Tag: employees

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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



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

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








The Challenge of the Future Workforce #EWS2015

Posted on August 26th, by Jennifer Payne in Business and Workplace. 4 comments

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


Any HR professional who has been around for any amount of time or has paid any attention at all knows that we are dealing with workforces that now span many generations.  There’s no lack of research, presentations, or opinions on the challenges that multi-generational workforces pose to employers.  I work for a retail organization so I see it firsthand; there’s probably no other industry where it’s more common to have multiple generations working under the same roof, side by side.  I don’t believe that generations alone are to blame or are the reason for the differences in workers; I believe even some of the issues that are attributed to generational differences actually cross over.  But no doubt multi-generational workforces do attribute to varying degrees of technological adaptation, disparate expectations regarding how and where work should and could be done, and different viewpoints on the nature of work and the employee/employer relationship.


But beyond those generational differences in the approach to work, one of the biggest issues we need to stay on top of as employers is how the different generations in the workforce, and more importantly the changing makeup of generations in the workforce, is going to impact how we recruit, manage, develop, and retain our workforces going forward.


Generally, I think most of us understand that, at least according to these statistics from the 2015 Emerging Workforce Study:

  • 70% of employers say that Baby Boomers exiting the workforce will leave a major skills gap within their organizations
  • One-third of employers are concerned about turnover and retention (up from 23% last year)
  • 63% of employers have increased succession planning and efforts to address impeding Boomer retirement
  • 58% are already preparing to attract and recruit Gen Z to stay ahead of future talent needs.


That’s the good news; as employers generally we do recognize that there’s an impending issue ahead, and many of us are taking steps to address it.  So what’s the bad news?


The bad news is in the generations we’re counting on to step up to fill the gap, namely Gen Y and Gen Z.  You see, the study also cites that Gen Y and Gen Z are the least loyal generations, most likely to leave current employers, and that job satisfaction and engagement among these groups is low.  So these groups we’re focusing our recruiting, development, succession planning, and retention efforts on are quite possibly not as happy, engaged, or loyal as we need them to be to ensure our future success.


What’s an HR Leader To Do?

Perhaps we’re never again going to see the long term loyalty and blind devotion to one company that existed in years and generations past.  But that doesn’t mean there aren’t thing we can do as employers to prolong the tenures of our younger employees, incentivizing them to stick around maybe a little longer that they otherwise might have, and ensuring that they are engaged and productive members of the team while they are there.  Here’s a few ideas:

  • It’s not enough to have succession plans in place. Ensure that high potentials KNOW they are high potentials and exactly what they need to do to get to the next level.  Provide the development opportunities to help them get there.
  • Be mindful of your online reputation. This is important to Gen Y and Gen Z.  If you don’t have someone not only monitoring what’s being said about you online, but also proactively engaging with the online community and promoting your employment brand and offering, designate someone to start doing so.  Not only does this help with retention and engagement of current employees, it’ll help with your recruiting efforts as well.
  • Ensure that not only are you communicating a solid employment brand, but that your culture matches what you’re preaching. There’s no surer way to lose new hires than to immerse them in a culture that’s not aligned with what you promised.


It’s going to continue to be a battle out there, and those employers who are aware, who are proactive, and who execute what they promise will be the ones to rise to the top.


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


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.

Are We Ready For the “Future of Work?”  #SHRM15

Posted on July 9th, by Jennifer Payne in Business and Workplace. 1 Comment

It’s been just over a week since the 2015 SHRM Annual Conference wrapped up.  When I attend a conference that’s so large, so overflowing with various ideas, concepts, and best practices, sometimes it takes a few days for me to process what I’ve heard and learned.  One of the sessions I attended that I’ve mulled over for the past week was Lance Richards’ concurrent session on “Work 4.0: The Future of Work.”

There’s no shortage of these types of futurist musings of late, but I always find value in hearing various speakers’ takes on how exactly they see our workplaces changing moving forward.  There were two key concepts that I took away from this particular session.


The Untethered Workplace

As technology becomes more prolific in both our work and personal lives, we’re shifting into a world where work doesn’t necessarily need to be tied to a specific location.  The concept of a “sit, stay” culture no longer resonates with workers who are connected via smartphone 24/7.  Lance Richards cites millennials as apt to sleeping with their phones nearby; the first and last thing they do each day being check work email.  I’m not even convinced that’s unique to that generation any longer.  Regardless, in a world where this is the norm, why do we get so caught up in where and when the work gets done, rather than focusing on whether or not it is?  If I’m handing work emails at 6:00AM or 11:00PM, why should I feel bad if I need to leave the office at 4:00PM?  Furthermore, if we find ourselves in a situation in which we simply can’t afford to lose the talent that we have, why not consider moving the work to them rather than forcing them to come to the work?  If we have the technological capabilities to facilitate this, what’s the hold up?

The implications of this for managers is that it’s going to become essential that they, well….manage their teams more effectively.  As HR pros, are we ensuring that our supervisors and managers have the skills they need to more effectively manage remote workforces?  Do they have the necessary planning & organization, shepherding, and communication skills?  Do they have the ability to rally their teams around collective goals when their teams may not be all in the same place?  Do they have the skills to build effective working relationships when they are not face to face?


 Talent Supply Chain Management

The “War for Talent” is as ubiquitous of a phrase as any in the world of HR and talent; Lance Richards suggested that in reality there is no shortage of people in the world, however people does not equal talent.  The question is how do we convert people into talent?  In a world where 10,000 Boomers per day are retiring, and 6000 people per day are dropping out of high school, how are where do we find, develop, and retain the talent we need?  Richards suggested that HR pros need to become masters of talent supply chain management.  This could include better workplace planning through analytics; building better working relationships with local schools and colleges to help shape curriculum, ensuring that the future workforce has the skills we as employers need; building alumni networks and doing a better job of tracking what our former employees are up to; and learning to leverage “on-demand talent” – as we shift into a reality where more workers will deliver work on a more compartmentalized basis (i.e. performing various jobs for different companies concurrently), we’ll need to become better talent engagers.  We won’t necessarily need to own the talent, as long as we know where to find and engage it when we need it.

And that may require a completely different mindset about how we structure jobs, job responsibilities, and teams.


Some Final Thoughts

Though I do believe we are and will continue to see these types of shifts, and as HR pros we need to not only be aware, but also able to effectively leverage and adapt to these changes, I also struggle with how this plays out in all industries.  What about retail and healthcare, where it’s absolutely necessary to have certain employees onsite at specific times?  What about manufacturing?  When you have teams who are physically building or assembling something, there’s not as much of an opportunity for flexibility there.  

But yet the world continues to change, and people’s expectations about work/life balance/integration and the nature of work continue to change.  Even in these types of industries I believe we need to figure out exactly how we apply some of these concepts.  Maybe it’s not a remote workforce, per se, but are there other ways we can leverage flexibility?  And how do we leverage on-demand talent in these types of industries…. seems like that could be a natural fit in industries such as retail, where labor needs tend to fluctuate with seasons.

Moving forward, no matter what type of industry we work in, as HR pros we will continue to think bigger…about who constitutes our workforces, what they desire out of an employer/employee relationship, and how we sync that up with what our business needs require.


 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.








Posted on May 19th, by Jennifer Payne in Business and Workplace, Leadership, On My Mind. No Comments

I’ve been thinking a lot about legacies lately.

You see, last week I had the opportunity to participate in a unique and amazing experience.  In preparation for and in honor of the impending retirement of long time music teacher and director of the Quaker Marching Band from Orchard Park High School outside of Buffalo, NY, a group of current members and band alumni gathered for a surprise final performance and tribute to our leader of so many years and so many graduating classes.  The group numbered at 175, encompassed 6 states, and spanned the years 1986 – 2015.  I was there, proudly spinning my flag with the color guard, something I hadn’t done in 21 years.  The feeling of being a part of such a salute was overwhelming, his reaction was heartwarming, the video and verbal tributes were touching, and I’d be surprised if there were many dry eyes in the auditorium by the end.  And that group of 175 people who had never performed together before approximately 7PM that night….pretty darn impressive, from my not at all biased opinion.  It was our own version of “Mr. Holland’s Opus,” if you will.


But the theme that kept running through my head the entire evening was that of legacies, and I feel as if it manifested in several ways.

There was first and foremost the legacy that Chris, our band director, leaves behind.  When you can get that many people, from all parts of the country, some of whom hadn’t picked up an instrument, flag, or rifle in decades, to drop everything to be a part of a tribute, you know that person has made a lasting impact.  The number quoted was 700 people who have been a part of the band over the years, and there were many who were devastated that logistically they just couldn’t be there for this final tribute.  Talking to some of the alumni from my era afterwards, we all agreed that being a part of the band was something we would never forget, that was such an important part of our high school years, and the lessons learned still remain with us as adults.  I had the privilege of serving as color guard captain my junior and senior years, and those leadership skills learned are certainly still relevant to me as an adult.  Chris was our leader throughout this critical, wonderful time in our lives, and as such he was always be remembered for it.  Being a part of “QMB” taught us the value of hard work and dedication; resilience and how to bounce back from failure and defeat; and confidence, pride, and that success requires practice, some wrong notes, and more than a few dropped flags.  A true legacy that spans decades, crosses state lines, and likely finds its way into the personal and professional lives of hundreds.

The other aspect of legacy that touched me was a little more personal, and that was having had the opportunity to be a part of something much bigger than myself.  There was a good sized contingent of alumni from my era that took part, but as I looked around as we were gathered in the gym beforehand and read the nametags and graduation years of others there, I realized how many eras this band has spanned.  There were those that came before me, and many, many who came after me.  In the four years that I was a member, I helped to set the stage for the success of those who came after, just as those who came before me set the stage for my success.  Pretty inspiring when you think about how many people have worn that uniform, marched those football fields, and accepted those awards at competitions across the years.  And we all played a part in making the band what it has become today.

If you’ve stayed with me and indulged my walk down memory lane to this point, you may be thinking, “What does this have to do with a human resources blog?”

The truth is, we ALL have the opportunity to create a legacy, no matter what we do or where we work.  We often talk about the legacies that teachers or coaches build, but it’s not unique to those professions.  As leaders and as HR professionals, we have the opportunity to touch our employees’ and coworkers lives every day.  So I ask you, as a leader, as an HR professional:

  • Are you helping to create work environments and cultures that encourage failure on the way to success?
  • Are you creating environments where employees feel a part of something bigger than themselves?
  • Are you personally helping to set the stage within your company for the successes that may come after you are gone, either from your position or from the company itself?
  • Is your culture one that instills the values in your employees that you would want them to keep with them and pass on to others?
  • As you make decisions that affect your employees, do you make them within the framework and mindset of how they might impact their lives?

When your employees, coworkers, executives, and others you work with on a daily basis reflect on your time with the company and your contributions, what kind legacy will they say you left?  I know that I hope mine is even a small fraction of what I felt around me on May 11, 2015.

Band ten HUT!


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.

Not Haunted

Posted on April 21st, by Jennifer Payne in Business and Workplace. No Comments

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!


This post was one of several posts written using the same title and inspiration, but examining various topics.  You can read the other Not Haunted posts here and here.


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.

Appreciation Shouldn’t Need a Day…But Sometimes It Does

Posted on March 17th, by Jennifer Payne in Business and Workplace, On My Mind. 3 comments

Over the past few weeks, there have been a number of days dedicated to recognition and appreciation of various sorts.  Employee Appreciation Day was observed on Friday, March 6th – a chance to “support, thank and reward workers” for their hard work and dedication throughout the year.  Sunday, March 8th was International Women’s Day, a “global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women.”  And most recently, Wednesday, March 11th was Randon Tweets of Kindness day, an online event created in 2014 by Lars Schmidt, the founder of Amplify Talent, as a way to call out and recognize and thank publically individuals who have impacted or influenced you in some way using the hashtag #RTOK.  This year’s iteration was nothing short of amazing, reaching the point of trending worldwide on Twitter as countless folks shared the love for people who have supported them, helped them grow and succeed, or have just simply been there as good friends.

Personally, I’m a little torn on the idea of these “official” recognition-type days.  I mean, in theory, we shouldn’t need a specific day to appreciate those around us who make our lives better in some way, right?  Employee recognition should be on ongoing process, not a one-time event that happens because a designated day tells you that you should do so.  We should appreciate the achievements of great people (not just women) on a regular basis, not once a year.  And hopefully we’re thanking the people that help us, impact us, teach and mentor us, and support us as they do it, not just on a day designated for that.  Right?

In theory, yes.  In theory.  But then reality steps in and rears its ugly and hectic face.                      

I don’t know about you, but my days, weeks, and even years fly by quickly.  In the day to day hustle and bustle of life, as the frenetic pace of life is filled with personal and professional obligations, as days and weeks are filled with both the necessary and the fun, sometimes before I know it weeks have passed.  And sometimes I realize I haven’t been in touch with this person, or that message I meant to send hasn’t yet gotten sent, or a connection I planned to make hasn’t yet been made.  It’s not intentional, but it has happened nonetheless.

In the workplace, sometimes we are so consumed by all of the “stuff” that needs to get done that we forget to take a step back and appreciate those around us that are helping to get that stuff done, helping make projects happen, helping goals to be achieved.  We don’t mean to do it, but we plug along and neglect to stop and say thanks in the moment.

So SOULD we need to have days set aside to appreciate those around us?  No.  DO we need them?  I don’t think they’re such a bad idea.  But the true key to success is to take the momentum generated by these days and try our best to keep it going…to ensure appreciation doesn’t fade as the sun sets on that day.

What do you think?  Are appreciation days a good thing or bad thing?  A necessary evil, something that shouldn’t exist in the first place, or an opportunity? 


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 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.

2015….Welcome to the Future

Posted on January 13th, by Jennifer Payne in Business and Workplace, HR Technology. 1 Comment

By now inevitably you’ve seen some sort of media coverage detailing how the “Back to the Future” franchise got it both wrong and right.


That’s right, the future is here. In the second installation of the 80’s trilogy, Marty McFly travels to the far-distant future of 2015.  Or at least the 1985 version of what 2015 would look like.  Though some of that 1985 speculation wasn’t that far off (video calls, biometric payment options, huge flat screen televisions), much of it was certainly ambitious thinking (home fusion energy reactors, flying cars, self-sizing clothing).


For all of the fun that it is to compare what the movie got right and wrong, there’s also another side to the discussion that hasn’t been explored.  For each of those speculations that have not come to fruition, there are just as many every day components of our reality that could probably never have been imagined in 1985.


In 1985, could we have imagined that through the power of smart phones, most people would hold in the palm of their hand more computing power and access to information than was available to entire governments then?  In 1985, clouds were strictly a weather phenomenon; today “the cloud” holds a whole different meaning.  Tablets were pads of paper, a very different definition than what you think when you hear that word today.  There was no concept of or hint to what social networking would become through the vast digital networks and tools we now have available, and how they are being applied not to just our personal lives, but to business effectiveness and productivity as well.


For everything that did not happen as predicted in the movie, other technologies have been developed and subsequently improved at rates we could never have anticipated in the mid-80s, or even more recently for that matter.  In many ways, our lives are completely interconnected through technology.  Technology enables the average person today to receive more information in one day than someone would receive in their entire lifetime in 1900; that’s not going to slow down any time soon.  And over the holidays, I had a moment that was a powerful reminded me of that.


My 2 year old nephew received a tablet for Christmas.


Now you could argue that the “tablet” he received was a simplified version of a fully-functional “adult” tablet.  But that’s not the point.  The point is that my two-year old nephew instinctively knew how to use that tablet.  That he knows how to access Siri on an iPhone – he can’t talk to her yet, but he knows how to find her and what to do with her.  He has seen his siblings doing these things from the time he could comprehend, and is now using these technologies before he can even put a full, intelligible sentence together.


We are living in a “future” where kids are using technologies in some cases before they can even talk.  These technologies are ingrained into their lives right from the beginning.  This is certainly not a new phenomenon this year, it’s a shift that’s been occurring for a little while now, as evidenced by the term “digital native” that’s been in use for several years is discussions of generations.  But it’s becoming something that as business professionals we can no longer afford to ignore.


As employers, we are soon going to be hiring these same kids who have used technology since before they could talk.  Even sooner for those of us who work in industries that tend to employ teenagers and young adults (retail, food service, hospitality).  Yet as businesses, many still lag pitifully behind when it comes to technology.  Maybe not in the technologies we use to connect with the outside world and our customers, but with how we connect with our employees and future or prospective employees.
We insist on subjecting employees and candidates to mind-numbingly long manual processes, or if we do have digital ones in place, they are exceedingly complex, contrary to the digital simplicity present in our app-laden world.


Why do we do this?  Because we can?  Because THEY want to join OUR organization so we call the shots?


That mentality can be our downfall.  As we continue into the future, if we as HR pros allow our businesses to remain out of touch and outdated, we risk losing talent to those who keep pace.  It’s our job to be aware, to understand the pulse of those we want to employ, and translate that back to our businesses.


The future is here.  It may not look like what we thought it would in the 80s, but in many ways, it’s more than we imagined.  And we need to keep up.


About the Author: Jennifer Payne, SPHR has over 16 years of HR experience in employee relations, talent acquisition, and learning & development, and currently works in talent acquisition and development in the retail grocery industry.  She is one of the co-founders of Women of HR, and is currently the Editor of the site. You can connect with her on Twitter as @JennyJensHR and on LinkedIn.





Teamwork as a Customer Experience

Posted on January 8th, by Bonni Titgemeyer in Business and Workplace, On My Mind. 1 Comment

Crayons of popcorn

For the right consumer experience these days, teamwork is necessary.


On New Year’s Day, hubby and I went to the movies.  For certain reasons I won’t mention the name of the Cineplex theatre on Winston Churchill at the QEW in Oakville, Ontario.


We arrived 40 minutes early for a movie that is newly-released but not a box office smash, and planned on using a gift certificate.  


This means that we had to stand in line at the box office.  A hopelessly long line.  The line was long because their new ticket distribution kiosks don’t allow for gift certificates and it seemed everyone had a gift certificate.


If we had planned this differently we could’ve avoided that line and purchased our tickets on line instead of redeeming the certificate, but it was expiring that day and we wanted to use it.  Besides, there were long lines at the kiosks too.  It doesn’t seem like anything was gained by reconstructing the entire front entrance of the theatre to remove the ticket agents and allow for these kiosks, especially since while you can order online, they don’t yet have tickets via smartphone available yet.


Why they might choose to expire a gift certificate on the busiest day of the year is beyond me.  Why we chose to wait until the last day to redeem it is also somewhat of a mystery but it has something to do with cleaning the basement and finding the certificate just before Christmas.


Once we got in the theatre we went our separate ways. . .hubby to the concession stand and I to the theatre to stake out seats.  


It takes teamwork to get the right seats and the concessions before the movie starts, especially if you are using a gift certificate on a holiday.


Why do companies put us through these things just to get what we want?  Even though I earned an A in microeconomics in university and am the life of the party during any discussion of guns and butter, in this case I still don’t get this intersection of supply and demand.


Why are all the new releases during the holidays?  Why couldn’t I redeem my gift certificate online?  Why do they have to so understaff the theatre that it takes 20 minutes to get through a relatively simple concession line?  As I was sitting in the theatre by myself waiting for hubby to get through that line, these questions were burning for me.


Recently, my good friend Michael VanDervort directed me to an article on Salon.com,  are Killing Us.  In it there are some scathing truths and conspiracy theories about why it is so important to keep the wages of restaurant workers so low.  While I could write many blog posts responding to the suggestions of the article, there was a key point of relevance to the HR professionals who read blogs on this site.  That is this, we are increasingly mechanizing the most entry-level jobs, making them quickly-trained and easily-replaceable.  There is no need to pay them more.  If the apocalypse they propose in the article is real, very shortly there’ll be no true entry-level jobs left, not just in restaurants but in everything that is in the service industry.


This is a big deal to those who view customer experience as important.


A few years ago I worked on a project to set up a manufacturing plant in Mexico.  As part of the project, I immersed myself in Mexican employment practices, to understand how everything there works. I wanted to avoid an implementation failure by mis-anticipating culture and customs.  One of my take-aways from the experience is that in Mexico there is a focus on jobs. From an HR planning perspective, the advisors tell you to increase the staffing numbers from what it takes to produce your product in America.  Their unions, tax incentives and way of thinking make that a winning formula.  There’s another discussion here about underutilization of talent there, but let’s leave that for a different blog post. 


Stop right now and ask yourself about customer service at your company.  Are you over-mechanizing the process?  In the name of efficiency have you taken out too many people?  By doing so, do you make it difficult for your customer to have a good experience?  Do people really have to plan how they are going to access your service by going to extremes to make the stars line up?  Like in the case of hubby and me, do they have to employ teamwork just to make things work out?


If yes, unless you’re Costco, you need to rethink this.  After all, if I want to make my own popcorn and pour my own cola, I might as well stay home and slouch on the couch.


About the Author: Bonni Titgemeyer is the Managing Director of The Employers’ Choice Inc. She has been in human resources for 20+ years and works in the international HR arena. She is the recipient of the 2012 Toronto Star HR Professional of the Year Award.  You can connect with Bonni on Twitter as @BonniToronto, often at the hashtag #TEPHR.

The New Rules of Engagement: Individualization

Posted on November 18th, by a Guest Contributor in Business and Workplace. 3 comments

Yvonne Sell and Georg Vielmetter recently wrote Leadership 2030, a new book outlining how 6 powerful trends are impacting life as we know it. They identified these 6 megatrends as Globalization 2.0, Environmental Crisis, Demographic Change, Digitization, Individualization and Technology Convergence.

In this series of blog posts, Monick Evans of the Hay Group will cover each of these trends in turn and share her thoughts on how they impact engagement, and what they might mean for us as professionals as well as for us as employees.


“I want, I need, I get”

A new megatrend called Individualization is coming: here’s what it means for you, your job, and for the way you manage others.


I Want

Usually it’s my 6-year old daughter saying “I want, I want, I want” when she sees the latest ad on TV for a new doll or toy. When you’re her age, it seems fine to just ask for what you want. But as we grow up, many of us stop asking.

But that’s about to change. Soon it’ll be okay for you to ask for exactly what you want in your job, whatever your age, background or role. Why? Because there’s a big new megatrend that’s here called Individualization.It’s one of 6 global trends that two of my colleagues have just written about in their new book, Leadership 2030.

Individualization is about how we want to be treated at work as unique and valued. It means we want managers to care about us as people, to really know us, know what our strengths and development areas are (and to use those skills), and to do whatever it takes to help us achieve our full potential as well as help us fit our work around our life. We don’t just want to be “one of the team” anymore; we want to feel special and be treated like we are.

But there’s a small problem. If you work in a role in HR, OD or employee engagement, you spend most of your time thinking about how to help other people in your business – how to make employees feel more motivated or more productive, or how to develop your leaders.  We spend hardly any time thinking about ourselves or our own needs and development. We seem to forget that we’re employees too and sometimes we need a bit of motivation and attention.

So this got me thinking, what would happen if we started acting a bit more like a 6 year old (well, sometimes, maybe not all the time if we want to keep our jobs) and start asking more often for what we want to make us feel more motivated in our jobs?
I Need

So what do you really need in your job? Research on this new megatrend shows that people’s expectations are changing about work, and that if companies want to keep their talent, they’ll need to adapt fast because:

  • Fulfilment, meaning, self-development and recognition will all become much more important than salary
  • People will demand that their employers take note of their individual needs, their likes and dislikes
  • Managers will need to manage people as individuals; they’ll need to develop more empathy and flexibility to get the best out of each member of the team
  • The idea of work-life balance will be outdated; it’ll be about total lifestyle and how best to juggle different priorities (from doing a great job at work to finding time for that favourite hobby)
  • Career development will be a two-way street where managers will encourage us to research options and suggest new career paths, while they help us navigate existing career structures

Stop and have a think about your own job for a moment. Are these needs already met or do you think you need to ask for some changes?


I Get

So how can we start to get more of what we want in our jobs so we feel motivated to put more effort and energy into our work? (With 2 young children and a full-time job, I’m always looking for more energy as I’m sure most of us are!).

The key relationship will be with our manager. How can we change how our managers support us? Try answering a few questions to see how well you think your manager is doing on the Individualization trend:


Yes / No
Are your objectives really tailored to your skills and experience?
Do you have a development plan that’s unique to you?
Do you know what you need to do to get promoted?
Are you encouraged to manage your own career?
Does your manager really understand your unique skills and development areas? And does s/he make the most of them?
Does your manager spend time coaching you?
Can you work flexibly to fulfil your own unique work and personal commitments?


How did you get on? If you answered “Yes” to some of these (like I did), then you’re on the right path (you may even want to buy your manager a drink).

But if you answered “No” to any of these questions (which I also did), don’t be afraid to sit down with your manager, act like a 6 year old and say “I want, I want, I want” a few times  to explain what you need to be more engaged in your job. You never know what you might get.

See you next time, I’m off to have a chat with my manager…..


How well do you think people in your organization are adapting to the individualization trend? I’d love to hear your thoughts!


Photo credit

About the Author: Monick Evans is an Associate Director at global management consultancy Hay Group. With 20 years experience in organizational research, HR and change consulting, Monick has worked with some of the world’s best known multinational companies to deliver leading edge employee engagement programmes. Monick works closely with key stakeholders, including CEOs, Executive Teams, HR, OD and Communications professionals to help align their employee survey programmes with business strategy. The topics she is discussing in this series of blog posts can also be found in the Hay Group report The new rules of engagement.


Getting More From Millennials: Developing Your Employer Brand

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

Getting the most from your workforce has never been easy. Doing it in a way which gets workers to buy in to corporate values and objectives is at the core of the challenge.

Understanding and promoting your employer brand in ways which attract, engage and inspire employees to do more will set you apart from competitors. Identifying new challenges, benchmarking your branding efforts and creating an inspiring workplace will help your company gain that competitive edge.

The urgency of this challenge is not just about creating a culture of excellence and the associated ROI. Its more fundamental than that.


Rise of Generation Y and the Need For Better Engagement

The immediate need for an attractive employer brand which encourages loyalty is created by the new priorities and work cycles of Millennials.

Recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests that the average worker stays at each job for 4.4 years, but the expected tenure of the workforce’s youngest employees is a little over half of that.

Generation Y’s preference for shorter tenure presents a big challenge to employers looking to retain and develop their top talent. For companies, losing an employee after a year or two means investing time and resources on training & development, only to see the employee go to a competitor before that investment of product and industry understanding really starts to pays off.

If workers can make a personal connection to their organisational culture and its identity, they will consider it as attractive or unique. This type of emotional connection will not only promote a strong sense of membership but it also brings a sense of loyalty to an employer that they won’t want to leave.


Creating Two Way Conversations

Cascading values and goals, investing in professional development and creating two way conversations will inspire workers to feel valued and promote a desire to repay investment you’ve placed in them.

Increased loyalty will, in turn, create a culture where employees are more likely to go that extra mile because they buy in to corporate objectives.


How Does Your Employer Brand Measure Up?

So how do you create the metrics to ensure your on the right path to engage with your employees and maximize productivity?

A good exercise to help you stay competitive and on track is to answer the below handy checklist. By going through these considerations, you’ll get an idea of how your employer branding initiatives measure up against best practice organizations.

Answer yes or no to each of the following questions and then total your score out of 20.

  • We have created an employer brand strategy
  • We have developed a social media strategy
  • We have conducted research to determine the perception current employees have about our company
  • We have done research to understand the perceptions prospective employees might about our company
  • We monitor what is being said online about our brand
  • We have identified the leadership competencies we aspire employees at all levels to have
  • We have created a database of talented employees who we’d like to hire when the time is right
  • We have got a careers section on our corporate website
  • We have at least two of the following working closely on our employer brand strategy – HR/Marketing/Communications/IT
  • Alignment to brand values is part of our performance management system
  • We have an active coaching and mentoring program in place to transfer knowledge and build internal capabilities
  • We have defined our employer brand metrics
  • Managers have access to a leadership development program
  • We have defined our employer value propositions (EVPs)
  • We have reviewed our EVP’s in light of the Global Financial Crisis
  • We have an employee referral program which we promote to staff and stakeholders
  • We conduct an employee engagement, satisfaction and/or climate survey at least once per year
  • We participate in an external annual best employers and/or employer of choice survey
  • We use an online system to automate our recruitment process and rank candidates against weighted criteria
  • Each employee has a documented career development plan that is reviewed at least annually


So How Did You Rate?

0-5 = Very early stages
6-12 = A good start
13-17 = Some tweaks are needed
18-20 We are Employer Branding experts!


Better Branding and Bigger Results

Creating or developing an employer brand which considers the needs of a changing workforce, lowers staff turnover and inspires better performance is no easy task.

The benefits, however, can be huge. Developing strong company goals and showing your staff that you want to go the extra mile to help their professional development will pay dividends in the years ahead!  That’s because understanding changing cultures, the role of communications and being able to benchmark initiatives will help your employer brand attract, retain and grow top talent and the leaders of tomorrow.


Photo Credit


About the Author: Jilaine Parkes is a knowledgeable and passionate HR / Organization Development Professional with nearly 25 years combined experience in large, dynamic organizations and independent HR / OD Consulting. While holding senior HR management positions in Bombardier, Kraft Foods, Canadian Tire, Lavalife and Cineplex Entertainment, including a one year stint in Prague, Czech Republic, Jilaine has designed and driven initiatives in Business Planning, Leadership Development, Employee Development, Succession Planning, Performance Management, Learning & Growth Strategy and Team Chartering.

In addition to having worked as part-time faculty at Fanshawe College in London, Ontario she has also worked within the Fanshawe organization in the areas of Leadership and Performance Development. In early 2009, Jilaine partnered with Bruce Croxon (Co-Founder of Lavalife and a star of CBC’s Dragon’s Den) and launched an online Performance  Management software company featuring the automated Performance Management module known as Sprigg. In addition to driving Sprigg’s expansion across the US, Canada and UK, Jilaine is an accomplished public speaker and facilitator with a humorous, very direct and down to earth style.