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#WorkTrends: Outsourcing HR: Why and How

The global health crisis and its economic repercussions have pushed companies to innovate in new ways — and that includes HR. Meghan M. Biro and Paychex’s Tom Hammond used this episode of #WorkTrends as an opportunity to look at the best strategies for talent management, such as outsourcing. Tom is Paychex’s VP of Corporate Strategy and Management, and he’s on the front lines as far as helping organizations navigate the new business landscape. 

As Tom pointed out, HR professionals are in a unique position “at the epicenter of this crisis,” and they’re getting a whole range of timely questions around workplace legislation, from local to state and national levels. Making sense of the challenging (and quick) decisions that need to be made and keeping up with compliance and regulations now can take a lot of bandwidth, Meghan noted — so it makes sense for HR departments to look for help rather than go it alone. Partnering with Human Capital Management (HCM) solutions not only streamlines the process, it takes the worry out.  

Whatever the scenario, HR experts can help mitigate the gray area — and both Meghan and Tom see a different relationship happening between companies and outside service providers. It’s not a handoff, but an ongoing, one-on-one conversation dedicated to finding the solutions “that drive what matters,” as Tom said. While each company needs something different, what everyone needs is real guidance, not just a generic recommendation. 

Meghan added that this new paradigm embraces outside expertise, service and technology — and that’s going to push us forward during this global transformation. Like every other facet of working now, it’s a fast pivot — and not exactly anticipated. But outsourcing ensures that companies can land on their feet, and better manage and support their people. And that may help everyone be far more ready for what happens next.

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

Twitter Chat Questions

Q1: How can HR help struggling remote workers adjust and be productive? #WorkTrends
Q2: How can outsourcing HR functions effectively help organizations? #WorkTrends
Q3: What can leaders do to help shape sound HR strategies during a pandemic? #WorkTrends

Find Tom Hammond on Twitter

This post is sponsored by Paychex.

HR Tech Providers: It's Time to Become Partners in Compliance

It’s been quite a year for employment law. We’ve seen minimum wage increases, Affordable Care Act implementations, the legalization of marijuana, and the more recent and anticipated announcement by the Department of Labor regarding overtime exemption. Not to mention rulings and regulations that, while not directly related to employment law, will affect HR strategy and corporate policies, such as the Supreme Court decision to legalize same-sex marriage.

In the early 20th century in the United States, it was primarily common law and case law that governed employers. Revolutions in technology, globalization, and human rights have brought us to the complex alphabet soup of agencies and regulations we must answer to today. The Department of Labor (DOL) alone manages and enforces nearly 200 federal laws, but in addition to that, there are many widely varying state and local laws to consider as well. While it is often a struggle for an organization to stay in compliance, it cannot be ignored, and must be addressed as a prerequisite to pursuing strategic initiatives. Even with extreme attention to these regulations, there’s a black-or-white outcome: you’re either compliant, or you aren’t.

The cost of noncompliance is greater than ever. While the volume of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) audits has dropped since 2013, the fines have steadily increased. Over $16 million was collected from 642 US employers in 2014, with one noteworthy 2013 settlement topping $30 million. 80% of that company’s I-9s were materially out of compliance. Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) Class Action lawsuits are rising to an all-time high, with focus shifting to technical interpretation of the statute and specifically to employer obligations such as background check disclosure, authorization and the adverse action process. Between January 1 and July 31, nearly eleven percent—198 of the 1,828 total FCRA cases—were Class Action lawsuits, many entering seven figures. A multi-million dollar settlement is a huge financial burden, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg when you consider the time and expense required to correct errors or implement policy changes, not to mention potentially irreparable damage done to your brand when faced with bad publicity.

So what can HR do to keep up with the growing, changing complexities of employment law? And how can expanding businesses expect to manage not only domestic compliance, but entirely new realms of regulations with compounding complexity as their business enters the global market? HR technology providers can help, and should. HR organizations have long been reliant on utilizing their technology to simplify process and boost efficiency. This is a natural opportunity for the technology industry to solve a very real and timely business challenge, up-level its value proposition, and for HR buyers to amplify their ROI through risk reduction and peace of mind. Although compliance adherence ultimately rests with the employer, I see at least three ways technology providers can lend a stronger helping hand.

First, tech partners can help HR navigate compliance through process consistency. Highly configurable and extensible software allows system administrators to define workflows that map to company policy, and update them on the fly as requirements change. Smart field validation is another example, helping companies minimize missing or incomplete data. Some technology systems can serve as compliance system of record, centralizing the storage of forms and sensitive data. When coupled with a detailed audit trail, HR organizations can be more prepared if and when a regulator comes knocking.

Secondly, compliance can be built into the technology itself. For example, the required Form I-9 version is constantly changing, as are required disclaimers and notifications associated with the FCRA-governed background checks. These changes are more easily tracked and implemented by a technology partner than by each and every HR department. HR buyers should look for companies that will keep them informed of changes within the compliance landscape, and update wherever possible the technology configuration. This plays to the strengths of SaaS, right?

Finally, to transcend the business relationship from a vendor to a true partner is to marry smart technology with exceptional service. One way is to provide assistance and service to both organizations and their candidates. For example, at TalentWise we offer a support number that a candidate can call for help when completing Section 1 of their Form I-9. We also pride ourselves in our dedication to settle background screening disputes quickly, so both the employer and their candidate can move forward without the service provider bottlenecking their ability to make a confident hiring decision. We’ve come to realize that by being responsive and transparent with candidates, while treating them with the respect they deserve, is a most certain way to reduce risk of legal intervention.

We all understand the need for organizations to operate in compliance and we’re feeling the heat more than ever. There is room for improvement for technology providers to bring not only process efficiency and highly valuable data-driven insights, but also compliance. After all, HR organizations that aren’t both efficient and compliant won’t have the opportunity to recruit, develop and engage top talent—which I presume we all agree is “true north” for most talent organizations. Let’s strengthen our client relationships and value proposition by providing more fulsome compliance solutions whenever and wherever possible. Whether it’s built into your product or provided via human support, it’s clear that HR could use a helping hand now more than ever, so they can focus on the most important task of building high-performing teams within their organization.

 

TalentWise is a client of TalentCulture and sponsored this post.

Are You Considering A Career In Human Resources?

Before I started my career in Human Resources, I had a perception that the HR lady sat behind a desk the entire day, listening to people complain about problems at work, pushing a box of tissues across the table to emotional employees and dispensing motherly advice. As a mother and former high school teacher, I figured I had all the requisite skills to be a wonderful Human Resources person. And then I started working in Human Resources…

First of all, the field has become so specialized that anyone considering Human Resources as a career choice should think first about which area interests him or her most. The following is a description of the most common specialties in Human Resources:

Recruiting

The ability to find a great pool of job candidates, conduct preliminary interviews, negotiate the terms of the job offer and avoid employment law pitfalls requires a thorough understanding of the industry and the job function. IT recruiters in particular are in high demand because technology changes so rapidly and understanding the myriad job functions in IT is an esoteric skill.

Since there are federal and state regulations pertaining to how job postings are written as well as what it is or is not legal to ask during a job interview, it is important to be thoroughly educated about both of these critical facets of a career in recruiting. It’s also very important to maintain a large and viable network of contacts.

Employee Benefits

From medical and dental, through disability and equity compensation, an employee benefits specialist must be on top of the laws concerning benefits on the federal and state level. Imagine how Obamacare affected benefits specialists!

The law required a lot of training for even the most seasoned professionals. Benefits specialists not only help employees understand their benefits as well as advocate for them with providers when there are issues, but at many companies, they are tasked with shopping for the best benefit programs on an annual basis.

#TChat Preview: How Employee Assistance Programs Engage And Nurture TalentEmployee Relations

While a small percentage of your day as an employee relations specialist will be spent developing team building and other employee morale boosting programs, the most important expertise you will bring to this role is a thorough understanding of employment law. Many senior employee relations professionals are, in fact, attorneys who specialize in employment law. Employment issues can create a legal minefield for employers, so they truly value a competent professional who can help them avoid litigation and keep all the parties in a conflict calm.

In some businesses with labor unions, the employee relations professional must be knowledgeable about labor relations.

Very often, Performance Assessment falls under the aegis of the employee relations professional. In this case, you will work with management to develop a performance assessment tool that best fits the company’s goals, and then manage the review process.

Compensation Analyst

The compensation analyst in a large firm conducts studies on an on-going basis to make certain that the company’s compensation strategy is being followed. This typically means that all salaries must meet or slightly exceed industry benchmarks for the locations in which the company has offices. In smaller companies, the compensation analyst makes certain that salaries are meted out fairly, without gender or racial discrimination, and also manages bonus and salary increases.

HRIS Management

If you love IT and systems, this sub-specialty is for you. Companies with employee populations of over 100 and especially those with global offices need software systems to manage their employee data. The HRIS manager (Human Resources Information Systems) manages the system and the data.

Merger And Acquisitions

It’s a global environment now, and Human Resources has to manage the many mergers and acquisitions that companies undertake, some on a fairly frequent basis. This specialty is typically undertaken by seasoned HR professionals, as it requires expertise in global cultures, laws and benefits, as well as excellent project management skills.

Generalist

As the term implies, the generalist does a little of all of the above. Typically, the smaller the company, the more it will require the skills of a generalist, whereas larger companies tend to hire specialists to focus on a specific area.

You can prepare for a career in Human Resources by earning a Bachelor’s Degree and then a Master’s in the field, although some programs offer certifications in sub-specialties.

For individuals who are empathetic, yet analytic, highly organized, while highly flexible, Human Resources is an incredibly satisfying career where the practitioner can truly make a difference.

Redefine Culture By Leaving The Jerk Zone

Would you tell your other half, your housemate or your child not to tell you what they think? Or to rearrange their day for you without telling them why? Or order them out to buy you a sandwich?

Those might sound like stupid examples, but they’re real cases of ways people behave in the workplace, and they raise questions about the power of corporate culture.

A colleague of mine was once sent out to buy a sandwich by an executive in her organization. This colleague wasn’t his PA or an administrative assistant. It wasn’t her job to smooth out his day. She was a trained project leader, a change manager and responsible for training hundreds of colleagues in technical skills. But this executive expected that, because he was more senior, the needs of others should come second to his need to avoid a three-minute walk to the shops.

Where do these attitudes come from, and how can we free ourselves of them?

Welcome to the Jerk Zone

Why are attitudes like this allowed to flourish in the workplace? Why is entitlement, selfishness and ego allowed, even encouraged, in some of the leading workplaces of the modern world?

Some slither of it probably comes from the dog-eat-dog capitalism that was idealized in the 1980s. Triumphal egoists were idolized as value makers and we were told that greed would build a better world. But anyone who’s worked in reality knows that this is not the case. Cooperation, collaboration, and humility – these are the ways to build lasting working relationships, to get the real work done. That ‘80s template of macho management should have died with the financial disasters that followed in its wake, taking traditional unthinking deference to seniority in its wake.

But much of that behavior remains, discredited as it has become, and for much the same reasons it was allowed to rise. Because the rest of us are too timid to say no.

Part of this comes from humility. Uncertain of our own value we accept the assumed value of others, even when it becomes over-inflated with their egos. We feel insecure in our own value, and so lack the confidence to challenge the more confident. We accede to this culture, which can turn a workplace into a Jerk Zone, a place where it is acceptable to behave with unchecked selfishness.

But worse than this, if we’re not careful we help build the Jerk Zone. We worry about being seen as perfect in our roles, even though perfection itself is an impossible dream. This feeds our anxieties and insecurities, leading us to put on an over-compensating front. We inflate our own egos, like birds puffing up their chest feathers in an act of display. We too start to act the role the Jerk Zone creates for us.

Would you act like that at home?

We’ve all heard it at some point in our lives, the eternal cry of teachers faced with unacceptable behavior – ‘would you do that at home?’

If we want to get rid of the Jerk Zone, to change the corporate culture that can drive us mad, then we should ask that question again – of ourselves and of the people around us.

Our work and our lives aren’t separate. The same set of values that we hold up at home and in the public sphere should hold in the workplace. After all, do honesty or consideration stop mattering when we step through the office doors? Of course not. If we act lie they do then we are building a toxic space that can do no good for anyone within it. That’s the Jerk Zone, that takes decent people and turns them into objectionable egoists.

Would that executive have got away with ordering someone at home to go out and buy his sandwich? At home we expect respect, consideration, explanations. We can expect the same at work. To do any less is to treat ourselves and those around us with less dignity than we deserve.

I want to break free

How can we liberate ourselves from this toxic culture? How can we leave the Jerk Zone far behind?

Part of it, as with any management challenge, is asking ‘why?’ It’s a question so simple and so powerful that it crops up again and again in leadership thinking, from the Toyota Production System to the work of Simon Sinek. Look at where selfish behavior is strongest in your organization, ask why it is happening there and then work to root out the causes, whether it’s unhealthy processes, inappropriate measures or simply unchecked bad behavior.

Empower your workers to speak their views, and stand up for them when they challenge the big egos, even when they challenge you. Believing you are too important to be wrong is a step deep into the Zone. Empowering everyone to constructively challenge each other is a way to battle it, to keep the egos in check and show everyone that they don’t need to over-assert their personalities to be heard.

Above all listen. If you listen to others’ views and treat them with as much weight as your own then they will learn to do the same. A culture of receptiveness, humility and cooperation will start to spread, banishing that Jerk Zone to the past where it belongs.

You can leave the Jerk Zone, and take your whole organization with you. All you have to lose is your ego.

(About the Author: Mark Lukens is a Founding Partner of Method3, a global management consulting firm. He has 20 plus years of C-Level experience across multiple sectors including healthcare, education, government, and people and potential (aka HR). In addition, Mark currently serves as Chairman of the Board for Behavioral Health Service North, a large behavioral health services provider in New York. He also actively serves on the faculty of the State University of New York (SUNY) and teaches in the School of Business and Economics; Department of Marketing and Entrepreneurship and the Department of Management, International Business and Information Systems. Mark holds an MBA and is highly recognized in the technology and healthcare space with credentials including MCSE and Paramedic. Most of Mark’s writing involves theoretical considerations and practical application, academics, change leadership, and other topics at the intersection of business, society, and humanity. Mark resides in New York with his wife Lynn, two children, and two Labradors. The greatest pursuit; “To be more in the Service of Others.”)

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!
photo credit: Nieve44/Luz via photopin cc

Power: The Dark Side of Leadership

I have a little confession to make. I find power to be delicious.

For most of my life I have worked as a kind of modern-day impresario. I produced events and media, everything from promotional videos to chamber music concerts to recording sessions with full size symphony orchestras. I was a one-man HR office; I had to hire videographers, graphic designers, actors, audio engineers, composers, musicians, editors, you name it. And I will be the first to admit, when you have power to hire and fire, and you have a budget to spend on vendors who are dying for your business, life takes on a patina of extraordinary pleasantness. When you have power, people who would normally ignore you suddenly become your new best friend. They hang on your every word and tell you what you want to hear. When this happened to me, I liked it. I liked it a lot.

Now before talking about this further, I have a question. As someone who philosophizes, speaks, and coaches on issues of management, I try to keep up with the latest, and I read various books and articles on the topic. There seems to be no end of management advice out there, so my question is, why is it that, other than a few books by Machiavelli, I never see any articles about the joys, temptations, and potential pitfalls of simply possessing power, which is the very essence of being in a leadership/management role?

I suspect that at some point I will get a very stringent lesson in why no one else talks about it in public, but until then, here goes.

The first time I had some real power, I was totally inexperienced in its use, and I was totally unprepared for its narcotic effect. I loved the way people who wanted my business would give me “strokes” of sycophantic attention. Being not totally stupid, I knew that this largesse of positive social interaction was conditional on my continuing to have power, and so I became very eager to consolidate my power. I took steps to make sure I would hold on to it as much as possible. I found myself wanting more and more of it. For a while, this goal, of having power purely for the sake of having power, eclipsed my memory of my original purpose, i.e., why other people had given me power in the first place.

It took me a little bit of time, reflection and hard lessons to get used to this aspect of power possession. Learning to handle it was like trying to go on a diet in a chocolate factory.

Once I recovered my wits, I found I actually had to be proactive in training people how to respond to my possession of power. Everyone has a set auto-pilot approach to dealing with people in power over them, and I found I had to endlessly counter that energy. For example, I had to repeatedly train my vendors that their primary purpose was not to meet my many infantile needs for attention. I had to endlessly remind them to focus on serving my customers, even if that meant ignoring me altogether. For most of them, this was a totally new idea, and many of them never truly believed that I meant it. They had seen how other people with power had behaved in the past, so they always hedged their bets by keeping my apples polished.  This drained energy from doing actual work.  I was always conflicted about this. It was inefficient, and yet I still liked it.

The many ways in which one person having power over another affects relationships and systems is an awfully large topic. Too large for a single article. So the point I want to make is this:

Power is seductive, it is addictive, it is delicious, and when you get power, remaining objective and keeping your wits about you is not easy. It requires restraint and discipline. Everywhere you look, you see evidence of people not knowing how to handle power. Most of us have a painful memory of someone who once had power over us abusing that power. Every day we see people with power using it in ways we disagree with. And even more vexing are people who have power but are afraid to use it, or just don’t know what to do with it. Need I even mention elected officials? It all gets very emotional in a hurry. And that is my point.

Management and leadership philosophy is, more or less, a guide to the use of power. We all have great ideas of how things ought to be, but there are reasons why people in power don’t always do things the way we want. Some are quite logical, some are selfish. Power also has limits to what it can do, no matter how much of it you have.

The purpose of this article is not to offer any quick solutions or a list of tips and tricks– such an approach would fail to recognize the size and complexity of the issue. The purpose is to say we must recognize and discuss the many temptations and emotional distortions that the possession of power causes, and how we are going to deal with how possession of power affects the imperfect beings who we ask to wield it. (This is not a new idea– the United States Constitution is mostly about managing the temptations of power– and look at how endlessly difficult that has been.)

I am eager to teach the introductory class, although it might sound more like a 12 step program: “Hello, my name is Justin, and I am addicted to the thrill of having power.”

(About the Author: Justin Locke spent 18 years playing bass in the Boston Pops, and his musical plays are performed all over the world.  As an author, speaker, and coach, he shares a pragmatic artistic approach to personal growth, “people skills,” and managing “top performers.” For more, visit his website at www.justinlocke.com.)

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!

photo credit: MeckiMac via photopin cc

What Truly Motivates People? Is It Money, Or Something Else?

Dan Pink’s book “Drive: the Surprising Truth about What Motivates us” has thrown a major monkey wrench into how we think about motivation. For years it was assumed– and it certainly seems logical to believe– that the best way to motivate desirable behaviors was to offer cash rewards. But it turns out that there is considerable science that refutes that notion; in fact, offering cash rewards, at least in the realm of creative work and problem solving, actually encourages worse results.

This topic has opened up a broader discussion, of what human beings are. At work we are doing fewer and fewer purely mechanical/ repetitive tasks.  “Value” is coming more and more from personal connections and imagination, so the tradition of seeing people in a simplistic mechanical way, in terms of their “skills” or “function,” no longer works. We are standing on the verge of major historical event, an entry into a new era, where the mechanical/industrial ways of viewing people, education, and work are falling apart. We are struggling to find new paradigms to guide our managerial thinking. For decades, we have suppressed our emotions to make ourselves more appealing in an industrial framework by being more uniform and efficient. We now have re-examine that previously suppressed internal dimension, and find ways to engage with it rather than suppress it.

To that end, Mr. Pink offers three things that motivate people.

These are:

  • Purpose
  • Mastery
  • Autonomy

Given the impact and influence that Mr. Pink’s book is having these days, I felt compelled to question his hypothesis. While it is not wrong, there is something missing. To explain, a story:

When I was a teenage bass player (sounds like a 50’s horror movie), I was tremendously motivated to become a professional player, to the point of obsessiveness. I was practicing eight hours every day, stopping each night only when I had reached a point of mental and physical exhaustion.

My motivation?

I certainly did not do this for the money, since I wasn’t getting any, and the pay for professional bass players is not that spectacular, given the work needed to get there. Mr. Pink was right about some elements of my motivation: Yes, I had purpose; yes, I sought mastery; and yes, practicing is a largely autonomous activity. But there was another element that motivated me, far more than money or any of these other factors:

It was a sense of belonging.

I wanted desperately to be a member of something, in this case, an oh so elegant and elite major symphony orchestra . I wanted to have a sense of belonging and connection. And I believe that a sense of belonging, far more than purpose, mastery, or autonomy, is the primary motivator of human beings.

I confess I don’t have many academic studies to support my thesis, but there is a fair amount of empirical data. Let’s consider just a few of the ways that a sense of belonging (including its synonyms, e.g., social status, acceptance, love, family, membership, and so on) motivates us to extreme effort:

There is all the money and effort many people put into “getting accepted” to an exclusive school, and thus belonging to the alumni network for life; there is the eagerness to spend massive amounts of time and money to “get certified,” and thus belong to a exclusive professional group; there are the fans (a word which is short for “fanatics”) of sports teams, who tout their sense of membership with all sorts of badges, uniforms, and rituals, not to mention paying exorbitant ticket prices; and then there is that warm glow of nationalist belonging you get when the jets fly over during the Star Spangled Banner. And do I even need to mention churches? Rotary Clubs? Street gangs? The plot of “Rudy”? Or the holy grail of social belonging, fame? The need to belong, whether to family, team, social group, or nation, drives people to extreme efforts and sacrifice. People sometimes sacrifice life itself to maintain the survival of a group to which they belong.

“Autonomy” as motivation only has meaning in the context of belonging. The only reason you don’t have autonomy is because you gave it up for something more important, i.e., a state of belonging, e.g., employment.

In my own managerial experience in the orchestra world, I found that the need to belong far outweighed any other motivation, money included. I often had difficulty finding musicians who were willing to act as leaders. Even though they were the best in their group, becoming a leader meant losing their sense of being “part of the gang.” The fun of ensemble playing was in being part of the team, not in bossing the team or otherwise being separated from it. I did not pay my leaders more money to motivate them, and I did not pay them more money because they were creating more value. It was to compensate them for their loss of rank-and-file group belonging.

For most people, not to mention wolves and other social species, belonging itself is key to mere survival. And once people become more successful, they don’t seek exclusion or autonomy; instead, the first thing they seek is ever more group social status and connection. They join the country club or the opera society board, or they run for public office.

There is also the flip side to be considered, which is the “de-motivation” caused by the loss of belonging. People who have had issues of disconnection, such as loss of a loved one, divorce, moving to a new town, or getting fired, experience massive ill effects on self confidence, focus, and every other emotion. At times they lose all motivation, period.

When we speak in terms of rewards as motivators, this typically refers to an inanimate reward, such as money or a cookie. When the “reward” is in the form of greater interpersonal connection, say, a pat on the back from an authority figure you truly admire, or the flip side, perhaps a look of disapproval from someone whose respect and acceptance mean everything to you, suddenly rewards and punishments– in the form of belonging or the lack thereof– come back into motivational fashion in a hurry.

One of the biggest reasons people resist change is the fear that it might threaten their tenuous grasp on belonging. The first thing that goes through the average employee’s mind when presented with a new idea is “belonging loss prevention.” They ask themselves, “Will doing this, or not doing this, get me fired, or result in loss of status in my professional pecking order?” All else is secondary. Consideration of one’s sense of belonging — as well as the fear of the loss of it, is therefore possibly THE most compelling motivational factor in managing people.

I am a big fan of Mr. Pink, and I think he is very much on the right track in challenging the common dogmas of industrial-era management philosophy. I just wanted to respectfully submit that as we enter into a more artistic era of management, “belonging,” as a primary emotional element of motivation, needs to be higher on the list.

(About the Author: Justin Locke spent 18 years playing bass in the Boston Pops, and his musical plays are performed all over the world.  As an author, speaker, and coach, he shares a pragmatic artistic approach to personal growth, “people skills,” and managing “top performers.” For more, visit his website at www.justinlocke.com.)

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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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.

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#TChat Recap: How Employee Assistance Programs Engage And Nurture Talent

Employee Assistance Programs Help Talent Grow

Who would have guessed that programs built to assist employees keep them happy and healthy? Even more, these happier and healthier employees do their job better and strive to keep successes coming, both for themselves and the organization. Of course, the #TChatters already knew this little bit of wisdom and were happy to shine a light on the bigger picture.

Jen @JRW_SocialMedia said:

“A1) EAPs show employees that they matter enough to invest in.

and

@TFreedomToWork said:

“A1: by showing that an employees’ needs are top priority! Employees engage when they feel they’re needed

These #TChatters sum up how EAPs affect morale perfectly. Everyone has those times when home life finds its way into the office, especially with, as @HireQ_Inc descibed, the “always-on” lifestyles employees are now living. Assistance programs will help maintain a working office while still being sympathetic to the emotions of your employees and coworkers.

Working in an environment with differing personalities is overwhelming. People are complex and sometimes that causes tension, but without all those individual talents (and weaknesses), a team wouldn’t be a well-oiled machine. Of course, accepting personality differences is easier to say than do, so what can an employer do to help?

@15Five said:

“Q2 With our current culture we have personal development workshops that we rotate, so far it is transcending our team’s well-being

EAPs bear more than just emotional advantages though. Many companies offer lifestyle training courses and can even encourage employees to give up smoking or aid in weightloss as @BarbBuckner pointed out.

Basically, employees benefit from assistance programs and when employees are happy, they are more productive.

#TChatters Agreed That…

Employees and employers both have a responsibility in maintaining a productive workplace and in order for companies to both nurture and assist talent, there needs to be:

  • Encouragement
  • Flexibility
  • Mutual Respect

Employers should be actively encouraging the use of provided assistance programs while recognizing that in a world of humans, tough times happen. @TranslationLady said it is essential to “honor disconnection” and allow employees to have time away from busy work weeks. When there’s flexibility in the workplace, there’s less pressure. Above all, respect the individuals who spend their week in the office, keeping a company going.

@GreenChileAddict said:

“A4 .Treat and respect me as an adult. Think of me as a three dimensional employee not as a tangible asset.

Want to see the #TChat replay?

Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to Mark Sagor and Mark McAuliffe, Global Staffing Manager for Waters Corporation for giving us a look into EAPs and managing talent! Check out Mark Sagor’s blog at compeap.com. Click here to see the preview or check out the related reading.

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about trends on the workplace talent frontier? 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! 

WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week at #TChat Events, we’ll be talking about building a cultural advantage and how they can help both engagement and workplace happiness. Tim Kuppler is going to be our radio guest and Nancy Rubin will be our moderator. See more information in the #TChat Preview this weekend (and if you haven’t signed up for our newsletter do so! You get all the questions early!)

Save the date: Wednesday, April 16!

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.

We want to see you on TalentCulture! Become a contributor NOW! (ummm, click)

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#TChat Recap: Wholehearted Leadership For Employee Engagement

Wholehearted Leadership = Employee Engagement

Wholehearted leadership is not hard to define. At least not if you hang out with the #TChat crew. In fact, there are four main areas that make up wholehearted leadership and they just happen to be the same things that drive employee engagement:

  • Growth
  • Recognition
  • Trust
  • Communication

These are qualities that not only build employees up but create great leaders within the workplace. Trust was one that really resonated with the crowd, not surprising with the stat that many disengaged employees tend to leave managers, not jobs. Many employees who decided to leave a company or who felt disengaged to the point of being a detriment to the organization point to misalignment with company values.

It’s possible that a lot of candidates simply look past all the warning signs during the interview process, but perhaps a little more likely is the fact that employer branding is starting to look like much of the same. Is it any wonder that the same top value that drives employee engagement and builds wholehearted, quality leaders is trust?

@SJAbbott said:

Trust. It’s the root of everything that moves an organization forward.

and

Employees are engaged when their interests align with the employer’s vision & mission

Basically, people know an enthusiastic and wholehearted leader when they see one, and FAKES? are easy to spot. In fact, fakes can be easily spotted by what they won’t allow in their “space”.

What Showed Up:

On the upswing post-recession what seemed to show up was that “leaders” were not accurately assessing the talent around them. Some common threads of not so wholehearted leaders:

  • Assuming that employees were just happy to be employed.
  • Being evasive or obtuse with employees.
  • Not supporting employees’ efforts to learn or grow.
  • Failure to communicate beyond facts and figures.
  • No ability to show how work is done or…truly lead.

It seems that in order to truly engage employees (and affect ROI and the bottom line in the process) a leader must be always….leading. Isn’t that interesting? So what DOES a wholehearted leader actually look like? Some examples:

  • Wholehearted leaders say “thank you” and show gratitude.
  • Wholehearted leadership gives opportunity to team members so they can grow.
  • Listening is a big part of wholehearted leadership.
  • A wholehearted leader will encourage opinion, honesty and sometimes, even dissent.

Stuff You Can Do

Didn’t have time to attend? Test these baby steps toward wholehearted leadership (whether you have a title or not):

  1. Don’t wait for someone to select you at work. Volunteer for a new and exciting project.
  2. Practice active listening in your next meeting, without formulating your responses while others are speaking.
  3. Become fully invested in whatever initiative is moving forward in your department.
  4. Be as honest as possible about your position and projects.
  5. Increase communication with all your colleagues by informing them of progress and next steps before they have to ask.

Want to see the #TChat replay? 


Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to Kevin Kruse for giving us a look into wholehearted leadership! Check out his website kevinkruse.com. See the preview or check out the related reading, click here.

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about trends on the workplace talent frontier? 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! 

WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week at #TChat Events, we’ll be talking about EAP programs and how they can help nurture your employees within in the workplace. Mark Sagor is going to be our radio guest and Meghan M. Biro will be our moderator. See more information in the #TChat Preview this weekend (and if you haven’t signed up for our newsletter do so! You get all the questions early!)

Save the date: Wednesday, April 9!

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.

We want to see you on TalentCulture! Become a contributor NOW! (ummm, click)

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Prospecting LinkedIn For…Everything #TChat Recap

The Power of Professional Prospecting

If you’ve been working in the recruiting, workforce, HR or leadership space, you’re well aware of how LinkedIn can be used for…work. But there is more to the professional networking behemoth than sourcing and recruiting (not that it’s a slouch in that department either).

Professional prospecting, or “panning for sales gold” as I like to call it, was the subject of last night’s #TChat and our guest Viveka von Rosen had some incredibly interesting tidbits to share. The CEO of LinkedIn to Business and a published author (nab her book, LinkedIn Marketing in an Hour a Day, here) gave #TChatters inside information about how to use LinkedIn to unearth new deals and create additional opportunities from sales, leadership and yes, employment perspectives.

The Mainstays

“Dynamic LI profiles are ones tended to like a growing garden: with care & frequent watering” @DawnRasmussen is right. You get out of LinkedIn what you put into it. There are countless ways to update your LinkedIn profile and all of them add value to getting you MORE sales, more leads…more connections. So get in there!

Nearly everyone agreed that LinkedIn is a powerful tool, but the cons listed had to do with lack of visibility, frequent pulled support for favorite tools and an ever changing user experience. But in #TChat as in life, there were a whole lot more pros. Included in the list?

  • The breadth of information available on LinkedIn
  • The ability to find anyone via one’s own network
  • The third-party tools built to work with the platform (shout out to @rapportive)
  • The new and improved search UX

Stuff You Can Do

Didn’t have time to attend? Try these five-minute new tricks to make baby steps toward using LinkedIn for prospecting:

  1. Find and connect with those who have “viewed your profile”
  2. Search out people in your area
  3. Create buyer personas and make a target list and send personalized emails (you get 5 free!)
  4. Ask and answer questions in your chosen fields
  5. Join groups to get the inside track in your industry (you have up to 50!)
  6. Of course, change your profile URL to something recognizable
  7. Put keywords you think your target market or candidate will be searching
  8. Connect your Slideshare account and keep it updated

For the organization: Check out this article from our friends at Social Media Examiner on how to make the most of your company page. Jonesing for the unique #TChat interactions or want to see who said what?

Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to Viveka von Rosen for enlightening us on LinkedIn! Check out her full site at LinkedIn to Business

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about trends on the workplace talent frontier? 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 use this link so we can find you! 

WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week at #TChat Events, we’ll be talking about authentic leadership. Todd DeWett  is going to be our radio guest, and Kevin Grossman will be our moderator. See more information in the #TChat Preview this weekend, and save the date: Wednesday, March 26!

Meanwhile, 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.

Think you have what it takes to write for TalentCulture? Submit an application to be a contributor NOW!

Optimism: A Workplace Necessity #TChat Recap

Bring Your Smile

Pharrell is always on the brink of what’s in and he knew that 2014 was the time to be “Happy.” Last night’s #TChat featured everyone’s (and Pharrell’s) favorite contagion: optimism.

The majority seemed to be on the same page with this one. Who knew that people like positivity? Our guest Shawn Murphy and his bright side of life attitude brought us right to the heart of the issue: “Optimism is about believing that good things are possible in the work we do.”

Bright Smiling Selfies

“Collaborating and allowing everyone to win.” @CASUDI makes a great point. All parts of an office must feel like they have brought something great to the table. Having an optimistic workplace starts with the attitude an individual brings to the office, but creating a positive work environment takes a whole team.

What can we do to bring the good vibes on? Breanne Harris of Critical-Thinkers.com said, “Finding solutions and innovating. Stop pointing out the problems and offer solutions. Optimism is everyone’s jobs.”

And this seemed to be a recurring suggestion. While the first (and sometimes hardest step) is learning to admit to problems, what a workforce really needs is possible solutions to the issues being faced.

Transparency and Communication

And as always, creating an honest environment leaves more room for managers and employees to share all challenges being faced. Alli Polin agrees: “When people see all the cards on the table, optimism isn’t blind. Share and communicate with each other.”

Start with Your Attitude

Sure, it’s easy to say you want a more positive workplace, but when it comes down to it, if you aren’t working to make a difference, then it’s all just a pretty dream. Christopher Lind may be talking about employees, but the truth is that everyone could stand to hear this bit of advice: “Ask questions and engage leadership. Sometimes you have to make your own way and not wait on others.”

Check out Megan’s article How To Make Work Matter to learn the ways to get started in your office. Speaking of making your own way, take a peek at all that was discussed last night on last night’s #TChat with our Storify presentation!

#TChat Insights: Creating a Culture of Optimism

Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to Shawn Murphy for joining us! Learn more about Shawn Murphy at Switch&Shift.com.

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about trends on the workplace talent frontier? We welcome your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we may feature it!!

WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week at #TChat Events, we’ll be getting down to what you really need to know about social media. Nancy Rubin is going to be our guest moderator. See more information in the #TChat Preview this weekend, and save the date: Wednesday, March 19!

Meanwhile, 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.

Notice a difference in this week’s recap? That’s because we’re on the verge of launching our newsletter. Stay tuned for sign up details and you can receive #TChat questions before anyone else, get insight from Meghan on the week ahead and more!

 

photo credit: peyri via photopin cc

Disrupt HR…NOW! #TChat Recap

(Editor’s Note: Looking for details from the week’s #TChat Events? See the Storify slideshow and resource links at the end of this post.)

Muppets. Cake. And Disruption.

What do those three things have in common? They were all featured on last night’s #TChat.

We knew the topic would be controversial just as much as we knew the host would be her gracious self. But despite her Southern cool, Jennifer McClure is here to change the game and she wants to take #TChatters along for the ride.

Jeremy Ames seemed to crystallize the evening when he said: “In some ways, HR is becoming more organization-specific, which means that the most important skills vary company to company.”

The very definition of what we do is changing. So we might as well bring on the chaos of disruption!

Learning to be OK with Chaos

“Complacency is definitely the work place killer.” We can’t even count how many times this gem was retweeted. (I mean, we can. We have stats, but still, it was quite the belle of the ball statement.) First uttered by 15Five, it’s so true. Complacency kills pretty much all relationships, why not the ones we experience at work?

How can we avoid complacency? You’ve got it. Change. And change is the very thing HR is usually brought in to manage. Change = Chaos in the minds of many of our most prevalent practitioners. The trick then, is making change a good thing.

While it’s nice to talk about potentially changing our workplaces, it must be more urgent than that, as the workforce is not-so-slowly changing around us. Emilie Meck said: “You can’t use yesterday’s ideas today and expect to be in business tomorrow.” And it’s not just a slide in a presentation, people, change is afoot! But speaking of presentations….

 

The first step towards true disruption is authenticity. And not the tired old authenticity that is really just more energetic corp-speak, but true authentic experiences within the enterprise, being shared by employee ambassadors because they are AWESOME and not because management said you have to tweet 5 times a week.

@VirginPulse Being authentic is really important – it’s how you start to build cultures.

As you pursue authenticity are you paying attention to those around you? Disruption is inherently IDEA driven and no man is an island when it comes to those. Pay attention to what your colleagues are proposing or maybe, what they are too shy to put forward.

@IgloooSensei Ideas are disruptive by nature. Consideration might be the most undervalued interpersonal resource #tchat

In fact most of the solutions presented to our questions (check out the preview here) were more systemic and low-tech. Look at the reasons HR should embrace disruption (we could get left behind) and the ideas to do so within an organization (giving employees an involvement in the success of the business).

#TChat Insights: Disrupting HR

Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to Jennifer McClure for being an amazing moderator! Learn more about Jennifer and Unbridled Talent here.

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about trends on the workplace talent frontier? We welcome your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we may feature it!! Check out this recap from Amanda Sterling.

WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week at #TChat Events, we’ll figure out how to create optimism at work and why it matters. Switch and Shift’s Shawn Murphy is going to be our guest moderator. See more information in the #TChat Preview this weekend, and save the date: Wednesday, March 12!

Meanwhile, 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.

Notice a difference in this week’s recap? That’s because we’re on the verge of launching our newsletter. Stay tuned for sign up details and you can receive #TChat questions before anyone else, get insight from Meghan on the week ahead and more!

 


New Rules of Employee Engagement #TChat Recap

(Editor’s Note: Looking for details from the week’s #TChat Events? See the Storify slideshow and resource links at the end of this post.)

“Our employees are our greatest asset.”
Year after year, it seems like employers focus on the same catchphrase.

Meanwhile, workforce engagement statistics continue to crawl along the ocean floor like bottom feeders scouring for scraps. It’s like being caught in a time-travel wormhole that loops back on itself, with only our clothing styles and digital technologies changing along the way.

Even professionals with specialized “knowledge skills” are caught in this spin cycle. And for too many in today’s workforce, it’s not just monotonous, but overwhelming.

Breaking the Perpetual Talent Spin Cycle

Of course, at the end of the day, “overwhelmed” workers are at the mercy of employers. But when all else fails, a disengaged employee’s only true leverage is the power to leave.

Until recently, the economic crisis made that option unthinkable for many. But today, a much different picture is emerging. The ability to exercise career choice is fundamentally changing the workplace, one painful decision at a time. You’ve heard it before – no pain, no gain.

Take Wall Street for example. The financial industry has had a long climb back from the darkest days of recession. But, as a recent NPR Planet Money podcast reports, many new banking recruits are struggling to stay immersed in an industry that puts money above all else. They want to do more than just make money — they want to make the world a better place.

Does Wall Street need to redeem itself, though? Does it need to realign with the needs of the best and brightest it wants to employ? Maybe. Or maybe those recruits should consider other employers — or make their own entrepreneurial magic.

According to new global talent strategy research, companies are focusing on retention, engagement and “attraction of talent” more than they have in nearly a decade. In fact, more than 60% of organizations say that dealing with “the overwhelmed employee” is a top priority.

Employees Rewrite Rules of Engagement

Yes, the overwhelmed employee is redefining the workplace — one painful change at a time. But smart companies are finding ways to be responsive. Here are two examples we discussed at #TChat this week with our guest, Josh Bersin, Founder and Principal of Bersin by Deloitte:

1) Continuous Development: Most knowledge workers are taking it upon themselves to “skill up” — to keep themselves marketable, relevant and valuable. Often this happens outside of the enterprise via MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) and online learning sites. Video, in particular, is gaining ground as medium for “anytime” access to self-paced learning. Employers should look for ways to mirror these learning experiences internally.

2) Flexible Work Options: As it becomes increasingly difficult to recruit, hire and retain top performers for highly skilled positions, flexibility has become a negotiating chip. Remote work, nontraditional daily and weekly schedules, contract and part-time relationships, unlimited personal time — you name it. Again, wise companies recognize the value of offering these choices to attract and retain the very best.

Yep, no pain, no gain. Clearly, there’s a long road ahead. But progressive employers are starting to step up to the challenge that overwhelmed employees are presenting. And that’s a step in the right direction.

Want to know what the TalentCulture community says about this topic? Check the #TChat Storify highlights and resource links below. Thanks to everyone who contributed ideas — let’s keep the conversation going on Twitter and Google+!

#TChat Week-In-Review: The Year of The Employee

JoshBersin (2)

Watch the #TChat sneak peek hangout now

SUN 2/23:
#TChat Preview:
TalentCulture Community Manager, Tim McDonald, framed the week’s topic in a post featuring a brief G+ hangout, where he talked with Josh Bersin about how today’s talent pool is gaining bargaining power from employers. Read: “Work: Employees Rewrite The Script

MON 2/24:
Forbes.com Post:
In her weekly Forbes column, TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro, looked at trends affecting today’s talent strategies in: “5 Trends Driving HR Technology in 2014.”

TUE 2/25:
Related Post: “Growth From Within: 7 Ways to Compete on Employee Talent” — by Shawn Murphy

WED 2/26:

TChatRadio_logo_020813

Listen to the #TChat Radio show replay

#TChat Radio: Our hosts Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman talked with Josh Bersin about the key talent and HR technology trends that are shaping 2014 and beyond. Listen to the #TChat Radio replay now…

#TChat Twitter: Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin and Josh moved over to the #TChat Twitter stream, where the entire TalentCulture community  discussed 5 key questions about emerging workplace talent trends.

See highlights from the Twitter stream the Storify slideshow below:

#TChat Insights: The Year of The Employee

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Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to Josh Bersin for sharing new global talent research with our community. Your insights brought tremendous depth and dimension to the discussion.

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about trends on the workplace talent frontier? We welcome your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we’ll pass it along.

WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week at #TChat Events, we’ll take a very special look at forces that are disrupting HR from the inside out, with our guest Steve Browne, Executive Director of HR at LaRosa’s Inc. See more information in the #TChat Preview this weekend, and save the date: Wednesday, March 5!

Meanwhile, 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.

We’ll see you on the stream!

(Editor’s Note: CONGRATS to Paul Thoresen — winner of the recent Pebble smartwatch giveaway from Dice! And thanks to all the #TChat contributors who shared tech recruiting ideas and questions with Dice and #FutureofTech.)

Image Credit: Mike Rohde via Flickr

Work: Employees Rewrite The Script #TChat Preview

(Editor’s Note: Are you seeking highlights and resource links from this week’s #TChat Events? See the #TChat Recap: “New Rules of Employee Engagement.”)

Have you heard the news?

Unless you’ve been living in a cave far removed from the HR grid, you know that employee engagement is alarmingly low — only 30% in the U.S. and 13% globally, according to 2013 reports.

Many workplace experts have examined these engagement trends, considered the causes and suggested solutions. But there’s more to the story than that.

The definition of work is being turned on its head. People are bringing a whole new set of expectations to their jobs today.

This shift is real. It’s a force that even the most successful employers can no longer afford to ignore. And according to Josh Bersin, Founder and Principal of Bersin by Deloitte, this reality is supported by hard data from companies around the globe. As he said when he declared 2014 The Year of the Employee:

“The war for talent is over, and the talent won.”

So, what is really driving today’s workplace transformation? And what are its implications for talent strategies in high-performance organizations? That’s the topic the TalentCulture community is tackling this week at #TChat Events, as Josh Bersin shares new insights from rigorous research his team just completed.

Sneak Peek — The Year of the Employee

To frame this week’s discussion, I briefly spoke with Josh in a G+ hangout, where we talked about the fundamentals that are driving workplace change:

Related reading:
China Gorman: A Cutting-Edge Strategy: Developing Business Leaders as Talent Leaders
Aberdeen Group: HCM Trends 2014: Developing a Critical Eye for Talent
HR Marketer: What Will Happen in HR in 2014 — Perusing the Predictions

This topic is vital for talent-minded professionals everywhere, so we hope you’ll join the #TChat conversation this week and share your questions, opinions and ideas!

#TChat Events: Are Employees Finally In The Driver’s Seat?

TChatRadio_logo_020813

Tune-in to the #TChat Radio show

#TChat Radio — Wed, Feb 26 — 6:30pmET / 3:30pmPT Tune-in to the #TChat Radio show Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman talk with Josh Bersin about the key talent and HR technology trends that are shaping 2014 and beyond. Tune-in LIVE online this Wednesday!

#TChat Twitter — Wed, Feb 26 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: How are high-performing companies improving the way they recruit and hire?
Q2: How do talent analytics help employers understand workforce performance?
Q3: What are the key engagement initiatives for employers today?
Q4: As competition heats up for top talent, how are employees leveraging their influence?
Q5: What issues do employees face today that are shaping the future of work?

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.

We’ll see you on the stream!

Survival Tips for HR Departments of One

Written by Donna Rogers, SPHR

My HR career began in corporate training more than 22 years ago. Our department included three trainers and a coordinator. We reported to an HR director with responsibility for multiple functions — payroll, employment, compensation, policies & procedures, and more. It was definitely not an HR department of one.

However, after several years there and at another large corporation, I downsized dramatically into exactly that — an HR department of one. Me, myself, and I. “We” worked for the greater good of two small family-run companies; the first had 130 employees, and several years later I moved to an organization with 150 employees. Both were in the manufacturing sector, although my corporate experience had been in financial services.

Boy, were those positions different from my big-company background! However, my corporate experience helped me bring professionalism and thoughtfully designed programs to those smaller organizations. And not surprisingly, I continued to learn, even as I found ways to implement HR best practices without the luxury of an HR staff.

Are you looking for guidance as a one-person HR department? Here are 4 key lessons from my past:

4 Tips For HR Departments of One

1) Assess The Territory
It’s essential to get to know the management team and staff as deeply and quickly as possible. My first step was to schedule meetings with each division head and anyone else involved in the process of hiring, firing, and performance management. I created an agenda for each meeting, and I focused not just on gathering situational intelligence, but also on sharing my expectations and asking for ideas about how I could help meet organizational goals. These sessions don’t need to be formal; however, they should reveal enough insights for you to prepare a mini HR needs assessment.

2) Create A Roadmap
Your needs assessment can be your guide, as you write a project plan that prioritizes everything you need to accomplish — including ideas gleaned from the management team. Once I had this plan in place, I had the ability to gain management buy-in — and then there was no stopping me from moving forward to reach my goals. Until, of course, reality struck when I discovered just how limited the budget would be.

3) Think Resourcefully
Financial constraints can put a tremendous crimp in your ability to implement effective HR programs. In my second position, I faced a double whammy. We were cash-strapped, and existing vendors were reluctant to extend credit because the company had a D- rating from Dun & Bradstreet and Standard and Poor’s. It was the first time I had to pay COD (cash on delivery) for anything in business. With a lack of financial resources, I tapped into my professional network instead. My industry connections were a huge asset, as I called upon them for advice and suggestions to overcome budget obstacles. And in those days “a call” was literally that – a “phone” call — almost unheard of these days with email, social media, and professional online groups available at our fingertips. However, even now, I believe that a quick call can be the fastest, most effective way to get things done.

4) Make Technology Your Friend
Of course, technology doesn’t stop with telephones. And the most important thing you can do as an HR Department of One is to rely upon technology to help you work more efficiently. Implementing a solid HRIS (Human Resources Information System) can save hours — sometimes days — when generating management reports, tracking compliance, developing HR plans and conducting program analysis. Also, if cost is an issue (or even when it’s not) you can easily leverage social media for multiple purposes. For example, low-cost social survey tools help you instantly gather feedback from employees about job satisfaction. Social channels also offer a wide variety of career-related destinations and communities where you can drive recruitment that positions your organization as a talent acquisition leader.

These days, I’m one of the resources that HR departments of one rely upon for advice and assistance, when they don’t have the time or expertise to perform those services, themselves. I’m here to help fill essential gaps — whether it’s providing an objective opinion about staffing issues, mapping out a new program, or providing regulatory guidance as an alternative to costly attorneys or full-service consulting firms. For example, I’ve worked side-by-side with Dave Ryan to help him accomplish HR goals at Mel-O-Cream Donuts.

It’s rewarding to work in this capacity. Having operated in my clients’ role previously, I understand what they are going through. I can suggest solutions that I know will make their job easier. I can recommend no-cost/low-cost resources. And I can show them a better way to help HR support business objectives. It advances their company’s mission, and at the same time, it advances the practice of HR.

What do you think about the future of HR departments? Are companies likely to rely more heavily on these decentralized models? Is that a smart trend for business? And what does it mean for those of us who are HR professionals? Share your thoughts in the comments area.

DonnaRogers(About the Author: Donna Rogers, SPHR, instructor of management at University of Illinois Springfield, and owner of Rogers HR Consulting. She has a Masters in Human Resources Development from UIUC, a Bachelor’s in Public Relations from ISU. Her firm is an HRCI Pre-Approved Provider and Small Business of the Year award winner. She earned the HR Professional of the Year and Lifetime Achievement Award from CIC-SHRM. She regularly delivers numerous presentations among professional groups, previously taught at Robert Morris College and has guest lectured at Benedictine University. She also serves her HR professional peers as a North Central Region – Membership Advisory Committee Representative, and is the Past Director for the Illinois State Council of SHRM. Connect with Donna on Twitter or LinkedIn.)

(Editor’s Note: To discuss World of Work topics like this with others in the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events every Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, and anytime at our ongoing Twitter conversation. Learn more…)

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

Workplace Technology and Innovation: BFFs?

Technology and innovation. How do these terms fit together in your mind?

If you’re like me, you tend to lump them into a fuzzy “whole.” Yet in today’s fluid world of work, each plays a distinctive role.

How do they differ? Why does it matter? And how can they co-exist in ways that add value in modern organizations?

Technology vs. Innovation — Revolution or Evolution?

Some people define technology by focusing on tools and machines. But there’s a deeper view. Technology is based on processes and skills that we mobilize to control and transform our lives. Our goal is to create and manipulate physical objects, symbols and norms. It starts with cultures that are seeking pathways to progress, but ends with solutions that are, in a sense, forced. In this regard, technology seems “revolutionary.”

Innovation, on the other hand, has been described as a better solution that is readily available to society. On the surface, innovation may seem revolutionary. But the process of innovation is more natural than contrived. So perhaps it’s more “evolutionary.”

Regardless, there clearly is an intersection between these two concepts — a symbiotic sweet spot. Therefore, it makes sense to look at them in tandem, respecting the fact that neither can exist without benefit of the other.

Do We “Like” Innovation More Than Technology?

I find it curious that people from all walks of life tend to embrace and support the concept of innovation as a beneficial part of what keeps our world turning. Yet technology often is not as well received. In fact, in some circles, technology is feared and loathed so much, it’s considered a demonic presence that requires experts to eliminate it from existence!

While technology is often equated with concrete mechanisms, innovation is more abstract — and therefore perhaps more approachable. Innovation doesn’t require advanced design, engineering or scientific proof, but can simply be a clever idea that makes life easier or more satisfying. For example, this video demonstrates how innovative ideas can add value without necessarily requiring sophisticated technology:

Change Is Good. Maybe. Sometimes. Sort of.

For some people, technology may symbolize fear of the future. The element of uncertainty can be deeply disturbing to the human psyche. Perhaps reinforced by exaggerated imagery from powerful Hollywood icons, fear surrounding the “dark side” of technology seems to persist. Of course, pop culture isn’t the only reason why our society tends to be apprehensive about accepting technology.

Why do many of us struggle with actually translating an idea from concept to application? And what keeps us from seeing the direct connection between innovation and technology? Some people claim that innovation and its outcomes are driven by a basic human urge to continue learning and expanding our understanding of ourselves and our surroundings. And yet, we all know people who defy that rule — people who never seem interested in learning anything new.

So, why do people perceive innovation and technology so differently? They could be considered two “stops” along the same path — innovation is thinking “outside the box,” while technology is the result of putting those thoughts into action. Technology is what we “make” from our ideas. And sometimes in the space between thought and result, we find resistance that can derail our progress. But the process isn’t necessarily sequential. It’s the result of continuous and sometimes nonlinear inspiration and feedback loops. We can’t dismiss how previous and existing technology and innovation lead to advanced thinking, learning and ideation.

Innovation and Technology at Work

Despite natural human resistance to change, technology solutions increasingly define the world of work. Sparked by innovative ideas, we discover and develop new ways to streamline processes, improve efficiency, speed communications, and stretch the physical and cultural boundaries that previously limited organizational performance. Since Americans work such long hours each week, don’t we owe it to ourselves to create a work culture that is not only more productive, but also connects us in ways we previously never imagined, and encourages us to dream of how we might improve tomorrow’s workplace?

If we don’t dream it, we can’t do it. Without innovation to ignite the imagination, and without technology to power these thoughts, silos can isolate and stifle us from advancing our quality of life, and our pursuit of happiness. So let’s honor both as we look to the future of work.

Image Credit: Pixabay

Experts On Engagement: #TChat Goes LIVE in Las Vegas!

(Editor’s Note: Looking for a recap of this live #TChat event? Read “Engagement as Energy: #TChat Lessons From #HRTechConf“.)

Employee engagement has become HR’s holy grail. Organizations are striving to strengthen engagement through every aspect of the talent lifecycle — from recruiting and onboarding, to continuous development and performance management. Why? HR leaders know that emotionally connected individuals simply perform better, day to day. In turn, this increases productivity, improves performance, reduces attrition and boosts overall business results.

Connecting The Engagement Dots

HR Technology Conference LogoWe’ve all heard Gallup’s bad news about the stagnant state of workforce engagement. But there’s good news on the horizon, too. CEOs and corporate boards are now taking aim and launching initiatives to turn these trends around. In fact, according to Conference Board research, CEOs say “increasing employee engagement” is their number one strategic priority for operational excellence.

So, How Do We Get “There” From “Here”?

In true #TChat style, we believe that better solutions come from the wisdom of the crowd. And what better place to share ideas than the HR Technology Conference?

HRTechMontage (2)That’s why TalentCulture co-founders Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman have gathered a panel of today’s smartest HR executives, analysts and industry influencers to look closer at factors that make engagement work. And we’re saving you a front-row seat!

You don’t want to miss this LIVE #TChat roundtable in Las Vegas! We’re even serving-up refreshments to keep the conversation flowing. So save the date, and join some of the best minds in business, HR and technology for a very special event:

Join The Conversation When #TChat Goes Live In Las Vegas!

WHEN: Monday, October 7th, 2:30-3:15pm PT (5:30-6:15pmET)
WHERE: Peoplefluent booth #1201 (And on the #TChat Twitter backchannel)

Meet Our LIVE #TChat Panel Of Experts

•  Steve Melamed, Senior Director, HR Organizational Effectiveness & Operations, Avaya

•  Mark Berry, VP, People Insights, ConAgra Foods

•  Tony Loyd, VP, Organization & Team Effectiveness, Buffalo Wild Wings

•  Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, Author & CEO of Xceptional HR

•  Marcia Conner, Collaborative Learning Thought Leader, Author. Principal, SensifyGroup

This a must-see event for anyone attending the HR Technology Conference and Exposition. So join us in booth #1201 for a lively and insightful conversation with some of the best talent-minded visionaries in business today!

Image Credit: Pixabay

Your Digital Domain: Who's The Boss? #TChat Recap

“With great power comes great responsibility.” -Voltaire

Do you suppose this is what it felt like back in 1967, during the “Summer of Love?” Our country was weary from years of war and civil unrest, and people were searching to reconnect with their humanity. That’s when “peace” took on new meaning as a symbol of promise for individuals and a new world order.

Flash-forward to today, when many among us are weary and searching to rediscover our humanity — but in a different way. This time, it’s fueled by the digital revolution. Why? We’ve been deeply engaged for so long with so many forms of networked communication that it seems we’ve reached a point of diminishing returns. Even the most intrepid “wired” geeks openly yearn for a certain kind of peace. And now, that discomfort is leading many to pursue serenity — either by dialing back on social channels or temporarily unplugging altogether.

Defining A Digital Destiny: To Each His Own

Grand as it may be, today’s “always on” social business experiment is taking a toll. And if this week’s #TChat forums are any indicator, workplace leaders are just starting to understand and respond to the consequences of an over-extended 24×7 workforce.

When do the productivity benefits of digital connections cross the line from the sublime to the ridiculous? When does hyper-connectivity become a drain on employee engagement and performance? How can workers maintain a healthy mindset in a world of nonstop demands? And how can leaders develop and sustain a healthy “connected” organization?

The TalentCulture community has only begun to crack the code on this issue. However, this week’s discussions revealed three key considerations:

1) Employers can no longer afford to ignore the cultural aspects of unrelenting hyper-connectivity. It’s actually a big-ticket business issue with implications that reach far beyond obvious security and privacy risks. Employee health costs, productivity and turnover are all expensive factors in this complex equation.

2) There are no single silver-bullet answers. However, there are a multitude of choices. The best solution for each organization will be different. But to find that solution, decision makers must take a mindful, active part in the process. As the digital realm unfolds before us, and choices expand, that responsibility becomes increasingly important.

3) This isn’t just about employers. Certainly companies must create processes and policies that address business interests and respect employee well-being. But at the end of the day, each of us is responsible for our own productivity, performance and peace of mind. The fundamental question rests with every individual: When and how should I leverage digital connectivity to improve my professional and personal life?

With so much at stake, #TChat-ters were grateful to welcome two work-life management experts to lead the way this week:

Their insights helped us frame the issues and expose new ideas, as we engaged the community in our weekly “world of work” dialogue. Below, we’ve captured event highlights (including a tweet-by-tweet Storify slideshow from Twitter) and other resource links.

We hope this inspires further discussion within your organization and professional circles. As ideas emerge, don’t be shy! Let us know what’s on your mind. For those at the forefront of work-life integration, the responsibilities may be great — but together, this journey of digital discovery is always better!

#TChat Week in Review: Connected Work-Life Reality Check

SAT 7/6

JudyMartin2JPG

Watch the G+ Hangout with Judy Martin

#TChat Preview: On the eve of his own one-week digital sabbatical, Community Manager, Tim McDonald, asked Judy Martin to frame this week’s topic in a G+ Hangout. See “Digital Breaks: Rethinking Connectivity”

SUN 7/7

Forbes.com Post: In her weekly Forbes column, TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro, opened up about her own attempt to disconnect. Read “The Digital Realities Of Work/Life Blending.”

MON 7/8

Related Post: While preparing for her #TChat appearance, Judy offered helpful guidance about how to frame this work-life integration issue and gain a sense of control. Read “Digital Detox vs Digital Redux in the Work-Life Merge.”

WED 7/10

TChatRadio_logo_020813

Listen to the #TChat Radio show now

#TChat Radio: 30 minutes prior to #TChat Twitter, radio hosts Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman sat down with Judy and Heidi for a lively discussion about work-life integration — what it means for individuals, as well as employers, in today’s digitally dependent world. Fascinating stuff! If you missed the session, listen now to the recording.

#TChat Twitter: Immediately following the radio show, our entire community came together on the Twitter stream to share ideas in real-time about the pros and cons of digital connections at the core of professional and personal life. Thanks to everyone who contributed opinions and ideas! To review highlights, watch the slideshow below:

#TChat Twitter Highlights: “Digital Breaks: Rethinking Connectivity”

[javascript src=”//storify.com/TalentCulture/tchat-insights-digital-breaks-rethinking-connecti.js?template=slideshow”]

Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to Judy and Heidi for helping our community think more carefully about how to manage the demands of digital life in more productive and personally satisfying ways. Your passion and perspectives are inspiring!

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about work/life integration issues? We’d love to share your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we’ll pass it along.

WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week at #TChat events, we’ll continue our summer “professional reality check,” as personal branding expert and author, Dorie Clark, helps us look at how to “Reinvent Your Personal Brand.”

In the meantime, the World of Work conversation continues each day. So join us on the #TChat Twitter stream, or on our new LinkedIn discussion group. And feel free to explore other areas of our redesigned website. The gears are always turning at TalentCulture, and your ideas and opinions are always welcome.

See you on the stream!

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

Your Digital Domain: Who’s The Boss? #TChat Recap

“With great power comes great responsibility.” -Voltaire

Do you suppose this is what it felt like back in 1967, during the “Summer of Love?” Our country was weary from years of war and civil unrest, and people were searching to reconnect with their humanity. That’s when “peace” took on new meaning as a symbol of promise for individuals and a new world order.

Flash-forward to today, when many among us are weary and searching to rediscover our humanity — but in a different way. This time, it’s fueled by the digital revolution. Why? We’ve been deeply engaged for so long with so many forms of networked communication that it seems we’ve reached a point of diminishing returns. Even the most intrepid “wired” geeks openly yearn for a certain kind of peace. And now, that discomfort is leading many to pursue serenity — either by dialing back on social channels or temporarily unplugging altogether.

Defining A Digital Destiny: To Each His Own

Grand as it may be, today’s “always on” social business experiment is taking a toll. And if this week’s #TChat forums are any indicator, workplace leaders are just starting to understand and respond to the consequences of an over-extended 24×7 workforce.

When do the productivity benefits of digital connections cross the line from the sublime to the ridiculous? When does hyper-connectivity become a drain on employee engagement and performance? How can workers maintain a healthy mindset in a world of nonstop demands? And how can leaders develop and sustain a healthy “connected” organization?

The TalentCulture community has only begun to crack the code on this issue. However, this week’s discussions revealed three key considerations:

1) Employers can no longer afford to ignore the cultural aspects of unrelenting hyper-connectivity. It’s actually a big-ticket business issue with implications that reach far beyond obvious security and privacy risks. Employee health costs, productivity and turnover are all expensive factors in this complex equation.

2) There are no single silver-bullet answers. However, there are a multitude of choices. The best solution for each organization will be different. But to find that solution, decision makers must take a mindful, active part in the process. As the digital realm unfolds before us, and choices expand, that responsibility becomes increasingly important.

3) This isn’t just about employers. Certainly companies must create processes and policies that address business interests and respect employee well-being. But at the end of the day, each of us is responsible for our own productivity, performance and peace of mind. The fundamental question rests with every individual: When and how should I leverage digital connectivity to improve my professional and personal life?

With so much at stake, #TChat-ters were grateful to welcome two work-life management experts to lead the way this week:

Their insights helped us frame the issues and expose new ideas, as we engaged the community in our weekly “world of work” dialogue. Below, we’ve captured event highlights (including a tweet-by-tweet Storify slideshow from Twitter) and other resource links.

We hope this inspires further discussion within your organization and professional circles. As ideas emerge, don’t be shy! Let us know what’s on your mind. For those at the forefront of work-life integration, the responsibilities may be great — but together, this journey of digital discovery is always better!

#TChat Week in Review: Connected Work-Life Reality Check

SAT 7/6

JudyMartin2JPG

Watch the G+ Hangout with Judy Martin

#TChat Preview: On the eve of his own one-week digital sabbatical, Community Manager, Tim McDonald, asked Judy Martin to frame this week’s topic in a G+ Hangout. See “Digital Breaks: Rethinking Connectivity”

SUN 7/7

Forbes.com Post: In her weekly Forbes column, TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro, opened up about her own attempt to disconnect. Read “The Digital Realities Of Work/Life Blending.”

MON 7/8

Related Post: While preparing for her #TChat appearance, Judy offered helpful guidance about how to frame this work-life integration issue and gain a sense of control. Read “Digital Detox vs Digital Redux in the Work-Life Merge.”

WED 7/10

TChatRadio_logo_020813

Listen to the #TChat Radio show now

#TChat Radio: 30 minutes prior to #TChat Twitter, radio hosts Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman sat down with Judy and Heidi for a lively discussion about work-life integration — what it means for individuals, as well as employers, in today’s digitally dependent world. Fascinating stuff! If you missed the session, listen now to the recording.

#TChat Twitter: Immediately following the radio show, our entire community came together on the Twitter stream to share ideas in real-time about the pros and cons of digital connections at the core of professional and personal life. Thanks to everyone who contributed opinions and ideas! To review highlights, watch the slideshow below:

#TChat Twitter Highlights: “Digital Breaks: Rethinking Connectivity”

[javascript src=”//storify.com/TalentCulture/tchat-insights-digital-breaks-rethinking-connecti.js?template=slideshow”]

Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to Judy and Heidi for helping our community think more carefully about how to manage the demands of digital life in more productive and personally satisfying ways. Your passion and perspectives are inspiring!

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about work/life integration issues? We’d love to share your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we’ll pass it along.

WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week at #TChat events, we’ll continue our summer “professional reality check,” as personal branding expert and author, Dorie Clark, helps us look at how to “Reinvent Your Personal Brand.”

In the meantime, the World of Work conversation continues each day. So join us on the #TChat Twitter stream, or on our new LinkedIn discussion group. And feel free to explore other areas of our redesigned website. The gears are always turning at TalentCulture, and your ideas and opinions are always welcome.

See you on the stream!

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

Will Your Talent Be Swept Away in the Coming Tsunami?

(Editor’s Note: Please welcome Switch and Shift co-founder, Ted Coine, to the pool of TalentCulture contributors. We look forward to sharing his insights on business leadership.)

Recently, I had the true pleasure of appearing on Lead with Giants TV. Founder and host Dan Forbes brought together six of his community’s most talented leaders to discuss one of my favorite topics — the question of a financial Return on Morale.

How does morale affect organizational performance? I’m passionate about this question. It doesn’t quite keep me up at night, but I do spend much of my days obsessing over it. In fact, “Return on Morale” is the title of my new “snippet” (a new digital format that works like an ebook on steriods).

I constantly wonder. How do I prove Return on Morale? And most importantly, how do I explain it to company leaders, who still have power to do something about employee morale before poor morale kills their organization?

ReturnOnMoraleThe interview with Dan was a great forum to test the waters for my Return on Morale narrative. Our conversation was exhilarating from start to finish. It was perfect evidence that the quality of an interviewer makes all the difference in showcasing a guest’s expertise.

One question in particular really stuck with me. Almost halfway into our conversation, Dan asked, “Ted, I’m thinking that when we get through this financial crisis, and employees are feeling a lot better about their financial situation … right now they’re putting up with the culture and the environment that they’re in … don’t you think we’re going to have a tsunami of people ready to leave and go somewhere where life is better?”

A tsunami of people leaving! Man, I wish I’d thought of that analogy (although fortunately Dan did, and shared it with me). Consider waves of business value rushing out of the door, beyond your reach. It’s not pretty. So, if you want to get a good idea of the true Return on Morale for your company, then consider this question:

What will it cost your company if your top talent becomes dissatisfied with how they are being managed, and leave to work for your competitors?

Ted Coine Return on Morale

Watch Ted on Lead With Giants TV now

In the TV show, we tackle this question and a whole lot more — all sorts of aspects of Return on Morale, and how to make sure you set-up your company to benefit from it, not just today, but in the future as well. I hope you take time to watch the program, and if you enjoyed the give-and-take, perhaps you’ll share it with some colleagues or friends.

And, if you want to learn more, perhaps you’ll enjoy my “snippet,” too. It’s available now, exclusively on iOS mobile devices, as an app from a really amazing company called (wait for it…) Snippet. Within the snippet, along with the text of each short chapter, you’ll find brief videos and even a way to tweet and connect with other readers and with me. (Yes, right from within the book!) I promise you, the experience is so cool that one or two snippets later, you never want to “just read” again.

So tell me — what do you think about the coming talent tsunami? What sort of impact do you anticipate? And what is your organization doing to protect your investment in employee morale and performance?

Image Credit: Pixabay

The Business Wisdom of Recognition #TChat Preview

(Editor’s Note: Are you looking for a full review of this week’s events and resources? See “Recognition: Meaning and Motivation: #TChat Recap.”)

If you could pick your dream employer, where would you work?

Patagonia? Facebook? Google? It’s no mystery why so many people find these companies attractive — employee satisfaction is off the charts. Great organizations offer members of their workforce many reasons to love their jobs. And studies show it’s a worthwhile investment. High employee engagement is directly tied to tangible business benefits — improved productivity, increased retention and higher profits.

Recognition: Secret Sauce?

Perhaps the most vital factor in the engagement equation is recognition. But recognizing employees is apparently easier said than done. Can we learn from best practices? It seems like a great place to start. That’s why we’re focusing on “Recognition Done Right” this week at TalentCulture #TChat forums. Leading the way are two experts on employee recognition:

#TChat Sneak Peek Videos

Max briefly joined me for a G+ Hangout to outline the role of recognition in today’s workplace:

And then Stan offered a glimpse of why and how recognition is so important:

#TChat Events: Recognizing How to Recognize

TChatRadio_logo_020813

Listen to the #TChat Radio show

This aspect of employee engagement has such tremendous potential. So why do organizations and leaders often seem to struggle to get recognition right? How important should this be on a leader’s list of priorities? What are your thoughts, as professionals who focus on the “human” side of business?

Let’s talk about it and learn from one another!

#TChat Radio — Tuesday, May 21 at 7:30pmET / 4:30pmPT — Stan and Max join our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman for a 30-minute deep dive into issues and opportunities surrounding recognition and organizational culture.

#TChat Twitter — Wednesday, May 22 at 7:00pmET / 4:00pmPT — Calling all #TChatters to join us on Twitter, as Stan and Max return to drive an open online crowdsourcing conversation. Check out the questions and weigh in with the crowd!

Q1:  How important is employee recognition as it relates to performance?

Q2:  How often should companies recognize employee achievement, and why?

Q3:  How can recognition be tied to the overall values of an organization?

Q4:  What are creative ways you’ve seen business leaders leverage recognition?

Q5:  How can technology improve employee recognition and engagement?

Throughout the week, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed and on our new LinkedIn Discussion Group. So please join us share your questions, ideas and opinions.

We’ll see you on the stream!

Employer Brands: Big-Company Ideas for The Rest of Us

Recently on a trip to Seattle, I had an opportunity to visit Amazon.com headquarters — one of the many remarkable corporate campuses located in that region. I’d never explored a “corporate campus” before. But I’ve always been extremely eager to get a first-hand experience after reading many articles about the concept. This was my shot.

Needless to say, I was impressed! But it isn’t just the size of this sprawling facility that blew me away. I was also struck by the branding that is present throughout the environment. It made me think about the whole “employer branding” thing.

Branding From the Inside Out

I know HR practitioners struggle to implement a strong public brand that will attract and recruit top-notch external candidates. It’s one of HR’s primary functions in today’s world of work. But what about the internal brand? It’s also vital to retain talent that is already onboard. What are we doing to keep existing employees engaged and loyal to our organizations? Competitive compensation isn’t the only way to stop an employee from walking.

You may not be an enormous company like Amazon, Google, or LinkedIn. You may not have deep pockets for internal branding initiatives. But you certainly can be inspired by the way the “big boys” cultivate their brands, their work environments, and their corporate cultures. What’s more, you can leverage and adapt some of those heavy-hitter concepts to fit your organization’s circumstances.

Four Key Questions

1) What’s the vibe in your workspace? When I think about world-class employer campuses, one of the most notable characteristics is that many workspace options are available. Yes, I said OPTIONS. Their offices are not set up with jail-like cubicle rows, and an occasional office or conference room here or there. They have open spaces, co-working options, lounge areas, and unique personalities. Perhaps you don’t have the space or budget to create luxurious common areas, but there are plenty of ways to create an open environment that seems welcoming and non-restrictive.

2) Are you committed to internal recruitment marketing? While riding in one of Amazon’s elevators, I noticed a vibrant poster promoting a department that is recruiting Software Engineers. One side of the poster showed a man sitting at a computer with the saying, “This is what it looks like to work on my team.” The other side showed an imaginative, creative, fun scene surrounding the man at the computer with the saying, “This is what it FEELS like to work on my team.” Below that, removable tags featured contact information for the team manager. I absolutely love that. Amazon is huge, so internal communications like that can make it easy to recruit for internal candidates who wouldn’t otherwise know about your team. Makes sense for a company that large, right? Here’s the kicker — even  in small organizations, employees say that they aren’t aware of other jobs or openings. This can be a huge issue, especially since many employees leave their company because they feel like they have no internal mobility options. That situation might not be true — their perception may simply come from lack of information.

3) Are you too scared to adapt? I understand the phrase, “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” And that phrase is perfectly reasonable. If your company is functioning fine, there is no reason to fix it. But what about offering more options? Compensation isn’t the only thing that can retain your employees. Sometimes other options can be the deciding factor: telecommuting; flex work; tuition reimbursement; on-going training; co-working; employee engagement initiatives, and so on. Your competitors are coming out with really cool options to retain their employees. Don’t let them beat you out because you were too scared to adapt to the changing world of work.

4) Is it a place of hierarchy or community? There most definitely needs to be order within an organization, but top down communication doesn’t really work as well as it did in the past.  Employees want their voices to be heard — they want to make suggestions, they want to contribute, and they want to build relationships. I have worked in an organization where the president and directors are extremely open to two-way communication. They make it very easy to initiate a conversation — even to the point where interns aren’t scared to make suggestions or casually chat with one of the company’s leaders. It has created a strong sense of community — which has helped position the company as a progressive work environment.

Your employer brand isn’t just about convincing external candidates that your organization is a great place to work. It’s also about making sure your current employees love working there — so much so that no other company or job offer seems more attractive.

(To read Ashley’s original post, visit The Social HR Connection blog.)

Clearing Hurdles to Employee Engagement

Recognition is a key component of Employee Success. What gets recognized get repeated. Recognizing employees for hitting targets and exemplifying corporate values reinforces behavior that impacts the bottom line. According to recent research by Aon Hewitt, organizations with high engagement rates are 78% more productive than disengaged organizations. The powerful combination of engaged employees and brilliant performance is critical to business success.

But it’s not that easy. As with any major organizational initiative, there are obstacles to integrating recognition into company culture. Securing buy-in and participation is always challenging, especially when the program seems “touchy-feely.” But from what I’ve seen, recognition is a critical business tool.

It can seem perilous to mess with established customs, but creating a strategy around recognition makes recognition—and business—more effective. To guide you through the process and ensure you come out a winner, our team put together this infographic.

In general, we see companies encountering six main hurdles on their journey:

  • Employee participation
  • Making time
  • Securing executive buy-in
  • Engaging managers
  • Budget
  • Measuring success

Each one presents a unique challenge, but none are insurmountable. As with any obstacle course, the proper training, preparation, and team work will get you over the finish line and improve your bottom line. Check out the infographic for a guide to making your company a recognition winner.

Overcome the Obstacle Course of Disengagement

(Legal Note: Employee Success is a trademark of Achievers Corp.)

Feature Image Credit: Pixabay

HR Tech as High Art and Deep Science

(Editor’s Note: For full insights from this week’s events see High Tech or High Touch? #TChat Recap.)

If you’ve seen this week’s #TChat Preview, you know that I’m packing my Team TalentCulture bags and heading for Philadelphia to join the action at the HRO Today Forum — where I’ll again help judge the iTalent innovation showdown.

Although it’s a live show-and-tell competition among vendors, I don’t think of it as a smackdown. Instead, I think of it as a celebration. A very important celebration.

The Upside of Change

Why is this so important? And why now? Because the world of work is changing at a phenomenal rate — and there’s no going back. You can find evidence everywhere — and it’s exciting. Just think about it. Only a year ago, at the first iTalent competition, HR infrastructure was in a much different place.

Enterprise adoption of social business is no longer just a smart idea, but a requirement that is rapidly redefining organizational culture. This shift is spawning a whole new class of start-ups — ventures that are challenging the status quo across the HR technology space. The convergence of cloud computing, big data, mobile connectivity, collaboration tools and social channels is disrupting talent management processes at every level.

Some might feel threatened — but that kind of inertia is eroding fast.

There’s a new mantra in the networked organization — adopt and adapt. That means there is no wide-open, well-marked, straight-line path to the future. On the other hand, leaders can no longer afford to delay or deny. Agility is the keyword in a world of relentless change. Without it, organizations jeopardize the effectiveness of their workforce, the vibrancy of their corporate culture, and the competitive advantage that comes from a strong talent infrastructure.

This is today’s truth. The road ahead may be uncertain, but I’m on your side. So you might as well hear it from me.

HR as High Art and as Deep Science

ForbesApr29

Read the Forbes.com post now…

So with the future at stake, how do we get “there” from “here”?

As I noted in my Forbes column this week, technology, alone, is not enough.

HR (specifically talent management) is an art because, at it’s heart, it’s about people – in all their messy glory. It’s about hiring the right people, and then inspiring and enabling them to deliver stellar performance.

HR is a also science because there are ways to measure talent, skills and compatibility that can take some of the guesswork out of the process and dramatically increase the odds of success.

Imagine being able to recruit, hire, recognize, measure and reward stellar performance on a virtually continuous basis. Imagine a real-time feedback loop that allows leaders to gauge the pulse and productivity of their organizations from mobile devices and tablets. Imagine unsung workforce heroes receiving the recognition they so richly deserve.

All of that is already happening now, thanks to new HR technology — in the hands of smart talent-minded professionals. I’d say that’s reason to celebrate the art and the science that makes the “human” side of business so complex, so rich, and so rewarding.

And that’s why — no matter which vendor “wins” the iTalent competition — I am celebrating the fact HR innovation is leading us to a whole new future of work.

To look more closely at this topic, read my Forbes.com post:

HR Technology: A Revolution for the World of Work

(Editor’s Note: For full insights from this week’s events see High Tech or High Touch? #TChat Recap.)

Image Credit: Pixabay

HR What Are You Waiting For? #TChat Recap

HR is the only department that asks for funding and C-level approval. Why?

Launch your powerful “world of work” initiatives and help the business grow.

Ask for forgiveness later!

Cy Wakeman passionately and matter-of-factly shared this sentiment about reality-based leadership at the SHRM Talent Management Conference and Exposition this week. It’s an unapologetic challenge to business leaders — especially those in HR — to stop the company coddle. In other words:

  • SHRM LogoStop coddling unhappy employees;
  • Focus on developing those who want to work for you, and expanding their strengths;
  • Accelerate development changes;
  • Encourage differentiation by using “benefits” as a reward for results.

Stop the company coddle, indeed. HR professionals have an opportunity today to truly make a difference in the ongoing success of their organizations. It comes from lifting performance across all members of the workforce — from contingent to full-time. It comes from tapping deeply into individual and collective strengths, and elevating performance to new levels.

It’s not about gaining a “seat at the table.” HR is already there. It’s about making the most of HR’s natural ability to support business strategy. So let’s get to work!

#TChat Topic: “World-Class” Workforce

Cy’s perspectives are very timely — aligning with discussions we had in #TChat events with Elliot Clark, CEO & Chairman of SharedXpertise, publisher of HRO Today and creator of the HRO Today Forum, which is coming up soon in Philadelphia.

HRO TodayElliot echoed Cy’s call for HR to help make organizations flatter, and more agile, and to leverage data for decisions that drive better business results. In the quest for competitive advantage, today’s bravest and most business-savvy HR leaders are building organizations that that are more flexible, more engaged and more resilient. It’s about focusing on mission-critical core talent, while outsourcing other responsibilities to reliable partners who deliver highly responsive business process services and technology infrastructure.

This is what it means to have a “world-class” workforce. “World-class” may have become a buzzword in our industry. But if we don’t aim high, what are the consequences? An underutilized, unhappy workforce undermines the very essence of innovation, drive and success.

#TChat Week-in-Review: Resources

SUN 4/14

Elliot_Clark_HROToday

Watch Elliot Clark discuss HR issues and trends

Google+ Hangout video:  Our community manager Tim McDonald, briefly framed the week’s issues with HRO Today Forum creator Elliot Clark.

#TChat Preview:  We outlined the week’s topic and key questions in the #TChat Preview post: “Building a World-Class Workforce”

MON 4/15

Meghan on Monday: To kick-off the week, our community CEO, Meghan M. Biro challenged use to look at “The Human Side of Self Service” — which provided context for her Forbes.com column.

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Listen to the #TChat Radio recording

Forbes.com: Meghan brought meaning to popular HR buzzwords in her post: “5 Attributes of a World-Class Workforce”

#TChat Radio: Hosts Kevin and Meghan talked with Elliot Clark about key workforce management trends, and what’s on the agenda for the HRO Today Forum.

WED 4/17

#TChat Twitter The TalentCulture community came together on the Twitter stream to talk about the realities that today’s organization’s face in developing a high-performance workforce. For insights from the stream, watch the Storify slideshow below:

#TChat Twitter Highlights Slideshow: “Building a World-Class Workforce”

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Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

SPECIAL THANKS: Again, thanks to Elliot Clark for joining us to discuss workforce management trends, and the agenda for the HRO Today Forum. Meghan and I are excited to be participating in this year’s Forum, managing and judging the iTalent Competition, as well as running #TChat Twitter live from the conference. We hope #TChat-ters will save the date – and join us live in Philadelphia, or via social streams!

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about “The World-Class Workforce” or related issues? We’re happy to share your thoughts. Just post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we’ll pass it along.

WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week, we’ll look at the role that social networks play in facilitating corporate responsibility and “social good” business initiatives. Stay tuned for “sneak peek” video and a full preview this weekend!

Until then, as always, the World of Work conversation continues each day. So join us on the #TChat Twitter stream, or on our new LinkedIn discussion group. And feel free to explore other areas of our redesigned blog/community website. The lights are always on at TalentCulture, and your ideas and opinions are always welcome.

We’ll see you on the stream!

Image credit: Stock.xchng