Editor’s Note: Several of our Women of HR writers have come together to share some of the best pieces of career advice they’ve received. Their series of posts will run over the next couple of weeks. Enjoy!
Buzzwords. As much as we love to hate them, it’s almost impossible to avoid them especially in the work environment.
On a daily basis we are inundated with corporate buzzwords relating to topics such as thinking out of the box, taking the initiative, being authentic, honing our networking skills, taking ownership, fostering team spirit, becoming more innovative, creating engagement…the list is endless.
I do not underestimate the importance of the above mentioned skills and attributes, however it seems that we place so much emphasis on them at the expense of other less visible attributes and virtues. Virtues such as kindness, thoughtfulness and empathy.
Why do we not hear more about the importance of showing kindness in the work place? Why is it not openly touted in the workplace as an attribute of a successful employee?
Does the competitive nature of most work environments somehow discourage overt displays of kindness?
Is it possible to be kind in the workplace without compromising our competitive and professional edge?
These are questions worth considering.
Kindness is such a powerful virtue and it would be such a great idea if we incorporated a little more kindness, empathy and the willingness to empower others in our work environments.
I recently attended a Workshop on Gender Balanced Leadership hosted by Dianne Bevelander. She is the Associate Dean MBA programmes at The Rotterdam School of Management, and someone that I admire very much. It was a very powerful and insightful session and I found myself having multiple“Aha moments”.
I would like to share a thought that she shared at that event that impacted me the immensely and has stayed with me ever since.
“Be kind to others…. When you make others powerful, you also become more powerful”
There is so much power in small acts of generosity and kindness.
Acts of kindness such as the gift of a smile or a listening ear. The gift of suspending judgment until all the facts are known. The gift of inclusion and acceptance.
What if some of the new buzzwords in our organizations revolved around Kindness? What if we placed a premium on sponsorship and empowering others? What if we began to do unto others as we would have done unto us?
Imagine the impact it would create in our daily interactions within and without our workplaces.
I was dismayed to read about the harsh LinkedIn rejection letter from a Cleveland Job bank operator that went viral a few weeks ago. You can read about it here.
In my opinion, this incident just brings to the fore symptoms of a lack of kindness and empathy prevalent in our society today. It is made manifest in the unwillingness to share of your knowledge and expertise unless there is something to be gained in return.
I have often wondered, which is easier? To watch others go through the exact same mistakes and difficulties that one has gone through, or to make their journey easier and rewarding by sharing of your knowledge and wealth of experience?
There has been a lot of talk about women being reluctant to help each other climb up the career ladder and stories like the aforementioned just serve to reinforce that negative perception. Let’s begin to ask ourselves questions like “who are you mentoring?” How are you sharing your knowledge and wealth of wisdom with the next generation?
Let’s create a Buzz around kindness.
Kindness is a life skill that will serve us well within and without the workplace.
To whom are you extending a hand of kindness to?
“Wherever there is a human being, there is a chance for a kindness.” Lucius Annaeus Seneca
About the Author: Tamkara currently lives in The Hague and is currently taking time off from her day job in Procurement and Sourcing to pursue an MBA. She will be spending the next few months studying, blogging and learning Dutch. You can connect with her on twitter @tamkara or find out what she’s up to at www.naijaexpatinholland.com.
When you hire a veteran you’re not simply doing a good deed, you’re securing a company asset. Many veterans have training and experience that puts them high on the talent scale, even when compared to traditional college or business graduates. Although at first glance it could seem easy to miss the translation of military experience to civilian work, don’t let that fool you. By overlooking an applicant because they spent the last couple of years in the armed forced you may be missing the opportunity to find each of the following:
Employers may shy away from hiring veterans because they are under a false impression that veterans lack the civilian work experience necessary to make them successful employees. However, veterans often have training and experience that equip them to be highly competitive job candidates, who translate into efficient, reliable, and driven employees. Traits regularly seen in veterans include:
- A strong work ethic
- Team players/ Leadership
Veterans are conditioned to work in high pressure situations, often with limited resources. For start-ups, this can be particularly beneficial, as veterans provide problem solving and decision making skills needed to lead high impact teams, quick changing logistics and pressing deadlines.
Companies that hire veterans aren’t just getting great talent, they are also making themselves eligible for tax benefits. Two benefits offered by the VA include the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) and the Special Employer Incentive program (SEI). WOTC allows businesses to obtain up to $9,400 in tax credits for hiring veterans, while the SEI can reimburse employers up to 50 percent of the veteran’s salary for up to six months.
By signifying your willingness to hire veterans, you show that you are also investing in the community that surrounds your company. Communities are often strongly oriented towards supporting their local veterans, and by demonstrating interest in hiring veterans, your community will be more likely to offer you their patronage.
Veterans also have an ingrained sense of loyalty that can translate extremely well into the civilian work world. Once they become a part of an organization, their sense of duty and loyalty tends to also extend to their company. By hiring a veteran, you have the opportunity to experience positive word-of-mouth advertising and enthusiasm about your place of employment. This kind of genuine promotion helps to attract other potential high quality employees within your community.
Finding A-Player talent at your company can be a daunting task. Seeking out veterans who possess skills and qualities you need can make the fabric of your organization stronger and more diverse. So instead of just posting a job to common recruiting sites, the next time a position becomes available in your company, consider posting to military sites or hosting a booth at a local veteran’s career fair. You’ll increase your odds of finding talented, qualified and motivated applicants.
About the Author: Amanda Andrade is the Chief People Officer for Veterans United Home Loans — Fortune magazine’s 21st best medium workplace and one the fastest growing companies in the United States according to INC magazine. Amanda has led human resource organizations in both public and private sectors. She also has a doctorate in Environment and Behavior, focusing on highly profitable, employee-centric work environments. Connect with Amanda on Google+.
Can you believe that it has been 3 years since the Women of HR site started? Wohoo!! What a crazy fun ride it has been. Over the past 3 years we have seen a lot of change: new contributors, awesome content and series, and now, we even have a new Editor in Chief in Jenny Payne!
As this site continues to grow and develop, I think back on why we started it in the first place. We wanted to build a site that was a community. A site where women in HR or not could help build each other up and make valuable connections. We wanted it to be a forum where we could voice our concerns, disagree, and find solutions.
We hope that for you as members of this community, that it has been that and more. I want to thank YOU for your continued support, encouragement, and readership. This site wouldn’t exist except for you.
But besides gratitude, I want to also issue a call to action. Whether this is the first time visiting us or you have been a longtime member of our community, we want to hear from you. Tell us what you like, don’t like, and want to see more of. We want you to jump on in and participate, not just through readership and comments but by suggesting new ideas and even getting fingers to your keyboards and become a contributor. If this site is for you, then we need you to help us make it everything you need it to be.
Thank you so much to the amazing Lisa Rosendahl for running the site and making it everything it is today. Thank you to the wonderful Jenny Payne for stepping in to take the site to the next level. Thank you to Trish McFarlane, Sarah White, and Charee Klimek who are the best women and co-founders who helped start this crazy ride. Thank you to Lance Haun for doing so much work for us and who is so generous with his time and knowledge. Thank you to Lyn Hoyt for all her wonderful design work and help. And of course, thank you to all our amazing contributors, both past a present, who have given the Women of HR site a voice. Your amazing insights and content have literally made us the site we are today and for that we are all grateful for.
So cheers everybody, and let’s work hard together to make the next year of Women of HR another awe inspiring one!
As Women of HR gets ready to turn three years old this June, we’re in the process of going through our first major transition. For the past three years, the amazing and talented Lisa Rosendahl has been the driving force behind this site, spending countless hours soliciting, editing, and scheduling all of the fantastic and informative posts that have run. If not for her, this site would not be what it is today, and I know I’m not alone in expressing my gratitute to Lisa for all of her efforts. But as with any major project, as things evolve, changes become necessary. To allow her more time to focus on her own endeavors, Lisa has decided to step aside as editor, and I have stepped in to assume those duties. To read Lisa’s thoughts on the transition, stop over to her blog where she’s talking about it today as well.
As the new editor, I look forward to continuing to provide you, our readers, with the informative and thought-provoking posts you have come to expect. I’ll also be looking to add new themes, series, and topics to keep the site ever evolving and in tune with the changing nature of our profession and business in general.
I would like to offer a public THANK YOU to all of our intelligent, talented, and hard-working contributors who generously give of their own time to share their thoughts and experiences with all of you. Without them, we wouldn’t have a Women of HR!
And last but not least, a big THANK YOU to all of our readers for continuing to come back, week after week, to see what we’re currently talking about. If there’s anything in particular that you’d like to see us posting about, please comment below or send me a note at email@example.com. I welcome any suggestions for topics and themes, or any ideas you may have for ensuring that we’re relevant and providing you what you need. And if any of you have ever thought about wanting to write and would like to become a contributor, or even just test the waters with a guest post, please send me a note as well. We’d love to have you as part of our team!
With social media, what you don’t know can seriously hurt your organization. One 2010 survey found that employees estimate spending roughly four hours every day checking multiple email accounts, with up to two hours spent on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. A 2012 Salary.com survey found that 64 percent of employees visit non-work related websites daily. And don’t think blocking employee access to social media on company networks is the answer; personal smartphones and tablets are ubiquitous, and easily fill the gap.
The rub for today’s organizations is that while social media use at work has definite risks, it also is one of the best ways to empower and engage employees. Increasingly, in our connected 24/7 businesses, the line between work and personal time is blurring. This is especially true for Generation Y employees; as long as they meet deadlines and deliver, these employees don’t feel that it’s particularly useful to distinguish between time spent updating Twitter or engaged in team meetings. Organizations may beg to differ, especially when an offensive or inappropriate blog post or tweet can damage their brand, lower employee morale, and even lead to workplace lawsuits.
Yet, most organizations don’t really know how their employees are using social media, either personally or professionally, let alone what impact it’s having on employees’ overall levels of productivity.
That’s why it’s so important, before you set policy, to know how your managers currently handle social media use at work, as well as how its use by employees is effecting their management. Get at these fundamental issues by asking managers five key questions:
- Have your employees’ use of social media ever triggered a workplace lawsuit or regulatory investigation?
- What impact have your employees’ personal use of social media during work hours had, if any, on their productivity?
- How do you use social media, if at all, to help manage your projects and employees?
- Have you reviewed all applicable federal and state laws governing electronic data content, usage, monitoring, privacy, e-discovery, data encryption, business records and other legal issues in all jurisdictions in which you operate, have employees or serve customers?
- Could you comply with a court-ordered “social media audit”, by producing legally compliant business blog posts, email messages, text messages and other electronically stored information (ESI) within 990 days?
Social media can speed innovation and collaboration, but ONLY if your employees know how to both use it as well as steer clear of its many pitfalls. Start by asking managers these simple questions; they often surface extremely important information that, especially in larger organizations, you may not have been aware of. Finally, remember that for reasons of both confidentiality and fear, getting access to this sort of information is not always easy. It’s therefore important that organizations create mechanisms by which examples of social media use (and abuse!) can be regularly shared with the broader employee base.
Photo credit iStockphoto
About the author: Steve Miranda is Managing Director of Cornell University’s Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies (CAHRS), a leading partnership between industry and academia devoted to the field of global human resource management. He is also a faculty author of the new eCornell certificate program,Social Media in HR: From Policy to Practice. Prior to CAHRS, Miranda was Chief Human Resource and Strategic Planning Officer for the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the world’s largest professional HR association, serving over 260,000 members in over 100 countries.
My Facebook feed is currently full of pictures of cute kiddies, loved-up statuses and Instagram-frosted cupcakes. Yet when I recently obtained a Master’s degree from an overseas university, in a ceremony which took place in Spanish and Catalan (two of the four languages I speak), I hesitated to upload the photos to my account. If the internet is supposed to be the 21st century’s great equaliser, why does online etiquette still dictate that women can brag about their love lives, but not their careers?
Fortunately, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Internet networking groups are creating a safe space for women to voice their achievements and concerns, create contacts and support each other in blazing new career trails. If you’re not comfortable blowing your trumpet all over your standard Facebook feed, why not look at joining a group which allows you to do so in a more receptive online environment?
Networking groups mean social media can become great ways to share ideas and professional contacts – not just pictures of wedding dresses. Group London Women Mean Business, for example, began after organiser Melanie Berenblut posted the simple phrase “Would anyone be interested in meeting up to network?” on LinkedIn. As well as creating space for online debate, such groups often hold regular events, and so also serve to facilitate real-life networking.
Online networking groups may be particularly relevant for women looking to break into traditionally male-dominated careers. If knowing your HRMS
from your HTML is all in a day’s work (or you’d like it to be), you might particularly appreciate the existence of groups such as Girl Geeks and GeekGirlMeetup, which provide a diverse mix of online seminars, real-life unconferences and hashtags for women everywhere from Oslo to Oxford.
Website Meetup.com, traditionally used for organising leisure pursuits, is also being used to the advantage of women looking for professional opportunities. As the Women in Science and Engineering group in Melbourne puts it, “We can discuss everything from our research to our shoes… it is whatever we want it to be.”
With the advent of the internet, no woman need be an island. But how we use it to connect depends very much on us. Newly-obtained haircuts, offspring and domestic skills are real achievements as much as anything else, and have their place. The problem comes when we let our professional triumphs and accolades fall by the wayside. The internet is an infinitely powerful tool – let’s start using it to make connections as well as cupcakes.
“The internet is an infinitely powerful tool – let’s start using it to make connections as well as cupcakes”
Bio: Penelope Labram is currently Content Manager for international job search website JobisJob, which has its seat in Barcelona, Spain. As such, she has her finger firmly pressed to the pulse of trends in recruitment, the labour market and social media. She is strongly committed to helping women use technology to further their career. You can follow her @jobisjob.
Photo credit: iStockphoto
There are some things in life that truly tie us all together. I think that one of them is music!! Seriously, think about it.
We can remember a certain song or group that defined high school, college, weddings, etc. I distinctly remember the rush of emotion I would get when the High School pep band would play “Jet” by Paul McCartney & Wings during the warm up. Geeked !!
Music follows all people and when you look at that in the context of HR, there is a gold mine of tunes that resonate with all of us. Paul Smith, author of Welcome to the Occupation, gathered some great lists of HR/work related songs that we can all see ourselves in. Check out his post here: Songs About Work 3-D.
Along those lines and to get you hooked, I want you to try these:
THE song when you're thinking about the potential termination of a team member from The Clash!!
Or, when you've had one of those days that seem to drone on and on, there's the new wave classic by Trio – “Da Da Da”
My “go to” song lately has been what I see happening to employees as they come to work each week - ”I Don't Like Mondays” by the Boomtown Rats.
Those are just a few that hit me and you can probably guess what type of music I tend to listen to. What does that say about me? That's up to your interpretation. The thing to remember in this is that the great people around you everyday have music in them too!! They are full of different styles, genres, and themes that get them through each day.
Too often in HR we want everyone to “be on the same page” which really means that we want people to conform to a certain direction or movement. We often aren't looking for their input. We just want them to get in line with everyone else. Wouldn't it be better if we let them express themselves and bring their ideas, approaches and insight to situations? It doesn't mean that we won't reach consensus or agreement.
In fact, it's just the opposite. By involving the diverse reality of employees around us, we come up with better conclusions and strategies.
So, this week, let your music flow!! Let others see the great tunes you love and take in the symphony of those around you. You'll love the mix that comes from it!!
Remember, You've Got the Music in YOU !!
About the author: Steve Browne is the ultimate connector and social media guidance counselor and also works in the trenches of Human Resources. Steve is the Executive Director of HR for LaRosa’s. He has responsibilities for the strategic direction of over 1400 employees. In his spare time, he is active in Ohio SHRM and runs a subscriber-based newsletter called HR Net. Connect with Steve on Twitter as @sbrownehr and on LinkedIn.
Today commemorates the 2 year anniversary of Women of HR. 2 years, over 300 posts, 50 some regular and guest contributors. Dudes, can you believe it?
2 years ago, I was lucky enough to kick off the site by encouraging you all to be subversive in our inaugural post. 1 year ago, I told everyone they got puppies and ice cream in celebration of our first anniversary. Hmm, what should we do for our 2nd anniversary then?
In all seriousness though, thank you
, everyone, for your continued support, contributions and readership. The thought provoking posts, the encouraging comments, and this wonderful community.
We do this for you. Because we've got your back.
Huge love and hugs to our Editor-in-Chief Lisa Rosendal, and my lovely fellow co-founders Trish McFarlane, Sarah White, Charee Klimek, and Jennifer Payne. There are no words to express how grateful I am to share in this great project we started one fun night in Chicago.
I know that this next year is going to be just as amazing and exciting as the last two. I hope you will all be there to experience it with us.
This first week of the new year we are featuring some of our top posts at Women of HR. Enjoy!
Tim Sackett doesn’t think we need a website called Women of HR.
Maybe he is right.
- We have the Equal Pay Act of 1963,
- the Civil Rights Act of 1964,
- Title IX,
- and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.
Women comprise the majority of HR professionals. We own the function of HR even if we only represent a fraction of HR professionals who are responsible for a budget and have organizational authority to make decisions.
What more could we want?
According to Sackett, HR women don’t need special accommodations and we don’t need a calendar. We’re a majority. We should shut up and appreciate our status.
Except no one here at Women of HR is asking for an accommodation.
I don’t hear my colleagues requesting special treatment or a helping hand. We’re not asking for favors. No one wants something for nothing. We are a self-identified group of women who’ve joined together to talk about Human Resources, leadership, recruiting, and training.
That’s still legal in America, especially since we include men.
What I like about Women of HR is that it’s a unique example of technology, community, and conversation. This site includes HR professionals who are at the beginning of their careers and seasoned HR veterans who are thinking about their second acts. There are women from the recruiting community speaking to women from the technology community. And there are women who love Human Resources and women who hate HR coming together in single space to advance the profession.
Call it Women of HR or call it something else, but it’s unique and kind of revolutionary.
I think it’s also revolutionary that we didn’t crucify Sackett when he suggested that Women of HR wasn’t needed. If this website does anything, it shows that shortsighted opinions on gender and power will be carefully and respectfully considered by the majority. There were no shrill voices. There were no false cries of sensationalism or stereotypically aggressive responses.
There was nothing but good old-fashioned inclusion and debate.
Who says we don’t need that in Human Resources?
This holiday week we are featuring some of our top posts on Women of HR. Enjoy!
I am a huge fan of Sarah McLachlan. She’s a brilliant musician and entrepreneur.
That’s right, e-n-t-r-e-p-r-e-n-e-u-r.
You see, Sarah figured out that if we stopped making the music business competitive, and instead collaborative, there would be far more female musicians out there that would have their shot at real success. She pushed to create all-female led-band concerts.
And Lilith Fair was born.
The statistics on Lilith Fair’s success are astounding when you realize that nothing like it existed before. In the 1990s, the Lilith Fair concert series earned more than $16M in ticket sales. The concert was sold out in virtually every city where it was booked. It was girl-power extraordinaire.
In the years following the Lilith Fair tour, we saw many more female musicians in airplay. Their music was softer, harder, richer and gutsier than ever. Men showed up. The riffs are more complicated now. The lyrics cover more diverse subjects. The music has taken us beyond Carly Simon, Joni Mitchell and Helen Reddy.
In our profession, WOHR is our Lilith Fair. It is incredibly cool to have a space where women (and men) celebrate our profession in a collaborative fashion, without it being all gooey.
That isn’t to say that women have experienced challenges in our profession, in fact we dominate the profession, but it is to say that we are at the stage where we can now influence our profession by celebrating who we really are. It is no longer about towing the company line. It is no longer about crafting a dated message. It is about putting a human touch on human resources.
When I made my first post on WOHR a couple of months ago, I was overwhelmed by the positive feedback. I realized that I was not the only HR Pro who enjoyed muscle cars, college football, baking and puppies. The experienced fueled a growing list of things to blog about.
And, I can write about all sorts of subjects without feeling like I need to put on my business jacket with the extra-wide shoulder pads.
Even more significant, I found a whole lot of great HR Pros to follow and support.
Sarah McLachlan’s career skyrocketed during Lilith Fair and she has earned a place among music’s elite. The same is true for many of the other artists on the tour.
If we all continue to collaborate, won’t the same thing happen here too?
Photo Credit, People Magazine, July 19, 2010, via Lilith