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Diversity in a New Key: #TChat Preview

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image Credit: PeopleDaily.com

Getting Workplace Recognition Right: #TChat Recap

The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated. -William James

As children, when we master a new skill or complete a task well, others often offer us a hug or a thumbs up. Sometimes, we even receive stickers or an allowance as a reward for completing chores throughout the week.

Rewards and recognition are ingrained in our culture – and are central to our personal and professional lives. Whenever someone acknowledges our efforts or commends us for a job well done, that moment creates a connection, and establishes an understanding that positive reinforcement will be available again in the future.

Workplace “job well done” salutes are often associated with financial rewards. But is that what matters most? How can recognition make a real difference in today’s world of work?

That was our #TChat focus this week – as the TalentCulture community came together to share issues, ideas and best practices for improving business performance by showing employees and leaders that their contributions count.

Not Just a Pat on the Back

Although money and other tangible “spiffs” are considered appropriate recognition tools, the #TChat crowd expressed strong sentiment about the value of simple, sincere interaction, and a culture that encourages recognition when it is deserved.

Feedback is necessary for individual assessment, coaching and development. Acknowledgement keeps employees on a path for engagement and productivity. Positive feedback fuels individuals and teams to continue delivering outstanding results. And in the aggregate, it keeps organizations focused on key success factors, and drives business momentum. But there is no silver bullet – no simple “checklist” formula or one-size-fits-all solution.

So, what else emerged from this week’s focus on recognition? Check it out!

NOTE: To see specific highlights from yesterday’s “Employee Recognition” #TChat session on Twitter, see the Storify slideshow at the end of this post.

#TChat Week-in-Review

SUN 1/13
TalentCulture Founder, Meghan M. Biro set the stage in her Forbes.com post: “5 Ways Leaders Rock Employee Recognition”

MON 1/14
#TChat weekly preview post “Employee Recognition at a Reasonable Volume”

TUE 1/15
#TChat Radio Show: Two fascinating experts joined our hosts to discuss what it takes to make employee recognition work:

Rob Catalano – head of marketing at Achievers, a company that creates social software that supports employee recognition.

Ted Coine – leadership author, speaker, consultant, and one of the most influential business commentators on Twitter. His collaborative blog, Switch and Shift, explores better ways to do business. For example, this week’s #TChat topic was examined in a popular post by Roy Saunderson: “Engaging Employees with Recognition.”

WED 1/16
#TChat on Twitter: Ted and Rob joined us again – this time on the Twitter stream – as workplace strategist, Dr. Marla Gottschalk, led participants through an open conversation about the importance of avoiding “one-size-fits-all” approaches to recognition, and how to make it work in any organizational setting.

Here’s a taste of the interaction from last night’s #TChat interaction…
(For full highlights, watch the Storify slideshow at the end of this post.)

Is recognition a driver or an outgrowth of engagement?

Both – it’s cyclical. An engaged employee is bound to deserve recognition, and recognition keeps them engaged. @BrightJobs

Need to hire the right people with the right mindset, so engaging people and engaging culture facilitate recognition. @ThinDifference

When should recognition be different from praise?

In some cultures praise is enough, but others want $ or a new title; you have to know what works globally @melissa_lamson1

Recognition is a form of feedback – constructive criticism is other side of coin. Both are important. @RobCatalano

How can an organization be believable?

The best way to be “believable” is to truly believe in people. People know. @ReCenterMoment

Employee recognition must be action, not words. Then it’s believable. @samfiorella

Recognition should be a daily thing that leaders do to guide their people on a journey to reach worthwhile goals! @bcoelho2000

Want to recognize employees authentically? Learn their kids & spouses’ names. @tedcoine

Does technology facilitate or hinder workforce recognition?

Tech helps facilitate immediacy of recognition when proximity isnt there. @brentskinner

Performance & productivity are key issues. Speed, revenue, innovation need to be ignited; social business can bridge gaps. @thehealthmaven

Tech is an enabler. Still need recognition strategy. Tech won’t help if you don’t establish whats important. @RobCatalano

How can organizations recognize their leaders?

Leaders praise and recognize team when getting praise and recognition. Respect 101. @YouTernMark

Work your hardest for them to make them proud. Ease up their workload and show THEIR boss how well they’re leading you. @AshLaurenPerez

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Closing Notes & Highlights Slideshow

SPECIAL THANKS: Another nod of appreciation to Ted Coine and Rob Catalano for sharing your depth and perspective on this week’s topic. Also thanks to Dr. Marla Gottschalk, for your leadership as chat moderator. Our community salutes you!

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events inspire you to write about employee recognition or other “world of work” issues? We’re happy to share your thoughts. Just post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we’ll pass it along. There are many voices in this community, with many ideas worth sharing. Let’s capture as many of them as possible.

WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week, the topic of recognition moves to another level, as we examine The Power of Endorsement. Be sure to mark your calendar – first for #TChat Radio, Tuesday, Jan 22, at 7:30pm ET. And then for #TChat Twitter Wednesday, Jan 23, at 7pm ET. Look for a full preview on Monday, January 21 via @TalentCulture and #TChat.

Til then – we hope you’ll find opportunities to recognize others in your world. Let us know how it goes!

Image Credit: Pixabay

#TChat INSIGHTS Slide Show: “Getting Real About Employee Recognition”

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Smart Mission—Hire Vets: #TChat Recap

There are millions of stories in the world of work. But this time, it’s personal. For me, #TChat hit close to home yesterday, when discussing issues and opportunities associated with military veteran employment. Therefore, rather than recapping the event in detail, I’d like to illustrate some key points through one soldier’s story. …

(To see highlights from the #TChat stream, watch the slideshow at the end of this post.)

One Veteran’s Dilemma

A close friend is one of the 2.4 million Americans who have volunteered to serve in the War on Terror. As a “civilian soldier” deployed as an embedded trainer by the Army National Guard, he left behind his full-time job and his comfortable family life in suburban Chicago. Since returning from Afghanistan almost 5 years ago, he has struggled to re-enter the workforce, as so many in uniform must do in these challenging economic times.

It shouldn’t have to be that way. This soldier’s credentials are impressive:

  • Several decades of business experience — including 14 years as a technical sales specialist at one of the world’s largest telecommunications companies
  • An honors degree in communications from one of our nation’s most prestigious universities
  • Meritorious service in three branches of the armed forces

So why was it so difficult for him to find a good employment fit when he returned?

This thoughtful soldier would say, “It’s complicated.” Partially, it’s because businesses seem reluctant to take a chance on someone who could be recalled to active duty at any time. It’s also partially because some decision-makers seem intimidated by an impressive military profile. And, partially, it’s because his years of technical sales experience seem to over-qualify him for positions he would gladly pursue. (Ironically, as he has reminded me, he willingly traveled to a remote destination halfway around the world to perform tasks that were dirty, dangerous and sometimes mind-numbingly mundane, all in service of a higher mission.)

It seems ridiculous that business weren’t finding him attractive. It is even more ridiculous to learn that he was passed over not once, but twice, for a “troops-to-teachers” government initiative. Why? Apparently, the program didn’t feel that inner-city teens could learn English from a man who had trained poor Afghans to protect remote border villages from Taliban invasions, and had fostered productive relationships with wary Afghan tribal elders.

What’s happening here? It seems there are other factors to consider. It may not be obvious, but if we want to crack the employment code for returning veterans, it deserves a closer look.

Hiring Vets: More Than a Few Good Men (& Women)

Here’s my theory: If this soldier’s story is any indicator, we should recognize that this has been a very different kind of war — and its unique character fundamentally shifts the perceptions of those who serve.

Many missions include a strong humanitarian component. Objectives have centered on winning hearts and minds, while equipping Afghans to protect and sustain themselves through improvements in infrastructure, governance, agriculture, education and commerce.

Recent veterans have had a life-and-death hand in the future of the Afghan people. Regardless of their rank, they have contributed in a meaningful way, typically persevering in desperate and desolate conditions.

After such intense involvement in a mission, it’s a tremendous shock to return home to the U.S. and carry on as usual, without a strong sense of purpose. Perhaps that’s one reason why so many veterans sign up for subsequent tours of duty. Despite the clear-and-present need for an income stream, could it be that many vets aren’t simply searching for a job, but instead are seeking meaningful work?

With all the strengths that veterans bring to the table, perhaps some re-framing could lead both sides of the equation to a better sense of fit. Actually, come to think of it, couldn’t most of us benefit by re-framing our work lives as missions?

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NOTE: Many #TChat participants offered constructive ideas to improve the re-entry, recruiting and onboarding experience for veterans. For highlights and links to helpful resources, scroll to the end of this post and check out the Storify slideshow there.

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Highlights & What’s Ahead on #TChat

SPECIAL THANKS to this week’s guest moderator, Brenden “Bo” Wright (@BrendenMWright), director of information technology recruiting at Laureate Education. He’s also a Marine veteran who served as a nuclear, biological and chemical defense specialist. Brenden’s expertise in talent acquisition strategy and as a former member of the military brought tremendous depth and dimension to this week’s discussion. Did you miss the #TChat preview? Go here.

NOTE: If you’re a blogger and this #TChat session inspired you to write about veteran employment issues, we’re happy to share your thoughts. Just post a link on Twitter (at #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we’ll add it to our archives. There are many voices in the #TChat community, with many ideas worth sharing. Let’s capture as many of them as possible. And we hope you’ll join us next Wednesday, Nov. 14, at 7-8pm ET (6-7pm CT, 5-6pm MT, 4-5pm PT, or wherever you are) for another #TChat, when we’ll be exploring issues related to government policy and human resources. Look for the preview early next week via @TalentCulture and #TChat. Enjoy your weekend!

Image Credit: Quad-City Times

#TChat INSIGHTS Slide Show: Veterans & Employment
by Sean Charles (@SocialMediaSean)

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#TChat INSIGHTS: Employing Our Veterans

Storified by TalentCulture · Thu, Nov 08 2012 07:24:35

Here’s mine @DawnRasmussen http://twitpic.com/bb7zav #TChatDaveTheHRCzar
Q1: US legislation is creating skill certifications for military experience. What else could be done? #TChatBrenden Bo Wright
A1: Military service is not understood by most civilians – roundtables w/new hires to share stories & learning #tchatAlli Polin
#TChat A1 Skill certifications should count for college level creditFuji Fulgueras
A1: Opportunity to gain civilian certs during military service, documentation of experience (project management?) for certs #tchatJames Schmeling
A1: Clarity followed by autonomy to execute – but most people would benefit from that #tchatAlli Polin
Evening all. A1 Perhaps transition from military > civilian duties should begin well in advance of being relieved from the forces. #TChatEnzo Guardino
A1. The resources that are being pulled out of military should be channeled into the transition. #tchatMichael Clark
A1: #veterans are ready to serve in the private sector,private sector needs to be willing to create jobs that fit their background #tchatJen Olney
A1 Some of those skill certifications do not fully leverage the experience & capabilities of #Veterans. #tchatJoe Sanchez
#Tchat A1 There are thousands of public sector jobs out there. We list them everyday. Social technology can help bridge the gaps.GovernmentJobs
A1. Military veterans need tools and support for transforming internal obstacles. #tchatMichael Clark
A1: Companies can MAP their own skill reqs to the military certs so the Vets don’t have to interpret @MeghanMBiro @BrendenMWright #TChatNancy Barry-Jansson
A1. Maybe teach them a little bit about self-branding ? #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A1: Unless you are hiring for the Mafia, get over the stereotype that you are hiring trained killers. These people have talent! #TChatTom Bolt
A1: The military has evolved and the civilian sector has to be educated in the skill sets that have each member has received #tchatJen Olney
A1. 2/3rds of the jobs in near future will require certification and/or degree. #tchatMichael Clark
A1: If legislation included required targeting of vets rather than just reporting (VETS-100) then more vets would be hired. #tchatJoey V. Price
A1. The term experience needs to be redefined. Skills for managing conflict, leadership and communication show up in many ways. #tchatSalima Nathoo
A1: Employers can bumble skills and experience screening. Don’t write off vets and/or long-term unemployed and/or part-time employed. #TChatKevin W. Grossman
#Tchat A1 Most transitioning military I know don’t want a handout. They want to earn their stripes in corp america like they did in militaryCyndy Trivella
A1: Military service is not understood by most civilians – roundtables w/new hires to share stories & learning #tchatAlli Polin
A1. Everyone must examine habitual thoughts-emotions-reactions towards all things military. #tchatMichael Clark
A1 These folks have unique skills – they are valuable! #TchatMarla Gottschalk PhD
A1: Military needs to do a better job transitioning #vets BEFORE their last 90 days of service. #TChatBrenden Bo Wright
A1: More information forwarded to employers so that they might understand military job skills better. #TChatRobert Rojo
#Tchat Would B nice to have gov reps who can work with employers to help them understand what programs, plans to have in place. A1Cyndy Trivella
@ReCenterMoment KEY A1- educate civilians. Wonder how this would work? #TChatMegan Rene Burkett
>> @cybraryman1 A1 make everyone aware of MOS (Military Occupation Specialties) and the training that had to be completed for them. #TChatMeghan M. Biro
A1. Organizations have to educated about the diverse experience and skill sets of military veterans. #tchatMichael Clark
A1: Certifications for military service are great. But will employers really value them? #TChatBrenden Bo Wright
A1. teach them to be networking-savvy. even civilians have a hard time finding work without this skill. it’s crucial. #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A1: How about in Co’s branding message about TRUE stories of how they’ve helped put Vets back to work #tchatSusan Avello
A1: During outprocessing more detailed explanation on how military skills translate into civilian skills. #TChatRobert Rojo
A1 IMO 4 #Vet: transition counseling, business coaching, interview training, PLUS education 4 Employers on the skills gained as #Vet #TChatPam Ross
A1 Let me cut to the chase: Our corporate “head” has no idea as to how a 24 yo who commands 200 fighters fits into biz #HRfail #tchatSteve
a1. Civilians must be educated about the reality of life in the military. #tchatMichael Clark
A1 Have to make everyone aware of MOS (Military Occupation Specialties) and the training that had to be completed for them. #tchatJerry Blumengarten
A1: Because it is true, of course, that not all Vets necessarily have leadership qualifications from their service, right? #tchatMark Salke
A1. Maybe partner with RPOs or staffing agencies to help line up temp or perm jobs once they get out #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A1. We need stories more than skill certifications to better understand how military experience translates to biz success. #TChatBob Lehto
#tchat @BrendenMWright a1: most important is providing vets resources who help “translate” their qualities to corp jargon/build confidenceMila Araujo
A1: Take advantage of transition assistance planning (TAPS). Start a year out. #tchatWilsonHCG
A1: Perhaps increased patriotism in the workplace can help as well. I haven’t seen too many American flags in local office places. #tchatJoey V. Price
A1: US should offer more accessible & updated job search training to #veterans – don’t just point them to a job board #TChatJobsite.com
A1: Make sure there is understanding by employers and the general public as to what it all means. #tchatRob McGahen
A1. We must transform how people perceive the people that serve in the military. #tchatMichael Clark
A1 Possibly more career counseling before leaving the military (I am not an expert on the current guidelines.) #TchatMarla Gottschalk PhD
Valuable point! @levyrecruits: A1 legislation created by how many of our reps whove served? #TChatMeghan M. Biro
A1 MORE awareness like this chat or @meghanMBiro Forbes article > list of WHYs = beneficial to employers #tchatCASUDI
A1: First, employers can reshape job descriptions to match the diverse experiences #vets can bring to a position. #TChatAndrew Henck
A1: Increase positive sentiment about the impact vets can have on the private industry by increasing awareness of skills from service #tchatJoey V. Price
A1: I hope that US legislation includes HR and Recruiting Pros input. Problem is still miscommunication #TChatJobsite.com
A1: Training programs and networks in place to support #vets once on the job for 60 – 90 – 120 + days #tchatAlli Polin
a1. This work must be done from all sides; public, private, personal, professional. #tchatMichael Clark
A1) Need to help vets translate military experience into work experience (on resumes and interviews) #tchatnancyrubin
Agreed** @BrendenMWright A1 Cos can do better understanding skills developed during milit
ary service. Burden shouldnt be #vet alone. #TChatMeghan M. Biro
A1 legislation created by how many of our reps who’ve served? #tchatSteve
A1: How do Vets demonstrate that their military experience translates “skill-wise” into civilian roles? #tchatMark Salke
A1 Offer ex-military rotating internships so they can gain experience, learn the corp culture nuances & select a career path. #TchatCyndy Trivella
A1: An outreach program to employers, to explain to them what the certifications mean… #TChatBrent Skinner
A1. More education of employere – not more mandates – Tax breaks at state & federal level for hiring Vets #TchatDave Ryan, SPHR
A1: Recruiters should take it upon themselves to recognize valuable skillset of #vets #TChatJobsite.com
A1 A “translation” of learned skill sets so they can be applied to jobs – #TchatMarla Gottschalk PhD
A1 more in-depth transition courses upon departure. Usually it’s a 2 day course and then “hadios” #tchatKeith Punches
A1: Organizations could do a better job of translating that experience into private sector leadership opps #tchatAlli Polin
A1. I would love to see them help #vets prepare for civilian transition months in advance. Increase transferable training #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A1: As employers identify skills gaps, consider how hiring a veteran can specifically solve staffing needs. #tchatJoey V. Price
A1 Like the idea of providing skills certificates. Have to make all employers aware of them and the training & dedication of vets. #tchatJerry Blumengarten
A1: Companies can do better understanding skills developed during military service. Burden shouldn’t be on #vet alone. #TChatBrenden Bo Wright
A1: Turn off stereotypes and employers look at the person who is applying for the position with a full breath of their record #tchatJen Olney
A1. We need national all-channel media blitz teaching civilians how to support transitioning military veterans. #tchatMichael Clark
A1 #Tchat Put ppl into place that can help ex-military with soft skills training to integrate into a corporate environment.Cyndy Trivella
A1: Given that OFCCP compliance is so strict, recruiters should have required training translating #vets to civilian skills #TChatJobsite.com
A1: We all need to know that it takes more than legislation. You can’t legislate “right” and assume it will happen. #TChatTom Bolt
A1: Increase access outplacement training and connect employers with veteran pipelines similar to college recruitment. #tchatJoey V. Price
A1 Are they also providing subsidies for companies hiring #veterans? #TChatPam Ross
A1: Not sure how this legislation gets communicated to employers, but has to have meaning… positive, not punitive to employers #TChatTom Bolt
Q2: What management styles work best when leading an employee with military experience? #tchatBrenden Bo Wright
A2 Ex-Military tend not to ask a lot of questions. They want to power through a problem. Just know that extra help is appreciated. #tchatKeith Punches
#Tchat A2 Comps that encourage a culture of diverse ppl with different experiences may be a good culture fit.Cyndy Trivella
A2 would it be better to include vets in the team and lead like the others or isolate them for unique experience? #tchatJoey V. Price
A2. Based upon my experience, military veterans enjoy the collaborative, relatively free culture of the world of work. #tchatMichael Clark
A2 Ex-Military tend not to ask a lot of questions. They want to power through a problem. Just know that extra help is appreciated. #tchatKeith Punches
A2. The military pays in advance of services rendered! #tchatMichael Clark
A2: Vets have learned, first and foremost, the value of the team. #tchatMark Salke
A2. When I call a military person, they actually answer the phone! #tchatMichael Clark
A2 My experience with vets is they are human; all types of leadership style work. #tchatStephen Abbott
A2: Some of my #vet pilot friends also are also the most emotional individuals I know – They want leaders w/heart #tchatAlli Polin
A2 Military are used to taking orders so a more formal means of leading [in the beginning] should make them more comfortable. #TChatEnzo Guardino
A2. People in the military are clear about exactly what they are supposed to do in diverse situations. #tchatMichael Clark
A2 a leader that is not afraid to hire someone with more leadership experience. Not afraid to develop b/c vet will want to do more #Tchatcbpurdie
A2: On the lighter side, don’t raise ur voice. We’ve been yelled at by professional screamers. :) #veterans #usmc #tchatBrenden Bo Wright
A2. Based upon my experience, the military has intense precision, focus, discipline. #tchatMichael Clark
A2. I think it’s no different for anyone… ASK your employees (military or not) what the respond best to, and collaborate from there #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A2: Vets are focused on accomplishing the mission, see what they need as far as resources and you’ll be amazed. #TChatRobert Rojo
A2: I’m gonna go for the low-hanging fruit: hierarchical? #TChatBrent Skinner
A2: Probably most any style would work with a #veteran, as long as respectful management is taking place #TChatJobsite.com
A2 Veterans have seen & worked under a variety of leadership styles (yes, they exist in the military). Vets are very adaptable. #tchatJoe Sanchez
A2: Again, don’t begin with mil experience… they were not born with a uniform… They were and are real human beings. #TChatTom Bolt
A2: Veterans are mature and can handle more than their share of stress and demands. Respect them and they’ll work wonders! #TChatRobert Rojo
A2 Depends on their experience with their military CO ;) @BrendenMWright #tchatSteve
A2: A more direct mgmt style, but make an effort to promote collaboration and idea. #tchatWilsonHCG
A2: Clear and concise communication – directive and intentions must be understood , no BS #tchatJen Olney
A2 I’d leave the vets in the community answer that one… #TchatMarla Gottschalk PhD
A2: Depends on the Vets experience and *aptitudes* – just like any population #TChatNancy Barry-Jansson
A2. Always have hard time w/generalization questions. Answers are never one size… We can’t fail to recognize the individual. #tchatJustin Mass
A2: Autocratic or Paternalistic mgmt styles both would work well, given the circumstance. #TChatJobsite.com
A2 Vets used to structure, planning, missions and staying on task. Clear communication is essential. #tchatJerry Blumengarten
A2: Indecisiveness is probably unacceptable. #tchatRob McGahen
A2 #Leaders in the military have to watch out for their teams first and themselves second – Lead by EXAMPLE #TChatMeghan M. Biro
A2. Military veterans have intensive training and experience in adapting to diverse circumstances. #tchatMichael Clark
A2: Trust. Mutual respect. Appreciation. Mission-oriented. And if u’ve served urself, an unselfish willingness to learn. #tchatBrenden Bo Wright
A2: I think we’d be surprised that it’s not necessarily “Command and Control” leadership that gets results, Even IN the military! #tchatMark Salke
A2 Structure and clarity of instruction #tchatCASUDI
Set boundaries but give plenty of autonomy, ya? A2. #tchatJocelyn Aucoin
A2: Probably depends on what level of leadership the former military held while in the military – this understanding is imperative #TChatJobsite.com
A2: What management style? Respect and open communication isn’t a style but I would think that’s the starting point… #tchatJoey V. Price
A2. Military veterans do not fe
ar command and control. #tchatMichael Clark
A2: Some orgs could learn a great deal from the structure and routine of most veteran experiences #TChatAndrew Henck
A2 Personal experience w hiring a #vet ~ my management style too “loosey-goosey” ~ I had to adapt = more structure :-) #tchatCASUDI
A2: So many mgrs don’t even know what “Yes, Sir” or “Yes, Ma’am” sounds like they’d prob have a heart attack #TChatJobsite.com
A2 Vets are individuals no one size of MGMT style fit all #TchatDave Ryan, SPHR
A2: Basically these are very bright people… they are very adaptable to any situation… train them… they will learn. #TChatTom Bolt
A2: When mgmt. manages a former military employee, it important to know that the work will be done. #Preciseness #TChatJobsite.com
A2: Familiar with authoritative leadership from TRAINED leaders. Don’t be wishy-washy. #TChatTom Bolt
A2 #Tchat Respect. Clear Communication. No B.S. Hierarchy where information goes up and down chain of command.Cyndy Trivella
Q3: What’s the biggest challenge for veterans in the civilian world of work? #tchatBrenden Bo Wright
A3: Translating your experience and intangible skills to the business world. Especially when you had an unusual job in the military #tchatDC
#tchat A3 19yr old soldier has lots of duties/responsibilities…25yr olds in corporations get the coffeeFuji Fulgueras
A3. With the pace of change, we’re all facing immense challenges in the world of work. #tchatMichael Clark
A3: Need to hear vets answer this question and note the responses #TChatNancy Barry-Jansson
A3. stereotyped. Ppl think of them as vets and forgot vets=people like us, duh. #TChatLiChing Ooi
A3 Some employers think Veterans’ achievements resulted frm ppl having to follow orders. Forget *leadership is about influence.* #tchatJoe Sanchez
A3: I’ve been told by co-workers that only ppl who couldn’t get into college join the military. To my face. #ignorance #veterans #tchatBrenden Bo Wright
A3 Trying to figure out what to do with my secret security clearance I got in the Army! Employers must recognize their service. #tchatJerry Blumengarten
A3. Feeling a sense of sole ownership to adopt new ways of being before walking through the door. Unfair burden. #tchatSalima Nathoo
A3: My experience was having a difficult time translating my military qualifications to civilian requirements #tchat #vetsChance Casas
A3. The greatest challenge is inside each individual. #tchatMichael Clark
A3: Vets will have a prob if they feel they R getting handout. They want to work for it. This ain’t charity, folks. It’s common sense #TChatTom Bolt
A3. Adapting to the unstructured flow of obtaining work is daunting. #tchatMichael Clark
A3: I’ve really got nothing for this question… #tchatRob McGahen
A3. Military parents, students, families face tremendous challenges. #tchatMichael Clark
A3: With recruiting pressures, I think it easier for a recruiter to move on to the next applicant. #TChatRobert Rojo
A3. bridging the gap between military language& civilian business language.need to find a happymedium of understandable communication #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A3 – young vets may have never previously held civilian jobs, and while they’re adaptable it may be difficult at first #TChatSylvia Dahlby
A3. I can’t answer Q3. But I can ask how can I help? #tchatJustin Mass
A3 Recruiters unwilling to look creatively at transferable, more-than-employable skills. #TChatMark Babbitt
A3: Dealing with immaturity in workplace a challenge. There is an old saying that when you send a boy off to war he comes home a man #TChatTom Bolt
A3 I have hired a lot of vets and theyve lamented about lack of integrity and ethics from leadership. Couldn’t disagree either. #tchatJoey V. Price
A3 Many people dont understand how Military skills can be applied to their company~ they fear perceived aggression! #tchatCASUDI
A3. Most military people are keenly aware of how some people negatively perceive service. #tchatMichael Clark
A3 Learning that it’s OK to take a coffee break without being court marshalled for going AWOL. ;-) #TChatEnzo Guardino
A3: Perception – I think on both sides (employee and #Veteran) #TChatPam Ross
A3 – I think the biggest challenge for vets is CULTURAL, the military environment is nothing like most civilian employer/corp #TChatSylvia Dahlby
Any examples for us? and welcome! @JVPsaid: A3 inadequate job training. #TChatMeghan M. Biro
A3: I want to know more abt vet-to-civilian translated skills. Biggest challenge is that recruiters don’t know more or want to know. #TChatJobsite.com
A3: I was stereotyped as too rigid, only able to follow orders. Uptight. Inflexible. #veterans #tchatBrenden Bo Wright
A3. One of the greatest challenges is managing personal aspects of professional change. #tchatMichael Clark
A3 Annoying corporate culture “speak” can be a challenge. #TchatCyndy Trivella
A3: The misconception that they are not fit to serve in the civilian ranks #tchatJen Olney
A3: Perhaps stigma meets a lack of skill understanding in the world of work. Communication breakdown? #TChatMeghan M. Biro
A3: Finding meaningful work opportunities where their unique #strengths + experiences are leveraged for good #TChatAndrew Henck
A3: Transitioning in general..job roles/family/civilian life. #tchatWilsonHCG
A3 inadequate job training. #tchatJoey V. Price
A3: Civilians. #TChatKevin W. Grossman
A3: #Vets can be viewed as different than civillians – instead of looking at how we’re the same & ready to contribute #tchatAlli Polin
A3. The transition into civilian life and work can be surreal and intensely challenging. #tchatMichael Clark
A3: Managers who do not take the time to understand a veteran’s full experience could be an impediment to vets #TChatJobsite.com
A3: Being treated as equals, instead of someone who speaks a foreign language. #TChatRobert Rojo
A3: Nature and veterans abhor a vacuum… if nobody is in charge they step in and get things done. #TChatTom Bolt
A3: This is theoretical, but the feel of the urgency behind priorities is probably subtly different? #TChatBrent Skinner
A3: Don’t forget that many Vets serve in Nat’l Guard and have extensive civilian experience, too. #tchatMark Salke
A3 Stereotypes #TchatDave Ryan, SPHR
A3: Biggest challenge is lack of a visible chain of command… Who is in charge? #TChatTom Bolt
A3: They just need to be given a chance, #Veteran work ethic is far superior to most civilians #TChatJobsite.com
A3. Military veterans need comprehensive support before-during-after civilian transition. #tchatMichael Clark
A3 #Tchat Biggest challenge is probably same one civilian employees have: Lack of proper onboarding by employer.Cyndy Trivella
A3: People don’t understand the full value of the #veteran experience and discount it #tchatAlli Polin
A3: “Civilians” are probably the biggest challenge to veterans. #TChatJobsite.com
A3: Being given an opportunity. #TChatRobert Rojo
A3: Stigma, lack of knowledge of skills, education, training of modern military members, and translation of skills, ability, traits #tchatJames Schmeling
A3: Transition to civilian life for a #veteran is extremely difficult, adjusting to different work and mgmt. styles must be insane #TChatJobsite.com
A3: Biggest challenge? understanding the changes in how business communication works. #TChatJobsite.com
A3 Biggest challenge for Veterans in the civilian world of work is getting plugged into and leveraging professional networks. #tchatJoe Sanchez
Q4:
Does long-term loyalty help or hinder the career of a veteran in today’s workplace? #tchatBrenden Bo Wright
A4: Loyal to what – to the company, the brand, the people? I think people are more loyal to people than they are to companies today #tchatSusan Mazza
A4. The #TChat Recap should be required reading for all stake holders. #tchatMichael Clark
A4. Knowing how to connect dots between worlds transforms engagement and performance #tchatMichael Clark
A4 as long as skills stay shape loyalty does not hinder your career. But make sure salary is fair vs your value. #tchatJoey V. Price
A4 They have to learn to put the oxygen mask on themselves first. #tchatKeith Punches
A4: I tend to view most loyalty is from the employee to the employer and not the other way around. #tchatRob McGahen
A4 loyalty must never take a front seat* to skill sharpening and growth. Vet or otherwise. #tchatJoey V. Price
A4: Loyalty… in a world of it’s not what you have done; it’s what have you done for me lately! #TChatRobert Rojo
A4 how are you seeing loyalty hindering #Veterans @brendenmwright #TChatPam Ross
A4. We’ve got to bring colleges, universities, trade schools into the transformational process. #tchatMichael Clark
A4.recruiters sometimes cringe when they see job hoppers but the skills they might gain could be better than a person that had 1 job #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A4 loyalty must never take a backseat to skill sharpening and growth. Vet or otherwise. #tchatJoey V. Price
A4: Loyalty is not a hindrance…it’s an asset. #tchatJen Olney
A4. I live in San Diego, the need is immense, the funding challenging #tchatMichael Clark
A4 It should help, I would think. Why are we thinking it hinders? #TChatPam Ross
A4: I don’t see how that can be viewed as a negative… #tchatRob McGahen
A4: Loyalty is great, but what distinguishes #vets from competitors is better. #tchat #TchatAlexandra Teague
A4: With the right employer, loyalty and commitment will speak volumes #TChatJobsite.com
A4. Organizations need to be educated about what military loyalty really means. #tchatMichael Clark
A4: I have worked w/ several #Vets – excellent colleagues & are devoted and always on time. Shock, especially among #GenY #TChatJobsite.com
A4. Growth & progress is as important (or more) as loyalty today, whether you are talking about military or civilian experience #TChatBob Lehto
A4: All I can say is – I sure wish I had a loyal “battle buddy” most days of my professional career! #TchatExpertus
A4: Long-term loyalty is what orgs and customers both want. For veterans, hell yea. Why is this a question? :) #TCHATChristina Brown
A4 #tchat Loyalty not reciprocated feels unjust. Employers must take care to give an honest view of their commitment to the vetMichael Leiter
A4: Just remember employers, loyalty should be a two-way street. #veterans #tchatBrenden Bo Wright
A4: Loyalty, Team, Role, Mission… sound like undesirable attributes? Anyone? #tchatMark Salke
A4: Loyalty goes both ways. #TChatRobert Rojo
A4. People in the world of work are loyal to upward movement above all. #tchatMichael Clark
A4: The prob is that orgs don’t have the same loyalty these days as some individuals do #tchatAlli Polin
A4 Loyalty should be a big plus in hiring a #vet (there seems so little to go around these days!) {cynical smile} #tchatCASUDI
A4 For Vets loyalty = Total commitment..life-on-line. Civilians loyalty often means getting to work in time. Problem of perspectives. #TChatEnzo Guardino
A4. Sadly, I’m not sure that long-term loyalty helps veterans much less any job-seeker these days. By moving around, build a network #tchatGarick Chan
A4: Military is the most drug-free workforce in the US. Vets have higher rate of retention post-hire than general employee population #TChatTom Bolt
A4: A loyal employee is one that’s engaged in the mission and the vision – who wouldn’t want that? #tchatAlli Polin
A4. I must says that loyalty is getting harder to find . #Sendemmyway #TchatDave Ryan, SPHR
A4 Believing a company owes you loyalty or ignoring you own options is going to be a hindrance. #tchatStephen Abbott
A4: Loyalty is earned! #TChatRobert Rojo
A4: Long-term loyalty, for me, always a +. A major + if married to best-fit qualifications for the job in question. #tchatAnne Messenger
A4 Does long-term loyalty help or hinder the career of ANY employee these days? #rhetorical #tchatSteve
A4: Who woulda thunk loyalty could ever be negative? But it can be if #vet doesn’t see bad situation. #tchatBrenden Bo Wright
A4. Military veterans are trained to think team first, world of work often me first. #tchatMichael Clark
A4 Nothing better than a loyal employee…valued, rare. #TchatMarla Gottschalk PhD
A4 Where I come from loyalty will never hurt you #TchatDave Ryan, SPHR
A4 Long-term loyalty is never a hindrance for anyone’s career. #tchatStephen Abbott
A4: Both. Helps because employers recognize loyalty. Hurts because career growth becomes stagnant #tchatChance Casas
A4. Long-term loyalty’s dead in the world of work. #tchatMichael Clark
A4: Long-term loyalty could also be interpreted as unwillingness to change or grow in a quickly developing company #TChat Sad, but true.Jobsite.com
A4: For company: Most loyal employees you can hire. For Veterans: Learn to look beyond today and don’t be guilty of blind loyalty. #TChatTom Bolt
A4 #Tchat LT loyalty can help with being accepted and being team a member. Can hinder b/c they R not exploring better opptys.Cyndy Trivella
A4: Long-term loyalty could be seen as a hindrance by hiring manager, might show inflexibility #TChatJobsite.com
A4: It helps and shows employers dependability and dedication. #tchatWilsonHCG
Q5: How can HR/recruiting tech help internally assess and translate veteran assets to employers? #tchatBrenden Bo Wright
A5. Leaders, HR, tech all have priceless expertise to contribute. #tchatMichael Clark
A5 HR professionals know exactly what it takes to be successful in the world of work. #tchatMichael Clark
A5 help #vets learn to speak the civilian language, and translate their skill sets to something companies can understand #tchatChance Casas
A5: Recruiters should understand that many military folks are active on social media on their tours. Seek talent & depth! #milblogs #TChatExpertus
A5 I find HR professionals to be dynamic and helpful, eager to guide and support. #tchatMichael Clark
A5. HR people and military people share a dedication to service and people. #tchatMichael Clark
A5 tech wont differentiate vet skills unleaa vets consistently rate high on personality assessments and leadership assessments. #tchatJoey V. Price
A5: A reputation for hiring and successfully utilizing Vets’ skills might go a long way in employment branding… #tchatMark Salke
A5 By converting experience & skills expressed in military terminology to language relevant to civilian job & using video to show fit #tchatTim Barry
A5: Carefully construct and publish roles and responsibilities for positions – be clear of expectations and requirements #TChatKathy Herndon, GPHR
A5: We HR & recruiter types owe it to the #Vet community to understand what a Vet brings to the table. Who is ready to try? #TChatBob Lehto
A5: Be intentional about #veteran outreach – don’t just expect them to pop up in the ATS and get hired #tchatAlli Polin
A5. Via SoMe, connect military veterans with top teachers of workforce skill sets. #tchatMichael Clark
A5 its not HRs fault. So many companies lack succession plans and career dev
elopment. That is a senior leadership decision. #tchatJoey V. Price
A5: Include #veteran outreach and hiring in your workforce plan. Then do it. #tchatBrenden Bo Wright
A5 Often, HR focus is on Veterans’ tangible skills like security. Know & understand applicability of intangible skills as well. #tchatJoe Sanchez
A5: Use #SocialMedia to learn from one another – look at the success of this chat! #TChatKathy Herndon, GPHR
A5. Organizations must be given incentives to hire military veterans. #tchatMichael Clark
A5. Accessible education, training and development are critical. #tchatMichael Clark
A5: Take your orgs #veterans with you to military job fairs. Don’t just sent ur recruiters. #tchatBrenden Bo Wright
A5: By getting vets placed in positions where they can succeed with the skillset they bring to an organization, not to fill a quota #tchatChance Casas
A5: I think only an HR or recruiter that is a Vet will understand what a Vet brings to the table. #TChatRobert Rojo
A5: Tell them “Follow me” and then don’t be surprised. Tell them to lead and you might be surprised. #TChatTom Bolt
a5. HR builds bridges between organizations and military veterans. #tchatMichael Clark
A5: How about involving a #veteran in the interview process? Hmmmm? #tchatBrenden Bo Wright
Yes! “@MRGottschalk: Brilliant – @TomBolt: A5: Provide new hires with former military mentors early on in their career. #Tchat”Mila Araujo
A5 I will hire life experience over college degree any day #tchatRobert Moore
A5: Skill assessments and performance reviews are not only for #vets but will help orgs better translate & appreciate #tchatAlli Polin
A5 Charge your existing veterans with leading a mission to develop a program for your company #tchatSteve
A5) Learn to understand and translate military language into business language. #tchatTim McDonald
A5. help them find examples that will work well with specific behavioral interview questions #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A5: Some of the most successful ppl I know w/o degrees are #Vets who were trained in service #TChatNancy Barry-Jansson
A5: Training is no only for the veteran. Co-workers who are non-vets are a key part of the success story. #TChatTom Bolt
A5 #tchat assessing vets skills requires a deep appreciation of ability w/o the prop of credentialsMichael Leiter
A5: If one solid vet hire is made because an HR Dept or Recruiter took the time to learn about cross skills? #GoodInTheWorld #TChatJobsite.com
A5: Create channels to link #vets with internal mentors to ease transition #tchatJen Olney
A5: Get involved. We’re hosting #OpTrans, which is completely free for all veterans, spouses and active military about to transition #tchatWilsonHCG
A5 Many traditionally attractive attributes have fallen by the wayside in today’s work culture. Like Loyalty & Integrity #tchatMark Salke
A5: Competencies and proven problem solving ability or specific experience? #veterans #tchatBrenden Bo Wright
A5: Look at top skills/strengths against experience – think orgs may be surprised by #vets range of skills & impact #tchatAlli Polin
A5: Use tech configuration to protect against discrimination. #TChatKathy Herndon, GPHR
A5: Get in touch with orgs that assist vets in finding work – they will have vital information for the recruiter and Hiring Manager #TChatJobsite.com
A5 REALLY like the idea of Ex-Military Mentors !! Anyone know of any Orgs or associations like this? #tchatKeith Punches
A5: Employees should use valid and reliable skill and experience assessment for all who apply. Simulations depending on jobs. #TChatKevin W. Grossman
A5. HR may be the most essential player in making this transition successful for military veterans. #tchatMichael Clark
A5 Folks in HR/recruiting need to become COIs at the local recruiting stations – they’ll learn very quickly #tchatSteve
A5: OPEN up communication channels and *create opportunity* for #Vets #Veterans to share their personal brands! #TChatMeghan M. Biro
A5 Use the STAR system for interview and equate that to a company problem or challenge. #TchatCyndy Trivella
A5: Seriously assess the college degree requirement. Is is really required? Big roadblock for hiring enlisted vets. #tchatBrenden Bo Wright
A5: Provide new hires with former military mentors early on in their career. #TChatTom Bolt
A5 HR should learn military language for skills. It changes less often than corporate skill naming trends. #tchatStephen Abbott
A5: Target military candidates! Like other classes of people. And consider it a patriotic duty to coach them and hire them. #TChatTom Bolt
A5. what @wilsonhcg is doing – help them get their resumes looking good so recruiters can easily see how they fit within their org #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A5 Military must be GR8 listeners. Emphasize their listening and information-retention skills. #TchatCyndy Trivella
Jumping the gun on A5: Same as w/civilians? #TChatBrent Skinner

HR Rock Stars & Business Speed: #TChat Preview

Few companies understand the value of going slow to go fast, especially in today’s inter-connected, always-on workplace. So we’re told to pick up the pace, not slow things down, to move at the speed of business. HR is often chided for not moving fast enough, especially in the recruiting and hiring process.

Here at TalentCulture World of Work, however, I wonder about the wisdom of trying to force speed across large, complex organizations comprising individuals with different skills, intellectual abilities, interests and value systems. Do the “5 Ways to Rock Star HR Leadership” require us to move as fast as the rock stars on radio live? My guess is probably not.

Then there’s the employee handbook side of things, where processes and policies are written down, ostensibly to add structure, but really to limit risk. Most adults are self-regulating creatures. Maybe 5 to 10 percent can’t manage their time well, but that small percentage forces a load of policy and process on the rest of the group. We’d argue that the more policy you have, the less trust and productivity you’ll have, but no doubt some will disagree.

So this week we’re going to look at speed — the speed of business, what HR can do to pick up the pace, and the role of metrics, measurement, technology and process in speeding up HR. Here are our questions for this week’s #TChat forum:

Q1: What exactly is the “speed of business” Why do we penalize HR for not moving at it?

Q2: “If it wasn’t for those pesky humans”: Why do we need HR to regulate ourselves?

Q3: How can leadership (including HR) help reduce need to self-regulate & create cultures of trust & productivity?

Q4: What metrics should leadership (including HR) focus on to move at the speed of business & why?

Q5: Tech only moves @ the speed of biz if humans do too, so what kind of tech helps us meet in the middle?

So if you’re into speed, or even  if you’re built for comfort, not for speed, join us Wednesday night, Oct. 10, from 7-8pm ET (6-7pm CT, 4-5pm PT, or wherever you are) to talk about what (if anything) is needed to bring HR up to the speed of business. Yours truly (@MeghanMBiro) will be your moderator. Joining us, too, will be Kevin W. Grossman (@KevinWGrossman), the rest of the #TChat posse, and you. Fast or slow, innovator or laggard, please weigh in on our discussion. We look forward to chatting.

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

Leaders With & Without Character: #TChat Preview

EDITOR’S NOTE: Want to read the RECAP of this week’s events? See #TChat Recap: Leadership, Visible From the Inside Out

It’s a party! At least it’s a virtual party for TalentCulture World of Work. I’m very excited to announce the arrival of a new book from The Lead Change Group, “The Character-Based Leader,” with a chapter from yours truly (@MeghanMBiro) and more than 20 other authors.

The book looks at characteristics of leadership, running the gamut from the ability to communicate, to humility and trust, with lots of stops in between. It’s a huge accomplishment and a group effort, and it inspired us here at TalentCulture to look at the notion of character for this week’s #TChat.

Book Image: The Character Based Leader - TalentCulture weekly topic leadershipWhat makes a leader? Is leadership an innate quality or a learned skill? Plenty of  business schools argue for the latter. You could argue both positions, really, and you could also say that what makes a leader is a combination of both those ingredients, with different combinations apparent in different leaders. For many of us, however, the ability to lead is innate, in a person’s bones.

We all know people who lead because they crave power. Others were in the right place at the right time with the right skill set, and they’re now leaders. It’s a long shot that either group contains many character-based leaders, those people of integrity, humility, emotional intelligence and energy who make leadership look easy. Yet leadership isn’t easy; it takes character, will, energy and commitment, and anyone who’s done time in corporate America recognizes the importance of character in leaders and colleagues.

So here are our questions for this week’s #TChat Twitter conversation:

Q1: Some draw power from their position. Are they effective? Have expectations around positional leaders changed? #TChat

Q2: Does the character of an org’s leaders & staff matter to the bottom line? #TChat

Q3: What might character look like in the actions of positional leaders vs. other leaders vs. other employees? #TChat

Q4. How can leaders nurture & reward character in staff & other leaders & thus have a positive impact? #TChat

Q5: How does good character underpin an org’s brand & affect frontline leaders & staff in treating customers? #TChat

How did fall get here so fast? Please join us on Wednesday, Oct. 3, from 7-8pm ET (6-7pm CT, 4-5pm PT, or wherever you are) to discuss what makes a character-based leader and how to help those who aren’t as gifted in the area of character to learn the attributes of a good leader.

We hope to see you there. Joining me will be one of my co-authors, Susan Mazza (@SusanMazza), a speaker and coach, as well as founder of Random Acts of Leadership. We’re excited to have  Susan co-leading this week’s discussion on Twitter. As usual, Kevin W. Grossman (@KevinWGrossman) will be there, too, along with the rest of the #TChat gang — and you.

Image Credit: Pixabay

A Legacy of Leadership & Learning: #TChat Recap

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 20 or 80. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.”

No surprise here — the concept of lifelong learning is as popular as mom and apple pie, especially among the progressive business professionals at the core of the TalentCulture World of Work community.

But it may surprise you to discover that old-school Henry Ford is the source of that quote. Arguably one of the most successful business leaders in American history, Ford was relentless about elevating machine efficiency to a management science. And he died more than 60 years ago, when most baby boomers were still only a gleam in their parents’ eyes.

Nevertheless, imagine if Ford had tweeted during this week’s #TChat: His philosophy of continual learning would have aligned with the sentiments of our community’s participants, who shared more than 2,900 tweets this Wednesday — ideas and opinions about “Leaders Young and Old” and the dynamics of reverse mentoring. In the brushstroke of a single blog entry, it’s difficult to do justice to the breadth and depth of perspectives exchanged. A common theme did emerge, however, from the 16.4 million impressions that echoed across the Twitter universe:

The Top Takeaway

Leadership is (appropriately) tied to competence and results – independent of age or seniority.

This is an organizational imperative in today’s fluid and highly competitive business environment. What’s more, as technological innovation continues to accelerate, today’s desirable skills are just as quickly becoming outdated.

So what are the implications for today’s business leaders, who must span generations to engage and develop the best talent for a sustainable future? “The Leadership Challenge,” the popular management book, reminds us that “The Best Leaders are the Best Learners.” In other words, by modeling teachable behavior themselves, leaders not only grow professionally, but inspire others to do the same. It’s a next-generation extension of the principles established by business legends like Henry Ford, and it’s a valuable lesson that any of us can learn — at any age.

Living Laboratory

Looking for inspiration? That may be why you’re at #TChat, our forum and community for industry leaders committed to continual peer-to-peer learning. We’re grateful for this now nearly two-year adventure, a microcosm of today’s work world. We rely on digital tools to connect, communicate and collaborate 24-7, on-demand. And it works.

I have no clue how old or young my peers are, and frankly, I don’t care. I’d rather focus on key issues and shared interests. I evaluate insights based on their own merit. My impression of #TChat participants is shaped by the quality of their contributions and the street cred they develop within the community. Age and rank aren’t even on the radar.

Why do I return each week? This forum helps me quickly find relevant, useful ideas — and the smart people behind those ideas — without having to slog through the formalities of organizational structure and protocol. #TChat is a living laboratory for transparency and access in the networked age. And I gain immediate value from participating in this grand experiment.

Several months ago, during a #TChat titled “Why We Are All Generation NOW,” TalentCulture World of Work co-founder Kevin W. Grossman tweeted:

“Learning is doing and doing is knowing. So do.”

It stands to reason that if learning is an equal-opportunity endeavor, then leadership is, too. Perhaps this week’s #TChat could add another layer to Kevin’s quote:

“Leading is learning. Learning is doing and doing is knowing. So do.”

Just imagine what Henry Ford would say if he could see us doing this #TChat thing we do!

Did you miss the preview? Go here. We again thank Mark Babbitt (@YouTernMark) for guest moderating this week and for bringing along his super-smart team from YouTern (@YouTern) — e.g., @YouTernDave and @YouTernErica — to tweet alongside all of us. They brought the awesome, and you did, too: Check out the slide show below of your many insightful tweets. We wish you all a wonderful weekend and look forward to seeing you at next week’s #TChat.

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#TChat INSIGHTS: Full Smorgasbord of your Tweets: Leaders Young and Old

Storified by Sean Charles · Thu, Sep 27 2012 01:34:51

Can’t we all just get along? #TChat today talking mulit-generational leadership #BringIT [PIC] http://pic.twitter.com/Fk2Z2ri6SocialMediaSean
Hello, #TChat – tweeting to you from Bsquare here in sunny (today) Bellevue, WA w/my #vinylmation Recruiting “helpers” http://pic.twitter.com/g2IVUejmMichaelRecruits
Look! I gotta #TChat stache. Get it? http://pic.twitter.com/m4oBQ2pjjocelynaucoin
Bar & grill in suburbia :) @SocialMediaSean #tchat http://pic.twitter.com/SbHeSJu6Lara Zuehlke
#Tchat outside. Bene of living in NoCA. http://pic.twitter.com/qdKJymlishawmu
@SocialMediaSean Hello from the Conservatory of #music in #Ottawa to everyone at #TChat http://pic.twitter.com/fHvDOfoJnghannoum
Q1: Age was once synchronous with seniority & management roles. How has a multi-generational workforce changed that? #TChatMark Babbitt
A cultural change in business has heightened the realization that influence is not a function of age. #TChatVala Afshar
A1: new gens carry tech insights and older gens carry cultural and industry experience. Organizations must create a leadership mesh #tchatMegan Rene Burkett
A1: More mentoring for young employees + reverse mentoring where they help older workers develop millennial generation skills. #tchatInside Jobs
A1: At the risk of sounding ageist, I think that generation-y can be best for tech jobs because we grew up with technology. #tchatAndrew Bream
A1: However advance the technology might be, the drive &passion to learn &use them has to come from the person &age is not a matter. #TChatPadma Mohanram
A1 w/ rise of networked biz, virtual teams & freelance economy, shift continues toward competence as king not arbitrary factors (age) #tchatExpertus
A1 ever wonder where the phrase “quiet leader” came from and how that person earned that title? #tchatSteve
A1: 15% of GenY workers are currently in management roles. #TChatPayScale Business
A1: Absolutely, leadership has become more based on merit than seniority… #tchatMark Salke
A1: Young or old it’s about being the best version of yourself. Confidence over age any day of the week. #TChatSean Charles
A1 #TChat – as this “new economy” emerges, I think long term will be 5 yrs, no longer 25 yrs w/org. Faster transition time, move quicklyMichael!
A1 Age matters. Experience bring wisdom and perspective. Youth bring optimism and innovation. #tchatSam Fiorella
A1: young mgrs can be effective leaders, but they gotta work at it continuously. Learning to be a leader is hard work. #TChatBill Cushard
A1: years of experience does not necessarily make anyone a good manager #tchatGeorge LaRocque
A1: Mgmt of 2day encourages all generations to collaborate, giving workplace variety of views and showcasing talent no matter the age #tchatEmilie Mecklenborg
A1 if you have the NEED to stay current and relevant you’ll stay current and relevant. #tchatKeith Punches
A1: Younger workers have not experienced stability so we do not value it #tchatLaTonya Wilkins
A1, #TChat – I think as the marketplace, ie tech has shifted, different gens moving up quickly as they seem to adapt faster to the changeMichael!
A1. As for age people see I have gray hair and say but you don’t act old? I take is as a complement. I do have a young mindset #TchatGuy Davis
A1 The big difference is the opportunity to work for yourself at any age #TChatBill Boorman
A1: Younger generations do not even know what “seniority” means. Normal to switch jobs every few years. #tchatLaTonya Wilkins
A1: Young leaders through hard work & integrity of purpose have shown that age does not matter. #TChatSean Charles
A1 Not sure if this age to be honest but my parents gen waited for opportunities while me (39) & my DD (21) seek them #tchatClaire Crossley
A1: Less about age now & more about aptitude. I was promoted quickly at 22 b/c I was willing to step up. Not e’one wants to #lead. #TchatLara Zuehlke
A1: Age does seem matter in the hiring process though. #TChatJanis Stacy
Hellllooo #tchat! A1:Technology means I really have to put an emphasis on continuous learning. Tech is always changing.Rebecca Jo Luke
A1: I’d say technology has had greater impact than multi-generational work force. #tchatSam Fiorella
A1: The workplace has shifted and age is not seen as inexperienced. More weight on knowledge, education & exp – not age. #tchatEmilie Mecklenborg
A1 due to the nomadic trends, ppl only staying for shorter periods, internet gives younger empl an advantage, not intimidated by it. #TChatRobert Rojo
A1. Conscious leadership and ownership of what you rock at and what you’re “not” at, are more important than ever. #tchatSalima Nathoo
A1: The shift offers the opportunity for more knowledge sharing + mentoring possibilities. #tchatInside Jobs
A1: As babyboomers leave #workforce in droves, seasoned mindshare dwindles; younger generations fill gap. #TChatBrent Skinner
A1: The focus in many instances appears to be on skill sets over experience. Sr. Execs have to know how to develop each group. #tchatSalary School
A1: Age hasn’t been a position criteria in forward leaning corps. Judgement and capability makes one ready for higher positions. #TChatJanis Stacy
a1. Managment isn’t just for old ppl anymore – We now allow capable & competent young ppl to do it too! #TchatDave Ryan, SPHR
A1 More ppl than ever before have a college education. This has opened more doors for younger generations. #TchatCyndy Trivella
A1: Many other attributes have compensated for pure longevity…educational level, energy, people skills, drive, etc…. #tchatEarly Careerists
A1) Age aside, reaching upward in an org made much easier through SoMe, virtually flattens hierarchy, bridges stovepipes. #tchatTom Spiglanin
A1: Growing generational spectrum @ work now includes folks who expect less emphasis on position + more on collaboration + results #TChatAndrew Henck
A1: The younger generations are seen as having a fresh perspective rather than not knowing anything #TChatSpark Hire
A1) Gen Y is generally open to learning from everyone… We don’t expect that just b/c someone is older they get to be our boss. #TChatErica Roberts
A1: Age? What does that mean? I’m no longer aging ;-) #tchatKathy Herndon, GPHR
A1. I think technology has allowed younger gen’s to learn and execute so they can move up faster #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A1 – I think technology has enabled younger generations to make a more immediate impact within their organizations right out of gate #TChatmatthew papuchis
A1: Age is just a number. It doesn’t dictate experience or wisdom. #tchatJen Olney
A1 – age is just a number; the internet itself made it so – we’re in the realm of ideas now – you don’t know if I’m 18 or 81 #TChatSylvia Dahlby
A1: With technology changing as quickly as it does, everyone is on a more even playing field with keeping up. #TChatSimplicant
A1: the challenge of younger leaders managing employees who are older and often more experienced. #tchatShawn LaCroix
A1 age is now synonymous with wondering why others are treated differently than you #tchatSteve
A1: New gens on the workforce expect more than age/time in position to dictate mgmt/seniority potential. #TChatAndrew Henck
Q2: Does leadership come when experience meets the right context of strategy, tactics & soft skills? Why or not? #TChatMark Babbitt
A2. Some ppl are natural leaders & other will never be leadder regardless of training or mentoring #TchatDave Ryan, SPHR
A2 Leaders develop leaders. #tchatJoe Sanchez
Leadership opportunities are available for those who are able to inspire and influence without authority. #tchatVala Afshar
A2 Yes! Any gen mgr must have empathy & mileage to understand whole employee, personality+skills+goals! Then, frame fit in #strategy. #tchatShawna Kelly
A2: I think it also depends on how #leaders are groomed. I came up thru ranks in creative shops & WAY different than tech/corporate #TchatLara Zuehlke
A2 mgr/leadership title are synonymous wth blue ribbons everyone received as kids-just for showing up; but a title isnt leadership #tchatSteve
A2: those are helpful but it also needs #humility #passion and #dedication. #tchat a humanistic meeting of the mindsMegan Rene Burkett
#tchat A2 leadership is about content not experience…Formation
A2: Great leaders don’t create more followers, they create more leaders. Teach employees how to inspire – lead one day. #tchatEmilie Mecklenborg
A2: Strong #leaders use strategy to listen. #TChatJulia Gabor
A2 Great leadership should show up at any time; think crisis situations, ppl you didn’t think ‘had it’ ~ shine! #TChatClaire Crossley
A2: Some ‘bosses’ are so damn smart, but just can’t lead. #ashame #TChatJulia Gabor
A2: A good leader is someone who motivates you, brings out your best – regardless of age. #tchatEmilie Mecklenborg
A2: Leaders motivate. Managers coordinate. It takes skills to do both. #tchatInside Jobs
A2: Being around a true leader is an experience that resonates far beyond title #TChatSean Charles
A2. Experience is always nice but is it RELEVANT, up-to-date, and useful experience that can lead multi-generations? #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A2 #TChat – Also as the younger gens enter workforce, they are creating their own orgs, therefore as business grows, they are the leaders!Michael!
A2. As a leader you still have a boss, if you don’t respond to micromanaging you likely won’t succeed #TchatGuy Davis
A2 i would add perseverance and the ability to build great teams into the equation #tchatShawn LaCroix
A2: Need exp in diff environments & teams. 90s leadership is different from 2012 and beyond. Now lead via tech & dispersed workforce #tchatLaTonya Wilkins
A2 Leaders must have soft skills & strategy and most often this is gained through experience. #tchatLidia Cords
A2: Workplace is different now, technology plays huge role as does continuous learning. Younger mgrs are already used to the pace. #tchatEmilie Mecklenborg
A2: The RIGHT experience can develop leaders. Any old experience may not. #TChat Got to stay on top of change.Janis Stacy
A2: Doing the right things and doing things right is the difference between Leadership and management. #TChatPadma Mohanram
A2: Years do not contribute to a measurement of leadership, imo. #tchatGeorge LaRocque
A2; Depends on a lot of variables & external factors, i.e. who knows who & what their relationships are. #TChatRobert Rojo
A2: Not always. Ldrshp is pulled from our experiences, background, & willingness to learn. Context reveals r ldrshp effectiveness. #tchatShawn Murphy
A2: If the org culture prizes loyalty, time worked + other criteria not open to “newer” gens, then their leadership is already failed #TChatAndrew Henck
A2 never heard leadership described that way but Yes. Helps me make sense of a situation I had where the context was all wrong for me #TchatGuy Davis
A2 I think leadership comes from experience, self-awareness, passion; once you have those, tactics & strats, easy part #TChatClaire Crossley
A2: Leadership comes about when you have the brains & the will to do difficult things…consistently! #TChatEarly Careerists
A2 you have to want to be a leader. It’s a different mindset. Nothing wrong with being a “worker amongst workers”. Depends. #tchatKeith Punches
A2. Leadership doesn’t happen bc you “paid your dues/put in your time”- you either have it or you dont- its not a privilege #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A2) Leadership comes when guts, instinct, & confidence meet in right context. Good ldrshp may/may not require experience. #tchatTom Spiglanin
A2: Leaders better have that mindful presence EQ flowin’. I don’t care how good at tactics you are. (That’ll get some calls.) #tchatKevin W. Grossman
A2: #Leadership requires humility, vision, discipline, commitment #tchatKathy Herndon, GPHR
A2 seems to be asking whether or not leaders are born, or if circumstances create leaders. It’s a bit of both, yes? #TChatBrent Skinner
A2: Some leaders don’t have years of experience that other seasoned workers have but are strong strategic thinkers, see big picture. #tchatEmilie Mecklenborg
A2) Experience + strategy +tactics + (soft skills) = Leadership <-Sometimes but not always #TchatDave Ryan, SPHR
A2 – #TChat – Not always. Depends on person, do they want leadership? Others see the opps when others have missed seeing it.Michael!
A2: yes and no. Those are helpful but it should also include #humility, #passion, #dedication. #tchat the humanistic componentMegan Rene Burkett
A2 Good leaders also have strong emotional intelligence, which can be shaped by experiences, interactions and outcomes. #TchatCyndy Trivella
A2: Yes – leadership comes from organic growth of knwldge, soft skills. Dsn’t become mgr just as natural progression of current role. #tchatEmilie Mecklenborg
A2: If you ask good questions & solve problems strategy & tactic are less necessary. Come in time. Soft skills are always #1 for me. #tchatLara Zuehlke
A2) Leadership comes whenever its needed. Someone needs to step up or nothing gets done. Hasn’t changed since beginning of time. #tchatTom Spiglanin
A2: Not necessarily, depends on the type of leadership. #TChatRobert Rojo
A2 leadership is more about context #TChatBill Boorman
A2 Yes & No. It depends on the person. Some ppl see opportunities where other ppl don’t. #TchatCyndy Trivella
A2 Many comps offer “fast track” program to new grads that provides mngmnt training early in the new grad’s career,so advance faster. #TchatCyndy Trivella
Q3: Beyond the usual clichés and stereotypes, why is it so hard for workforce veterans to be led by younger managers? #TChatMark Babbitt
A3 In a true team culture, informal/distributed leadership works. #tchatMark Salke
A3: We need get the job done!!. For some, age means outdated and experience can be negative. New, fast, done is important! #TChatJanis Stacy
#TChat – A3 I have had younger than me managers & learned a ton from their perspective. Loved the fresh outlook.Michael!
A3: lack of support and interaction collectively #TChatNissrine Ghannoum
A3: #tchat Younger gen needs to empathize with the veterans feeling threatened. But the veterans need to remember being a young prof too!Rebecca Jo Luke
A3: leadership seems to be 1 of the larger issues in the “skills shortage”. we need all generations to step up in most co’s #tchatGeorge LaRocque
A3: Successful leaders realize that each generation learns differently and taps into each generations strengths. Creates unity, team. #tchatEmilie Mecklenborg
A3 The bottom line is you have to create a culture of #Meritocracy – regardless of age or experience #tchatRobert Moore
A3: Ego, Ego, Ego #TChatSean Charles
A3: Very important that respect goes both ways. <-> Younger managers can learn something from seasoned workers, too. Learn together. #tchatEmilie Mecklenborg
A3: Knowing yourself is critical to know & #lead others. Self-awareness, growth, and authenticity are ageless. #TchatLara Zuehlke
A3. Ego for the older is a sign of earned title/insecurity where for the younger its a sign of entitlement/ambition. #tchatSalima Nathoo
A3: Older workers may view younger workers’ leadership style differences as incompetence #tchatLaTonya Wilkins
A3 one side had to earn their stripes, the other was given theirs just for showing up (yes a bit simplistic); so why all the rancor? #tchatSteve
A3: Orgs who can create environment for diversity and communication values upfront will have an easier time w veterans & young folks. #TChatJulia Gabor
A3: It’s all approach. Some older people should have a problem working with culturally immature leaders #TChatSean Charles
A3 Younger workers tend to stray away from the safety net of what they know works & lean more on vision & make it work. #tchatBeverly Davis
A3: The young and the older need one another! Let work together to bridge gaps. #tchatTara Markus
A3: Experience used to go hand-in-hand with age. Not that way anymore and some have a hard time having an open mind. #tchatEmilie Mecklenborg
A3. It doesn’t have to be that way. With some time and effort on both sides it can be an awesome relationship@TalentCulture #TChat”Garret Meikle
A3: We were sold a bill of goods that the aged breed success, while the youngsters all get trophies. Gotta break ’em down. #tchatKevin W. Grossman
A3: I think so many firms still have the earn it mindset vs. the collaborative mindset. So it’s me vs. you mentality. #TchatLara Zuehlke
A3 Some comps R getting smarter & not looking at tenure & time-on-job. Who’s innovative; works smarter rather than harder, flexible? #TchatCyndy Trivella
A3: Everyone struggles to accept change sometimes. Working for someone younger could be one of those challenges #TChatSpark Hire
A3: There is something exciting about the young dynamic minds & mature ripened minds working together! #tchatTara Markus
A3 do you jump into a raging stream or do you survey the surroundings first? each side has its prefs but both sides are “right” #tchatSteve
A3) Raised on hard work and experience is what makes you climb that ladder, having someone with less experience lead you is daunting. #TChatTim McDonald
A3 Insecurity, esp if org culture encourages this; of losing job, not being the go-to anymore perhaps. Culture matters! #tchatClaire Crossley
A3: So hard for veterans to let their work be seen and viewed by a younger colleague w/out feeling threatened. #TChatJulia Gabor
A3 “Tradition” has it that mngmnt is a position you earn once you’ve paid a certain number of dues in your career. #TchatCyndy Trivella
A3: Great leaders create more opportunities for all. #TChatJanis Stacy
A3: In industries where moving fast is the key to success, like tech, it seems to be more common and accepted. #TChatPayScale Business
A3: Trust & Respect are hard for some people working with younger leaders #TChatSean Charles
A3: Great leaders have respect from their employees because they lead by example and will jump in the trenches w/ them. #tchatEmilie Mecklenborg
A3. Different views of opportunity: Veterans are about borrowed time. Younger generation is about borrowed authority. #tchatSalima Nathoo
A3 Comes down 2 this: communication. When 1 person doesn’t communicate in the way another understands, misunderstandings will ensue. #TchatCyndy Trivella
A3: It could be hard to see today’s jobs as actual skills. Social Media jobs don’t make sense to some members of older generations #TChatSimplicant
A3: Great Leaders don’t see age – they see maturity, wisdom and the courage to celebrate young ideas and people! #tchatTara Markus
A3 The answer may be in the question. Are younger managers managing or leading? There is a difference. #tchatJoe Sanchez
A3 #TChat Not always the older worker, maybe younger managers need 2 take some life lessons from their older workers, rework, move forward!Michael!
A3 #tchat Trust is a rare and precious thing that people give carefully. Developing confidence in a younger colleagues can feel riskyMichael Leiter
A3 Every(every)one suffers from pride and righteous indignation at some point. Question is do you CARE “who moved my cheese” #tchatKeith Punches
A3: it is the cultural mindset the older generation grew up with. It is what they have always known. Change is challenging #tchatMegan Rene Burkett
A3: Sometimes it is hard for #babyboomers to be led by #GenX or #GenY managers because of “old school” thoughts and views. #tchatEmilie Mecklenborg
A3. Older gen’s might see gen y as lacking exp but thats not always the case… sometimes they’re more evolved in other aspects #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
#TChat A3: New technology; new techniques; new rules; new jobs; new authorityAbby
A3: It isn’t harder if the younger leader has authenticity, integrity and actually has believable plans for growth. #TChatJanis Stacy
A3: upbringing that bosses need grey hair #TChatBill Boorman
A3. Sometimes veterans assume that new pros don’t understand the biz (whatever biz) I resist that and collaborate with new pros #TchatGuy Davis
A3: Lack of trust, doubt, fear of being reorganized out. #TChatAndrew Henck
A3, Speaking as an “old white guy” It somehow seems outside the natural order of things #TchatDave Ryan, SPHR
A3 both parties lacking a solid understanding of generational differences and how to appeal to each other #tchatShawn LaCroix
A3. I think its hard to accept change- in other gens you worked hard and put in your time and waited to move up. now its different #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
Q4: What can orgs do better to assess & execute cultural fit… as well as employee & leadership development? #TChatMark Babbitt
A4: I’ve met some really smart people who are smart about getting stuff done. But dumb about #leading people. #Justsaying #TchatLara Zuehlke
A4: My last interviewed, they really believe I have the talent, culture et all, but concerned I’ve become obsolete. Age.. #TChatJanis Stacy
A4: giving every employee access to knowledge, and resources that can potentially be exchanged #TChatNissrine Ghannoum
A4: Who’s got a trendier word for Leader? Feels a bit dated! #TChatSean Charles
A4: Spotting a leader is when you look at the person not their birth certificate #tchatJen Olney
A4: Peer mentoring, highlighting differences, sharing roles, transparency. #TChatJulia Gabor
#tchat A4: #socialtech will make culture easier, added transparency, collaboration and cross functional aptitude, builds interconnected orgsFormation
A4: Great leaders can get their team to put their differences aside to work towards a common goal. Reward goals met, deadlines beat. #tchatEmilie Mecklenborg
A4: People and Positive communication come first! #tchatTara Markus
A4: Lateral #leadership helps to break down the emotional barriers that stunt progress. #tchatBrent Skinner
A4 find ways to reward collaboration..up and down the chain. #tchatKeith Punches
A4: Give all your employees a leadership responsibility & see who shines with passion #TChatSean Charles
A4: Focus on accomplishments and acts of innovation & greatness, not so much on yrs of exp or age. #tchatEmilie Mecklenborg
A4. Engage from the core…not top down or bottom up. The dots need to be connected with 360 peripheral vision. #tchatSalima Nathoo
A4: Stop trying to be everything to everybody. Realize not e’one is going to fit in your culture even if they have the experience. #TchatLara Zuehlke
A4 If orgs want to assess fit & development, become a learning culture, supporting ppl working & learning in various ways #tchatClaire Crossley
A4: The culture of a company all comes down to how the employees are treated. #TChatSpark Hire
#TChat A4 – New Economic Culture = more collaboration, lot less micro-managing. generations working together & solving issues.Michael!
A4: Listen & Learn – stretch out & shape new ideas – build relationship & trust. Lead with truth & best of intentions. #tchatTara Markus
A4: Define “Cultural Fit” upfront and understand it is the first step I think. #TChatJanis Stacy
A4: Don’t emphasize the variety of generations in your workforce, focus on the talent. #tchatEmilie Mecklenborg
A4. Make your culture transparent. Flaunt it. Candidates will apply if it matches their values #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A4: Orgs need to spend time to define their values and understand what contributes to culture. only then can they discern who fits #tchatGeorge LaRocque
A4: Communication. It always comes back to the basics. Management listens to employees and vice versa. #TChatSimplicant
#TChat A4 – I think with the economy changing the workforce, culture is being redefined, even as we speak.Michael!
A4: Increase managers’ understanding of generational characteristics+the impact of their own management practices on these groups. #tchatInside Jobs
#TChat A4: Create an environment where different workers and skills work together and learn together. Otherwise there’s always divisionAbby
A4: Trust your gut. Too many times we rely on BS metrics & fail to listen to our intuition & fail to watch things like body language. #TchatLara Zuehlke
A4: Recognize generations learn differently & are motivated by different things. What works for #babyboomers wn’t work for #GenX, etc #tchatEmilie Mecklenborg
A4. set up networking events for candidates to meet-greet-learn. it’s like a job fair but SOOOOOO much better #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
#TChat A4 – Asking candidates what they want in a company culture, how will they help get the org there? What do they bring to the table?Michael!
A4 #teamability @DrJanice #tchatSteve
A4. Listen->Listen->Learn->Let Go->Lead #tchatSalima Nathoo
A4 I really dont think culture fit is going to mean the same thing in the new world of work #TChatBill Boorman
A4: Need to take full advantage of the knowledge of their experienced workers+rethink paradigms about what work is+how it gets done. #tchatInside Jobs
A4. Only on-board those who fit the culture #TchatDave Ryan, SPHR
A4 how about listen and learn vs following the status quo???? #TchatRebel Brown
Q5: Can technologies help facilitate the older employee/younger manager dynamic… and how? #TChatMark Babbitt
A5: That’s assuming tech’s a barrier! Part of taking time to understand employees is finding HOW to best connect—ask & experiment. #tchatShawna Kelly
A5 you don’t have to lose your edge to old age. Technology is the great equalizer. A yearn to learn is cancer to ignorance. #tchatKeith Punches
A5: Regardless of technology, u should know manual methold for a task. What if power goes out? Learn the basics, appreciate the tech. #tchatEmilie Mecklenborg
A5: #tchat Technology is a tool to enhance relationships. Make sure you do the work to start the relationship off on the right foot.Rebecca Jo Luke
A5: Tech is a great connector. Still comes down to integrity of the interaction, intention of the communication & mutual openness #tchatLara Zuehlke
A5: Anything that gets people talking and recognising each other helps integration #TChatBill Boorman
I think: Knowledge knows no age, only limit is the WANT to get the education at any age! #TChat A5Michael!
A5:Tech provides opportunity 4 experiential moments & productivity btwn any staff. Leaders must set the groundwork for it to happen. #TChatJulia Gabor
A5: #Tech engages all who are willing and interested #tchatKathy Herndon, GPHR
A5: technologies inspire connectivity and community- fueling leadership. Provide tech for open internal dialogue #tchatMegan Rene Burkett
A5: Tech bridges the gap in generation – both young and old are still learning how to adapt to the changing environment #tchatJen Olney
#Tchat A5 Tech has allowed older workers to be active for more years, the young talent helps them stay relevant & this includes leadership.ALEX BOTTOM
A5: I have #GenX friends who don’t have a FB profile, while I also know #Babyboomers who are tech savvy. Age knows no boundaries. #tchatEmilie Mecklenborg
A5 I’m not quite sold that tech is age issue; I know some fine tech peeps, from 3 yrs old (no kidding) to 90yrs. Comfort? #tchatClaire Crossley
A5: Yes, technology brings increased engagement opportunities which builds trust & rapport #TChatSean Charles
A5: Technology erases physical age. Know the technology or become history! #TChatJanis Stacy
#TChat A5: Absolutely. Look at what how we’re communicating right nowAbby
A5 yes, but if done correctly, no differently than enabling other human interactions. It’s an issue of leadership, culture, adoption #TChatBrian Rensing
A5: With workplace technology advances, older/younger employees’ experience & knwldge can compliment ea other. #tchatEmilie Mecklenborg
A5 a time machine seems like it would help out generational understanding. #tchat #billandtedsexcellentadventureShawn LaCroix
A5. each gen needs to embrace it– if used well, it can increase communication and build/maintain relationships #tchatAshley Lauren Perez
A5 Technology is native to younger, a learning curve to older #tchat Young-dont be arrogant, Old-dont be defensiveRobert Moore
#TChat A5::: absolutely, enough said.Formation
A5: Technology bridges a divide that often keeps barriers of position/title based on age/experience. #TChatAndrew Henck
A5 – #TChat – as Tech becomes more “social” older using it, younger get it and are teaching others to use in day to day.Michael!
#truelife #truestory #badgirl #facebook #tchat #woman #women #funny #lol #jokescosa76
Attention, #TChat! See #HRTechChat Fri 9/28 @ 2pmET/11amPT -> #HRTech & the Free Agent #Workforce: http://ht.ly/e1iVpBrent Skinner
#HRTechChat: They Used to Pick Up the Telephone for That | Talent Management TechThere’s a technology for that. It’s called the telephone. They should pick it up and call their staff. That’s rich. #HRTechChat Lead Co-h…

A Lifetime of Social Learning Culture: #TChat Preview

At TalentCulture World of Work we love all things culture and all things social, talent, leadership and learning. Imagine my excitement when the notion popped up to combine all three ideas: social, learning, and culture. The trifecta. Talent. Culture. Social Learning. Very cool. It’s nirvana for the geeky side of me.

I’ve been digging in on the #TChat social channel lately about social media – how it’s changing businesses and changing people’s relationships to jobs, family, and friends. It’s also changing the relationship between leaders and employees.

It’s no longer sufficient for leaders to tell employees what to do – now they need to provide context, both business and social. The trick is learning how to infuse social into your culture, and into how you train and teach employees – not just to perform jobs or tasks, but how to think in a way that benefits themselves, clients and the business.

Fast-forward to this week’s #TChat topic: how to build learning cultures for the workplace and social community, relying on social tools and concepts.  This week’s questions should stir healthy debate:

Q1 What are the top attributes of a learning culture?

Q2 How can leaders teach employees to learn how to learn?

Q3 How can an organization leverage informal social learning opportunities?

Q4 Why do learning cultures create competitive advantage?

Q5 How do you know whether or not an organization’s culture is conducive to learning?

Social people interested in culture and learning, UNITE. Join us Wednesday night, September 12 th from 7-8 pm ET (4-5 pm PT) to question the value of formal learning, explore the limits of informal learning, and plumb the depths of social learning. Bring your culture-vulture point of view, because learning doesn’t happen in a void – it happens in a learning culture.

We’ll discuss learning – formal, informal and social learning – and provide recommendations for leaders and HR practitioners trying to chart the best path for their organizations and communities. No blue book required – just a Twitter handle and some ideas. We look forward to chatting!

A dear friend of our community and social learner and teacher Joe Sanchez @sanchezjb will be our guest moderator this week. Here’s his timely blog post: 

We’re happy and honored to have Joe leading the #TChat tweets on Wednesday from 7-8pm ET (6-7pm CT, 4-5pm PT, or wherever you are), to talk shop with us.

Social Learning IS The heart and Soul of the TalentCulture Community!

Look for all of us, on the #TChat stream!

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

It's Maslow's World. We Just Live In It: #TChat Recap

The other day, my friend couldn’t find her Droid. So we looked and looked until we found it. …in the back pocket of the pants she’d been wearing the whole time. And then there was last weekend, when I searched what seemed like every nook and cranny of the house: My Jeep’s keys were nowhere to be found. …until I remembered I’d left them in the ignition; my home is in the sticks, on a dirt road where nary a bad guy lurks to take away my stuff.

The palm of my hand traveled to my forehead. So, too, did hers. Together, we experienced a “double facepalm.” Employers have them all the time, and especially when they realize that the talent they’re looking for is right there, inside.

Pet Theories

Here’s a pet theory: Employees work to make money. I know: I could be wrong. But money is probably the primary reason a majority work, and for a majority, money used to be one of the only reasons.

Employees would look for the greatest amount of security in making that money over the greatest amount of time — ideally, a lifetime’s worth of time. And they found those conditions almost everywhere. They found them in big corporations that paid well and provided room for advancement — to be paid even better, over several decades, till retirement knocked. They stayed because they wanted to, and for these conditions specifically. But they also stayed because society told them they had to. Seeing to it was an ingrained, shared ethos that honestly couldn’t fathom anyone wanting to leave a secure job.

And here’s another pet theory: Today, it’s Maslow’s world, and we just live in it. Employees stay because they want to. But they don’t have to — unless they really do have to, but for reasons entirely divorced from that old ethos, which has faded into memory. In an economy that is weak, employees stay for security, but they may resent the security, especially if the pay just barely provides the security. And they will concurrently pine for work more self-fulfilling, more self-advancing. As a world of work, we’ve moved further up Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, above survival to self-actualization.

Looking Within

Here’s one more point, before we get to the main one:

A common bit of advice says to look within for answers to the spirit’s ailments. Looking outside one’s self for answers rarely brings authentic or lasting happiness, the saying goes. And that’s true. And a kernel of the saying’s truth applies to the topic of recruiting. Yes, the answer to an organization’s ailments often is a need for talent that’s outside, waiting to be recruited; just as often, however, a relentless recruitment of talent not there yet is a symptom of deep unhappiness within the organization, or lack of appreciation for the talent already there.

Or (and?), this unending need for outside talent reflects the organization’s inattention to self. When an organization neglects its self, looking outside to fix what’s broken inside is an unconscious cry for help. An addiction to new employees sets in, a salve for the continual pain wrought by the organization’s dysfunctional home life — the dynamics intended and unintended that govern workers’ daily grind. The organization must instead acknowledge that the inside is broken — and focus on fixing the inside with inside parts.

Those inside parts are your employees, and many are chomping at the bit to self-actualize, in their jobs. Individuals have self-help books and mentors to help fix what’s broken inside. Organizations have HR and HR technology. HR people implement processes to heal an organization, and HR technology provides more and better tools than ever for organizations to see, understand and cater to their talent inside.

Right In Front of You

My keys were where I left them, and my friend’s Droid was in her back pocket. We each searched a long time before realizing those items were right there, right in front of us. Where is your talent? It might be right in front of you. Remove your palms from your foreheads, like we did, and get on with it. She made a call. I fired up the engine in my truck. Organizations, provide your employees with the conditions that’ll lead them to want to stay.

Thank you for joining us last night. Your tweets ran the gamut of good thinking, as always, and below is a slide show of them. We thank  Rob Garcia (@robgarciasj) for his peerless guest moderation. Did you miss this week’s preview? Click here. We look forward to seeing you next Wednesday.

Image Credit: Facepalm-Picard by DarkUncle

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Transforming the Workplace: Charting a Path to a Better Place

Originally posted by Chris Jones, a TalentCulture contributing writer. He is an IT Strategy & Change Management consultant, with a passion for driving new levels of engagement and learning in the modern organization. His research areas include the dynamics of organization culture, and more recently, the importance and implications of critical thinking. Check out his blog, Driving Innovation in a Complex World, for more.

In my last TC post, we did a deep dive on critical thinking in the workplace.  We discussed ways to drive innovation in our day to day exchanges by tracing the value of engagement in the modern organization and focusing on the mechanics of collaboration as a more rigorous way to solve problems.

These are all core elements of a desirable future state culture.  If achieved, they could serve to foster organization-wide learning.

But what about culture change itself?

So often executives will speak of the need to drive a full transformation of the business or its culture. It’s not too difficult to imagine an alternate future state.  But it can be difficult to know how to get there.

The research I’ve done in this space indicates that culture change can be guided by leadership, provided there is a focused, coordinated, and ongoing effort to achieve it. Too often culture is viewed as a quick fix, a “memo” to the team (remember those?), or a simple expectation of management for the troops to ‘figure it out’.

Organization change is too complex for simple solutions. Learned behaviors run deep into the fabric of the organization, and are not easily changed.

I see value in attacking the problem at two levels simultaneously, a simple, high-level framing like the one recently popularized by Chip and Dan Heath in Switch (2010), supplemented by a more detailed approach, such as the one famously outlined by John Kotter in Leading Change (1996).  A combination provides a reinforcing framework, a ‘scaffolding’ of sorts, that will be resilient due to its diverse structure.

Let’s take a look at a synthesis of these two models, and outline what the core transformational elements might be:

Viability of an Organization’s Vision

Stakeholders must be able to see themselves in the future state, and will gain value from participating in the visioning exercises.  The vision must be achievable and actionable, and defined in a language recognizable to those who must seek it.

Ability of Leaders to Motivate

A guiding coalition must form around the change effort to create a believable, unified front to shepherd the changes through.  This coalition, representing elements of the entire organization, must be able to articulate a clear “value” story for stakeholders to rally behind. A “burning platform” is ideal to create a sense of urgency.  There must be an emotional appeal for an organization to be truly motivated, and a sense of empowerment that gets people engaged.

Ability of Managers to Clear a Path

Hurdles and roadblocks will invariably get raised, because human nature is to avoid change and maintain a status quo.  Pockets of resistance and politics will resit new approaches, and the guiding coalition must be sure that the team receives full support.  Communication will be critical, as well as establishing momentum, and, eventually, being sure to embed changes into daily operations.

Neither a checklist nor a new framework will be sufficient for an organization’s transformation to be successful.  It takes commitment and focus, and an investment of energy over the long-term.  Working together, stakeholders can build a transformation road map, charting a path to a better place.

Do you think these steps could serve as a means for driving change in an organization? Which of these steps have worked for you?  What do you see as challenges?

Let’s discuss adoption.  It would be great to compare notes, and to drive this thinking forward.

IMAGE VIA bbsc30

The HR Technology Disconnect…Not What You Think

Last week on May 25th and 26th, Las Vegas hosted the 2011 HR Demo Show in conjunction with the HRO Today Forum, including the RPO Summit. The point of the demo show was to showcase the best and latest HR and talent management technologies. Organizations that presented were Kenexa, Guidant Group, Epicor, CareerBuilder, Taleo, iCIMS, RECSOLU, JSTN, OneWire and many more. Throughout the two days, I closely followed the main hashtags for the event, which were #HRDemo and #HRTech. I also paid close attention to the Blog Squad, particularly the ones I personally knew—Geoff Webb, Meghan M. Biro and Jessica Merrill.

During the event, the weekly #TChat that I am religiously a part of focused on “Innovation Gap Realities Workforce Technology.” From my perspective it was probably one of the most active #TChat’s that I have ever participated in because the focus was on innovation, or lack of innovation when it comes to HR technology. Here is the high level “Jeff Waldman Brain-Dump Summary” of what I discovered during this chat, which is also inspired by the #TChat Recap: “HR tech innovation should keep us all in business.”

  1. Most HR technology is focused on recruitment and talent management.
  2. People think that innovation must be something new or a re-imagining of how technology can drive efficiencies in HR, and contribute to the business.
  3. HR practitioners need to better educate themselves on the use of technology in the workplace.
  4. Technology “users” think that existing HR technology is NOT innovative but “providers” think otherwise.  As Meghan M. Biro of TalentCulture stated, “HR and recruiters just are not perceiving what’s out there as innovative, perhaps because most of what we’re seeing isn’t screaming cloud, mobile application.”
  5. There is huge disconnect between technology providers and technology users regarding their perception of how valuable technology is in completing work.
  6. Technology cannot replace the human element.

What’s the main point in all of this?
The one thing that I heard consistently was that a huge gap exists between HR technology providers and HR technology users (a.k.a. HR practitioners). I could not agree more with this. But… yes, there’s always a “but!”  But, I strongly believe that the reasons that were discussed for this disconnect missed the boat.

The Technology IS There!
There are so many phenomenal platforms that HR practitioners can strategically leverage to help them add more value to their clients. Off the top of my head, awesome platforms that come to mind that I have used include Rypple, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, ZuzuHire, SurgeHire, StickyHQ, Yammer, ClearFit, FreshTransition and BranchOut.

Now, I want to note that I bring a unique perspective to TalentCulture because I work in Canada, and the majority of my professional experience is with Canadian organizations. Here is the problem… the HR community in Canada does NOT possess the knowledge and understanding of HR technology, the necessary technological skills or the ability to evaluate the strategic impact of HR technologies. They inadvertently avoid the conversation about HR technology because they have not a clue where to begin.

So, it does not matter how good the technology is, the Canadian HR community as it currently exists will never get to the point where they will be on the same page with technology providers.

Change is Change… “We” Don’t Like Change!
Technology is a tool. It is not meant to replace the human element or the responsibility of performing the activities that impact “brand building”—e.g. talent attraction, employer branding, employee engagement and the overall employee experience. Integrating new technology into the workplace represents a change.  It could be a huge change, or it could be a small one. It doesn’t matter; people naturally are not very good at coping with change.  So let me ask you this question. If the majority of HR practitioners are unable to even begin the technology conversation, do you think HR technology providers are able to lead and manage change?  Hmmmm…. I don’t think so.

Case in Point…

A couple of years ago I was brought into a very entrepreneurial, yet small organization that possessed an extremely strong corporate brand. They sold really cool things, and employed some really neat product marketing and promotional tactics. This company was really just starting to build its HR infrastructure, and they were in the process of implementing a technology to help them with the full recruitment cycle, all the way to on-boarding.

They retained a PMP (Project Management Specialist) to lead and manage this project. He did an absolutely stellar job of identifying business needs, potential technology platforms, engaging most of the right internal players to select the platform, all the way to “flipping the go-live switch” on the new platform. Sounds great doesn’t it? Well… the execution failed miserably for one simple reason. He completely ignored the end-user. To add fuel to the fire, the technology providers were completely hands-off with the people change management components of the execution; they just focused on the technical aspect (of course, this is where their expertise lies). The failure basically boiled down to a couple of things:

  1. The end-users (HR practitioners) were technologically illiterate.
  2. The end-user was never engaged during the technology selection and implementing process.
  3. The end-user was never trained on the new technology.
  4. No platform testing was performed with the end-user group during the project phase.
  5. The end-user was simply directed to “just do it”.


Conclusion…
Technological innovation is NOT the problem right now. The problem is a severe lack of technological competence within the HR practitioner community and a complete disregard for change management being fully embedded in the technology integration process. If you can resolve these two fundamental problems, the perceptions of providers and users regarding technology innovation and work-related value will be pretty close, and the result will be favorable.

Innovation Gap Realities Workforce Technology: #TChat Preview

We’ve talked before about how hot the theme of ‘innovation’ is. In the technology world, much of what’s filed under ‘innovation’ is related to cloud technology, or mobile, or ‘apps’. What isn’t so hot, in my observation, is technology that links innovations to people. And so it is here at the HRToday conference in shiny Las Vegas, where technology is everywhere, but the links to employees and workforces are not so clear.

I’m looking forward to visiting the technology demos, and especially speaking with today’s analyst panel, which is bringing a group together to discuss the ‘innovation gap’ in HR technology. As I wear my “everyday practitioner” hat it is apparent to me that we still have some major holes to contend with. Reality Check!

At today’s panel, our hosts for this event, HRO Today, have brought together a great group including Kevin W. Grossman of Ventana Research; Madeline Laurano, Talent Systems Analyst of The Newman Group; Mark McMillan, co-founder of Talent Function Group; Katherine Jones, Principal Analyst of Bersin & Associates, and Jayson Saba, Senior Research Associate of Aberdeen Group. This group of analysts – many with a focus on talent management – are discussing a survey HRO Today ran earlier this year of over 100 buyers and providers of HR technology. The survey’s goal was to get a better pulse on the pace of technology innovation.

So while there’s plenty of HR technology out there, much of it is focused on talent management and recruitment. HR just isn’t perceiving what’s out there as innovative, perhaps because most of what we’re seeing isn’t screaming cloud, mobile or app. Very interesting.

So, what should the role of the buyer and the technology provider be in pushing innovation? My take:

Collaborate to innovate, but do it differently, depending on which side of the table you sit on. If you’re an HR tech buyer, make your technology recommendations based on how, say, innovative recruiting technology can help you build an innovative company. Don’t worry about the technology being innovative per se; that’s the role of the provider.

Providers of technology, listen to your customers. Ask about their recruiting and retention challenges, and think about how to use social media technologies to enhance the technology suites you’ve already built.

With smart solutions like these available, could there be a disconnect between technology innovation and HR?  I say a big yes, and the survey seems to have found the same scenarios unfolding with their samples.

I base my observation both on what I see here in Vegas, and more on what I’ve been experiencing in the market for the past three years. Sure, there’s lots of HR technology. Solutions that target enterprises are probably doing fairly well. But the real struggle is in the SMB, where most people look for and find work.

Workforce technology, perhaps more than other technology solutions, needs to scale. It needs to be useful for the 10 person company and the 10,000 person company. And when we talk about tech innovation in HR and recruiting, please hold the spreadsheets and go long on social media. That’s the edge case.

SharedXpertise and the HR Demo Show just completed a survey on what industry stakeholders, both practitioners and providers, think about innovation in HR technology.

Based on that premise, we want our #TChat community to chime in on the subject later today. Tonight’s #TChat questions are:

Q1: How important is technology innovation in acquiring, empowering and retaining a workforce today?

Q2: Are HR and recruitment practitioners truly “innovative” today? Why or why not?

Q3: How have technology innovations impacted end users’ experiences? Using it or not?

Q4:How do you use technology to support business strategies and objectives?

Q5: Do HR and recruitment technology innovations support the work, or are they just gadgets? Why?

Q6: What can practitioners and providers do to facilitate and improve technology innovation?

Q7: In summary, what do you think it means to be innovative in the HR and recruiting business today?

Back to the conference floor. More thoughts from me soon. Cheers to Vegas!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to Evaluate Your Current Company Culture

Many job seekers are now evaluating prospective employers based on company culture. Candidates want to determine how they will fit in and if the environment is right for them before they’re hired.

As you may know, company culture varies based on several factors. Although some companies don’t focus on the culture within the organization, every company has a culture whether they like it or not. Take a look at the following—each is part of the company culture at your organization:

  • Employees
  • Company size
  • Environment
  • Policies
  • Procedures
  • Mission
  • Values
  • Attitudes
  • Employee commitment
  • Communication
  • Common behaviors
  • Relationships
  • Leadership
  • Recruiting
  • Support

In order to determine whether your culture is working at your organization, you need to first evaluate the current culture. Ask yourself the following:

  • How do employees within the organization handle conflict?
  • How well do employees work together?
  • Are workers encouraged to speak up and identify problems?
  • Does the company address problems head on?
  • How do the company values play into the culture?
  • Are employees rewarded for performance? How?
  • What does the company, as a whole, value?
  • How does the company deal with new ideas?
  • Does the organization encourage employees
  • What are the company hiring and firing processes? How do these affect the culture?

Is the culture in at your organization less than satisfactory? There are ways to improve upon it—here’s how:

Decide how you want it to look in the future

What needs to be changed? How do you want your ideal culture to look after these changes occur? Keep in mind that every company will not (and should not) have the same company culture, although you can certainly be inspired by another company’s culture in some ways.

Review the organization’s mission, vision and values

Is the culture aligned with the overall mission? Are company values mirrored in the culture? If not, how can you integrate company mission, vision and values better?

What else can employers do to evaluate (and improve upon) company culture at their organization?

IMAGE VIA Davide Boyle in DC

HR + Leaders: Don't Overlook the Outlier Employees

Just having returned from HRevolution, I was filled with tons of ideas, approaches and philosophies. My head was swimming with where to go next. I was trying to land on what aspect of HR resonated with me coming out of this UnConference. Then I remembered . . .

I had a conversation with Dwane Lay and William Tincup about the state of HR and what we all thought, and one term kept coming up . . . outliers. Now, this isn’t the same as the recent Malcolm Gladwell book – Outliers. (I’m a huge Gladwell fan!!) What we were talking about was the tendency for HR to manage to the exception.

I agreed with this wholeheartedly! I know that it’s difficult to work with people, but that’s why we chose HR. There are so many amazing people who work in and around us every day. However, companies tend to focus on people who are exceptions, who underperform, degrade and possibly detract from moving the company forward. Instead of focusing on the mass of talent that rocks it everyday, we follow the outliers. If the entire company was made up of people like the outliers, there would be a lot of trouble. So why should HR mainly focus on a group that is not the driving force of the company? Yes, they are a portion of the company that is important and should be acknowledged, but to base everything around them is taking it too far.

You can look at policies, handbooks and procedures that are written by companies in HR every day that focus on such a small percentage of people. This hurts the majority of employees who are doing their jobs each and every day. While the outliers shouldn’t go unnoticed, the average employees are the ones who account for most of the population.

So, what can we do?

HR needs to understand and own that one thing we have to our advantage is the ability to be consistent.  This is different than being “fair.” It really is. If we are consistent in how we engage, deal with and lead people, we add incredible value!! If people in HR would take this approach and practice consistency, the outliers would take care of themselves. With a consistent HR, variability is decreased between their actions and the actions of the employees, making everything much more stable.

Take a look around, HR. Where is your focus? If your systems give employees the ability to thrive, contribute and develop – you’re doing well. If your systems look to constrict, deter and confine – you’re following outliers.

Now, some may say that the group that gathered at HRevolution are “outliers” to the norm of the HR community. I’d beg to differ. You see in Gladwell’s book he talks about outliers that are successful, move things forward and also lie outside the norm.

Outliers are not always a bad thing; although they should not be the basis of HR’s views on a company, often times they can produce something great. The group I was running with is pushing the boundaries of HR to open up new frontiers in order to set new norms.  Why don’t you join us?

IMAGE VIA CarbonNYC

Superstar Leadership: Workplace Damage Control

I’ve written lately about various aspects of workplace culture…People are always the number one consideration in my opinion. This topic always directly relates to recruitment and employee retention. It’s inescapable. It’s part of your workplace DNA. Performing a workplace culture audit of a prospective employer and how to nurture company culture, both as a manager and as an employee are so key.  Let’s keep tackling the dark side – repairing a damaged corporate culture.

Every workplace culture/organization (and employee) has good and bad days. Culture takes little hits on the bad days, but a string of bad days or months can turn into permanent damage. Unfortunately as those days and months grind on it can become easy to miss the signs of damage. A stressed management team may be focused on keeping the company afloat; a stressed manager with personal issues or job challenges may turn a deaf ear to rumblings of dissatisfaction.

In the first example, if management fails to communicate its trials, distrust will flower and thrive. In the latter example, also, a failure to communicate, compounded by a lack of responsibility on the part of the manager, creates a breach between employer and employee. Into that breach will creep distrust and its close cousin, unwillingness to believe anything management says. This is not good and should be stopped in it’s tracks.

Communication and trust are the underpinnings of healthy workplace culture. Other culture markers – a shared sense of mission, shared goals, respect – are rooted in trust and communication.

When trust goes, so also goes culture, that valuable mix of the personality of the workplace and its brand and the collective experience of what it means to work in the organization.

A simple measure of damage to a company’s culture is employee turnover. One local small company I know has had 95 percent turnover in the past three years. Yep, almost 100 percent. This happens.

The managers’ reaction? A tone-deaf range of comments, from ‘It was time for those people to move on’ to ‘We’re glad they didn’t go to competitors’; even the suggestion that the massive turnover is a ‘sign of growth on the part of employees fostered by the unique culture at X Company.’

Once you’ve pulled your jaw off the floor, let me assure you this example is real. Not surprisingly, this particular workplace culture is in dire need of repair. The company’s survivors are hardened and sour and new recruits into the organization are often bewildered and leaderless.

Here’s the basic prescription I would suggest to the executives if asked and from there I would refer them to my list of colleagues who specialize in this specific arena of employee retention and engagement (although this culture is so damaged they haven’t sought advice):

First, assess what’s really happened:

  • Make a list of those who left and when. Review notes from their exit interviews and look for repetition of words and themes. These repetitions are the top-level clues to what is wrong with the organization.
  • Correlate reasons given for leaving. I predict there will be very few ‘uniques’ in this group.
  • Cross-reference the above data with time of year as well as acquisition (or loss) of business.
  • Review every email sent to the company announcing a defection and look for patterns describing the person’s reason for leaving.

Now you have a lexicon of words, a vocabulary of loss of culture and cohesion. The next step is to assess what remains. This step is best taken with the help of a third party, a neutral coach or consultant.

Survey the remaining employees and any new employees on basic measures of job satisfaction:

  • Is compensation competitive? Benefits?
  • Is training adequate?
  • Is the work challenging and rewarding?
  • Do employees have a reasonable level of autonomy and responsibility?
  • How are initiative and excellence rewarded?
  • Is the physical work environment adequate? Are tools and systems in place that improve productivity and reduce drudge work?
  • Do employees feel comfortable talking to managers? If not, why?
  • Do employees feel that management tells the truth?
  • How frequent and relevant are communications?
  • Is feedback used to improve the work environment? Is it ignored?
  • Would you recruit a friend?

Now it’s time to step back and look at what employees and line managers said.

At this point, it’s imperative to commit to, and communicate, intent to change.

  • Communicate results of the survey.
  • Take ownership for the issues, and do not try to deflect responsibility.
  • If something can’t be changed or fixed say why.
  • Create a change action plan with dates, asking employees to help prioritize change items.
  • Implement the change action plan, honoring dates and milestones.
  • Communicate at every step.
  • Re-survey in three months and again in six months, and communicate the results.

Then tackle the hardest part:

  • Assign team leaders and give them responsibility and power to enact change. Support them (or they may fail.)
  • Meet with team leaders regularly and listen to them. Don’t talk over them or challenge what you hear, listen.

Without thoughtful intervention, a broken workplace culture with disheartened people can’t really be repaired. This is often the sad truth. Retention and recruiting will fail too. Employees will continue to head for the exits, and customers may even follow.

Take a look here to read about three companies using workplace culture for retention. This is a very useful case study for all to absorb.

What steps would you take to rescue a damaged corporate culture?

IMAGE via Flickr

Being a Good Boss Means Not Being Afraid to Fire; #TChat Recap

Everybody likes to be liked. Most colleagues and bosses that I’ve worked with do. To a fault, which makes it very difficult when dealing with those who need dealing with.

Those who need to be written up and eventually fired.

For those who don’t care about being liked, in particular the bosses, most still don’t deal with confrontation very well and hence don’t fire. Well. Or at all. This of course is all anecdotal, but I bet most of you agree, and we’ve all seen the surveys and the research that validates.

The overall consensus last night during #TChat was that this “fear of firing” affects business performance detrimentally, because not only do poor performers topple the bottom line by falling flat on it, they also affect their co-workers and others in the business, which then creates a domino effect of further poor performance. And if they’re customer facing in any way, then there’s another affront to growth and revenue.

We didn’t really define “poor performance,” but that can include the inability to complete assigned tasks to being a toxic employee. Because which is more important when considering termination: cultural fit or performance? I say performance and lack thereof. I’ve hired great cultural fits who don’t perform (or can’t in that position).

There was a contingent last night who thought if the cultural fit was there, performance issues can be resolved. Maybe. Maybe not. Too many variables and if you cram a lazy square peg into a virtual round hole and then ask them to handle customer services calls from home…

Ultimately it’s the immediate supervisor’s responsibility to initiate the termination process, and why they must document performance and have 1-on-1’s beyond the annual review. I wrote a post last month titled Did you get that last part? Don’t be afraid to fire. Period. where I recommended the following:

  • Create formal and informal employee learning networks for mentoring and career development.
  • Empower, develop and train the average employees so as to develop a more productive workforce.
  • Allow employees in training to dial up and down their roles and responsibilities.
  • Recruit and hire those with high potential — FT, PT, contractor, etc.
  • Reward the high potentials and high producers.
  • Don’t be afraid to fire those who can’t be empowered, developed or trained.

By no means am I an expert in this area, but based on my experience recruiting, training and developing employees, these are activities that worked for me and my companies. Being a good boss means not being afraid to fire. Period.

Don’t forget to include human resources in the termination process, even the CEO and other leaders when applicable. Unfortunately this is because we live in such a litigious society and HR still need to help enforce compliance and proper procedure.

We had the pleasure of having Kevin Wheeler stop by #TChat last night. He’s a globally-known speaker, author, columnist, and consultant in human capital acquisition and development, and we were thrilled to have him join in our stream. When we got on the subject of hiring better performance fit to prevent eventual firing, better interviewing came up quite a bit. But Kevin reminded us that according to recruitment research, interviewing wasn’t much better than chance in predicting success in a position. Even those who are good at behavioral interviewing, which isn’t many, it’s still not much better than chance. References, however, can help evaluate cultural fit, and I agree with Kevin there. At least beyond the obligatory three five-minute reference check calls.

Thank you again Kevin!

You can see our TweetReach here and these were last night’s questions:
  • Q1: What impact does “fear of firing” have on leaders?  Biz performance?
  • Q2: What red flags should managers look for when recruiting now to avoid firing later?
  • Q3: Who should have ultimate responsibility for firing decisions?  HR, CEO, Supervisor?
  • Q4: Which is more important when considering termination: culture fit or performance?
  • Q5: What can job seekers do to explain being fired when looking for their next role?
  • Q6: Some say being fired can be the best thing that ever happens to someone.  T/F?

Thank you again everyone for joining us last night!  Next week’s topic will be “ “Should I Stay or Should I Go: Workplace Culture Factors to Consider Before Leaving Your Job”

Play Devil's Advocate: Create Collaboration in the Workplace

Written by Kirsten Taggart

I’m currently taking a course called Media Criticism where we students reflect on how news organizations responded to major historical events. Perhaps made obvious by the title, our main focus is geared towards moments where journalism has “failed” society, or more precisely, failed to practice critical thinking and challenge the norm. What’s surprising is that the press’ mistakes could have been avoided simply through effective communication.

The void in communication may be due to a lack of questioning.  I’ve come to think that there is a lack of “why” in present day workplace culture. As always, there are exceptions to this theory, but overall I feel that people have become hesitant to ask questions in the workforce, new media, school, etc.

Of course no one particularly wants to challenge their superiors (although a good leader shouldn’t make you feel intimidated or afraid of confrontation!), but I guarantee that without asking critical questions, creative and corporate progression will be compromised to an extent.

A diverse staff with contrasting views and opinions is the most effect way to build a constructive workplace community, and it doesn’t require a monumental shift in work ethic to change a workplace full of “yes’” into one of “what ifs?”  Who will be your Chief Collaboration Officer?

Teach your team how to effectively play devil’s advocate:

  • Allot a certain amount of time each week to sit down as a group and talk. Encourage people to speak openly and offer ideas and opinions. This open communication will encourage co-workers to bounce ideas off of each other and improve proposals with constructive criticism
  • Opt to work with people who will challenge your thought process
  • Remind people that they should avoid being defensive and instead be open to suggestions
  • Create an environment that encourages openness

The point of collaborating ideas is to advance as a group and reach a collective goal. With positive thinking and a creative atmosphere, the workplace can become the ultimate environment for innovative thinking and new ideas.

Do Generations Matter At Work?: #TChat Preview

Originally posted by Matt Charneyone of #TChat’s moderators, on MonsterThinking Blog

In 2012, the first members of Gen Y turn 30.  And while thought leaders and academics continue to depict millennials as this strange, unprecedented breed to be studied and analyzed (Bieber fever being an obvious symptom), that generation’s cutting edge has been busy acclimating into the workforce, where they’ve been for over 5 years.

Of course, this potentially disruptive force on the workplace entered a market where the workplace was already disrupted by forces far stronger than helicopter parents and socialized narcissism.

Contrary to popular myth, it’s not Gen Y who’s changing the workplace; it’s the workplace that’s changing Gen Y.  Those lucky enough to get the paucity of jobs are no longer naïve idealists, but battle hardened survivors.

While some Gen X and Boomers struggle with being overqualified, most of Gen Y haven’t had the chance to pick up those qualifications.  This new world of work, of virtual offices and inter-connectivity and contract gigs, looks a lot like the kind of impact Gen Y workers were supposed to have made. Instead, they’ve inherited what’s become their – and our – collective reality.

They call Gen Y digital natives, but in fact, most of those millennials in the workforce remember life without an internet; those who can’t remember life without social media are still in diapers.  When those true “digital natives” enter the workforce, the millennials of today are going to look a lot like Gen Xers do now.  Who’ll look a lot like Boomers today.

For Gen Y, home ownership is likely a dream that will never be realized; so too is the possibility of a defined and linear career path, job security, employer benefits, pensions or a gold watch at retirement.  Even retirement itself looks iffy.

So, it  turns out that generations in the workplace share more in common than a workplace.

We’re all just trying to do the best we can, while learning as much as we can along the way.  And aspiration is a trait that transcends generations.  We’re hoping to do the same with tonight’s #TChat, where the topic tonight is: “Do Generations Matter At Work?”

Do Generations Matter at Work?  – #TChat Questions and Recommended Reading (3.1.11)

Whether you’re a Boomer, a Gen Xer, a Millennial or an “other,” we hope you can join the #TChat conversation about generations at work tonight at 8 PM ET.

Here are the questions we’ll be discussing, along with some recommended reading to help inform, and inspire, your understanding of tonight’s topic of generations in the workplace.

Q1)  What myths exist about workplace generational dynamics? Generational realities?

Read: Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number by Matt Charney

Q2)  Are there emerging personality traits, skill sets for hiring GenY, GenX, Baby Boomers, etc.?

Read: The Non-Generational Talent of American Workers by Peter Weddle

Q3)  Who is currently the most “invisible” generation in the workplace and why? Most “visible”?

Read: Just Shut Up and Listen to What Younger Workers Have to Say by Ron Thomas

Q4) How do savvy workplace cultures recruit, engage, manage and lead all generations?

Read:A Modern Perspective on Generations and Engagement by Ryan Estis

Q5) How does new media and global connectivity help/hinder generational gaps in the workplace?

Read: The Aging Workforce and Gen Y: Bridge the Social Media Generation Gap by Rob Salkowitz

Q6) How can inter-generational workforces spark innovation and evolve culture?

Read: The ‘Whys’ for Gen Y: Workplace Culture Considerations by Heather Huhman

Q7) How does the term “reverse mentoring” help bridge generational divides in the workplace?

Read: Manager’s Tips to Mend Intergenerational Communication by Kate Wildrick

Visit www.talentculture.com for more great information on #TChat and resources on culture fatigue and how to overcome it!

Our Monster social media team supports the effort behind #TChat and its mission of sharing “ideas to help your business and your career accelerate – the right people, the right ideas, at the right time.”

We’ll be joining the conversation live every Tuesday night as co-hosts with Kevin Grossman and Meghan M. Biro from 8-9 PM E.T. via @monster_works and @MonsterWW.  Hope to see you tonight at 8 PM ET for #TChat!

Brain Surgery, Corporate Culture & Leadership Consistency

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

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

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

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

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

Megan

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

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

She apologized for having to wake Marco up every hour.

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

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

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

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

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

Toni & Company

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

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

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

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

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

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

Organizational Consistency

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

Shouldn’t every employee take patient care seriously?

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

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

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

Workplace Presenteeism Redefined

The majority of organizations today have employee support programs to help with workplace absenteeism.

Examples include sick days, short term disability, long term disability, return-to-work, workplace accommodation, vacation, emergency family care, and the list goes on. The goals of these programs are to reduce costs to employers, improve employee productivity and ultimately top and bottom line financial results.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, American businesses lose an average of 2.8 million work days each year due to unplanned absences, which costs employers more than $74 million. Some thought circles put this number close to $200 million. Regardless, the numbers are staggering, and with our aging population and increasing life expectancy these numbers will continue to escalate.

But…

The figures above deal with workplace absenteeism ONLY, and not workplace presenteeism. What’s the difference? We’ve defined absenteeism to be the employee being absent from work due to health reasons. According to Dr. Gary Cooper, who pioneered the term “presenteeism” in the mid-90’s, this is where employees show up for work even if they are too sick, stressed, or distracted to be productive.

There is an underlying medical issue that is causing the employee to be unproductive at work.  They’re physically there but not really THERE!  The result?  Poor productivity and performance, which often negatively influences colleagues and peers.

The above definition of presenteeism originally coined by Dr. Cooper focuses on health being the reason for non-performance and productivity at work. There are many reasons why presenteeism exists, and through my experience and research, I would argue that our mental states are the key drivers of presenteeism. Corporations have spent so much time, money and resources reducing absenteeism that it has created a culture of fear and anxiety towards being absent from work. Businesses have even gone as far as rewarding employees for not taking sick days, or using sick-related benefits. This has pushed us to behave and act in ways that are in fact more detrimental to our own physical health, and personal productivity and performance.  At the end of the day, we are scared to death of not satisfying the “butt in chair” optic.

The Canadian Mental Health Association of Ontario provides a more precise and detailed description of the reasons for presenteeism, which relate to stress and sub-par psychological state of mind.

Case in Point…

With our world literally turning itself upside down every single day; natural disasters, gigantic hostile takeovers, corporate cuts, war, political upheaval, the technological explosion, WE are scared to death. We have bills to pay, mouths to feed and simply staying alive and covering basic survival needs has never been more at the forefront of everything we do and think about. Decisions are made so quickly, and through our natural “fight or flight” human responses, our actions are dictated by our emotions. Simply put, we’re afraid of being pushed aside or marginalized in the workplace.

Let’s Add a Twist…

We’ve been talking about presenteeism defined as being at work when sick or unhealthy. I am jumping out on a limb here and am going to argue that presenteeism is also about being at work when you ARE perfectly healthy but spending time doing other things completely unrelated to helping your company achieve and succeed on its business objectives.  What about people that are physically there but simply wasting time by choice?

This Doesn’t Make Any Sense…

My explanation… we are unbelievably connected socially through technological means with anyone, anywhere, and at anytime.  We are a culture of “checking in” (e.g. FourSquare, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, email, blog and the list goes on). When using a laptop we typically have multiple screens open at once, flipping back and forth constantly from Hootsuite to email to LinkedIn to Facebook to blogs. Our iPod’s are raging 24-7, mobile phones buzzing constantly from incoming texts, emails, tweets or phone calls, and this is all happening at 10,000 miles an hour. Our attention spans are probably 10,000% shorter than they were just 10 years ago and our concentration levels are limited to the 10 seconds of complete silence we actually get in a given day. Our social connections, technological “connectedness” and instant and constant real-time communication habits result in our available time that should be spent on work is being eaten up doing other things and being unproductive.

The Point? Perfectly healthy people are wasting incredible amounts of time at work, as are unhealthy people. This is ALL presenteeism to me!

What Are the Costs?

I made the argument that technological waste needs to be part of the definition of presenteeism. Research does exist to show that presenteeism is significantly greater than absenteeism but currently I would consider the research a bit sketchy because a) it only deals with presenteeism that is related to medical issues, and b) the statistics are all over the place. Research has been done, primarily in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Australia.

The Journal of Occupation and Environmental Medicine argues that “presenteeism costs employers as much as 3 times the dollar amount as absenteeism in terms of lost productivity”.

Statistics Canadaargues that “productivity lost from presenteeism was 7.5 times greater than productivity loss from absenteeism”. They also argue that “stress related health problems could increase the ratio to 15 times greater”.

Canadian Occupational Safety provides a good perspective on the problem of presenteeism and argues that it is 4 times bigger than absenteeism in terms of hours lost. The COS also includes research completed from Watson Wyatt Canada that puts the ratio of presenteeism to absenteeism between 2.5 and 8.6 times, with the top 3 medical causes of presenteeism being depression, fatigue and insomnia.

Another Wrinkle in the Cost Argument…

If you have heard me speak in the past or follow my blog, you have likely heard me talk confidently about the positive correlation that exists between employee engagement and business results. The more engaged your workforce is the more successful you will be in achieving your corporate strategic objectives. In terms of a definition for employee engagement there are many, but I have typically used something close to the following:

“An intimate emotional connection that an employee feels for the company they work for that propels them to exert greater discretionary effort in their work”.

Now throw in what I have talked about regarding presenteeism into the mix. Do you think perfectly healthy employees that are physically at work but choosing to do other things is an example of strong engagement? I didn’t think so. Earlier I threw around a bunch of figures for what presenteeism costs business today, and nowhere in this research do these numbers reflect what employee disengagement caused by presenteeism costs. I am NOT going to try and take a stab at what this number may be but the point here is it would be profoundly staggering and it’s a huge problem.

Conclusion…

Pis a much more costly problem than absenteeism, yet corporations focus mostly on reducing absenteeism. I also argue that the current definition of presenteeism only relates to medical reasons, but should include lost productivity and performance as a result of perfectly healthy employees doing things completely unrelated to the business.

These other things are directly related to technology and our “check in everything now and now” mentalities. I also argue that presenteeism is a significant drain on employee engagement, which strongly correlates to business results.  Finally, presenteeism is a huge problem, and by taking on a more accurate understanding of what presenteeism is, the problem is epidemic-like and should be the focus of organizational improvements today.

Taking Work-Life Balance By The Horns

(Editor’s Note: All of us in the TalentCulture community mourn the loss of our dear friend, brilliant colleague and mindful mentor, Judy Martin, who passed away unexpectedly on January 31, 2014. Her message and her life are a lesson for us all. We will forever fondly remember her humor, warmth and wisdom.)

A colleague recently told me she was suffering from anxiety about heading back to work, after a week off.  In gory detail, she described a nightmare in which her manager littered her office with big black hairy spiders. Pretty much how she feels at work, she effused.  “The creepy crawlies never seem to go away.”

That type of stress dominates her work life experience, and it’s not foreign to many of us. And sharing news and tips on how to reduce that work life stress is where my focus will be here at Talent Culture.

The American working pool has been thrust into what I refer to as “a work-related field of cognitive dissonance.” Stuck in a vacuum of perpetual information overload, courtesy technology and our human response to it, we’re also pressed to pay attention at work and excel or suffer potential consequences.  Survey please! The numbers tell the story:

An American Psychological Association survey on work-related stress found that sixty-two percent of Americans hold work as having a significant impact on stress levels.

A survey by Princeton Survey Research Associates found seventy-five percent of employees believing that on-the-job stress has increased compared to the previous generation.

We are under enormous pressure to perform. To deliver. To excel. We juggle our working and living experience, but often fall into a merry-go-round of stress in what I refer to at WorkLifeNation.com as the  “UPED U” Cycle which is described below.

In simple terms, “UPED U” is the chaotic cycle we enter when our work life merge gets out of control and  “ups” our stress level leading to emotional turmoil and potentially less productivity.

The solution – to find creative ways to throw a kink into that cycle.

Here’s what happens in that cycle, along with a few pointers on how to stop the insanity! I’ll be writing more about the antidotes to these cyclical monsters in future posts.

1.     Unlimited Incoming:

A barrage of information continually comes our way.

NEW RULE: Consciously limit your news intake. Aggregate your favorite news sources and blogs on line and choose one time a day to focus on them. Depending on your job, determine the best time of
day to check e-mails and stick to it. If you are addicted to web surfing –limit your time doing that.

2.    Perceived Availability:

We’re all wired to our families, work and communities and everyone else knows you’re tethered to technology so we’ve created the perception that we’re always available.

NEW RULE: Come to agreement with the most important people from work and in your family that you communicate with regularly. Speak with them and share your daily work life scenario. People will assume that you are available unless you tell them otherwise.

3.    Expectation of Instant Gratification:

That perceived availability leads to other people’s needs to be attended to. They want to be heard and answered in the moment.

NEW RULE: Unless your work requires it, do not respond to e-mails in the moment and limit your texting.  This takes a lot of discipline and you will break this rule a lot depending on the circumstances.

4.    Desire to Deliver and Excel:

Our nature is to not fall short. To nurture and want to please in what is a competitive working environment. To make our boss or clients happy, we desire to deliver and excel to keep up with the Jones’.

NEW RULE: Don’t be so caught up in how other people define success. Be confident in your work your deliverables. Only you know how productive you are andwhat might need to change to up your game. There will be times when you might have to enter into the extreme work zone, but be aware of your limitations to avoid burnout.

5. Unlimited Interruptions:

In order to please everyone at the same time, we are often taken out of the moment, are
lead astray from the initial task and surrender to multi-tasking.

NEW RULE: Stop the insanity. Find a place in the cycle to make that tiny aberration in the stream of chaos to offset the tumble effect. It’s really about you taking control a little more control. Being conscious that the choices you make can mean the difference between burnout and a productive work life merge.

The trick is to monitor your incoming, and make concrete choices somewhere in this cycle to stump the system. Where do you think is the best place to stop the cycle? Please share your solutions to avoid an “UPED U.”

Workplace Culture Fatigue: #TChat Preview

Originally posted by Matt Charney, one of #TChat’s moderators, on MonsterThinking Blog

Fortune recently released their annual 100 Best Companies to Work For list, which takes into account such factors as internal mobility, inclusion/diversity, employee training and satisfaction, among a litany of seemingly disparate criteria that, together, comprise what’s often referred to as “Corporate Culture.

It’s no surprise that the companies on Fortune’s list are widely recognized, in best practices publications and in recruitment literature, for having developed distinct and unique corporate cultures designed to attract, develop and retain top talent.  After all, it’s culture that defines the best (and the worst) places to work.

For HR professionals, Recruiters and Executive Leadership, culture is often a top down directive, but its employees on the front lines who truly define a corporate culture and create its impact.  Culture’s a lot like meetings and memos: it’s an inescapable, and inevitable, part of the employee (and candidate) experience.

That’s why “fit” is so important to talent acquisition and development; but what does it take for new employees, their managers, executive leadership and customers to fit in, and thrive, in a unique corporate/workplace culture?

Join the #TChat conversation live every Tuesday night with from 8-9 PM ET, 7-8 PM CT, 6-7 PM MT, and 5-6 PM PT. We also enjoy hearing from our global community and hope you can join from wherever you might be. Let’s explore what companies can do to create, implement and evolve the kind of corporate culture which drives employee satisfaction, engagement and ultimately, bottom line results.

#TChat Questions and Recommended Reading: 1.25.11

Here are the questions we’ll be discussing, along with some background reading, to help prepare and inform the #TChat conversation.  While this isn’t mandatory to get in on tonight’s #TChat action, we suggest checking out these articles by top career advice and talent management thought leaders to explore the possibilities (and pitfalls) of workplace culture:

Q1) In 3 words, describe the culture of your current/recent employer; was it the culture that lured you there or that drove you away?

Read: Personality and Corporate Culture: Where’s A Person To Fit?

Q2) In “Employment Rage”, Howard Adamsky wrote, “Corporate America is not human.” If this is so, does culture really matter?

Read: The New Rules of Engagement (Excerpt from “Employment Rage”)

Q3) What is your definition of “office politics” and how does it impact hiring and retention?

Read: Office Politics: How Well Do You Play the Game?

Q4)  What tools does your company use to assess “fit” during recruiting; how do these “track” to your culture?

Read: Culture Brand: Create Magical Distinction to Attract the Very Best Talent

Q5) What should CEOs be doing to create and lead a culture that generates shareholder value and what is this “value”?

Read: The Cornerstone of An Engaged Workforce Culture

Q6) What should all employees be doing to develop a culture that generates shareholder value?

Read: It’s Not the Stupid Culture; It’s the Culture, Stupid!

Q7) How would you conduct a workplace culture audit? How often should this be repeated?

Read: Practical Ways To Address Employee Engagement

Visit www.talentculture.com for more great information on #TChat and resources on culture fatigue and how to overcome it!

Our Monster social media team supports the effort behind #TChat and its mission of sharing “ideas to help your business and your career accelerate – the right people, the right ideas, at the right time.”

#TChat is brought to you by @TalentCulture, @MeghanMBiro, @KevinWGrossman, @monster_works, and @MonsterWW – They will be joining the #TChat conversation live every Tuesday night with from 8-9 PM ET, 7-8 PM CT, 6-7 PM MT, and 5-6 PM PT Hope to see you tonight at 8 PM ET for #TChat!

The Ever-Changing Face of Leadership

The term, ‘leader,’ can be such a broad word. According to Dictionary.com, the definition of ‘lead’  follows (I’ve bolded my preferred wording):

– To go before or with to show the way; conduct or escort.
– To conduct by holding and guiding.
– To influence or induce.

Scrolling down a bit, the definition of ‘lead’ also includes:

  • to command or direct.
  • To go at the head of in advance of (a procession, list, body, etc.). Proceed first in.

I’ve been struggling a bit with the whole ‘leadership’ terminology for a while now. Possibly, it is because individuals anointed as leaders sometimes are perceived by non-leaders to be ego-driven, and that can be untenable and unattractive.

Or, perhaps it has more to do with the fact most of us don’t want to consider ourselves followers – most folks want to be important, in their own right. Whether we are considered a ‘leader’ in our field, ‘leader’ of a specific subject matter or, leader of our own self, most of us want to be independent and impactful, independently of others’ telling us how to be so.

Gripped by Inspiration, Not Dictated to by a Boss

Mike Henry, Sr., Leadership Developer and President, Lead Change Group, invited me into a radio conversation last year. During that interview, he used the term, self-leader. According to Mike, “No one wants to grow up to be a follower.” I agree!

In the best of situations, individuals never feel like they are following, but instead are inspired and compelled to engage their limited amount of energy into an initiative, event, project, program, etc.  The feeling of inspiration is so gripping, therefore, it seems that there just ‘happens’ to be a leader at the ‘helm’ who is doing the coaxing, inspiring and orchestrating of the collective energy to come together for a harmonic outcome.

I collaborate with leadership folks every day – they are my professional and executive clients who are either in the throes of career transition, wish to make a vertical or lateral move, and/or wish to propel their careers to new heights. Whatever the case, many of these folks have been bestowed the leadership moniker: Finance Manager, Senior Marketing Manager, Engineering Director, Vice President of Technology, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Executive Officer … and the list goes on.  Most of these leaders earned those titles through progressive career advancement and continual proof of leadership results, measured ultimately by corporate revenue and profit growth.

However, without an innate and well-honed ability to guide their teams through obstacles, challenges, change and other improvement and growth activities, these leaders would not be where they are today, at the helms of their own ships, steaming forward.

The Best Leaders Are Beacons of Light

The best of these leaders are both directors of initiatives and beacons of light to which their individual contributors, managers and teams aspire to reach. They are not ‘in charge’ of others, bossing them around; they do not wield their authority to ensure their plebes simply heed their commands, without question.

No, in fact, most successful leaders I have interviewed over the past 13+ years possess a unique combination of attributes including confidence and humility and a focus on individual and team needs equal to, and sometimes, above their own.

As one recent client divulged, during a merger and acquisition initiative, he selectively ‘took bullets’ for his managers so that they could better foster relationships with members of an acquired company. In other words, he didn’t put his own agenda over the company’s or individual contributors’ and managers’ needs. At the end of the day, in fact, he sacrificed his own position for the betterment of the company and the individuals thereto.

Moreover, the best of the best leaders identify the strengths of their staff and leverage those to create a win-win for both the company and the individual talent contributors. A focus on people’s talent strengths, versus exerting undue energy on what is someone’s weakness, therefore, propels an organization forward.

#TChat contributor J. Keith Dunbar, Fearless Transformational Global Leader, underscores this idea well, by saying:

“I leverage people’s strengths and put them in a position to be successful. By taking this approach, it positions the team, and ultimately the organization, for increased opportunities for success.”

Finally, strong, effective leaders lead by example. As Felix P. Nater, CSC, President of Nater Associates, Ltd., recently said on Twitter:

“Leading by example empowers adults.”

Sometimes We Must Simply Follow

That said, from time to time, we all put on our follower hats, and I believe there is a good reason to do so.

For those of you on Twitter, think about reasons you ‘follow’ others. Perhaps it is to learn from them as they fuel their Tweets with nourishing information, including thoughtful data, insights and blog post links that further drill down to the why, how, when, where and what of the matter. In other words, you look to that person for guidance, experience and lessons that you may incorporate in your own knowledge bank and day-to-day activity.

Or, maybe those you follow are more experienced in the job or industry with which you aspire to connect. In addition to wanting to learn from them, you may also want to model their behaviors, get to know them personally and network with them – perhaps tapping into their intellectual knowledge base and wealth of relationships to further your own career and business needs.

Our Roles, Regardless of Title, Assume Traits of Influence and Leadership

At the end of the day, though, each of us, as individuals, wants to assume a position of independence, specifically and uniquely contributing to individual and group goals. As well, we all, from time to time, regardless of our titles, switch from leading to following, then back to leading and then to following  … and (you get the drift). It’s a continuum and the roles of leading and following are not clearly distinguished by titles and job descriptions. In fact, the leadership ideal is one that we all carry around and exude in our individual and group, personal and work lives.

Only Human: 7 Keys to Survival…Welcome Judy Martin!

(Editor’s Note: All of us in the TalentCulture community mourn the loss of our dear friend, brilliant colleague and mindful mentor, Judy Martin, who passed away unexpectedly on January 31, 2014. Her message and her life are a lesson for us all. Below is the first post Judy contributed to our blog. This reflects her spirit, which is captured in an extensive body of work across multiple media outlets and social channels. We will forever fondly remember Judy’s warmth, wisdom and humor.)

Hello, TalentCulture Community.  My name is Judy Martin, and I am the newest addition to the team. Below is my latest post from my blog.  I am very excited to be a contributor and look forward to what’s ahead!

I’m only human despite being a self-proclaimed work life pundit. Fess-up time. My life has been less about the work life merge, and more about life and survival lately. As an entrepreneur and freelance journalist navigating a sudden health care mishap, for a time I felt like the gal looks to your left; cloistered and wrapped in my own stuff, due to sudden partial facial paralysis. Now in the healing process, I’m hoping that this post might help others as work life flexibility was the greatest key to moving forward.

I had entered The Dark Night of the Soul, as the 16th century Mystic, Saint John of the Cross wrote about. No where to go but inside and surrender to the moment. Such a seclusion is simply the norm of human nature whilst enduring such episodes.

But even in this rapture of emotional turmoil I was reminded of the words of American Buddhist nun Pema Chodron, the author of When Things Fall ApartHeart Advice for Difficult Times

If we’re willing to give up hope that insecurity and pain can be exterminated, then we can have the courage to relax with the groundlessness of our situation. This is the first step on the path. Without giving up hope that there’s somewhere better to be, that there is someone better to be – we will never relax with where we are or who we are.

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Radical Acceptance in the Moment

This is called radical acceptance; but it’s in the moment – and that moment changes as healing emerges. As we hit the depths of the chaotic waters of our being, some aberration occurs that shifts our perspective. For me, it was the realization that despite my appearance, I had a story to share that might help others in similar circumstances whose career was on the line.  I could not appear on Tv for a while, could barely see out of one eye, suffered with headaches and exhaustion –  and had to completely change my working scenario for nearly two months. But, there was a story.

I’ll spare you the gory and painful details. What happened is less important than how I dealt with it, toward maintaining some sort of work life balance. I haven’t blogged much because the collision of side effects was daunting. It was hard to get out of bed, let alone see. My work-life social media community checked in – from time-to-time – inquiring about the lapse in posting to my Work Life Nation blog.  Soon the questions were building like a house of cards about to tumble.

“Haven’t seen you on Twitter, what’s going on?”

“Sent you that book a while back, do you still plan to review it?”

“It seems impossible to get a lunch date with you. Why do you keep rescheduling?”

“You have cancelled three major work life conferences. Fess up.”

Surrendering to the Human Condition and Fessing Up

No – I wasn’t dying. But there were no guarantees the malady would not leave me with scars of paralysis or other issues. So…after some prodding by colleagues, I felt an obligation to share how I navigated the intersection of work life and sudden illness. After all, that’s what I signed up to do here at Judy Martin’s Work Life Nation, although it’s been more like Work Sleep Nation for a while.

I knew upon the occurrence that I was dealing with what could last a few weeks – to a potentially long term, even life-altering disability or deformity. My response involved lots of crying, surrender to the situation and then my survival instincts kicked in. I’ve been a reporter for 20-plus years and I was going to systematically figure out the fastest track toward healing while mustering up enough energy to work; albeit that workload was cut by 50-75% in the first few weeks of the illness. The first lesson – my work life scenario had to change and I had to adopt an even more flexible working model for the short term.

7 Keys for the Work Life Merge when Navigating Illness

This sudden illness brought me to my knees and forced me to tap a deep inner strength that coddled my sanity along the way. I sat down and gave thought to the most important priorities, everything else was put on the back burner in stages. There was no choice but to merge the work life scenario and become even more flexible that I was before.  It meant taking only certain assignments, even if they didn’t pay as well. Planning naps every day  – twice a day. And somehow fitting in doctors visits twice a week. As an independent contractor, I govern my work in a flexible manner. But suddenly, my workload and income was contingent on how well I was healing – and healing was contingent on how much cash I could spend on extra procedures (such as acupuncture) to heal faster. Catch 22. So I made ground rules.

Key #1: At all costs, health comes first: Even if it means dipping deeper into the bank account for a short period of time or asking for outside help.

Key #2: Keep stress levels to a minimum, and get plenty of sleep. Stress deters the healing process. Plain and simple.

Key #3: Financial Stability: As an independent contractor, cash flow might slow down – but it can’t stop.I had to take on less strenuous freelance work for the short term.

Key #4: Maintain business relationships: Check in with major clients to be sure everything is up to snuff. If you can’t get it done, delegate. Do you have a cache of colleagues you can call upon to help out short term?

Key #5: Transparency and communication: Close friends need to know what’s happening and important clients or your workplace should be informed to a degree.

Key #6: Understand your health options and insurance coverage: Read the fine print in the doctors office, ask questions and get a second opinion. Getting the wrong medication, having an unnecessary procedure, or not knowing the consequences of a health care choice eats into recovery time. I ran into all three conundrums.

Key #7: Inquire about your workplace guidelines regarding illness: Every workplace is different. Read up on the Family Leave Act and ask your Human Resources department about your options. Some companies have their own policies for long-time employees. What are the consequences of taking a leave of absence or time off without pay? If your management is receptive, ask about more flexible working arrangements. Most of all be honest about what you can and can not do.

The 5 Rules for Engaging on the Grid when Navigating Illness

Due to this health issue I had to head off the grid to recover while working in spurts. My blogging stopped, my Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn updates were no more than sporadic. But I tried to check in at least once a week and made an effort to read a few articles or other blogs a few times a week. But participating in “the grid” was important to fuel business, my brand and my work life content, so I had to manage my time efficiently during the little time that I was functioning with my eye open. Here were some rules that I instituted:

Rule #1: Determine how many hours a day you can work on the grid. Give yourself a limit.

Rule#2: The hours that you are able to work should be spent on goal-oriented projects not web surfing unless research is part of your responsibilities.

Rule#3: To keep my presence on-line, I scheduled a few blog posts to hit a few times a month. These were evergreen posts that could be run at any time – but I could not keep up and should have adopted the following rule sooner than I did.

Rule #4: Call on your social media community in your niche. You’ll find support in that group and they might be willing to do guest posts while you are recovering.

Rule #5: Use an aggregator like Hooter or TubeMogul to post to Twitter, LinkeIn and FaceBook simultaneously.

A Conscious Approach to Recovery and Enduring Work Life Hell

I think the most important key to recovery is to find some serenity in the healing process. Sometimes we’re brought to our knees in tragedy, but how we endure that journey can either speed up our recovery or render it more daunting. My greatest gift this lifetime is that I’ve paid attention to the chaotic episodes I’ve endured in my work life and health, and have turned them into learning experiences. As such, I cultivate resilience through meditation, contemplation and exercise daily. A regular practice to cultivate serenity gives you a bit of an edge when tragedy hits. But that’s an individual choice.

Illness can break one down. It’s very important to be kind to ourselves when we get sick. We tend to beat ourselves up. At its core, health care issues force change. Unwanted change takes us out of our comfort zone and makes us vulnerable to our own self critical thinking and the judgment of others. Such challenges may erode our patience and ego, but inevitably, conquering them leads to growth.

When faced with illness how do you manage your work life merge?  What do you do when you get so sick that working takes a backseat? Please share your wisdom!

The Art of Saying "No" for Work/Life Balance

Written by Kirsten Taggart

How many times have you said “Yes” when you really wanted to say “No?” We strive to make our friends, family, and employers happy by doing favors when asked, but sometimes its okay – necessary, even – to just say no.  This doesn’t make you selfish or rude, but the way you say it shouldn’t leave the inquirer in bad spirits. When it comes time keep these five tips in mind.

1. Be polite and respectful. A graceful rejection will leave a much better impression than a defensive one.

2. Don’t lie. Saying no is best in its simplest form. You should never feel required to state your reason, so don’t feel pressured to give an excuse.

3. If it’s a task that can be completed another day, let them know that you will be able to help at a more suitable time.

4. Offer to ask around to see if someone else is available instead.

5. Hold your ground. If they ask again, calmly apologize and reiterate that now is a bad time.

It’s important to prioritize and choose your “yes’” wisely so as not to become overwhelmed. Don’t lose sight of the importance of personal time!