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Employee Issues Increase HR Tech Demand [Infographic]

The past few #TChat shows have really dug deep into the concept and issues surrounding employee engagement. Every week we’ve asked what employee engagement truly means, and we’ve looked into numerous practices that can increase engagement and retain our talent. However, it’s time to dig a bit deeper into why employees aren’t being fully engaged.

Employee engagement is a complex concept, and many factors contribute to whether employees are disengaged or not. Employee relation issues like social media abuse and bullying are on the rise, and as these employee issues increase so does the need for HR tech like workplace investigation software to tackle these problems efficiently and effectively. HR Acuity compiled this infographic to demonstrate the need for employee relations management technology. Discover employee issues that have concerned organizations, like yours, over the past year and gain a new perspective that will benefit your risk management practices.

HR_Tech_Infographic

(About the Author: Deborah J. Muller is the CEO of HR Acuity, a technology firm specializing in human resources applications like the HR Acuity On Demand family of applications. Muller brings more than 25 years of human resources and investigation experience to both the consulting practice and software development sides of the company.)

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How Deep Does Engagement Really Go?

A recent Gallup poll found that engaged employees display an unexpectedly strong commitment to their work. Almost two-thirds (63%) of workers whom Gallup classified as engaged in their jobs would not leave their current position if they won $10 million in the lottery. This commitment did not translate as strongly with those workers disengaged counter-parts. Only 42% of disengaged workers, and 20% of actively disengaged workers polled say they would continue to work in their current job.

Beyond the Paycheck

Looking at those numbers, we can safely say that the majority of engaged workers embrace the benefits of having a job they love, beyond the paycheck. Although the number of engaged workers who would stay is impressive, there really isn’t that many engaged workers. So, we’re really left with a slice of a slice of the workforce who would stay.

What can employers offer to make that slice bigger –to increase commitment beyond the paycheck? Companies can get extremely competitive with their compensation practices, but that won’t necessarily translate to commitment, engagement or retention. Pay is merely one piece of the puzzle.

Shared Values

The 2012 Global Workplace study by Towers Watson revealed that 27% of employees who plan to leave in the first year on the job, cite feeling disconnected to the organization. In order to establish shared values, the organization has to make it a priority to establish and communicate those values. Values, culture and mission should be a part of all recruiting initiatives, from branding efforts to the hiring process.

Workplace Relationships

67% of employees say that good workplace relationships are a reason they would stay in their current position. This has a lot to do with the environment, communication and culture that employers should be creating and fostering for their workers.

  • Employers need to put a strong emphasis on cultural fit in the hiring process.
  • Provide a safe social collaboration platform to their workforce.
  • Create an environment free of judgment and full of questions. One that is conducive to learning from one another.

Recognition

Immediate and varied recognition can impact effort and retention by up to 87%. That’s a pretty drastic increase that comes along with the cheapest and easiest piece of the engagement puzzle. Recognition is so simple, it has proven benefits and it feels good to give and receive; yet leaders are notoriously stingy with their acknowledgements.

Employers at all levels of the organization need to first recognize the benefits of creating a culture of recognition. Simply acknowledging and rewarding workers can have such a dramatic affect on the entire organization. HR pro and founder of Blogging4Jobs, Jessica Miller-Merrell said:

“It Starts at the Top. Any type of culture shift within an organization must have senior leadership support. It’s that simple because without them walking the talk, the change won’t happen. No way no how.”

Feedback

Soliciting feedback is considered by many employee engagement experts to be the most effective tool in increasing engagement. Employers make some valiant effort and spend some serious dough on improving the things they think are the issues.

Well, how about working on the known issues? They will only be identified through the solicitation of employee feedback on a regular basis. 33% of employees said that a lack of open, honest communication has the most negative impact on employee morale.

Don’t get me wrong, competitive compensation coupled with effective and relevant benefits are vital to keeping great talent in-house, but there’s so much more to creating an engaged, committed workforce. Honestly, compensation is the easy part, and that’s why so many companies aren’t going beyond the paycheck to ensure that their workforce is satisfied and heard.

The idea of winning the lottery is a pretty cool barometer for workplace commitment. Would you stay in your current position if you won $10 million tomorrow? We want to know! Leave a comment –would you stay or would you go?

How I Got Schooled On Culture

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

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

The Main Learning Years – Trial and Error

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

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

The Financial Crisis – Fear, Uncertainty & Failure

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

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

Moving to a New Organization

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

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

A World of Culture Education

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

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

The Problem

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

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

The Bottom Line and a Predication

Leaders need to:

1) See through the popular press and understand culture fundamentals

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

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

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

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

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

Make Your Meetings More Successful (And Shorter!)

It’s 9:15 a.m. and you’re just getting into the rhythm of your day. The phone rings, and on the other end of the line, one of your colleagues unexpectedly asks you to attend a meeting that starts in 45 minutes. Although you respect your colleague and would like to support her, you had plans for your morning and are getting closer to a few deadlines of your own. How would you respond to the meeting invitation?

  1. Stick to your existing plan and graciously say “no.”
  2. Be a “team player” and let your colleague know that you’ll attend the meeting, but clearly set a boundary that you won’t stay longer than one hour because of your own deadlines.
  3. Ask a few questions about the anticipated goals and importance of the meeting, then evaluate whether your own priorities match and if the specific contributions you could make are likely to impact the outcome of the meeting. Make a committed yes/no decision based on those factors.

If you chose response one or two, you may be an over-collaborator. Response three is the preferred answer because it focuses your decision around two critical factors: your highest priorities and your value-added contributions. To get more done at work, these are the two factors that can help you escape the inertia of unnecessary collaboration and join your efforts with others only when it counts.

Routine collaboration drains time

Of course, collaboration by itself isn’t bad. Problems occur when routine collaborative efforts and unclear mandates produce a toxic sludge known as meeting soup. On a bad day, we may view meetings as the biggest waste of time in our working lives. On a good day, we may look at meetings as the chance to connect with people and discuss important matters. The reality for most of us is that the quality of our meetings falls somewhere in the middle of these two extremes. According to most estimates, managers and employees spend anywhere between 25 and 80 percent of their time in meetings. (Click here to tweet this stat.)

For a full-time employee, this translates to time spent in meetings that ranges from 520 hours to 1,664 hours (or 65-208 full working days). What’s the rationale for all the meetings? It’s the “need” for collaboration.

Selective collaboration boosts performance

To reduce your meeting clutter, make it a priority to collaborate in the right way, at the right time, with the right people. This kind of selective collaboration is about intentional partnering that boosts the chance of success by aligning the required strategic skill or resource with the essential contributors in the simplest way.

Think of selective collaboration as a career move for you, not just a chance to escape the unproductive, routine meetings and conversations that fail to push your goals forward.

Moving away from routine collaboration — even when professional or cultural norms dictate it — can deliver a greater return on your efforts because it aligns with your highest priorities and features your value-added contributions. Getting great work done by delivering clear and consistent contributions is one of the best ways for you to stay at work.

The first step is learning how to choose when, how and who you collaborate with. Yes, you’ll have to learn how to say no. Yes, there may be some short-term negative reactions to this. But your elevated contributions to top priorities should ease those concerns quickly.

Instead of relying on partnerships that are dictated by circumstance and opportunity, you’ll seek out collaboration opportunities that serve a specific purpose.

Sometimes the missing piece is motivation, and that can be found through a partnership with some individual or group who’s driven, focused and inspired. Other times, the missing piece may be technical, strategic or organizational. In these instances, the mix of skills, abilities and access to resources serves as the driver for selective collaboration.

Selective collaboration gives you a tool to accomplish tasks that otherwise wouldn’t be feasible alone. The restraint of choosing high-potential collaboration allows you to avoid wasting time when collaboration itself is a substitute for lack of creativity, vision or accountability.

There’s reciprocity with this as well. When invited to collaborate with others, accept the invitation only when the best mix of skill and contribution can be aligned in an effective way. It’s not about being selective because you “have better things to do”; you choose the moments where your impact can be the greatest.

When in doubt, you can use the following list to confirm the opportunity for selective collaboration. If you can agree with each item, it’s time to schedule a meeting.

  • I have identified a clear learning and performance outcome for this collaborative effort.
  • The outcome will clearly support one of my priorities.
  • I know what I can contribute to make the collaboration a success.
  • I understand what my collaborator(s) can deliver and their contributions make it better than going it alone.

Jesse Sostrin is the author of Beyond the Job Description. He writesspeaks and consults at the intersection of individual and organizational success. Follow him @jessesostrin and visit his site here.

Photo Credit: fmgbain via Compfight cc

Live Your Dreams On Your Own Dime

One of the most difficult skills for a young professional is handling money. It’s not about balancing your checkbook or keeping up on student loan payments, but about strategically setting up your assets to get somewhere.

Most of us get out of college, find a “real-world” job and figure out a way to cover our costs while remaining as comfortable as possible.

This type of stagnant attitude is what left our parents waking up at age 45 and going to the same old job with little to show for their time. It’s not what our generation is about. We’re reaching for financial independence and the freedom to pursue our real interests full-time.

To do that, we have to figure out how to get there. Here are a few actions you can take today to get ahead tomorrow:

1. Earn money

Think of your job as a start-up capital-generating engine. Every extra penny you can make or save today can mean dollars in your pocket down the road. (Click here to tweet this thought.) Life can be expensive, but for most of us, it doesn’t have to be.

Making a habit of taking small side jobs can also add up quickly. That can be as simple as house-sitting or as involved as launching a freelance writing career or a small business. Whatever you choose to do, an extra $100 per week means thousands of dollars in your pocket every year.

Work hard, amass savings and learn about how to make your money grow on its own. At the end of the day, what gives you real independence is passive income.

2. Learn to grow money

The only way to be financially free is to use your money to make more money. Do this by investing in assets that grow in value over time. But the problem with investing is that if you want to make a significant profit, you have to take on a certain amount of risk, which is greatly exacerbated if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Learning how to invest intelligently takes a lot of study and experience. The solution? Invest fake money. The best time to learn how to invest your money is before you have money to lose.

Getting started is pretty easy; read up on how stocks and currency markets work and get a theoretical understanding of what happens to your money when it’s out in the mysterious, money-making ether.

Then go and open a free practice account on one of the sites for that purpose. It won’t make sense until you’ve spent time staring at the numbers, even if you know what’s going on in theory.

Spending months or years watching those markets and learning how to grow a fake investment portfolio will make you much more likely to succeed down the road when you’re using real money. Put time in now to reduce your risk later and make your success more secure.

3. Figure out your goals

You could quit your job as soon as your money grows faster than you spend it, but that’s assuming your goal is retirement. We like to talk a lot about getting a great job and building wealth, but we won’t have any satisfaction if we don’t have anywhere to go or anything to do with it.What can you do with your life once your job doesn’t have to come first anymore?

Anything. It’s a scary word, but you can do it. Financial freedom, besides relieving the stress of getting your bills paid, also gives you a lot of time in your day.

Figuring out what to do with it is tricky, and it’ll seem a lot like it did back in high school when you were trying to figure out what to do with your life. Resist the temptation to avoid doing anything and instead think about what matters to you and what you’ve dreamed of doing in the past.

Being financially independent means you don’t have a strict time limit you need to meet, which makes it much more attractive to start a new business. Not being tied to your profit margin gives you the opportunity to pursue riskier ideas other entrepreneurs can’t afford to consider.

If you don’t want to do anything that too closely resembles work, find a personal project to pursue. Invest in local businesses, travel the world, volunteer or find a socio-political movement to get involved with.

Originally posted on Brazen Careerist’s blog on February 26, 2014 by Micha Boettiger. Micha Boettiger is a freelance writer who writes about life, travel and money. Check out his personal blog and follow him on twitter @prowriterlife.

photo credit: Images_of_Money via photopin cc

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

The TalentCulture #TChat Show is back live on Wednesday, April 9, 2014. #TChat Radio starts at 6:30 pm ET (3:30 pm PT) and the convo continues on #TChat Twitter chat from 7-8 pm ET.

Last week we talked about employee engagement, and this week we’re going to talk about how employee assistance programs (EAP) are today help organizations engage, nurture and retain talent.

EAP services aren’t the first thing you hear when you’re talking about talent management, but these programs are critical for businesses. They help manage costs by reducing absenteeism, presenteeism, turnover, health care costs, accidents and by freeing manager time from dealing with employee personal issues.

They mitigate risks by reducing likelihood of litigation, workplace violence and training managers to deal with complex emotional, cultural and diversity issues.

EAPs also encourage employee engagement, improve the capacity of employees and families to respond to work-life challenges, and develop employee and manager competencies in handling workplace stress and improving team performance.

Join #TChat co-creators and hosts @Meghan M. Biro and @Kevin W. Grossman as we learn more about EAP’s with this week’s guest: Mark Sagor, President of Comprehensive EAP, an employee assistance program focused on technology, life sciences, service, manufacturing and non profit sectors.

Sneak Peek: Employee Assistance Programs Actually Work

We spoke briefly with Mark in a G+ Hangout to get a better look at EAPs and how they help nurture and engage employees:

Related reading:

Meghan M. Biro: 5 Ways To Reinvent Your Recruiting Strategy

Chris Boyce: Workplace Wellness: The Story Starts With Healthy Culture

Matt Krumrie: Take Advantage Of Your Employee Assistance Program

Ellen Galinsky/Anne Weisburg: How One Company Contained Health Care Costs and Improved Morale

Team Ceridian: 5 Trends To Watch In Human Capitol Management In 2014

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

#TChat Events: How Do EAPs Engage And Nurture Talent?

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#TChat Radio — Wed, April 9 — 6:30pmET / 3:30pmPT Tune-in to the #TChat Radio show Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman talk with Mark Sagor Tune-in LIVE online this Wednesday!

#TChat Twitter Chat — Wed, April 9 — 7pmET / 4pmPT Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin and our guests will move to the #TChat Twitter stream, where we’ll continue the discussion with the entire TalentCulture community.

Everyone with a Twitter account is invited to participate, as we gather for a dynamic live chat, focused on these related questions:

Q1: How do EAPs help companies engage, nurture and retain talent?
(Tweet this Question)

Q2: What complex emotional, cultural and diversity issues are you seeing in the workplace today?
(Tweet this Question)

Q3: Statistically what are the advantages to having an EAP?
(Tweet this Question)

Q4: What are the most basic work-life benefits companies should provide?
(Tweet this Question)

Q5: What are the alternatives to EAPs and how are they different?
(Tweet this Question)

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

See you there!!

photo credit: BigStockPhoto

Job Auditions: Secret to Successful Hires?

By Matt Mullenweg, Founder, Automattic.

Hiring potential employees on a trial basis can help you quickly discover things about them that you can’t learn from resumes, interviews or reference checks. Here’s how it works in our organization.

Automattic (the fuel behind WordPress.com) employs more than 225 people who live all over the world, in 190 different cities. Our headquarters office is in San Francisco, and it operates similar to a coworking space. Employees who live in the Bay Area can choose to work from that location if they wish. However, most of our employees choose to work from other sites.

For us, this arrangement makes sense — our business is based on open source software, which is a decentralized product. However, outsiders have been skeptical as we’ve moved forward with our distributed work model.

At the outset they said, “That works great when you have 10 or 15 employees, but when you reach a team of 30, it falls apart.” Eventually we passed 30 employees, and we started hearing that the magic number is 100. Then people said Dunbar’s number — 150 — would be the point at which it didn’t work. Yet we keep blowing past these thresholds. We hired more than 100 people in 2013.

What’s special about us? We don’t hire the way most companies do — both in our mindset and our actions.

Mindset: We Think Differently About Work

In many businesses, if someone shows up in the morning and he isn’t drunk, he doesn’t sleep at his desk and he’s dressed nicely, it’s assumed that he’s working. But none of that takes into account what he’s actually creating during the day — and that’s really what matters.

Many people create great things without having to follow established workplace norms. Our organization measures work based on outputs. I don’t care what hours you work. I don’t care if you sleep late, or if you pick a child up from school in the afternoon. It’s all about what you produce.

This arrangement isn’t for everyone. But a lot of people like the autonomy we offer, and that’s important. So we’ve arrived at an unorthodox hiring system that serves our needs perfectly.

Behavior: We Hire by Audition

Before we hire anyone, they go through a trial process first, on contract. They can do the work at night or over the weekend, so they don’t have to leave their current job in the meantime. We pay a standard rate of $25 an hour, regardless of whether a job candidate wants to be an engineer or the chief financial officer.

During the trials, applicants perform actual work. If you’re applying to work in customer support, you’ll answer trouble tickets. If you’re an engineer, you’ll address engineering problems. If you’re a designer, you’ll design.

Seeing Is Believing

There’s nothing like being in the trenches with someone — working with them day by day. It tells you something you can’t learn from resumes, interviews or reference checks.

At the end of the trial, everyone involved has a great sense of whether they want to work together going forward. And, yes, that means everyone — it’s a mutual tryout. Some candidates decide we’re not the right fit for them. For others, the experience solidifies their commitment.

The Payoffs of Careful Hiring

Overall, we end up hiring about 40% of the people who try out with us. It’s a huge time commitment — coordinating the short-term work our applicants perform — but it leads to extremely low turnover. In the past eight years, only about 10 people have left the company, and we’ve let go of another 25 or 30. Those are great numbers in today’s work environment, so it’s a system we plan to keep utilizing.

Today, I spend at least a third of my time on hiring. And even though it’s a small part of our process, I still look at every resume the company receives, and I conduct the final interview with everyone who joins us.

It’s worth the effort. Nothing has the impact of putting the right people around the table. The aphorism is true: You can’t manage your way out of a bad team. We’ve done experiments to find the best way to hire based on our unique organizational structure. I encourage your business to do the same.

252691_10150856254811651_681132284_n(About the Author: Matt Mullenweg is the founder of Automattic, the company behind the open-source blogging platform, WordPress.com, as well as Akismet, Gravatar, VaultPress, IntenseDebate, Polldaddy and more. Additionally, Matt is a principal and founder of Audrey Capital, an investment and research company. Connect with him on Facebook or on Twitter.

(Editor’s Note: This post was adapted from a post at Brazen Life, with permission. It is based on a talk by the author at the December 2013 Lean Startup Conference. It originally appeared on Harvard Business Review. For more information, visit the Insight Center on Talent and the New World of Hiring. Brazen Life is a lifestyle and career blog for ambitious young professionals. Hosted by Brazen Careerist, it offers edgy and fun ideas for navigating the changing world of work. Be Brazen!)

(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…)

Image Credits: Wikipedia (feature) and Kevin Abosch (author)

Applicant Assessments: Testing The Waters

(Editor’s Note: We invite you to discuss candidate screening techniques in more detail with the entire TalentCulture community, this week at #TChat Events on Wednesday, February 19th. For details, see the #TChat Preview post: Hiring Great Talent: How Do You Decide?)

Can you tell from a resume if an applicant has the skills needed to succeed in a job? How do you know if someone is really the right fit for your company?

If you’re unsure, perhaps pre-employment tests should be part of your evaluation process. Knowledge is power — and assessments can be a powerful addition to any hiring toolkit.

Evaluating Job Candidates: A Smart Strategy

Increasingly, organizations are relying on screening tests to improve their hiring and workforce development decisions. In fact, in a recent survey by Aberdeen Group, 49% of companies said they have an assessment strategy in place — up from only 40% in 2011.

Infographic - How to select assessments for employee screening

See Details: How To Choose Job Candidate Testing Tools

Melissa Hulsey, president and CEO of Ashton Staffing, explains that, with the correct type of test, employers can evaluate candidates effectively across multiple dimensions, including job skills, professional  knowledge and cultural fit. It’s even possible to make behavioral predictions and gain insight into core values.

“Properly constructed assessments look below the surface information presented by applicants to systematically predict which one will be the best hire for a position,” explains Dr. Charles Hanler, president of Rocket-Hire, a consultancy that helps improve organizational hiring practices. He compares the resume review and interview process to the tip of an iceberg. The bulk of an iceberg is what remains below the surface — what you can’t see and touch.

Choosing Applicant Assessments

It’s essential to choose the right type of assessment for your goals. Tests can produce a mind-numbing array of candidate metrics — personality, cognitive abilities, professional knowledge, work skills, physical and motor abilities, emotional intelligence, language proficiency, drug use and even values like integrity. Yet, when evaluations are properly applied, employers can more quickly and confidently identify candidates who are best qualified for open positions and most likely to succeed in the organization.

As the Society for Industrial & Organizational Psychology explains, there are pros and cons to each of the many types of employment assessments. But before deciding how you’ll test candidates, it’s important to determine what kind of information matters most to you. Tests vary according to their mode of administration (web-based tools vs. paper and pencil), content focus (interpersonal skills, mathematical ability), level of standardization or structure, costs, administrative ease, and other factors.

Although there can be significant benefits from using tests in the employee selection process, there are also multiple issues to consider. In particular:

• Validity  Does the test actually measure the characteristic it is designed to measure? For example, does it actually predict future job performance or success?

• Reliability How consistently does a test measure the target characteristic? If an assessment tool isn’t highly reliable, it will be of little value in predicting a candidate’s future job performance. As with validity, a test’s reliability should be verified before it is administered.

• Legality Because employment tests are periodically challenged in court, employers must make sure assessments do not violate federal, state, or local EEO laws, including Title VII.

TYPES OF CANDIDATE TESTS

Assessment Centers Often used to assess interpersonal skills, communication skills, planning/organizing and analytical skills. Typically involves exercises that reflect job content and types of problems faced on the job.
Biographical Data Uses questions about education, training, work experience and interests to predict success on the job. 
Cognitive Ability Tests Assesses aptitude or potential to solve job-related problems by focusing on mental abilities such as verbal or mathematical reasoning, or perceptual abilities like speed in recognizing letters of the alphabet.  
Integrity Tests Assesses attitudes and experiences related to honesty, dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and pro-social behavior. 
Interviews The most common type of employment test. Typically assesses interpersonal skills, communication skills and teamwork skills, and can be used to assess job knowledge.
Job Knowledge Tests Typically uses multiple choice questions or essays to evaluate technical or professional expertise and knowledge required on the job.
Personality Tests Measures traits related to behavior at work, interpersonal interactions, and satisfaction with different aspects of work. 
Physical Ability Tests Uses tasks or exercises that determine ability to perform. Measures physical attributes and capabilities, such as strength, balance and speed.
Work Samples and Simulations Measures specific job skills or job knowledge, but can also assess general skills such as organizational, analytic and interpersonal skills.

How Do You Evaluate Job Applicants?

Do you use pre-employment tests to screen applicants before they’re hired? Has this been effective for your organization? How does this help or hinder your company’s candidate experience? Share your experience in the comment area.

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

Hiring Great Talent: How Do You Decide? #TChat Preview

(Editor’s Note: Want details from this week’s #TChat Events? See the Storify slideshow and resource links and more in the #TChat Recap: “Hiring: A Winner Every Time.”)

Think back for a moment.

What factors tend to drive your organization’s hiring decisions? Impressive candidate credentials? Hiring manager preference? Behavioral interviews? Gut instinct?

Now tell me — how successful has that method been?

Studies indicate that hiring by intuition fails as much as 75% of the time — so clearly there’s no easy answer. However, a more deliberate, structured approach can significantly improve the odds of finding a long-term fit.

What approach works best? That’s the focus of our conversation this week at #TChat Events. Leading the way are two HR professionals who understand the value of a solid hiring methodology: Chris Mursau, Vice President at Topgrading, and Jean Lynn, VP of HR at Home Instead Senior Care.

Sneak Peek: Smart Ways to Hire Better Talent

To frame this week’s discussion, I briefly spoke with Chris in a G+ hangout — where we talked about why it’s so tough for companies to find and keep the talent they need…

This topic touches all of us in the world of work, so we hope you’ll join the #TChat crowd this week and add your perspective to the conversation!

#TChat Events: Smart Ways to Hire Better Talent

TChatRadio_logo_020813

Tune-in to the #TChat Radio show

#TChat Radio — Wed, Feb 19 — 6:30pmET / 3:30pmPT Tune-in to the #TChat Radio show Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman talk with Chris Mursau and Jean Lynn about how companies can be more effective at hiring top performers. Tune-in LIVE online this Wednesday!

#TChat Twitter — Wed, Feb 19 7pmET / 4pmPT Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin and our guests will move to the #TChat Twitter stream, where we’ll continue the discussion with the entire TalentCulture community.

Everyone with a Twitter account is invited to participate, as Dr. Nancy Rubin moderates a dynamic live chat focused on these related questions:

Q1:  How do we identify and attract high-performing employees?
Q2:  What processes and technologies impact quality of hire?
Q3:  Hiring via “gut” feel alone usually fails, so why do we keep doing it?
Q4:  Do reference checks really influence a candidate’s viability?
Q5:  How should employers communicate their culture to candidates?

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

We’ll see you on the stream!

Bring Your “Genius” To Work #TChat Recap

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

“The whims and vagaries of team life sometimes are not so much fun, but more often than not, there’s a great feeling of brotherhood amongst everybody that works together.”  Geddy Lee, Rush

Have you felt that kind of harmonic convergence in the workplace? Brotherhood and sisterhood. A deep sense of interconnectedness and shared purpose that moves you forward. Participation in a team whose members continually learn from one another and push one another to contribute their best.

Collaborative energy can be a powerful creative force — just as it has been for more than 40 years with my favorite band, Rush. Geddy, Alex, Neil. Each has lived, lost and loved his work, with every fiber of his being.

OK, I’m a fan. I romanticize. But the proof is in the music. They take their craft very seriously — blending bass, keyboards, guitar, drums and evocative lyrics. They also have fun. Lots of serious fun. And failure. They’ve seen their share of failure, too.

They’ve pushed themselves individually — and as a team — with a kinetic energy that knows no bounds. To me, this is refreshing, because I constantly hear the world of work cliché about how easy it is to find your passion and be happy with what you do.

It’s not that easy. It takes introspection and homework, plus a lot of practice and perseverance. But the good news is that the investment that pays off in ways that you can apply in your life. It’s not about becoming a big-time rock star. It’s about understanding your particular brand of “genius” — something you can get your heart around, and rev over and over again, until the vibe is right for you. It’s the full measure of your unique skills, experiences, passions, interests, talents, abilities, and attitude that you possess.

This week at #TChat Events with guests Maggie Mistal and Laura Rolands, the TalentCulture community examined this “core genius” in all of us. And I learned a two-step lesson:

1) Choosing Incremental Steps  Big leaps aren’t in most people’s risk-adverse DNA. For many of us, discovering what we can do (and what we’re here to do that only we can do) naturally unfolds one small step at a time. It’s like learning to play as a team, but internally, and with continuous refinement. My first step came as a child, when I began connecting words into honey-laced phrases. I’ve covered a lot of territory since then (with multiple side trips), but I’ve never looked back.

2) Can Lead to Monumental Outcomes  The operative word, here is “can” — but the point is that legitimate breakthroughs are possible from incremental steps. Finding your core genius is a very personal, soul-searching endeavor that requires self awareness, reflection and prioritization. Before you brainstorm life-changing career possibilities, you have to start with a meaningful decision framework. You need to learn what’s important for you, first.

How can TalentCulture support this process? Wherever you are in pursuit of professional bliss, we hope you’ll keep sharing your experiences with us here and on social channels. This is a safe place to test ideas, find resources, and exchange information. Your #TChat brothers and sisters are with you on this journey. We’re all in this world of work together. So let’s rock on.

#TChat Week-In-Review: Bring Your “Genius” To Work

Maggie Laura

Watch the #TChat Preview hangout now

SAT 2/1:
#TChat Preview:
TalentCulture Community Manager, Tim McDonald, framed the week’s topic in a post featuring a “sneak peek” hangout with guests, Maggie Mistal and Laura Rolands. See the #TChat Preview now: Careers: Better Choices Mean Better Business.

SUN 2/2:
Forbes.com Post:
In her weekly Forbes column, TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro, offered her perspective on why and how business leaders should encourage employees to develop their unique talents. Read Unleash Your Employees’ Super Powers.

RELATED POSTS:

Managing Your Career: What Would Richard Branson Do? — by James Clear
Shifting Focus: Aptitudes Instead of Attitudes — by Dr. Nancy Rubin
Soul Search — Then Job Search — by Maggie Mistal

TChatRadio_logo_020813

Listen to the #TChat Radio replay now

WED 2/5:
#TChat Radio: Host Meghan M. Biro and I talked with Maggie Mistal and Laura Rolands about what it takes to tap into your career “genius.” Listen to the #TChat Radio replay now

#TChat Twitter: Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Maggie, Laura and I moved over to the #TChat Twitter stream, for a dynamic open conversation with the entire TalentCulture community. Moderator Dr. Nancy Rubin led hundreds of participants through a discussion focused on 5 related questions.

See highlights in the Storify slideshow below:

#TChat Insights: Better Career Choices Mean Better Business

[javascript src=”//storify.com/TalentCulture/careers-better-choices-mean-better-business.js?template=slideshow”]

Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to Maggie Mistal and Laura Rolands for sharing your perspectives on how each of us can find our core genius and apply it to our career. Your enthusiasm and expertise are infectious!

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

WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week at #TChat Events, we’ll look at how employers can be more proactive in forging employee relationships. Our guests are Chris Boyce, CEO of Virgin Pulse, and Kevin Herman, Director of Worksite Wellness at The Horton Group. It’s a discussion that speaks to the heart of talent-minded professionals everywhere, so save the date for this very special Valentine’s Week Event — Wednesday, February 12!

Meanwhile, the TalentCulture conversation continues daily on the #TChat Twitter stream, on our NEW Google+ community, and elsewhere on social media. So stop by anytime.

We’ll see you on the stream!

Image Credit: MenfiS at Flickr

Bring Your "Genius" To Work #TChat Recap

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

“The whims and vagaries of team life sometimes are not so much fun, but more often than not, there’s a great feeling of brotherhood amongst everybody that works together.”  Geddy Lee, Rush

Have you felt that kind of harmonic convergence in the workplace? Brotherhood and sisterhood. A deep sense of interconnectedness and shared purpose that moves you forward. Participation in a team whose members continually learn from one another and push one another to contribute their best.

Collaborative energy can be a powerful creative force — just as it has been for more than 40 years with my favorite band, Rush. Geddy, Alex, Neil. Each has lived, lost and loved his work, with every fiber of his being.

OK, I’m a fan. I romanticize. But the proof is in the music. They take their craft very seriously — blending bass, keyboards, guitar, drums and evocative lyrics. They also have fun. Lots of serious fun. And failure. They’ve seen their share of failure, too.

They’ve pushed themselves individually — and as a team — with a kinetic energy that knows no bounds. To me, this is refreshing, because I constantly hear the world of work cliché about how easy it is to find your passion and be happy with what you do.

It’s not that easy. It takes introspection and homework, plus a lot of practice and perseverance. But the good news is that the investment that pays off in ways that you can apply in your life. It’s not about becoming a big-time rock star. It’s about understanding your particular brand of “genius” — something you can get your heart around, and rev over and over again, until the vibe is right for you. It’s the full measure of your unique skills, experiences, passions, interests, talents, abilities, and attitude that you possess.

This week at #TChat Events with guests Maggie Mistal and Laura Rolands, the TalentCulture community examined this “core genius” in all of us. And I learned a two-step lesson:

1) Choosing Incremental Steps  Big leaps aren’t in most people’s risk-adverse DNA. For many of us, discovering what we can do (and what we’re here to do that only we can do) naturally unfolds one small step at a time. It’s like learning to play as a team, but internally, and with continuous refinement. My first step came as a child, when I began connecting words into honey-laced phrases. I’ve covered a lot of territory since then (with multiple side trips), but I’ve never looked back.

2) Can Lead to Monumental Outcomes  The operative word, here is “can” — but the point is that legitimate breakthroughs are possible from incremental steps. Finding your core genius is a very personal, soul-searching endeavor that requires self awareness, reflection and prioritization. Before you brainstorm life-changing career possibilities, you have to start with a meaningful decision framework. You need to learn what’s important for you, first.

How can TalentCulture support this process? Wherever you are in pursuit of professional bliss, we hope you’ll keep sharing your experiences with us here and on social channels. This is a safe place to test ideas, find resources, and exchange information. Your #TChat brothers and sisters are with you on this journey. We’re all in this world of work together. So let’s rock on.

#TChat Week-In-Review: Bring Your “Genius” To Work

Maggie Laura

Watch the #TChat Preview hangout now

SAT 2/1:
#TChat Preview:
TalentCulture Community Manager, Tim McDonald, framed the week’s topic in a post featuring a “sneak peek” hangout with guests, Maggie Mistal and Laura Rolands. See the #TChat Preview now: Careers: Better Choices Mean Better Business.

SUN 2/2:
Forbes.com Post:
In her weekly Forbes column, TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro, offered her perspective on why and how business leaders should encourage employees to develop their unique talents. Read Unleash Your Employees’ Super Powers.

RELATED POSTS:

Managing Your Career: What Would Richard Branson Do? — by James Clear
Shifting Focus: Aptitudes Instead of Attitudes — by Dr. Nancy Rubin
Soul Search — Then Job Search — by Maggie Mistal

TChatRadio_logo_020813

Listen to the #TChat Radio replay now

WED 2/5:
#TChat Radio: Host Meghan M. Biro and I talked with Maggie Mistal and Laura Rolands about what it takes to tap into your career “genius.” Listen to the #TChat Radio replay now

#TChat Twitter: Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Maggie, Laura and I moved over to the #TChat Twitter stream, for a dynamic open conversation with the entire TalentCulture community. Moderator Dr. Nancy Rubin led hundreds of participants through a discussion focused on 5 related questions.

See highlights in the Storify slideshow below:

#TChat Insights: Better Career Choices Mean Better Business

[javascript src=”//storify.com/TalentCulture/careers-better-choices-mean-better-business.js?template=slideshow”]

Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to Maggie Mistal and Laura Rolands for sharing your perspectives on how each of us can find our core genius and apply it to our career. Your enthusiasm and expertise are infectious!

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

WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week at #TChat Events, we’ll look at how employers can be more proactive in forging employee relationships. Our guests are Chris Boyce, CEO of Virgin Pulse, and Kevin Herman, Director of Worksite Wellness at The Horton Group. It’s a discussion that speaks to the heart of talent-minded professionals everywhere, so save the date for this very special Valentine’s Week Event — Wednesday, February 12!

Meanwhile, the TalentCulture conversation continues daily on the #TChat Twitter stream, on our NEW Google+ community, and elsewhere on social media. So stop by anytime.

We’ll see you on the stream!

Image Credit: MenfiS at Flickr

Careers: Better Choices Mean Better Business #TChat Preview

(Editor’s Note: Are you looking for full Storify highlights + resource links from this week’s #TChat Events? Read the #TChat Recap: “Bring Your ‘Genius’ to Work.“)

Happiness at work
. Passion for your profession. Finding your bliss.

These days, we hear a lot about the importance of being emotionally connected with our careers.

Sounds like a nice idea — but it’s much more than that. Research shows that it’s a key driver of professional performance. It’s also an essential aspect of employee engagement. Yet statistics show that, for most of us, it remains an elusive goal.

Bucking the Trend

This week at #TChat Events, we’ll look at how each of us can defy those statistics by gaining better understanding of our individual strengths and motivations — and by putting those insights to work through better career choices.

We’ll also look at why it’s smart for business to encourage this kind of investigation and discovery.

And who better to help lead this discussion than career management expert, Maggie Mistal? Before establishing herself as the personality behind the long-running SiriusXM radio show, “Making A Living,” Maggie was Director of Learning & Development at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. Also joining us is Laura Rolands, a former HR executive at Chrysler, who, with Maggie’s guidance, launched a rewarding practice as an ADHD coach.

Sneak Peek: Finding Your “Career Core”

To frame this week’s events, I spoke briefly with both Maggie and Laura about how and why it pays for all of us to pursue careers that leverage our strengths. Watch the hangout now:

This discussion has potential to help each of us find more fulfilling work lives, while helping organizations develop more effective talent strategies. So join the #TChat crowd this week to share your ideas and opinions with other “world of work” professionals!

#TChat Events: Claiming Your “Core” Career

#TChat Radio — Wed, Feb 5 — 6:30pmET / 3:30pmPT

TChatRadio_logo_020813Tune-in to the #TChat Radio show

Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman talk with Maggie Mistal and Laura Rolands critical about how to find and claim your core career “genius.” Tune-in LIVE online this Wednesday!

#TChat Twitter — Wed, Feb 5 7pmET / 4pmPT

Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin and our guests will move to the #TChat Twitter stream, where we’ll continue the discussion with the entire TalentCulture community, in a live chat moderated by Dr. Nancy Rubin.

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

Q1: How can we align our career aspirations with our strengths?
Q2: When a job isn’t fulfilling, what can we do to take charge of our career?
Q3: How can we continually identify and develop skills and talents?
Q4: What value does business gain from encouraging “career genius” in employees?
Q5: How can new technology help us redirect and manage our careers?

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

We’ll see you on the stream!

Your Corporate Culture: What’s Inside?

“No company, small or large, can win over the long run without energized employees who believe in the mission and understand how to achieve it.”-Jack Welch

Jack Welch isn’t alone in this opinion. Many of today’s most successful business leaders agree — culture is a powerful force that can make or break a business.

So, what is this elusive culture thing, anyway?

It is a topic the TalentCulture community obviously takes seriously. (After all, it’s at the core of our identity.) But even among culture specialists, the concept isn’t easy to define. Perhaps it’s best to think of it as an experience — created and shaped by the collective values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors of your workforce.

You can’t necessarily “see” culture. But evidence of it is often easy to spot. Similarly, culture can’t be manufactured, manipulated or imposed upon employees. But without clarity, consistency and communication, it can rapidly erode.

Looking Closer Look at Corporate Culture

MIT Management Professor, Edgar Schein, presents culture as a series of assumptions people make about an organization. These assumptions occur at three levels — each is more difficult to articulate and change. Schein’s three-tier structure includes:

• Artifacts (Visible)
• Espoused Beliefs and Values (May appear through surveys or other narrative)
• Underlying Assumptions (Unconscious beliefs/values. Not visible; may be taken for granted)Culture 3 LevelsIllustration via Chad Renando

The Business Case for Culture: Zappos

In recent years, Zappos has become known for its deep commitment to culture as a competitive advantage. Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, often speaks about the importance of workplace culture, and why it is his company’s chief priority. To understand Tony’s perspective, watch this brief video:

Below are Zappos’ “10 Commandments” — the core values that drive culture, brand and business strategies:

1) Deliver WOW through service
2) Embrace and drive change
3) Create fun and a little weirdness
4) Be adventurous, creative and open-minded
5) Pursue growth and learning
6) Build open and honest relationships with communication
7) Build a positive team and family spirit
8) Do more with less
9) Be passionate and determined
10) Be humble

What do you think of “commandments” like these? How does your organization articulate and reinforce cultural norms across your workforce? How effective are your efforts?

Beyond Zappos: 100 Great Company Cultures

Of course, Zappos is only one of many organizations that invest deeply in culture. Last week, Fortune Magazine offered 100 other examples in its 2014 “Best Companies to Work For” List, developed by Great Place to Work Institute.

Even before the list was revealed, Great Place to Work CEO, China Gorman, shared several key observations about the cultural characteristics that help great companies attract top talent.

And yesterday, China talked with us in greater detail about lessons learned — first in a #TChat Radio interview (hear the replay now), and then in a lively community-wide #TChat discussion on Twitter. (For a full recap of the week’s highlights and resource links, read: “Workplace Greatness: No Guarantees.”)

As the moderator of this week’s Twitter event, I’d like to thank the hundreds of professionals who literally contributed thousands of ideas about what makes organizations “tick.” Your input is always welcome — the more, the better. So let’s keep this conversation going…

Image Credit

Your Corporate Culture: What's Inside?

“No company, small or large, can win over the long run without energized employees who believe in the mission and understand how to achieve it.”-Jack Welch

Jack Welch isn’t alone in this opinion. Many of today’s most successful business leaders agree — culture is a powerful force that can make or break a business.

So, what is this elusive culture thing, anyway?

It is a topic the TalentCulture community obviously takes seriously. (After all, it’s at the core of our identity.) But even among culture specialists, the concept isn’t easy to define. Perhaps it’s best to think of it as an experience — created and shaped by the collective values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors of your workforce.

You can’t necessarily “see” culture. But evidence of it is often easy to spot. Similarly, culture can’t be manufactured, manipulated or imposed upon employees. But without clarity, consistency and communication, it can rapidly erode.

Looking Closer Look at Corporate Culture

MIT Management Professor, Edgar Schein, presents culture as a series of assumptions people make about an organization. These assumptions occur at three levels — each is more difficult to articulate and change. Schein’s three-tier structure includes:

• Artifacts (Visible)
• Espoused Beliefs and Values (May appear through surveys or other narrative)
• Underlying Assumptions (Unconscious beliefs/values. Not visible; may be taken for granted)Culture 3 LevelsIllustration via Chad Renando

The Business Case for Culture: Zappos

In recent years, Zappos has become known for its deep commitment to culture as a competitive advantage. Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, often speaks about the importance of workplace culture, and why it is his company’s chief priority. To understand Tony’s perspective, watch this brief video:

Below are Zappos’ “10 Commandments” — the core values that drive culture, brand and business strategies:

1) Deliver WOW through service
2) Embrace and drive change
3) Create fun and a little weirdness
4) Be adventurous, creative and open-minded
5) Pursue growth and learning
6) Build open and honest relationships with communication
7) Build a positive team and family spirit
8) Do more with less
9) Be passionate and determined
10) Be humble

What do you think of “commandments” like these? How does your organization articulate and reinforce cultural norms across your workforce? How effective are your efforts?

Beyond Zappos: 100 Great Company Cultures

Of course, Zappos is only one of many organizations that invest deeply in culture. Last week, Fortune Magazine offered 100 other examples in its 2014 “Best Companies to Work For” List, developed by Great Place to Work Institute.

Even before the list was revealed, Great Place to Work CEO, China Gorman, shared several key observations about the cultural characteristics that help great companies attract top talent.

And yesterday, China talked with us in greater detail about lessons learned — first in a #TChat Radio interview (hear the replay now), and then in a lively community-wide #TChat discussion on Twitter. (For a full recap of the week’s highlights and resource links, read: “Workplace Greatness: No Guarantees.”)

As the moderator of this week’s Twitter event, I’d like to thank the hundreds of professionals who literally contributed thousands of ideas about what makes organizations “tick.” Your input is always welcome — the more, the better. So let’s keep this conversation going…

Image Credit

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

New Year, New Company Culture? #TChat Preview

(Editor’s Note: Are you looking for a full recap of this week’s events and resources? Read the #TChat Recap: “What’s Your Culture Tattoo?)

“It’s never too late to start all over again.”
John Kay

As we move into 2014, it’s natural to take stock of our status — where we are, where we’re headed and how to get there.

That future-minded theme is the framework for #TChat Events throughout the month of January. And we’re excited to kick off the series this week with Fortune 500 executive leadership advisor, columnist, and author, Mike Myatt.

Hacking-Leadership-Book-Cover-678x1024

A year ago, Mike wrote a compelling Forbes post, “10 Reasons Your Top Talent Will Leave You,” which challenged business leaders to take a hard look at the how they undermine organizational culture and workforce commitment. His conclusion was stark — unless companies address these fundamental issues from the top down, it’s only a matter of time before employees will look elsewhere.

Of course, some executives will never get it. But what’s really alarming is how common these issues seem to be in today’s world of work. According to employee engagement research, most companies are long over-due for an extreme culture makeover.

But how? What can leaders do to intervene successfully?

That’s the focus of Mike’s new book, “Hacking Leadership” — 11 Gaps Every Business Needs to Close, and Secrets to Closing Them Quickly. So we asked him to join the TalentCulture community this week for a conversation about how to fix organizational cultures that are failing on multiple levels.

“Sneak Peek” Hangout

I had an opportunity to conduct a brief hangout with Mike, where he set the stage for this week’s conversation:

Also, to help you prepare for this week’s #TChat events, we’ve listed questions (at the end of this post), and selected several related articles:

8 Strategies to Successfully Change Your Corporate Culture
When Your Culture Needs a Makeover
 If You Want to Change Corporate Culture, Dare to Tell the Truth
How To Build a Great Corporate Culture
How Organizational Design Can Help Improve Corporate Culture

For everyone who wants to crack the code on cultural change, this promises to be an interesting and helpful week. So bring your ideas and opinions — and let’s talk!

#TChat Asks: Is It Time For A Business Culture Makeover?

#TChat Radio — Wed, Jan 8 — 6:30pmET / 3:30pmPT

TChatRadio_logo_020813

Tune-in to the #TChat Radio show

Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman talk with Mike Myatt about how to assess cultural health, and steps leaders can take to turn around a struggling organization. Tune-in LIVE online this Wednesday!

#TChat Twitter — Wed, Jan 8 7pmET / 4pmPT

Immediately following the radio show, Meghan and Mike will move to the #TChat Twitter stream, where Dr. Nancy Rubin will lead an open chat with the entire TalentCulture community. Everyone with a Twitter account is invited to participate, as we address these 5 related questions:

Q1: What factors motivate people to remain with an employer?
Q2: How do leaders know if their culture needs a makeover?
Q3: What role can recruiting play in driving healthy cultures?
Q4: What critical development activities build employee commitment?
Q5: What technologies help leaders makeover business culture?

Throughout the week, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed and in our LinkedIn Discussion Group. So don’t be shy! Please join us, and share your questions, ideas and opinions.

We’ll see you on the stream!

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

Startup Leadership: Lessons From a Runner's World

Written by Adii Pienaar

Most of us with entrepreneurial drive have a similar passion for other pursuits. For me, it’s about long-distance running. For example, in a recent month I ran 120 kilometers (about 75 miles), including a half-marathon.

That’s a lot of time on the road — just me, some music, the sound of my (sometimes ragged) breathing, and most importantly, my thoughts.

Lately, I’ve used some of that time to think about the similarity between my progress as runner and how to apply that mindset in running a company. What did I conclude? Here six suggestions based on my experience:

1) Work only when you’re productive and focused

I used to motivate myself in a very threatening, reactive way. I would decide to run a half-marathon, and then “demand” (of myself) to run specific distances in specific times. Regardless or how I felt, I was “forced” to comply with those requirements.

Recently, I decided I wasn’t going to set a rigid, arbitrary goal of running in a specific half-marathon. Instead, I decided to run just because I love it.

Sometimes at the start of a run, I can feel that my body isn’t responding, or I’m just not in the right mental space. On those days, I cut the run short and go home. On the flip side, sometimes I plan to run 5km but end up running 10km instead, because I feel good. That’s double the return for “doubling down” on that good feeling.

Entrepreneurs are guilty of this. We force ourselves to work, even when we’re not being productive. Stop. Get up. Do something else that’s unrelated to work. But when you discover you are in the zone, double down and you’ll achieve much more, instead.

2) Avoid burnout

Earlier this year, I got greedy and, for about a week, I pushed myself too hard, aggravating an injury. Instead of just stopping, I kept pushing. The result was that I developed a severe case of shin splints that kept me out of running for two full months.

As entrepreneurs, we know how to push (hard), and we know how to use adrenaline to fuel us. However, burnout is a very real threat and should not be dismissed lightly. The problem with injury or burnout isn’t the pain; it’s the frustration. Once you’ve injured yourself, there are no more shortcuts. You have to do the time.

So don’t give burnout a chance to stop you in your tracks. Try getting eight hours of sleep a day. Eat nutritious foods. Exercise regularly and immerse yourself in non-work activities, too. All of this will help strengthen your entrepreneurial fitness, so you’ll have a consistently high level of ambition and drive.

3) Reward yourself

When I eventually recovered, I decided to get a weekly sports massage to help prevent shin splints from recurring. Although these treatments began as preventive work for my muscles, the pampering began to feel more like a reward. I loved this downtime, and it became a motivating factor for me to run even more.

The same is true with work. For me personally, money isn’t enough motivation to work harder or do more. But rewarding myself with experiences does work. On the expensive end of the scale, that translates into traveling as much as I can. But on a more regular basis, I reward myself with a bottle of fantastic red wine.

The key is to connect the dots between the work and the experience, knowing both need to be present to make that connection.

4) Nurture consistency

Running every-other day has become a routine for me. This consistency is one of the primary drivers behind my ability to run 120km in a month. Running has become a habit.

I’ve seen the same scenario with my inbox. All of us get a boatload of email, and it’s probably the number one complaint of busy people. But when I’m disciplined and consistently keep my inbox neat and clean, I avoid the problem. As soon as I lose that consistency, it becomes a mess.

As an entrepreneur, these habits are key to helping you get stuff done, stay focused on what matters, and keep moving forward. Consistency is your friend.

5) Shed excess weight

Running with excess weight is hard work. Now, I’m not obese, but you probably won’t see me on the cover of GQ, either. So about six weeks ago, I started the Paleo diet, and I’ve since decreased my body fat 5%. It makes running a lot easier.

In business and in work, excess weight can take many different shapes and forms. I used to take responsibility for things that either I didn’t need to do myself or weren’t important. I was really bad at prioritizing my time. Now I focus on the most important things every day. I get more done, and I am happier.

Shed the excess weight on your to do list. I guarantee that, afterwards, you’ll run easier.

6) Run your own race

While running my last race, I realized we’re always competing. We’re always measuring ourselves against other entrepreneurs and their companies. We read about how they do things, how they manage to be successful and how we should be applying all of those things to our own lives.

In fact, you’re doing that right now, but reading this post.

But this is your life. In every race, you can only run against yourself, and try to improve on your personal best. What the other runners (or business leaders) are doing shouldn’t influence the way you run your own race.

Do things for yourself — and rely upon your own instincts, for a more satisfying outcome. Be a little selfish every now and again, and remember to invest in yourself.

What are your thoughts? How can leaders apply athletic training principles to run their companies more effectively?

ce07b0f37a0fc570882f6337d7258d9f(About the Author: Adii Pienaar is the ex-CEO and Founder of WooThemes. He has a passion for helping other entrepreneurs, making new mistakes (of his own) and, as such, is working on his new startup, PublicBeta. He is also a new dad, ex-rockstar and wannabe angel investor.)

(Editor’s Note: This post was adapted from Brazen Life via The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), with permission. Brazen Life is a lifestyle and career blog for ambitious young professionals. Hosted by Brazen Careerist, it offers edgy and fun ideas for navigating the changing world of work. Be Brazen!)

(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: Neerav Bhatt via Flickr

Startup Leadership: Lessons From a Runner’s World

Written by Adii Pienaar

Most of us with entrepreneurial drive have a similar passion for other pursuits. For me, it’s about long-distance running. For example, in a recent month I ran 120 kilometers (about 75 miles), including a half-marathon.

That’s a lot of time on the road — just me, some music, the sound of my (sometimes ragged) breathing, and most importantly, my thoughts.

Lately, I’ve used some of that time to think about the similarity between my progress as runner and how to apply that mindset in running a company. What did I conclude? Here six suggestions based on my experience:

1) Work only when you’re productive and focused

I used to motivate myself in a very threatening, reactive way. I would decide to run a half-marathon, and then “demand” (of myself) to run specific distances in specific times. Regardless or how I felt, I was “forced” to comply with those requirements.

Recently, I decided I wasn’t going to set a rigid, arbitrary goal of running in a specific half-marathon. Instead, I decided to run just because I love it.

Sometimes at the start of a run, I can feel that my body isn’t responding, or I’m just not in the right mental space. On those days, I cut the run short and go home. On the flip side, sometimes I plan to run 5km but end up running 10km instead, because I feel good. That’s double the return for “doubling down” on that good feeling.

Entrepreneurs are guilty of this. We force ourselves to work, even when we’re not being productive. Stop. Get up. Do something else that’s unrelated to work. But when you discover you are in the zone, double down and you’ll achieve much more, instead.

2) Avoid burnout

Earlier this year, I got greedy and, for about a week, I pushed myself too hard, aggravating an injury. Instead of just stopping, I kept pushing. The result was that I developed a severe case of shin splints that kept me out of running for two full months.

As entrepreneurs, we know how to push (hard), and we know how to use adrenaline to fuel us. However, burnout is a very real threat and should not be dismissed lightly. The problem with injury or burnout isn’t the pain; it’s the frustration. Once you’ve injured yourself, there are no more shortcuts. You have to do the time.

So don’t give burnout a chance to stop you in your tracks. Try getting eight hours of sleep a day. Eat nutritious foods. Exercise regularly and immerse yourself in non-work activities, too. All of this will help strengthen your entrepreneurial fitness, so you’ll have a consistently high level of ambition and drive.

3) Reward yourself

When I eventually recovered, I decided to get a weekly sports massage to help prevent shin splints from recurring. Although these treatments began as preventive work for my muscles, the pampering began to feel more like a reward. I loved this downtime, and it became a motivating factor for me to run even more.

The same is true with work. For me personally, money isn’t enough motivation to work harder or do more. But rewarding myself with experiences does work. On the expensive end of the scale, that translates into traveling as much as I can. But on a more regular basis, I reward myself with a bottle of fantastic red wine.

The key is to connect the dots between the work and the experience, knowing both need to be present to make that connection.

4) Nurture consistency

Running every-other day has become a routine for me. This consistency is one of the primary drivers behind my ability to run 120km in a month. Running has become a habit.

I’ve seen the same scenario with my inbox. All of us get a boatload of email, and it’s probably the number one complaint of busy people. But when I’m disciplined and consistently keep my inbox neat and clean, I avoid the problem. As soon as I lose that consistency, it becomes a mess.

As an entrepreneur, these habits are key to helping you get stuff done, stay focused on what matters, and keep moving forward. Consistency is your friend.

5) Shed excess weight

Running with excess weight is hard work. Now, I’m not obese, but you probably won’t see me on the cover of GQ, either. So about six weeks ago, I started the Paleo diet, and I’ve since decreased my body fat 5%. It makes running a lot easier.

In business and in work, excess weight can take many different shapes and forms. I used to take responsibility for things that either I didn’t need to do myself or weren’t important. I was really bad at prioritizing my time. Now I focus on the most important things every day. I get more done, and I am happier.

Shed the excess weight on your to do list. I guarantee that, afterwards, you’ll run easier.

6) Run your own race

While running my last race, I realized we’re always competing. We’re always measuring ourselves against other entrepreneurs and their companies. We read about how they do things, how they manage to be successful and how we should be applying all of those things to our own lives.

In fact, you’re doing that right now, but reading this post.

But this is your life. In every race, you can only run against yourself, and try to improve on your personal best. What the other runners (or business leaders) are doing shouldn’t influence the way you run your own race.

Do things for yourself — and rely upon your own instincts, for a more satisfying outcome. Be a little selfish every now and again, and remember to invest in yourself.

What are your thoughts? How can leaders apply athletic training principles to run their companies more effectively?

ce07b0f37a0fc570882f6337d7258d9f(About the Author: Adii Pienaar is the ex-CEO and Founder of WooThemes. He has a passion for helping other entrepreneurs, making new mistakes (of his own) and, as such, is working on his new startup, PublicBeta. He is also a new dad, ex-rockstar and wannabe angel investor.)

(Editor’s Note: This post was adapted from Brazen Life via The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), with permission. Brazen Life is a lifestyle and career blog for ambitious young professionals. Hosted by Brazen Careerist, it offers edgy and fun ideas for navigating the changing world of work. Be Brazen!)

(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: Neerav Bhatt via Flickr

Leadership + Influence From The Inside Out #TChat Preview

(Editor’s Note: Are you looking for all the highlights and resource links from this week’s #TChat Events? You’re in luck — they’re right this way at the #TChat Recap: Gut Check: Emotions and Leadership.)

“It’s not personal — it’s strictly business.”
–Mario Puzo “The Godfather

Have you ever heard someone at work echo that classic line to dismiss their ruthless, destructive or self-serving behavior? In the past, that kind of cold-blooded Mafia mindset was all too prevalent in business. But these days it’s losing relevance, as emotional intelligence takes hold.

Although academics continue to debate various “EI” models, the core concept is simple. It’s based on the notion that the more mindful we are of the “human” side of business (in ourselves and others), the more effective our performance will be, and the more likely we’ll influence others’ performance.

While some people resist the term “emotional intelligence,” the concept is gaining traction. Some of the world’s most successful organizations — companies like Google and Microsoft — are actively developing emotional intelligence in their workforce. Why does it matter? And how can it “make” or “break” your professional reputation?

That’s the topic we’re discussing this week at #TChat Events, with EI expert, Steve Gutzler, President of Leadership Quest, a Seattle leadership consultancy, and author of “Emotional Intelligence for Personal Leadership.”

“Sneak Peek” Hangout

To kick-off this week’s discussion, Steve joined me for a G+ Hangout, where he briefly shared some fascinating insights about the importance of emotional intelligence in the workplace:

This week’s #TChat Events promise to be helpful for anyone who wants to work more effectively with and through others. So bring your questions and ideas — and let’s talk!

#TChat Events: Emotional Intelligence, Leadership and Influence

#TChat Radio — Wed, Dec 18 — 6:30pmET / 3:30pmPT

TChatRadio_logo_020813

Tune-in to the #TChat Radio show

Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman talk with Steve Gutzler about why emotional intelligence matters in the workplace, and its connection with influence. Tune-in LIVE online this Wednesday!

#TChat Twitter — Wed, Dec 18 7pmET / 4pmPT

Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin and Steve will move to the #TChat Twitter stream, where Dr. Nancy Rubin will lead an open chat with the entire TalentCulture community. Everyone with a Twitter account is invited to participate, as we address these 5 related questions:

Q1: Why is emotional intelligence so critical for today’s leaders?
Q2: How do emotional “soft skills” complement hard-edge business skills?
Q3: What is emotional hijacking vs. emotional self-management?
Q4: How can business leaders offer productive emotional influence?
Q5: What technologies can foster employee appreciation + emotional commitment?

We look forward to hearing your feedback, 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 please join us share your questions, ideas and opinions.
We’ll see you on the stream!

How Good People Can Deliver Bad News at Work

Written by Sarah Colomé

Something has gone terribly wrong at work. (It happens.) You’re terrified about telling your manager. (That also happens.) Breaking bad news to your boss can feel like you’re the designated driver on girls’ night out — while it’s not easy, someone has to take the hit.

However, if you take a closer look at this situation, you may find it’s a blessing in disguise for your career.

Employers are looking for contributors who know how to think on their feet, adapt quickly and  communicate effectively. If you reframe a work nightmare by offering timely, useful, well-researched solutions, you’ll demonstrate that you’re not only a smart thinker, but also a doer with management potential.

So, when that moment strikes and you have to break bad news to the person who decides your fate, consider these three strategies:

1) Bring the whole story to the table

Rushing to squeal that the keynote speaker for your annual conference just dissed your company on social media isn’t going to improve the situation.

Before you make a move, consider your source of information. Is this a credible individual or channel? Repeating uninformed, disruptive information only adds to the chaos. Research the facts (quickly!) so you can provide decision makers with relevant context. Your extra legwork can help them make an informed choice about how to proceed.

Knowing details helps frame the situation, allows for a better decision making process and makes you look like a mature, level-headed colleague rather than an reactive tattletale.

2) Think and speak objectively

Taking sides and passing blame does nothing to solve the problem. Instead, you’ll only paint yourself in a negative and self-serving manner — the complete opposite of what you want.

While this doesn’t mean you should hide pertinent information you have about the problem, you also don’t need to wrap a particular person up in a bow and pin them to a bull’s eye.

Pointing fingers isn’t necessary to solving the immediate problem. If necessary at all, it should be set aside until a solution has been found. Focusing on the fixing the problem helps you avoid looking like you’re stepping on another employee to make yourself look good. Plus, you’ll protect your working relationships with all parties involved — including the idiot who ordered 200 bottles of pineapple juice instead of Pinot Grigio for the donor banquet. Besides, if someone on the crew is truly inept, their actions will speak for themselves.

3) Offer problem-solving options

Showing up empty-handed to announce bad news accomplishes nothing. You need ammo. Prepare to suggest possible next-step ideas, so you’re less likely to become the target of a manager’s negative reaction.

Your goal is to avoid adding more stress to a difficult situation, by being ready to offer viable options. Research alternatives that save time or money, and assess the likely outcomes, so you can help determine a workable plan of action.

But keep in mind that offering effective solutions requires more than just a Google search and a few thrown-together spreadsheets. No solution can be implemented without investing employee energy, so assess the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for each path. This approach can help your manager avoid costly missteps — while simultaneously portraying you as a proactive, strategic thinker.

Delivering bad news is never easy, but reframing a negative work situation into a positive professional opportunity can be beneficial both for you and your company.

The next time someone accidentally sends detailed employee compensation data to everyone in your company, don’t fret. Get the whole story, be objective and come with a solution in hand.

Have you stepped up when there was a melt-down at work? How did you deliver the news — and did it help you grow in your career? Share your experiences in the comments area.

Sarah Colome (2)(About the Author: Sarah Colomé, M.S. is an educator, advocate and the SOARS Booking Director for A Long Walk Home, Inc. Based in Chicago, Sarah has traveled both nationally and internationally as a competitive collegiate public speaker. She teaches on topics related to social justice and diversity, health education, sexual violence and persuasive speaking. Connect with her on Twitter.)

(Editor’s Note: This post is adapted from Brazen Life, with permission. Brazen Life is a lifestyle and career blog for ambitious young professionals. Hosted by Brazen Careerist, it offers edgy and fun ideas for navigating the changing world of work. Be Brazen!)

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


Image Credit: Mugley via Flickr

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)

Workplace Wellness: The Story Starts With Healthy Culture

(Editor’s Note: Chris Boyce is one of our featured guests at #TChat Events Wednesday, Feb 12, 2014. Join us to discuss employee engagement issues! See details in the preview post: “Does Your Workforce Feel the Love?“)

Written by Chris Boyce, CEO, Virgin Pulse

Headlines are a funny thing. They often do a terrible job of telling a story. Earlier this year, the RAND Corporation published what headlines described as a sobering report on the state of workplace wellness.

At first glance, these initiatives appeared to be falling far short of the mark. But (as is so often the case) headlines only tell a tiny slice of the story. To find the truth, we must look beneath the surface.

Wellness 1.0: A Flawed Model

It’s correct that the traditional concept of wellness is broken. Employers have been overly prescriptive with wellness strategies — relying far too heavily on specific programs, health risk assessments (HRAs) and biometric screenings. These tactics typically produce short-term gains, but they lose on long-term impact. This “Wellness 1.0” approach clearly has failed.

The Power Of Wellness 2.0

Traditional wellness has struggled because it overlooks a critical issue — telling employees how to act is not the same thing as empowering employees to make their own healthy behavioral choices, and supporting them along the way. In short, for workforce wellness to gain a meaningful foothold and make a lasting impact, culture must come first.

How can companies accomplish this mission? In theory, it’s simple. But in reality, it can be a challenge. Developing a culture-first mentality means focusing on employees’ Total Quality of Life — including physical, mental, social, emotional, and financial health. It’s not just about convincing them to join a weight loss program or complete an annual HRA. It’s about connecting with them in ways that put lifestyle changes within easy reach, and encouraging them support one another through the process of transformation.

Creating a culture geared toward Total Quality of Life requires solutions that are engaging, social and fun, so employees naturally weave them into daily activity. It means moving beyond traditional wellness boundaries by connecting participants with a highly available online platform. It means providing “anytime” access to smart tools and resources that comfortably fit into an employee’s world — making it simple, interactive and rewarding to choose healthier options on a continuous basis.

Success Factors: Walking The Walk

Virgin Pulse Total Quality of Life Employee Engagement whitepaper cover

Download the related Pulse Paper now

Every Total Quality of Life strategy should incorporate healthy goals as foundational elements. For example, it’s essential to encourage nutritious eating habits and regular physical activity. But it’s also important for employers to demonstrate commitment to those goals by offering things like healthy cafeteria options and access to onsite workout facilities, so employees can easily integrate these choices into their daily routine.

Other elements can take Total Quality of Life even further. For example, classes that help employees establish and manage a 401k, or learn smart retirement savings strategies demonstrate an even deeper commitment to workforce well-being. The result? The more employers invest in employees’ personal and professional growth, the more committed, engaged and productive those employees will be. In short, a holistic approach is a wise investment in future business performance.

Measurable Improvement: It’s A Matter Of Time

Of course, cultural shifts take time. But they’re far more effective if employees believe you care about them — not just as “human resources,” but as whole humans. Employer commitment is key. Once employees move forward with wellness objectives, and begin to reach early milestones, they’ll start feeling better about themselves. Soon, personal achievements like weight loss or community volunteer involvement begin translating into direct payoffs at work. You’ll see more passion, creativity, and focus on the job. And when you reinforce these positive outcomes, it will lead to even more ambitious objectives.

Rewriting The Wellness Story

What headlines you should expect for Wellness 2.0? This next-generation approach to wellness, focused on Total Quality of Life, is helping companies shift their approach to a culture of continuous engagement. So keep looking for stories of individual and business transformation, fueled by more productive, loyal employees. Those stories are real, and ready to be told.

(Editor’s Note: Looking for more details about how to engage and support your workforce? Download the latest Virgin Pulse Paper, “Total Quality of Life: A Roadmap for Employee Engagement” by TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro.)

Chris-Boyce_color_web2(About the Author: Chris Boyce is CEO of Virgin Pulse. He is an accomplished technology entrepreneur who brings more than 15 years of consumer loyalty, enterprise and consumer software experience to Virgin Pulse. Leveraging Virgin’s philosophy that business should be a force for good, Chris’ leadership has been instrumental in guiding Virgin Pulse’s development of market-leading, technology-based products and services that help employers improve workforce health, boost employee engagement, and enhance corporate culture. Chris has an MBA from Harvard Business School. Connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter.)

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

Going Social: Learning In Action #TChat Recap

“Learning is more effective when it is active rather than a passive process.”
– Euripides

One of the most active learning environments I know is #TChat.

In fact, sometimes it’s truly hyper-active, as the TalentCulture community meets on the Twitter stream to exchange ideas about the world of work. That’s certainly how it felt this week, as we gathered to celebrate three years of #TChat events and continuous online knowledge sharing.

It was fitting that our conversation focused on social learning. And it was equally fitting to welcome an HR executive who’s responsible for (among many other things) leveraging social tools and techniques to foster learning across her fast-paced, global organization.

Our guest this week was Ambrosia Humphrey, VP of Talent at HootSuite. And the insights she shared on #TChat Radio are instructive for any organization striving to elevate its learning culture.

(Editor’s Note: See full event highlights and resource links at the end of this post.)

Social Workplace: Learning Everywhere

As social media weaves itself deeper into daily life, organizations are searching for effective ways to blend social behaviors with learning methodology. There are good reasons for all the interest.

Social channels remove the hierarchy found in most organizations. With traditional roles de-emphasized, everyone has more freedom to contribute, interact, experiment and develop personally and professionally. It’s collaboration at its best. When organizations channel this collective energy, there’s great potential to boost innovation and business performance.

However, many companies are still only testing the waters in their cultural commitment to social learning. Twitter chats such as #TChat provide a low-risk model outside organizational walls; bringing together experts and talent-minded professionals to discuss today’s workplace — what works, what doesn’t, and how to address key issues.

#TChat: Social Learning Slice Of Life

As #TChat proves, social tools and techniques are an attractive way to develop and sustain learning communities. The immediacy, flexibility and availability of social media make it possible for people with common interests to connect and contribute easily in real-time, from all corners of the globe.

Imagine the possibilities when this approach is applied within organizations! Employees feel more appreciated and valued for their input. Engagement increases. And employers signal a commitment to employee development and growth. It’s a win-win. Companies gain a more engaged, productive workforce, and in turn, employees are challenged and become more competent.

This is why I look forward to many more wonderful years for #TChat and TalentCulture — an open, ongoing learning environment that is helping us all shape the world of work for the better!

#TChat Week-In-Review: Online Communities and Professional Growth

Kevin Grossman Tim McDonald TChat (2)

Watch the #TChat hangout now

SAT 11/16:

#TChat Preview:
TalentCulture Editorial Director, Kathleen Kruse framed this week’s topic in a post that features a special 3rd Anniversary #TChat hangout video with co-founder, Kevin W. Grossman. Read the Preview: “We’re Turning Three! Let’s Celebrate Community.”

SUN 11/17:

Forbes.com Post: TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro looked at 7 ways leaders can foster a high-octane social workplace culture. Read: “7 Characteristics of a Social Leader.”

MON 11/18 — THU 11/21

Related Posts:
Read: “What Drives Social Influence? Insights From Recruiting Circles” by Carter Hostelley
Read: “#TChat Road Trip: Going to the Next Level Together” by Meghan M. Biro
Read: “Community Heart + Soul: #TChat Favorites” by Kevin W. Grossman

WED 11/20:

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Listen to the #TChat Radio show now

#TChat Radio: Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman spoke with guest Ambrosia Humphrey , VP HR at HootSuite, about why and how organizations benefit by committing to social learning initiatives. Listen to the radio recording now!

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

#TChat Insights: The Growth of Online Learning

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Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to Ambrosia Humphrey for sharing your perspectives on social learning and organizational culture. We value your time, enthusiasm and expertise!

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

WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week, #TChat Events go quiet, as we celebrate the Thanksgiving week in the U.S. However, we’ll be back on December 4th, with a special double-header, featuring two of our community’s most beloved HR experts, Dave Ryan and Donna Rogers! Look for more details next weekend.

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

See you on the stream!

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

Empowering Employees in 3D: Webinar with Virgin Pulse

When people go to work, they don’t leave their lives behind — so why do employers expect them to?

This kind of one-dimensional thinking is exactly what led us to the dismal workforce engagement levels we see today.

Fortunately, there are ways to turn this around. Research and real-world examples reveal that when employees are encouraged to develop in mind, body and spirit, they become more focused, productive and committed to their work. It sounds like common sense, but putting it into practice can be a challenge.

VirginWebinar (2)So, what’s the secret? How can business and HR leaders more fully engage employees through cultures that celebrate the “whole person”?

Learn from experts at a special webinar on Thursday, November 7, at 2pm ET/11 am PT:
“Total Quality of Life: A Roadmap for Employee Engagement.”

David Coppins, President, Virgin Pulse Client Services & Member Engagement, and Meghan M. Biro, CEO of TalentCulture will share insights to help you:

•  Build a compelling case for “total quality of life” initiatives;
•  Create a winning employee empowerment strategy;
•  Drive authentic engagement across the workforce.

Virgin-Pulse

Register for the webinar now

“Igniting employee passion and performance should be within every company’s reach.” Meghan says. “We’re thrilled to work side-by-side with Virgin Pulse in helping business leaders learn from one another about how to successfully transform their cultures. It’s all about changing lives for good — across the world of work.”

Throughout the webinar, attendees are invited to join members of the TalentCulture community on Twitter, as we share ideas and questions using the #TChat hashtag.

Don’t miss this dynamic informative event! Register now, and join us November 7th.

Participating Organizations

Learn more about Virgin Pulse, and follow @VirginPulse on Twitter.
Learn more about TalentCulture, and follow @TalentCulture on Twitter.

Where's Your Inner HERO? Positivity at Work

The Business Value Of Positive Psychology

Most of us are familiar with the terms “economic capital” and “human capital” — two fundamentals of modern business. But what about the notion of “psychological capital,” and its role in driving individual and organizational performance?

Researchers have been studying the application of Positive Psychology in the workplace, and a growing body of evidence demonstrates that a positive mindset affects our attitudes toward work, as well as the subsequent outcomes. As Dr. Fred Luthans explains in the video at the end of this post, our “psychological capital” can, indeed, have a significant impact upon work and career.

Previously, I’ve discussed how the tenets of positive psychology hold great potential as a guide to help individuals and organizations elevate workplace happiness. Overall, the movement focuses on identifying and building on what is “right” with our work lives — emphasizing our strengths, celebrating smaller successes, expressing gratitude. Central to this theory is the mechanism that helps us build our “psychological resources,” and use this collected energy to digest and cope with our work lives.

Finding Your Workplace “HERO”

To provide a practical framework for this concept, researchers have developed what they aptly call the Psychological Capital (PsyCap) construct. It features various psychological resources (a.k.a. “HERO” resources) that are central to our work life experiences. We combine these resources in various ways to meet the challenges of our daily work lives.

What are HERO resources?

Hope: Belief in the ability to persevere toward goals and find methods to reach them
Efficacy: Confidence that one can put forth the effort to affect outcomes
Resilience: Ability to bounce back in the face of adversity or failure
Optimism: A generally positive view of work and the potential of success

Finding Your Workplace HERO

Notably, studies have established (Avey, Luthans, et al., 2011) a clear positive relationship between PsyCap and multiple desired workplace outcomes, including job satisfaction, organizational commitment and psychological well-being. Moreover, the construct correlates negatively with undesirable organizational behaviors, including cynicism, anxiety, stress, and the intention to resign.

If you’re an employer, you’re probably wondering if you can improve the strength of an employee’s HERO resources over time. On a promising note, PsyCap appears to be a “state like” quality that is open to change. This contrasts with traits that tend to be largely stable over time, such as the “Big 5” personality traits — extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism and openness.

Assuming that psychological capital can be developed and strengthened over time, there are broad implications for key workplace behavior conventions, such as the nature of performance feedback, modes of learning and development, role design and leadership style.

Do you feel that focusing on PsyCap could enhance your work life or organizational culture? How would you apply this concept in your world of work?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTCU80iiaeM

(Editor’s Note: This article is adapted from a LinkedIn Influencer post, with permission.)

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

Image Credit: CGArtiste (Superman is © DC Comics)