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HR Generalists: Tricks of the Trade #TChat Recap

Recruiting and hiring.
Compensation and benefits.
Organizational design and development.
Compliance and employee relations.
Training and performance management.
Change management and internal communications.
The list goes on…

In today’s world of work, the areas of expertise that define HR are varied and complex. Yet, most companies are too small to employ a dedicated staff of specialists. It forces the question:

In an era of increasing specialization, how can one person successfully run an entire human resource department?

Of course, this isn’t just an academic exercise. For many HR professionals, nonstop multitasking now seems to be a way of life. Recent research by The Society For Human Resource Management suggests that there’s a widespread need to support small HR shops. According to SHRM, a majority of its 275,000 members represent HR departments of 1-5 people. They know what it means to juggle many demands on a daily basis. But how can they perform effectively?

That’s the issue our talent-minded community tackled this week at #TChat Events, where two  “in-the-trenches” HR veterans led the discussion:

Dave Ryan, SPHR, Director of Human Resources at Mel-O-Cream Donuts, and
Donna Rogers,
SPHR, owner of Rogers HR Consulting, and management instructor at University of Illinois Springfield.

(Note: For details, see the highlights slideshow and resource links at the end of this post.)

Context: How Essential Is HR, Itself?

Recently, a debate has been brewing about the value of HR departments, overall. Bernard Marr questioned the need for an HR function, while Josh Bersin championed its role. Bersin emphasizes the fact that, despite a tremendous need to reskill and transform the HR function, human resources professionals help solve some of today’s most fundamental business problems. Top executives recognize the strategic role that talent plays in organizational success, and HR professionals are best equipped to define, shape and implement those strategies.

But how does that apply to solo HR managers, who may be living in a perpetually reactive zone? Ben Eubanks describes the best one-person HR departments as leaders with entrepreneurial traits:

We don’t pick up the phone and call our corporate HR team. We ARE the corporate HR team.
We are comfortable with research and making judgment calls.
We constantly seek out opportunities for professional development — if you’re not growing you’re dying.

Comments From the TalentCulture Crowd

Because many #TChat-ters understand the challenges that multi-tasking HR generalists face each day, the vast majority of Twitter chat participants sang the praises of one-person shops. In addition, many offered thoughtful advice. For example:

As the #TChat discussion demonstrates, solo managers don’t need to wait for industry events to connect with smart advice. Social tools make it easy to create a network of virtual resources to assist when you need it. Do you have a question about an unfamiliar subject? Tweet it with a relevant hashtag. (Try #TChat!) Post it to a LinkedIn HR discussion group. I guarantee you’ll get responses, faster than you expect.

Social tools also are useful for communication within your organization. Intranets are a great way to enable collaboration and communication at a relatively low cost. Cloud-based tools are available for internal discussions, project management, and reporting. Hiring systems and performance management solutions also offer social integration without steep IT costs. The possibilities are limited only by the time and interest HR managers invest in professional networking and research.

Above All: Aim for Agility

It seems that, of all skills needed for one-person HR superheroes, the most important is agility. Put aside the notion that you can execute perfectly, across-the-board. Prioritize carefully. Then, with the time and budget available to you, apply tools and resources as efficiently as your able, while making it all seem effortless.

Scared? Don’t be. If you’re reading this, you know that a worldwide community of like-minded people is right here to support you. We’ve got your back!

#TChat Week-In-Review: HR Departments of One

Donna Rogers and Dave Ryan

Watch the hangouts in the #TChat Preview

SAT 11/30:

#TChat Preview:
TalentCulture Community Manager, Tim McDonald, framed this week’s topic in a  post featuring #TChat hangout videos with guests Dave Ryan and Donna Rogers. Read: “HR: How to Succeed at Flying Solo.”

SUN 12/1:

Forbes.com Post: TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro looked at 7 ways leaders can foster a high-octane social workplace culture. Read: “Top 5 Reasons HR Is On The Move.”

MON 12/2:

Related Post: Guest Donna Rogers shared wisdom from her experiences. Read “Survival Tips for HR Departments of One.

WED 12/4:

TChatRadio_logo_020813

Listen to the #TChat Radio recording

#TChat Radio: Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman spoke with guests Dave Ryan and Donna Rogers, about the challenges and rewards of operating as a one-person HR department. Listen to the radio recording now!

#TChat Twitter: Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin, Dave and Donna joined the TalentCulture community on the #TChat Twitter stream, as I moderated an open conversation that centered on 5 related questions. For highlights, see the Storify slideshow below:

#TChat Insights: HR Departments of One

[javascript src=”//storify.com/TalentCulture/the-hr-department-of-one.js?template=slideshow”]

Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to Dave Ryan and Donna Rogers for sharing your perspectives on HR management. We value your time and expertise!

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about how HR professionals can operate “lean”? We welcome your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we’ll pass it along.

WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week, #TChat looks at the latest Candidate Experience trends and best practices with guest experts, Elaine Orler and Gerry Crispin! Look for more details this weekend.

Meanwhile, the World of Work conversation continues. So join us on the #TChat Twitter stream,  our LinkedIn discussion group. or elsewhere on social media. The lights are always on here at TalentCulture, and we look forward to hearing from you.

See you on the stream!

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

Mobile Hiring: A Smarter Way to Seal the Deal

Written by Todd Owens, President and COO, TalentWise

(Editor’s Note: Learn more about issues and opportunities in mobile hiring from Todd and Brandon Hall talent acquisition analyst, Kyle Lagunas. Listen to the #TChat Radio show now.)

During the past few years, innovative technologies have revolutionized HR business processes. The first wave focused on talent acquisition — with the advent of applicant tracking systems, and the recent surge in mobile recruiting. Now, mobile hiring is emerging as the next wave in this era of HR transformation. Why is mobile hiring important? Let’s take a closer look.

The Mobile Workplace Imperative

No one doubts that mobile connectivity is changing the world. 91% of Americans currently own a cell phone, and globally more than 6.8 billion mobile phones are in use. Now, tablets are making tremendous inroads, with sales that outpace mobile phones by a wide margin.

As these next-generation digital devices become central to our personal and professional lives, organizations are recognizing the value of integrating mobile capabilities into every facet of business operations. In fact, mobile technology is just one dimension of the SoMoClo (Social, Mobile, Cloud) revolution that is reinventing the workplace. HR has leveraged the power of SoMoClo for recruiting. The next logical step is hiring.

Mobile Hiring: Building Stronger Candidate Connections

First let’s look at mobile recruiting trends. Each month, one billion job searches are conducted via mobile devices. When properly executed, mobile-friendly recruitment leads to conversion rates that are 5-10 times higher than traditional PC-based recruitment, but at lower cost. A key benefit of going mobile is immediacy. While 70% of mobile searchers act within the hour, only 30% of PC searchers do. It’s no wonder why recruiters are scrambling to source talent through mobile channels.

However, even the best recruiting efforts can be undone when the candidate experience is disrupted by a cumbersome, outdated hiring process. What does it say to the candidate you’ve spent valuable resources recruiting — the one you’ve sourced and attracted through mobile channels — when you send a paper offer letter via snail mail and ask for a reply via fax?

Too often, there is a disconnect between the satisfying high-tech, high-touch experience of mobile recruiting, and old-school hiring methods. Unfortunately, it occurs at the most critical moment — in that stage between the job offer and onboarding. Why take that risk? It’s time for hiring to step up.

The Business Case For Mobile Hiring Now

Early adopters are seeing dramatic results, as the demand for mobile hiring support soars. For example, consider metrics from the TalentWise platform. Our customers send job candidates directly to our mobile-optimized portal to expedite the hiring process. In less than a year, we’ve seen a stunning 5-fold increase in mobile traffic — from only 8% of candidates last year to 43% today. Employers can’t afford to ignore that kind of exponential growth.

Mobile isn’t about devices. It’s about immediacy and “always on” access — and hiring should be, too. A weak hiring process is bound to affect your retention rate. In fact, studies estimate that, without solid on-boarding, 22% of new hires leave within the first 45 days.

Your organization only gets one chance to make a lasting first impression with today’s on-the-go talent pool. A mobile-friendly hiring process can give you a clear competitive edge. Is your offer letter truly digital? Can candidates sign it through a smartphone or tablet? Or must they print an email attachment, sign it, scan it and send it back? That model is just an email twist on a paper-based process, and it comes with all the old compliance risks and security issues of hardcopy workflows.

How To Catch The Mobile Hiring Wave

So what’s the first step to making your hiring process mobile friendly? Take a hard look at your hiring process. Audit every step. Go through it yourself as if you’re a new hire. Decide what is critical, think holistically, and optimize according to your priorities. For example, offer letters and screening authorizations are essential, but 401k enrollment forms may not be as important. HR managers should be able to monitor the status of multiple candidates from their tablets, but payroll may be better managed from a desktop.

Once you have a clear view of your current process, from both a candidate and administrative perspective, you can identify a technology solution that effectively “mobilizes” these functions. The path to a streamlined solution may be easier than you think.

What opportunities and issues do you see on the horizon for mobile hiring? Share your thoughts in the comments area.

WPFl8ZJCTbSWd3aW36zfeEA69ZEo44fOfHHdTeu8j9Q(About the Author: Todd Owens is President and COO at TalentWise and has been with the company since 2006. Previously he held senior Product Management and Business Development roles at Wind River Systems and Siebel Systems. A former United States Navy submarine officer, Todd has twice been recognized as a “Superstar for outsourcing innovation in support of HR organizations” by HRO Today magazine. Todd holds a BS degree from the United States Naval Academy and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.)

Image Credit: Carnegie Library