Like most, Conflict Management is not my favorite subject. Nor am I an expert as I have my own unresolved conflict currently brewing that I need to heed my own advice on. However, in Human Resources you often need to be a mediator of conflict between coworkers and manager/employee disagreements. Other times you simply have to provide advice to other managers who need to help their employees deal with conflict. Finally, conflict almost always shows up in the board room regardless of how well we try to avoid it.
Some studies say we are about 75% responsible for how others treat us. If the emotion is negative then most likely some of that responsibility is in your reaction to the situation. If you are a person who tends to allow others to treat you in a way that causes inward or outward conflict, it may be time to put them in their place and make them think twice about doing it again. Of course I don’t mean to do this in a negative way because what does that do? It feeds the fire and causes more conflict. So here is a quick list of suggestions I recommend based on my own experience, education, and practice resolving conflict.
- Use Your Words – you cannot resolve anything without expressing how it makes you feel. The key word here is you as in “I”. Choose words that will express but not shame or blame the other person.
- Seek First to Understand Then to Be Understood – this is one of the best Steven Covey habits for exceptional people. If you are always trying to be right and never care to understand the other person(s) point of view, resolution is not in your cards.
- Understand Differences in Perception – just because you see a situation one way doesn’t mean others will see it the same as you. Everyone comes from a life of difference and that may be something you are not aware of.
- Remember It’s About Impact Not Intent – take responsibility when someone shares that you may have offended them. You may not intend to hurt them but consider that you may have.
- Maintain Your Credibility and Respect – this is especially important when your conflict is in the workplace, but it can affect family member relationships for years to come as well when reactions go over the line.
- What, What and Why? Feedback Framing – this was a tip from a past boss that has always stuck with me and I even use in disciplinary action documentation at times. Explain WHAT happened then go directly in to WHAT could or should have happened in the future (don’t focus on past) and WHY this new suggestion is a better response.
- Restate What You Have Heard – say “What I hear you saying is…” to help the other person understand how you may be perceiving what you said as well as helping you further dive into #2 above. It’s a clarification technique that slows you down from reacting negatively to something that may not have been intended.
- Gain an Understanding of Emotional Intelligence – the higher your EQ is the better able you will be in managing conflict. The skills can be learned if you know what they are and how to work on them. Some are above but there are more. Free EQ tests are available online.
- Practice, practice, practice – whether or not you need to practice any of the tips above or something you learn by taking your EQ test, practice it every chance you get. Set reminders on your phone if you must but keep the ideas on the forefront so you learn to make them a habit when the unexpected happens.
- Know When to Give Yourself a Time Out – there are times that you heart starts to race or your blood pressure rises and you can physically feel the signs that you are about to blow due to conflict. This is the time to walk away and let the other person know you need some time. The time is healthy for both sides of the conflict to help give perspective and determine a plan for resolution.
Even if these suggestion are just reminders of what you already know, I hope it’s a good refresher and can help maintain a relationship that may be on the verge of being broken. Remember, life is too short to carry conflict for long. Take responsibility now and move forward. I have lost several loved ones (mom, dad, and brother to name a few) in my life recently who I wish I had hugged one more time than I had fought with them.
Don’t have regrets and make a difference in your life and others.
I’ve noticed for some time now, at least amongst some HR professionals, and in some pockets of conversation within the HR world, that there has been a fair amount of discussion about the need to put the “human” back in human resources. Not so much implying that we’ve all become robots or total slaves to technology (at least not yet!), but rather that as we get busier, add more to our plates, and expand the scope of HR, or as we get caught in the grind of our day-to-day, that we also need to remember that first and foremost it’s PEOPLE we’re dealing with.
Yes there are policies and guidelines that need to be in place, at least in most workplaces, mostly to ensure that we are legally compliant, that our workplaces are safe and harassment free, and that there are standards in place for fair compensation. And with more and more technological solutions available to automate HR processes and make the function more efficient and effective, many HR pros are becoming more systems focused in their day-to-day jobs too.
But none of that changes the fact that it’s people that we are supposed to be advocates for. After all, in the end our function is not called “Policy Resources” or “Rules Resources,” or even “Technology Resources”…it’s Human Resources. Our reason for existence shouldn’t be just to enforce the rules of the company, or put systems and technology in place, but rather to ensure that all of those pieces in place are in the best interests of the people within the company. That they are not just arbitrary rules, systems, or processes, but that they are in existence to help build workplaces and cultures that encourage the best work out of everyone, ultimately in an effort to support company goals.
In fact, this isn’t really a new concept to me. For my entire career I’ve been trained and coached by my leaders in my HR practice to keep the needs of people front and center in decisions that are made. Even when a decision had to be made that wasn’t necessarily in the favor of the employee, the question that needed to be asked was “have we ensured that we’ve given them every opportunity to fix the issue first?” so that by that point the negative action had to be taken, it was more a function of facilitating what that person had already set in motion by their action, or lack of action. I’ve been taught over the years that it’s a huge responsibility, facilitating outcomes that can have an enormous impact on someone’s life, so at all times it’s critical to remember that the person you’re dealing with has bills to pay, perhaps a family to help support, and a life outside of your workplace. And it’s a concept that can extend way beyond just when dealing with issues and negative situations, it’s one that can be used to cultivate and promote positive outcomes as well.
On the surface it seem so simple, but in the midst of our day to day grind can be easily (if not intentionally) forgotten. After all, most of us that are working in the “HR trenches” have more on our plates than ever before. Not only are we dealing with issues, but we’re managing processes, evaluating and implementing technology, and various other responsibilities to help make our organizations successful.
Regardless, it’s a concept that not only can we not afford to forget, but can’t afford to not put front and center in not only our HR practices, but throughout our organizations as a whole.
And that’s where the idea of WorkHuman comes in.
WorkHuman is a concept started by the folks at recognition software company Globoforce, and it’s an idea that they are “all-in” passionate about. To quote the WorkHuman mission, it centers on the idea that “when companies harness the transformative power of human connections, well-being, purpose and communications, we build a work culture that both reminds us of our worth as individuals, and pulls us together in pursuit of shared success.”
In fact, the folks at Globoforce believe so strongly in the idea of WorkHuman and in building a movement around it, that last year they hosted their inaugural WorkHuman conference. I watched that conference from afar with great interest, and this year am jumping in to join the movement. It’s an entire event focused on building more human workplaces through great cultures, recognition, engagement, communication, and forging connection.
Seems like a worthy focus, doesn’t it? That only good could come out of promoting more human workplaces?
If you’re interested in learning more about building more human workplaces, join us in Orlando in May at WorkHuman 2016. You can register here. Use discount code WH16JP300 for $300 off the cost of registration. Hope to see you there!
About the Author: Jennifer Payne, SPHR, SHRM-SCP has almost two decades of HR experience in employee relations, talent acquisition, learning & development, and employee communications, 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.
Leadership skills are one of the many traits needed to be a successful leader. Women have closed the gender gap in entry and mid level positions, but have yet to reach that in top leadership skills. Susan Colantuono calls this the missing 33%, as women still need to be taught business, financial and strategic acumen to fill this gap. These leadership skills enable people to easily and confidently lead others, skills including but not limited to: ease of communication, natural flexibility, an ability to visualize a goal, thinking critically, and the ability to delegate responsibility effectively.
The ability to communicate effectively is absolutely critical in positions of power in an organization, a small team of people, and even for those not in a leadership position. In organizations, effective communication can save time, can prevent misunderstandings, and oftentimes can relax workers beneath you and above you. We’d all like to think we’re the perfect manager but there is always room for improvement. In a small team of people, the ability to communicate effectively can prevent misunderstandings, assist with visualization of objectives, and make things easier to achieve. Individuals who aren’t in leadership positions can use these skills to better present their needs to management. This skill can be developed through regular practice, and doing things to lessen anxiety felt by the speaker.
Leaders who are naturally flexible in a business are able to naturally shift objectives and methods used to achieve objectives. Flexibility is also vital for those not currently in a leadership position. This skill will allow them to be teachable, and always in line with the end goal of management. Overall, employees with flexibility will become an essential element to the business, increasing their job security. Flexibility prevents all employees from getting terribly stressed in a world where plans change, and where things tend to be less simple than they might have appeared initially.
Visualization of objectives enables leaders to have a set destination. It’s also the first thing a good leader should do, so he or she can recognize when they’ve accomplished a goal. How does this benefit those outside leadership positions? Well, visualization enables these people know where they want to go within their professional lives. Do they see themselves as a manager, or even the next CMO? Visualizing this will help them take the steps necessary to get there. This aligns with the known method of focusing on a single large objective and devoting energy to achieving that goal, while taking other factors into account but not losing sight of the overarching goal.
Thinking critically is a useful skill for it enables an intelligent leader to take factors into account. Leaders use critical thinking to troubleshoot in the moment, and to come up with reasonable solutions. Critical thinking is a skill for all members of an organization. When given new tasks and assignments learning the new process quickly is essential for keeping up with the ongoing business. This is a situation where critical thinking skills will help employees be a quick learner. Ultimately this can lead to an increase in trust from management, leading to more responsibilities.
Delegation in the context of leadership refers to the ability to divide labor intelligently and assigning people to the areas they are the most responsible and able to contribute. Make sure you are an effective delegator. Understanding yourself is a part of this skill, knowing your strengths, your weaknesses. This is an extremely useful skill in business and in the professional area, but in terms of the average employee it can also be used to mean the ability to manage time equally and effectively. Delegate your day and what time of the day will be devoted to specific tasks.
At the end of the day, leadership skills should be a part of your professional life in order to progress and lead effectively. Even those who don’t currently have a management position can be devoting time to the development of these skills. Practicing these skills will prepare employees to promotions and strengthen the organization as a whole.
About the Author: 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.
Last week I had the opportunity to visit New Orleans with a few friends. New Orleans is one of my favorite cities in which to spend a few days, and I’d been there many times previously. I love to wander the French Quarter, immersing myself in the sights, sounds, and of course the food of the Crescent City. And for all of the times I’ve been there, it seems there’s always something new to discover, something unique that catches my interest.
On this particular trip, my friends and I found ourselves wandering down one of the cross streets a little bit away from the main hustle and bustle of the Quarter, and we stumbled across the sign pictured above, advertising an apartment for rent. Of course we all had a chuckle and each of us stopped to snap a picture of it. I posted my picture to Facebook with the caption, “Apparently here you have to specify.”
Needless to say, we (and many others, judging by the number of passersby who also stopped to snap a photo) were amused by this bit of information shared. Was it a clever marketing ploy? Perhaps. A quirky tactic designed to draw the attention of tourists like ourselves? Maybe so.
But here’s the thing. Tourists like us probably aren’t particularly interested in renting an apartment in the French Quarter, so a fun bit of marketing to draw us in probably wasn’t the intent. This sign was directed at folks with a real interest in finding a dwelling in which to reside. And perhaps for those folks, the fact that this apartment is “not haunted” may very well be valuable information to consider in choosing where to live.
We all found it amusing because generally speaking, most of us don’t need to think twice about whether or not the places we live are haunted or not. We were processing this information from our own individual perspectives, our own realities, through our own assumptions. But in a city as rich in history at New Orleans, and with many well-documented accounts of hauntings (whether you believe in that sort of stuff or not), this information may not only be valuable, but also very necessary in making housing decisions. And in fact, upon further research, one of our friends discovered that this is actually a pretty common piece of information to be included on real estate signs throughout the city.
So what does this have to do with human resources, business, or leadership?
How often in the workplace do we fall into the trap of making assumptions based on our own realities, without really digging into the real facts?
- Do we tend to assume a particular employee or teammate is thinking a certain way….because that’s how we would think?
- Do we assume everyone is motivated in a particular way or by factors x,y, and z….because that’s what motivates us?
- In communicating with employees, do we tend to neglect certain details that might be important to others, because they don’t cross our minds as being important?
- Do we assume that particular female employee wouldn’t want that promotion into that demanding role because she has a young family at home….and surely she wouldn’t want to try to juggle all of those responsibilities?
Instead of striving to understand differences and thinking from a more global perspective, do we tend to fall into the trap of viewing the world through our own lenses?
As fun as it was to stumble across this “Not Haunted” sign, it also provides a valuable lesson in leadership, engagement, diversity, or employee communications. By making assumptions based on our own reality, we could tend to run the risk of alienating, de-motivating, or misleading our employees, our team members, our coworkers. Before we jump to conclusions, it’s critical to take a step back, lose our blinders, and think beyond our own realities, lest we find our actions and decisions haunting us!
About the Author: Jennifer Payne, SPHR, SHRM-SCP has over 16 years of HR experience in employee relations, talent acquisition, and learning & development, and currently works in talent acquisition and development in the retail grocery industry. She is one of the co-founders of Women of HR, and is currently the Editor of the site. You can connect with her on Twitter as @JennyJensHR and on LinkedIn.
In many cases, there are signs that can signal a problem at work. If you are not included in meetings, if your boss ignores your calls or doesn’t meet with you, if you learn about changes after everyone else, and if you feel excluded by your co-workers, a warning letter may be coming your way.
If you do get a warning letter at work, here are some things you can do:
- Seriously and honestly reflect on the concerns that your boss voiced.
- Write a response to the warning, stating what you agree with and what you do not agree with, and copy Human Resources.
- For concerns that you agree with, state your intention to turn things around and list specific actions that you will take.
- Defend yourself against concerns that are not true by stating the facts. Keep your opinions and feelings out of your response. Include facts like dates, times, and others who were present.
- Ask your boss to put in writing what success looks like by giving metrics and time tables so it is crystal clear what you need to do and by when.
- Ask for help and support. Ask what your boss will do to support you. Prove that you have not been included in meetings or have not had access to important information, etc. by stating the facts. Ask for regular check in meetings with your boss and give suggested dates and times to meet.
- Ask how you are doing and what you could be doing differently each time you meet with your boss.
- Start looking for another job to keep your options open.
Warning letters can be the beginning of the end, but in some cases, if you can discern exactly what your boss wants you to do that you are not doing, if you are willing and able to make changes, and if your boss is willing and able to help and support you, you might be able to save your job.
Tell me your experiences with warning letters and what you have done to turn things around.
About the author: Judy Lindenberger is the President of The Lindenberger Group, an award-winning human resources consulting firm, located near Princeton, NJ. They are experts in career coaching, customized training workshops, online training programs, mentoring, 360-degree assessment and feedback, HR audits, employee handbooks, and more. Learn more about them at www.lindenbergergroup.com.
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.
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 email@example.com.
“I praise loudly, and condemn softly.” Catherine the Great said that and it’s not bad advice. HR is overloaded with responsibilities, from minutia to policy issues, yet all tasks are important. HR has a significant role in shaping the company culture and thus the success of a company. Their behavior impacts perception, branding, turnover, and profit by the processes they put in place. How HR manages their role with upper management peers significantly impacts their ability to implement positive changes and morale.
HR continually must balance multiple functions. Two crucial areas are:
1. Recruiting, hiring, and onboarding, and
As a leader, I’m all about empowerment and engaging others. Here are my tips for staying in the loop, managing information, and solving problems at the first sign of trouble to prevent larger problems. HR is in the business people risk management.
Hire the best person for the job, not the most available one.
Recruiters learn to manage the process by asking questions and listening closely to the answers given. Insist on genuine engagement with candidates and co-workers alike. Look directly into a person’s eyes when asking for information. Be direct. Be kind. Speak with purpose and authority. Ask for help when you need it. Say, “Thank you”.
Verify skills and discover what a candidate feels they need to stay at your company 3 – 5 years. Listen to how they define management habits they respect and what motivates them to do a good job and contribute to the goals of the entire operation. Can your company meet the ideal candidate’s expectations?
The typical interview HR has with applicants may not touch on what a candidate believes is significant. In the rush to get to the next task it’s easy to treat candidates like one of the herd. An extra few minutes spent uncovering and discussing the needs and career aspirations of an ideal candidate will go along way to winning them over in a competitive market. Be personable, not gooey or pretentious. Be authentic and sincere.
When 50% of the population says they would change jobs today if they could, taking a few minutes to qualify candidates properly can reduce turnover. Employee retention is risk management.
HR has a responsibility to model excellent communication skills for the whole company. They set the tone. Saying one has an open-door policy is one thing, but being specific leads to actual conversations.
“Tell me when a recruiter contacts you. I want to know! What salary range did they mention? Help me keep our salaries competitive!”
“Tell me when you’re having trouble handling an issue with a manager or co-worker, I can help you prepare for a meaningful conversation.”
“Tell me what you like about our company!”
“Tell me what stinks, what works, and what does not work, not once a year but all the time.”
“What can we do to improve a process? What process in place now slows you down?”
If someone does not feel comfortable going to their manager, having them come to you rather than quitting, informs you of a systemic, or broader issue. Use your expertise to empower employees to have direct conversations within their department. Continue to offer varied communication skill training.
Surveys demonstrate, “90% of people report they experience stress due to ongoing issues with someone who matters at work.”
If HR can help chip away at that problem they will be outstanding.
“Let’s use critical thinking skills to make this a better place to work.”
“If you could improve one thing, what would it be?”
“What would you like to develop about yourself?”
Celebrate success! Yeah us! People love short newsy announcements.
“This many people completed their MBA coursework, congrats!
6 people completed the communication skill-training this month…thank you!”
“We changed a minor process this week (weekly reports are suspended for one, end-of-month report). This will make all our lives easier. It took a multi-department collaboration but it was worth it!” Success breeds success.
“We’re looking to fill 3 positions in engineering. Who do you know with a background in engineering? If each-one-refers-one we’ll have these filled by the end of the week!”
Set the tone. Promote a policy of, “Don’t complain”.
Instead of complaining to a co-worker, let’s fix the problem; tell me!
Sometimes people need to vent. The problem with venting is the negative energy brings down the person who must listen. Encourage people to vent to you. Issues can be identified and fixed once they’re voiced. More importantly, the poison of negativity does not spread to contaminate the ranks.
Negativity is insidious.
Negative talk is a time waster and work preventer. It’s distracting. Empower people to stop complaining and turn the situation around. People grumble when they don’t know how to proceed productively. We’ve all been guilty of this until we learned a better way.
HR can inform employees on how to alleviate stress, and negativity. Continually talk about the benefits of positive thinking, practicing pro-active problem solving, or positive brainstorming. Discuss positive alternatives like yoga, and provide skill training to help employees grow professionally, intellectually, and consciously.
Think and talk in terms of solutions.
Encourage employees to voice their ideas on how to improve processes. Will everything be implemented? No. But studies show when management asks for input, workers feel heard, validated, and believe they made a contribution. They did what they could to help, even if they were ignored, and that makes people happy.
If someone voices a solution to a problem management does not want to acknowledge, and thus they punish or reprimand the one who spoke, communication shuts down. Prevent the ‘us vs. them’ atmosphere. People leave unhealthy, negative environments when the opportunity arises. We are sensitive and want to feel respected and valued. It makes sense.
HR has a powerful role in tending the garden that is the culture and soul of a company. Empower people to contribute more. Demonstrate how to engage and lead by modeling how problems can be discussed and solved. The act of discussion is healthy and productive work. Watch your garden grow!
About the Author: Kimberly Schenk is an entrepreneur and executive recruiter. She is author of the book Top Recruiter Secrets and provides recruiter training for organizations and individuals. Get more recruiting tips and tricks at her blog http://www.toprecruitersecrets.com/blog.
It’s wonderful to hear simple words that trigger a response. While I fidgeted at a writer’s conference, in another taupe colored hotel ballroom, a gentleman hopped on stage. He breezed through a few stories of his career happenstances. I became connected to this man immediately. No, there was no attraction. It was a mental connection. He elicited the connection because his word choice was delightful. He wasn’t flamboyant. He was calm. He wasn’t bouncing around the stage or overly modulating his speech to attract attention. He simply told good, relevant stores with words that leapt off the stage.
He described an office where he had been interviewed as a having “burled, blonde bookcases.” Say no more, I thought. I was in the room. He said so much more about the office then if he had said “lined with books”. His words painted the picture. He wasn’t even among the writers in the speaker line up, yet he knew the power of words. He was a literary agent.
I think about the criticality of choosing words when communicating with all types of people. A strong vocabulary is like an shiny tool box, holding all the other skills together as protection, transportation or the display of the other skills.
If someone provides a report to you, think about the different responses you could garner, based on your choice of feedback.
This report is crap.
This report is not going to work.
This report is disappointing.
This report could get us sued.
This report is inaccurate.
All of these statements could be used to describe the same issue you have with the report. Yet, you will elicit very different responses to actions from each.
If you are presenting a new decision or policy, give clues to the process and articulate with transparency. Is this the pragmatic decision or was it agonizing to make. Is the policy designed to liberate or motivate/refine or contain. Your audience will better understand what they need to do with the information, if you illustrate the intent or process clearly.
Leaders and presenters can utilize words to move people. I found the TV series West Wing invigorating, largely due to their wit and intelligence. The predominate way they could showcase those traits was their word choice. It wasn’t like we could see the ramifications of their policy decision or their real reports. We listened and responded to their articulate conversations.
I am on a quest of enhanced vocabulary utilization. There is no desire to be a show off. I simply want to articulate with more vibrant words to create the imagery within the audience’s mind.
The book “Poemcrazy Freeing Your Life With Words” by Susan Goldsmith Woolridge speaks of collecting words. To the average business person her approach may seem extreme. She collects words for writing poetry. Yet if professionals can be business wisdom through tales of savage wars or of fridge, death defying despair on a mountain tragic expedition; then they can build word skills from a poet!
If you have a presentation looming on the near or distant horizon of your calendar, consider that end goal of people standing, rising, leaping or SHOOTING out of their chairs at the end. Which word is it? If it will warm your heart if they take notes during your presentation, ponder your word choice. Do you desire a room full of doodling pencils, scratching pens or frantic writing devices?
I am not advocating the use of words that do not fit you or your personality. You shouldn’t leave your audience needing a dictionary while listening to you, or they will find colorful words to describe YOU. Pompous or arrogant are not the target descriptors desired. Curate words you love to use. You may find you can use fewer words, yet the picture will be more inspired and more vivid.
About the Author: Lois Melbourne, GPHR, is co-founder and former CEO of Aquire Solutions, mom to one terrific young son and wife of co-founder Ross Melbourne. After entering a bit of a sabbatical life phase, she is authoring a series of children’s books about career ambitions. She maintains a strong personal commitment to career education and small business development and is a speaker, author of industry articles, and an occasional blogger and networker. Connect with her on Twitter as @loismelbourne.
Society has gotten to the point where it is more interesting to find that a person does not use some sort of social media platform, than one that uses a platform daily. This deeply personal display of information, however, often finds its way into a workplace environment, and not always in a positive way.
There are numerous ways that Human Resources departments can use social media. For example, businesses have successfully utilized the content for team building, training, communication, work delegation, research and blogging. However, there are 3 fundamental areas that social networking sites could positively affect.
- Communication: Clear communication between Human Resources and employees is critical for the health of a company. Through social media, it is much easier than ever before. Using these networks as a tool, Human Resources departments can easily communicate a message to everyone in the company, regardless of their location. A tweet or a status update can quickly convey a short message to hundreds in an instant.
- Employee feedback: Long ago, Human Resources departments relied on suggestion boxes or private meetings for employee suggestions and concerns. Now, using social networks or online forums, employees can voice their opinions and have open discussions.
- Recruiting: Human Resources departments know that today’s job seekers are online. Recruiting departments now use social media to market their company and talk directly to potential employees. Many Human Resources departments also use social media when conducting background checks on applicants, looking for additional information not provided in a traditional resume.
But what exactly can each social platform do for Human Resources? Let’s look at the 3 main networks.
The social media giant has literally millions of users from all over the world, making it a handy tool for Human Resources personnel. Since Facebook is so popular, the chances of an applicant having an active profile are high. It is a great place to start additional research on a potential hire.
The professional social network, LinkedIn is perfect for recruiters looking for qualified applicants. With an active job board, it is also a good place to post a job ad that will be seen by the right people.
Twitter has an excellent search feature which allows Human Resources departments to look for potential employees by searching relevant hashtags and keywords. Like Facebook, Twitter is also a good screening tool for looking up applicants.
The way Human Resources departments run themselves have evolved as the use of social media has become crucial. And they continue to evolve. Here are a couple of issues that Human Resources need to keep an eye on and be ready for.
Employees using their own devices
Before the widespread popularity of smart phones, companies used to provide handheld devices for their employees. Today, Human Resources departments need to understand that they can’t control the communication channels of their employees, and prepare accordingly.
Since social media changes so frequently, some states are making efforts to regulate what employers can and cannot access on applicant’s social media profiles. Currently, 6 states have passed laws that prohibit employers from obtaining information on applicants via social media. While these laws haven’t hit the majority of states, it’s definitely something that could happen and businesses should watch the legal and regulatory developments.
Social media has become increasingly accepted in the business world. Once mainly used for marketing and advertising, social media networks now serve a purpose for Human Resources departments as well. It can be used to make companies run more efficiently, as a hiring and job search tool. Smart HR departments are now using social media to their advantage and keeping an eye on the constant changes that could help or hinder their efforts.
About the Author: Today’s guest contributor for WomenOfHr.com is Mark W. Kirkpatrick, an enthusiastic writer and infographic designer who focuses primarily on public relations, tech and the business globalization. You can also find more of his writing at 1800-Number.com, which covers all things related to business communications.
Three things needed for a long term relationship are commitment, caring and communication. Just as partners in a successful marriage, who are committed to one another, understand the benefits they receive from one another, employees and employers require the same. Employees need to achieve results and employers to provide stability.
Caring is not a word used often in employment agreements but love has a place in the corporate world. The best employers treat their employees well by providing competitive salaries and benefits, training supervisors to manage effectively, giving employees the tools that they need to do their jobs, and, most important, letting employees know how they are doing. Employees show that love back by being passionate about quality and loyal to the companies for whom they work.
And then there is communication. In order to sustain a long term and healthy relationship with employees, smart companies provide job descriptions, mission statements, vision, goals, and frequent performance feedback. And smart employees, who understand where the company is headed and what they need to do, offer innovation.
Just like a successful marriage takes work, the relationship between employers and employees requires the same commitment, caring and communication, not just offered once, but provided continuously over the long term.
About the author: Judy Lindenberger is the President of The Lindenberger Group, an award-winning human resources consulting firm, located near Princeton, NJ. They are experts in career coaching, customized training workshops, online training programs, mentoring, 360-degree assessment and feedback, HR audits, employee handbooks, and more. Learn more about them at www.lindenbergergroup.com.