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.
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.
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.
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?
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?
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!
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 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.
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.
It’s been about a month since the 2014 SHRM Annual Conference in Orlando. By now, those of us who attended have settled back into the realities of our jobs and day to day life. We’ve probably filed away our notes and stashed our swag, but have we thought about what we actually learned? Have we spent any time at all considering how we can take some of the ideas we gathered and put them into practice?
One of the concepts that particularly rang true with me was the notion that Human Resources professionals need to start thinking more like marketers, an idea offered by David Novak, CEO of Yum! Brands. Maybe I’m partial to this idea because my college degree was in Marketing, and though I’ve been practicing HR for over 16 years that marketing mindset has remained with me. Or maybe I just believe the idea is not only genius, but necessary in this age of social media and transparency. Either way, the concept really resonated with me.
I think that whether we realize it or not, Human Resources professionals have always been (or at least should be) more similar to marketing professionals than not. Marketing professionals promote the business brand to the outside world; HR professionals must be the keeper of the employment brand and the story of what it means to be an employee of our companies to both the outside world (potential candidates) and inside world (current employees). However, that line is even more blurred now, thanks to the ubiquitous nature of social media which allows nearly every employment related decision we make to be broadcast or challenged, and every claim we make about the reality of working at our organizations to be either be validated or debunked publicly. Everything we do within our organizations, decisions that we used to generally be able to keep tightly under wraps, can now be put on display for the world to see. Take the recent employee termination at Cracker Barrel, a story that caused quite a bit of an uproar on social media, and one of just many examples in recent years. Perhaps we’ll never be able to prevent these types of stories from leaking, and every good HR professional knows there are always two sides to a story with the truth usually somewhere in the middle. But good HR professionals should also realize that perception becomes reality, and with that we now also have the opportunity to be more proactive with our efforts, to assume the mindset of a marketer and shape the employment story that’s on display to the world.
Branding the Employment Story
Just as our marketing departments promote our business’s brand to the outside world, HR should be promoting our employment story to the outside world. And ideally, that story should align with the business brand so a cohesive, united message is being disseminated. Here’s the value proposition that our brand offers our customers, and guess what? There’s a similar proposition as an employee. A company’s social properties, both general company platforms and employment related platforms, are perfect places to shout out what it means to be a part of our companies. Facebook pages, LinkedIn pages and groups, Glassdoor pages…good HR departments should be leveraging all of these to tell our stories. But it doesn’t stop there; if we are truly thinking like marketers, we’ll realize that our messages need to be part of an integrated strategy with our story being told in any communication we have with our potential candidate public, and that includes our career pages, every job posting, and even our message in any interview we conduct. We need to be promoting our employment story at every possible opportunity.
Ensuring a Cultural Match
A good HR department will also realize that promoting a great employment story is useless if our reality doesn’t match what our story asserts. There may be some debate as to whether or not HR really has control over the culture of a company, and though we may not be able to entirely create it, we can certainly guide it. We can do this through hiring for cultural fit; by advising and guiding our managers to make decisions in the spirit of our culture; and by helping our managers see that the culture they create within their individual departments ultimately plays into the overall culture of the company. It is generally accepted wisdom that people don’t leave companies, they leave managers; stories of bad employment experiences, typically attributed to bad managers, can permeate our employment brand through Facebook posts or Glassdoor reviews, making good old fashioned word of mouth sharing multiply exponentially. Human Resources departments alone may not be able to create a culture, but we can certainly be keepers of that culture; a collective conscience of the organization.
Engaging Our Employees in the Story
Ultimately HR alone can’t tell our employment story, at least not as effectively as it can be told. We can’t neglect the value of using our employees as brand ambassadors, or conduits for sharing our employment story. Those social properties mentioned before? It’s one thing for an official company or HR message to be shared, but how powerful when that message comes directly from your employees? What’s more believable – a slick, programmed message from a corporate department, or real-life stories and experiences shared by the very people living and working within that company culture every day? It again comes back to that concept of word of mouth marketing or personal endorsements, whether they be stories on your careers page, blog posts written by employees, YouTube videos featuring employees on the job, or positive Glassdoor reviews.
We’ll likely never eliminate all of the negatives, and we’ll probably never make every employee happy, but by thinking like marketers we can ensure that we’re leveraging and promoting all of the positive stories waiting to be told and buzz waiting to be shared about our organizations.
About the Author: Jennifer Payne, SPHR has over 16 years of HR experience in employee relations, talent acquisition, and learning & development, and currently works in talent management in the retail grocery industry. She is one of the co-founders of Women of HR, and is currently the Editor of the site. You can connect with her on Twitter as @JennyJensHR and on LinkedIn.
With great power comes great responsibility, said Spider Man.
A good leader embodies a number of highly-desired traits. He or she is focused, flexible, empathetic, ethical, and is engaged in a strong pursuit of success. There are different types of leaders and many leadership styles. Each might approach a situation or a problem in a different way but the outcome should always be the same: success or solution to a problem. Being able to get things done is the sign of a good leader.
Leadership has been much discussed. Thousands of books, articles, and blogs have been dedicated to studying different and efficient leadership styles. So how is it that despite such a wealth of information available on being a good leader, every organization has its own set of bad leaders? How come every employee has at least once endured that dreaded thing called “bad boss”?
No one starts off with the goal of becoming a horrible boss, but one picks up undesirable qualities along the way and gets stuck in self-defeating patterns of words and actions that earns one the label of ‘the boss from hell’.
So what are the things that lead to people getting this not-so-coveted title? Here are some of the qualities that we absolutely do not want in our leaders.
Credit Snatcher Alert!
This is for all those bosses who can never appreciate the fine work of their juniors and waste no time in making it their own. So your juniors may be less experienced and less skilled than you but when they do a good job they do deserve appreciation.
While taking credit for someone else’s work could be unintentional at times, especially when you feel that you came up with an idea which your subordinates simply executed, the least you can do is give them the credit for their part of work. That is what a good mentor does.
Is an Opportunistic Communicator
Being a good communicator is one of the key qualities needed to become a good leader. But good communication is not limited to conveying what you want from your employees and giving them their targets unambiguously.
It is about keeping them motivated and positive at all times. You cannot be an aggressive and empowering communicator only when you need your subordinates to work for you. To be a good leader you should be an informative, enthusiastic and encouraging communicator at all times.
Many leaders do not let beneficial and important information trickle down to their juniors as they fear that access to such information may help their juniors outshine them. This is bad practice. Such leaders never earn the trust or willing support of their subordinates. You cannot lead a team with a need-to-know-only attitude towards your juniors.
Lacks Vision and Focus
Leading through action and direction is the mantra for most successful leaders. Nobody can trust or rely on a leader who does not have a vision for himself or for the growth of his team. A leader needs to be clear about his goals and be meticulous in his approach towards attaining these goals.
Such a leader is focused and leads through example. On the other hand, a leader who lacks vision and focus will not set long-term goals. He cannot induce passion or commitment towards work in his or her subordinates. The best leaders are those who inspire others to go ahead and achieve their dreams. Such leaders infuse positivity, discipline and focus in their subordinates.
A bad leader lacks vision and fails to plan properly. They are not connected to their employees and remain clueless about the goings-on at work. They also fail to remain accountable and often blame their juniors when something goes wrong. Most people don’t stick around for long under such leaders.
Lacks Empathy and Flexibility
Kindness and humility go a long way. A leader that always says ‘NO’ to all that a junior asks, refuses to accept any innovation put forth by young blood, and is dominating and dictatorial in his approach gets a thumbs-down form us.
One becomes a leader only when he or she has followers. A boss that does not empathize with his workers is a bad boss and won’t win any hearts.
When your subordinates feel that you care for them, they want to give you their best. On the other hand, if they only receive indifference and coldness from the boss, their productivity will decline and understandably so.
These are bosses with excessive ego, pride and arrogance. They usually possess all of the above mentioned qualities. In addition to that, they are bad listeners. They believe that they know everything and will discourage you to speak up or express your views. And if you do manage to do so and rub them the wrong way, be ready for some serious payback. Yes, they are vindictive too.
Engages in Favoritism
Now this is the boss who irks us the most. They will shower favors on those they like. They love people sucking up to them and if you don’t, you are in deep trouble. By now you might have guessed that they play an active role in office politics and deliberately underplay your talent and hard work. They also pit employees against each other and create a bad working atmosphere.
If you are a leader and have been deliberately or unintentionally exhibiting any of the above behavior, check yourself now. A good leader brings out the best in all his followers; he is fair and unbiased and gives wings to his followers’ dreams. If you are working under a leader who does not inspire you to give your best, you need to recognize the signs and find a way out to receive guidance from a better boss.
About the Author: Lura Peterson is a freelance writer for Topmobility.com and loves to write on mobility. Besides writing, she also enjoys shopping, traveling with her family to far-off places and time spent with her husband.
What is a great corporate culture? Among other things, it’s that intangible something that motivates and inspires employees to do their best work, whether they are under the watchful eyes of management or not. But a great corporate culture doesn’t happen overnight. It must be consciously cultivated and constantly protected as one of the company’s greatest assets. After all, that culture—that unique “collective corporate environment”—is what drives productivity and sets an organization apart from its competitors. Being that creating a healthy corporate culture is essential for all businesses, here’s a look at two key factors—Employee Recognition and Discipline—and the importance of each in creating and protecting your corporate culture.
In many ways you could call employee recognition a culture within itself. After all, what better way to recruit and retain top talent than by being recognized as a company that knows how to recognize and appreciate its employees? It’s no wonder that employee recognition programs are becoming more prominent among small and large organizations, as they can help businesses create and protect a positive corporate culture by…
Creating an atmosphere of trust and respect
Proper recognition helps create an environment where employees are encouraged to openly share ideas and opinions because they feel that what they have to say is important to the company and appreciated by management. Good managers understand that recognition isn’t always about the pat on the back or some tangible reward. True recognition is more about employees being able to actively contribute in an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect, without fear of reproach or being shot down.
Fueling employee engagement
It’s no secret that engaged employees are happier employees. Recognition programs can help to fuel greater employee engagement by appropriately recognizing individual achievements, at the same time encouraging more of the same. The most effective rewards are specific to the task that has been accomplished. They are also all-inclusive, being distributed across all levels of the organization so every employee feels that they have a fair chance of receiving recognition. Rewards should also be delivered quickly with respect to the task or behavior that is being recognized. And finally, the more meaningful and relevant the reward is, the more it will fuel a corporate culture of happy and engaged employees.
Reinforcing positive behaviors throughout the entire organization
A corporate culture has the power to influence every aspect of an organization for good or bad. Employee recognition and rewards programs help to promote a positive culture by reinforcing positive behaviors throughout the entire organization. This is especially true of “strategic” employee recognition, which can spur innovation by encouraging employees to repeat desired behaviors over and over.
Unlike the word implies, discipline, with respect to building and protecting a corporate culture is not about implementing and enforcing a cold harsh set of rules. Discipline is about creating the desired climate from the top down. It’s about management teams that are committed to:
Set and communicate clear goals
Employees respond well to management that clearly communicates corporate goals and expectations. Clear goals help employees recognize the specific roles they play in helping the company accomplish its objectives. In addition, clear and realistic goals, along with suitable recognition for achieving those goals, challenges and motivates employees to do their best work, which is what a great corporate culture is all about.
Model the desired culture
Think of a business with a great culture and you can be sure that the desired corporate values and expectations are modeled from top leadership on down. Practicing what is preached allows management to effectively discuss corporate values, principals and behavioral expectations with employees in an open and positive atmosphere. Plus, leading by example sets a true standard that employees will more willingly try to emulate.
Even the most motivated employees need managers to lead them to act. And they tend to respond best to managers who hold themselves to the same standards of excellence, responsibility and accountability that they ask of employees. Especially those leaders that actively and effectively recognize and reward employee accomplishments. This type of leadership is essential for cultivating and protecting a positive corporate culture.
About the Author: Robert Cordray is a freelance writer and expert in business and finance. He has received many accolades for his work in teaching solid entrepreneur advice.
According to research on what’s new in HR for 2014, “business success depends on line managers” (Mercer). Corporate executives agree. A paper published in 2006 by The Economist Intelligence Unit reports: “Thirty-five percent of executives in companies with revenues of over $1 billion spend 30 – 30% of their time on people management and another 35% spend 20% of their time on people management. In his autobiography, Jack!, former General Electric CEO, Jack Welch, wrote that he spent half of his time developing his people.
In my experience, here is a short list of strategies that I have used to develop line managers:
- Identify training needs
- Create targeted training workshops that are interactive, include real-life case studies and role plays, and last just an hour or two
- Conclude training workshops by asking participants what they learned
- Start subsequent workshops by asking participants how they applied their learning
- Facilitate weekly or bi-monthly peer coaching sessions
- Create job rotations, apprenticeships, internships and mentoring programs
- Provide 360 degree assessment and feedback
- Offer executive coaching
- Develop job aids such as checklists, tip sheets, wallet cards and flow charts
- Provide a library of podcasts, books, educational videos and online training
- Give leaders down time to think, plan and be creative
- Encourage leaders to do volunteer work
I’m curious. What strategies do you use to develop line managers that are the most effective?
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.
I had the opportunity recently to participate in an employer and student roundtable discussion at a local college. The purpose of this project was to connect business leaders and HR professionals with college students to discuss the perceived and actual gaps in college level curriculum in preparing students for jobs and careers after graduation. In other words, as business and HR leaders, what did we wish students knew, or what skills did we wish they had upon graduation that would make them more valuable contributors to our businesses much more quickly?
The concept of this roundtable was great, and the discussions enlightening for both sides for the most part. But one part of the discussion bothered me, and still does several weeks later; that was the discussion about “business etiquette.”
You see, there was a belief in the room among many of the business professionals that students come into the workplace ill prepared for the realities of the workplace, that they don’t understand how to act in a professional setting. I do think this can be true to an extent, and there’s nothing wrong with setting expectations about dress code, or providing guidelines or reminders that it may be inconsiderate to take a conference call on speakerphone when you’re working in a cubicle situation. There are many appropriate and helpful things that we can do and steps that we can take as employers throughout the onboarding process to help them to acclimate. However, rather than a discussion about learning to navigate corporate culture and/or politics, it became a discussion that I could only describe as a lack of adherence to “work rules.”
The example was raised of a new employee who was found wearing headphones at his desk (presumably listening to music as he worked), and the discussion became a little heated with strong convictions about how new employees need to learn that this is not acceptable. But I question….why this rule in the first place? Are the headphones truly inhibiting productivity? Unless this employee was working in a call center, or the headphones were preventing him from hearing his phone ring, is there really any harm? Is it possible that he does a lot of independent work (writing, coding, etc.) and music motivates him? Maybe his work requires a great deal of concentration and the headphones/music blocks out the distractions around him?
What was particularly bothersome to me is that the professionals who were in the room represented some very highly respected companies. They were all obviously very successful, and offered a multitude of excellent advice in other aspects of the discussion. Yet when it came to work rules, the opinions were clear.
Too often, we as HR professionals get so fixated on the rules or the policies that we lose sight of why those rules are even in place to begin with, and fail to question whether or not they should be. There is absolutely a place for workplace guidelines, and some policies need to be in place to protect our employees (workplace violence, sexual harassment, etc.) Burt why do we continue to be fixated by arbitrary work rules? Because that’s how it’s always been? Because “our” way of working is right and “theirs” is wrong? Why aren’t we talking about teaching and coaching our new employees on the importance of building relationships and internal networking? About how to assess a corporate culture and learn how to navigate politics….and not politics in a bad way, but politics in the sense of learning who knows what, and who your best sources are when you need information, help, etc? Why are we so worried about who is following which arbitrary rule, instead of learning how to get the best and most productive output from our new employees?
My contribution to this discussion and advice to the students was the following: not all cultures are the same. Some will allow certain things, some won’t. Some will be more rigid, some will be more flexible. Not every culture is going to be like Zappos or Google, but don’t think every workplace with be rigid, either. Figure out the level of rigidity you think you would be able to tolerate, and then learn how to research company cultures to find employers where you know you’ll be comfortable and be able to do your best work.
About the Author: Jennifer Payne, SPHR has over 16 years of HR experience in employee relations, talent acquisition, and learning & development, and currently works in talent management in the retail grocery industry. She is one of the co-founders of Women of HR, and is currently the Editor of the site. You can connect with her on Twitter as @JennyJensHR and on LinkedIn.
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.