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Photo: Rodion Kutsaev

#WorkTrends: Remote Working: Craving Knowledge and Skills

Is working remotely actually working? At this point, it has to. And the good news is we want it to.

Remote working was already on the rise before mandatory work from home orders. From leaders to managers to employees, we were already anticipating — and in many cases, making — the shift. So Meghan M. Biro invited SkillSoft’s CMO, Michelle Boockoff-Bajdek, to #WorkTrends to discuss the nature of remote work right now. The upshot: it’s working. But there’s plenty we can do better. 

Companies need to further support remote working by providing more opportunities and channels for learning, and managers need to empower their employees to have a “growth mindset,” as Michelle said. This conversation should be both “easy to access and rich in delivery,” she added. By doing this, organizations are not only maintaining engagement and culture, they’re also giving their workforce the learning and the means to stay relevant. 

Michelle (who’s known as Michelle B.B.), said Skillsoft has opened up access to Percipio, their immersive online learning platform: 90 days for university students; 60 days for everyone else). And many are taking advantage of the access, including managers, whose hunger for remote strategies is evidenced by the record number of searches on the platform for “collaboration” and “management.” 

While employees are doing their part by finding solutions to improve as remote individuals and teams, managers must also do their part by guiding them through this transition as humanly and empathetically as possible, both Meghan and Michelle concurred. As home life, school, and workplace collide (and combine), being mindful of employees’ emotional well-being is just as key right now. That may mean informal check-ins to increase the connection. And finding out what employees want and need.   

When Meghan asked for Michelle’s perspective on what comes next, Michelle noted that shifting to remote work has taught us that “physical proximity isn’t the only way to connect.” In fact, she noted, we’re becoming more socially connected — both online and offline, and that will likely continue. The challenge and adventure of remote working during this global crisis is a reality shared by so many, she added, and it’s bringing us together. And when we have access to digital learning it’s far easier for us to do our jobs, no matter where we are. 

Listen to the full conversation and see our questions for the upcoming #WorkTrends Twitter Chat. And don’t forget to subscribe, so you don’t miss an episode. 

Twitter Chat Questions                                                                                                           

Q1: Why are many organizations struggling with remote work?  #WorkTrends
Q2: How can learning platforms help improve the transition to remote work? 
#WorkTrends
Q3: What can leaders do to help create better remote workplaces? #WorkTrends

Find Michelle Boockoff-Bajdek on Linkedin and Twitter

This recap is sponsored by Skillsoft.

Photo: Andy Kelly

#WorkTrends: The AI-Powered Leadership Coach

If there’s a silver lining to this global pandemic, it may be that we’re all getting a lot more familiar with AI, data and AI-driven analysis. When researchers and policy makers explain the forecasting changes based on a constant influx of new data, we get it. We even have our own favorite go-tos: Poynter, NYT, and Muck Rack among them. 

So when Meghan M. Biro and WorkTrends’ guest Kevin Kruse sat down to talk about the future of work and life, they both touched on the universal sense — at least within HR — that our predictions about leaning on digital tools in the near future are coming true in a way we never could have anticipated. Kevin is the founder and CEO of LEADx — which created the digital leadership tool, Coach Amanda. He’s also passionate about how innovation can improve work cultures. 

Discussing how he saw AI’s potential as a coaching tool, he told Meghan, “I’ve been writing some articles just like everybody around — top tips for leading remote teams … the same tips for leading the teams if they were in the office. It’s just more important than ever before, you know, having a cadence of communication, having authentic leadership, caring about your people.” In other words, it may be a machine, but it has to take a human approach.

Meghan asked him whether or not he thought AI coaches could replace humans. In some cases, Kevin noted, they’re providing coaching for organizations that don’t have the resources or the bandwidth to provide human trainers. But in other cases, they’re a tool that works right alongside — adding value to the leadership already happening. What AI-driven digital leadership coaching provides is a whole platform that covers a lot of bases, including starting someone on their own leadership coaching journey. Coach Amanda is virtually human and an “accountability buddy,” added Kruse, giving others access to the tools they need to become natural leaders themselves.

Listen to the full conversation and see our questions for the upcoming #WorkTrends Twitter Chat. And don’t forget to subscribe, so you don’t miss an episode. 

Twitter Chat Questions

Q1: Why do many organizations struggle with leadership coaching? #WorkTrends
Q2: How can AI tools help develop leaders? #WorkTrends
Q3: What can leaders do to help organizations develop better leadership coaching? #WorkTrends

Find Kevin Kruse on Linkedin and Twitter

Photo: John Schnobrich

Soft Skills Aren’t Optional: How to Teach Them Well

When you hire employees, especially Generation Z and the youngest millennials, you’re investing in the future of your organization. Contributing to their development is one of the smartest investments you can make. But too many companies overlook the basics when it comes to learning and development. 

If you only focus on training to meet the specific tasks and requirements of a given job, you may be developing your employees as much as you think you are. Particularly when it comes to new employees switching to an unfamiliar role, or just-hired younger employees new to the workplace, they may lack foundational abilities you now take for granted. A study by the CollegeBoard found that employers find 26.2% of college students lack sufficient writing skills — and one fourth are generally poor communicators. 

So before you train for job-related tasks, make sure your employees have these essential skills. Call them soft skills, call them life skills, or call them basic work skills, but these four are not only critical for success in your organization, but throughout a career. And whether the training is up to managers, team leaders or anyone else there are a number of tools to help get your employees up to speed:

1. Time Management

Of all the skills employees can and should have, time management is one of the most vital, no matter what the position or task. This is really a group of skills, including knowing how to prioritize, create a list of must-dos, create a workable schedule, delegate tasks, and know how to create downtime. All of these add up to employees being able to work efficiently and manage their time productively.

The best time managers are those who are never fazed by deadlines: give them a deadline and they’ll meet it, no matter what. They know how to focus on the most important tasks and limit the amount of time they spend on the less important ones. They can create and keep to a schedule because they know how much each task will take them. 

Teaching It

Given that how to manage time varies greatly depending on teams and roles, team leaders and direct managers should be involved in teaching this particular skill. Young hires fresh out of college may have mastered the ability to keep up with classwork but will need to learn how to transfer the skill into the context of work. One effective approach: implement routines and incremental goals throughout tasks. These make it easier to segment the day into manageable chunks.

Team leaders and managers may find scheduling software helps: there are a number of different applications, such as When I Work, or a task management software like Asana or Centrallo. But don’t just leave it up to tech. Make sure to clearly communicate the priorities to employees at the start of each new task — and then help them figure out how to allocate their time more effectively.

2. Interpersonal Communication

Some employees will see more direct and immediate benefits from strong interpersonal skills, particularly if they’re in people-facing and communication-heavy roles. But whether employees are going to be giving a major sales presentation or relaying information to a coworker, interpersonal communication is always essential to get the point across. 

The skill includes verbal, nonverbal and listening skills, as in being able to recognize emotions and see someone else’s side. Non-verbal communication involves being able to recognize the subtleties of body language, eye contact, and gestures, and look beyond traditional assumptions to understand what’s really going on. For instance, lack of eye contact is often misinterpreted as dishonesty when it’s actually shyness or nervousness.  

Teaching It

Learning interpersonal skills is a personal process for most employees, and can be tricky with a brand-new hire or a person who’s naturally shy. As such, it’s best taught by mentors or team leaders with small, close-knit teams — provided that your team has the right dynamic to keep everyone comfortable.

You could start by teaching employees how to listen effectively, and recognize the different types of communicators — such as controllers, analyzers, supporters, and promoters. Each enters a conversation differently, and responds to a different listening and speaking style. 

Gather the team and have each person take a personality test to find out what kind of communicator they are and what they value in communication. From there, compare notes: see how each team member tends to communicate, note the similarities and differences — and work on ways to better communicate with each other based on this new data.

If you need more avenues to foster stronger interpersonal communication among your workers, consider heading online. There are a number of classes for improving personal skills, including those recently listed on The Muse. 

3. Written Communication

Writing is often just presented as one of the communication skills, but it’s likely better to set it apart and give it the focus it needs. This is a skill that’s undoubtedly critical in the workplace — the most valued, but perhaps the least utilized. Most of us can read and most of us can write in terms of knowing how to form sentences. But there’s an enormous gap between people who can write and people who are good at it.  

The ability to write is among the top three most valuable skills to employers: 82% of employers want to bring in new hires with strong written communication skills, according to recent research by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. The cost of hiring poor writers can translate into as much as $2.9 billion each year spent providing remedial writing training for current employees. Add in new hires as well, and that sum rises to $3.1 billion. And no matter the promises of AI to help assist with writing, technology can’t fill the gap in terms of bad writing. 

Teaching It

For employees in marketing departments and HR, for instance, written communication is usually a key part of the role. But the goal here is to enable all of your employees to build at least foundational writing skills — so emails are readable and a small brief or abstract is coherent. If you have employees with more potential, you’ll want to focus on helping them harness that with specific tools. 

Writing skills training may entail mentors — who can help with overall polishing and tone. But managers and team leaders are often the last stage of screening before a product reaches a client — and will know what will or won’t pass muster. But when a team leader has bad habits, those will carry through onto the team. Teaching writing should be done by those who are skilled in it and by the tools that are specific to it. 

Make sure the organization implements a clear and comprehensive style guide and provides it to all employees — sometimes poor writing is simply a matter of not knowing the rules. Set up periodic trainings on the standards of communication, presenting not only what’s expected of employees in terms of writing, but clear samples to model correct usage and style. Consider bringing in a writing coach to “workshop” pieces of writing with new employees: a hands-on, small-group setting is a great place to show what works and why. Reward good writing and share it so employees know what it looks like. But don’t punish mistakes: you don’t want employees who dread the process. 

4. Organization

In the workplace, we often sense who is organized and who isn’t by the state of their desk: some keep their workspace tidy and with everything in its place; others keep it in a state of perpetual disarray. But organizational skills are far more than what meets the eye. They usually go hand in hand with strong time management skills (reserving time to straighten the desk is a simple example). 

But organizational skill is also a matter of knowing all the steps to a task, being able to envision them and know how to complete them, who to bring in for different phases, and when to bring in a senior coworker for help over a hurdle. Organization is vital for any employee whose job includes overseeing, managing, project completion, or team leading. Likely, that’s nearly everyone — in some form. And it’s hard for employees to see — or convey — the big picture in terms of purpose and objectives if they don’t have the energy or ability to look away from the small stuff. But aligning with a greater sense of mission is a key part of employee engagement, particularly among younger employees. And it doesn’t mean anything if you can’t see the forest for the trees.

Teaching It

Organizational training is usually team-specific, sometimes department-specific. For example, the organizational process that works for marketing workflows isn’t necessarily well-suited to engineering; bringing in an outside expert on calendar and schedule management won’t necessarily work for employees whose tasks have to be completed within a single day.

Direct supervisors are often the ideal choice for organizational training, with backup support from experienced team members. They know the strengths and weaknesses of their team — and are typically the ones who need to connect the dots or undo a snafu. 

The trend to remote working may call into question the need for a tidy desk for some — but it’s the mentality that needs to be emphasized here, and remote teams certainly need to learn how to be organized. Starting by training how to create a routine and a schedule — and stick to it — creates a framework for other facets. Employees need to know where they need to be, what they need to be doing, and when they need to get it done.  Begin with a daily schedule of the top three or four tasks for a given day, then increase with more tasks, over time, as the team masters what needs to be completed.  

This is where you may see a spark of recognition from new employees, particularly those just out of school — who suddenly see the similarities between meeting deadlines for schoolwork, which is mostly done individually, and completing tasks with coworkers as a team. Each has a part to play; each can contribute to the overall completion. Then, start tailoring the organizational methods to best meet the specific nature of a particular team or department. Just make sure skills are taught consistently, regardless of personal management styles or functions. As teams become more cross-functional, it’s key your employees have a shared language and skillset to draw from.  

Work and Life Skills, Integrated

The World Health Organization notes that we spend one-third of our adult lives at work.  That means what we do and know how to do at work inevitably has a huge impact on the way we live our lives. Employers have a responsibility to invest in their people for countless reasons, but this is key. Essential skills don’t stop at the office. We want and need to develop employees who can rise to challenges, as they have the skills to draw from, whether in life or at work. 

These are the people who keep your organization going at crunch time: they know how to schedule, how to communicate, how to write, and how to stay on top of the workflow. And they become comfortable enough in their abilities to help coach others on these vital skills as well. It’s an investment that pays off for generations.

Performance Management: Going Beyond the Appraisal

Performance and performance management – it’s something every organization, be it a Fortune 500 or a non-profit or a public sector institution talks about. Odds are they talk about it a lot and despite all that talk it is still likely a topic that causes managers and leaders to want to pull out their hair and one that stirs feelings in employees ranging from dread to fear to mental eye-rolling. Some organizations tackle the challenging of reviewing and communicating performance via three-point scales or five-point or twenty-seven point; others embrace 360 degree reviews; some organizations have highly calibrated processes whereas others have “Oh, it’s that time of year again” approaches; then there are the organizations dropping the idea of formal performance appraisals in the goal of creating more dialogue and something better. The point: assessing, measuring and managing performance is complex and ever-evolving; but there are some core principles that regardless of where an organization falls on the spectrum of processes and approaches that hold true.

Performance Happens Every Day

Employees come to work every day, some do solid work and get done what they need to. Others may perform more marginally and there will inevitably be a contingent that builds a reputation for being “rockstars” or “role models” or “ninjas.” Every organization regardless of industry has employees doing good work and great work and work that falls somewhere on either side of that; they’re doing that work every day and every day serves as an opportunity to recognize the good and the bad, to praise and to coach. So whether your current system formally appraises employees annually or in some other fashion, remember that the role of leaders and managers goes beyond “addressing performance” but rests in keeping an ongoing “performance dialogue” going.

Great Performance Requires Clear Communication

As operational demands change and organizational strategies shift – it is important to make sure that the impact on performance expectations are made clear. From setting annual goals to clearly articulating key responsibilities to holding regular touchpoint and one-on-ones, the opportunity to ensure employees understand what is expected from them, how they are being measured, and the impact of those measurements on them, their team, and organization become more and more important. In making the leap from “meets expectations” to “exceeds expectations” there is as much onus of responsibility on the manager to be clear on what is required and expected – regularly, not just during an overly stuffy sit down once a year – as there is on the employee to meet those requirements and expectations (or to speak up when they are facing a hurdle in doing so). In this sense, communications becomes the two-way dialogue it is intended to be; leadership can better understand the nuanced challenges impacting employees across the organization, and employees understand how to rise to the level of “rockstar” or the like. Or as Jim Collins puts it in his book Good to Great, there is a difference between managing and leading, between telling and communicating: 

“The moment you feel the need to tightly manage someone, you’ve made a hiring mistake. The best people don’t need to be managed. Guided, taught, led–yes.”

High Performing Organizations Make Performance Investments

Recognizing that performance happens every day and that superior performance isn’t just a matter of an employee doing their job but also understanding what drives and defines performance in the organization are significant factors in facilitating performance and creating a performance culture, but then the question becomes, “what next?” In some organizations that may be intricate performance measurements layered over top of tools and forms and processes, in others it may be a matter of continuing the conversations that is already hopefully taking place – regardless, the acts of assessing, measuring, and managing performance should lead to a larger conversation about talent; where an organization is strong, where it has opportunities, and where it has the ability to create and mold talent on the cusp – this process as its most basic can look at employees as fitting into one of four categories (further illustrated in the tool/diagram below):

Invest – employees who are setting the paradigm, driving operational successes, impacting and informing strategy, those that see expectations and blow right on past them; these employees have a high level of actualized contribution to the organization with minimal to no distractionary consequence (negative impacts, distractions, derailments, etc.) to their colleagues, peers, projects, or teams. Dollars spent here, not just on salary and incentives but also on training, development, and talent fostering are almost guaranteed to create a strong return on investment for the organization and create stronger engagement with your best employees.

Assess – employees who make strong contributions but perhaps not always consistently, they may need help in seeing the big picture or understanding the impact of their work and contributions (let alone those of their colleagues and peers); these employees have a high level of actualized contribution to the organization with a middling to high level distractionary consequence to their colleagues, peers, projects, or teams. Dollars spent here are an investment in “what if,” this group of employees has the potential to become high performers but requires strong leaders, solid coaching, and often times greater organizational effort in order to achieve their best.

Push – employees who are middling or haven’t quite yet found their groove, they may show glimpses of high potentiality, or they may simply show up every day and do their job based on their understanding of the expectations upon them; these employees have a low to middling level of actualized contribution to the organization with a low to middling level distractionary consequence to their colleagues, peers, projects, or teams. Dollars spent here can be viewed as equal parts investment and analysis – the idea being to tap the full potential in this group or determine if perhaps this isn’t the right role or organization for them at this point in their career.

Exit – employees who aren’t meeting expectations, haven’t embraced the organizational culture, or more simply put are a bad fit for any number of reasons; these employees have a low level of actualized contribution to the organization with a high level distractionary consequence to their colleagues, peers, projects, or teams. Time rather than dollars should be spent here in helping this group understand their next steps, how to better utilize their unique set of KSAs with a future employer, and to prepare themselves to find the right role in the right organization that best meets their personal career value proposition.

ACDC_MODEL_SMETANA

#TChat Recap: The Predictive Power Of HR Analytics

We could easily be intimidated by data. Yet, we crave answers on how to make the best hires, reduce cost, drive strategy… the list goes on and on.

Many organizations now turn to predictive analytics: the ability to take what happened in the past and find common relationships and factors (leveraging human behavior and neural networks) to model and predict the future, enabling us to report back in analytics with recommendations for the future.

Finance, Sales, and Marketing departments have already realized the importance of predictive analytics. Now it’s HR’s turn to gaze into the crystal ball.

This week’s #TChat guests: Chad W. Harness, VP of Lead Human Capital Analytics Consultant at Fifth Third Bank; and Jen Phillips Kirkwood, ADP Analytics and Innovation Ambassador, shared their insights on the predictive power that HR can bring (we’re proud sponsors of the Predictive Analytics World for Workforce.)

First step? Get clear on objectives and take a close look at problems that are in need to be solved. Once we have painted a clear picture, ask yourself: How can HR help to support KPIs and find analytics that can yield real action?

If we don’t trust or understand the data, it’s easy to make knee-jerk hiring decisions.

By understanding key differences between data, metrics and analytics we can make better recommendations and decisions for the future.

So how do HR leaders start a predictive analytics initiative successfully?

There’s no doubt that predictive analytics will have an immense role to play as we move forward. HR leaders want to get there, and frankly, they have to get there. Once we have arrived, HR will be given a stronger voice that will drive strategy and help cost reduction and retention.

Just remember, it’s not only about the data, it sometimes comes back to a curiosity and willingness to change.

See What The #TChat Community Said About The Predictive Power of HR Analytics:

What’s Up Next? #TChat Returns Wednesday, April 8th!

#TChat Radio Kicks Off at 7pm ET / 4pm PT — Our weekly radio show runs 30 minutes. Usually, our social community joins us on Twitter as well. Next week’s topic: Adopting Social Software for Workforce Collaboration and Communication

#TChat Twitter Kicks Off at 7:30pm ET / 4:30pm PT — Our halfway point begins with our highly engaging Twitter discussion. We take a social inside look at our weekly topic. Everyone is welcome to share their social insights #TChat.

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Passive-Recruiting

photo credit: Crystal Ball / Glaskugel via photopin (license)

#TChat Recap: Authenticity Is An Inside Job That Starts With Self

Authenticity Is An Inside Job That Starts With Self

Everyday, there’s a flock of people who head to work and experience a daily dosage of empowerment, then there’s the other flock that experiences workplace dread on a daily-basis. Some people get to work in highly engaging workplaces, while others count the seconds till the clock strikes freedom. Within each workplace culture there exists what’s referred to as workplace authenticity, whether it’s real or fake. Few experience it first-hand, and many can only wonder about what it would be like to be true to themselves at work and ideally, in everyday life. This week, #TChat was joined by Jason Lauritsen and Joe Gerstandt.

Both of them get why authenticity is an invaluable workplace mindset that encourages innovation through openness, trust, and communication. Interestingly enough, authenticity is about being real and true to one’s self. Yet, in the workplace, Jason believes that:

Yes, even if that person becomes a bit of an annoyance. We must look within ourselves to find who we really are inside our workplace and who we want to be. To do so, we must:

Speaking the truth does require boldness and at times being unpopular in the process. It’s through these initial actions that we begin to discover the value in being authentic. We must find it within ourselves to accept authenticity. Instead of authenticity finding acceptance at the bottom of an organization:

Authenticity has to begin at the top and work its way down to the entire organization. It should be embraced with open arms. It must be greeted with optimism. Workplace productivity and business results experience a bumpy ride when employees are not allowed the freedom to be themselves at work. Simply put:

If authenticity generates better engagement and happier employees, then what employer wouldn’t care about the end results? If organizations truly care about the bottom line, then cultivating workplace authenticity can provide the fruition they seek. Don’t have employees sitting around waiting until the clock strikes freedom (and the end of their workday). Have them working at highly productive levels through the empowerment of workplace authenticity. Keep employees engaged by letting them voice their opinions and developing a cultural mindset of being real with themselves and other people that surround the culture. Any organization will see the results are at least worth taking another look at.

Want To See The #TChat Replay?

Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

Thanks again to our guests Jason Lauritsen and Joe GerstandtClick here to see the preview and related reading.

#TChat Events: Authenticity Is An Inside Job That Starts With Authenticity

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#TChat Radio — Are you plugged in to #TChat radio? Did you know you can listen live to ANY of our shows ANY time?

Now you know. Click the box to head on over to our channel or listen to Authenticity Is An Inside Job That Starts With Self.

Note To Bloggers: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about trends on culture?

We welcome your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we may feature it!

If you recap #TChat make sure to let us know so we can find you!

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Save The Date: Wednesday, June 25!

Next week’s #TChat Topic: The “Be Different or Be Dead” Show

The TalentCulture conversation continues daily on #TChat Twitter, in our LinkedIn group, and on our new Google+ community. So join us anytime on your favorite social channels!

 

#TChat Recap: The Power Of Workforce Culture And Continuous Mobility

The Power Of Workforce Culture And Continuous Mobility

Time and time again, employers and organizations find their talent on the move. And why is that? What drives employees to leave? Instead of finding ourselves asking this question, we should be asking, “What drives employees to stay?” Sometimes before you can go forward, you have to go backwards. Meaning, we have to retrace our steps and find ourselves at the early stages of onboarding to discover the secrets of retaining employees. This week, #TChat was joined by Tracey Arnish, Senior Vice President of Talent at SAP, who understands what managing and retaining talent is all about.

Getting new employees onboard early plays a vital role in the outcome of each employee in your organization. Tracey provides us with a glance of the short and long-term effects of new hire onboarding:

It’s through this glance that employers can visualize a roadmap to their employees’ engagement and development. From here, employers and new hires can build a career path together and:

Because at the end of the day, all employees are valuable assets, that provide your organization with the brain power and muscle to innovate and achieve success. But if you want your talent to stick around, then you have to develop it. You can do this if you:

Employees need to know that their career growth matters to you, as much as it matters to them. Why? Simply put, your employees’ engagement, productivity, and happiness is what’s at stake here. This all factors into the kind of short and long-term success your organization will have. And don’t forget, it shapes the kind of workplace culture you’ll have.

Want To See The #TChat Replay?

Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

Thanks again to our guest Tracey ArnishClick here to see the preview and related reading.

#TChat Events: The Power Of Workforce Culture And Continuous Mobility

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#TChat Radio — Are you plugged in to #TChat radio? Did you know you can listen live to ANY of our shows ANY time?

Now you know. Click the box to head on over to our channel or listen to The Power Of Workforce Culture And Continuous Mobility.

Note To Bloggers: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about trends on culture?

We welcome your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we may feature it!

If you recap #TChat make sure to let us know so we can find you!

We Want To See You On TalentCulture. Become A Contributor Now!

Sign up for the newsletter to get the scoop on next week’s guest, topic and questions!

Save The Date: Wednesday, June 18!

Next week’s #TChat Topic: Authenticity Is An Inside Job That Starts With Self.

The TalentCulture conversation continues daily on #TChat Twitter, in our LinkedIn group, and on our new Google+ community. So join us anytime on your favorite social channels!

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3 Reasons That Corporate Training Is Booming

Bersin by Deloitte recently released their 2014 Corporate Learning Factbook, and revealed that corporate training is in huge demand right now, and it is only expected to climb. The research showed a steady growth rate from 10% in 2011, 12% in 2012 and 15% in 2014.

As an LMS provider, this is great news, but it’s even better news for the organizations jumping on the training bandwagon. Because training is considered one of the most discretionary spends in business, the significant return of training is a very strong indicator that the economy and business are in a positive state. Here are the three reasons that corporate training in the US has become a $70 Billion industry.

No Money, No Training

When belts tighten, training is among the first things to go. That being said, when the economy makes the upward swing, a strong emphasis on training becomes immediate. In 2008 and 2009, at the height of the US economic recession, we saw corporate training spending dip down to -11%. By 2011, spending had increased by 21%. Bersin said:

“This is among the most discretionary of all corporate spending areas, so it is an excellent bellweather for business confidence.”

So what happened during that 21% drop in training spend? While the entire skill gap or talent shortage (whatever you want to call it) can’t be fully attributed to this significant dip in training, it certainly didn’t help matters.

The Skill Gap Is Significant

The study also took a look at just how real the skill gap is in today’s US workforce. The research revealed that over 70% of organizations cite “capability gaps” as one of their top five challenges.

For instance, a recent report from the Community for Advancing Discovery Research in Education revealed that employment in professional, scientific and tech services is projected to grow by 29% by 2020. It is also projected that of the two million new jobs this increase will produce, the majority of the will have be filled with talent from outside of the US. CEO of Goodwill Industries, Jim Gibbons said:

“Unfortunately, there’s no quick fix. Closing the skills gap will take a concerted effort and commitment to retraining and educating our workforce. We can only close the gap by comprehensively investing in workers of all ages — from students to seniors.”

Employers Prefer Internal Hires/Promotions

A recent survey of 400 employers, conducted by the College for America revealed a strong preference for the learning and development of existing employees into management roles rather than hiring new employees. Employers want to be able to promote from within, but the lack of appropriate skills in their workforce doesn’t allow for it. So leaders are embracing the importance of training. Internal promotions save on sourcing, recruiting and hiring costs, which can add up quite quickly. Training has its own associated costs, but they tend to yield a very high return on investment, as training is also linked to increased productivity, engagement and retention.

The corporate training boom is not only a symbol of a current positive economic state, it is also a catalyst for a strong economy to come. As training is welcomed back into the corporate world it brings with it a lot of solutions to our current workforce problems, like employee engagement lows, high turnover rates, poor customer care and the significant skill gap. Training is one of the most important and effective investments that leaders can make to drive success that will last.

(About the Author: Sean Pomeroy, CEO of Visibility Software, has worked in the Human Resources industry since he graduated from Radford University with a Bachelors in Psychology and a Master of Arts in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. After working in HR as a generalist for a government contracting company, he moved to the HR Technology arena and began assisting companies in the selection and implementation of HR software.)

To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter and G+ conversation anytime. Learn more…

TalentCulture World of Work was created for HR professionals, leadership executives, and the global workforce. Our community delves into subjects like HR technologyleadershipemployee engagement, and corporate culture everyday. To get more World of Work goodness, please sign up for our newsletter, listen to our #TChat Radio Channel or sign up for our RSS feed.

Do you have great content you want to share with us? Become a TalentCulture contributor!

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#TChat Recap: Create A Transformative Onboarding Experience For New Hires

Create A Transformative Onboarding Experience For New Hires

There are millions of disengaged workers out there. Working day-to-day in what they feel is a never-ending cycle of the same old routine. But does it have to be this way?

Organizations are now starting to see the “big picture” when it comes to attracting and retaining talent. The process doesn’t just end when employees are hired. To retain employees long-term companies have to build an onboarding process that transforms and innovates the way new employees are engaged and managed.

This week’s guests, Todd Owens, President & COO at TalentWise; & Wendy Matyjevich, SPHR, HR Executive at Entia Ventures & BlackRain Partners, LLC, explain how providing a thoughtful onboarding experience not only keeps new employees around, but it makes them more productive. It builds a culture that can sustain itself.

Todd Owens mentioned:

You keep the candidate in mind during your onboarding process and think big because:

Hiring costs money. Yes, employee turnover is a costly process that ties into how productive and engaged your workforce is, which ultimately, transforms how clients are treated and maintained. It’s vital organizations don’t forget that:

Employees anticipate the same amount of time, attention, and energy from leadership that is expected of them when it comes to how they are treated. It’s a two-way street. If employees don’t receive what they want and demand for, then they may walk and your organization will suffer. Leadership has to remember that:

 

It has to mean so much more, or else employees will feel disengaged and eventually they will walk. Onboarding is about managing new employees and their transition into your community and culture. By providing them guidance and support along the way, leadership will see the results it expects and meet the demands that employees expect. 

Want To See The #TChat Replay? 

Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

Thanks again to our guests Todd Owens and Wendy MatyjevichClick here to see the preview and related reading.

#TChat Events: Create A Transformative Onboarding Experience For New Hires

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#TChat Radio Are you plugged in to #TChat radio? Did you know you can listen live to ANY of our shows ANY time?

Now you know. Click the box to head on over to our channel or listen to Create A Transformative Onboarding Experience For New Hires.

Note To Bloggers: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about trends on leadership?

We welcome your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we may feature it!

If you recap #TChat make sure to let us know so we can find you!

We Want To See You On TalentCulture. Become A Contributor Now!

Sign up for the newsletter to get the scoop on next week’s guest, topic and questions!

Save The Date: Wednesday, June 11!

Next week’s #TChat Topic: The Power of Workforce Culture and Continuous Talent Mobility.

The TalentCulture conversation continues daily on #TChat Twitter, in our LinkedIn group, and on our new Google+ community. So join us anytime on your favorite social channels!

#TChat Preview: Create A Transformative Onboarding Experience For New Hires

The TalentCulture #TChat Show is back live on Wednesday, June 4, 2014. #TChat Radio starts at 6:30 pm ET (3:30 pm PT) and the convo continues on #TChat Twitter chat from 7-8 pm ET (4-5 pm PT).

Last week we talked about how to visualize real-time talent alignment, and this week we’re talking about how to have a transformative onboarding experience for new hires.

According to the Talent Board’s 2013 Candidate Experience Awards report, based on data from nearly 50,000 candidates from over 90 progressive companies, new hires are sometimes met with less-than-ideal onboarding processes. They’re usually bombarded with disparate paperwork on the first day, as well as left with many questions about everything from benefits to job responsibilities.

Nobody wants to do their “day 1” paperwork from a cold, dark office. They want to do it from the comfort of wherever that comfort derives. They want to get on with the cultural immersion — and get to work.

A good onboarding experience is crucial to the success of every new employee. Since a new hire will decide within the first year if they want to stay with the company or not, the ability to deliver an effective and inviting onboarding process is key to improving employee morale and retention.

A happy candidate experience makes for exceptional hires and happy customers.

Join #TChat co-creators and hosts Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman as we learn how to have a transformative onboarding experience with this week’s guests: Todd Owens, President & COO at TalentWise; and Wendy Matyjevich, SPHR, Managing Partner of Human Capital for BlackRain Partners.

Sneak Peek: How To Have A Transformative Onboarding Experience For New Hires

We look forward to learning more from our guests, Todd Owens and Wendy Matyjevich, to learn more about creating a better onboarding experience for new hires.

Related Reading:

David Smooke: Hiring Culture: Creating A Recruitment Ecosystem

Meghan M. Biro: The Onboarding Experience Matters To Your Future Employees 

David Obelcz: Five Keys To Onboarding That Drive Employee Engagement 

Abigail Tracy: Offer Your New Hires Training, Not Free Donuts

Jim Dougherty: Company Culture Is Part Of Your Business Model

We hope you’ll join the #TChat conversation this week and share your questions, opinions and ideas with our guests and the TalentCulture Community.

#TChat Events: How To Have A Transformative Onboarding Experience For New Hires

TChatRadio_logo_020813 #TChat Radio — Wed, June 4 — 6:30pmET / 3:30pmPT Tune-in to the #TChat Radio show Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman talk with our guests Todd Owens and Wendy Matyjevich.

Tune-in LIVE online this Wednesday!

#TChat Twitter Chat — Wed, June 4 — 7pmET / 4pmPT Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin and our guests will move to the #TChat Twitter stream, where we’ll continue the discussion with the entire TalentCulture community. Everyone with a Twitter account is invited to participate, as we gather for a dynamic live chat, focused on these related questions:

Q1: Why should candidates be treated like paying customers? #TChat (Tweet this Question)

Q2: How should companies react to changing modern-day job seeker & employee engagement demands? #TChat (Tweet this Question)

Q3: How can recruiting and onboarding be transformative for candidates & new hires? #TChat (Tweet this Question)

Q4: What practices help leaders ensure a compelling and sustained company culture? #TChat (Tweet this Question)

Q5: In what ways does a collaborative onboarding platform change engagement? #TChat (Tweet this Question)

Throughout the week, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed, and in our new TalentCulture G+ community. So feel free to drop by anytime and share your questions, ideas and opinions. See you there!!

TalentCulture World of Work was created for HR professionals, leadership executives, and the global workforce. Our community delves into subjects like HR technologyleadershipemployee engagement, and corporate culture everyday.

To get more World of Work goodness, please sign up for our newsletter, listen to our #TChat Radio Channel or sign up for our RSS feed.

Do you have great content you want to share with us? Become a TalentCulture contributor!

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#TChat Recap: How To Visualize Real-Time Talent Alignment

How To Visualize Real-Time Talent Alignment 

Managing talent is an art form. It is a delicacy few have mastered, and even fewer, have come to understand. Essentially, managing talent is about managing people, and aligning their goals with your organization’s vision. Employees are a reflection of leadership’s ability to instill and align organizational goals with the goals that employees share. Performance is driven through engagement, communication, and most importantly, transparency of what the organization’s vision is. This week, #TChat’s community was joined by Andre Lavoie, CEO & Co-founder of Clear Company; & Matt Norman, a Dale Carnegie Training franchise president, both whom relayed a vital message about organizational transparency.

They understand and know that managing employees and driving performance is about aligning talent with an organization’s vision through transparency. It starts when:

Leadership has to own the recruitment and onboarding process to begin aligning talent with the organization’s vision. Before you can accomplish this, you must know:

Creating organizational transparency begins when you realize what resources you need to achieve your strategy, then recruiting and the rest can start to fall into place. This matters because:

Here’s the wonderful catch about understanding your talent needs and aligning employees with your company’s vision. It makes your people want to stick around. Employee retention helps drive organizational growth and the vision that fuels it. This is why:

 

If you build a culture that gives employees access to your organization’s vision then your talent grows with you. At the end of the day, it’s not always about the “bottom line,” it’s about your people. An engaged workforce is productive, it’s happy, and it’s most likely to stick around. To achieve organizational transparency leaders have to hold employees accountable and must be able to continuously measure their performance to consistently align talent with your company’s vision in real-time.

Want To See The #TChat Replay? 

Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

Thanks again to our guests Andre Lavoie and Matt Norman for teaching us real-time talent alignment. Click here to see the preview and related reading.

#TChat Events: How To Visualize Real-Time Talent Alignment

TChatRadio_logo_020813

#TChat Radio — Are you plugged in to #TChat radio? Did you know you can listen live to ANY of our shows ANY time?

Now you know. Click the box to head on over to our channel or listen to How To Visualize Real-Time Talent Alignment.

Note To Bloggers: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about trends on leadership?

We welcome your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we may feature it!

If you recap #TChat make sure to let us know so we can find you!

We Want To See You On TalentCulture. Become A Contributor Now!

Sign up for the newsletter to get the scoop on next week’s guest, topic and questions!

Save The Date: Wednesday, June 4!

Next week’s #TChat Show: How To Have A Transformative Onboarding Experience For New Hires with guests Todd Owens.

The TalentCulture conversation continues daily on #TChat Twitter, in our LinkedIn group, and on our new Google+ community. So join us anytime on your favorite social channels!

How Transparency Positively Impacts Your Workplace

There’s a basic social contract that exists between workers and their employers. Employees rely on their companies for their living and for a stable work environment where they can thrive. Businesses depend on their workforce to provide the talent and manpower necessary to develop products, serve customers and generate revenue.

It sounds simple, but this arrangement actually requires quite a bit of trust on both ends. For their part, corporate leaders must count on their workers’ honesty and integrity as they give employees access to a whole range of company resources, put them in direct contact with clients, set them to work with sensitive customer information and give them the keys to the office. For the most part, this contract works, and the corporate world keeps on running.

In fact, openness and honesty with employees – which is a natural offspring of this trust – might be even more significant than a foundation that allows basic business operations to occur. According to Fortune, transparency is a key factor in developing positive customer relationships. Part of the reason it’s so important is that greater information about the way the company is running and what its goals are can empower employees to do their jobs better, and this capability leads to better products, higher-quality service and engaged workers.

Transparency In The Workplace

In addition to being open with customers and the public about company operations, fostering greater transparency within a business can contribute to a positive employee culture. Simply demonstrating that executives and stakeholders trust their workers with information about the organization’s successes and failures, strategies and goals helps to build up that social contract of trust and responsibility. Of course, there must always be prudence in determining how much and which information to divulge to the entire company, but greater transparency tends to make a positive impact on workers.

Fortune explained that transparency involves factors such as practices, policies, algorithms, operating data and future plans. It means giving staff members the information they need to develop a deep understanding of what their company stands for and what its objectives are. This, in turn, can foster work pride and inspire innovation, loyalty, independence, positive co-worker dynamics and passion to meet common goals, the source added.

Supervisors who think their company is plenty transparent might want to reconsider. Referring to a recent poll, Forbes magazine noted that 71 percent of employees felt that their managers failed to spend enough time explaining goals and 50 percent said that their organizations were held back by a lack of transparency.

Sharing More information 

One place to start is with employee engagement survey results. Many leaders collect information about their workforce by distributing questionnaires and analyzing the responses, but workers are rarely informed about the results. Sharing this data not only helps create an environment of inclusiveness and teamwork, it also brings staff members on board to help solve some of the problems they identified. Letting them know the enterprise’s strengths is a great idea, too, since it can encourage them to continue doing whatever makes the company strong.

Fortune observed that technology makes it easier for leaders to employ resources like surveys and use them as tools to increase transparency. Rather than merely soliciting feedback, the point is to develop constructive conversations about ways to improve. Welcoming employee ideas and providing avenues for them to contribute to problem-solving initiatives builds a strong business community and enables companies to benefit from the collective wealth of knowledge and brain​ power in their workforces.

As Forbes put it, every organization must determine how much transparency is right for its unique situation, but ignoring transparency completely is most likely a costly error.

(About the Author: David Bator is passionate about programs that move people. As Vice President of Client Strategy at TemboStatus he works with growing companies everyday and helps them bridge the gap between assessing employee engagement and addressing it with action. For the last 15 years David has worked with the leadership of companies large and small to build programs that leverage strategy and technology to deliver extraordinary value for employees, customers and partners.)

To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter and G+ conversation anytime. Learn more…

TalentCulture World of Work was created for HR professionals, leadership executives, and the global workforce. Our community delves into subjects like HR technologyleadershipemployee engagement, and corporate culture everyday. To get more World of Work goodness, please sign up for our newsletter, listen to our #TChat Radio Channel or sign up for our RSS feed.

Do you have great content you want to share with us? Become a TalentCulture contributor!

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10 Ways To Make Your Job Search Miserable

For Babbitt, who never hurt anyone in his life.

Long ago, I remember hearing someone say that in life, suffering is mandatory but misery is optional. I agree but sadly, many of us (this writer included) live with more anxiety and frustration than required. We have grand expectations and when they are not met, we go purple with righteous indignation. This is not good.

For those of us seeking new employment, we must remember that every step in the process is not life or death and we need to seek out a way to remain calm in the storm. We have to be at our best every single day demonstrating sound judgment, sensitivity and tact. Not easy advice to take but clearly worth our consideration. For those of us who have yet to understand that you can’t win them all and that misery in the job search is not a prerequisite to success, I’ve put together a Top 10 list of behaviors and attitudes that will assure ongoing misery. Please consider the following:

  1. Expect Responses From Online Applications.

    This is seldom going to happen other than through automated emails. There are far too may applicants and too few resources there to offer even the most basic signs of humanity. Far better to check LinkedIn for connections who can bring your candidacy to life internally. (In reality, you want to do that before you apply.)

  2. Hammer Your Network.

    Be sure to put a ton of pressure on your network. Hammer friends for informational interviews, introductions and heavens knows what else because your cronies have nothing else to do but tend to your needs. Special kudos if you hit the CPA network in the tax season and everyone else when they are on summer holiday. Really now, this will shrink your network 90% faster then it took you to build it.

  3. Be Indignant When Calls/Emails Are Not Returned.

    An excellent use of your time. Just sit in a comfortable chair and quietly stew about folks who are non-responsive. True story: I once did this only to find out that the person I was stewing over had died the previous summer. Far better to reach out one more time using your friendly and upbeat style and let it go at that. Really, do not abuse your friends.

  4. Expect Fast Decisions After Interviews.

    This is not going to happen. Hiring is deathly slow in almost all cases for endless reasons. Sitting at home fuming will do little for you, your blood pressure or your personal relationships. Check in ten days after the interview to touch base and make the email short and pleasant. Trying to speed up the process is a fool’s errand, so save your energy for something that is more productive.

  5. Don’t Take Phone Screens Seriously.

    There’s nothing to worry about here. The phone screen is no big deal. Just a bit of friendly conversation and witty banter to highlight your amazing style and showcase wonderful stories of your career. Honestly now, the phone screen is critical. Let me say that again. Critical! Please see The Art and Science of Acing the Phone Screen for more information.

  6. Rage Against Your Last Employer.

    This is a personal favorite of mine. Be sure to raise your voice and shout to the heavens of the unfairness of it all with extra credit going to those who allude to the fact that they thought of suing as well. In reality, this behavior is a bad thing and will not get you shortlisted for future interviews. Speak very little about your last organization unless it pertains to accomplishments, and furthermore, anything said should be positive and professional.

  7. Do Not Prepare For The Interview.

    There is clearly a need for most people to prepare for an interview but certainly not for a real pro like you. Just jump on the website and spend 30 or 40 seconds here and there. Actually, I’m lying. A huge contributor to the success of the interview lies in preparation. Take the time to know not just the company but the players, the industry and the folks with whom you will interview. Review it all in detail once again the night before the interview.

  8. Price Yourself Out Of The Market.

    Yes indeed, this is a good philosophy for those who wish to never go back to work again. Just use numbers from 2006 or so and tell them that you know that your compensation requirements are really high but you are worth it. OK, I am lying again. Bottom line is that the only numbers that apply to compensation reality are the numbers that apply to today’s compensation environment and today’s economy. Endlessly escalating compensation is long gone, so be realistic.

  9. Press for the Leadership Title.

    They want to make you a Director? An amazing person like you? Out of the question. You’ve been a VP for the last dozen years and no one is going to take that away form you. Sadly, that is the wrong approach. Forget the title and demonstrate, reasonably, the desire to roll up your sleeves and your capacity to understand today’s reality. Take the Director role and be glad you are working.

  10. Do Everything Online.

    Be sure to live your life online. Fill out those applications and peruse LinkedIn all day long. Never mix with real people or try to form new relationships with real live people. Want a better idea? Get out there and network. Meet people and be interested in them and smile a lot because the human touch is still a very strong way to make things happen.

Job-hunting, for whatever reason, is both art and science. Some days you eat the dog and some days the dog eats you, but bottom line is that being happy or unhappy is a decision we make for ourselves. The choice to live a sane and satisfied life is truly within our grasp. What choice will you make?

(About the Author: A consultant, writer and public speaker, Howard Adamsky, works with organizations to support their efforts to build great companies and coaches others on how to do the same. He has over 20 years’ experience in identifying, developing, and implementing effective solutions for organizations struggling to recruit and retain top talent. An internationally published author, he has written Hiring and Retaining Top IT Professionals/The Guide for Savvy Hiring Managers and Job Hunters Alike (Osborne McGraw-Hill) and Employment Rage (Norlights Press.) He is a regular contributor to ERE.net. )

TalentCulture World of Work was created for HR professionals, leadership executives, and the global workforce. Our community delves into subjects like HR technologyleadershipemployee engagement, and corporate culture everyday. To get more World of Work goodness, please sign up for our newsletter, listen to our #TChat Radio Channel or sign up for our RSS feed.

Do you have great content you want to share with us? Become a TalentCulture contributor!
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#TChat Preview: How To Visualize Real-Time Talent Alignment

The TalentCulture #TChat Show is back live on Wednesday, May 28, 2014. #TChat Radio starts at 6:30 pm ET (3:30 pm PT) and the convo continues on #TChat Twitter chat from 7-8 pm ET (4-5 pm PT).

Last week we talked about the inspire or retire leadership theorem, and this week we’re talking about how to visualize real-time talent alignment.

Employee turnover is a common challenge for organizations of all shapes and size and industries. It’s an overgrown and thorny path that leaders and HR teams walk bare foot daily, with no compass to guide them. This wild “talent cycle” can create poor climates and cultures where your people are forced to scramble and hire reactively each time an employee makes a move toward the door.

Focused on the people not the processes combined real-time talent alignment technology allow leaders to better visualize their human capital investment, while simultaneously engaging employees and driving performance.

Join #TChat co-creators and hosts Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman as we learn more about visualizing real-time talent alignment with this week’s guests: Andre Lavoie, CEO and co-founder of ClearCompany; and Matt Norman, a leadership and sales consultant and a Dale Carnegie Training franchise president.

Sneak Peek: How To Visualize Real-Time Talent Alignment

We spoke briefly with our guests, Andre Lavoie and Matt Norman, to learn more about real-time talent alignment. Check out our YouTube Channel for videos with other #TChat guests!

Kevin Wheeler: Moving From Transactions To Engagement – 4 Recruiting Trends

Afton Funk: From Short-Order Cook To Chef: Talent Alignment Gets You There

Abigail Tracy: Offer Your New Hires Training, Not Free Doughnuts

Meghan M. Biro: How To Succeed At Real-Time Talent Alignment

China Gorman: How Great Companies Attract Top Talent

We hope you’ll join the #TChat conversation this week and share your questions, opinions and ideas with our guests and the TalentCulture Community.

#TChat Events: How To Visualize Real-Time Talent Alignment

TChatRadio_logo_020813 #TChat Radio — Wed, May 28 — 6:30pmET / 3:30pmPT Tune-in to the #TChat Radio show Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman talk with our guests Andre Lavoie and Matt Norman!

Tune-in LIVE online this Wednesday!

#TChat Twitter Chat — Wed, May 28 — 7pmET / 4pmPT Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin and our guests will move to the #TChat Twitter stream, where we’ll continue the discussion with the entire TalentCulture community. Everyone with a Twitter account is invited to participate, as we gather for a dynamic live chat, focused on these related questions:

Q1: Why are organizations reactive vs. proactive when hiring and retaining talent? (Tweet this Question)

Q2: How can companies better align recruiting & onboarding to improve long-term performance? (Tweet this Question)

Q3: What role does learning and development play in real-time talent alignment? (Tweet this Question)

Q4: How can companies build and sustain a desirable, stable culture? (Tweet this Question)

Q5: How can business leaders promote a vision of continuous workforce performance? (Tweet this Question)

Throughout the week, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed, and in our new TalentCulture G+ community. So feel free to drop by anytime and share your questions, ideas and opinions. See you there!!

TalentCulture World of Work was created for HR professionals, leadership executives, and the global workforce. Our community delves into subjects like HR technologyleadershipemployee engagement, and corporate culture everyday.

To get more World of Work goodness, please sign up for our newsletter, listen to our #TChat Radio Channel or sign up for our RSS feed.

Do you have great content you want to share with us? Become a TalentCulture contributor!

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#TChat Recap: Inspire Or Retire Leadership Theorem

Inspire Or Retire Leadership Theorem 

Leadership is one of my favorite topics to write about, mostly because; people are so passionate about this topic. Of course, it also relates to recruiting and retaining your most valued talent. And why wouldn’t people be interested in this? Leaders are at the center of every workplace, or at least they should be. As our good friend and #TChat guest this week, Thomas S. Narofsky, Founder and Chief Inspirational Officer for the Narofsky Consulting Group, pointed out, “Leadership is your business and you don’t get a free ride.” For those of you that understand this, take a brief moment to pat yourself on the back, but that’s not what became very clear tonight. What became clear is that leadership development must come from within first and then extend into every organization.

Simply put, if you want to grow leaders and inspire greatness, you need to create a seasoned leadership pipeline that inspires the next generation of leaders you’ll need for tomorrow. If you want to inspire leadership, then your vets have to be able to show compassion, provide mentorship, and guidance towards the leaders of tomorrow. As a leader, eventually, you must learn to pass the torch. If not in Olympic fashion, you must do it with the desire to focus on people and their development.

Thomas S. Narofsky knows that:

Remember, leaders are the center of your workplace, because ideally, an engaged workforce is what surrounds them because they are people focused. Smart organizations know that growing leaders is more than just seeing their financial investments returned. Truly:  

And that’s what we call a win-win scenario. But the journey doesn’t just end there. The reason we develop leaders is because:

If you fail to communicate why leaders are important, then how do you expect to set the pieces to the puzzle where they belong? Yes, leaders are important. They need to be developed. So you start training future leaders by:

That last sentence sums it all up. You can’t expect your organization to grow and flourish if your leadership lacks the selflessness it needs to put ideas that are in the best interest of everyone ahead of their own, and perhaps, their ego. Remember, leadership needs to be nurtured and grown internally through your current leadership.

Want To See The #TChat Replay? 

Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

Thanks again to our guest Thomas Narofsky for teaching us about his inspire or retire leadership theorem. Click here to see the preview and related reading.

#TChat Events: Inspire Or Retire Leadership Theorem

TChatRadio_logo_020813

#TChat Radio — Are you plugged in to #TChat radio? Did you know you can listen live to ANY of our shows ANY time?

Now you know. Click the box to head on over to our channel or listen to Inspire Or Retire Leadership Theorem.

Note To Bloggers: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about trends on leadership?

We welcome your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we may feature it!

If you recap #TChat make sure to let us know so we can find you!

We Want To See You On TalentCulture. Become A Contributor Now!

Sign up for the newsletter to get the scoop on next week’s guest, topic and questions!

Save The Date: Wednesday, May 28!

Next week’s #TChat Show: How to Visualize Real-Time Talent Alignment with guests Andre Lavoie and Matt Norman.

The TalentCulture conversation continues daily on #TChat Twitter, in our LinkedIn group, and on our new Google+ community. So join us anytime on your favorite social channels!

Ditching Your ATS? You’re Not Alone

Having been in the HR tech business for a number of years, I have spoken with countless HR and recruiting experts about their technology moves. As applicant tracking systems have grown in popularity over the last several years, larger companies are looking for new, more effective software and smaller companies are looking to make their first ATS decisions. Regardless of which group you fall into, there are a few things you should consider when shopping around.

Software Advice used the information that they gathered about past clients’ issues with their ATS and their reasons for switching, to create their 2013 ATS BuyerView report. Let’s look at the top three reasons that today’s software buyers are in the market for a new ATS:

1) Need More Robust Software

The applicant tracking software of less than a decade ago won’t have some features that have become pretty standard, and totally necessary in today’s recruiting climate. As other forms of HR and recruiting tech have advanced, each other type has to keep up. For instance, LinkedIn’s “Click to apply with LinkedIn” button has become wildly popular with applicants and recruiters alike, yet this option is not available with some of the older software.

Furthermore, social sharing and the ability to post listings on job boards directly from the secure platform is a relatively new function that only more current software will have. Many companies with free or outdated software are also finding that they need cloud-based software to keep up with the competition.

2. Current System Too Complex

Seeing this at #2 on the list isn’t surprising at all. I actually run into this a lot. A company is sold on a vendor that offers it all…except for user-friendliness, support or training. The most robust, all-inclusive and up-to-date software is going to be useless if no one can, or will use it. Recruitment expert Randall Birkwood said:

“You will find vendors will offer a number of bells and whistles, which may be confusing.  Ultimately, what is most important is whether it is easy to set up, intuitive, and requires minimal maintenance.”

3. Improve Efficiency/Effectiveness

This is sort of a broad category, but I have some solid hunches on what these users were unhappy with, given my experience in the industry.

Searching and Matching

An ATS that easily imports, parses and organizes all of the data you can shoot at it is great, but the user has to be able to access that data effortlessly. Poor search functionality can render an ATS useless.

Internal Candidate Portals and Referral Portals

HR is tired of being the middleman. Internal movement and career development is crucial to engagement and retention. Allow internal candidates to easily view and apply for listings. Additionally, your ATS should have a portal for employees to make referrals. These portals will provide all information that the candidates and referrers need, while decreasing the burden on HR and recruiting resources.

Reporting

Metrics are vital to the continued success of any recruitment team, and they aren’t easy to gather without the right tools. Companies are looking for reporting tools that effortlessly gather information on important metrics like time-to-fill, source of hire and diversity. RecruiterLoop provides more information on important recruiting metrics.

Cloud-based

Many companies quickly realized the burden on their IT team after purchasing their non-cloud-based software. The cloud is where it’s at now. With cloud-based options, your vendor is tasked with maintaining and updating the system, instead of using your own resources.

While there is plenty more to picking out the right software for your company’s unique needs, I think it’s important to hear from software buyers who have already spent the money and found the issues. That way, you don’t have to do it!

It is also important for software buyers to ask questions about updates and upgrades before deciding to make any purchases. These might come with hidden costs, but they might be simple changes that your vendor can make for you. One last piece of advice: Don’t buy until it’s right!

(About the Author: Raj Sheth is the CEO and co-founder of Recruiterbox, an online recruitment software and applicant tracking system designed especially for growing companies. Prior to Recruiterbox, Sheth founded two other web start-ups — a classifieds portal and an ecommerce site. He graduated from Babson College and spent the first three years of his career as a financial analyst with EMC Corporation in Boston.)

To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter and G+ conversation anytime. Learn more…

TalentCulture World of Work was created for HR professionals, leadership executives, and the global workforce. Our community delves into subjects like HR technologyleadershipemployee engagement, and corporate culture everyday. To get more World of Work goodness, please sign up for our newsletter, listen to our #TChat Radio Channel or sign up for our RSS feed.

Do you have great content you want to share with us? Become a TalentCulture contributor!

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Ditching Your ATS? You’re Not Alone

Having been in the HR tech business for a number of years, I have spoken with countless HR and recruiting experts about their technology moves. As applicant tracking systems have grown in popularity over the last several years, larger companies are looking for new, more effective software and smaller companies are looking to make their first ATS decisions. Regardless of which group you fall into, there are a few things you should consider when shopping around.

Software Advice used the information that they gathered about past clients’ issues with their ATS and their reasons for switching, to create their 2013 ATS BuyerView report. Let’s look at the top three reasons that today’s software buyers are in the market for a new ATS:

1) Need More Robust Software

The applicant tracking software of less than a decade ago won’t have some features that have become pretty standard, and totally necessary in today’s recruiting climate. As other forms of HR and recruiting tech have advanced, each other type has to keep up. For instance, LinkedIn’s “Click to apply with LinkedIn” button has become wildly popular with applicants and recruiters alike, yet this option is not available with some of the older software.

Furthermore, social sharing and the ability to post listings on job boards directly from the secure platform is a relatively new function that only more current software will have. Many companies with free or outdated software are also finding that they need cloud-based software to keep up with the competition.

2. Current System Too Complex

Seeing this at #2 on the list isn’t surprising at all. I actually run into this a lot. A company is sold on a vendor that offers it all…except for user-friendliness, support or training. The most robust, all-inclusive and up-to-date software is going to be useless if no one can, or will use it. Recruitment expert Randall Birkwood said:

“You will find vendors will offer a number of bells and whistles, which may be confusing.  Ultimately, what is most important is whether it is easy to set up, intuitive, and requires minimal maintenance.”

3. Improve Efficiency/Effectiveness

This is sort of a broad category, but I have some solid hunches on what these users were unhappy with, given my experience in the industry.

Searching and Matching

An ATS that easily imports, parses and organizes all of the data you can shoot at it is great, but the user has to be able to access that data effortlessly. Poor search functionality can render an ATS useless.

Internal Candidate Portals and Referral Portals

HR is tired of being the middleman. Internal movement and career development is crucial to engagement and retention. Allow internal candidates to easily view and apply for listings. Additionally, your ATS should have a portal for employees to make referrals. These portals will provide all information that the candidates and referrers need, while decreasing the burden on HR and recruiting resources.

Reporting

Metrics are vital to the continued success of any recruitment team, and they aren’t easy to gather without the right tools. Companies are looking for reporting tools that effortlessly gather information on important metrics like time-to-fill, source of hire and diversity. RecruiterLoop provides more information on important recruiting metrics.

Cloud-based

Many companies quickly realized the burden on their IT team after purchasing their non-cloud-based software. The cloud is where it’s at now. With cloud-based options, your vendor is tasked with maintaining and updating the system, instead of using your own resources.

While there is plenty more to picking out the right software for your company’s unique needs, I think it’s important to hear from software buyers who have already spent the money and found the issues. That way, you don’t have to do it!

It is also important for software buyers to ask questions about updates and upgrades before deciding to make any purchases. These might come with hidden costs, but they might be simple changes that your vendor can make for you. One last piece of advice: Don’t buy until it’s right!

(About the Author: Raj Sheth is the CEO and co-founder of Recruiterbox, an online recruitment software and applicant tracking system designed especially for growing companies. Prior to Recruiterbox, Sheth founded two other web start-ups — a classifieds portal and an ecommerce site. He graduated from Babson College and spent the first three years of his career as a financial analyst with EMC Corporation in Boston.)

To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter and G+ conversation anytime. Learn more…

TalentCulture World of Work was created for HR professionals, leadership executives, and the global workforce. Our community delves into subjects like HR technologyleadershipemployee engagement, and corporate culture everyday. To get more World of Work goodness, please sign up for our newsletter, listen to our #TChat Radio Channel or sign up for our RSS feed.

Do you have great content you want to share with us? Become a TalentCulture contributor!

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Developing The Next Generation Of Leaders

Good Day! I’ll be the guest host this Wednesday, May 21, on the TalentCulture #TChat – show which includes #TChat Radio and #TChat Twitter Chat – Wednesdays from 6:30-8:00 pm EST. The radio show is from 6:30-7:00 pm EST and the Twitter chat is from 7pm-8pm EST. Before I host I would like to share some information with you about myself.

I am passionate about…

developing emerging, enduring, and experienced leaders and teaching them how to develop themselves using a disciplined and deliberate approach. All leadership begins from inside a person and must be developed and grown as they grow into emerging and enduring leaders. I believe that leadership principles are timeless and apply across all spectrums of life. I believe leadership begins inside of you. Leadership starts with a condition of the heart – the desire and passion to make a difference before it moves to the brain to implement a plan to make a difference. It is an inside-out process and is shaped by your values, character, choices, opportunities, experiences, and your worldview. Leadership is about you, the people you influence, and a belief that you can make a difference and have an impact.

Second, my next passion is for developing the next generation of leaders who will be the leaders in the military, in government, in business and globally. These leaders will lead in a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous or VUCA world and must be prepared for leading in chaos.

What do I mean by a VUCA?

  • Volatile means that the speed, size, scale of change in the world today has a great impact on events around the globe almost instantaneously. An example is the rate and pace of stock market changes and the effect it has on personal and corporate wealth.
  • Uncertainty means that world events are unpredictable and this unpredictability makes it impossible to prepare for unknown world events. An example is the effects of Arab Spring and governmental changes in the last four years.
  • Complexity means that the chaotic nature of the world combined with the volatility and uncertainty of global events creates an environment of confusion and difficulty for today’s leaders.
  • Ambiguity means that there is a lack of clarity or transparency surrounding world events. It is hard to predict what threats are in the world if you do not know the who, what, or why things are happening.

We will need leaders who can meet and adapt to new challenges, build strategic partnerships, build and sustain human capital organizations, and have the courage to act and react to the challenges. In addition to these requirements, we need to continue to develop leaders who are flexible, adaptive and are globally and culturally aware. This next generation of leaders must understand how to build and maintain trust, keep their integrity, and continue to build their credibility by developing their character.

An authentic character is the outward expression of our purpose, values, and beliefs. Your character comprises your beliefs, motives, values, desires, behaviors, and principles that drive and shape your actions as a leader. Character authenticity is living on purpose, keeping true to your values and beliefs, and not compromising them at the altar of Society. Your character is tested in the crucible of life and is forged through adversity.

I believe authentic leaders…

inspire people to greatness. Inspiration is the ability to breathe life into someone or an organization. Inspiration is a positive influence – a positive reinforcement – we give our people. It ignites desire, ignites creativity, and ignites innovation in inspired people. Leadership is not what I do it is who I am. There is no escaping who I am. My leadership is the embodiment of my heart, mind, body, and soul. It is an amalgamation of my life’s purpose, my values, my ethics, my core beliefs, my life philosophy, and my worldview.

One of the topics we are going to discuss on the #TCHAT show is the Inspire or Retire Theorem.

Inspire Or Retire Theorem

The Inspire or Retire Theorem wraps up my F(X) Leadership framework and my theory of you are the key to your leadership. The function of (x) is you.

InspireOrRetireTheorem

 What If The Leaders In Your Organization

•  Knew the organizational vision, goals, values and the impact their leadership had on the success of the organization
•  Knew success as a leader included knowing themselves, their team and the organization
•  Knew a leader must have high moral and ethical values and that character counts
•  Knew leaders are responsible for their actions and their words
•  Knew they needed to continuously develop, grow and reinvent themselves to meet the challenges of the future
•  Understood their role in developing other leaders
•  Understood character, courage, commitment and communication are key components of leadership
•  Understood they are responsible for their leadership development
•  Understood they are the key to their leadership

The Inspire or Retire Theorem answers all the above questions in a mathematical mnemonic that encapsulates my leadership responsibility to the people I lead and the organization I serve. It was designed as a visual representation for me to remember to always Inspire or Retire.

I look forward to sharing time with and discussing your views on leadership, leadership development, and developing the next generation of leaders.

(About the Author:  Thomas S. Narofsky is the Founder and Chief Inspirational Officer for the Narofsky Consulting Group, a leadership development, team effectiveness, and executive coaching consultancy. He the developer of the F(X) Leadership Model, the Inspire or Retire Leadership Theorem, and author of F(X) Leadership Unleashed!, and soon to be released book, You are Unstoppable!.

He also served on the United States Air Force Enlisted Board of Directors which focused on professional development, training concepts and long-range strategies to provide continuous, career-long enlisted deliberate development by integrating education, training and experience to produce a skilled and adaptive work force. He has conducted worldwide professional and leadership development seminars with U.S, Korean, Japanese, Australian, British, Canadian, Belgian and German enlisted forces. His military decorations include Defense Superior Service Medal and the Bronze Star.

Thom is an adjunct professor at Bellevue University in the Arts and Sciences Department. He holds a Master of Arts in Leadership, a Master of Science in Information Technology Management and a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies.)

To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter and G+ conversation anytime. Learn more…

TalentCulture World of Work was created for HR professionals, leadership executives, and the global workforce. Our community delves into subjects like HR technologyleadershipemployee engagement, and corporate culture everyday. To get more World of Work goodness, please sign up for our newsletter, listen to our #TChat Radio Channel or sign up for our RSS feed.

Do you have great content you want to share with us? Become a TalentCulture

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#TChat Preview: Inspire Or Retire Leadership Theorem

The TalentCulture #TChat Show is back live on Wednesday, May 21, 2014. #TChat Radio starts at 6:30 pm ET (3:30 pm PT) and the convo continues on #TChat Twitter chat from 7-8 pm ET (4-5 pm PT).

Last week we talked about the talent-centric recruiting experience, and this week we’re talking about the inspire or retire leadership theorem.

Yes, that’s what we said. The first part of this theorem is a reminder that from the junior employee to senior management, leadership is everyone’s business. When organizations are in a VUCA environment (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity), they are usually flatter and everyone must lead.

You’ll learn more about the theorem soon, but until then, inspirational leaders encourage their team by example and allow their people to take the lead in accomplishing the organizational vision.

The most significant contribution we can make as leaders today is to leave a legacy of inspired leaders behind to take care of tomorrow. We can leverage our skills, talents, and experiences to transform our people into leaders.

Join #TChat co-creators and hosts Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman as we learn more about the inspire or retire leadership theorem with this week’s guest: Thomas S. Narofsky, Founder and Chief Inspirational Officer for the Narofsky Consulting Group, a leadership development, team effectiveness, and executive coaching consultancy.

Sneak Peek: Inspire Or Retire Leadership Theorem

We spoke briefly with our guest Thomas Narofsky, to learn a little about the Inspire or Retire Leadership Theorem. Check out our YouTube Channel for videos with other #TChat guests!

Related Reading:

Michael Rogers: Inspirational Leadership – What 5 Things Do They Have In Common?

Jesse Lyn Stoner: How To Give Your Boss Bad News 

Peter Sessum: Military Leadership: Lessons In Military Leadership For Civilians

Kevin W. Grossman: On Finding The Leader’s Way

Meghan M. Biro: Leadership Is About Emotion

We hope you’ll join the #TChat conversation this week and share your questions, opinions and ideas with our guests and the TalentCulture Community.

#TChat Events: Inspire Or Retire Leadership Theorem

TChatRadio_logo_020813 #TChat Radio — Wed, May 21 — 6:30pmET / 3:30pmPT Tune-in to the #TChat Radio show Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman talk with our guest Thomas Narofsky!

Tune-in LIVE online this Wednesday!

#TChat Twitter Chat — Wed, May 14 — 7pmET / 4pmPT Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin and our guest will move to the #TChat Twitter stream, where we’ll continue the discussion with the entire TalentCulture community. Everyone with a Twitter account is invited to participate, as we gather for a dynamic live chat, focused on these related questions:

Q1: What are the current and best leadership development approaches and why do they work? (Tweet this Question)

Q2: Why is it important to teach leaders of all stages how to develop themselves? (Tweet this Question)

Q3: How can next-gen leaders be comfortable in a volatile and uncertain environment? (Tweet this Question)

Q4: How can we train new leaders to inspire future leaders? (Tweet this Question)

Q5: What technologies improve the delivery of inspiring leadership development? (Tweet this Question)

Throughout the week, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed, and in our new TalentCulture G+ community. So feel free to drop by anytime and share your questions, ideas and opinions. See you there!!

TalentCulture World of Work was created for HR professionals, leadership executives, and the global workforce. Our community delves into subjects like HR technologyleadershipemployee engagement, and corporate culture everyday.

To get more World of Work goodness, please sign up for our newsletter, listen to our #TChat Radio Channel or sign up for our RSS feed.

Do you have great content you want to share with us? Become a TalentCulture contributor!

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Brave New World, Brave Business Leaders Needed

The first quarter of 2014 brought welcome optimism for some of the world’s major economies. On the face of things, it’s great news. However, businesses still face a battle to get back to the levels of pre 2008 performance and growth.

One thing that could be preventing them from doing so is if business leaders aren’t equipped for the brave new business world. Could Generation Y leaders hold the key?

Have Leaders Got This In Their Locker?

Concerns persist that many of today’s leaders lack the skills and knowledge needed to lead businesses in a rapidly-evolving corporate landscape. This is highlighted by the London Business School’s Lynda Gratton in her research.

The Future of Work Research Consortium, led by Gratton, found that half of the executives sampled across the world don’t think that leadership programs are currently equipping leaders with the right skills. This is a worrying trend which must be reversed.

Gratton offers great insight, setting out a clear and bold vision for the future of leadership. She explains the need to develop leaders that are able to leverage new technologies, take risks, build external relationships and champion creativity.

Failure to develop leaders with these skills and traits will stifle innovation and, with it, economic growth.

The Present: Developing Leaders Now

Companies must quickly recognize and respond to the changing business world. They’ll need to adjust talent and leadership development programs accordingly.

The first step is for businesses to identify what skills, behaviors and competencies their leaders need to possess in order to deliver strategies now (and anticipate how this might change in the future). They should measure leaders against a defined set of key skills, behaviors and competencies. Awareness of leaders’ strengths and development needs will then help companies to provide targeted support in areas where they need to shift behavior or change their approach.

Taking these steps will certainly better equip leaders now. However, the real change in leadership approach for business may only come about when the next generation of leaders take the top jobs.

The Future: Generation Y Leaders

Generation Y or ‘Millennials’ as they’re also known will, naturally, be more inclined to embrace and leverage new technologies and to champion innovation.

And, as others have noted, Generation Y workers are more collaborative and flexible in their approach. This makes them better able to build relationships and create strong, engaged teams.

I’d argue that this combined skill set and experience gives Generation Y the perfect foundation to be the bold, brave and forward-thinking leaders we need to drive future business success. Time will tell if I’m right.

(About the Author: Ben Egan is an experienced consultant specializing in communications strategies at UK-based HR consultancy and bespoke technology firm. ETS are experts in employee engagement, development and performance appraisal working with major global businesses including PepsiCo, Tesco and RBS.)

To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter and G+ conversation anytime. Learn more…

TalentCulture World of Work was created for HR professionals, leadership executives, and the global workforce. Our community delves into subjects like HR technologyleadershipemployee engagement, and corporate culture everyday. To get more World of Work goodness, please sign up for our newsletter, listen to our #TChat Radio Channel or sign up for our RSS feed.

Do you have great content you want to share with us? Become a TalentCulture contributor!

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6 Listening Lessons From The Experts

Calvin Coolidge once said, “No man ever listened himself out of a job”. As an employee engagement specialist, this quote really resonates with me. Solid and effective communication in the workplace is undoubtedly how we can start to turn around the $11 billion lost annually due to employee turnover.

When we talk about improving workplace communications most people will immediately think of ways to be heard more, to accurately get their point across and garner respect. However, effective communication has two sides, and the listening side very often gets neglected. Take some lessons in listening from the greats.

“The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them.”

— Ralph Nichols, Father of the Field of Listening

This most basic of principles is often lost on corporate America. Decisions that affect everyone are made at the top, with little or no context from the remaining 95% of the organization. In order to create an engaged, satisfied and retained workforce, leaders have to ask and listen. True engagement demands that you really be in the moment with the person. Don’t think of what you will say next, really listen.

“Man’s inability to communicate is a result of his failure to listen effectively.”

 Carl Rogers, Psychologist

How many times have you kept your mouth shut and let someone else talk, only to actually be formulating your response the entire time. How many times have you heard, “That’s not what I said”? Very often, we hear what we want to, or what our insecurities or personal agendas interpret. Listening isn’t simply keeping quiet. Whenever you feel the need to communicate what’s on your mind, instead shut up and ask a powerful question…such as “What about this is important to you? What do you really want? What else?” This will build a more meaningful conversation.

“Big egos have little ears.”

— Robert Schuller, Author and Pastor 

So many leaders have trouble with this one. Talking over people or interrupting doesn’t give your opinion any more weight; in fact, it makes you look like a jerk. Open, positive and genuine approaches at respectful workplace relationships are a catalyst for great things to happen. The difference you will find in how people respond to you and one another can be pretty astounding. The natural response to respect, is usually respect…who would have known?

“I only wish I could find an institute that teaches people how to listen. Business people need to listen at least as much as they need to talk. Too many people fail to realize that real communication goes in both directions.”

— Lee Iacocca, Former CEO Chrysler Corporation

Couldn’t agree more –“People need to listen at least as much as they need to talk.” Why then are so many companies still performing quarterly reviews and annual employee surveys? There seems to be a huge imbalance between the talking and listening here.

“I think the one lesson I have learned is that there is no substitute for paying attention.”

— Diane Sawyer, ABC Television Anchor

Everyone is guilty of it –getting caught up in the day-to-day and just “getting through” the workday. There’s a lot going on that matters, a lot that people are saying that counts. Are you paying attention?

Communication is the backbone of any successful relationship, and listening is a huge part of that. How much importance do you consciously put on listening? Is it equal to your need to be heard? It should be.

Being a good listener doesn’t come to any of us naturally. If our parents had a dime for every time they had to say, “Did you hear me?” or, “Are you paying attention?” we would have all had college funds bursting at the seams. Being a good listener takes a very conscious effort; one that will always prove to garner a great return. To end, please remember that there is a reason we have two ears and one mouth…so try to listen more and talk less.

(About the Author: Melissa, a marketing professional with over a decade of leadership, has led marketing teams in companies ranging from travel to fundraising to small business apps, always multiplying results with her contagious ambition. And while the pressure of being the marketing mastermind would be more than enough for most pros, Melissa is also VP of Talent Management of Herd Wisdom.)

To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter and G+ conversation anytime. Learn more…

TalentCulture World of Work was created for HR professionals, leadership executives, and the global workforce. Our community delves into subjects like HR technologyleadershipemployee engagement, and corporate culture everyday. To get more World of Work goodness, please sign up for our newsletter, listen to our #TChat Radio Channel or sign up for our RSS feed.

Do you have great content you want to share with us? Become a TalentCulture contributor!

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How To Create A Resilient Workforce

Written by: Michael Ballard

Resiliency is defined as, “Our capacity to bounce back.” I define it as, “Our capacity to increase the quality of our experience and the outcomes.”

Creating and maintaining a resilient workforce takes, vision, mission, diligence and resources. In a world of work that is experiencing global competition, key issues include:

  • Attracting top talent
  • Keeping talent engaged
  • Moving from training to talent management
  • Treating career development seriously
  • Acknowledging the costs and efforts to manage mental health and chronic health issues
  • Changing HR function

The potential organizational paybacks of having resiliency as a key set of factors are impressive. They enhance workplace productivity and lower costs for:

  • Recruitment
  • Safety
  • Retention
  • Chronic health issues
  • Mental health issues

Special attention to the sales force needs to be taken. In the past two decades the ability to connect with key decision makers has gotten easier due to technology. However it is now often much tougher as the decision makers have been flooded and are over communicated with. What used to take 5 – 7 calls to engage a buyer is over 11 to 19 contacts to get that first appointment.

In the world-of-work keeping staff and organizations on an even keel takes time and effort. Each client I’ve have worked with has been on a path of diligently working to gain staff, management, and supplier engagement and to ensure a high quality and congruent approach. They’ve ranged in size from small software start up with a staff of seven, to an international firm with an excess of 10,000 employees; governments, NGO’s, health care and educational organizations, and all are challenged by this.

How is this an issue?

One international client started off locally by hiring several facilitators and had 900+ employees brainstorm what key factors they wanted to have introduced, changed or released in the workplace. Spouses were also invited to participate in round three of the brainstorming session. They where prompted to discuss workplace culture and “missing links” and added insights on next steps they felt would assist their partners in being happier and more productive.

One of my smaller clients in retail made a bold category-busting move. They decided to break all industry pay-scale standards, and over time started rewarding staff who had stayed more than a year… this was 20 – 60% above industry standard. Productivity went up significantly and retention soared. Last time I knew, the owner reported that his business was at a factor of six times the national average for productivity and was at only 9% of the national average for damaged and broken products.

The clients that made successful use of technology to assist in their business, felt this helped better engage their employees. One had a toll-free line installed so staff could call to learn late-breaking corporate news. There they heard from the President, all VPs and on occasion a few key customers took turns sharing brief 30 – 120 seconds thoughts on current corporate and market place news. The organization has an FM radio station that broadcasts the key message of the day, themed on the week and the month.

An Example Of One Client’s Approach:

  • Staff developed mini educational programs 12 minutes in length, which they present at weekly meetings.
  • Leadership developed a tightly woven vision statement. It was created as a powerful message that drives the three key points of their mandate to their staff, suppliers and management team.
  • All employees conduct 15-minute meetings at the beginning of every work shift to recap key issues.

How Is This Helpful?

Having and creating from the bottom up and the top down, plus having suppliers and spouses on board helps.

  • When spouses understand that safety in the work place is not just “talk” and that in heavy-industry lives are at stake and that things change.
  • When sales teams is on-board with the approach.
  • When Quality Control understands that their role is about how products need to be perfect.
  • When people need strive for excellence things change for the better.
  • Use of encouraging language brought everyone into the loop on the “Language of Resiliency” and using it to change for the better.

For my clients the payoffs have included: reduced cost of production, increased quality, higher sales, more stable market share, reduced absentee rates and according to one General Manager, “more happiness” in his offices.

The cost of ignoring the warning signs and not becoming a resilient organization has many potential outcomes. All of them are expensive. I do know that organizations and individuals that embrace resiliency in the workplace respond to and resolve issues faster with less turmoil.

So, let’s get started! Want to learn more? Join me on the #TChat discussion tonight, May 7, at 7pm ET by tweeting @TalentCulture using the #TChat hashtag. For a preview of the questions and topics we will be discussing tonight click here.

Michael-Ballard

(About the Author: Michael H. Ballard specializes in building resiliency by helping groups and people of all ages learn how to deal with change and adversity in the fast pace of modern life with its overwhelming situations and stresses, through Resiliency for Life™ (RFL). Michael has delivered breakthrough solutions for over 207 organizations across North America and around the world from the beaches of Bermuda to the skyscrapers of Singapore, dedicating his life to helping others prepare for, or recover from, life’s challenges. Michael delivers actionable solutions that reflect the depth of his experience, applying a practical yet science-based approach to instill a courageous point of view. His goal is to help people get back up and “dust themselves off” after an upset, develop and deepen their resiliency and out-perform their former selves. He knows what’s possible. He’s lived it. Despite his multiple battles with cancer, and a near death experience due to a failed medical procedure, Michael still reached sales success placing 7th out of 78 professionals in a year when he was off work for four months. Michael knows exactly what it takes to be resilient.)

To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter and G+ conversation anytime. Learn more…

TalentCulture World of Work was created for HR professionals, leadership executives, and the global workforce. Our community delves into subjects like HR technologyleadershipemployee engagement, and corporate culture everyday. To get more World of Work goodness, please sign up for our newsletter, listen to our #TChat Radio Channel or sign up for our RSS feed.

Do you have great content you want to share with us? Become a TalentCulture contributor!

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5 Thought Changers To Grow Employee Engagement

Would you rather think differently than others or differently than you’re used to thinking? Chances are good that doing the second will get you the first.

Adapting our thinking to others’ patterns and processes is normal. We work together more smoothly. We agree more quickly. We experience comfort more often. And it may stultify.

Look to the habit of mental exercise outside the routine of crossword puzzles. The exercise changes thinking; the thinking stimulates employee engagement.

Employee-EngagementLook closer. See more.

When you notice something–a cloud, a broken pencil, a discarded Starbucks cup, a phrase–pause to notice more. Make the time to see it more clearly. Allow a moment to view from a different angle. Look for some aspect you’ve never considered, some comparison you’ve never had.

Be quick to metaphor.

Call out your imagination, your poet. Whether you observe something physical or think something abstract, reach for a comparison. That cup of pencils is a yard of silos. The sleek black stapler is an evil beaver. Let your mind work quickly. Don’t slow your thinking down by searching (or waiting) for the “right” metaphor.

Play with What-If

The What-If game generates new ideas by the dozens. The more often you play, the sooner you’ll say “by the scores” and then “by the hundreds.” What-If frees you from reality. What-If allows you to play with the craziest possible ideas. What-If can be played at either of 2 levels: fun and funner. Fun is simply imaging wacky situations: what if we wore shoes on our hands? what if we lived underwater? what if we were paid to stay at home?

Funner is inserting the “to do” between what and if. What would we discover if dolphins talked to us? What can we expand if the merger comes through? What will we change in our training if everyone works remotely?

And what if there are other ways to generate ideas? There are.

Make Changes.

Let’s go back to the visual. When you see something that draws your attention, change it. In your mind change its color. Change its shape. Change its texture. Change its size. You and your mind will play with those changes. How would I fry a 14 pound egg? If the sun were turquoise blue, would we still tan? That playing is really thought-changing.

Then think of how you do things. How can you do them differently? Changing what you see and changing how you do thing can be a step to being highly creative.

Look Fast to Think Faster.

Since change happens faster than ever before, why not rev up your thinking? Especially your thinking differently. This is simply the opposite of slow-motion. Practice looking at and really seeing as many things as you can, one right after the other. The more you do it, the better you’ll get. You’ll get better at seeing the details more quickly. You’ll get better at remembering more of what you see (and think) sequentially. You’ll get better at seeing not-necessarily-normal comparisons and links between different things.

OK, it’s a bit much to take on all 5 of these at once. Pick one; practice more than once; see if it feels comfortable and beneficial. Then move to another of the 5.

BONUS NOTE: These thought changers increase employee engagement. The changers above transfer to real application on the job. That’s employee engagement. Use these with your team. Introduce one at a time or send them the link to this blog post. Contact me if you have any questions or would like any tips.

(About the Author:  As an Employee Engagement and Performance Improvement expert, Tim Wright, has worked with businesses and national associations of all sizes. His company, Wright Results, offers proven strategies and techniques to help businesses increase employee engagement, improve personnel performance and build a strong business culture by focusing on performance management from the C.O.R.E. For more information, visit www.wrightresults.com or connect with Tim here: tim@wrightresults.com)

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How Do You Embrace Culture Change In Your Company?

Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts. ~Arnold Bennett

Change is hard. We all know that. Changing anything in an organization can seem like a daunting task; changing the culture of an organization can seem like an impossibility. Fear not. Others have done it and so can you. This week on #TChat guest, Tim Kuppler, co-founder of The Culture Advantage and CultureUniversity.com, will share his experience on the subject.

Changing an organization’s culture is one of the most difficult leadership challenges according to Steve Denning, author of The Leader’s Guide to Radical Management: Reinventing the Workplace.
Why is it so hard? Because an organization’s culture is made up of an interlocking set of goals, roles, processes, values, communications practices, attitudes and assumptions. Changing the culture requires a combination of organization tools for changing minds.

A successful shift in organizational culture begins with leadership tools, including a vision or story of the future. It includes cementing the change in place with management tools, such as role definitions, measurement and control systems, and it requires the pure power tools of coercion and punishments as a last resort, when all else fails.

Consultant Brad Power advises, “If You’re Going to Change Your Culture, Do It Quickly.” Power describes the way Trane, an $8 billion subsidiary of Ingersoll Rand, changed their culture quickly by using a combination of a culture survey and an employee engagement survey. The results of their assessment are used to help determine if they have created their desired culture which includes three essential elements:

  • Vision: where the organization wants to go together
  • Mission: what they do together
  • Guiding behavioral principles: how they expect all associates to behave

By Implementing these changes, Trane North America grew year-over-year operating income by over 20 percent, without any new products or services and very limited market growth.

How does one lead change? Harvard Business School professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter cites the following six success factors that are the keys to positive change.

  • Show up
  • Speak up
  • Look up
  • Team up
  • Never give up
  • Lift others up

photo credit: SomeDriftwood via photopin cc

How I Got Schooled On Culture

I had the good fortune of having my interest in the power of culture sparked nearly 20 years ago when I was a VP with a major automotive supplier.  We wanted to foster a positive environment and build an “involvement culture.” I had great mentors and read everything I could find on leadership and culture.

I learned about “building culture muscle” through rigorous feedback and prioritization to foster ownership with groups, transparent and regular communication habits, proactive resolution of major employee frustrations, and consistent tracking of strategies, goals, and measures.

The Main Learning Years – Trial and Error

I moved through a series of roles with different regional and global groups over the next eight years, each with a different sub-culture and urgent performance priories.  One exciting principle was further building ownership with the goal of having every employee feel like they were part of team “running their own business.” We implemented extensive cross-functional team structures to support this goal.  The same fundamentals worked across the world but customization was needed for communication, and different aspects of the operating model were emphasized based on the local culture.

I learned about the importance of understanding the history of an organization, a documented vision and strategy, large group “involvement meetings” to keep a team on the same page, and innovative group reward and recognition. The learning continued through regular community service activities and employee wellness improvements to support a deeper purpose, leveraging technology to streamline work, and proactively using feedback to refine communications and drive clarity.  I also learned about the incredible power of strengths-based employee development.  

The Financial Crisis – Fear, Uncertainty & Failure

Next, the financial crisis hit, automotive volumes tanked, and my responsibilities changed to focus on managing an urgent restructuring plan in North America.  The same operating model was implemented as in prior roles but there was an incredible focus on performance.  We were bought by a private equity firm, managed a massive downsizing, restructured the global business, and I lost my job at the end of it all.

I learned about urgently driving improvement because peoples’ lives are at stake, relentlessly emphasizing performance metrics, and confronting reality in extremely difficult times.  I also learned about fear, self-doubt, sadness, and regret.

Moving to a New Organization

I was out of work for a year before landing a role as president of a great family-owned business.  It was a massive turnaround effort but most aspects of the same operating model worked in an organization where I had no history.

I learned about the importance of having only one “top” priority at a time, focusing on 1-2 key values or behaviors to improve (discipline, teamwork, etc.), and about how to hold off on sharing my ideas or proposed plans in favor of starting with a vested group and a clean sheet of paper.  I also learned about eliminating fear, growing pride, phasing improvements, hiring for cultural fit, and proactively communicating with a board / owners so they feel involved.

A World of Culture Education

I moved to consulting as president of a culture assessment and consulting firm, before a transition to independent consulting and business coaching.   It’s been an amazing experience to see cultures across a wide variety of organizations.

I learned extremely effective organizations, small or large, apply relatively similar habits to support their purpose, values, and performance priorities. The vast majority of those organizations did what I did – they pieced things together over a period of many years without following a clear framework, model, or guide to help them sequence or prioritize the work.  

The Problem

It doesn’t make sense to me that leaders should have to go through a long learning process to deal with the complex subject of culture with confidence.   Culture is a hot topic but we’re buried in the popular press of disconnected tips, keys, and levers that over-shadow fundamentals about culture and the direct impact it has on performance. Sustainable culture change takes time but the initial efforts to build clarity, alignment, and leverage your unique culture will often have a rapid impact on performance as momentum builds.

I learned the lack of understanding the subject of culture is dramatically impacting results in the vast majority of organizations. There is also a huge social impact (think about organizations in education, healthcare, government, non-profit, etc.) where meaningful change could be accelerated.

The Bottom Line and a Predication

Leaders need to:

1) See through the popular press and understand culture fundamentals

2) Focus on specific problems, challenges, or goals and identify very specific values or behaviors to evolve that have been holding back performance

3)   Apply culture fundamentals as part of clear plan to engage their workforce in solving problems, achieving goals, and improving performance with a sense of urgency

4)  Connect the right set of improvements to get over the “culture tipping point” where momentum, results, and buy-in grows.

Culture will be widely accepted as the ultimate differentiator in organizations within the next 20 years.  The focus will over-shadow strategy, talent, technology, and all other areas.

What have you learned about the subject of culture? Is it the ultimate differentiator in organizations?