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#WorkTrends: How to Manage the Modern Workforce

On this episode of #WorkTrends we’re thinking through a very common challenge these days: successfully managing the modern workforce. How do you stay connected with your team and give people the tools they need to be successful? We hear from Sean Jackson, a former Marine who’s on a mission to make work better by empowering talent.

Jackson is the founder and CEO of employee directory and workforce data company Sift. He says that when he transitioned into the corporate world, he discovered that too many people don’t get the freedom they need to thrive. He offers advice on how to manage the modern workforce and set our teams up for success.

We also talk to author Kyle Nel about how he led massive behavioral change at Lowe’s.

Listen to the full conversation or read the recap below. Subscribe so you never miss an episode.

‘Strategic Corporals’

Jackson says that while many people have a vision of the military as a rigid, top-down management structure, the reality is much more complex. In fact, he says, the modern military is predicated on giving more freedom of action to leaders down the organizational chart because those low-level leaders are often away from their commanders and without reliable communication. In battlefield conditions, the ability to make quick, effective decisions is an essential element of success. It’s this approach that underpins the concept of the “strategic corporal.”

In the military, the lowest rank with direct reports is a corporal, who Jackson notes can often be quite young — people who join the military at 18 can find themselves operating as a manager by age 19. “In the military, at the end of the day, they’re just concerned with effectiveness, and if every decision you made had to be given by order by somebody up the chain of command, you’re not going to be able to figure anything out,” he says.

He says the military today is making an effort to better equip leaders at a much more junior level — workers the corporate world often doesn’t allow to make strategic decisions. But he says this approach is similar to what some agile startups are doing.

“They’re laying out commander’s intent, laying out a mission or vision that their soldiers or their employees are going to execute, and then they’re empowering all of their leaders in the organization to fulfill that mission and not trying to fill in the blanks so much,” he says. “They’re actually leaving a lot of white space to let smart people who are closer to actions and closer to information make the decisions to achieve that mission.”

Putting Handcuffs on Talent

Jackson says that when he transitioned into the corporate world, the biggest surprise was how hierarchical it was compared with what he experienced in the military.

“The military’s kind of notorious for being bureaucratic — and, to be sure, there are a lot of forms to fill out and a lot of acronyms,” he says. “But getting into the corporate world, in some ways I felt like I had less control.”

Jackson was a sergeant by age 24, commanding 48 Marines in Afghanistan. But in his move to the corporate world he found himself an individual contributor with more many more restrictions on what he could and couldn’t do. It’s a reality that he says prevents the top talent in too many organizations from thriving and contributing all they can.

“It was really interesting to me that corporations are desperately trying to hire the smartest and brightest people they can with these amazing skill sets that frankly they don’t have internally — then when they get there, they handcuff them with a whole bunch of bureaucracy and rules and regulations,” he says.

Leaning Toward Transparency

Both in the HR tech space and more broadly, Jackson says he’s inspired by newer organizations that are committed to the concept of hyper-transparency, whether that’s sharing executive salaries or other strategic data with lower-level employees.

“I think we are definitely leaning toward transparency,” he says. “Like the military, it’s not because it’s fun or it makes you feel good; it’s because it’s more efficient when you’re expecting people to be making decisions at lower and lower levels. If they don’t have access to that information easily, quickly and simply, they’re not going to be able to make these informed decisions, so I think the most progressive companies are saying ‘Hey, let’s give people the data and information they need to do their jobs and then that’s going to make us more effective in the long run.’ ”

Resources Mentioned in This Episode

 

Let’s continue the conversation. Join us on Twitter (#WorkTrends) for our weekly chat on Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m. Eastern, 10:30 a.m. Pacific, or anywhere in the world you are joining from to discuss this topic and more.

The Authentic Side Of Leadership #TChat Recap

The Importance of Authentic Leadership

What is authentic leadership? Well, the answer to that question is a millionfold, as we learned last night on the latest #TChat. Everyone seemed to have a definition to go into the bucket when it came to leadership that was…real. In order to be authentic, some surmised you have to be true to your style of leadership and perfect THAT, not necessarily try to fit into someone else’s definition of what leadership could, should and would look like to them.

We’ve heard that leaders should be everything under the sun; from assertive to humble, servant to conqueror, honest to canny, tyrant to buddy. Where does the aspiring leader look to find their answers? One answer may come from inside the team:

@lori~translation lady said:

A1: Authentic leadership means collaborating and empowering because you can accomplish so much more with teamwork and community. #TChat

That was echoed in many sentiments. Your team often informs just what kind of leader you need to be. In fact, the authentic leader would do well to study the “following” styles of his or her team before settling on a “my-way-or-the-highway” leadership style.

@terriklass said:

A1. Authentic leadership means being able to share all sides of us. Being truthful of who we are. #tchat

What Bubbled Up:

Regardless of varying ideas of what defined authentic leadership, there were qualities that no one could argue with (or at least no one did!). They were:

  • Honesty
  • Transparency
  • Empathy or Heart
  • Team-oriented or holistic
  • Action-oriented

What’s not in there? Careful attention to share prices and nary a mention of productivity. Efficiency is a KPI to which many leaders are held. How do we emulate the above characteristics (or allow our leaders to emulate them) while still ensuring we get our gosh-darn jobs done? That too, nearly always falls to the leader:

  • The leader is usually the most selfless person in the room.
  • A leader ensures that her team is reprimanded in private.
  • A leader keeps the workload manageable for his team.
  • True leaders use honesty to motivate the team, rather than hiding crucial information from them.

Stuff You Can Do

Didn’t have time to attend? Try these five-minute new tricks to make baby steps toward authentic leadership:

  1. Try to figure out what your team needs by watching them take criticism and/or praise. Take notes.
  2. Write down your strengths (honesty, empathy etc.) and try to trace a path to how you can use those to reach specific KPIs in your organization.
  3. Check the recommended reading and add Cy Wakeman’s books and blogs to your reading list.
  4. Make a list of leaders who have inspired you personally (3) and mentors in the public eye you admire (10).
  5. Invite someone from the first list to coffee or dinner. Pay.
  6. Watch a speech or video of a person on the second list and write down what it is that makes you admire their leadership qualities.

Did you miss all the #TChatty goodness?

Well you can catch up by listening to this week’s #TChat Radio Show or taking a look at our Storify of the #TChat conversation.

Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to Todd DeWett for giving us an inspiring look into authentic leadership! Check out his site at drdewett.com!

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

WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week at #TChat Events, we’ll be talking about wholehearted leadership and employee engagement. Kevin Kruse is going to be our radio guest and Nancy Rubin will be our moderator. See more information in the #TChat Preview this weekend, and save the date: Wednesday, April 2!

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

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

photo credit: Steven | Alan via photopin cc

Prospecting LinkedIn For…Everything #TChat Recap

The Power of Professional Prospecting

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

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

The Mainstays

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

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

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

Stuff You Can Do

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

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

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

Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

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

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

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

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

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

Optimism: A Workplace Necessity #TChat Recap

Bring Your Smile

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

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

Bright Smiling Selfies

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

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

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

Transparency and Communication

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

Start with Your Attitude

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

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

#TChat Insights: Creating a Culture of Optimism

Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

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

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

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

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

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

 

photo credit: peyri via photopin cc

Disrupt HR…NOW! #TChat Recap

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

Muppets. Cake. And Disruption.

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

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

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

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

Learning to be OK with Chaos

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

#TChat Insights: Disrupting HR

Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

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

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

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

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

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

 


New Rules of Employee Engagement #TChat Recap

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

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

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

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

Breaking the Perpetual Talent Spin Cycle

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

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

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

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

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

Employees Rewrite Rules of Engagement

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

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

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

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

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

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

JoshBersin (2)

Watch the #TChat sneak peek hangout now

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

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

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

WED 2/26:

TChatRadio_logo_020813

Listen to the #TChat Radio show replay

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

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

See highlights from the Twitter stream the Storify slideshow below:

#TChat Insights: The Year of The Employee

[javascript src=”//storify.com/TalentCulture/the-year-of-the-employee.js?template=slideshow”]

Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

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

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

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

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

We’ll see you on the stream!

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

Image Credit: Mike Rohde via Flickr

Workplace Greatness: No Guarantees #TChat Recap

There we were — discussing the factors that make “great” employers so special.

I couldn’t resist asking how organizations on Fortune Magazine’s list of “100 Best Companies to Work For” compare with those featured in Jim Collins‘ best-selling books, Built to Last and From Good to Great.

Similarities? Differences?

Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For

Learn more about the 2014 list

That’s a tough question to answer in a single 30-minute radio show. But this week’s #TChat guest came well prepared. China Gorman, CEO of Great Place to Work Institute, has been crunching numbers to create the 2014 best employers list — and her perspective reflects a lifetime of leadership and HR expertise.

She made a compelling business case

The 100 Best consistently perform 2x better financially than the stock market average
The 100 Best experience up to 65% less voluntary turnover than competitors
Companies returning to this year’s list saw unprecedented growth in 2013.

But even as China shared these facts, back-to-back tweets appeared on the Twitter stream. The first from #TChat regular, Donna Rogers:

 

The second came from a fresh voice — another Jim Collins (unrelated to the author):

 

These comments inspired me to dig deeper.

In a follow-up book, How the Mighty Fall, Jim Collins (the author) revisited 11 of the 60 companies he had previously profiled as winners. These once “great companies” had stumbled for multiple reasons — from hubris, to overreach, to denial.

The sobering conclusion? Unless fallen companies return to the fundamentals that made them great, death is inevitable.

Two Implications for “Great” Employers Everywhere

1) Greatness can fade fast. Poor decision-making, heavy-handed micro-management, bad expansion bets, products that fail, fluctuating global economics, government regulation (or lack thereof) — many factors conspire to “kill” even the best companies. But the quickest road to ruin comes when organizations lose talent to competitors because employees lose “love” for what they do, who they do it with, and why they’re doing it.

2) Perpetual salvation requires rigorous work. The work that makes companies shine — a focused, flexible business model, a compelling value proposition, a workforce that feels fairly recognized and rewarded – is the same work that keeps them moving forward through peaks and valleys. Business is a non-stop gauntlet of no guarantees — and it never gets any easier.

So, what have we learned? Great is good, if you can get it. But good can also be great, if that’s where longevity lives.

#TChat Week-In-Review: Lessons From Great Workplaces

SAT 1/18:

Watch the Preview hangout now

#TChat Preview: TalentCulture Community Manager, Tim McDonald, framed the week’s topic in a post featuring a “sneak peek” hangout with guest, China Gorman. See the #TChat Preview now: “Best Employers: What Makes Them Work?

SUN 1/19:

Forbes.com Post: TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro explored the connection between employee engagement and business performance in her weekly Forbes.com column. Read “Happy Employees = Hefty Profits.”

RECENT RELATED POSTS:

How Great Companies Attract Top Talent” — by China Gorman
Your Corporate Culture: What’s Inside?” — by Dr. Nancy Rubin

TChatRadio_logo_020813

Listen to the #TChat Radio replay!

WED 1/22:
#TChat Radio: Hosts Meghan M. Biro and I talked with China Gorman about what makes “Best Companies to Work For” so special. Listen to the #TChat Radio replay now

#TChat Twitter: Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, China and I joined the TalentCulture community on the #TChat Twitter stream for a dynamic open conversation, centered on 5 related questions. See highlights in the Storify slideshow below:

#TChat Insights: “Best” Employers: What Makes Them Work?

[javascript src=”//storify.com/TalentCulture/best-employers-what-makes-them-work.js?template=slideshow”]

Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to China Gorman for sharing your perspectives of effective workplace environments. We value your time, your expertise and your commitment to the TalentCulture community!

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

WHAT’S AHEAD: Our month of forward-thinking #TChat Events continues on Wednesday, January 29, when we explore the impact of pervasive technology on modern recruiting. We’ll be joined by top executives from Dice, the career hub for tech, so save the date, and prepare to share your questions and opinions!

Meanwhile, the TalentCulture conversation continues daily on the #TChat Twitter stream, our LinkedIn discussion group, and elsewhere on social media.

We’ll see you on the stream!

Image Credit: WIkipedia

Putting a Face on Remote Work #TChat Recap

Say, “Good Morning.”

Go ahead. Say it out loud. Oh, but say it to someone else. Preferably in the morning. In person. Or on the phone. Or even online.

If it’s later in the day, maybe you can say, “Good Afternoon.” Or “I’m going to grab a bite to eat” when you leave for lunch.

Or when you want feedback on an idea, simply ask, “Gotta minute?”

Face-to-face — keyboard-to-keyboard — whatever it takes. Human interactions are the glue that keeps us all grounded and helps us get work done. And these days more than ever, more of us are getting more work done remotely.

Collaboration platforms, video conferencing, social networks — even our phones — these are the tools that keep us connected and empowered, wherever we roam in today’s fluid world of work.

These technologies help us plan and problem solve more efficiently than ever. Of course, they can also help us interrupt and disrupt workflows. It may be harder to be a dreaded “gotta-minute” goblin when you work from home, but it still happens.

So seriously. Gotta minute? Because it’s those disruptive, frictionless human connections, those moments when we’re relating to one another personally and professionally – that’s what keep us moving forward, together. The connections may be virtual, but the results are real.

As we explored the virtual work frontier this week with #TChat guest Mike Hostetler, Founder and CEO of appendTo, two core themes emerged:

1) Be yourself: Whether you operate from home or a centralized office, it’s essential to “show up” and be authentic. Acknowledge me throughout the day. Keep me in the loop on the good, the bad and the ugly — and don’t be afraid to tell me why. That’s the stuff that binds us in a common mission, even through rough times. Paychecks are great, but there’s no substitute for genuine human connection and shared purpose.

2) See yourself: When you work virtually, don’t forget that, in the eyes of your colleagues and managers, you’re part of something larger than yourself. It’s smart to invest in that context. It may mean periodic in-person visits to the headquarters “mothership,” or catching up at conferences and training events, or even regular (perhaps awkward) team video conferences. It may not always be fun, but the effort can make a big difference in the quality of your performance and your team’s results.

So let’s learn from the wisdom of our talent-minded crowd, and let’s stay connected. OK?
“Good morning, #TChat. How are you doing today?”

#TChat Week-In-Review: Remote Work Continues to Rise

SAT 1/11:

Mike Hostetler

Watch the #TChat Preview hangout

#TChat Preview: TalentCulture Community Manager, Tim McDonald, framed the week’s topic in a post featuring a “sneak peek” hangout with guest, Mike Hostetler, Founder and CEO of appendTo. See the #TChat Preview now: “Virtual Workplace? For Real!

SUN 1/12:

Forbes.com Post: TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro discussed what’s at stake for leaders as the future of work becomes increasingly virutal. Read “Telecommuting Is The Future Of Work.

RECENT RELATED POSTS:

Telecommuting: 5 Ways Companies Benefit” by Daniel Newman
Telecommuting Tools: What’s Your Plan?” by Dr. Nancy Rubin

WED 1/15:

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Listen now to the #TChat Radio replay

#TChat Radio: Hosts Meghan M. Biro, and Kevin W. Grossman talked with entrepreneur Mike Hostetler about what it takes to create and sustain successful virtual teams. Listen to the #TChat Radio replay…

#TChat Twitter: Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin and Mike joined the TalentCulture community on the #TChat Twitter stream for a dynamic open conversation, centered on 5 related questions. See highlights in the Storify slideshow below:

#TChat Insights: Virtual Workplace? For Real!

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Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to Mike Hostetler for sharing your perspectives on creating and managing remote teams. We value your time, your thoughtful ideas and your expertise!

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

WHAT’S AHEAD: Our month of forward-thinking #TChat Events continues on Wednesday, January 22, when China Gorman, CEO at Great Place To Work, reveals emerging trends in employment practices, with illustrations from Fortune Magazine’s recently announced “2014 Best Companies To Work For” list. See the #TChat Radio preview now.

Meanwhile, the TalentCulture conversation continues daily on the #TChat Twitter stream, our LinkedIn discussion group. and elsewhere on social media. So join us anytime — don’t be shy.

We’ll see you on the stream!

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

Mobile Hiring Hits The Fast Lane #TChat Recap

Several weeks ago, we started a #TChat discussion about the rapid increase in demand for mobile recruitment. Why?

Meeting Talent On Talent’s Terms

Smartphones and tablets are now essential tools for many of us, and statistics reveal just how prevalent mobility has become. For example, a report by Marketing Land indicates that nearly 40% of Internet use is driven by mobile devices. And Jibe found that, despite perceived obstacles, 86% of job seekers with a smartphone want to use that device in their search.

Recruiting consultant Michael Marlatt says the staggering pace of mobile adoption shouldn’t surprise us, because mobile devices offer a very personal connection. “It’s one of three things we carry. We never leave home without it. It’s the keys, the wallet or purse, and the mobile device.”

Mobile Hiring: Moving Beyond First Impressions

In this landscape, it makes sense for employers to offer mobile-optimized career sites and application management processes. Mobile-friendly recruitment enhances the candidate experience and gives employers a competitive edge in the quest to find top talent.

Recruitment certainly is a logical starting point. However, it’s only the first chapter in a much larger employment story.

What happens after a candidate is selected? In the critical timeframe between recruitment and onboarding, how can organizations leverage mobile tools to streamline hiring steps? And along the way, how can mobile engagement continue to solidify an employer’s relationship with new recruits?

Ignoring those questions can have costly consequences — for both employer brands and employee retention. So this week, our community expanded the recruiting discussion to look at how mobile technology can transform the entire transition from candidate to employee. To guide our conversation, we invited two experts in hiring process innovation:

Todd Owens, President and COO at TalentWise, a next-generation hiring platform provider, and:
Kyle Lagunas, Talent Acquisition Industry Analyst at Brandon Hall Group.

What’s At Stake For Employers?

Why is mobile increasingly vital for the hiring process? As Kyle recently noted, 22% of U.S. turnover occurs within 45 days of employment. If organizations aren’t fast and efficient at bringing new hires up to speed, they’re at risk of adding to those statistics. And with the average cost of turnover at about 20% of an employee’s salary, failure at this stage can have a significant impact on the bottom line.

So, how can HR organizations leverage the immediacy and reach of mobile to make the entire hiring process more efficient and effective? For wisdom from the crowd, check the resource links and highlights from this week’s events, below. Thanks to everyone who contributed ideas and opinions!

#TChat Week-In-Review: Mobile + Hiring = Good Match?

Todd Owens #TChat Preview Video - Mobile Hiring

Watch the #TChat Sneak Peek Video

SAT 11/9:

#TChat Preview:
TalentCulture Community Manager Tim McDonald framed this week’s topic in a post that featured brief “sneak peek” hangout video with one of our guests, Todd Owens. Read the Preview: “Hiring: Moving Forward With Mobile?

SUN 11/10:

Forbes.com Post: TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro offered 5 guidelines for business leaders who want to make the most of mobile recruiting and hiring. Read: “Leadership Is Catching a Mobile Recruiting Wave.

MON 11/11 + TUE 11/12:

Related Posts: Two guest bloggers offered related insights:
Read: “Mobile Hiring: A Smarter Way to Seal the Deal.
Read: “HR Flashback: The Way We Worked.

WED 11/13:

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Listen to the #TChat Radio show now

#TChat Radio: Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman spoke with guests Todd Owens and Kyle Lagunas about the business benefits of extending mobile recruiting strategies to the entire hiring process. Listen to the radio recording now!

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

#TChat Insights: Mobile Hiring — HR Evolution or Revolution?

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Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to  Todd Owens and Kyle Lagunas for sharing your perspectives on the increasingly vital role of mobile strategies throughout the employment lifecycle. We value your time and expertise.

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

WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week we celebrate “community” in a big way — as we look back on 3 years of #TChat at a very special anniversary double header with Hootsuite VP of Talent, Ambrosia Humphrey.

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

See you on the stream!

Image Credit: Pixabay

Generation X at Bat #TChat Recap

Do you ever wish you could instantly capture expert advice or opinions from across the World of Work?

Here’s an easy solution: Just ask a quick question on Twitter about generational differences in today’s workplace. Even better, ask that question during a #TChat event. I guarantee that, within moments, you’ll be drinking from a fire hose of thoughtful, passionate, articulate responses!

That’s exactly what we experienced on the #TChat stream last night with special guest, Mark Babbitt. As founder + CEO of YouTern, an organization that helps young professionals grow through high-impact information, mentorships and internships, Mark has developed strong opinions about the silent strength that Generation X brings to the workforce.

Do You Mind If I Talk About Your Age?

We were curious if the TalentCulture community agrees with Mark’s perspective. And we wondered how important generational similarities and differences are in shaping tomorrow’s organizations.

The conversation exposed what at first blush, might seem like opposing viewpoints. For example, on one hand, many participants emphasized the benefits of celebrating diversity:

“It’s not one-size-fits-all.” …and… “Let’s value the differences.” …and as Tom Bolt suggested…

Meanwhile, other participants emphasized the importance of focusing on similarities:

“Empower people; stop focusing on generations.” …and… “There are inspired, innovative, connected people in every generation.” …and as Kelly Blokdijk noted…

Of course, upon reflection, these perspectives are really two sides of the same coin. Both hold truths that can propel organizations forward.

But key questions remain — HOW BEST can we bring together both ends of this spectrum to create more effective organizational cultures? And how prepared is our next wave of leaders to accomplish that mission? Whenever human behavior is involved, there are many roads to the same destination. Some paths have many more detours and roadblocks. Organizations need smart navigators. Meanwhile, the business world continues to grow more complex and challenging. That’s why we’ll need extraordinary leaders in the future — regardless of their generation.

What’s Age Got To Do With It?

In the meantime, we look to one another for guidance. It’s actually phenomenal how much information has been created and shared about generations in the workplace. And yet organizations still struggle with how to “make it work.”

Just for fun, consider this quick, unscientific peek at the magnitude of commentary available online:

GOOGLE SEARCH RESULTS:
“Millennials” work = 39,000,000
“Boomers” work = 37,000,000
“Generation X” work = 3,260,000

You’d think there are enough nuggets of wisdom in there to help us understand and resolve these issues. But ideas, alone, aren’t the answer. Action is also required.

I wonder what “old-school” sage, the late Peter Drucker, would have said about this, if he had joined #TChat Twitter last night? Perhaps only this:

“If you want something new, you have to stop doing something old.”

After all, no matter how old or young we are, that’s really the only path to progress.

So let’s keep the ideas flowing. Let’s keep the lines of communication open. Let’s share what works, and toss out what doesn’t. But most of all, let’s encourage one another to be bold and try “something new.” Let’s keep trying, and learning, and growing, and evolving. Let’s look forward to creating that “new” future together!

#TChat Week-In-Review: Gen X — Leading From The Middle

MarkB

Watch the Hangout now

SAT 10/12:

#TChat Preview:
TalentCulture Community Manager Tim McDonald framed this week’s topic in a post that featured a brief G+ Hangout video with guest Mark Babbitt. Read the Preview: “Gen X: Leading From The Middle.”

SUN 10/13:

Forbes.com Post: TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro suggested how leaders can overcome generational differences. Read: “5 Ways Leaders Bridge the Generational Divide.”

TUE 10/15:

Related Post: Dan Newman, author of “The Millennial CEO,” examined the source of effective leadership. Read: “Anatomy of a Leader: Not Just Skin Deep.”

WED 10/16:

TChatRadio_logo_020813

Listen to the radio show now

#TChat Radio: Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman spoke with special guest, Mark Babbitt, about the unique challenges and opportunities that Generation X faces in today’s world of work. Listen to the radio recording now!

#TChat Twitter: Immediately following the radio show, Mark, Meghan and Kevin joined the entire community on the #TChat Twitter stream for an open conversation about 5 related questions. For highlights, check the Storify slideshow below:

#TChat Highlights: Gen X: Leading From The Middle

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Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to Mark Babbitt for adding your voice to this week’s discussion. Your insights about Gen X have helped challenge our assumptions and expand our understanding.

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

WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week, we tackle another important “world of work” topic. So save the date (October 23) for another rockin #TChat double header. And keep an eye out for details in the next few days.

Meanwhile, the World of Work conversation continues! So join us on the #TChat Twitter stream, on our LinkedIn discussion group. or elsewhere on social media. The lights are always on here at TalentCulture, and your thoughts are always welcome.

See you on the stream!

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

Engagement As Energy: #TChat Lessons From #HRTechConf

“Employee engagement?”

She furrowed her brow and challenged our use of the term. And that’s when things got interesting.

Or maybe that’s when things got accurate. Historically accurate. Holistically accurate. Painfully accurate.

Meghan and Kevin LasVegas HRTechConf 2013 (2)“Why are we using that word? When employees meet each other in the hallway, do they ask each other ‘Are you engaged today?'”

All of us on the panel shook our heads and smiled. She continued, “No, they don’t. What we’re really talking about is improving individual and organizational energy, drive and focus.”

We all nodded.

The “she” in this story is Marcia Conner, collaborative learning thought leader, author and Principal of the SensifyGroup. She was one of five panelists at a very special “live”  #TChat roundtable in a jam-packed Peoplefluent booth at this year’s HR Technology Conference & Exposition in Las Vegas. (And by the way, thank you, Peoplefluent for hosting the event!) Others on this stellar panel included:

Employee Engagement: Why Should We Care?

TalentCulture at HRTechConfMy TalentCulture co-founder Meghan M. Biro and I gathered this panel of smart HR executives and industry influencers to look closer at employee engagement employee energy, drive and focus, which has become the holy grail of HR and business leaders, through every aspect of the talent lifecycle — from recruiting and onboarding, to continuous development and performance management.

Again we ask the question: Why? And why so much fuss over something so seemingly out of HR’s control? We’ve seen the dismal research results for years. We keep sharing industry jargon surrounding this issue. And yet most initiatives designed to improve the status quo haven’t moved the needle much, if at all.

Engagement — energy — whatever you choose to call it — is a problem that isn’t going away anytime soon. Nor is it likely to be resolved without continued awareness and dedicated effort. But there’s a lot at stake for those who crack the code, and that’s why the smartest employers remain focused on finding solutions.

So we shouldn’t be surprised that employee engagement is a top priority for all three of the practitioners on our panel. They recognize that emotionally connected individuals simply perform better, day to day. In turn, this increases productivity, improves performance, reduces attrition and boosts overall business results.

Employee Engagement: What Matters Most?

But clearly the best answers won’t come from a one-size-fits-all approach. We know that more emotionally committed employees invest more discretionary effort at work — and some individuals are more committed than others. It’s always been that way. A myriad of variables determine commitment. But if employers pay attention to the most important factors, perhaps commitment (and by association, energy, drive and focus) will improve. That’s the goal.

Meghanandfriend (2)All three of the practitioners on the panel shared examples of how they’re addressing key factors to influence engagement levels across their organizations. The initiatives range from community building, to culture immersion (at Buffalo Wild Wings, one restaurant at a time), to coaching and mentoring, to performance-specific rewards and recognition, to highly configurable collaborative communication platforms.

None of these ideas were lost on the TalentCulture community, as the #TChat Twitter stream lit up with questions and comments throughout the live discussion. It was truly an engaging meeting of the minds.

And that’s when Meghan and I suggested we focus all of that energy and drive into one grand, collective #TChat hug. A figurative hug of course — but a group hug nonetheless. C’mon, bring it in…

 

 

Gen X: Leading From The Middle #TChat Preview

(Editor’s Note: Are you looking for a complete overview of the week’s #TChat highlights and resource links? Read the #TChat Recap: “Generation X At Bat.”)

I just discovered that I’m exceptional! Or to be more accurate, I’m unconventional.

I’m a member of Gen X — and according to those who analyze age-related attributes, I should feel disadvantaged and overlooked in the workplace. Fortunately, I’ve had an interesting and rewarding career path, so perhaps I just got lucky. Or perhaps the assumptions aren’t as universal as we think.

But that raises some related questions — Just how “real” is the generational divide at work? And what do those differences mean, as Baby Boomers begin to retire, and a new wave of leaders steps up to drive the world of work?

Last week at #TChat Twitter, our community collectively agreed that the office is no place for age discrimination. However, for better or worse, each generation brings a unique set of shared experiences to the workplace. Are Baby Boomers and Millennials stealing attention from those of us who are “in the middle”? If so, what kind of impact will that have on the future of work?

This week, we’re addressing those questions head-on. We want to give Gen X the attention it deserves. And we’ve invited an ideal expert to lead the discussion:

Mark Babbitt, Founder + CEO of YouTern, an organization that helps young talent develop professionally through high-impact mentors, internships and information.

I spoke with Mark briefly in a joint G+ Hangout, where he set the stage for this week’s topic:

No matter what generation you represent, we want to hear your thoughts about how organizations can prepare tomorrow’s leaders for success. So please join us, and bring your ideas and opinions!

#TChat Events: Gen X — Leading From The Middle

TChatRadio_logo_020813

Tune-in to the #TChat Radio show

#TChat Radio — Wed, Oct 16 — 6:30pmET / 3:30pmPT

Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman talk with Mark Babbitt about the unique challenges and opportunities that Generation X faces in today’s world of work. Follow the action LIVE online, and dial-in with your feedback and questions!

#TChat Twitter — Wed, Oct 16 7pmET / 4pmPT

Immediately following the radio show, we’ll move this discussion to the #TChat Twitter stream for an open chat with the entire TalentCulture community. Anyone with a Twitter account is invited to participate, as we address these questions:

Q1: Gen X is “forgotten” in today’s workforce — myth or reality?
Q2: How can Gen Xers elevate their visibility and value at work?
Q3: Why is it smart for employers to empower all generations?
Q4: How can today’s leaders develop tomorrow’s decision makers?
Q5: What could technology do to remove generational barriers?

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

We’ll see you on the stream!

Age Bias At Work: Bad Business #TChat Recap

“Discrimination due to age is one of the great tragedies of modern life. The desire to work and be useful is what makes life worth living, and to be told your efforts are not needed because you are the wrong age is a crime.” Johnny Ball

Who wouldn’t agree with that statement, in theory? But in fact, age discrimination persists. Why? And what should talent-minded professionals do about it? These were the core issues we tackled at this week’s #TChat Twitter forum.

To help us take a collective look at the impact of age discrimination on today’s workforce, two of the HR community’s sharpest thought leaders joined our moderator, Cyndy Trivella:

Steve Levy, a prominent workforce sourcing expert and popular recruiting blogger.

Heather Bussing, an employment law attorney who is also a founding editorial advisory board member and contributor at HR Examiner.

Here are some top takeaways, followed by resource links and the #TChat highlights slideshow:

Ageism “Sniff Test”

TChatTwitter_logo_020813Age discrimination is often not as overt as other forms of bias. When interviewing for a position, older candidates may be told that they’re not the right “fit” for an organization, or they’re “overqualified” for a job. Younger job seekers may be told to pursue unpaid internships to “gain more experience.” Either scenario may be appropriate — but when a pattern emerges, it’s most likely a systemic problem. Similarly, if employees “of a certain age” are consistently left out of communication loops, meetings and business decisions, discrimination is a likely culprit.

Ageism can be a factor at any stage in our lives — and tension seems to be mounting at both ends of today’s workforce, as the economic slowdown continues and more employees are retiring later in life.

What’s The Source?

Discrimination based on age (or other arbitrary criteria) stems from our need to categorize the abundance of information that surrounds us each day. Classifying information helps us process the world more efficiently — but not always effectively.

Fear seems to be a common factor in age discrimination. We tend to feel more comfortable with things that are familiar, and we fear things that we don’t know or understand. An older worker may fear that a younger counterpart is more energetic, or offers more creative ideas. While a younger worker may fear that an older employee contributes more depth of knowledge in a particular area, or resists fresh ideas. These feelings may not be rational, but the fear can be very real. Yet, ironically, no one likes to be stereotyped.

Keeping Age Discrimination Out Of The Office

To move past age discrimination, we need to embrace diversity, in all of its forms. A culture of  inclusion starts with leaders who leave age at the door. Smart leaders know that a diverse workforce contributes to innovation, and adds to a company’s value in the marketplace. It creates a “virtuous cycle” effect that encourages more collaboration among teams and employees. On the other hand, a one-dimensional workforce can breed “group think” that weakens a company’s competitive position.

How Can Leaders Foster Workplace Diversity?

Start with the hiring process. Hire the best candidate for the job. Use performance based hiring to avoid age discrimination. Consciously strive for a fair, inclusive, transparent recruitment process.

Create a cross-mentoring program. This makes sense for employers in the face of today’s talent shortage. It encourages knowledge sharing and helps support succession planning. It can also boost employee engagement.

What Can Each Of Us Do?

Consider listening and inquiry your personal weapons in the war against age discrimination. Never stop learning — no matter what your age. Embrace technology and use it as a tool to network with others and learn from them. Look for opportunities to grow personally and professionally, and share ideas with others at social forums, like #TChat Twitter — where diverse thinking is always welcome!

For more inspiration, see resource links and #TChat event highlights in the Storify slideshow below. If this post inspires you, be sure to add a comment below or jump into the #TChat stream any time. In our world of work, everyone is welcome, at any age!

#TChat Week-In-Review: Age Discrimination Perception + Reality

SUN 10/6:

SteveandTim

Watch the #TChat Preview video now

#TChat Preview: TalentCulture Community Manager Tim McDonald set the stage for this week’s event in a preview post that featured a fun G+ hangout video with guest Steve Levy. Check it out: “Old Dogs + New Tricks: Will HR Learn?”

TUE 10/8:

Related Post: This week’s other special guest, Heather Bussing, offered a very human perspective on discrimination in a post at HR Examiner. Read: “Why Age Discrimination Should Matter to You.”

WED 10/9:

Related Post: TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro outlined 5 steps that business leaders should take in overcoming workplace age stereotypes. Read: “How To Break The Age Bias Habit.”

#TChat Twitter: This week, we by-passed #TChat Radio. Instead the entire community set the #TChat Twitter hashtag on fire, as our guests joined moderator Cyndy Trivella in a lively discussion about 6 key age discrimination issues. The hour flew by, as thousands of ideas and opinions hit the stream. For highlights, see the Storify slideshow below:

#TChat Highlights: Age Discrimination Perception + Reality

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GRATITUDE: Thanks again to Steve Levy and Heather Bussing for shining a light on workplace age discrimination. We welcome your enthusiasm and perspectives anytime!

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

WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week we focus on next-generation workplace leadership with our special guest, YouTern CEO, Mark Babbitt! Watch for more details in the coming days.

Meanwhile, the World of Work conversation continues! So join us on the #TChat Twitter stream, on our LinkedIn discussion group. or elsewhere on social media. The lights are always on here at TalentCulture, and your thoughts are always welcome.

See you on the stream!

Image Credit: Tim Tyrell-Smith at flickr

How To Break The Age Bias Habit

Want to know a deep, dark secret? OK then. Just between us — there’s some truth in all those stereotypes that swirl around about Baby Boomers, Millennials and other generations. That’s actually why they became stereotypes in the first place.

But wait. There’s another truth that no one in the workplace can afford to ignore. Discrimination is a career killer. Age bias may be as old as the hills, but that doesn’t mean it’s acceptable or even legal to let it poison your company culture. And in today’s transparent world of work, that kind of behavior is bound to be exposed, sooner or later. So let’s step back and re-frame this issue.

Smart Leaders Know Age Is Not A Factor

Today’s global economy is highly competitive. Successful organizations need all the creative, useful ideas they can get. It doesn’t matter if the source is old, young or in between. As French playwright Moliere said, “I take my good where I find it.”

Yet the labels persist. You’ve heard it before: Gen Yers are lazy, entitled, and preoccupied with digital connections. Gen Xers are cynical, alouf, and make lousy team players. Baby Boomers are stodgy, inflexible, and can’t relate to younger people. Can you find individuals who perfectly fit these descriptions? Sure you can. But can you find many other people who smash these cliches to pieces? I certainly hope so! I’m one of them.

Removing Age From The Workforce Equation

If you’re serious about your success — as well as your organization’s success — you’ll reach to the best and brightest no matter how old or young they are. But how can you avoid the trap of generational stereotypes? Here are 5 steps to consider:

1) Be aware and be vigilant. Take a quick personal inventory. Do you see some signals that shouldn’t be there? You’re not alone. All of us let age stereotypes creep into our thought patterns and behavior. It happens more than most of us want to admit. Come on. Own up. Face it by formalizing it. List the age-related assumptions you make about people. Become mindful. You can’t stop stereotyping until you’re willing to recognize how you do it.

2) Disprove the stereotype. Now that you have your list, find people who make a mockery of it. The Gen Xer who has worked 80 hours a week at the same company since college; the Gen Yer who created a cohesive, winning team; the Boomer who invented a wildly exciting new technology product.

3) Retrain your brain. Now that you know who and how you stereotype, and you know how false and limiting your “reality” is, train yourself to stop believing the lie. Be prepared to practice. Making snap judgments about people based on obvious attributes is deeply ingrained in us all. Unlearning this behavior takes time, but every step is a move in the right direction. When you meet someone, pay attention to your internal response — both intellectual and emotional. If you stereotype them, consciously tell yourself to look past it, and instead look at other characteristics that are more relevant.

4) Be open to “see” the person “in 3D.” There’s a word for someone who doesn’t measure individuals by their unique strengths and talents. That word is “fool.” You’re working to build a successful career, project, or enterprise. Why in the world would you limit yourself by refusing help from willing and able contributors? Embrace the talent that is available to you. Judge people by their past performance and potential to add value in the future. Age is irrelevant in that context. You need everyone to deliver their best effort. Stay open to possibilities and reach out.

5 ) Make it a habit. The goal is to build a network that transcends stereotyping. Make a conscious effort, at least once a week, to spend time with someone whom you would have stereotyped in the past. If you’re a Gen Yer, take a Boomer out to lunch. Listen to their story and soak up lessons from their experience. If you’re a Boomer, seek out a Gen Yer to mentor. Ask what’s on their mind and how you can help. Then listen closely to how they respond. No matter what age you are, be willing to discuss personal limitations and ask for input and feedback. Too often we assume it’s a sign of weakness if we admit our concerns and shortcomings. But actually it’s a strength. As Moliere suggested, take your good where you find it. I’m not sure how old he was when he penned that advice, but honestly, it doesn’t matter!

Bottom line: In the workplace and in every other aspect of life, stereotyping is self-destructive. It denies our basic humanity, and the ability we all have to transcend superficial categorization. Smash stereotypes, celebrate individuality, and you will learn, grow, and build stronger relationships. You’ll also be a business leader that others will want to follow.

(Editor’s Note: Join the TalentCulture community tonight, Oct 9 from 7-8pm ET, at #TChat Twitter,  where we’re discussing age-based discrimination in the workplace. Everyone is welcome! Learn more in the preview post…)

(Editor’s Note: Meghan M. Biro is an active contributor to Forbes.com. This article is adapted from her Forbes blog, with permission.)

Image Credit: Pixabay

Virgin Pulse + TalentCulture Team Up To Champion Workforce Engagement

Changing The Engagement Game Together

Nearly four years ago, we launched TalentCulture on a simple premise — that talent-minded professionals can transform the “world of work” through purposeful social connections. Our vibrant community continues to grow and evolve, fueled by three core values:

•  Desire to advance the “human side” of business;
•  Passion for innovation;
•  Commitment to open collaboration.

In this spirit we welcome Virgin Pulse to the TalentCulture circle — where we’ll work hand-in-hand to help develop better business organizations from the inside out.

Virgin Pulse — Not Your Father’s Wellness Program

Virgin-Pulse

Learn more about Virgin Pulse

Part of Sir Richard Branson’s famed Virgin Group, Virgin Pulse (formerly Virgin HealthMiles) is the leading workplace health engagement platform. Every day, its “Total Quality of Life” approach empowers more than 1,000,000 participants to improve their health in ways that are meaningful, fun and sustainable. This elevates employee performance and retention, while simultaneously building stronger, more resilient organizations.

The Virgin Pulse philosophy fits naturally with TalentCulture’s emphasis on “seeing employees in 3D.” Together, we aim to advance the concept of “bringing your whole self to work.”

Everybody Plays — Everybody Wins!

What does this alliance mean for you? In the months ahead, look for TalentCulture and Virgin Pulse to:

•  Examine core engagement issues facing today’s business and HR leaders;
•  Investigate the connection between healthy employees and business performance;
•  Exchange benchmarks and insights from our respective communities;
•  Share thought leadership that is shaping engagement standards and practices.

Today’s organizational challenges are highly complex. There are no easy answers, but diverse ideas can lead to innovative solutions. That’s why we welcome everyone to the TalentCulture table — including HR technology and services vendors. We believe that this inclusive environment encourages effective problem solving, and accelerates everyone’s path to progress.

Our relationship with Virgin Pulse promises to add an exciting new level of depth and energy to the TalentCulture conversation. We invite you to join us each day on our combined social channels, as we explore workplace issues that affect us all.

(Editor’s Note:  Save the date for a very special #TChat double-header (BlogTalk Radio interview and Twitter chat) with Virgin Pulse CEO, Chris Boyce on Wednesday, October 23!)

Image Credit: by Mike Baird on Flickr

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

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

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

Connecting The Engagement Dots

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meet Our LIVE #TChat Panel Of Experts

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

•  Mark Berry, VP, People Insights, ConAgra Foods

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

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

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

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

Image Credit: Pixabay

Intrapreneurs: Creating Value From Within #TChat Recap

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

Innovation With Infrastructure

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

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

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

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

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

Fueling The Intrapreneurial Fire

GoGiver

Learn more about The Go-Giver

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

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

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

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

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

Celebrating “Go-Giver” Intrapreneurs

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

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

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

SAT 8/24:

Bob_Burg_TChat Preview

Watch the #TChat “sneak peek” video now

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

SUN 8/25:

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

MON 8/26:

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

WED 8/28:

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Listen to the #TChat Radio show now

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

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

#TChat Highlights: Entrepreneurs In Your Organization

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Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

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

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

WHAT’S AHEAD: This week, we leap into a jam-packed fall season for #TChat events, starting with the topic, “Recruiting IS Marketing” with David Bernstein and Chris Fields, It’s one week you don’t want to miss! So plan to join us, and check for more details here and on TalentCulture channels.

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

See you on the stream!

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

Corporate Entrepreneurs: Best Of Both Worlds? #TChat Preview

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

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

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

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

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

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

#TChat Events: Entrepreneurs Inside Your Organization

TChatRadio_logo_020813

Tune-in to the #TChat Radio show

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

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

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

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

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

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

We’ll see you on the stream!

Reworking The 9-to-5 Office Job #TChat Preview

(Editor’s Note: Are you looking for a full recap of this week’s #TChat events and resources? Read “Flexible Work And The Power Of Choice.“)

Old habits die hard. At least it seems that way, with the classic view that “real work” only happens in a 9-to-5 office setting.

The rise of global networks and mobile technology now makes it possible to move work outside of traditional time-and-space boundaries. But organizational support is essential to the success of any alternative work model. And corporate culture doesn’t always change easily.

Flexibility: Bigger Than A Benefit

Fortunately, this hurdle is no longer stopping progressive companies from offering flexible work options. And it’s making a measurable difference where a flexible environment is considered more than just an attractive employee benefit.

In short, the idea of customized work hours and locations is emerging as a highly effective business strategy. Contrary to old-school perceptions, flexwork has been shown to improve productivity. It also reduces operating costs (thanks to decreased absenteeism, turnover, real estate requirements, utilities and other expenses).

Furthermore, it can improve an organization’s ability to win and retain talent, and boost employee engagement. In this era of persistently poor engagement levels, that just might give your organization a much-needed competitive edge.

What Do Experts Say?

This week at #TChat Events, let’s talk about how employers and employees, alike, can make the most of work that is more broadly distributed across time and space. Two experts in flexible work options are joining us to share their insights:

•  Lisa Horn, Co-Leader of SHRM’s Workplace Flexibility Initiative and a SHRM Senior Government Relations Advisor;
•  Susan Lovegren, SVP of HR at Plantronics, a leading-edge technology company that recently launched a “Smarter Working” initiative.

This topic matters to all of us who care about the future of work. So bring your best ideas, questions and concerns to the conversation!

#TChat Events: Workplace Flexibility As A Business Strategy

TChatRadio_logo_020813

Tune-in to #TChat Radio

#TChat Radio — Wed, Aug 21 at 6:30pmET / 3:30pmPT

Lisa and Susan join our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman to discuss key issues and opportunities surrounding flexible work options. Listen LIVE and dial-in with your questions and feedback!

#TChat Twitter — Wed, Aug 21 at 7pmET / 4pmPT

Immediately following the radio show, we’ll move to the #TChat Twitter stream, for an open the discussion with the entire TalentCulture community. Anyone with a Twitter account is invited to participate, as we address these questions:

Q1: Why is telecommuting still a “bad word” in the workplace?
Q2: What world of work factors are driving increased flexibility?
Q3: Why should business leaders make workplace flexibility a business strategy?
Q4: What is the true ROI of working from anywhere, anytime?
Q5: What technologies enable workplace flexibility? What’s still missing?

To kickstart the conversation, be sure to read Meghan M. Biro’s Forbes post, “5 Reasons Why Workplace Flexibility Is a Smart Business Strategy.” What are your thoughts about her commentary?

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

We’ll see you on the stream!

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

Will Your Talent Be Swept Away in the Coming Tsunami?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ted Coine Return on Morale

Watch Ted on Lead With Giants TV now

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

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

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

Image Credit: Pixabay

The Steep Cost of Poor Management

Written by Tatiana Beale, Achievers

How do you feel about your job? Do you love it, hate it, or feel like you’re drifting in neutral? If you’re “checked out,” you’re not alone. According to the latest Gallup workplace research, 50% of today’s employees are disengaged. Another 20% are actively disengaged (in other words, openly miserable). That means 70% of today’s workforce is operating under a cloud! The business implications are staggering.

Key Issue: Bad Management

What are the core factors driving workforce disengagement? Gallup says that managers from hell are the primary reason. Poor managers are not only an obstacle to employee engagement — they actually drive employee disengagement. The net effect on business is huge — an estimated cost to U.S. organizations of $450-$550 billion a year. Yes, you read that right. The bottom-line message is clear. Managerial incompetence is not just annoying. It is potentially catastrophic.

What’s The Problem?

The stage is set for disengagement when employees don’t understand their organization’s mission, or see how their efforts contribute to that mission. Poor managers typically don’t emphasize big-picture context, or help employees understand the meaning of their work. They tend not to offer positive feedback when it’s deserved. And they fail to provide constructive criticism or coaching to help employees improve and develop professionally.

Weak managers don’t see value in helping their employees succeed. Why? Often they lack the insight, tools and competence to motivate others, and align their activities with business objectives.

The Upside of Manager Influence

However, there’s another side to this managerial coin. As Gallup’s research reveals, great managers have a highly beneficial impact on business results. Specifically, when leaders focus on building employee engagement and leveraging team strengths, their organizations outperform others across key indicators — earnings per share, profitability, productivity and customer satisfaction.

Every Organization Is Unique

Of course, the right employee engagement strategy is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. As Gallup notes, employees come in a spectrum of generational and other shapes and sizes. Jobs are equally diverse. From blue collar factory workers to call center representatives, every situation demand an engagement approach that fits.

Research reflects a variety of issues. For instance, women tend to be slightly more engaged than men. And on average, Millennials are more likely to leave a job within 12 months than their counterparts from other generations. Also, interestingly, employees with a college degree aren’t as likely to report a positive, engaging workplace experience as those with less education. This suggests that more managerial involvement may be appropriate to keep highly-educated employees engaged.

Another point worth noting — engagement is even more important than workplace perks in boosting employee performance. In other words, benefits are no substitute for a personal connection with work. Engagement initiatives must take these realities into account.

Turning Disengagement Around

So, what can your company do to improve employee engagement? The Gallup findings are undeniable. Success starts with business managers. It’s important to select the right managerial talent, right from the start. And once managers are on board, coach them, support them, and hold them accountable. Help them understand why employee engagement is essential to business success. Work with them to connect with employees on an individual level. After all, your workers are human beings, not robots. Both effective managers and effective engagement strategies recognize and respect this fact.

For more ideas about the role of today’s manager in driving employee engagement and business success, read the Achievers 2013 Guide to Recognition.

What do you think about the findings summarized above? Do you believe managers from hell are destroying employee engagement? Leave a comment below and join the discussion.

Tatiana Beale (427x640)(Author Profile: Tatiana Beale is a Senior Marketing Communications Specialist at Achievers. She is passionate about changing workplaces for the better and inspiring Employee Success™ through insightful content. Tatiana believes that employee happiness is the key to a wildly successful company, and means it when she says “I love my job.”)

Republished with permission from Achievers Employee Success Blog.

Image Credit: Pixabay

Stronger! #TChat Preview #SHRM13 Edition

(Editor’s Note: Are you looking for a full review of this week’s events and resources? Read the #TChat Recap: The Class of 2013 Goes To Work.”)

Hello Chicago: #TChat Is In The House!

Buzz is everywhere in Chicago and on social media channels, as nearly 20,000 human resources professionals descend upon the city for the annual SHRM Conference & Exposition.

And, as Kevin W. Grossman noted in his recent SHRM “save-the-dates” post, he and his TalentCulture co-founder, Meghan M. Biro will be working the aisles, leading live events and posting updates on the  #SHRM13 Twitter backchannel throughout the week.

As promised, below are details of #TChat events that talent-minded professionals don’t want to miss. So join us! Whether you’re live on the floor, or half-a-world away — the lights are always on, and you’re always welcome to contribute to our “world of work” conversation!

Bolder. Better. Stronger.

SHRM2013_Chicago

Visit the SHRM conference community site

These three words capture the aspirations of #SHRM13 organizers. Nice choice. To those of us at TalentCulture, they represent the promise of a workforce that is empowered to redefine organizational culture and performance. It’s a fearless approach to the future. But talent-minded professionals don’t have to go it alone. Instead, we can leverage the power of a broader professional community — sharing ideas and experiences that can move us all forward, faster.

But what do these three words mean for the next wave — those who are graduating from school, and looking at the world of work from a fresh perspective? It’s estimated that by 2025, Gen Y “millennials” will represent more than 75% of the workforce. That’s a huge generational shift. No wonder Meghan Biro says in Forbes.com that it’s smart for leaders to engage tomorrow’s workforce.

Building Bench Strength: It’s A Process

It’s one thing to recognize the importance of connecting with next-generation workers. But that begs another question: What can organizations do to drive engagement? It’s time to share some credible insights. And that’s the focus of our special “Class of 2013” #TChat events this week:

Achievers Promo

Learn more about the #SHRM13 Meetup

MONDAY JUNE 17 — 3:15-4:00pm Central Time (4:15pmET/1:15pmPT)
Margarita Meet-up at Achievers Booth #2455
“Class of 2013” Panel Discussion

Not to be missed. Meghan and Kevin will multi-task — mixing margaritas while moderating a live panel of HR executives! This should be a fun and fascinating discussion. We’ll highlight key results from a recent workplace expectations survey of 10,000+ graduating students, conducted by our partners at Achievers, in association with ConnectEDU.

WEDNESDAY JUNE 19 — 6:00-7:00pm Central Time (7-8pmET/4-5pmPT)
#TChat Twitter — with Moderator, Katie Paterson, Community Manager, Achievers
“Looking Forward: The Graduating Class of 2013

Let’s talk in more depth about why and how the next generation of leaders is influencing change across all HR functions — from recruiting, onboarding and development, to peformance management, recognition and retention. More importantly, what do these changes imply about the future of work, and the nature of employer/employee relationships?

Q1: What digital “social” tools are job seekers using today to leverage their networks and find jobs. Why?

Q2: How do orgs improve onboarding for new grads with little or no work experience? For seasoned veterans?

Q3: If performance drives business, how often should employees be evaluated and why? What about PT and contract?

Q4: Why is it important to recognize the individual in the workplace regardless of age or experience?

Q5: What can HR leaders do to improve retention for hired new grads and all talent ecosystems?

What are your thoughts? Whether you’re onsite or not, we hope you’ll weigh-in with your ideas, questions and opinions.

We’ll see you here in Chicago — and on the stream!

Image Credit: Pixabay

HR What Are You Waiting For? #TChat Recap

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

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

Ask for forgiveness later!

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

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

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

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

#TChat Topic: “World-Class” Workforce

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

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

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

#TChat Week-in-Review: Resources

SUN 4/14

Elliot_Clark_HROToday

Watch Elliot Clark discuss HR issues and trends

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

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

MON 4/15

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

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Listen to the #TChat Radio recording

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

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

WED 4/17

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

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

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Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

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

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

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

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

We’ll see you on the stream!

Image credit: Stock.xchng

 

Building a World-Class Workforce #TChat Preview + Video

(Editorial Note: Want to read the RECAP of this week’s #TChat events? See “HR: What Are You Waiting For?)

Change. We all feel it. It’s become a relentless business reality — and the pace just continues to accelerate.

Now, however, the structure of work itself is changing. This means HR processes and programs are also shifting in fundamental ways.

The evidence is all around us. HR organizations are becoming flatter, more flexible and more agile — as we discussed several weeks ago when exploring “Talent in the Cloud.” And increasingly, talent strategies are driven by insights from relevant research and data analysis.

What does this suggest for the next chapter on the human resources management front? What issues and opportunities should be foremost on HR practitioners’ minds?

These are the questions that the HRO Today Forum will tackle in Philadelphia, April 30-May 2. And that’s what we’ll also discuss throughout the coming week in the TalentCulture community.

#TChat Sneak Peek Video

Leading the #TChat conversation this week is HR trendspotter, Elliot Clark, CEO & Chairman of SharedXpertise, creator of the HRO Today Forum and publisher of HRO Today and other specialized publications for business professionals.

I spoke with Elliot in a Google+ Hangout, to learn what is foremost on his mind, and what’s on the agenda for the HRO Today conference. Interestingly, there are ties to last week’s #TChat focus on the generational stereotypes in today’s workplace. Watch the video now:

#TChat Events: Building a World-Class Workforce

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Tune into #TChat Radio – Live on Tuesday or on-demand after

Join us this week, as our TalentCulture community examines what it means to create and sustain a world-class workforce:

#TChat Radio — Tuesday, April 16 at 7:30pmET / 4:30pmPT  Elliot joins hosts Kevin W. Grossman and Meghan M. Biro to tackle key issues facing today’s HR practitioners, and how data is increasingly being used to shape talent planning, acquisition and management.

#TChat Twitter – Wednesday,  April 17 at 7pm ET / 4pm PT  Everyone is welcome to join our open, online Twitter forum, as talent-minded professionals exchange ideas in real-time about these key questions:

Q1:  What are the primary elements of today’s world-class workforce? Why?
Q2:  Can gamification really help us recruit, engage and retain employees? Why/why not?
Q3:  The contingent workforce continues to grow; how can companies truly integrate with FT employment?
Q4:  Why are manager and employee self-service technologies so important to the enterprise?
Q5:  Will mobile workforce communication/collaboration circumvent other forms? Why/why not?

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

We’ll see you on the stream!

Age at Work: Moving Beyond Birthdays

“How old are you?”

What do you feel, think, and say when you hear that question in the workplace? Do you suddenly get tense, wondering how others will perceive your answer? You’re not alone.

No matter when you were born or what kind of upbringing you’ve had, you’ve likely dealt with some sort of label. And regardless of the situation, we can all agree that no one likes to be unfairly stereotyped. Despite attempts by organizational leaders and HR to reduce discrimination and adversity, it still lingers in some forms. Not surprisingly, age-related stereotyping is on the rise, now that more organizations have a multigenerational workforce.

Generational Generalizations

As recent studies illustrate, every generation is affected by damaging biases. For example, do profiles like this sound familiar?

  • Baby Boomers = materialistic, technologically illiterate micro-managers
  • Generation Xers = cynical, disloyal and skeptical of authority
  • Generation Y “Millennials” = lazy, entitled and self-serving

Although these generalizations may have emerged for a reason, why should we assume that they are widely applicable or even relevant? Perhaps some high-profile individuals have displayed these characteristics, but their actions shouldn’t be the basis for defining a whole generation.

The Price of Stereotypes

More often than not, typecasting like this comes from lack of awareness, communication or understanding. It’s important to identify this issue quickly and bridge the gap, before it destroys our talent pools. Otherwise, organizations are at risk of missing out on the strongest talent — internally or externally.

What Can Individuals Do?

As I continue to progress in my career and become more involved in networking opportunities, I make it a point to avoid conversation about my age. Quite frankly, it’s not important. And, as a Millennial, the last thing I want others to do is marginalize my capabilities upfront. I don’t want them to presume I am a lazy or cynical person — I want them to evaluate me for my skills, abilities, goals and accomplishments. Isn’t that how it should be?

The workplace is rapidly developing into a collaborative environment, where everyone is expected to step up and contribute toward common goals. To do this effectively, employees must avoid animosity toward one another that starts with preconceived notions about age. We need to let go of misplaced biases and instead focus on the thing that matters — an individual’s capacity to contribute something valuable to the team and to the organization.

I look forward to engaging the TalentCulture community in a dialogue about this topic — not just at this week’s #TChat Twitter forum, but beyond. It’s important to every one of us. So, I ask you to consider one simple question:

How are you creating a “no labels” workplace?

(Editor’s Note: Want to hear more from Ashley? She was a featured guest last night on #TChat Radio “The No Labels Workforce.” Listen on-demand, anytime. She also moderated #TChat Twitter this week. To read the full recap of this week’s events, see “The Best-of-All-Ages Workplace #TChat Recap”)

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