collective willingness to trade a lot less pondering for much more rapid implementation:

1.  An intuitive understanding of their businesses, customers, and markets

2.  Unwavering confidence in their abilities to sense, execute, succeed, recover (when they don’t succeed) amid opportunities that present themselves

3. A risk-embracing orientation

4. The flexibility start-ups can enjoy over bigger competitors

Looking at the list, I’m good at dissecting business situations, but my planning orientation comes from the need to anticipate multiple potential downsides (counter to #2) and risks (counter to #3) to minimize them. Having spent most of my career in a corporate setting, flexing ample resources is central to most business strategies (counter to #4).

So to challenge myself and develop my weaker skill sets, I’m entering 2011 with a new acronym emblazoned on my brain: BITP.

It stands for “Better Implementing Than Planning.”

Or “Pondering.”

Or both. You decide…RIGHT NOW!

I’m making 2011 the year of “Smart Immediacy” for me. If you’ve also been labeled an “over-thinker” in your career, I’d encourage you to join in.

The focus will be getting much better at quickly perceiving, evaluating, and deciding on opportunities to begin implementing on them much more rapidly and decisively. What will we do to improve?

  • Fully trust ourselves where we’ve already demonstrated success.
  • Limit the time allowed for planning for contingencies almost certain to never happen.
  • Look for opportunities to slice several steps from existing processes.
  • Embrace that decisions once made can be reversed if they don’t pan out as anticipated.

What do you think? Are you up for joining me on this new approach in 2011? Or if this is already your orientation, are you willing to share your guidance and suggestions?

Join in the year of “Smart Immediacy” starting RIGHT NOW!