Performance Partnerships with 1on1s: Connect, Calibrate, and Coach

Posted on November 24th, by a Guest Contributor in Business and Workplace, Leadership. No Comments


When it comes to annual performance reviews, it’s clear we’re at a major crossroads in the workplace. With 95 percent of managers dissatisfied with the process — and 90 percent of HR leaders saying annual reviews don’t yield accurate data — companies are quickly eliminating them (like GE, Accenture, Adobe, The Gap, and Microsoft already have). In a 7×24 world with an increasingly younger workforce, “annual” and “review” need to be replaced with more frequent conversations and performance partnerships.


Yet, simply telling managers to have regular 1on1 meetings isn’t a panacea. While HR executives and senior leaders are more expert at constructive coaching, young and middle managers may not be. Fortunately, 57 percent of employees prefer corrective feedback and 72 percent say their performance would improve with feedback. So even the 50% of managers who don’t want to give critique for fear of being the “bad guy” now have official license to put peoples’ success in front of the desire to be liked.


To boost your people and their performance, use a framework for 1on1s that connects, calibrates and coaches team members. Before the meetings, do two things:


First, make sure you’ve shared goals for the quarter to frame progress and priority discussions. Without clarity on what you define as success, people need to guess what matters and what the purpose of their work is.


Second, prepare for the meeting itself. Using in-person meetings to run down a list of what someone’s working on or throw more on their plate before understanding what’s already cooking is a formula for unproductive 1on1s. Instead, use weekly status reports or embrace performance and productivity apps to quickly see priorities, workload, and progress before the meeting.


Then use your 1on1 meetings to help you team members achieve their best with this framework:


  1. Start with “how are you?” Instead of a token opening, really listen to the response. Connect simply as humans to set the stage for coaching and constructive feedback. People are more receptive and engaged when they know you care about them.
  2. Ask whats in their way and how you can help. Help people resolve priority conflicts so they can increase their impact. Get roadblocks out of their way so they can deliver the results you’re expecting. This doesn’t mean doing their job, but rather removing obstacles outside the sphere of their responsibility.
  3. Sync on performance, alignment, and engagement level. If you’re not talking about alignment, you can’t expect it! Your employees want to perform well and be on the same page with you, so be open and compare your perceptions. Letting people know where you think they are in terms of their performance and contributions to work helps them move up and forward.
  4. Uplevel to longer range goals. Use the time together to help people think above the “action item” level. They’ll find it rejuvenating and be able to make better decisions day to day.
  5. Coach for career growth. Help your employees get to the next level by deepening their skills and competencies. What’s the next step they can take and what will you do to help them get there? Follow through on the help you commit to providing and you’ll foster great loyalty and have a lasting impact on their career.


Leading people is more important than ever as business gets faster and more complex, but leadership is far from dictatorship. Leaders at all levels must excel at setting clear goals, coaching people to their highest level, and creating a culture of high recognition and accountability. These are the essential elements of performance partnerships within high achieving teams; 1on1s create the conversation around these ingredients that enable leaders, teams, and each member to contribute their best.



About the Author: Deidre Paknad is CEO and co-founder of Workboard. She shapes its product strategy, customer engagement model, and thought leadership efforts. With decades of experience leading enterprise and startup teams on strategic pursuits, Dedire is passionate about providing tools and insights that help leaders engage their teams in great achievement. 

Deidre is a serial entrepreneur and has founded and led several companies. As CEO of PSS Systems, she and the team created a new market category and inspired deep customer loyalty from ExxonMobil, Citigroup, Travelers, Novartis, Wells Fargo, and many other large enterprises. The company was acquired by IBM in 2010. At IBM, Deidre was Vice President of a fast-growing global business improving information economics for IBM’s enterprise customers. She has been recognized by the Smithsonian for innovation twice and has more than a dozen patents. You can connect with Deidre on Twitter, LinkedIn, or learn more on the Workboard website or blog.








Getting What You Want In the Workplace

Posted on November 19th, by Donna Rogers, SPHR in Business and Workplace, Personal & Professional Development. 2 comments

Recently, I gave a talk to the Association for Women in Communications in Springfield Illinois (aka AWC Springfield) called Getting What You Want in the Workplace.  Since we focus on women in HR on this blog, I thought it was fitting to share what I discussed here as well, especially since I mention this site during my talk:


So let’s talk about today’s topic which is getting what you want in the workplace. Seeing as this is a women’s program, we will talk about it from a woman’s perspective and getting what you want as a woman. In a blog I wrote for Women of HR, I have talked about the first ten years and The Perfect 10, which was the last ten years of my then-20-year HR career. I loved having the flexibility of being able to be a mom and be a professional at the same time. I talk about credibility in the workplace and bereavement leave. Most recently, a drunk driver killed my brother and I shared what it is like for employees to take bereavement leave. It is really not flexible in most cases.

Let’s start with a true workplace story: How many of you have been engaged? How many remember the details of that day? When I was engaged, I was very excited as most would be, but when I got to work I was asked to take off my engagement ring and not wear it for 6 months! Luckily, I didn’t get married sooner than the 6 months as I had already planned to have a one-year engagement so that my husband and I could pay for the wedding.

How would you have felt if you were asked to take of your ring and not tell anyone else in the company you were engaged? I felt terrible. I did write a blog post, called Bride To Be = Discouraged Employee, about this incident. This experience brings me to my first piece of advice – DO NOT LET PEOPLE WALK ALL OVER YOU. In today’s environment, the Internet, which was not available when I first started my career, makes it possible for an individual employee to understand his or her rights within an organization. That incident would not go over well in today’s workplace. I would say stand up for what you want. If you don’t understand your options, what your rights are, look them up. There is no excuse for not knowing as you each have unlimited resources.

My second piece of advice came from the same manager that told me not to wear the ring. She was trying to look out for me and she did not want me to suffer as she had with male challenges in the work place. What she did do was give me a lot of advice. One thing I have lived my career by is to TOOT YOUR OWN HORN because no one else will. If you do well in something, make sure people know about that. If you have been honored in an organization that perhaps does not have to do with the business but is still an honor, make sure your manager finds that out. SHRM actually recognizes volunteerism and will send letters to your boss on your behalf, which toots your horn for you. Make sure you’re tooting your horn and look into those opportunities. Don’t think of it as a selfish, stuck up, or snobby kind of thing to do. It isn’t. It is the way to get ahead. Men do it. Maybe in a different way, but they do it. Maybe over beer or on the golf course. They do it for each other as well. They do not necessarily promote women like they should as much as they do each other. Women don’t promote women like men promote each other either.  How many women would look to another woman to promote her? None, women are competing against each other so they are not promoting each other’s efforts. Sadly this is the truth in my humble opinion.  I often ask myself, why is that?

My third piece of advice is ASK FOR WHAT YOU WANT. If you want a promotion or a raise, ask for it. I’ve had to that a few times in my career. It doesn’t always come easily and it is sometimes challenging to ask. Most recently, I was honored by a call to interview for a high level political HR position that I did not seek out. The call was based on reputation and the recommendation of others. Although, I didn’t fully consider the position due to a variety of reasons, I did use the situation to my advantage.  Since they called me, I let my boss know I was interviewing.  It was a toot your own horn opportunity at the very least as it was an honor and reflection on the university as well as my own career achievements.  Once I discovered what they pay level would be, I did take it to my boss and asked for a raise. I have used it a couple other times as well. Not just that I had a competitive offer but just simply asking for a raise that I felt I deserved. Back to the Internet resources, you can go on, Indeed, Monster, etc. and do salary surveys free of charge. You can compare jobs and focus your search criteria to specific demographics. You can go to the Department of Labor to look up salaries as well. It is important that before you go to your manager and ask for a raise, you conduct a comparison, do your homework and be prepared with answers to justify your request. You also must understand that despite the fact that you are asking, you may denied. Prepare for that and understand that there is a budget and a profit to be made. If there isn’t a profit, and you’re in a for-profit organization, it may not be possible to offer a raise; but, at least you’ve tried and you’ve asked.

Another topic related to pay is the idea that 10-20 years ago, it was not kosher to talk about salaries. Nowadays, people will talk about wages all the time and there is absolutely nothing an employer can do about it because of the National Labor Relations Boards (NLRB) current administration. There have been many cases that have been turned around on the employer where they have tried to keep the information quiet and an individual fought it. If any two or more people are talking about a workplace issue, this is what is considered a concerted effort. This used to be only with unionized organizations. But now if you go online or onto social media you will see a big campaign called Fight For Fifteen. This started in Chicago after retailers on Michigan Avenue declared they would walk out on Black Friday if their wages were not increased to $15 per hour. Now multiple organizations and people around the country are on board with this initiative. They are using social media to spread the word and becoming a concerted community with the same fight/request/desire to promote a change. Talk about it. You will not get in trouble. If they do, retaliation laws do exist. If they retaliate against you, there are legal implications in place to protect you.  Talking with your co-workers can prepare you with an internal audit as well for when you do approach your manager with that pay raise request. These are your rights as an employee, so ask for what you want.

My fourth piece of advice is to BE NICE, CONSIDERATE AND UNDERSTANDING. Be the person you want other people to be and treat people like you want to be treated. Understand cultures and differences. Don’t be a bitch. You don’t have to be a bitch. There is another article I’ve written about being a bitch as oftentimes, people see you as that even if you’re not. If you are being assertive, as a woman, we are being considered a bitch. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. There are some women that tend to be bullies who are control freaks and narcissistic. You don’t want to be one of those especially if people are coming to you as their manager or supervisor. I’ve never seen myself as that and my prior employers have said I teach them why we have to do what we have to do. Just last week the departments graduate assistant said “On it, boss” but I told her I was “not her boss and if anything, we are a team player”. We are on the same team. I might have a different role but we are on the same team trying to reach the same goal. I might be a catcher and you might be a pitcher but we all have different roles on ONE team. You don’t have to have the “I’m bitchy, better than everyone attitude”. There is help out there if needed! Founder of the Bully Broads program Jean Hollands offered a class for $18k in the early 2000s in Silicon Valley for women considered to be bullies in the workplace which was featured on NBC news. These women can actually go to reform school for being a “bully boss”. So be nice, considerate and understand, and always put your best foot forward.

Finally, HAVE FUN. I remember my father; he worked for an organization for over 20 years that he absolutely hated. You could see it on his face when he went to work and when he came home from work. He was a good father and husband and he was trying to do ‘the right thing’ for the family, but he could have kept looking and found a job that he loved. I really think you should have a job that you love and that you are passionate about, one that you cannot wait to do. I love to be able to share and educate. I need to see an immediate reaction. Occasionally, 10-15 years after an event, I have run into someone who was in a class I taught and they will say “you really changed my thinking” or “you inspired me” and that makes me feel good in a “not that I am any better than any other person in the world” way, but I feel like I made a difference. You should feel that you love your job, and if you don’t, then start looking for that passion. It is out there, I know it is. If you can’t do it working for somebody else, then work for yourself. Sometimes it’s like taking a bullet to your family financials; in fact, we lost half our salary when I quit my job to start my own business, and it took a while to get back up there, but it was worth it in the end. I had more opportunities with my brand new baby boy, and I was travelling all over the country with my daughter. So I really felt like it was the happy ending for me. This, to me, is how you get ahead as a woman in the work place.

So as a summary, here is my advice in just five steps


Enjoy your job and find something you’re passionate about. It is so important. These are things that I have learned over the years and share with you to wish you success! So to quote my favorite Dr. Seuss:

Congratulations! Today is your day. You’re off to Great Places! You’re Off and away!

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any directions you choose.                                                        

~Oh, the Places You’ll Go


About the Author: Donna Rogers, SPHR aka @HRWarrior. Donna is a full time Instructor at University of Illinois at Springfield, owner of Rogers HR Consulting and the immediate past Director of the Illinois State Council of SHRM. She has over 20 years in the HR field and currently teaches Human Resources Management, Organizational Behavior, Organizational Development, and Strategic HR Management. She practices what she teaches for almost 100 clients in the central Illinois area.


Job Hunting Over 50

Posted on November 10th, by Dorothy Douglass in Business and Workplace, Career Advice. 1 Comment

I am  54 years old.  I have a tendency to start many of my blog posts with this information.  Why?  To add context to whatever I’m passionate enough about to write at that moment.  I’m also an HR professional and I like to think I am progressive and strategic.  I’m fairly active on social media – though I cannot tell you what a Reddit is, or what Four Square does, I do post on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and I pin a lot on Pinterest.  Likely, if you are a young, hip, tech-savvy reader, you know now why I lead with my age.  I’m most certainly behind the times.

But onward…in my use of social media, I try to be more than just a serial poster, creeper, or tweeter.  I try to connect with my connections, and be a friend or a network ally.  Not too long ago, a Facebook friend posted a melancholy post.  Ok, it was scary.  I don’t see his posts often, but for whatever reason, it came up on my feed.  Kismet, perhaps.  High school and college classmate, not a close get-together-for-lunch friend, but one I have always admired.  I commented, “Are you ok?”

Many others posted and one shared with us that he spoke with this man and he was indeed okay, though troubled by a recent job loss, and challenged to find a new position.  I was compelled to offer to assist – hey, I AM in HR, but perhaps there was something I could share to help this friend move forward.  We connected on LinkedIn, messaged one another and arranged a phone call.

We talked for a bit and he shared his frustrations with today’s job hunt and job market.  I’m paraphrasing as best as I can (I’m over 50, cut me some slack!), and here are a few of those frustrations:

Online applications.  My friend lamented that looking for a job is just “not like it used to be.” At some point, this displaced salesman could walk in with his resume to a company and talk to someone face-to-face.  Or at least send the resume in the mail and it would be reviewed.

  • “Why must I also upload my resume when I’ve spent lots of time typing in the information on the application?”
  • “Why do companies fail to take down postings after they are filled?”
  • “Why am I always asked for my salary expectations up front and early in the process?”
  • “Why do I never… Hear… Anything?”
  • “Why can’t I call someone to convince them I can do the job?”

All are great questions.  And for any of us in the age 50+ category,  they are reasonable questions.  So here’s how I answered them, with my HR hat on. And there are some follow-up tips for HR folks.


Why upload a resume AND complete an application? 

  1. The job application is generally a legal document. Hint: Don’t falsify, glorify, or otherwise embellish information on a job application, online or otherwise.
  2. Generally, an application calls for more information and detail than is supplied on a resume. We ask for employment information including salary, supervisor name and contact info.  Specific dates of employment, and education may not be included on a resume.  Hint: Be detailed when you complete an application.  Fill in all the blanks as best you can.
  3. A resume may be filled with inaccurate, inflated, or even false information.  Hint: Don’t do this.   Google Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson for more information.  Go back to #1 – the app is a legal document.
  4. Why upload one if you are completing the application? It depends on the company, culture, and HR department.  Some companies may not require that the resume be uploaded.

Tip for the HR Pros:  It might be good to communicate information on why an application is necessary on your careers page.  We are recruiting tech-savvy professionals, of all ages.  But not everyone understands why we require application, irrespective of generation.


Why do companies not take down postings once the positions are filled?

With my rose-colored glasses on, I would like to think the HR folks are just caught up in the administrative process once the position is filled.

Tip for HR: Be sure your recruiter or HR tech person does take down postings that are filled.  Does your system have an option to automatically send a notification to all applicants when that happens?  If so, turn it on.  Our brand is everything, and if we aren’t staying up-to-date on our own job openings, how can HR be seen as credible internally or externally? Same for your company.


Why am I always asked for my salary expectations up front and early in the process?

Likely, a savvy HR professional needs to know if you and the company are in the same salary ballpark.  If you are seeking a job that pays $100,000 in salary, and the position you applied for caps at $45,000, there is no value in taking your time or the company’s to continue the conversation.  Candidates should consider having a clear picture of what they must have in order to change jobs, and what they desire in salary.  Reframe such a question with a discussion phrased something like this, “That’s a great question.  I have a salary in mind, can you tell me what the minimum pay is, and what the midpoint of the pay range is?”  Then continue the conversation.

Tip for HR:  Are you posting salary ranges out there?  Perhaps at least posting a midpoint would be reasonable.  After all, your time is valuable, too. 


Why do I never… Hear… Anything?

I hope (rose-colored glasses are on) that you mean after you complete an application.  In today’s world, companies receive many more applications than in years past.  In our company of 400+ employees, all who work within one state, we receive about 4,000 applications per year.  (Frame of reference, in 2001 we received about 200 per year.) Of those 4,000, about 2,000 are considered “complete” and are reviewed by a ‘real’ human.  Our system sends an automatic response to anyone who completes the application 100%.

If you were interviewed, I hope the HR professionals at minimum provided an electronic response if another candidate was selected for the position or if you did not make the next set of interviews.

Tip for HR: Employment brand is everything.  Want to be remembered?  Be sure to send a follow up letter, even if it is a rejection follow up.  And if time allows and a candidate calls, can you/do you/should you give feedback on where they could improve next time? What if you found them to be a great cultural fit, but not right for this position?  Following up with a personal phone call to ask a candidate to keep your company in mind for future opportunities – how cool is that?   Imagine the brand recognition you could have if you can do this in an empathetic, professional manner?


Why can’t I call someone to convince them I am right for the job?

Candidate, beware. This may result in your being seen as overly assertive, aggressive, or needy.  Generally speaking, in larger companies, the hiring manager works with HR (rose-colored glasses on here) and between them have experience in hiring and selection.  You may, indeed, be the right candidate, and depending on the job, assertiveness can be a good thing.  Desperation will not be seen as good.  An option:  follow up with a thank you call, email, or handwritten note.  Ask for future consideration and reiterate why you would be a great choice for a role in that company.  Send the HR person a thank you as well.  In today’s world, you will be remembered.

And candidates also be aware that HR may be a credible business partner to the hiring manager.  Trashing HR or following up with “did I intimidate your HR person?”  Or “Did I scare HR?” will not win you any champions the next time you apply.

Job candidates, you must be tech-savvy in this day and age.  At a minimum, you should know how to use a computer and be able to complete an electronic application.  Seek out assistance if you are rusty.  Many libraries and WorkOne offices have classes and folks ready to help.

Apply for many jobs.  The more applications you complete, the higher your chance for being contacted for an interview.  And prepare for your interview  – this is key to moving forward in the hiring process.

Tip for HR: Be open-minded and listen to the candidate.  Be professional and honest with any feedback you provide.  We tend to provide little or no feedback because of the litigious society in which we live.  How can we walk that tightrope best in recruiting?


Finally, my HR peeps, remember to show class and character in hiring.  Your brand is important and you are often the first glimpse into your company that an applicant or job candidate has.  Review your systems on occasion and have an outside, objective person complete an application in your system and give you feedback.  Was it hard? Easy? Time-consuming?  Did it ask for same information multiple times?  Did they get an automatic reply?

HR, be open to all ages, all generations – yes, I know we are sensitive to this.  Walk in the job applicant’s shoes. My Facebook friend’s questions are legitimate questions.  If he’s asking them and feeling them, I’m guessing there are many others out there in the same position.


About the Author:  Dorothy Douglass is Vice President of Human Resources & Training at MutualBank, an Indiana-based financial institution.  She began her career with Mutual in 2001 as Human Resources Manager, and is a graduate of Ball State University.  She is proud to have been in Human Resources now for more than 17 years and is continuing to “lean in” and working to influence the “people management” side of her organization.  She is passionate about managing and developing people; and I have yet to be bored in 13+ years in her current job.   She considers herself fairly tech-UN-savvy, though has immersed herself in Facebook and LinkedIn.  She’s still working on the Twitter-sphere & has goals to blog more in 2014.


How Equal Wages Will Win the War for Talent

Posted on November 3rd, by a Guest Contributor in Business and Workplace. No Comments

It feels as if we’ve been talking about closing the wage gap between the sexes for eons now. Women continue to battle for equal pay for equivalent position and performance, and are still met with lots of nodding heads but little seeming to be done. Well, not everyone is nodding their head without action: it seems that British Prime Minister David Cameron seems to want to do something about it.

The UK Telegraph recently reported that the PM has ordered larger companies (any business with over 250 staff) to divulge the wage disparities between their male and female employees. The Confederation of Business Industry is battling the case, citing that such reports would not actually shed a light on the subject, saying it would cause more confusion, requesting a voluntary approach.

Because we all know so many business leaders would volunteer such information on a regular basis, yes?

The article goes on to cite some of the arguments the Confederation cites for such disparities in pay, which can be attributed to “stereotypes,” which are said to deter women from seeking higher-paying careers as well as falling out of the higher pay grades or women stepping off the career ladder climb due to motherhood.

You can read more here. It’s an interesting piece, but it doesn’t really directly to the heart of the matter: paying for performance leads to more performance.

I’ve never quite understood a reluctance to pay for top talent. If capacity-driven success is what you desire, if you want accomplishments beyond your wildest understanding, then you must obtain and keep the best people in the industry suited to accomplish your goals. While there are many factors in the mix to accomplish this task, compensation is, quite simply, a large part of the equation.

Women comprise roughly over half of the labor force around the world, comprising 57% of the US Labor Market alone. In that labor market, they make 76.5% of what men make. The numbers around the world are about the same; it’s better in some places, worse in others. But the fact remains that over half the workforce is getting paid less than their counterparts. What does that say to hard-working employees who just happen to be female? That despite their best efforts that they’re worth less? It sets a precedent that causes one of two things to happen: unnecessary turnover or marginal performance.

In order to grow capacity for an organization, you need to have everyone working at full steam, completely focused on the task. Knowing that you’re being treated equally for performance ensures that everyone is squarely determined to complete the work at hand, and when they’re not, they talk. Rumors start, and that deters your talent from driving your business forward. Top performers compare notes and if they discover they’re not being treated fairly, they’ll most likely find another place where they think they have a better chance of getting paid what they deserve.

If companies were to divide the spoils more fairly, just think of what we could accomplish. Top talent deserves to be paid like top talent, regardless of stereotypes or having had a qualified life change on their benefits. If two people are top performers, pay them as such.

I wonder if this reporting will start the conversations that need to be had around paying for performance. It seems unnecessary that all the data is there, but resistance remains. If we could stop thinking of it as a historical gender based issue and focus on the common sense of the matter (that everyone deserves to be paid fairly and equally for a job well done,) then the gap could close and we could get on with the matter at hand: moving the global marketplace into one that only sees performance as the determining factor for compensation, not gender.



About the Author: Rita Trehan is a previous guest contributor to Women of HR, and the Founder and Principal of Rita Trehan, LLC, a change management and leadership advisory firm focused on corporate leadership, emerging technology, and cutting-edge organizational design. As a seasoned top executive that has successfully transformed organizations at the Fortune 200 and beyond, she has extensive experience working with CEOs and top corporate management on process and organizational improvement for maximum profitability. A soon-to-be published author, Rita regularly speaks at industry conferences around the world. You can contact Rita on twitter at @rita_trehan and connect with her via LinkedIn. Rita’s blog can be found at

Machines, Insights, and Team Leaders – #HRTechConf 2015

Posted on October 29th, by Jennifer Payne in HR Conferences, HR Technology. No Comments

Another HR Technology Conference has come and gone….another year, another great show filled with ideas, predictions, and of course all manners of technological innovations, from the smallest start-ups, to the latest and greatest from the big, established players in the space.

I’ve commented in the past that what I enjoy most about this show is that it’s not just about seeing what’s new from a product perspective – all though of course that continues to be a critical part of it.  But it’s a conference that continues to evolve and offer not just new technologies, but also plenty of examples of exactly how organizations are using technology to solve real-world problems, as well as exposure to what may be coming and how that may impact how we do business.  And as an HR practitioner, that’s really, really important stuff to know.

Read the rest of the post over at the HRTech Insiders blog.

HRTinsider1 (4)

The Changing Face of the Job Search #EWS2015

Posted on October 27th, by Jennifer Payne in Business and Workplace. No Comments

Editor’s Note: Women of HR has partnered with Spherion on a series of sponsored posts to bring you highlights and commentary from their 2015 Emerging Workforce Study, which contains a great deal of interesting data and statistics about future trends in the workforce and our workplaces.  This is the fourth in that series.  Watch for more over the coming months.


I don’t think many would argue that the world we now live in is driven by technology and technological innovations.  In a world of smart phones & tablets, apps, countless social networks, and constant connectivity, it would be difficult to make a case that technology is not at the center of most of our lives.  And since our work lives tend to be a microcosm of the world at large, it stands to reason that technology is, or at least should be, a critical part of our business worlds as well.


In this technologically driven world, one of the challenges for our companies and HR departments is determining the right combination of technology to use to attract, connect with, and recruit job seekers.  Gone are the days when an employer could simply place a classified ad in a local newspaper and find the candidates it needed.  Generally speaking, today’s job seekers are tech savvy and connected, reflecting the larger world in which we live.


Spherion’s Emerging Workforce Study examined some of the job seeker trends and discovered that when searching for job openings:

  • 79% use a personal computer or laptop
  • 27% use a smart phone
  • 22% use a tablet
  • 30% search on websites such as CareerBuilder or Glassdoor
  • 14% use social networks like LinkedIn or Facebook


What Does This Mean For HR Leaders?


The first thing that’s evident is that online is the place to be.  Only a relatively small percentage of job seekers aren’t looking online, so to capture the other nearly 80%, it’s critical to have a solid career site for your company.  And to stand out from others trying to attract the same talent, make sure it’s simple, easy to navigate, and clearly provides job seekers with the information they may want to know about your company and job opportunities available.


But it’s also not enough to just have a career site.  For those 27% and 22% searching on smart phones and tablets respectively (numbers that I suspect will only continue to increase as time goes on), career sites need to be at a minimum mobile friendly, and ideally mobile optimized.  This is even more critical if you’re looking to attract and recruit Gen Y, and soon Gen Z. Although not exclusive to these generations, and often important to many in other generations as well, mobile capabilities are certainly key in attracting those generations who have been using mobile technology nearly their entire lives.


However even mobile optimized career sites alone are not going to continue to be enough, especially if you’re not fortunate enough to have a well-known brand.  Well-known brands may have the advantage of being able to organically drive traffic to their career sites; for others who don’t have the brand recognition, you need to know where to be to find the candidates you desire.  This means knowing the various career and job related boards and sites, understanding which work best for your industry and markets in which you operate, and strategically using them to target candidates for various job openings.  That 30% who are using sites like these is likely to continue to increase as well.


And lastly, we can’t ignore social networks.  According to the 2015 EWS, 14% of job seekers are looking on social networks, but I believe this is where we’ll see the largest increase over the next several years, especially as our workforces continue to employ more Gen Y and Z.  And if you’re going to have a social presence, it’s critically important to be mindful of your online reputation.  We’ve already examined the importance of employment brand and online reputation to these generations in a previous post, and as our recruiting efforts continue to focus more on these generations, it’s an area we won’t be able to afford to ignore.


It’s a changing world out there, and as employers we need to be aware of, on top of, and embracing the tools and resources available to us to keep us competitive and effective.


Disclosure: Spherion partnered with bloggers such as me for their Emerging Workforce Study program. As part of this program, I received compensation for my time. They did not tell me what to purchase or what to say about any idea mentioned in these posts. Spherion believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Spherion’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.

Meaningful Managerial Relationships In The Workplace: The Essentials

Posted on October 22nd, by a Guest Contributor in Business and Workplace. No Comments

The employees of a business keep the business going. Without the employees, there would be nothing. Employees need to stay happy and productive in order to keep the business alive. One of the major factors contributing to employee happiness is work relationships between coworkers, and between the employee and manager. There are many ways to maintain healthy relationships with employees to keep the business environment in good standing and the success of the business moving forward. Plus, relationships are what build better workplace culture.  Below are five ways managers and employees can build healthy relationships.



To keep up good relationships with employees and avoid the risk of losing them, consider rewarding employees when good work is done. Employee recognition can range from a thoughtful card to personalized gifts or company-wide outings. The best way to capitalize on recognition is by knowing the person you are recognizing. Don’t feel like you, as the manager, always have to be the only one recognizing great work. Have employees within each team or department appreciate each other through their own nominations. This can also bring more unity among coworkers. Simplly put, appreciating your employees will deepen your relationship and retention rate.


Be friendly, but don’t play favorites

Though this may seem obvious, you’d be surprised how common it still is today in the workplace. The one thing for employers to remember when being friendly towards employees is to not play favorites. Favoritism in the office is bad because it can cause other employees to feel disrespected and forced out. An employer should be friendly with all employees, not one more than another. Just remember not to be too friendly where employees can take advantage of the situation. An employer should build good rapport with the employees where they feel comfortable, not scared or intimidated.

For example, employers should emphasize friendliness in the company culture through team building activities so employees feel more comfortable with each other. The more friendly employees are with each other, the more growth within the office.


Better communication tactics

Find better ways to communicate with employees—don’t settle for the norms of email and chat. Part of being approachable is making sure more than one way of communication is possible between employees. Poor communication can lead to friction and inefficiency in the workplace. Basically, create an environment where employees are comfortable conversing ideas and asking questions with one another. This way, you’re not only strengthening culture, but helping employees grow by learning from each other.

In addition, have a level of transparency by keeping each other in the loop. Employees can harbor negative feelings when they feel the company engages in secretive actions that directly impact the employee. Instead, consider meaningful company meetings and face-to-face discussions when something comes up. Retention rates remain high when employees feel like they are informed on company business.



Along with better communication, managers should be sure they are really listening to employees. Have a virtual suggestion box where employees can anonymously leave comments and tips concerning the workplace. However, the second half of listening is acting on what employees want. Through their suggestions, create an office environment where employees are the most engaged and productive. Employees will also be more aware and positive when they know upper management is actively listening.


Employees training employees

We all know personalized training helps employees grow and have a greater sense of purpose within the company. Why not take career development to the next level and have employees teach each other what they know?  Have them become experts in fields and teach others how to become experts. It will not only increase employee morale, but help those less inclined socially to become more social in the office. New relationships can be formed and again, create a friendlier office culture.


All and all, remember to keep healthy relationships among your coworkers to insure a greater company culture and the well-being of the company overall.


About the Author: A previous guest contributor to Women of HR, JP George grew up in a small town in Washington. After receiving a Master’s degree in Public Relations, she has worked in a variety of positions, from agencies to corporations all across the globe. Experience has made JP an expert in topics relating to leadership, talent management, and organizational business.

The Countdown Is On For #HRTechConf 2015 – Here’s What I’m Expecting

Posted on October 14th, by Jennifer Payne in HR Conferences, HR Technology. No Comments

We are now officially less than a week away from the 2015 edition of the HR Technology Conference and I for one am now if full out psyched up mode! Yes, I know I’m an “official blogger” for the show so of course I’d say great things about it, but the truth is, I’ve been a fan of this conference long before I was an official blogger. The content is innovative, the speakers are folks from whom you really want to hear, and the Expo Hall is bigger than anything you’ll see at another HR conference. But you can check out the agenda and see that for yourself.

Read the full post over at the HRTech Insiders blog

HRTinsider1 (4)


Transition to Transformation:  Navigating Change

Posted on October 13th, by a Guest Contributor in Career Transitions, Personal & Professional Development. 2 comments

The world is moving at a very fast pace.  What are you doing to keep in step?

Every day we hear of corporate mergers, downsizing and restructures. What actions are you taking to rewrite your script to ensure you do not wind up on the cutting room floor?

Did you choose to stay home devoting your energy to the betterment of your family and now face a looming empty nest?  What will you do with the next chapter of your life?

It does not matter where you turn; work and life are moving at a dizzying pace.  People, vocations, and emerging technologies are in a constant state of evolution and reinvention. We face a daily backdrop of high alert and digital connection.  No wonder “Transition” and “Change Management” have become the adopted vernacular to describe daily existence.

How can one cope with a state of uncertainty and a general sense of unrest?

I cannot overstate the importance of creating a strong contingency plan.  Why wait till life is on a downward spiral to pick up the pieces and turn it around? Having a strong backup plan is not only practical but can give you the confidence required to leverage and improve your current circumstances.

Would you go on a road trip without a destination, map, gas, and provisions?  Would you go back to school without properly researching the program?  Do you step into the ocean with your eyes closed and let the first wave knock you over and spin you around? Then why would you do this in life and your career?

Why show up without the proper skills and a well thought-out strategy? What actions and steps can you set in motion immediately to ensure you are ready to face any and all unlikely events or circumstances?

I recently led a round table discussion group at a Leadership Conference on the topic of sharing our most valuable secrets and tips for success.  I introduced the concept of having a Plan B regardless of your current work status. There was a member of our table who was incredibly quiet the entire discussion.  I assumed they were unmoved by the discussion.  I received an email shortly after the discussion sharing how powerful this concept is. They assumed “that if they showed up each day and did a good job the powers that be would give you a promotion and raise.”  It never dawned on them that no one else is responsible for your development plan and ultimate destiny.

We can all learn from this lesson.  Don’t wait for the fork in the road to form a new path.  Lay down a purposeful track and let life adapt to your path.  Vow to be the best in class and embellish your current role and life.  We all deserve to be happy and on purpose.  Don’t wait for necessity or catastrophe. Start building today for the future of your dreams.

Here are my Tips for Building a Strategic Plan B.

Get real

Take a fearless and honest look at your current circumstances.  Are you showing up as the best possible version of yourselves? Is your position and company secured? If your company took a downturn would you be the first to go? Are you doing what it takes to ensure your relevancy?


Keep up with the Joneses

How current are your skill sets?  Are you keeping up with the current technology? Are you raising your hand for stretch assignments? If not get started yesterday.


Ready, Set, Learn!

Knowledge has never been easier to acquire.  If you don’t know something, Google it.  Want an up to the minute definition, try Wikipedia.  There are webinars, audiobooks, podcasts, and multiple books on every topic all downloadable to your smartphone. Today you can get an MBA without leaving the comfort of your home!  No excuse, stay relevant!


Expand your circle

Network, Network, Network, and just when you think you can’t stand it one more minute, Network some more.


Acquire a Personal Board

Times of change are difficult. Your Personal Board will be your life line back. They will keep you on track, honest, and moving in the right direction.  They will become your biggest critics and your strongest advocates all wrapped up in one.


Volunteer: Give and Learn

Volunteering is a great way to keep up your spirit while going through turbulent times.  Why not volunteer your services in a way that will require you to learn different skill sets? These skills can be leveraged in your current role or added to your resume for future positions.


Take a break

I cannot overstate the importance of self-care during times of change.  Change is exhausting. You are in a constant state of uncertainty, learning, stepping out of your comfort zone, and all while showing up at your personal best. Eat Well, Sleep, Nap, Take Breaks, Laugh, See Friends, Exercise (preferably outside), Schedule Fun.


Take risks

Change is risky business.  Going back to school is scary.  Learning new technology is overwhelming.  Constantly showing up for networking events can be daunting. Creating an on line presence makes one vulnerable to the masses.  You know the old adage, no risk no reward.


Step Out

Stepping out of your comfort zone is also not easy. I suggest a change of mindset.  Think of trying new things as an adventure.  You will not like everything, but you never know what will resonate. I think of how empty my life would be if I did not meet all of my great friends through networking.  What if I never took the risk that first Sunday and walked into NYU for my Coaching Certificate? Trust me, I was terrified!


Get comfortable with discomfort

My biggest life lesson during my transition from running a Sales and Marketing department to heading up Human Resources and starting my business as an executive coach is that anything is possible.  I mean anything!  We all have the potential to be, do and have anything we want; we just need to be willing to put in the work.  I now welcome uncertainty as it is what gives me grit.  It is what gives me the gumption each day to show up as the best possible version of myself and never, never, never give up.  One can never truly know what lurks around the corner, but I do know I welcome the challenge.  I am ready, willing, and able to do whatever it takes to reach my full potential.  I recommend you do the same.


About the Author:  Joan Axelrod Siegelwax, a previous guest contributor to Women of HR, is the Executive Vice President of Love & Quiches Gourmet, and the Founder and President of Powerful Possibilities Coaching. In her role at Love and Quiches Gourmet she leads the Human Resources Department with the primary goal of increasing employee engagement, accountability, retention and improved corporate culture.  Through creation of Powerful Possibilities Coaching, she has made these skills available to a larger audience through Transformational Executive Coaching, specializing in personal growth, organizational development, career coaching, leadership development, managing transitions, executive presence, personal branding, personal empowerment, life balance, organization and productivity.








Reimagining HR’s Role As a Key Business Partner Can Lead to Career Advancement

Posted on October 8th, by a Guest Contributor in Personal & Professional Development. No Comments

Editor’s Note: The following is the final installment of a three-part series featuring influential women from Paychex. Part I of the series kicked off on Sept. 22 in conjunction with American Business Women’s Day.


I’m a big believer that professional development is the basis for achieving success in almost any field, and HR is no exception. It’s important to assess your own strengths and opportunities to determine what competencies you need to master in order to advance to the next step, and then execute an Individual Development Plan (IDP) that is targeted to help you achieve your career goals.


Over the course of my career, I’ve made it a constant point of emphasis to be self-aware of my performance in areas that I consider to be key competencies in my current role and the next role that that I aspire to attain. This has enabled me to develop an IDP that leverages my strengths and close my gaps through actions that provide me with valuable exposure opportunities, hands-on experiences and continued learning. My philosophy is to invest in yourself because the ROI is priceless.


Business leaders today know that their employees are the driver of business success. While employees are valued, many business leaders rank human capital as a top challenge. This presents a huge opportunity for HR practitioners to add value to their companies and grow as professionals, if they can help their organization reimagine HR’s role as a key business partner. Here are some key competencies that can help you tremendously in achieving that goal:


Functional knowledge and expertise. The field of HR is extensive and continues to advance and transform. It’s vitally important to stay abreast of the field so that your knowledge – and practical application of that knowledge – is modern and relevant. Having strong functional knowledge and expertise better equips you to quickly align HR and business strategy.


Business acumen. Understanding the big picture and the ability to look out the windshield at what lies ahead are critical. Having strong business acumen will result in the aptitude and knowledge to become a more critical thinker and capable problem solver. Developing business acumen involves being keenly aware of the economic and social issues that are affecting your company, staying close to emerging industry trends, your companies competitors,  and truly understanding the SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) of your organization. When all of these things come together, you’re in a position to diagnose a business problem and offer a strategic solution that will drive business outcomes and your company’s success.


Executive disposition.  It’s more than about what you know. It’s also about how you perform in your role as a HR practitioner. You want to be viewed as a leader not only in your profession, but in the organization as a whole. HR practitioners have a really unique opportunity to develop relationships that are both cross-functional and cross-hierarchical. When doing so, it’s important to convey an image that’s consistent with the vision and values of the organization in order to be an effective advocate for the company. You want to exude a demeanor of poise and confidence, especially in times of change, ambiguity, or stress. It will command respect and reassure others within the organization – from front line employees all the way to the C-suite.


If you’re a HR practitioner who may not yet have these competencies mastered, don’t fret. Simply make a pledge to your professional development by formalizing your IDP and making it a priority. That commitment will pay huge dividends, both for yourself and your organization.


About the Author: Leah Machado is the director of service for HR Services at Paychex, a leading provider of integrated human capital management (HCM) solutions for payroll, human resource, insurance, and benefits outsourcing services. She leads an organization with over 500 HR practitioners who provide HR outsourcing services to 32,000 Paychex HR Services clients with 880,000 worksite employees.  Leah’s career spans over 22 years in the retail, restaurant, and HCM outsourcing industries, and includes HR practitioner and leadership experience.