In our personal career path, we can be our own best friends or our own worst enemies. This is largely due to our mindset and what we believe about our ability. In working with leaders, I find that people have often set their own glass ceiling. Researcher Dr. Carol Dweck of Stanford University confirms, “Much of what might be preventing you from fulfilling your potential grows out of your mindset.”
Often, the difference between success and failure is your mindset; those with a fixed mindset will be limited as to how much they can achieve, while those with a growth mindset will not limit their ability to succeed. According to Dr. Dweck’s research, those individuals with a growth mindset outperform those with a fixed mindset. Those with a fixed mindset tend to do what validates their talent and are consumed with proving how good they are. Those with a growth mindset have the attitude that they’ll do what it takes and will apply what they learn from mistakes to develop their talent.
Where do you fall? Ask yourself the following questions: Do you believe intelligence is a fixed trait, without room for improvement or growth? When you make a mistake, do you try to cover it up or hide it? Do you make a point to conceal your deficiencies and take on projects only if you are sure you are capable of doing it? If you answered “yes”to any of these questions, you likely are limiting yourself.
Even if you feel that you have a growth mindset, we often limit ourselves in ways that aren’t as obvious. For example, how often do we say to ourselves,“No, I can’t go for that promotion. I don’t know enough. I’m not good enough. What if they find out I’m really not that smart?” That’s a limiting mindset.
Limited mindsets manifest themselves in all kinds of environments. Take, for example, the world record for the 100-meter dash. For years, it was believed that man couldn’t break the “10-second barrier”— it was commonly accepted that no runner could complete the 100-meter dash in under ten seconds. But that record was defied in 1983 by runner Carl Lewis. Once that glass ceiling was shattered, six more sprinters completed the dash in less than ten seconds during the 1980s. Since that time, nearly 100 sprinters have broken the 10-second barrier. All it took was one person defying the “unbreakable”record, and numerous others followed suit.
Our mindset ties directly into our emotional intelligence. Think this is all just mushy, soft- skills stuff? Think again. According to a recent study1from the University of Bonn, published in the Journal of Organizational Behavior in November 2014, individuals who displayed emotional intelligence were more likely to bring home a bigger paycheck than their emotionally-stunted colleagues. Emotional intelligence is a measure of your self-awareness and awareness of others. Are you self-aware about your own limiting beliefs?
So what can you do to grow your mindset? Set “stretch goals”that force you to stretch outside your comfort zone. Try to set goals that are focused on process and mastery, not goals that are solely focused on outcome. And finally, look for opportunities to fail. Yes, you read that right! Although most of us fear failure, we often learn more from our mistakes and failures than from our successes. Mistakes can lead to great ideas and new opportunities. So start looking for these kinds of opportunities. Your brain will find what you tell it to look for.
What can be learned from this? Bottom line: If you think you can’t, you won’t. When you limit yourself and your capabilities, you won’t break that glass ceiling or defy the odds. But when you unlock your mindset to allow for all opportunities, the possibilities open up to allow for remarkable achievements.
1Momm T., Blickle G., Liu Y., Wihler A., Kholin M. and Menges J. I. (2015) It pays to have an eye for emotions: Emotion recognition ability indirectly predicts annual income, J. Organiz. Behav., 36, pages 147–163. doi: 10.1002/job.1975.
About the Author: Kerry Goyette is the founder and president of Aperio Consulting Group, a human capital consulting firm based in Columbia, MO. Aperio’s mission is to help organizations increase effectiveness of their biggest asset, their people. Kerry holds her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Missouri with post-graduate studies in neuroscience and psychometrics. She was also recently elected to the executive MBA Advisory Board for the University of Missouri’s Trulaske College of Business.
It seems rather obvious, yet year after year, many people feel compelled to greet the start of a new year with grand ideas about losing weight, travelling more, catching up on their reading or spending more time with their loved ones.
I read this the other day and it begs sharing here :
“Most people like the idea of being exceptional, but not enough to do what it takes to get there… everybody says they want to be slim, healthy, attractive, and rich, but few people are willing to do what it takes to attain those things, which suggests they don’t really want those things as much as they say or think.
Paul Arden, former creative director of Saatchi & Saatchi, sums this up nicely by explaining that typically when we say we “want” something, we actually just mean we want to have it, but with no implicit assumption that we’re willing to do any work to get there. In reality, wanting something should equate with being prepared to take the necessary steps to achieve it. If you are serious about your goals, then you will do whatever it takes to attain them; your confidence is secondary. What matters is the desire you have to attempt to achieve your goals.”
- Dr. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, a professor of business psychology at University College London and author of the outstanding book “Confidence: Overcoming Low Self-Esteem, Insecurity, and Doubt
I agree that it is about how strongly we desire something. Oftentimes, it seems easier to just say that we want that something. You could look at a given situation, and realise that person has been very clear about her desires thus far and yet, failed to achieve them. It would be easy to conclude that their desire was simply not strong enough.
The problem with such analysis, though, is that it’s based on what is perceived, on what is on the outside. We see the successful tennis champion and their runaway success but we don’t see behind the scenes – their struggles, their passion and what they do on a daily basis.
What do you do with the person with real desire, who keeps failing yet keeps trying over and over? What do you make of that person, from the outside looking in?
While it is important, and I cannot stress this enough, to be clear about what we desire and to be relentless about it, I think there are two other critical aspects we need to consider if we are to make our desires real.
The first is that any desire or goal needs to be backed by a plan. I know firsthand, how easily your desires crumble by the wayside when there is no plan in place. A plan is simply a framework for how you will achieve what you so desire. The mere intent is simply not enough, you need to do. But thoughtless, rudder-less action is not the way to go. Your plan need not be cumbersome or overly complex – all you need to be clear about is a direction and a method for achieving what you seek.
Where applicable, I base my plans on the Five Ws and One H, or the Six Ws. I need a clear guide as to who this is for, what that involves, when I plan to start and when I expect to finish, in what areas this will apply and importantly, how I will put all of this together. If you wanted to take this a step further, a SWOT analysis would also be useful.
Granted, this may seem to make the whole exercise a tad theoretical and arduous. But if you go through the motions here, you will achieve clarity about what you’re doing and strengthen (or otherwise) your resolve for doing so. Either way, you know where you really stand.
If you decide that :
- the idea is not worth the time and effort to do so;
- it’s a lot of work, perhaps a tad unnecessary; or
- you’ll get to it later
then, the idea just remains an idea. It stays in your mind, cluttered with the other big picture goals or ideas you have, and it runs alongside the daily stream of to-do lists, emails, pings and emotional weather you sustain. Over time, the idea loses focus and it becomes a hazy option, one that will slowly but surely fade into the recesses only to resurface at the start of another year.
And the second thing you need to do is, quite simply, to act. Yes, you start with an idea, you back it up with a plan but things only start moving, when you do. There’s only so much you can understand and absorb on a theoretical level. There’s only so many days and weeks you can delay the onset of action while you prepare to ramp up before you begin to lose the momentum so needed to get started on your journey.
When you put all this together - an idea, the desire, a plan and action – you have a powerful combination of factors that can help you get closer to what you want. In isolation, each serves some purpose but lacks the strong foundation, if you will, to make progress.
I can’t help but agree with the powerful words of Seth Godin, who is a huge proponent of getting things done and of taking action:
“Ship often. Ship lousy stuff, but ship. Ship constantly.”
When you make the conscious decision to do what it is that you need to do, you wait for no one to tell you the things you need to hear. You don’t let the failures get in the way of your journey. You just keep moving, getting stronger, getting more focused, getting more traction.
So, why not take that next step you know you should be taking? Why not make that idea more real, to yourself, by embracing that desire, crafting a plan and just going for it? You will be glad you did.
Abou the Author: Rowena Morais is the Editor of VerticalDistinct.com, helping individuals develop their professional abilities and career to the fullest in either Human Resources or Technology. She is also Editor of the quarterly human resource magazine, Accelerate. She graduated from the University of Glamorgan, Wales with an LL.B (Hons) and is a regular blogger on personal growth.
Back in the day, while working at my first job out of school, I became bored. Shocker for a young person, right? I made the decision that since I had one year of real life working under my belt, it was time to move on and change jobs. I was scouring the Sunday Classified Ads and snail-mailing my resumes and cover letters — printed on the perfect shade of buff-colored stationery — to companies. No internet or job boards back then. How painful would that be if we had to do that today? I digress.
A friend suggested that I call someone she knew who worked for an employment agency. She proceeded to explain that companies who had open positions would call these agencies looking for candidates to fill their jobs. “Wow, how easy is that?” I thought.
I called the agency and spoke with a gal named Donna. Donna and I spoke frequently and she wanted me to succeed. She gave me feedback after I interviewed and even coached me on negotiating a job offer. It was a win for both of us. This was my first experience working with a recruiter and it was first rate. In fact, I recently connected with Donna and was glad that she remembered me from back then.
Throughout the last 20 years, I’ve had calls from recruiters who were looking to fill positions and I have reached out to recruiters who have posted positions to fill. My experiences have been scattered. I’ve spoken with some who were detailed and emphasized the priorities of the job, details about the company and style of the hiring manager. They also took the time to get to know my background.
I’ve also had some disappointing experiences. The recruiters I refer to as the “resume collectors”. It’s obvious when a recruiter is simply adding your name to a stack of other resumes that are being submitted to a manager so that it appears as though the recruiter is working on filling the open position. They’re the ones who don’t ask many questions about your background and you rarely hear from them again.
As I mentioned in a prior post, recruiting is a role that requires excellent relationship-building and sales abilities. Great recruiters maintain relationships for years and many will work with the same professionals over the course of their careers.
I often wonder if new recruiters building their careers understand what this gig is about. It’s about people. Whether you’re working with hiring managers to fill positions, or interviewing candidates — all people. Success will be difficult to reach without building these valuable relationships.
I admit that I had a great first experience with a recruiter. And yes, I also get that recruiters don’t work for candidates, they work for clients. But let’s remember that candidates are people too and we’ll never know if our paths will cross again with these folks throughout our own careers.
About the Author: Kimberly Patterson is the founder of Unconventional HR. An HR pro turned consultant, she has 25 years of progressive experience as a strategic HR and business leader in a variety of industries. Her hands-on and innovative approach allows her to create and deliver HR solutions to meet business challenges and needs by managing human capital, talent acquisition and technology. Connect with her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/kimberly_patt, or at email@example.com.
The final day of the Brandon Hall 2015 HCM Excellence Conference wrapped up with a final set of breakout sessions, one a two-part workshop on driving business performance through leadership development, the other an executive roundtable and an unconference session. I attended the latter two.
High Level HCM Perspectives
- Agility & integration: As we look to the future, talent management will need to be accomplished much more quickly, and in a more holistic and integrated way, from talent acquisition, to learning, to competency development.
- New Paradigms: Be willing to consider new approaches to more traditional processes, especially as related to learning and talent development initiatives.
- Talent Acquisition is both internal and external: Finding the best talent isn’t always about bringing it in from outside the company, it should be just as focused on finding and leveraging the best talent from within.
- Business speaks the language of numbers: First, understand your business and what’s important to your senior leaders. Then get comfortable with data, and learn to speak that language of business. But also understand that data will never be perfect, so don’t wait around for perfection and just start working with it. Focus not just on data and numbers, but also the business outcomes you’re trying to achieve; be a business person who happens to work in the functional area of human resources.
- Alignment: Find a way to help employees see the link between the work they do on a day to day basis and the overall goals, mission, and broader strategy of the organization. Appeal to the hearts and minds of your employees to drive engagement, and don’t discount the importance of meaningful work, career development opportunities, mentoring, and feedback.
“What Do YOU Want to Talk About?”
For anyone who is not familiar with the unconference concept, it’s an approach to conferences and sessions in which very little, if any, agenda is pre-determined, and the direction of the session is dictated by what the participants want to discuss. Brandon Hall’s Trish McFarlane and Ben Eubanks led just this type of session to wrap up our final day. In true unconference fashion, it began with participant introductions and “what’s top of mind for you?” and morphed into a lively discussion that flipped between learner engagement, employee engagement, training evaluation, learning as the intersection between instinct and motivation, and what drives behavior – beliefs/values or compensation. But the true value of this format is the collaboration it facilitates, and maybe the question we should be asking ourselves is how we can harness a similar format in our organizations to drive collaboration and innovation?
It was truly an honor to be invited to help cover #Excellence15. In keeping with the theme, the Brandon Hall folks did an excellent job pulling together valuable and varied content with a host of strong, smart presenters. The sessions were a nice combination of research/trends and real-world success stories from proven HR leaders. And with the number of award winners and HR executives in attendance, the “smart-factor” was certainly amped up.
Though Brandon Hall Group has historically focused on learning & development, the sessions on talent acquisition, talent management, and leadership proved that they have moved beyond those roots to become a resource for all things human capital management. I look forward to seeing how this conference continues to evolve in the future.
Day 2, and the first official full day of the Brandon Hall 2015 HCM Excellence Conference, was one jam-packed with content, research, innovation, and knowledge.
The day kicked off with Brandon Hall’s CEO Mike Cooke’s overview of HCM strategies and priorities for the coming year, which will include a focus on attracting and retaining talent, succession management and leadership development, team development, employee engagement, a stronger link between learning and performance, and compliance training.
Project, Prepare, Persevere
Susan Erschler then gave the opening keynote. I’ll admit, I had not heard of Susan prior to this event, but after hearing her speak, I’d encourage everyone to look her up and read about her journey. Susan, who is a business women and by no means a professional mountain climber, set out on a quest with her mountain climber husband to scale the Seven Summits – the highest mountains on each of the seven continents, a goal achieved in 2002. Her graphic description of the experience climbing Mt. Everest had me sitting there and wondering why anyone would want to put themselves through that ordeal, but at the same time her compelling story provided inspiration for business leaders. Her trademarked approach of “Project, Prepare, Persevere” is a framework applicable to achieving any major goal or objective:
Project: Have a vision, commit to it, put it in writing, and then let the vision drive your actions.
Prepare: Just as there’s no big mountain you can scale in one day, no major business objectives you can be achieved that quickly either. Break it down into bite sized, manageable pieces, realizing that sometimes you have to climb up, then back down, then up again to get to the top.
Persevere: How much time and effort are you willing to put in to achieve your goals? How many times are you willing to be knocked down and still go back again? You can’t lower the mountain to match yourself, so you have to figure out a way to elevate yourself to match the mountain. And most importantly, surround yourself with people who won’t let you quit.
High Performance Leadership Development
Madeline Laurano, Brandon Hall VP and Principal Analyst facilitated this panel which included Meribeth Germino of Genetech, Steven Smith of Capgemini, and David Wright of CIBC. Madeline kicked off this panel of Excellence Award winners with the startling statistics that 60% companies have leadership development programs in place, 82% of them for over 3 years, but yet 75% feel they are ineffective. The panel then shared highlights of their own programs and the keys to their success. Though all three had unique and different element to their programs, some common themes emerged:
- It’s not a one-time event – leadership development needs to be a process that provides ongoing support and coaching
- Focus on personal transformation – leadership is very personal, and a self-discovery component is critical
- Focus on business issues – connecting to the real problems the business needs to solve will reinforce the program’s relevance
- Consistency – programs need structure, but also allow for flexibility and adaptability
- Measurement – have a method in place to measure how effective your efforts are; how are you impacting business performance?
High Performance Onboarding
A recent Brandon Hall survey indicated that 75% of companies surveyed felt that their onboarding programs were than moderately effective. Kyle Lagunas, Brandon Hall’s Talent Acquisition Analyst led a panel of experts, including Amanda Reynolds (CareerBuilder), Bud Blom (MUFG), and Emily Cates (Zebra Technologies) in discussing some of their best practices in using onboarding to drive employee engagement and retention. Some of the key takeaways:
- Onboarding begins before the first day; leverage the momentum from the recruitment process using “pre-boarding” elements; engage as early as the offer
- Move from “single day class” mentality and repeatedly connect with new employees over the course of the first several months; use tools such as “welcome websites” to provide resources before and after first day, new hire communities, and automated reminders for key actions
- Use new hire and manager guides; ensure new hires understand what they need to do to achieve proficiency, and ensure managers have the right coaching tools to get them there
- Develop a customized and interactive orientation experience that center on the specific class of new hires and get the leadership team involved in the process
HCM Measurement and Analytics
The final panel of the day was facilitated by Trish McFarlane (VP of Human Resource Practice, Principal Analyst) and included Steve Boese (HR Technology Conference and LRP Productions), Mike Psenka (Equifax), and Edward Pertwee (BT). The panelists aimed to answer the questions what is big data, how are companies using it, and what are the pitfalls of misusing it? Some of the recurring themes were:
- Consolidating data into one place is a challenge, and existing systems often make it difficult to obtain useful information. However, more providers are investing in the ability to provide better reporting and dashboards. Some of the trends to look towards are role based, in-process, decision support, and predictive analytics.
- One of the biggest challenges in analytics is that HR metrics are not defined and standardized; all organizations have data problems, and we need to learn to manage that expectation in ours.
- Measure things that impact or drive the business, are observable, and are actionable. Less is more; pick one thing that matters and run with it, and learn how to market results and answers to the organization in a way that makes it easy to visualize and tells a story. It’s all about facilitating better business decision-making.
I’ve arrived in sunny Ft. Lauderdale, Florida for the inaugural Brandon Hall Group HCM Excellence Conference, and Day 1 kicked off with two powerhouse pre-conference workshops. I had the opportunity to attend “Making The Right Technology Choice: Key Practices in Selecting Your Next System,” facilitated by Brandon Hall’s Michael Rochelle (Chief Strategy Officer), David Wentworth (Senior Learning Analyst), and Trish McFarlane (VP of Human Resources, Principal Analyst).
This workshop alone was worth the price of admission with its hands-on approach and the framework provided to assist participants in selecting new technology. Too often, too many of us flounder through selection and implementation, without a solid plan in place. Or maybe we’ve never had the opportunity to lead an implementation and have no idea where to start. Either way, without a solid plan the risk of implementation failure is high. Michael, along with the help of David and Trish, walked us through a very thorough framework for the selection process.
Not to give away all of the secrets (hey, you had to be there for that!), but some of the keys to this process included:
Planning & Alignment
Build a business case, including a champion and internal team, a list of “must-haves” with a clear focus on the unmet business needs you are trying to meet, and develop a solid change management and communication strategy. Keep in mind that the best technology solution is useless if you can’t get folks to buy into using it, and good technology doesn’t fix bad processes.
Educate yourself about what’s happening in the technology landscape. Don’t rely on vendors alone, but rather take it upon yourself to get up to speed to put yourself on a level playing field with the providers. And then identify and prioritize your requirements: ask yourself how you are going to use the system most of the time, and focus your priorities on the functionality you can’t live without. Build a use case, putting yourself in the role of your various stakeholders/users and ask what each needs from the system, and use that to prioritize your requirements.
Vendor Evaluation and Selection
The biggest mistake that organizations make in deciding whether or not a provider is the right fit is focusing too much on their current needs and failing to think about what their future needs may be. Take the time to set your demo agenda, including a focus on features, navigation, ease of use, integration capabilities, technical support, and implementation timelines and responsibilities. Again, have an excellent and current understanding of the providers in the market, and realize that there is no “perfect provider,” so be prepared to go in with eyes wide open. Use requests for information to begin aligning your business needs with the solutions that providers offer. Then use a technology selection scorecard to ensure that your needs and requirements are met and to compare providers, compare pricing, and think longer term when you’re negotiating contracts.
Have a change management strategy in place that includes stakeholder analysis, a risk mitigation plan, and a communication plan. Realize that not everything is going to go well, so try to predict the potential pitfalls and be prepared to address and neutralize the naysayers. Assess your organization’s change readiness, then communicate why the change is happening, the importance of it, and what the benefits will be. And remember that implementation never actually stops; user adoption is continuous, and winning the hearts and minds of your users is an ongoing project.
“HR Influencer Lists” are a dime a dozen; it seems like every other week a new list appears, touting the top 50 or 100 human resources folks that you MUST follow, who are having the most impact on the profession. Nothing against these lists, in fact, there are many, many worthy folks who regularly make it on to them; many of them good friends and trusted colleagues of mine. However, the problem with these lists is that they tend to be one person’s opinion, based on their sometimes limited knowledge or personal interactions. And with that comes the inevitability of many also very worthy folks being overlooked, some of them time after time.
Maybe they are passed over because they are not the loudest voices in the space, or maybe it’s just because they are too busy with their heads down and noses to the grindstone, making progress and getting things done, to spend much time talking about what they are accomplishing. Whatever the reason, it doesn’t make them any less influential to the profession, to their businesses, and to the people around them.
So a few years back, in response to these unfortunate, though perhaps unintentional occurrences, a few blogger types decided to create a day to recognize some of these unsung, unrecognized HR heroes. Thus Tim Sackett Day was born, with its first honoree being its namesake. The concept quickly caught on and it was decided to make it an annual recognition and opportunity to call out those who refuse to call out themselves. Continuing the tradition again this year, the 2015 honoree is…..
I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Victorio personally for several years now. I think he may have even been one of my first Twitter followers; if not that, at least one of the first with whom I had any real interaction. I met him in person for the first time in an elevator in Chicago at HRevolution 2010, and since then, he’s been one of those people who has just always been there, in the background, quietly supportive of his HR brethren. Our similar professional backgrounds have given us a common ground, having both worked HR for retail organizations, and he’s always been someone I’ve known I could go to, to bounce ideas off, for suggestions, for inspiration. I even credit him with providing the inspiration for what become part of my company’s employment brand; it was information and a presentation he had developed for a former employer which he generously shared that become the springboard from which our concept came to life.
That’s just the kind of person Victorio is. Generous with thoughts and ideas, ready to help out, ready to help promote other’s interests. He’s always looking for the next project in which he can involve other HR pros, whether it be showcasing his fellow bloggers with projects such as the “HR and Home” series he ran a few years ago; featuring various HR pros in interviews on his blog; or simply taking the initiative to run with an idea that began as a discussion on social media, putting some structure around it to make it a workable concept and rallying those involved.
And did I mention that along with being a great HR pro and a heck of a nice guy, he’s quite the talented photographer to boot?
Victorio can be found in several places online:
If you don’t know Victorio, take the time to get to know him. You won’t regret it.
Editor’s Note: From time to time, we like to recognize some of the projects and accomplishments of our regular contributors beyond their work for the site. Kristin Kaufmann’s second book in her “Is This Seat Taken” series, “It’s Never Too Late To Find The Right Seat” was just recently published, and here she gives us a sneak peak.
As we ‘start again’ in this new year AND we are already 3 weeks into 2015, how can we make the most of the coming 12 months? The first step, from my perspective, is to HONESTLY assess where we are today and also gauge where we want to be tomorrow! We have to take a hard look in the mirror (not always easy) and ascertain ‘how we did in 2014’ AND if there is still room for improvement. There are a few questions, which I encourage my clients to ask themselves, as we embark on this new year…….
The 2014 year at a glance:
- How did I spend my time?
- What were my greatest accomplishments?
- What were my greatest disappointments?
- How did these experiences change me?
- How am I different now (December, 2014) than in December, 2013?
- How can I further integrate this awareness as I enter the 1st half of 2015?
- What am I tolerating? Why? What steps can I take to make a change?
- What am I trying to force to happen? What would happen if I ‘let go’?
What are my intentions for 2015?
- What will be my primary focus going forward?
- What do I really want? What is still holding me back?
- What do I want to contribute to the world?
- How will I hold myself accountable?
- What is working for me? How can I have ‘more of that’?
- What kind of partners do I want going forward into this next chapter?
- What may need to change? What are the first steps to make that change?
- At the end of 2015, where would I like to find myself? Physically? Spiritually? Professionally? Financially?
- What is my intention for my life in 2015?
Also, if you need further inspiration , and feel like ‘life is passing you by’ and you are not where you thought you would be at this stage in your life…..you may find inspiration is my latest books in the ‘Is This Seat Taken?’ book series. I personally was inspired by each and every one of these individuals who completely hit the ‘reset’ button in the last 15-20 years of their lives. What I know for sure is this – what we make of our lives is 100% our choice……what will you choose?
About the Author: Kristin Kaufman is founder of Alignment, Inc.™, formed in 2007 to help individuals, corporations, boards of directors and non-profits find alignment within themselves and their organizations. A prolific writer, Kristin’s first book, Is This Seat Taken? Random Encounters That Change Your Life, was released on 11/1/11 to national acclaim, and endorsed by Stephen Covey and John Maxwell, among others. Her second book in the series, entitled Is This Seat Taken? It’s Never Too Late to Find the Right Seat was released 1/13/15. It has already been endorsed by notables such as Marshall Goldsmith, Sean Covey, and Doug Parker, CEO of American Airlines. This book shines the light on late in life reinvention and encore ‘second half’s’ of diverse individuals. The individuals are in some cases widely known and others are somewhat anonymous to the mass public. The common thread is their ‘post-50’ resurgence in life and in some cases their ‘fork in the road’ is quite serendipitous. Kristin’s third book, a sequel to ‘Is This Seat Taken?’ will follow later in 2015. Kristin is on Twitter as @kristinkaufman.
The New Year has been in full swing for several weeks now, and in my estimation that means it’s not too early to begin thinking about conference season. Though usually I don’t start making conference plans until closer to Spring, this year I’m kicking things off a little earlier with Brandon Hall Group’s 2105 HCM Excellence Conference, which is taking place later this month from January 28-30.
The good folks down at BHG graciously invited me to join them and their awesome team of analysts, as well as innovative HR executives and winners of their 2014 Excellence Awards for their inaugural human capital management conference. Along with a full slate of fantastic sessions and topics over the course of 3 days, did I mention that it’s in Ft. Lauderdale, FL? In January? Okay, twist my arm…
In all seriousness, though, I couldn’t be more excited to be joining the team down there to help cover the event. My good friend John Nykolaiszyn and I will be the official blogging team, helping the BHG analysts provide coverage of all of the great content and goings on during the 3 days. So in addition to the Florida sunshine (which is a nice bonus for this winter-weary Northern girl), I’ll have access to a whole variety of learning and HCM topics and research being presented and discussed by world class analysts and best in class HR executives and practitioners who have been recognized for their innovation and successes in implementing various HCM programs and solutions that directly impacted their organizations. We’ll be talking about everything from learning & development, to onboarding, technology implementation, leadership development, and HCM trends. I even heard a rumor that there’s going to be an HRevolution type unconference session to really kick attendee participation into high gear. Reviewing the agenda, it promises to be a highly interactive event with many real-life, actionable takeaways.
So check back here starting a week from tomorrow to read about what’s happening at this inaugural event. And if so inclined, follow along on Twitter and join in the conversation at the hashtag #Excellence15.
Looking forward to reporting in from the FLL!
About the Author: Jennifer Payne, SPHR has over 16 years of HR experience in employee relations, talent acquisition, and learning & development, and currently works in talent acquisition and development in the retail grocery industry. She is one of the co-founders of Women of HR, and is currently the Editor of the site. You can connect with her on Twitter as @JennyJensHR and on LinkedIn.
Diversity. What does it mean to you (aside from a pretty handy street dance troupe)? It’s an important topic to mull over because the modern workplace is expected to employ a diverse workforce, with HR departments obviously playing a crucial role in the process.
But as with so many valuable concepts, the risk of the principle being lost in the rhetoric and its substance replaced by an empty corporate buzz word is high. As HR employees – dealing with the people behind the labels – it is our duty to clarify the recruitment process we are expected to implement and highlight any practical issues that arise.
Diversity and the ‘tick box’ culture
One of the measures of a diverse workplace is how closely it reflects the make-up of the society in which it operates. This has led to government statisticians compiling lists of percentages where citizens are divided into their ethnic group, gender, sexual orientation and numerous other categories and the numbers compared – often unfavourably – with the make up of the company.
If we’re not careful, this can lead to diversity being treated as another item to be included on a growing list of corporate targets. ‘Do we have a disabled guy? Good. Five per cent ethnic minorities? Great. We’re running at 55-45 gender split though; need to even that up a bit.’
Here we stray into that contentious issue of ‘positive discrimination’, and whether it is ever right to recruit someone on the basis of their age, gender, sexual orientation or cultural background. Whatever your position about that, it is a very real dilemma that the Human Resource department has to grapple with – diversity in the real world rather than a utopian concept.
Do we still have an appetite for diversity?
Recent world events have even cast doubts on the value of diversity itself. Struggling economies have led to high levels of unemployment and the accusation by some disgruntled citizens that their jobs are being taken by people from minority backgrounds. And there is no doubt that recruiters in many fields have sought to actively import talent where there is a perceived lack of it from amongst the local employment pool.
With the media highlighting the negative aspects of muticulturalism and the dangers of excessively liberal policies, and the rise of nationalist parties in the political sphere, even the politicians’ are displaying quite schizophrenic behaviours as they reflect the public’s ambivalence over diversity.
Companies as diversity in action
The modern workplace, to varying degrees, mirrors the situation in society at large. People from different backgrounds come together for a common cause and while there are inevitably culture clashes and disagreements there is also a lot of solidarity and shared identity. A company’s success seems often to be related to the extent to which its workforce has been integrated, enabling everyone to pull together. But is there more that a diverse workplace can offer up?
Attack of the Clones
In our drive for diversity, we must ensure that the people we recruit are given the support and freedom to actually express their unique qualities and perspectives. In a modern workplace we need to utilise the full richness of each individual’s experience and tap into their irreplaceable skills and strengths, if we are to remain relevant and competitive as a unit.
Employees are not just representatives of particular demographics in society, they are living, communicating windows into the minds and hearts of the people who share significant elements of their background. If one of our employees uses a wheelchair, he or she will be invaluable in assessing how accessible our company is to other wheelchair users. If a female employee objects to the chauvanistic workplace culture then ignore her at your peril. It is highly likely that sexism is coming across in our products and services, alienating women in society.
In some ways, a diverse company is a gift which gives us the opportunity to interact with society at a deeper, more inclusive level. But we must still make the most of the richness at our disposal by treating employees as respected individuals. Otherwise we risk creating a sham diversity rather like the clone troopers in the Star Wars stories. Here, the individual troopers are largely identified by surface differences alone (hairstyle, uniform trim, etc.) to compensate for the fact that they are all cloned from one source.
Is diversity still on the menu? Absolutely, but only the best restaurants can combine all of the flavours into one appetizing dish.
About the Author: Nicole Dominique Le Maire has gained a reputation as a highly valued leader within the female business and Human Resources Industry. As a multi-talented woman entrepreneur and a global people connector, she is also the co-author of two books, including “The Female Leader.” As a result, she has gained tremendous experience guiding startups and entrepreneurs which has supplemented her MBA, MAHRM, and MCIPD and this has catapulted her to become one of the top leaders in the Human Resources industry. Get in touch via twitter @NicoleLeMaire or one of the business websites, humanresourcesglobal.com, newtohr.com, thefemaleleader.biz