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Behavior In Business: 8 Human Insights Leaders Should Know

It’s impossible to be in the business world each day and not feel psychology at work. Each of us brings our human nature to a job — regardless of our title, expertise or organizational setting.

Leaders who value the psychological aspects of work life are much more likely to gain trust and inspire top performance from their teams.

These concepts may seem simple, but they can complicate workplace dynamics, and their impact is often measurable. That’s why they deserve attention from anyone who works with and through others to achieve business goals.

Are you thinking today’s leaders already “get it”? If so, this may surprise you…

Leadership Has Evolved? Not So Fast

Recently, the Wall Street Journal published an article, “Now You Know Why Your Boss Is Such An Ape.” It reminds us of how strong and predictable the force of nature can be — especially in a business context. It can be easy to forget that we’re animals — yet we share 99.9% of our genes with apes. In fact, if we compare their behavioral patterns with ours, the similarities are striking.

For example, in both cases, leaders often act cold, or even show disrespect to subordinates in an effort to claim dominance as the “alpha male.” On the other hand, those same leaders are likely to display an incredible amount of respect when interacting with their superiors.

8 Key Behavioral Concepts For Leaders

Psychology offers many more striking insights. Here are 8 that should serve every leader well. It’s not important to remember the terms — but if you remember the concepts, you’ll have a clear advantage in the world of work:

1) Observational Learning

Human learning begins with observation. This is vital for leaders to remember, because employees tend do what you do, not what you say. Those who look up to you will want to model themselves after you. And if your words and actions don’t align, the consequences can harm your organizational culture.

This kind of behavior starts early in humans, as was illustrated in the famous Bobo doll experiment — where children were asked to spend time in a room with an adult. After witnessing the adult display aggressively and verbally abusive behavior toward the doll, children acted in a similar way.

2) Social Contagion

This is the theory of how ideas and emotions spread and go viral. It’s important to recognize this tendancy, especially within a company culture. If a few employees become disengaged, the negativity can spread across the entire company quicker than you might expect.

This concept was illustrated in a University of Michigan study that monitored the spread of eating disorders throughout college campuses. It’s important to look for early signals and work proactively to reverse the impact.

3) Groupthink

Groupthink can be particularly dangerous, so it’s important to remain alert. It’s tricky, because team building activities are beneficial, but too much cohesion can be detrimental.

Groupthink tends to surface when teams take on a mind of their own — usually because members want to avoid conflict within the group. This leads to poor decision making, because groups don’t fully evaluate circumstances, and members are influenced by the rest of the group to comply.

Sometimes groupthink can be an unintended consequence of brainstorming. Rather than creating an atmosphere where multiple participants are inspired to generate a broader spectrum of creative ideas, the brainstorming process itself dampens the creativity of each member.

4) Minimal Group Paradigm

We’ve all seen “cliques” develop in schools and other social environments — that’s essentially minimal group paradigm in action. It’s about arbitrary distinctions between groups (for example, differences in the color of clothing) that lead people to favor one group over another.

Of course, harmful cliques can develop among adults in corporate cultures. However, leaders can avoid this by encouraging team building that reaches across arbitrary boundaries, and supports everyone as part of the same larger group.

5) Social Loafing

Initially I assumed this was about people who lie on the couch while browsing on Facebook — but it’s really much more interesting than that. Over 100 years ago, a study found that people put in 50% less effort when playing tug of war in a team of 8 compared to playing it alone. In other words, we tend to slack off when our efforts can’t be distinguished from the efforts of our teammates.

As important as team building is, autonomy and individuality is an important way to keep people motivated. This sounds counter-intuitive to need for humans to feel they belong to groups. However, there’s a delicate balance between motivating humans as individuals and as team members.

6) Stanford Prison Experiment

This is one my favorite lessons from the realm of psychology. In a Stanford University experiment, participants were assigned roles as prisoners and prison guards in a pseudo prison environment. Guard adapted to their new roles much quicker than expected, and guards became very authoritative and abusive toward prisoners.

This is obviously important for leaders to understand, because job roles clearly have an effect on our perception of ourselves and others. Be careful how you assign titles and responsibilities, and how you manage those expectations within your ranks, over time.

7) Prisoner’s Dilemma

This is another famous psychological experiment that underscores the importance of accountability within teams.

The prisoner’s dilemma is a game where the “rewards” are prison terms. There are 2 prisoners, A and B. If both prisoners betray each other, they each serve a 2 year jail sentence. If prisoner A betrays prisoner B, prisoner A goes free and prisoner B gets 3 years (and vice versa). If they both remain silent, they each serve only 1 year. Of course, it’s in both players’ best interest to stay silent. However, typically, the fear of betrayal leads both to betray each other.

This reminds us that trust and communication is essential for individual and team success — and that the definition of “success” is influenced by self interest.

8) Halo Effect

The halo effect is a popular concept among brand marketers, but it also can apply to perceptions of an employee. In marketing, humans develop positive perceptions of a product when respected sources describe it in positive terms, or when the brand develops strong associations with other attractive brands.

In the workplace, the halo effect involve bias that is either positive or negative. For example, when a leader likes an employee, they may attribute other positive traits to them (e.g. they’re smarter or more committed than others) even if it’s not accurate. This can obviously become a problem, if it affects the leader’s decisions. The best way to avoid this trap is to focus on objective measures of performance.

Obviously, this is just a taste of the behavioral research that can inform workplace leadership. But anyone can learn more — there are tons of great learning resources available online.

How do you see psychology at work in your organization? What has worked for you and what hasn’t? Share your thoughts in the comments area.

JacobShriarAbout the Author: Jacob Shriar is the Growth Manager at Officevibe, an employee engagement platform. He’s passionate about company culture, and he blogs regularly on productivity, employee engagement, and career tips. When he’s not reinventing the world over a glass of scotch, he likes to find new skills to learn. You can also follow him on Twitter.

Also Note: 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.

 

Best Employers: What Makes Them Work? #TChat Preview

(Editor’s Note: Looking for full highlights and resource links from this week’s #TChat Events? Read the recap: “Workplace Greatness: No Guarantees.“)

We’ve all heard the bad news about the state of today’s workplace. Years of economic recession, business upheaval and intense global competition have taken a toll on organizational culture and employee engagement. Media channels are brimming with stories of employers that miss the mark.

So, where’s the good news?

Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For

Learn more about the 2014 list

Maybe that’s why Fortune Magazine‘s “100 Best Places to Work For” list is so popular. Each year, it shines a light on what really works. We’re reminded that organizational excellence is all around us, and we have a chance to learn from those examples.

Fortunately this week, the TalentCulture community gets a front-row seat in that learning process, as China Gorman joins us at #TChat events!

As many of you know, China is CEO of Great Place to Work Institute — the firm that produces the “Best Companies to Work For” list. The 2014 edition was announced last Thursday, so we’ll be looking at the very latest results. And based on what I’ve seen, this year’s list deserves closer attention.

Sneak Peek: Shifting Priorities

To set the tone for this week’s events, China joined me for a brief “sneak peek” Hangout, where she explained that the 2014 study reveals two new top management priorities:

Last week, she shared other takeaways in a TalentCulture blog post: How Great Companies Attract Top Talent.

What are your thoughts about employers on this year’s “best” list? Do you see evidence that organizational culture is gaining ground as a source of competitive advantage? What role should “best practices” play in improving talent strategies? Join us this week to share your ideas and opinions with the #TChat crowd!

#TChat Events: Lessons From Great Workplaces

#TChat Radio — Wed, Jan 22 — 6:30pmET / 3:30pmPT

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Tune-in to the #TChat Radio Show

Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman talk with China Gorman about what it takes to create and sustain an extraordinary workplace culture. Tune-in LIVE online this Wednesday!

#TChat Twitter — Wed, Jan 22 7pmET / 4pmPT

Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin and China will move to the #TChat Twitter stream, where Dr. Nancy Rubin will moderate a live discussion with the entire TalentCulture community.

Everyone with a Twitter account is invited to participate, as we address these 5 related questions:

Q1: How does a company become a “great place to work”?
Q2: What characteristics do fast-growing and great workplaces share?
Q3: How does an employer brand interact with the recruiting process??
Q4: Why is a great workplace more about business strategy than HR?
Q5: How can HR convince leadership that workplace technology is a smart investment?

We look forward to hearing your ideas and opinions, as talent-minded professionals who care about the human side of business.

Throughout the week, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed, and on our LinkedIn Discussion Group. So feel free to drop by anytime and share your questions, ideas and opinions.

We’ll see you on the stream!

Virtual Workplace? For Real! #TChat Preview

(Editor’s Note: Looking for a full recap and resource links from this week’s #TChat Events? See the #TChat Recap: “Putting a Face on Remote Work.”)

Distributed workforce. Virtual team. Telecommuting.

Whatever term you use to describe remote work models, the concept continues to gain momentum in today’s business environment — and with good reason.

High-speed connections, mobile technology and cloud-based collaboration tools now make it easy and cost effective for people to “go to work” anytime, from almost anywhere.

XJyGYBut infrastructure and good intentions, alone, don’t guarantee that virtual organizations will be productive and profitable. So, what does it take? That’s the focus of  #TChat Events this week, as we look at why and how successful virtual teams really work.

And what better way to explore this topic than with an entrepreneur whose business is driven entirely by remote contributors? Our guest this week is Mike Hostetler, Founder and CEO of appendTo, a highly successful web engineering firm, powered by a far-flung workforce.

“Sneak Peek” Hangout: Trifecta of Awesomeness

To kick-off this week’s discussion, Mike joined me for a G+ Hangout, where he outlined the “trifecta of awesomeness” — three key reasons why the virtual workplace is taking hold:

What are your thoughts about how to build and manage awesome virtual organizations? This week, we’re seeking wisdom from the crowd — so share your ideas and opinions with the #TChat virtual community!

#TChat Events: Why Remote Work Continues to Rise

#TChat Radio — Wed, Jan 15 — 6:30pmET / 3:30pmPT

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Tune-in to the #TChat Radio Show

Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman talk with Mike Hostetler about what it takes to create and sustain successful virtual workplaces. Tune-in LIVE online this Wednesday!

#TChat Twitter — Wed, Jan 15 7pmET / 4pmPT

Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin and Mike will move to the #TChat Twitter stream, where the entire TalentCulture community will join the discussion. Everyone with a Twitter account is invited to participate, as we address these 5 related questions:

Q1: What are the pros and cons of virtual workplaces?
Q2: How do remote work models affect employee and customer engagement?
Q3: What factors should leaders consider when creating virtual teams?
Q4: How can recruiters identify traits of successful remote workers?
Q5: How can we apply technology to foster virtual collaboration?

We look forward to hearing your ideas and opinions, as talent-minded professionals who care about the human side of business.

Throughout the week, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed, and on our LinkedIn Discussion Group. So feel free to drop by anytime and share your questions, ideas and opinions.

We’ll see you on the stream!

Telecommuting: 5 Ways Companies Benefit

Last year, when Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer banned telecommuting for her employees, the decision stirred a vigorous debate about whether it’s valid for any business to let employees work from home.

As I see it, any organization can boost the personal and professional productivity of its workforce through telecommuting. And the more widely it is embraced, the better for the company.

Therefore, it’s a smart move to integrate technologies that make the work-from-home process smoother and more seamless.

Telecommuting Success: It’s More Than Technology

However, simply putting new technology into place and allowing your workforce to telecommute won’t make your business productive. Successful virtual work initiatives still require effective management. Leaders need to engage team members (as if they were physically at the office) and make sure they are kept in the loop, so they remain psychologically and socially connected, even when they don’t share a physical office space.

5 Key Business Benefits

But that said, when virtual work options are implemented appropriately, the advantages are abundant. For example, here are five major ways companies can benefit:

1) Morale: Happier employees get more done. In many cities, employees deal with a grinding commute, only to sit in an office where they interact very little with their coworkers. Whether the telecommuting arrangement is permanent or just a weekly flex day, the reduced travel and stress can provide a tremendous boost in employee morale.

2) Talent Acquisition: This can be a significant advantage in both large and small markets, because the best talent isn’t always within driving distance. This is certainly affected by the scope of the position, but businesses that don’t require day-to-day physical access to a shared office can benefit by finding the best candidates, regardless of physical location. Telecommuting lets companies choose from a much larger talent pool when it’s time to recruit for open positions.

3) Productivity: If you have ever worked remotely you probably know that you can accomplish much more when the conditions are right. At many offices, constant distractions mean less work gets done than the company desires. While face-to-face camaraderie may help employees build relationships, beyond small talk, there isn’t much that can be accomplished sitting in a meeting room that can’t be accomplished from a distance, using collaboration tools.

4) Flexibility: Trying to bring teams together in the same space and time isn’t necessarily easier because everyone travels to a central office. The technology that companies adopt to enable telecommuting allows teams to collaborate in real time from anywhere members are located. Participants can access teleconferencing, web conferencing and telepresence from almost anywhere. So when people can’t be in the same physical place, the meeting will still go on.

5) Adoption: I have said this for as long as I can remember: ”Eat your own dog food!” Any business that considers itself a high-tech organization should adopt tools, structures and processes required for successful telecommuting. What’s more, these capabilities should be  promoted as a way the workforce can achieve maximum productivity and work-life balance. Using this technology day in and day out can truly bring the organization closer. And the value of that connection can be priceless, as it translates to better selling, delivery and support of the solutions your customers need.

What other ways can organizations benefit from telecommuting? Does your company allow telecommuting? If not, why? Share your opinions and ideas in the comments below.

(Editor’s Note: This post was adapted with permission from an article written for and published in Commercial Integrator Magazine and republished by Millennial CEO.)

(Also Note: 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 conversation anytime. Learn more…)

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

Intrapreneurial Spirit: Cultural Alchemy

Written by Renée Warren, CEO, Onboardly

Perfection is hard to define — especially when it comes to finding the right talent for your company. I know this all too well. Running a small communications agency in Canada would seem like an easy next step, after my success as a freelance consultant. But finding the right people to join me and believe in my vision was a tough sell.

Striking Intrapreneurial Gold

I needed to recruit intelligent, resourceful, self-motivated individuals — people who could easily see the big picture and ‘read the play.’ People who didn’t need an employee manual, hand-holding or a perfect office environment to be creative.

So, I hired a few ambitious young people and was surprised at what happened next. They actually helped define the company culture. It blew my mind.

At the time, I wasn’t seeking help to clarify our “why,” or establish our organizational culture. I figured those things would come in time. Little did I know, in recruiting these mavericks, not only would my job get easier, but a unique culture would also emerge.

I learned that these individuals aren’t just hard working employees. They actually are all intrapreneurs — professionals who build businesses from the inside out. And that has made all the difference.

Intrapreneurs Onboard

How did this intrapreneurial crew help create the perfect culture for our growing agency? I’ve identified 5 essential contributions:

1) A Sense of Ownership

Intrapraneurs tend to have a better understanding of the big picture, and their ideas often reach beyond their day-to-day tasks. Our team members are strong believers in the work they do and they embrace responsibility for the results they achieve. They believe they are integral to the organization’s success — they’re not merely working in a position for a paycheck. This passion and attachment only grows stronger with time.

As living, breathing examples of the company culture, the team attracts others to our sphere. They set out to make sure that our culture is heavily entwined with day-to-day operations, and their ambitious attitude becomes contagious. It’s a deciding factor for customers, partners and additional employees, when committing to our organization.

2) Things You Can’t Teach

Intrapreneurs have a way of transforming an organization beyond expectations “because they are self‐motivated free thinkers, masters at navigating around bureaucratic and political inertia,” explains Vijay Govindarajan in a Harvard Business Review post.

Sure, some of these skills can be learned. However, the way this magical mixture comes together is often the product of innate characteristics, rather than the result of training. Members of this special breed either use company culture as a means to excel in a role, or they commit to crafting a culture that will elevate the organization as a whole.

Sounds too good to be true? There is some bad news: It’s often hard to identify this aptitude in a typical job interview. Intrapreneurial aptitude actually can take time — months, or even years — to surface. But if you have a knack for identifying human potential, you’ll be able to recruit ambitious, creative, self-directed individuals who are intrapreneurs at the core.

3) Always Adding Value

Some people go to work to make money, while others go to serve a purpose. Money is important to make ends meet, but it’s not the only reason why people stay with a company and love their careers. When someone is genuinely invested in their work, they will go to great lengths to contribute their best effort. They will work harder and longer to produce the results they seek.

More often than not, this “extra effort” comes from those with an intrapreneurial mindset — from people who refuse to stop until the job is done well. They are exemplary at shaping and contributing to cultures that create business value. Their work is not only self-fulfilling, but something that supports performance across the entire team.

4) Leaders Without the Title

Intrapreneurs are clearly leaders in their own right. They will proactively seek ways to cut costs and increase revenues, even beyond a CEO’s expectations. Regardless of the significance associated with change, an intrapreneur takes on the responsibility as though they own the company — and they make decisions, accordingly.

Perhaps more importantly, these people are visionaries who are willing to challenge the status quo. They “have a dream, and overcome obstacles to achieving it by selling the dream to others” (Hisrich, Peters, and Shepherd, 2010.) Their support of the company often is on par with upper management’s level of commitment.

5) Follow the Magic

No doubt, you already have natural intrapreneurs within the walls of your company. You may know and work side-by-side with some already. But you may not recognize others yet. Surprisingly, these “hidden gems” are not always your classic top talent. However, they are unique. And when you uncover them, if you encourage and nurture them, magic can happen.

How so? Intrapreneurs have a way of making complex processes into something more simple. They see the light at the end of a tunnel that others would abandon. They can think creatively inside and out of the box. They aren’t afraid of taking risks, and they are tenacious problem solvers. Magic? I’d say so.

Letting Your Inner Entrepreneurs Shine

Don’t ignore the signs of an intrapreneur. When you spot them, help them understand that you’re aware of their potential, and then support them throughout their journey. That “go” signal and encouragement from you may be just the thing to kick-start their mission — or keep them on course. Remember, these individuals may not “look” like the typical “CEO” candidate, but can (and will) create magic for you and the company.

It has happened for me. I know it can happen for others. Find the gold in your ranks and let it shine. Give them freedom to make choices and see things through to the next level. If your experience is anything like mine, you’ll never regret it.

Are intrapreneurs actively driving your organizational culture? How do you support them? And how are they contributing to your organization’s success?

Learn More: “Business In Your Business” Conference

For more insight about how to foster intrapreneurship in your organization, check out the “Business In Your Business” International Intrapreneurship Conference in Barcelona, Spain, December 12-13, 2013. Experienced intrapreneurs and inspiring experts will share how the process works for them and explain how you can implement it, too. BONUS DISCOUNT: Get 10% off on your attendance fee — enter the code “TalentCulture“ when you register online.

reneewarren(About the Author: Renée Warren is the CEO of Onboardly, a company that works with early stage startups to help them with customer acquisition and to gain visibility. She has worked with companies such as Udemy, Manpacks, and Beaucoo, helping them create an online presence that consistently gets their products in front of thousands of potential customers. Often referred to as a ‘geek in stilettos,’ Renée is passionate about creating a life that allows her to be the world’s best mom and build a company that continues to create value for its customers through inbound marketing.)

(Image Credit: Dan Brown on Flickr)

Hiring Culture: Creating A Recruitment Ecosystem

Written by David Smooke

Every organization has its own unique “hiring culture,” in addition to its core company culture. Hiring culture deserves just as much attention as company culture, because the two are deeply intertwined. The way an employer acquires talent determines not only who works at the company, but also the very essence of how those people function.

Culture: A Reality Check

Before we look at ways to elevate your hiring culture, let’s first look at how esteemed cross-cultural researcher Geert Hofstede defines culture:

“Culture is the collective programming of the human mind that distinguishes the members of one human group from those of another. Culture in this sense is a system of collectively held values.”

By extension, a strong definition of company culture emerges: “the collective programming of the human mind that distinguishes the members of one company from another.”

So, what attracts people to a particular company (and culture)? And what motivates them to move from one culture to another? Early interactions with a new company bring us face-to-face with that organization’s hiring culture. It’s essential to make those initial experiences as approachable and authentic as possible. How?

Elevate Your Hiring Culture — Focus On 3 Key Factors

1) Alignment With Company Culture

Hiring culture feeds off of company culture, and company culture feeds off of hiring culture. However, your company culture has more inertia. In other words, every day, a mass of employees brings your company culture to life. Each employee is essentially a walking, talking, full-fledged marketing campaign, demonstrating what it means to work at your company. Do those employees know what your business stands for?

Companies such as TOMS and Google are models of how to “own” a company mission that focuses on social good. TOMS employees speak proudly about how every shoe purchase leads to a free pair of shoes for someone in need. This positivity carries over to its culture. Google employees popularized the slogan, “Don’t Be Evil,” as a way of pledging not to abuse the company’s abundance of information.

Every employee at your organization should know what your corporate slogan means, and feel comfortable sharing that concept with others. For example, I’m proud to say that my company stands for Zero Unemployment.

2) Transparent Employer Branding

Adding transparency to your employer branding gives potential hires a better idea of the impact your company is trying to make on the world, and a more accurate impression what it’s like to spend a day in your environment. You want to attract people that want to be there. Therefore, you have nothing to lose by being bold and straightforward. For example, Zappos offers employees $2,000 to quit because, as they say, “We really want everyone to be here because they want to be, and because they believe in the culture.”

To increase the transparency of your employer brand, and attract people who will be passionate about your company, try these tactics:

•  Share authentic pictures of what it is like to work at your company (real pictures of real employees on the job)
•  Counsel employees on why and how they should talk about your company and share your brand message, and;
•  Be awesome. This cannot be faked. When a company’s mission, vision and values are worthy, it shows.

3) Streamlined Hiring Communications

Finally, take a careful look at your hiring process. Where do you see disconnects in communication? How do they affect the speed and quality of talent acquisition? Consider a more collaborative model. For example, with a team of 3 to 4 people (rather than only 1 or 2), the hiring manager draws on more perspectives for a well-informed hiring decision, and you can get your team more invested in each new hire.

No matter how you structure hiring teams, it’s essential to have a system in place that facilitates information exchange across all levels. Hiring managers must have a way to define and update the information they want from interviewers; interviewers need a simple way to capture and share their impression of candidates, and stakeholders need an easy way to review and exchange input, so they can make timely, effective hiring decisions.

Better Hiring Culture = A Better Business

According to HubSpot CEO, Brian Halligan, “If you’ve got a great product, it pulls in customers; if you’ve got a great culture, it pulls in employees.”

But here’s the rub: You can’t have a consistently great product without consistently great employees. And you can’t have great employees without a clear, coherent, compelling hiring culture. Hiring culture determines who you’ll attract as employees. Those choices will shape your company culture, and inevitably, your bottom-line.

Is your hiring culture attracting, closing and retaining the best talent for your company? What do you think it takes to develop and improve a hiring culture? Share your ideas in the comments area.

headshot(Author Profile: David Smooke is Director of Social Media at SmartRecruiters, the hiring platform. In addition to overseeing SmartRecruiters’ online communities, David is the Editor-in-Chief of the SmartRecruiting Blog and co-organizer of monthly Smartup events. He believes remarkable content determines the usage of every news feed.

David lives in San Francisco and enjoys walking the city, reading Dostoyevski, playing basketball, and discussions of the internet’s potential growth. Connect with David on Twitter at @DavidSmooke, and on LinkedIn at Linkedin.com/ClarkKent.)

Feature image credit: alborzshawn via Flickr

Intrapreneurs: Creating Value From Within #TChat Recap

How can a culture of intrapreneurship help companies retain top talent, while serving customers more effectively? That was the focus of our community conversation at last week’s #TChat forums. We understand that the concept of intrapreneurship is new to some of our participants. So, let’s first look at its history and meaning, before we summarize the week’s events.

Innovation With Infrastructure

The term “intrapreneur” first appeared in a 1978 article written by organizational design experts, Gifford & Elizabeth Pinchot. A recent FastCompany article defines intrapreneurs as people who work within existing organizations to accelerate change, while simultaneously creating business value.

In another FastCompany article, Hilton Worldwide VP Jennifer Silberman takes a more expansive view, noting that intrapreneurs are integral to corporate responsibility initiatives. She says, “the intrapreneurial mindset helps drive innovation and uncover opportunities within the challenges of operating in a changing world.”

David Armano, EVP, Global Innovation & Integration at Edelman, describes intrapreneurs as people who have entrepreneurial DNA, but choose to align their talents with a large organization, rather than creating one from scratch. Of course, successful intrapreneurs are valuable employees, because they’re a source of sustainable competitive advantage.

More and more companies are leveraging intraprenuerial talent by establishing initiatives and cross-functional teams to design and launch new products, services and systems. Project leads are given autonomy and resources to generate and develop concepts. In return, they “own” their endeavor’s success or failure.

According to Douglas Brown of Post University, an intrapreneurial role can lead to greater job satisfaction, because individuals are able to perform in a leadership capacity, exercise creativity, build credibility, and make a meaningful impact on the business — all within a reasonably safe environment.

Fueling The Intrapreneurial Fire

GoGiver

Learn more about The Go-Giver

So, how can organizations nurture an intrapreneurial spirit in employees? And how can each of us tap into our “inner entrepreneur” to create business value?

Helping us explore those questions was the week’s special guest, business author and commentator, Bob Burg. Bob is widely recognized for his ability to bring complex concepts to life in ways that are entertaining and easy to understand. In this case, Bob asked us to consider behaviors that distinguish “go-getters,” “go-takers” and “go-givers.”

Go-getters are people who take action. Go-takers also take action, but feel entitled to receive without offering value in return. Meanwhile, go-givers focus on actions that continuously add value to others’ lives. Bob’s book, “The Go-Giver” outlines 5 powerful principles that contribute to success:

• The Law of Value – Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment
• The Law of Compensation – Your income is determined by how many people you serve and how well you serve them
• The Law of Influence – Your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people’s interests first
• The Law of Authenticity – The most valuable gift you have to offer is yourself
• The Law of Receptivity – The key to effective giving is to stay open to receiving

This lighthearted video reveals more about the 5 “Go-Giver” laws:

Celebrating “Go-Giver” Intrapreneurs

In a recent Huffington Post article, Wharton professor Adam Grant emphasized the importance of Recognizing Go-Givers. This is just one way companies could build a culture that supports creative contributions. Our #TChat Twitter participants offered hundreds of other suggestions. (For highlights from the conversation, see the Storify slideshow below.)

Thanks to everyone in the TalentCulture community who shared opinions and ideas at this week’s #TChat events. We invite you to review the resources below, and continue this discussion about innovation from within!

#TChat Week-In-Review: Entrepreneurs In Your Organization

SAT 8/24:

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Watch the #TChat “sneak peek” video now

#TChat Preview: TalentCulture Community Manager Tim McDonald the framed the week’s topics in a preview post, featuring a “sneak peek” video with guest Bob Burg. Read: “Corporate Entrepreneurs: Best Of Both Worlds?”

SUN 8/25:

Forbes.com Post: TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro challenged business leaders to rethink the ways they engage with their most creative employees. Read: “5 Ways To Unleash The Power Of Your People.”

MON 8/26:

Related Post: Hans Balmaekers, Founder of intrapreneurial incubator sa.am, offered relevant advice to young professionals who are looking for entrepreneurial opportunities. Read: “Want To Be Your Own Boss? Try This First.”

WED 8/28:

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Listen to the #TChat Radio show now

#TChat Radio: In a thought-provoking warm-up to our community Twitter conversation, Bob Burg spoke with radio hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman about how intrapreneurs fit in today’s workplace, and how organizations can create an environment that supports those endeavors. Listen now to the radio show recording.

#TChat Twitter: Immediately following the radio show, I moderated an open discussion with Bob and our entire community on the #TChat Twitter stream. For highlights from this dynamic session, watch the Storify slideshow below:

#TChat Highlights: Entrepreneurs In Your Organization

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Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to Bob Burg for generously sharing your expertise about the importance of creating value in business and in life. Your practical wisdom is deeply relevant and helpful to all of us.

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did last week’s events prompt you to write about intrapreneurial values, behaviors and success? 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: This week, we leap into a jam-packed fall season for #TChat events, starting with the topic, “Recruiting IS Marketing” with David Bernstein and Chris Fields, It’s one week you don’t want to miss! So plan to join us, and check for more details here and on TalentCulture channels.

In the meantime, the World of Work conversation continues — even on Labor Day! So join us on the #TChat Twitter stream, on our LinkedIn discussion group. or elsewhere on social media. The lights are always on here at TalentCulture, and your ideas and opinions are always welcome.

See you on the stream!

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

Corporate Entrepreneurs: Best Of Both Worlds? #TChat Preview

(Editor’s Note: Want to see full highlights from this week’s events, including resource links? Read the #TChat Recap: “Intrepreneurs: Creating Value From Within.”)

Earlier this month, we kick-started a community conversation with Marcia Conner about ingenuity in our personal and professional lives — looking at how each of us can benefit by channeling our inner “McGyver.” More recently, we drilled down on the concept of disruptive innovation — how radically new ideas and technologies continue to create new business opportunities.

This week, we invite you to help us connect those two dots, as we explore what’s possible when organizations actively nurture an entrepreneurial culture. So-called “intrapreneurship” isn’t a novel idea. However, at a time when employee engagement seems stuck at low ebb, a dedicated effort to drive internal innovation can help retain top talent, and simultaneously create a competitive edge. But how?

To lead this conversation, we’re excited to welcome one of my favorite business authors and commentators, Bob Burg. Bob writes extensively and speaks enthusiastically about what it takes for organizations and individuals to leverage their strengths in today’s world of work.

For a glimpse of Bob’s view of intrapreneurship, watch this brief #TChat sneak-peek Hangout:

This week’s #TChat forums promise to be dynamic and informative. So bring your best ideas, questions and concerns — and let’s continue the conversation!

#TChat Events: Entrepreneurs Inside Your Organization

TChatRadio_logo_020813

Tune-in to the #TChat Radio show

#TChat Radio — Wed, Aug 28 at 6:30pmET / 3:30pmPT

Bob joins our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman to talk about how intrapreneurs fit in today’s workplace, and how organizations can create an environment that supports those endeavors. Listen LIVE and dial-in with your questions and feedback!

#TChat Twitter — Wed, Aug 28 at 7pmET / 4pmPT

Immediately following the radio show, Bob will join us on the #TChat Twitter stream, where Dr. Nancy Rubin will moderate an open discussion with the entire TalentCulture community. Anyone with a Twitter account is invited to participate, as we address these questions:

Q1: How can entrepreneurs find happiness in a corporate workplace culture?
Q2: What’s the difference between a “go-getter” and a “go-giver”?
Q3: How do companies attract, hire and retain “intrapreneurs”?
Q4: What can business leaders and HR gain from being intrapraneurs?
Q5: What technologies today enable intrapraneurship, and how?

Throughout the week, we’ll keep this 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!

5 Reasons To Hire Flexible Talent

Having a hard time finding the right employee for the job? You may be looking at the wrong group of candidates. According to recent reports, hiring within the flexible job market has steadily increased over the past 12 months. In addition, employers plan to hire more flexible workers this year than any other year before.

So, why is it in your best interest to consider flexible workers?

This infographic, compiled by Hourly (an employment network that quickly matches people who are interested in flexible positions with the right opportunities), illustrates why the flexible talent pool is the group to watch. Some noteworthy takeaways:

  • 40% of employers plan to hire temp workers this year, and more than 80% plan to increase their flexible workforce;
  • 25 million Americans work part-time, 20 million telecommute, and 10 million are independent contractors;
  • 39% of temporary workers will transition into full-time jobs.

If you’re an employer, what role do flexible workers play in your talent strategy? Or, if you’re on the other side of the table, as part of the flexible workforce, tell us how flexible options have helped or hindered you.

Check out the full infographic below, and share your thoughts in the comments section!

What do you think? What are some other reasons to hire flexible workers?

(Image Credit: Nicole LaPointe-McKay)
(Note: Gumby is a trademark of Premavision Inc/Clokey Productions)

Future Of Work: An Army Of Open Leaders

(Editor’s Note: We’re thrilled that business collaboration and learning expert, Dan Pontefract, will be a featured guest soon at #TChat events. To set the stage, Dan shares insights below, adapted from his new book Flat Army: Creating a Connected and Engaged Organization.)

Flat Army? What the heck is a Flat Army?

Work environments need not feel like a military camp or a ruthless command-and-control operation. The process of work should be fun, innovative, creative and very engaging. I believe that the best way to create a connected and engaged organization is by invoking a “Flat Army” mindset. Why? Let’s unpack that analogy:

To be flat is to be on a level surface, not in a hierarchy. To be in an army (from armata, the Latin term referenced in 1533, meaning a flotilla of vessels) is to be part of a large group of people who are committed to similar aims or beliefs.

An organization with a Flat Army ethos benefits from an unobstructed flow of coordinated, constructive, creative behaviors that arise from the common interests of employees, leaders, partners and customers. It is a shift from “me” to “we,” using collaborative, participative and growth behaviors. Flat Army is a playbook that moves organizations toward increased engagement and innovation.

Profile Of A Flat Army Leader

flatarmy_frontcoverIn our Flat Army model, a harmonious, connected leader creates a situation where both the team and the leader are as open as possible to performing business tasks and achieving objectives. In an environment where even mundane day-to-day tasks are conducted in this open manner, there is harmony among all contributors, regardless of rank.

Openness — both as a quality of the leader and an expectation of the team — fosters a harmonious relationship among all parties. It’s arguably a step in the right direction towards higher levels of engagement, productivity and business results. A harmonious, open leader connects with the team — parlaying the culture as if it can only be successful when all parties are united, equal in nature and committed to openness. And if we agree that leadership is for all, we also wish that everyone in an organization will participate as a harmonious, open leader.

Getting Under The Hood With Open Leaders

I define open leadership as the act of engaging others to influence and execute a coordinated and harmonious conclusion. Therefore, open leadership is essential for every Flat Army organization.

A.G. Lafley comes to mind when I think of stellar Flat Army leadership. His name may not ring a bell, but I can assure you, he sets a standard of excellence for openness and collaboration. Between 2000 and 2010, Mr. Lafley was the highly successful president and CEO of Procter & Gamble (P&G) — the consumer products conglomerate with over $80 billion in revenue and over 125,000 employees worldwide.

Throughout his decade at the helm, he helped double total sales and quadruple profits, while increasing P&G’s market value by over $100 billion. Furthermore, he helped grow P&G’s portfolio of billion-dollar brands (such as Gillette, Pampers and Tide) from 10 to 24. How did he do it?

In his book The Game Changer: How Every Leader Can Drive Everyday Innovation, co-written with management thought leader, Ram Charan, Lafley refers to the unique relationship between openness and ideas:

Open architecture is the organizing principle that enables a business and its people to open themselves up to get ideas from anywhere at any time. P&G collaborates with anybody, anywhere, anytime. P&G likes unusual suspects. It will even compete with a company on one side of the street, and cooperate with it on the other. In an open innovation system, anything out there is fair game, even if competitors are sitting on it. And that’s fine with both partners because it works.

At P&G, Lafley opened up everything. He wanted his leaders to be more collaborative, and just as importantly, he wanted his employees to be open. As a results, magic happened. He branded this open architecture “Connect and Develop” or “C&D.” The framework reached across all employees, regardless of title, and it drove not only revenue and profitability, but also employee engagement.

Lafley and Charan explain:

The single characteristic of C&D is the willingness of all people at P&G to be psychologically open and to seriously consider new ideas, whatever the source, thus building a truly open global innovation network that can link up — and be first in line — with the most interesting thinkers and the best products to “reapply with pride.”

Lafley’s leadership example demonstrates what’s possible when a harmonious environment is created through a culture of open initiative. That is Flat Army in action. And perhaps that’s a key reason why P&G just rehired Lafley last month to lead the company forward.

The Open Leader Toolkit

Hopefully now the concept of open leadership is clear. But what are these social business and collaboration tools everyone keeps talking about? An open, Flat Army environment can’t thrive if leaders suffer from technology blindness or ignorance. In truth, tools for communication and collaboration are as integral to a Flat Army mindset as they are to employee engagement and productivity.

If your organization doesn’t embrace tools that support dynamic exchange of knowledge and ideas, then be a catalyst for change. Look for ways to integrate capabilities such as blogging, micro-blogging, expert networks, discussion forums, video sharing or instant messaging into existing platforms and workflows. Start using them to demonstrate that you are a connected, collaborative and participative leader who assists your team (and your organization) in achieving their goals and objectives — even as you strive for a high level of employee engagement and customer satisfaction.

What are you doing to help your organization embrace a Flat Army ethos? I invite you to share your ideas and experiences.

Photo: Dan Pontefract, author and head of learning and collaboration, TELUS(Author Profile: Dan Pontefract is the the author of “Flat Army: Creating a Connected and Engaged Organization.” He is also Head of Learning & Collaboration at TELUS where he is responsible for the company’s overarching leadership development, learning and collaboration strategy. Visit www.danpontefract.com for more about Dan’s professional experience, and his thoughts on the future of leadership and organizations.)

 

Image Credit: Pixabay

The Creative Power of Diverse Ideas: #TChat Recap

Diversity: The art of thinking independently together. – Malcolm Forbes

The notion of diversity has evolved tremendously through the years. Historically, workplace diversity translated into hiring goals focused on racial and sexual equality. But today’s organizations are recognizing that there’s sustainable strategic value in diversity that reaches beyond demographics.

Diversity of ideas, perspectives and life experiences enables organizations to innovate and compete more effectively in today’s global marketplace. Bringing together a broad spectrum of skills, expertise and problem solving approaches enhances outcomes in collaborative environments. However, for this kind of diversity to take hold in the workplace, it must be woven into an organization’s culture. And, like any aspect of corporate culture, it must start with leaders who embrace inclusive attitudes and behaviors.

Dialing Into a Different Kind of Diversity

How can organizations foster innovation by nurturing the “new” diversity? It’s a question on the minds of our own diverse TalentCulture community. And it’s a central lesson in a new book “Think Like Zuck,” by Ekaterina Walter, which examines successful business principles of corporate leaders like Mark Zuckerburg.

This week, we asked Ekaterina to join us, along with Silicon Valley product development executive, Rob Garcia, who leads diverse organizations in creating breakthrough HR technology products. The conversations were rich and lively – peppered with nuggets of wisdom that anyone can use to collaborate and innovate more effectively.

NOTE: For complete highlights from yesterday’s #TChat Twitter forum, be sure to watch the Storify slideshow at the end of this post.

#TChat Week-in-Review

SUN 1/27
TalentCulture Founder, Meghan M. Biro set the stage in her Forbes.com post: “Think Like Zuck: How Diversity Sparks Innovation”

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Listen to the #TChat Radio interview now…

MON 1/28
#TChat weekly preview post: “Diversity in a New Key”

TUE 1/29
#TChat Radio Show:
Our hosts sat down to examine the “human” side of innovation with Rob Garcia, Director of Product Strategy and Marketing at RiseSmart, the leader in next-generation outplacement solutions.

To frame the conversation, Rob wrote a thoughtful blog post, Intentional Diversity: 3 Ways to Create Organizational Strength and Talent Diversity.

WED 1/30
#TChat Twitter: Rob again joined us – along with Ekaterina Walter – and hundreds of #TChat participants, as we opened the Twitter channel to a dynamic conversation about how to leverage diversity for better business results. Key tweets are featured below…

NOTE: For more highlights from yesterday’s #TChat Twitter forum, be sure to watch the Storify slideshow at the end of this post.

What are your unconventional definitions for workplace diversity?

“Different backgrounds. Different approaches. Different solutions. Shared success.” @talemetry

“Diversity of thought & experience gives ‘average’ a chance to be ‘great.'”@alliPolin

“More than statistical differences. Creative diversity, thought diversity just as important.” @LexieFO

How do leaders nurture and cultivate diversity?

“Be open to the unconventional. Note: Everything was unconventional at one point.” @SJAbbott

“Leaders nurture diversity by recognizing the value of “different,” publicly and decidedly.” @RobGarciaSJ

How does conventional diversity play into this?

“It happens organically, but diverse people must be brought together intentionally.” @martinamcgowan

“Diversity in the workplace is necessary to create a competitive economy in a globalized world.” @WeGoodify

What role does HR technology play?

“Digital villages are the now-next community of collaboration inside and out of organizations.” @ReCenterMoment

“HRTech puts too much focus on finding candidates’ keywords instead of their passion and company fit.” @MarcCibulka

“What current resume screening has in speed, it LACKS in ability to see diversity & potentiality.” @N_BarryJansson

How can leaders encourage this “different” diversity?

“Break away from your dept. Ask someone outside your dept to brainstorm ideas once in a while. You never know.” @LukiKit

“Leaders need to educate their teams and organizations about the value of including many different views.” @TerriKlass

“Celebrate success. Celebrate failure. Challenge inaction. Foster diversity. Gain innovation.” @aldampier

Closing Notes & Highlights Slideshow

SPECIAL THANKS: We’re grateful to Rob Garcia and Ekaterina Walter for bringing your understanding of diversity to TalentCulture events this week! Your ideas have inspired our diverse “world of work” community to reflect and and interact in ways that that we hope will make a difference in their respective organizations.

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events inspire you to write about diversity or other workplace 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 – as Valentine’s Day approaches, we’ll look at how employer/employee relationships have been redefined – and what it means for the future of work. Don’t miss “The Employment Romance is Over. Now What?” on #TChat Radio, Tuesday, Feb 5, at 7:30pm ET. And then #TChat Twitter Wednesday, Feb. 6, at 7pm ET. Look for more details next Monday via @TalentCulture and #TChat.

Until then – we’ll see you on the stream!

Image Credit: Ortonesque

#TChat INSIGHTS Slide Show: “Innovation Through Diversity”

#TChat INSIGHTS: Diversity in a New Key

Storified by TalentCulture World of Work· Wed, Jan 30 2013 17:40:43

Hey #Tchat’ers… are we sexy or what? http://pic.twitter.com/HGwkWGYo w/@KevinWGrossman talking #diversity #HRRob Garcia
For my #TCHAT community! @MeghanMBiro http://pic.twitter.com/C2hLskAaLeAnna J. Carey
Doing work from couch, dealing with sinusitis, watching the tube, and getting deep into #TChat http://pic.twitter.com/cF2RUwAOAshley Lauren Perez
@MeghanMBiro checking in from another rainy day in Hilo HI http://www.twitpic.com/bt57rn #TChatSylvia Dahlby
Q1: What are your unconventional definitions for diversity in the workplace? How is it more than demographics? #TChatKevin W. Grossman
A1: We need to think of workforce diversity beyond accepting or respecting, but as a competitive advantage. #TchatJohn R. Bell
A1. I want it to mean diff in thought, experience and perspective. I still feel that the focus is on race, ethnicity and gender. #tchatMichael Danubio
A1: Diversity comes from education, not only culture! #TchatBenoit RIBE
A1: Seek “fit” in terms of shared commitments and seek diversity to expand perspective and open possibility #tchatSusan Mazza
A1. Diversity is now a conversation about the collective, not about individuals working together. #tchatSalima Nathoo
A1: What qualifies as unconventional diversity constantly changes at work. What is the next viewpoint that will strengthen our team? #TChate.c. stiles
A1. how about those people who OWN who they are- nerd, businessman, fashionista, etc, instead of trying to fit in #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A1 Diverse teams make for great innovation teams – its more than men/women – but sector focus as well (psychology, engineering) #TChatLeAnna J. Carey
a1 Letting people express themselves & who they are at work instead of drawing a hard line between ME at home & the office #tchatAlli Polin
A1 diversity is about all the ways we’re similar and different from another #tchatMelissa Lamson
A1 Diversity is what makes people stronger, more educated and ultimately more capable. #tchatWeston Jolly
A1 Coming from different “industries” ~ with different “mindset” ~ like Design Thinking #tchatCASUDI
A1. Diversity can mean encouraging alternative opinions and perspectives. #TChatKit Lukianov
A1 Diversity allows for unique POV’s to cross-pollinate ideas :) #tchatRobert Moore
#tchat A1 Diversity opens the door to shocking ideas! that’s creativityMichael Leiter
A1: “Workplace diversity” unconventional definition? Demographics + dif bkgrounds. Goes below surface, takes work. #tchatAnne Messenger
A1: We all have different experiences that we bring to the mix. Utilize those for maximum benefit! #tchatRob McGahen
A1: You have to be open minded to be diverse. Respect those from other cultures & experiences. #TchatLori~TranslationLady
A1: Diversity is experience, age, gender, ethnicity, motivation coming together for a common goal #tchatRichard S Pearson
A1: experience level, family situation (single, married, kids or not) and a mix of full and part-time workers is nice. #TChatchrys peterson
A1. Diversity is a bringing together of all the different talents and gifts in an organization or community. #tchatTerri Klass
A1. “Thinking outside of the box” diversity- someone who doesn’t just go with the flow and sees things differently #tchatBridget Webb
A1 I work in the for profit sector Diversity makes sense & Money $$$ #TchatDave Ryan, SPHR
A1: Diversity should include consideration of insight, experience, opinion, motivation… #tchatMark Salke
A1: Diversity = more than quotas & surface criteria; entire purpose = rich discussions, varied views leading 2 superior #brands. #tchatEvelyn Eury
A1: Diversity in workplace equals multiple people with multiple ideas with a centered org purpose. #TChatJon M
Q2: In the world of work, how do leaders nurture and cultivate diversity in its many non-demographic forms? #TChatKevin W. Grossman
A2. Manage yourself. Lead others. #tchatMichael Clark
A2 Remember that diversity is not something that you are. It’s something you respect and desire to be part of. #tchatStephen Abbott
A2 Cultural Awareness, Effective Listening, Body and Teleconference Language, Emotional Intelligence #tchatTim Collins
A2 Think “swarming” when you staff a team, with varied functions present. #TChatMarla Gottschalk PhD
A2 – Celebrate the value of constructive challenges to the status quo. #tchatDave Birckhead
A2: Shameless passion for what we do everyday! #TChat #TChatJoseph Tatulli
A2. Encourage mistakes and taking risks and helping them grow with choices. #tchatTerri Klass
A2. Leaders could benefit greatly from reverse-mentoring (especially middle-aged white guys). Ideas will come from new perspectives #tchatBob Lehto
A2 Ask for everyone’s opinion. Encourage everyone to challenge each other. Keep open lines of communication and collaboration. #TChatMarc Cibulka
A2: diversity success is directly related to the leaders level of emotional self awareness #tchatEd Hennessy
#TChat A2 Having people present another person’s viewpoint and have that person echo their own promotes inclusive diversity.Kris Marie
A2: Strategic planning during the recruitment process. #tchatbillallemon
A2. When the vision of goals of a company grow and change in sync with society diversity is automatically nurtured and cultvated. #TchatShay M. Lawson
A2: #Tchat, good leaders learn to see, hear different perspectives. It’s hard work!al dampier, dph
A2 For diverse opinions, leaders should establish psychological safety #tchatChristopher Yeh
A2. Diversity impacts the bottom line. The business case is there – it’s up to the leader to realize its implications. #TChatTalent Generation
A2 A diverse leader is a diverse individual. It is important to find ways to grow, educate and expand past your “norm” everyday. #tchatWeston Jolly
A2: Leaders need to create culture that inspires diverse input from all sides #tchatJen Olney
A2. You’ve got to have guts of steel to look another in the eye and engage-connect-communicate. #tchatMichael Clark
A2. Good leaders create environments where each person has a chance to lead. Enabling diversity & creativity. #TChatLexie Forman Ortiz
A2. Smart companies are the ones who realize they need to nurture this in order to retain their #diverse #talent #tchatKimPope
A2) Active listening – be part of the community and not just being reported to about it – be the model – be social #tchatnancyrubin
A2: Empowerment. Patience. And leading by example. #tchatEkaterina Walter
A2 One way is to poll everyone in an organization therby promoting self expression and the brainstorming of new ideas #TChatEnzo Guardino
A2: Leaders should strive to hire people that are different than themselves and their team. #tchatBright.com
Q3: How does conventional diversity (i.e., diversity of demographics) play into diversity of ideas? #TChatKevin W. Grossman
a3: it’s tough when companies tip-toe on tough issues like #diversity, #culture and the #organization #tchatal dampier, dph
A3: Talent who grows and struggles out of poor neighborhoods may have differing approaches from those who don’t need to. #TChatJanis Stacy
A3. It doesn’t. Stereotypes are being broken everyday like bones in the Extreme Sports Olympics #TchatRob Garcia
A3: Watch #UndercoverBoss-CEO ALWAYS has an “A-ha” idea moment from the worker bees. EVERYONE has potential 2 contribute great ideas. #TChatchrys peterson
A3 it happens organically, but diverse people must be brought together intentionally #tchatMartina McGowan
A3 A conventionally diverse team will have many different experiences, approaches and skill-sets which ultimately let ideas blossom. #TChatMarc Cibulka
A3 Diveristy brings new ideas to the table constantly, challenges status quo, improves brainstorming & provides a broader perspective #tchatSuzanne Chadwick
A3 Diverse people bring colloquialisms and different cultural “norms” to the conversation, and all should be celebrated #tchatMartina McGowan
A3. Demographic diversity brings the opportunity to learn about and experience different cultures beyond the work place. #TChatKit Lukianov
A3. Demographic diversity can remind us that the world has a lot more to offer and can even challenge the status quo #tchatBridget Webb
A3: The braintrust that comes from personal experiences, coupled with demographic #diversity, creates instant impact for a company. #tchatDiversitree.com Jobs
A3 We bring our whole selves to work. Our passion, trauma, humor, insecurity and confidence. Often those are attached to demographics.#TChatMelissa Lamson
A3: Our history, our education, our culture, our expertise, our thinking style makes us who we R. Growth thru environmental learning. #tchatEvelyn Eury
A3: Cultural diversity is the womb of innovation. #tchatDave Birckhead
A3: Let’s reward those who nurture diverse thinkers from all walks and talks #TChatMeghan M. Biro
A3: Without care it can hamper true diversity. With a cosmetic diverse feel it’s easy to stop pushing boundaries. #TchatKris Marie
A3 Decision making starts with option generation, and you get more options when you have more diverse team members #tchatGoldbeck Recruiting
A3: Diverse backgrounds yields diverse experiences which yields diverse ideas. #tchatRob McGahen
A3: Ldrs should look within their organization to see what type of LI footprint their “A” players have for guidance #TchatDan Schultz
A3: Most definitely have been asked to endorse/recommend someone and did not. If I wrote it, it is not for just showing up #TChatTom Bolt
A3: Online endorsements are almost the price of admission. If you want “front row seats” you’ll need a lot more than that though. #tchatmatthew papuchis
A3 with caution and a healthy cynicism #tchatAidan Daly
A3: UR brand-indv/otherwise is never about what u say about urself–it’s what’s being said when u leave the room that counts #TChatAngela Maiers
A3 Rather than seeing a ‘click’ I’d rather hear about the experience, from candidate, that resulted in endorsement #TChatClaire Crossley
Q4: What role does #hrtech play in encouraging or discouraging #innovation & diversity of ideas in the workplace? #TChatKevin W. Grossman
A4 As a jobseeker, getting my application through #hrtech screening is a priority. But I want work ethic and dedication to shine too. #TChatMarc Cibulka
A4 To some degree there is something wrong with us looking for HR Tech to figure out a human problem. Let’s not overdelegate. #TChatJanine Truitt
A4: Tech is helpful in locating individuals who may be hard to find in your locale. #TChatchrys peterson
A4.Sometimes I wonder if HR in HE uses #tech, forwarding resumes who have not worked in the profession in 15 yrs, is that using #tech #TchatGuy Davis
A4. Future resumes will be more pictures-videos than words. #tchatMichael Clark
A4: #HRTech that embraces #Social #Mobile #collaboration encourages #innovation & diversity of ideas #TChatSean Charles
A4 Seeing a lot of HR teams own employee recognition budgets and processes. Strategic recognition (thanks) spurs valued behaviors. #TchatAndrew Grossman
A4 There are some very cool “tools” that can help gather a diverse set of ideas from a diverse set of contributors. #TChatMarla Gottschalk PhD
A4. I see a ton of #social #HRTech that promotes collaboration, cross-company and helps foster individual skills to be useful #tchatBridget Webb
A4 #HRTech does prioritize learning and development, that helps breed Diversity of thought. #TChatMelissa Lamson
A4: What current resume screening has in speed, it LACKS ability to see diversity & potentiality #TChatNancy Barry-Jansson
A4 Social business enterprise platforms coupled with culture change can provide a forum for (far) better idea exchange #TchatTim Collins
A4. Hmm.. Technology CAN open possibilities, but it surely can shut stuff down, too…. so, really depends on how it’s used. #TChatCrystal Miller
A4 I love #hrtech but I can see older generations shying away with new tech and not sharing their great ideas and experiences. #TChatEnzo Guardino
A4 Tech can only amplify what is already going on #NoMagicBullet #TchatDave Ryan, SPHR
A4: Any tech will amplify good or bad issues within any organization. #tchatJen Olney
A4: If the firm doesn’t utilize different voices/ideas, then people will stop speaking up. #tchatRob McGahen
A4: Open collaborative tech platforms can and do facilitate and encourage #innovation and #diversity. #TChatKevin W. Grossman
a4 Tools that are designed for collaboration only work when people engage – not pop in, drop off and run #tchatAlli Polin
A4: #HRTech makes it easier to find diverse talent in this great, big world – and, in return, have more innovation and ideas #tchatBright.com
A4: #hrtech can help but no substitute for human connection: the phone call, the lunch, the f2f meeting, the hand-wrtitten note, etc. #TchatDave Birckhead
A4 #hrtech can help because I think it can put the focus on the ideas and conversation and off the org lines and levels #tchatSusan Mazza
Q5: How do we exercise unconventional notions of diversity in our approach to #leadership? #TChatKevin W. Grossman
A5: Unconventional diversity is treating all contributing people, diffs and all, as valued respected members of the team. #TChatJanis Stacy
a5: Celebrate Success, Celebrate Failure, challenge inaction… foster #diversity, #innovation #tchatal dampier, dph
A5: unconventional diversity is allowing people the freedom to have a life outside of the workplace. #tchatGreg Marcus
A5 Unconventional diversity means you have to be willing to be an unconventional thinker-which means going against the grain at times #TChatJanine Truitt
A5: Define and articulate roles. Provide the right tools. Allow freedom. Watch magic happen. #tchatMark Salke
A5 Don’t silo creatives – get them right into the traditional mix. #TChatMarla Gottschalk PhD
A5. Break away from your dept. Ask someone outside your dept to brainstorm ideas once in a while. You never know what others can add. #TChatKit Lukianov
A5 your employees are your customer base. #tchat keep them engaged.John Kosic
A5: Leaders need to get out of the way and let their teams do what they do best #tchatJen Olney
A5: Interact with people in the workforce in a completely different industry, travel, reflect, ask questions #TChatMegan Rene Burkett
A5 – GET out of the way! and let the team collaborate and do its job – give feedback when needed to keep moving forward #tchatRichard S Pearson
A5: The old rule book needs to go out the window. We are re-writing the new one right now. #tchatDawn Rasmussen
A5. Stop making things seem so concrete- welcome people to bring in fresh new ideas and follow through #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A5: Best diversity-savvy #leaders I know are listeners, models, encouragers. They’re humble, w/ a sense of humor! #tchatAnne Messenger
#tchat A5 Leaders promote idea diversity by deeply cherishing creative solutionsMichael Leiter
A5. Leaders need to educate their teams and organizations about the value of including many different views. #tchatTerri Klass
A5 Not tolerating those who buck the system and create negative energy. Important for a leader to know enough they can distinguish. #TChatMelissa Lamson
A5 Wipe clean our emotional and prehistoric notions of top down leadership and open our eyes to the talent within each person #TChatEnzo Guardino
a5 Leaders shouldn’t be afraid to build teams of people that don’t have every skill a-z but have ooph & passion for the work #tchatAlli Polin
Community building — encourage employees from different walks to exchange ideas. #Tchat A5Andrew Grossman
A5. Encourage your staff to be curious-to take a step back and see what else is emerging in the world-they can bring back useful info #tchatBridget Webb
A5: Companies must foster, cultivate, and invest in unconventional diversity. It will take time b/c it requires a shift in culture. #TChatDeryle Daniels, Jr.

Diversity in a New Key: #TChat Preview

EDITOR’S NOTE: Want to read the RECAP of this week’s events? Read “#TChat Recap: The Creative Power of Diverse Ideas”

INNOVATION. Where does it start? It begins with diversity. Not just diversity of cultures. Diversity of perspectives and personalities. Diversity of ideas. A recent Forbes research report underscores that point:

“Diversity is a key driver of innovation and is a critical component of being successful on a global scale.”

When asked about the relationship between diversity and innovation, a majority of respondents agreed that diversity is crucial to encouraging different perspectives and ideas that foster innovation. Senior executives and employees alike are recognizing that a diverse set of experiences, perspectives, and backgrounds is crucial to innovation and the development of new ideas in and outside the workplace, as we find our career passion.

This week, expanding on ideas inspired by the book “Think Like Zuck,” by Ekaterina Walter, the TalentCulture community wiill explore how innovation grows from diversity. Research, as well as experience from the likes of Mark Zuckerberg and other innovators, is teaching us just how desperately we need to include all voices to achieve more effective outcomes. Does crowd-sourcing help innovation? Are all voices and ideas equal? How can Zuckerberg be an example of innovation through diversity? (Doesn’t he represent the ultimate lone inventor?)

Diversity isn’t just about demographics — although that is a first and a key component, without which our companies cannot move forward. Starting with demographic diversity as our foundation, we propose an expanded definition of diversity — not a counterpoint to the demographic meaning, but a flourish upon it. Let’s embrace diversity even more, and explore its power to lead to innovation in the world of work and beyond. This week, relying on diverse views to help us think about this, we’ll seek your voices in exploring these questions:

Q1: What are your unconventional definitions for diversity in the workplace? How is it more than demographics?

Q2: In the world of work, how do leaders nurture and cultivate diversity in its many non-demographic forms?

Q3: How does conventional diversity (i.e., diversity of demographics) play into diversity of ideas?

Q4: What role does #hrtech play in encouraging or discouraging #innovation & diversity of ideas in the workplace?

Q5: How do we exercise unconventional notions of diversity in our approach to #leadership?

Click to see the preview or listen to the show live, Wednesday 1/30, 7:30pm ET

As per the new usual, the #TChat goodness happens twice this week. First, on Tuesday, Jan. 29, there’s #TChat Radio from 7:30pm ET / 4:30pm PT. Our guest is a long-time member of our community, Rob Garcia (@RobGarciaSJ), director of product strategy & marketing at RiseSmart, a company that is delivering innovative next-generation outplacement solutions.

Then, on Wednesday, Jan. 30 — from 7-8 pm ET (6-7pm CT, 5-6pm MT, 4-5pm PT, or wherever you are) — we’ll tackle this topic on #TChat Twitter, where Rob will return, along with our other guest, Ekaterina Walters (@Ekaterina), herself.

It promises to be a fascinating week. So, please add your voice to the conversation and let’s see what a diversity of ideas can do to move our community forward!
EDITOR’S NOTE: Want to read the RECAP of this week’s events? Read “#TChat Recap: The Creative Power of Diverse Ideas”

Image Credit: PeopleDaily.com

How to Get Ahead in the Talent War

I’ve frequently talked not only about the necessity of creating a personal, humanized brand statement for job seekers and employees in general, but also about how a company’s employer brand becomes key in the talent acquisition and retention process.

NOTE this post is mine from 2010. I’m still here talking about this topic I’m passionate about. Why – You ask? Because we have more work to do. Our next Social Talent Show is tomorrow with the one and only Libby Sartain, former HR executive for Yahoo and Southwest, who will focus on these topics and share tips on how to align employee and company brand. One of my very favorite topics for many reasons.

Very often, leaders believe a company’s brand is just a marketing tool, and that it doesn’t have to do with the people working for the company. That’s exactly the opposite. The best talent will be attracted to your business because of its appealing brand, the image it conveys to the public, and your employees will want to stay and give their best because of your workplace culture.

The big tech companies understood that very early: The talent war is rampant in technology, and engineers are now attracted not only by financial aspects, but mostly because of a brand’s name, and when they do join these companies, the workplace culture is so strong, every little detail embodies what the company stands for –  that employees all feel part of a kind of family.

Now I’m not saying you need to build a cult or anything like that, but workplace culture and the employer’s brand go hand in hand, becoming the best ways to attract and retain talent that is slipping away.

And that leads me to my second tip: If you have both, great, but it’s incredibly important for the employer’s brand benot only to be appealing, but also to genuinely reflect “what it’s like” to work there; otherwise, after a few months or weeks, employees will feel fooled and start looking elsewhere.

In the same manner, when a company “oversells” their employer brand in the recruiting process, leaders run the risk of losing talent in the long run due to poor communication in the recruiting, hiring, and onboarding process.

So how to avoid that? As a company, build a brand that is true to you, to what the company is really about, nothing more, and then LIVE your brand. It will be that much easier if it’s genuine, and workplace culture will get reflected in everyday life at work.

It’s a little bit like the story of a pet store that wouldn’t allow employees to bring their dogs in. Not very authentic. But if the pet store’s brand promise is the love of dogs, then everybody working there should feel that love: The company can even have a dog sitting system, or employees’ dog contests, to truly live the brand.

Build a workplace culture that is consistent with the brand displayed to the public. You can win!

That’s my take. For more on these topics, join us tomorrow with Libby Sartain, HR expert and employer branding guru, at 2pm EST and 11 am PST – Register here! Share your story and join the conversation to build the future of work!

Image Credit: Pixabay

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

Originally posted by Joe Gerstandt on MonsterThinking Blog


Intersections baby, its all about the intersections…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#TChat Questions and Recommended Reading: 06.21.2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read: Why Organizations Struggle With Diversity Recruiting Initiatives

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

Read: Diversity’s Three Legged Stool

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

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

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

Read: Stop Stereotyping: Overcome Your Worst Diversity Enemy

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

Read: To Achieve Workplace Diversity, Go Beyond Good Intentions

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

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

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

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

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

Work-Life Balance? It's Just "Life" #TChat Recap

 Sometimes we find zen. A moment of harmonic convergence in our lives when all things family, friends, co-workers, employers, work and life become one.

Sometimes. Work-life balance. [sigh] Wait, who are we kidding, right?

We don’t time zone travel with a head cold on a flurry of work trips for balance. We don’t wake up every 1-2 hours for to soothe the savage 8-month-old baby “beast” for balance.

That’s me and my family at any rate this past few weeks. But, we wouldn’t give it up for all the zen in China because the intrinsic rewards outweigh the work-life imbalance — enjoying what we do and loving our family. In fact, it’s not even really about balance or imbalance — it’s the highly integrated work-life world that we ride for joy (and that runs us down in fear).

And if I’m your employer, I’m going to do everything I can to foster the emotional connectivity and encourage the internal motivational drive, as well as moving the motivation needle externally with “rewards” when appropriate. But I want you to work hard, I want results, I’m going to focus on pay-for-performance and if your position allows, I’m going to let you do it as you see fit (when, where and how). I will be empathic and trust you, but I will not be a pushover.

And if I’m your employee, I’m going to demand flexibility in exchange for regular, quality output whenever, wherever and however I’m doing it. I want to take time off when I need it, regardless of the reason, and I don’t want to be questioned. I want your empathy and your trust and I will reciprocate. I want to to be pushed and pulled and challenged to learn as long as I’m enjoying what I’m doing in the context of what you’re doing.

And as China Gorman suggested and I concurred: “It’s just life.”

Cali Williams Yost and Leanne Chase, two of our insightful #TChat-ers, have some innovative ideas about work-life flexibility: Find a way to like what you do and keep doing it, over and over again. The mindful workplace presence of frenetic zen will take care of the rest.

If you missed Monster Thinking’s pre-cap, you can read it here: Desperately Seeking Balance: Reconciling Work and Life. And here were the questions from last night:

  1. Who’s ultimately responsible for managing work-life balance: the employer or the employee?
  2. What are the benefits/drawbacks of being salaried/exempt vs. hourly/non-exempt? Which would you prefer?
  3. How does company culture effect work-life balance?
  4. What role does technology and social media play in the work-life mix? Is connectivity a blessing or a curse?
  5. What are some things employers and managers can do to improve work-life balance?
  6. How important is work life balance to top talent when assessing new opportunities?
  7. What are some of the most effective or creative “perks” your company offers for work-life balance? Which do you wish they’d offer?

Also last night, we gave away two tickets to the Care.com Care@Work event, Focus Forward to @DrJanice and @leanneclc – Congratulations!

With a dash of worklife flexibility luck @MeghanMBiro may even make an appearance in New York City!

See you next week. We are already looking forward to it. Thanks very much for joining us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brain Surgery, Corporate Culture & Leadership Consistency

My husband, the love of my life, had brain surgery a few weeks ago.

The anticipation, wondering if it was benign or cancerous (it was benign), praying that the neurosurgeon would not suddenly get the shakes, being in a hospital away from home and having no family nearby all added up to make this one of the most stressful experiences I’ve gone through in a long time.

And while we were in the hospital, waiting for Marco to be admitted, something occurred to me.  This was a great opportunity to observe corporate culture.

  • First, I would experience it from the perspective of a customer (instead of as an corporate leader or HR pro or business coach).
  • Second, we would be exposed to all levels of employees: janitors, nurse’s assistants, charge nurses (responsible for all the activities in their unit during their shift), staff supervisors and doctors.
  • Third, we were going to be there for three nights and four days, 24/7.

It was the perfect incubator for observation. Would the corporate culture the hospital spent thousands of dollars and many man hours to create, translate into a consistent experience?

Megan

In the ICU unit, we had a nurse named Megan who explained everything to us. I’m not overstating this. From how each medication was going to help Marco heal, to showing me how to unfold the sleeper chair and set the locks on it so it wouldn’t roll away and everything in between. She made sure we were as knowledgeable about Marco’s situation as she was.

When she met us, she wrote her name and hospital cell phone number on the wipe-board so we would know who she was and how to get in touch with her.

She apologized for having to wake Marco up every hour.

When I asked her where the soda machine was, she asked me what I wanted, left the room and brought a Diet Coke back to me so I wouldn’t have to pay.

She lovingly patted my husband’s head when he was in pain and couldn’t have more pain killers.

She made sure we both understood that he was not to blow his nose for a month.

She brought extra blankets and pillows without us asking for them.

Watching Megan attend to my husband left me feeling comforted, safe and reassured. That was because of two things: She knew what she was doing and she genuinely cared about my soul mate.

Toni & Company

Toni was our nurse when we transferred from ICU to a regular floor.

In her first introduction to us, she wrote her name on the wipe board while explaining this was not her regular floor and that she was on loan from another floor. She didn’t write down her phone number.

We were transferred right around lunch time and my husband was ravenous. I asked Toni when we could expect lunch and her answer was “soon.” 45 minutes later, lunch had not arrived. I went to find her at the nurse’s station and inquired again. Her answer was, “It’s probably up on the ICU floor.” Another 30 minutes later, I left my husband to find her again and asked when his lunch was going to arrive. She sighed at me, asked all the other nurses where my husband’s lunch was and finally said, “I suppose I’ll have to go to ICU to get his lunch.” More time passed before we finally got his cold lunch.

Megan from ICU told us that if Marco got thirsty, extremely thirsty, we needed to call the neurosurgeon right away; it meant danger. The thirst happened during Toni’s shift. We told her five times over three hours what was happening, we told her the neurosurgeon wanted to be paged immediately if it happened. Each time I went to look for her (she didn’t come to us) she said, “Oh. Okay. I’ll call the doctor.” Finally, after 3.5 hours I went to the ICU floor, looked for Megan and told her what was happening. She immediately broke all protocol by leaving her floor to see Marco. She asked him a bunch of questions, her face got red and she said she was going to page the doctor right then. Five minutes later a sheepish Toni walked into the room ready to take care of him. She also told us that the neurosurgeon yelled at her on the phone.

It wasn’t just Toni either. None of the nurses on that floor wrote down their hospital cell phone numbers. When Marco got extremely thirsty he asked for Gatorade and another nurse said, “I’m sorry we don’t have any on this floor.” We weren’t asking for champagne for Pete’s sake! I asked several people if I could have a sleeper chair and the consistent answer was an apathetic, “I’ll try.”

Being on the ICU floor was like being at a Ritz Carlton. The last three days of his stay was like being at a charge-by-the-hour motel.

Organizational Consistency

What happened?  It was the same hospital system.  Each floor had the same motivational employee bulletin boards which reinforced the “competency of the month.”  The processes for responding to patients was the same on each floor.  And I’m sure they were operating from the same employee handbook.

Shouldn’t every employee take patient care seriously?

Obviously, the answer is yes. Yet I think one of the hardest things for organizations to nail down is consistency across their enterprise.  What happened last week reinforced three things every leader needs to understand and do something about:

  • An organization can have all the technical tools in place to create an incredible customer experience, but that is no guarantee that employees will use them.
  • Leaders, Recruiters and HR pros need to continue to focus their recruiting efforts on the technical and behavioral skills candidates present. One without the other is disastrous.
  • Great tools and employees with phenomenal technical/behavioral skills are lost without front line supervisors who know how and have the courage to hold their employees accountable.

It’s a three legged stool. Or is it? What other factors should be considered in creating a consistent experience? Why do you think there was such a stark contrast between ICU and the regular floor?