Category: On My Mind

Is “She” Really a “BITCH” in the Workplace?

Posted on July 29th, by Donna Rogers, SPHR in On My Mind. No Comments


In this title, I am using the word "she" as a representative of any woman in the workplace and not at all thinking of any one woman in particular. However, at times I may bring to mind a certain woman (including myself) to make my point. So what made me write such a post? What do I think the answer to this question is? Why should we even care?

Well the other day a person I would consider to be one of the nicest college friends I ever had posted a quiz on Facebook titled "How Bitchy Are You?"  At first, I thought now why would she do that? She's not even close! Although, her score was 52% which said she was a "Balanced Bitch". So a couple hours went by and without thinking much about it except to laugh to myself because I thought for sure my result would be much higher, I took the quiz. Now let me just say, as an educated adult, I do know there is not a lot of research that is behind these silly Facebook quizzes, but what the hey. My theory was correct and I did score higher by 10%, achieving the "balanced bitch" entitlement as well.  Then another friend who scored only 23% took it. Honestly, I would have ranked both the friend that took it initially and the latter friend in the same category of friendliness (not bitchiness) due to my own personal experiences with them. Thus negating my trust in the quiz even further.

All this got me thinking of the use of the word "Bitch" in general and more specifically in the workplace. I remember as a young professional (YP), I was invited to join a ladies group called "Bitchin' Broads" and I was offended that they called themselves that and refused to be part of the group, because as a professional I didn't want to be associated. I felt at the time it gave women a bad name in the workplace.  Little did I know at the time that in reality, if you simply spoke up, shared what was on your mind, refused to do something ridiculous, called others on their laziness, or anything that others might consider "crossing the line," that is what they called you (and still do). Why is that?

If you are passionate about something and convey that in the workplace you can kiss your reputation as the nice lady goodbye. Take on a supervisor, manager, director or above and actually not be afraid to do the job...life as you know it is over. Matter of fact, your most likely counter supporters are typically other women. I have had several women tell me that they preferred to work for a man than woman. With more women entering the workplace decade after decade and still not joining the numbers at the top as a majority like their male counterparts, is it because of this mentality? Are women holding women back just because they are too nice to appreciate bitchiness as a necessary competency for getting things done? Please note: I am not condoning bullying in the workplace. I consider that to be totally different and definitely inappropriate in the workplace. A bully is a downright jerk regardless of gender.

So, I know for a fact, I have been a bitch at times both in the workplace and in the volunteer roles I have held related to the workplace. When I posted my score and comment in Facebook "life can be a bitch at times and so can I. I'm sure many of you would agree! Ha! Ha!" not many responded and I know why. The truth hurts. It's not intentional and it's not something I look back on and am proud of all the time. However, it has been essential at least 75% of the time. Many do take it a compliment. Just look at these articles I pulled a quote or takeaway from related to my thoughts on the topic.

"The more of a bitch I am the more successful I become" http://www.forbes.com/sites/susannahbreslin/2012/05/07/how-to-be-a-bitch/

"Stop saying I'm sorry - there is a time and place for apologies"http://m.contentfac.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.contentfac.com%2Fboss-bitch-manifesto-why-nice-girls-finish-last-in-life-and-in-business%2F#2713

When it means making 18% more than your agreeable counterparts why not earn the bitch title? http://jezebel.com/stop-being-nice-all-the-time-and-start-embracing-your-i-504747512

And just in case you missed the Facebook Bitch Quiz, here's another you can take to see if you are one of the workplace "she's": http://www.gotoquiz.com/are_you_a_bitch

Is the "she" in your workplace a bitch? My answer is "yeah, maybe" but is that a bad thing? Maybe not!

 

Photo Credit

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.


I Know They Said That Honesty Is The Best Policy, But…

Posted on July 1st, by Rowena Morais in On My Mind. 2 comments

Honesty is best but there are times when you can and should choose to refrain. There’s always levels of complexity  involved and there is the risk of appearing hypocritical. Also, you have to choose what to be honest about. I don’t think that your goal of maintaining honesty should mean a complete and thorough application of the principle regardless… although I realize that the more exceptions there are to the rule, the more the rule gets a bit hazy.

 

But here’s what I do know.

 

I have, to the best of my ability, tried to live an honest life, in that I tried to be true to my goals, desires and emotion. I worked hard at ensuring a meeting of minds between my mental and emotional state and the actions resulting thereof.

 

I had to. I could not live any other way.

 

As far as I could, I wanted to be authentic in my communications and relationships. It was necessary for me to be truthful, to the point of pain, about what I saw, what I felt, what I believed, even if it was at odds or brought conflict to bear in a given situation.

 

Honesty, in this case, was therefore merely an alignment between my thoughts and my actions. Living a lie, where what I thought was distinct from my actions, would prove too difficult to endure or to sustain.

 

I have, in recent times, been privy to two sets of close relationships where I see that honesty is critical to the nature of the relationship. I have seen how inaction or uncertainty about how to respond in a given situation can be taken as acquiescence of the current status quo. I have seen how silence can be taken as tolerance or worse still, willingness.

 

These situations and relationships, and how people make sense of it all, take years to develop. Like an onion, it is built layer upon layer and the demarcation is blurred.

 

You owe it to yourself to be honest. So that you can move on, so that you can achieve the life and relationships you deserve to have. Yes, it is scary to realize the potential negative reactions that we could be called on to face, and sometimes, we will need to face this, all alone.

 

But in our quest for a life that is true and authentic, for relationships that are based on something meaningful and deep, for decisions that are anchored in something sturdy and substantial, we need to aim for honesty.

 

If only so that we can reconcile our desires and needs with our actions.

 

If only for us to live a life with minimal regret.

 

If only to make real impact on those around us.

 

Photo Credit

Rowena Morais is the Editor of HR Matters  Magazine, a quarterly print publication aimed at Human Resource  professionals.  She is also the co-founder and Programme Director at Flipside, a business services company with offices in Malaysia and Singapore, providing professional  certification training. Here, she provides strategic direction as well as  oversight on client training and corporate functional  areas. Rowena blogs about developing habits, execution, growth and personal  development. She lives in Kuala Lumpur with her husband, two  young kids and now, a newborn. Connect with Rowena at editor@hr-matters.info.

 


Business Etiquette – Are We Focusing on the Wrong Things?

Posted on May 13th, by Jennifer Payne in Business and Workplace, On My Mind. No Comments

 

I had the opportunity recently to participate in an employer and student roundtable discussion at a local college.  The purpose of this project was to connect business leaders and HR professionals with college students to discuss the perceived and actual gaps in college level curriculum in preparing students for jobs and careers after graduation.  In other words, as business and HR leaders, what did we wish students knew, or what skills did we wish they had upon graduation that would make them more valuable contributors to our businesses much more quickly?

The concept of this roundtable was great, and the discussions enlightening for both sides for the most part.  But one part of the discussion bothered me, and still does several weeks later; that was the discussion about “business etiquette.”

You see, there was a belief in the room among many of the business professionals that students come into the workplace ill prepared for the realities of the workplace, that they don’t understand how to act in a professional setting.  I do think this can be true to an extent, and there’s nothing wrong with setting expectations about dress code, or providing guidelines or reminders that it may be inconsiderate to take a conference call on speakerphone when you’re working in a cubicle situation.  There are many appropriate and helpful things that we can do and steps that we can take as employers throughout the onboarding process to help them to acclimate.  However, rather than a discussion about learning to navigate corporate culture and/or politics, it became a discussion that I could only describe as a lack of adherence to “work rules.”

The example was raised of a new employee who was found wearing headphones at his desk (presumably listening to music as he worked), and the discussion became a little heated with strong convictions about how new employees need to learn that this is not acceptable.  But I question….why this rule in the first place?  Are the headphones truly inhibiting productivity?  Unless this employee was working in a call center, or the headphones were preventing him from hearing his phone ring, is there really any harm?  Is it possible that he does a lot of independent work (writing, coding, etc.) and music motivates him? Maybe his work requires a great deal of concentration and the headphones/music blocks out the distractions around him?

What was particularly bothersome to me is that the professionals who were in the room represented some very highly respected companies.  They were all obviously very successful, and offered a multitude of excellent advice in other aspects of the discussion.  Yet when it came to work rules, the opinions were clear.

Too often, we as HR professionals get so fixated on the rules or the policies that we lose sight of why those rules are even in place to begin with, and fail to question whether or not they should be.  There is absolutely a place for workplace guidelines, and some policies need to be in place to protect our employees (workplace violence, sexual harassment, etc.)  Burt why do we continue to be fixated by arbitrary work rules?  Because that’s how it’s always been?  Because “our” way of working is right and “theirs” is wrong?  Why aren’t we talking about teaching and coaching our new employees on the importance of building relationships and internal networking?  About how to assess a corporate culture and learn how to navigate politics….and not politics in a bad way, but politics in the sense of learning who knows what, and who your best sources are when you need information, help, etc?  Why are we so worried about who is following which arbitrary rule, instead of learning how to get the best and most productive output from our new employees?

My contribution to this discussion and advice to the students was the following:  not all cultures are the same.  Some will allow certain things, some won’t.  Some will be more rigid, some will be more flexible.  Not every culture is going to be like Zappos or Google, but don’t think every workplace with be rigid, either.  Figure out the level of rigidity you think you would be able to tolerate, and then learn how to research company cultures to find employers where you know you’ll be comfortable and be able to do your best work.

 

Photo Credit

 

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 management 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.


Integrity – What It Is and What It Isn’t

Posted on April 22nd, by Kristin Kaufman in On My Mind. 2 comments

Much has been written about integrity. In fact, in the hundreds of team meetings and board retreats I have facilitated, integrity is, seldom, NOT a team value. However, I intend not to focus on what we perceive integrity to be; yet, what integrity is not.

Let’s start with a common definition: Webster defines integrity as a firm adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty. Here are a few examples, from real life, which I believe shine a bright light on what integrity is not.

Do any of these sound familiar?

  • A person hears a fabulous key note or presentation; and they believe it to be so fabulous, they take portions of it – change a few words – ‘just to be honest’ – and begin to tout this as their own brilliant idea.
  • A person asks someone for a treasured family recipe. They don’t really want to give it; yet rather than to say no, they give it to that person – less an ingredient. (Yes, that has happened to me, and yes, it does happen….often in the South)
  • A person/s are exposed to an idea, a word, a term or philosophy which rings true to them, on which someone else has built their methodology and often their company. They think that term is so unique and powerful; they take that term, a few key phrases, and build their approach around that same approach.
  • A person has the opportunity to speak the whole truth about an issue – personally, socially or professionally – and they opt to tell the truth. However, they don’t tell ‘everything.’ They just tell portions of the story – they omit key points; most often swaying the point, certainly to their favor. (You know the drill….think about a sales person’s sales participation and their quest for sales credit/quota commission, think about sales/consulting methodology aspects – the consulting world is full of intellectual property wars – even social and political issues…..just turn on the TV or log onto YouTube.)
  • A person says one thing to you, another version of what they have said to you to someone else, and yet, another version to another person of the same story. I wish I had a nickel for every time that has happened to me in my life!
  • A person is newly hired onto a team from outside the company and that person begins a quick study on how to usurp the person that hired them in a quest for fame, fortune, and power. Discrediting, sabotaging, back-stabbing, hording of ideas….the list is long.

I have had every single one of these happen to me in my career … some in the past few months.

Many in big business will say: this is why we have trademarks, copyrights, and intellectual property infringement law; and this is learning to ‘play the game;’ survival of the fittest. If someone doesn’t ‘have it’ – then they are ‘fair game’. Sure, I ‘get it’ – remember, I lived in that world for over 25 years. It goes without saying that we must protect ourselves, our company, and our work product.

However, the issue I am raising is much more systemic in our culture. For I am quite certain there are many in business today who don’t share everything with their internal counterparts for fear of being ‘poached’ of the good ideas. I am also quite certain there are those in business who perhaps don’t lie by commission; yet lie by omission – just not sharing everything, just sharing ‘enough.’

Where do we think this behavior is taking us? To a constant shade of grey? To a moral stance that is our interpretation instead of one that is based on honesty and integrity?

So what, you may say? “That is life.” Well, I firmly believe that is wrong.

We have an obligation to own up to our responsibilities – and that means stopping this insanity of stealing and poaching and, not respecting one another as creators, individuals, contributors, and builders of our companies, our communities, our nation, and our world.

Two things to consider:

First: Be Impeccable with your Word. A fabulous book: The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom, A Toltec Wisdom Book became a ‘book of the month’ for many of my teams over my career. If you not have read it yet  – read it. One of the agreements is to “be impeccable with your word.” This basically means telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Often in today’s world, the operative word is ‘whole.’ Many just simply omit key facts or nuances. This is an interesting observation – just listen to national news, politicians, Fortune executives, Oprah, even personal acquaintances. It is amazing to watch the ‘spin factor’ and the power of just ‘omitting a few key facts.’ What is the whole truth?!

I will offer one personal test case of integrating this philosophy into life. With one of our most successful teams in a publicly traded software company, we used this book as a gauge for how we could grow and learn together as a team; and this book and particularly this agreement of ‘being impeccable with our word’ became our mantra. We were in the fast paced world of dot com frenzy, software sales and mergers, and greed was rampant. This agreement saved our team and company in more ways than we will ever probably realize. We were not always the most popular at the time; yet I know from the CEO through the ranks, we were the most respected and valued at the end of the day.

Second: Stop stealing. A person’s original ideas will always be more authentic, rich, and potent than anything they ‘borrow’ or steal. Period. A person can rationalize due to complacency, laziness, or their perceived belief that they can ‘take this idea and really make it come to life’ (yes, I have heard that one of late, as well).

What I would suggest is simply this: If a person loves the idea, thinks it had merit, power, brilliance, cache, etc., then simply get permission, give credit or notice to that company, and source the source. It is truly that simple.

Again, this conjures up ‘legal jargon’ and it certainly gives many an attorney a steady annuity stream; and yes, there will always be a need for the law. Yet, it does not have to be that complicated. Just give notice to those that deserve it! Also, folks, please realize that YOUR ideas will be so much more powerful if they are truly YOURS. That is the beauty of pure authenticity and the power of telling your story… not plagiarizing someone else’s.

This philosophy and principle of integrity starts with each one of us. One person at a time. A germ of an idea at a time. It does not have to be on a soap box, on the national stage, or even in a national court of law. It is in the small acts, small companies, and small businesses which have often set the stage for many of our greatest achievements.

  • We are responsible for protecting it.
  • We foster all ideas – ours and others.
  • We blow on all the embers of ideas of our fellow workers, our colleagues, our friends, our clients, our coaches, our partners….we don’t steal them.
  • We give credit. We give public and private recognition.
  • We make referrals expecting nothing in return.
  • We are frightfully honest – in all arenas.
  • We ask the questions of which we are afraid of the answers.
  • We own the answers.

We are impeccable with our word – written, spoken, acted – regardless of the consequences. That is what integrity looks like.

 

Photo Credit 

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?, centers on her global experiences seeding her journey toward alignment. The book is scheduled for release in November 2011. Kristin is on Twitter as @KristinKaufman.


Keeping the HUMAN in Human Resources

Posted on April 14th, by Dorothy Douglass in Business and Workplace, On My Mind. No Comments

My smart phone took the plunge yesterday.  Though it was just milliseconds before I fished it from the sink, it was long enough evidently for it to drown and it is now awaiting resurrection in a bag of rice.  Oh, and I’m over age 50 – that might be significant later in my saga.  Or not….

I quickly retrieved my phone, wiped it down, and took it apart, wiping off all the significant parts I could find.  I then had to jump in a car aimed for a full day seminar.  No rice in sight until later in the day.  Much later….

And as we plunged into this training session at precisely 9:00am, I thought, as a ‘mature’ (oh how I hate categorizing myself with that term) professional, I won’t even miss my smart phone.  After all, I have been in the professional world since before the fax machine.  Before the internet.  Before everyone – age 10 to 100 – carried a cell phone.  Heck, I’m of the generation who received resumes and cover letters through the U.S. Mail.  We sent hard copy memos, letters, and correspondence.   I would be just fine, laser focusing in on the seminar message and interacting with 20 awesome coworkers.

10:00. First break.  I reached for my purse to grab the phone, putting it back together in the hopes of that lively Android light would blink back.  Nope.  My colleagues around me kept up with work emails, personal texts, and some even took notes on their smart devices.  Not me.  Pen to paper, I was.  Deep breath.

12:00. Lunch time. Reached back again. “ Stop it, I don’t need that infernal thing,” I said to myself.  But what if there were an “emergency” at work? At home? And whatever would I do having to get through the multiple emails that were, undoubtedly, filling up my inbox? Deep breath, I  can do it.  i can go on without that electronic device.  I think, as a small headache began to come on….

The afternoon was much the same, and I won’t continue to bore you with my internal thoughts and struggles.  It is now the first FULL day without my smart phone.  I am in withdrawal.  Hello, my name is Dorothy and I am addicted to my smart phone.  I’ve had to email colleagues, friends, and family and let them know that in order to get in touch with me – they would have to pick up the telephone, or send an email.  How old-fashioned, right?

I actually got up out of my seat to go talk to colleagues and employees.  How thought-provoking!  Maybe this is my path this week – to remember that in my role as a Human Resources professional, I need to remember that I am dealing with HUMANS. I am HUMAN.  Face-to-face is not always bad, nor does it have to be.  It was not painful to get up and walk around the office and our buildings. Human interaction wasn’t bad.  A few people looked up as I walked by and even said hello.

We all get wrapped up in this electronic world, and a smart phone is really convenient to  keep up with work email,  & stay in touch with family, friends, colleagues.  It is easy to flip through Flipboard for news and Facebook for photos of those cute great nieces. Maybe though, just maybe, we could be better role models in the HR profession if we were out talking to people more.  In person. When it’s not bad news.

Hmmm.  Perhaps one of my future “stretch” assignments for my HR team will be for them to put down their phones, get up from behind their desks, and go talk to employees.  Just because….I’m old.

 

Photo credit

 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 Mindful Are You?

Posted on February 20th, by Jennifer Payne in On My Mind, Personal & Professional Development. No Comments

As I was reading a recent issue of Time Magazine, I stumbled across a feature article entitled “The Art of Being Mindful” and it immediately piqued my interest.  The focus of the piece was an exploration of a fairly recent movement centered on learning to shift focus back to the present moment, a remedy for the fractured attention spans and constant multi-tasking that has become not only prevalent, but normal and even expected in our fast-paced, technologically driven society.  Though this idea is certainly nothing new, it seems in a world where there are increasingly more distractions and demands for our attention as a result of devices that allow us to be connected around the clock, more and more people are realizing the benefit of focusing on being mindful.

 

In fact, enough people have begun to see the benefits of mindfulness that there is now a growing industry surrounding it.  The article talked about “Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction” (MBSR) classes that people regularly pay hundreds of dollars to attend to learn mindfulness techniques.  In 2007, Americans reportedly spent $4 million annually on mindfulness related alternative medicine, a figure that will be updated later this year.  And there is even an Institute for Mindful Leadership, a Wisdom 2.0 annual conference for tech leaders in Silicon Valley, and numerous mindfulness and meditation apps available for our smart phones.

 

This fascinates me.  As I already mentioned, the idea of being mindful is certainly nothing new.  I recently began practicing yoga, and one of the key elements of the practice is focus on being present in the moment, most often by paying particular attention to your breath.  Yoga and meditation have been around for centuries, long before MBSR classes began to be offered.  What interests me most is the idea that more and more people are realizing there is a need to bring more awareness to being in the moment; that too many of us are multi-tasking to the point of complete distraction.

 

As HR professionals regularly interacting with other people and/or dealing with various people related issues, it would seem to be common sense that we would always be mindful in those interactions.  But are we?

 

How often can you honestly say you are totally and completely in the moment in your interactions with others?  Are you really listening, or do you find your mind wandering to the next task on your to-do list, or the next meeting on your calendar?  When you have an employee or one of your team members in your office, do you focus on the conversation, or are you multi-taking by reading or answering emails?  Are you likely to take a phone call if it rings in the midst of that conversation, or will you let it go to voicemail and center your attention on the person in front of you?

 

Mindfulness in interactions with others is important for all leaders, but in HR, when we’re often dealing with emotionally charged situations, it’s even more critical.  If you can honestly say that you are 100% mindful in all of your interactions, great – keep up the good work!  However, if you are like many of us (myself included) and tend to find your mind wandering and your attention everywhere but where it should be, I challenge you to consciously focus on keeping yourself more in the moment.  Bring just a little more mindfulness to the work you do each day.  It may just make you not only a better leaders and HR pro, but by truly giving undivided attention to the person in front of you, may actually help strengthen your relationships with those around you as well.

 

Photo credit 

 

About the Author: Jennifer Payne, SPHR has 15 years of HR experience in employee relations, talent acquisition, and learning & development, and currently works in talent management 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.

 


How Dorothy Got Her Groove Back

Posted on February 18th, by Dorothy Douglass in On My Mind. 2 comments

2013 was NOT a good year for me.  In my head, that is.  Mentally, I felt burned out, disconnected, wondering if I needed to make a  professional change, and at times,  I felt frustrated in my HR role.  Twelve years (now starting year 13) is a “record” for me in any position.

In prior careers, I got bored, frustrated, fed up, or felt thwarted with career growth, and moved on.  Sometimes graciously, sometimes, not so much.  Hopefully I’ve learned from each of those other roles, and grown wiser as well as older.  Now having been in HR for more than 17 years has given me so much ability to look back over my own career and learn life lessons. I spent a LOT of time ‘inside’ my own head in 2013, struggling with potentially life-changing and career-changing decisions last year.

I feel like I’m back in the groove in 2014, and I feel more connected to the organization and more engaged in my job.  I cannot put my finger on exactly why or when that happened, but here are a few thoughts, perhaps ‘tips’ for others,  on my challenges from last year.

  • Don’t let your (bad, poor) attitude bleed over to your direct reports.  This is possibly the hardest thing of all for me.  I am pretty transparent in what I share with my team, and in my body language.  I’m not sure I fooled them, but they were gracious enough, gave me space, time, and the ability to work through my own head.  Which leads me to,
  • Put a great work team in place.  Select the smartest, most talented people you can, teach them what you want and need them to know, then set them free to chart their professional course.  Sometimes that will mean you need to let go, delegate more, or trust in their decisions.  Do this.  As early as possible after you become a manager.  This is critical to success, and most of all, it is my work team that kept moving forward , kept getting things done and getting results in HR, that helped ‘mask’ my bad year.  In short, they made me look good.  Even when I mentally was not very good.
  • Have other activities to keep you going.  2013 was the year I took on physical challenges to get myself out of part of my funk.  I began to strength train 2-3 times per week.  I also found a ‘safety zone’ in my family at home, where I knew I would go at the end of every day.
  • Talk about your challenges with someone.  Whether professionally with a life coach, or with a good friend.  In my case, as in many HR professionals’ worlds, I cannot share specifics of work challenges, but I do have close friends with whom I could share my general malaise.  They listened.  Encouraged.  Let me know I was indeed human.  And though I’m not generally a hugger, they gave me hugs – mentally, physically.  Often, when I needed them most.
  • Take time off.  We have a generous paid time off policy where I work – another perk one has to think of, when considering change.  I used my time.  Sometimes one day at a time.  And I planned for two weeks off at year-end.  In a very warm climate.  With my family.  I had this to look forward to as I plugged through my 2013.
  • Before you leap, step back and look around.  I was likely pretty transparent to many around me.  I had many colleagues stop by to check on me last year.  Just to “see how I was doing.”  Obviously, I must have been transparent with how I was feeling.  Looking back and reflecting, I have it pretty good where I am.   I have great colleagues, the very best team I could ask for, a great job with great benefits and perks, and even a really good boss.
  • Share, in a professional way, your career desires or work frustrations, with your boss.   Sometimes, it’s just having a secure outlet to share work frustrations that helps.  Sometimes, getting another’s perspective from their seat allows for attitude adjustment to happen.  I had a good discussion with my boss during performance review time.  I let him know that I sometimes need him to spend just a little of his valuable time with me.  That time alone, is very engaging for me.  I appreciate the confidence he has placed in me, his trust of me, and the value he places on HR in the organization.

I’m engaged in my work right now, and aiming for a great 2014.  What turned it around?  I’m not sure.  Perhaps it was the two weeks off I took near year end, and the full week I spent lounging in Key West with my family.  Perhaps it was inward reflection on what a great place I indeed work – and all the perks and benefits I have here.  Perhaps it was my friends. Perhaps it was the great HR team who figuratively carried me through 2013, when I couldn’t walk myself.   Maybe it was all of those things.  I think I have my groove back.  Let’s go!!

 

Photo credit

 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.


What’s In A Name?

Posted on February 11th, by Shauna Moerke in Business and Workplace, On My Mind. No Comments

Several years ago I did a post on this site called Love, Marriage, and SEO. In it I talked about how through marriage I had lucked into a great new name because I was, and still continue to be, the only Shauna Moerke on the internet. That’s awesome SEO (Search Engine Optimization) right there. I was so confident that I would never change my name again. Ah, to be so young and so naive.

Flash forward a few years and with a divorce and a new marriage under my belt and I found myself with a conundrum. As I mentioned in that previous post, all my time in social media and even my professional HR career I was Shauna Moerke. Now I could keep Moerke as my last name. That was always an option and honestly, it was the easiest choice. And that may have been what I would chose to do if it had been my maiden name. Now, call me superstitious or sentimental, but I did not like entering into a new marriage and keeping my name from a previous marriage. So once again, I find myself running the name change gauntlet as I try to figure out what to do now.

Professionally, the effect can be rather minimal if you are prepared. Make sure you start reaching out to your professional contacts, starting with your references first, to let them know of your new name. This also has the added bonus of getting you to check in on how your network is doing, which is something we should all be doing on a regular basis but often forget to. And as you start changing your name in all the important areas (Driver’s license, passport, social security, voter registration, etc) take the time to update your resume and order personal cards (as opposed to business cards, though you will need those too) with your new name that you can start handing out. It is much easier for others to get in touch with you if they don’t have to figure out how your new name is spelled.

Social media, well, that is a harder problem. I have a lot invested in the name Moerke. Not only is my blog’s name officially “Shauna Moerke is…“, even if I still refer to it as HR Minion, but my whole social media identity is linked to it. So for my social media piece, I decided on a compromise. My blog’s name hasn’t changed. My name on this site and on twitter hasn’t changed. On Facebook and LinkedIn I have Moerke as my former name right next to my new last name and I haven’t changed the link addresses on either. If you found me before as Shauna Moerke, you can find me still. But now you can also find me as Shauna Griffis too.

Oh, did I happen to mention that my new last name is also pretty awesome? It turns out that I am the only Shauna Griffis on the internet, a fact that my new husband was very quick to point out to me long before we made anything official. Gotta love a man with a great name and a head for how this social media game is played.

 

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About the author:  Shauna is an HR professional with a diverse work history, a Master’s degree, and a PHR certification. She is also a huge geek, social media advocate, and infectious giggler. Besides being a co-founder of the Women of HR she also serves as the current Ringmistress of the Carnival of HR, is the former co-host of the HR Happy Hour blogtalk radio show, and blogs at her own site as the HR Minion.


The Real Deal About Ethics in Action

Posted on January 21st, by Kristin Kaufman in Business and Workplace, On My Mind. No Comments

There have been many books written on Ethics over the years – including The Good Life by Gomes, The Ethics of Leadership by Ciulla, and a personal favorite, Ethics 101 by John Maxwell.

Frankly, as rich as so many of these books are, we often have a tendency to read them, even have the best of intentions to integrate the principles into our personal and professional lives; yet particularly when we are under pressure, these values are put to the test and we may fall short. We all know full well that it is better to tell the truth than to tell a fib and to be loyal rather than to cave under pressure. Most of us also fully embrace The Golden Rule: ‘of doing unto others as we would have done unto us.’ We are certainly not ignorant of the virtues of the spiritual truths, Biblical principles, and even the many current writings on these values.

Yet, how many of us are really honest with ourselves with how and when we practice our beliefs and values pertaining to ethical behavior? How many of us hold ourselves and our team mates accountable for modeling ethical behavior? What can we do to help each other hold fast to these principles? So, in addition to our own spiritual practices and support groups, what are a few additional steps we can take to truly exercise our ethical muscles?

I read a wonderful article in Talent Management a few years ago which really stuck with me. I am integrating a few points I read in this article by Robert J. Thomas – as I believe he had an interesting and pragmatic perspective. One key point he made, which I thought was particularly ‘spot on,’ was that none of these observations or exercises will work unless we are ruthlessly honest with ourselves. So, keep that in mind – only read further if you are willing to look in the mirror of authentic self reflection and be ruthless about what we find.

Step 1: Honestly evaluate our commitments to others.

At the end of each day, (or if you are really strapped for time, do this on a Saturday morning), think about all the commitments, approvals, obligations, and promises you have made. There will be many – as so many of us say ‘yes’ or ‘I will get that to you’ or ‘I will read that and give you feedback’ without even really thinking about it. We are trying to be supportive, polite, or simply not thinking about it being a real commitment. What happens if we don’t come through? What is the cost to ourselves and to the others to whom we made these promises? Some may say that this has nothing to do with ethics. I disagree. Again, when we say we are going to do something – regardless of how small it may seem to us – it is our word to another. Sure, sometimes we forget, get busy, and it falls off the radar; that can happen. The difference is when it does – do we follow-up, admit our mistakes, make it right, and make a commitment to ourselves to do better the next time? This is how we learn and grow. We observe ourselves, put a practice in place to be aware of our behavior, and from here we can improve.

Step 2: Create a personal “Board of Directors” and career support system

Most of us have support systems of some sort: spouses, families, friends, Bible study groups, civic groups, etc. However, how many of us have a pseudo ‘board of directors’ for our professional growth? Just like a corporate board, our own personal board needs to be chosen for their experience, knowledge, skill set, and unrelenting commitment to the company’s success (in this case the company is YOU). These people will care enough to shoot straight with you – even when their observations may not be what you want to hear.

My suggestion is that these conversations need to be deliberate, not episodic or social in nature. They need to focus on you, your adherence to your values, your foibles, areas for improvement and honest observations. So, what’s in it for them we may ask? Well, in addition to the fulfilling nature of ‘paying it forward’ which they will undoubtedly experience when helping another; we can also offer to serve in that same capacity for someone they may want us to help. This is the cycle of leadership – and this is just one step we can each take as a matter of practice going forward.

Step 3: Establish values which will stand the tests of crisis, challenge, and temptation

Most organizations spend days (and often weeks) establishing their value system. Often, these values end up on the bulletin board or a plaque in clear view for everyone to see and read. I wonder if we would really know what the values were within these organizations without the plaque. Would the behaviors the individuals (and teams) exhibit in the organization represent those values? That is the truth serum, isn’t it? The same is true for us.

We may espouse a certain set of values – yet do we live them? What values would our co-workers say we live? Are they consistent with what our families and friends would say? Are our values the same in moments of stress, crisis and potential conflict?

Imagine all the whistle blowers in the news…..do we have the backbone to truly live our values when we are really tested? Think Sherron Watkins (Enron whistle blower). Then think about Eileen Foster – the Countrywide whistle blower who was ignored and then fired for calling suspicious actions into question.  Finally, consider Katsuaki Watanabe, the CEO of Toyota, and all the other companies who had to face the realities of product recalls in recent years. What values and strength of conviction were represented in each scenario? What will we do when our ‘Tylenol moment’ happens? Will our values and ethics remain intact when we have to face the music? Establish values, declare them, and hold ourselves accountable to them.

From my perspective, in life and leadership, exercising ethics is a non-negotiable. As Albert Schweitzer (Civilization and Ethics, 1949) offers: “Ethics are nothing but reverence for life. This is what gives us the fundamental principle of morality, namely, that good consists in maintaining, promoting, and enhancing life.”

What I also believe is that without putting ethics into action any success we may achieve will be fleeting, unstable, and unsustainable – like a house built of sand. And we all know what happens to sand castles when the tides come.

 

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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?, centers on her global experiences seeding her journey toward alignment. The book is scheduled for release in November 2011. Kristin is on Twitter as @KristinKaufman.


My New Year’s Wish for HR – HR New Year’s Resolutions

Posted on January 2nd, by Jennifer Payne in On My Mind. No Comments

2014.  It’s a new year, and a new start…at least metaphorically speaking.  As we look ahead at the promise that the New Year holds, all the possibility that lies ahead of us, it’s natural for many of us to make personal resolutions.  In addition to my usual resolutions, I have a few wishes for HR in 2014 too.  Here’s what I hope…

 

I hope that all Women of HR will start focusing on being better business people, rather than better HR people.  Let’s speak the language of business instead of the language of HR.  If you’re not well-versed in the business and industry in which you work, I challenge you to get there.  Start small.  Start learning what the key drivers of success are for your company.  Start recognizing the environmental factors that impact your business.  If you’re already pretty well-versed in your business, great!  But keep learning more!  Get out from behind your policies and start to figure out how what you do can positively impact business outcomes.  If you’re not sure where to start, find someone within your company who you look up to, who you respect, and who you trust and ask him or her to help you.  If this person is outside of HR, that’s even better.  Get outside of your HR walls and start to become known as more than just the person who has the answers to benefits or employee relations questions; start to become known as someone who can contribute to the success of the company in a variety of ways.

 

However, in our drive to be better business people, let’s also not forget about the people.  Once you understand the drivers of business success, think about how people strategies align with those factors.  Steve Browne on a recent episode of Drive Thru HR said “too often we jump to the business instead of the people.  We need to attend to the business through our people, not in spite of them.”  I challenge you to take a hard look at your people practices and policies….do they make sense?  Do you really need all of them in place?  Are they written to protect the business from the exceptions to the rule instead of in the spirit of believing that most people want to do the right thing?  What message are you sending through your policies and procedures?

 

Let’s all make a commitment to understanding how technology can make us better, more efficient HR pros.  My personal goal is to learn about one new technology solution per month.  I’m not committing to using all of them, and if fact I may use none of them, but I want to better understand what’s out there.  With that small commitment, by the end of the year I’ll have a better understanding of 12 new solutions.  By understanding the solutions that are available, we’re in a better position to understand whether or not the processes we have in place are making us more efficient or less efficient, and whether there might be a better way to achieve our goals.

 

Women of HR, what are your goals for the New Year?

 

About the Author: Jennifer Payne, SPHR has 15 years of HR experience in employee relations, talent acquisition, and learning & development, and currently works in talent management 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.