We are now officially less than a week away from the 2015 edition of the HR Technology Conference and I for one am now if full out psyched up mode! Yes, I know I’m an “official blogger” for the show so of course I’d say great things about it, but the truth is, I’ve been a fan of this conference long before I was an official blogger. The content is innovative, the speakers are folks from whom you really want to hear, and the Expo Hall is bigger than anything you’ll see at another HR conference. But you can check out the agenda and see that for yourself.
Read the full post over at the HRTech Insiders blog
As Labor Day has now come and gone, and the long and sultry days of summer begin shifting towards the cooler, brisker days of fall, the change in seasons also brings us just a little bit closer to the mecca of all things HR tech related, the annual HR Technology Conference. As we approach what is one of my favorite conferences of the year, of course I begin thinking more and more about the role of technology in our lives and in our companies. Not that it’s a topic I don’t consider throughout the year, but this time of year it tends to get a much more dedicated amount of consideration in my thoughts.
Despite the fact that I blog, regularly musing about the state of HR and how we can make ourselves and the profession better, at the core I’m an HR practitioner. That’s my day job, the one that pays the bills. And though writing has become somewhat of a passion for me, a hobby that I think actually makes me a better HR practitioner, and it’s fun to play the role of industry analyst from time to time, I do in fact hold a job where I’m in the trenches day after day, dealing with a lot of the “unsexy” HR stuff, in addition to the fun, more strategic projects on which I have the opportunity to work.
Read the full post over at the HR Tech Insiders Blog
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.
“”My relationship with the office bully is strained and unproductive. Whenever we interact I get a knot in my stomach.”
If you have experienced something similar, you’re not alone. In 2013, The Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI) reported that “35% of the US workforce has experienced workplace bullying” (http://www.workplacebullying.org/individuals/problem/being-bullied/).
Bullies yell, spread rumors, roll their eyes or “forget” to invite you to meetings. According to WBI, workplace bullying is “repeated, health-harming mistreatment of one or more persons, by one or more perpetrators in the form of verbal abuse, offensive conduct/behavior and work interference.”
Rakesh Malhotra, founder of Five Global Values, writes “most bullies portray themselves … as polite and respectful, as they are charming in public …” Gretchen, from the movie, Mean Girls, says: “I’m sorry that people are so jealous of me … but I can’t help it that I’m popular.” Bullies often see themselves as the victim and don’t get or care how they make others feel. Says one bully, “The biggest problem I have at work is that I don’t get respect from others.”
When bullies run amok in the workplace, they can cause emotional and psychological turmoil. Dr. Gary Namie, who is leading a campaign to enact the Healthy Workplace Bill, which requires employers to implement policies and procedures to prevent workplace bullying, says victims can have “hypertension, auto-immune disorders, depression, anxiety and … have their work and career disrupted.” One victim reports, “I did not go to the satellite office for months because I did not want to see the bully.”
To learn more about workplace bullying, The Lindenberger Group, a New Jersey-based, award-winning human resources firm, conducted written surveys and interviews in 2012. 121 people participated, from age 20 – 65, from companies with 50 – 5,000 + employees, and from a variety of industries.
Over 80% of respondents believe that bullying is a serious problem but fewer than 25% of companies do anything about it.
Bullying includes swearing, shouting, humiliation, and unwarranted criticism and blame. One victim reports, “I had to make a bank deposit so I left the office and locked the door. When the bully could not get in, she called me, screamed, and threatened to have me fired. The next day another employee showed her the office key on her key chain. She never apologized. Her response was just ‘Oh, silly me.’”
ur study, over 50% witnessed or were victims of bullying in their current workplace (60% at a previous company).
Over 95% of victims report increased stress and 90% report lower job satisfaction. Other effects include health complaints (65.4%) and lower productivity (57.9%).
Men are bullies more often (55%) and women are victims most of the time (77.1%). Most victims (59.3%) and bullies (68.6%) are ages 41 – 60 which leads to an interesting question … will Millennials (born 1977 – 1992), reputed to “play well with others”, be less prone to bully?
Another finding is that most bullies (77.6%) are at a level above the victim. In the movie, The Devil Wears Prada, Andy says about her boss, “She’s not happy unless everyone around her is panicked, nauseous or suicidal.”
The majority (78.2%) state that no actions were taken to correct bullying. However, when action is taken, coaching is the preferred strategy (50%) followed by termination (38.9%).
Most believe that bullies have psychological issues (88.1%) while others see bullying as career-driven: to weed out competition (60.3%) or get ahead (52.4%). One victim states, “Our office bully needs to listen and manage her temper. She needs to stop throwing people under the bus.”
80% favor laws to prevent workplace bullying but believe that laws have not been passed because employers worry about lawsuits (63%) or don’t understand differences between bullying and harassment (59.7%). Bullying can be directed at anyone regardless of race, religion, nationality, gender, age, disability or skin color. Harassment is treating someone differently because of those differences.
Over 90% think that discipline is the best course of action, 88.8% favor policies, 86.4% want to know how to report bullying, and 84.8% favor training. Says one executive, “It’s important to take complaints seriously and handle things quickly.”
The course of action for human resource professionals is clear: develop policies, provide training, let employees know how to report bullying, offer coaching, and create exit strategies. The course of action for managers is also clear – take complaints seriously and follow through with disciplinary action. Leaders must create a culture to prevent workplace bullying. And if that doesn’t happen, remember Ralphie from A Christmas Story? His best line in the movie? “Say Uncle. Say it!”
About the authors: By Judy Lindenberger and Travis Johnson. The Lindenberger Group is an award-winning human resources consulting firm located near Princeton, New Jersey with experience in developing policies, conducting training and providing coaching on all types of workplace issues, including bullying. You can learn more about The Lindenberger Group at www.lindenbergergroup.com.
If someone would have told me back in college, I would have made a career working in IT supporting Human Resources (HR); I would have laughed. I was an Art and Marketing major back in 1995 and I had a part-time job working in the campus computer lab. I accepted the position to get access to the latest illustration and photo software, and wound up spending a majority of my time around Computer Science majors, where I was able to develop a better understanding of datasets and databases. The rest of the time was spent teaching an English major how to turn the computer on.
I was reluctant to embrace my knack for helping people understand how to use databases to organize their important data, so my first job out of college wound up being in sales job. Even though I enjoyed sales, I found myself gravitating back to process improvement and using technology to become more efficient in my position. My efficiency eventually led to a promotion and I suddenly found myself back on the IT path. Along with the promotion came an opportunity to consolidate national sales into one location. My responsibilities included data clean-up/migration, process improvement and training.
After completing this project, my boss recommended me for a new SAP HR implementation. I was reluctant at first, because I had no prior HR experience. Other than being hired and reviewing my benefits, I had little exposure to HR’s roles and responsibilities. I have to admit, I thought it would be a little boring, but I decided to take the plunge and I never looked back! I became a part of an HR implementation team where I gained configuration experience and became intimately familiar with HR operations, processes, and issues.
I was exposed to a world of organizational management, personal administration, compensation and retention strategies, development plans and training/learning opportunities. Looking back, this was the best thing that ever happened to me – I had the opportunity to merge my two talents, IT Systems and the ability to connect with people. Better yet, I was able to hone my SAP/HR skills at a time when automated HR solutions were really beginning to take shape.
As I’ve progressed along in my career of SAP/HR systems, I have been able to observe how the systems and their functionalities have expanded over the years. HR’s business model has always been to put people first, but as more companies invest in enterprise software, it has allowed HR to automate processes, make information more visible along with promoting paperless environments. These systems have allowed for streamlined integration of HR functionalities, which has enabled SAP to focus on a more end-to-end life cycle.
Today, I receive compliments for how well I handle myself at conferences and tradeshows. I believe my ability to listen, helps me connect with people and combined with my ever growing SAP knowledge pool, it helps me to connect with potential clients in order to determine the solutions that can be best implemented within time and budgetary constraints.
Today, I am a Solution Engineer for Exaserv, a SAP HR consulting firm. Needless to say it’s been anything but boring. With the mergers and acquisitions of several large HR companies over the past several years as well as the strides that my company is make in the industry, I look forward to seeing what lies ahead within the HR/IT world.
About the author: Stephanie A Lichtenstein a SAP Consultant at Exaserv is a results-driven SAP professional with 9+ years of SAP HR management and training experience including systems application roll-out, support, and HR. She has been involved in several full cycle implementations of SAP HR. Her strongest implementation experience is in Organizational Management (OM), Personnel Administration (PA), and Talent Management
Photo credit: iStockPhoto
The start of a new year always gives me pause to reflect on the past year – including accomplishments, where I fell short, expectations, and results. Then I turn, mostly fearlessly, and look to the future and consider what are the expectations for HR for in our organization.
We are well into the new year now, and I am thinking about HR professionals and what steps we can take to become more strategic, get a seat at the table, and be seen as a strategic partner, and not an administrative task team?
Here are six ways to step up your game:
- Be known for getting tasks done. Get them done quickly, effectively, and accurately. This is the first step toward becoming a strategic player/partner. If you cannot execute the HR tasks accurately and timely it is unlikely you will get the chance to contribute at a higher level.
- Take on additional work – even if it’s not HR-related. Don’t wait for work to come to you. What are some of the bigger picture things that need to be done in your organization that aren’t strictly listed in someone’s job description? Start small and take on a few hard-to-get-to tasks for your boss. Be sure, though, that once you take them on, you execute them.
- Hone your listening skills. One way to make yourself more valuable to the organization, and to make HR be seen in changing light, is to make sure you are listening in all those meetings you attend. Is IT is having a hard time getting to that new intranet project because they are under-staffed? Offer meaningful solutions.
- Develop yourself & develop your team. Always be sure you are continuing to learn about your organization & about HR. Be open to learning, ask for it, and by all means, engage your team by ensuring they, too, are learning. Continually.
- Understand the business of your
business.Understand what your company does and what the financial impacts are. It’s going to be significantly easier to interview job candidates for openings, contributing to the organization and for dealing with the people issues that come about, if you understand the business.
- Network inside & outside. Become involved in your community and remember that everyone you meet, talk to on the phone or in person, is a possible contact for you. Consider using LinkedIn to further connect with HR and business professionals, potential clients, vendors, and potential employees.
Above all, be accountable. If someone on your team messed up, make sure you address it with them, set an expectation for the next time and then take ownership of the mistake as you communicate upward. At the end of the day, HR is your responsibility in your organization – and it doesn’t matter, who, what, why, when or how. When something goes right, point the finger at your team, when something goes wrong, point the finger at yourself. Apologize, learn, and move forward.
I have to sometimes step back and remember many, if not all of these thoughts on occasion. It’s hard work, but HR can and does make companies better – it’s not all ‘bad guy’ and ‘black hats’ for HR professionals! Go forth, Women of HR, and build a successful team!
About the author: Color me officially graduated from the 3-year Graduate School of Banking, University of Wisconsin, Madison. As an HR executive, it was the hardest thing I’ve ever loved doing. I wouldn’t trade the blood, sweat, & tears of that experience for anything! I have a whole new cadre of knowledge, and better yet, an extended network of colleagues I can call upon at any time! I love having a “seat at the table,” and am still learning my way around the executive suite. Yes, I’m 51-years old. Still learning.
I happen to have a propensity for guilt. Although I am not sure of the origins of this tendency to own every hiccup in life, I battle it daily. Add that I am a working mother of two small girls and this doesn’t help with my guilt ridden personality.
When it comes to being a working mom, I often cannot quite tell what exactly I feel so guilty about. Do I regret not having as much time as I would like with my girls? Or am I feeling badly about the fact that I like my job, that it satisfies a core part of my personality? If the latter, what kind of mother does that make me?
I would like to think that every mom feels just like I do but the fact is they don’t. I have some amazing women in my life who are strong and confident in their choices to excel at work and raise really likable children. These women are wonderful examples to me and their advice helps me curb the guilt.
Recently I had coffee with a girlfriend who is not only successful but is raising two adorable boys. I asked her to share insight on how she gets through the day without nagging bouts of self-reproach.
- Stop apologizing for your choices. Yes you work. Yes you like it. Yes you love your kids. All of these things can go together without competing (well most of the time-perhaps not when you have to call in sick because your 2 year old caught some awful version of the stomach bug). Change your perspective and focus on what a great example you can be to your children by modeling work ethic, passion, and drive. These are important traits to possess and who better to teach your children than you?
- Be true to who you are. Follow your own path and not a prescribed path you think is correct. There are so many ways to “mommy” children. Do it your way and you will feel better about it. I spent the first year of my oldest daughter’s life trying to prescribe to every sleep ritual out there. None of them felt right to me and none of them worked well for my daughter. Once I accepted the fact that the
There are some things in life that truly tie us all together. I think that one of them is music!! Seriously, think about it.
We can remember a certain song or group that defined high school, college, weddings, etc. I distinctly remember the rush of emotion I would get when the High School pep band would play “Jet” by Paul McCartney & Wings during the warm up. Geeked !!
Music follows all people and when you look at that in the context of HR, there is a gold mine of tunes that resonate with all of us. Paul Smith, author of Welcome to the Occupation, gathered some great lists of HR/work related songs that we can all see ourselves in. Check out his post here: Songs About Work 3-D.
Along those lines and to get you hooked, I want you to try these:
THE song when you're thinking about the potential termination of a team member from The Clash!!
Or, when you've had one of those days that seem to drone on and on, there's the new wave classic by Trio – “Da Da Da”
My “go to” song lately has been what I see happening to employees as they come to work each week – “I Don't Like Mondays” by the Boomtown Rats.
Those are just a few that hit me and you can probably guess what type of music I tend to listen to. What does that say about me? That's up to your interpretation. The thing to remember in this is that the great people around you everyday have music in them too!! They are full of different styles, genres, and themes that get them through each day.
Too often in HR we want everyone to “be on the same page” which really means that we want people to conform to a certain direction or movement. We often aren't looking for their input. We just want them to get in line with everyone else. Wouldn't it be better if we let them express themselves and bring their ideas, approaches and insight to situations? It doesn't mean that we won't reach consensus or agreement.
In fact, it's just the opposite. By involving the diverse reality of employees around us, we come up with better conclusions and strategies.
So, this week, let your music flow!! Let others see the great tunes you love and take in the symphony of those around you. You'll love the mix that comes from it!!
Remember, You've Got the Music in YOU !!
About the author: Steve Browne is the ultimate connector and social media guidance counselor and also works in the trenches of Human Resources. Steve is the Executive Director of HR for LaRosa’s. He has responsibilities for the strategic direction of over 1400 employees. In his spare time, he is active in Ohio SHRM and runs a subscriber-based newsletter called HR Net. Connect with Steve on Twitter as @sbrownehr and on LinkedIn.
Here in Louisiana we’re mighty proud of our unique and fascinating culture. When we take a dash of how we practice various religions, toss in our music, our holidays, our festivals and our food (oh the food!) and mix them all together we end up with a mighty delicious gumbo. One that includes bits and pieces from the people who arrived here from all over – the French and the Acadians, the Spanish, native Americans, African slaves and free people of color – to name just a few. If you’ve spent just a day in Louisiana you no doubt have a desire to return. It can be quite magical.
When designing the overall program content for the 2013 Louisiana SHRM State Conference which will be held on April 8/9 in Baton Rouge, it seemed like a natural fit to explore another type of culture – organizational culture. This, with all its related components, is something that we, as HR leaders and professionals think about, wrestle with and work with every single day. The three keynote speakers are highly sought after thought leaders in the HR/Recruiting space and we’re greatly looking forward to what they have to say on the subject:
• Dwane Lay – Changing Culture: The Impossible, the Possible, and Living on the Difference
• Jennifer McClure – The Future of HR: Delivering Competitive Advantage in Your Organization
• Bill Boorman – The ‘Cult’ of Work
In addition, we’ll be offering an incredible line-up of concurrent sessions (24 in all!) with topics ranging from “HR’s Turning Point” to “Succession Planning 101” to “Extre
me Labor Relations: Life in the New Environment.” In addition to leading a general session as one of our keynote speakers, Jennifer McClure will also be facilitating a pre-conference workshop on Sunday April 7th on the topic “Using Social Media in HR & Recruiting.” And, for some extra added fun, Drive thru HR will be broadcasting “live” from the conference both days.
Another brand new component of the conference this year will be Social Media Street; a gathering place where attendees can get hands-on in-the-moment guidance and advice from a whole host of awesome HR social media leaders. And naturally, being Louisiana, we intend to socialize – with a kick-off reception on Sunday evening and a lively, fun, energetic Monday Evening Social at a venue called Boudreaux and Thibodeaux’s where we’ll feast on Natchitoches Mini Meat Pies, Boudin Balls and Cochon de Lait Sandwiches.
We love visitors and invite everyone to come pass a good time with us in Louisiana. Get your HR learning on, earn up to 14 of those all-important HRCI recertification credits, and take a stroll down Social Media Street.
Laissez les bon temps rouler.
About the author: Robin Schooling, SPHR, is Vice President of Human Resources at the Louisiana Lottery Corporation and a regular contributor to Women of HR. She serves as the Speaker/Program Chair for the Louisiana SHRM State Conference and also holds the role of Secretary/Treasurer on the SHRM State Council. She blogs at HR Schoolhouse and you can always find her hanging out on twitter.
When I contracted a new EAP vendor, I manufactured a reason to schedule several counseling appointments. Okay, so I admit it. With my crazy life, it wasn't that hard to find an excuse. When we started our first Health Reimbursement Account, I enrolled even though my husband's plan was cheaper.
So that I could shop my own HR programs, experience them as a consumer/employee rather than an administrator, catch issues early and speak about our benefits with more credibility. Obviously some benefits, such as short-term disability, workers' comp and life insurance can't really be mystery shopped (because doing so would be fraud) so skip them and focus on sampling your employment application process. Experts like Gerry Crispin as well as family and friends' horror stories condemn the collective candidate experience as pretty dismal.
Every time I tweak my applicant tracking system, I concoct a silly name and apply for a random job to see how the process feels to an applicant. I encourage all HR pros (and heck, CEO's) to do the same. Just as importantly, occasionally apply for jobs with other organizations, no matter how happy you are with your employer. It doesn't really matter what you apply for: courtesy clerk, VP of Talent Management, janitor or sales associate. The point is that you experience the different phases of the application process and notice what is awesome and what is annoying as hell. Then you go back to your own organization and try to incorporate what you liked while eliminating as many nails-on-chalkboard moments as possible.
For example, you may encounter a site requiring dozens of screens of application data *AND* on top of that, they want you to upload a resume … a document duplicating 90% of the information so incredibly painstakingly inputted for the last 50 minutes … aargh! And after all that effort, good luck getting any communication at all, even a standard email receipt.
As an HR pro, you don't want top talent being faced with that. Figure out another way to get what you need without inflicting unnecessary and ungainly
processes that prompt people to put their heads through the wall, or worse, abandon the process and go apply somewhere more welcoming.
It's all a balance. This is what works for me. Applicants complete a handful of basic demographic questions. They upload their resume. Then they complete a very short application that is customized by position so that only the most relevant information is requested. After that, they are prompted to answer several questions that delve into some critical logistics and they answer two questions that speak to the core values of my organization. Additional information, such as the criminal background check required by our licensor, can be obtained later if an interview takes place.
While I continue to struggle with communicating adequately with the scores of entry level, part-time hourly applicants–many of whom might fit a different schedule or future job, I do make an effort to communicate with candidates, especially post-interview. We're all using technology, so it is easy to send out no thank you letters or emails explaining delays in the decision process. It's sad to say, but if I didn't shop my own ATS and didn't apply for other jobs from time to time, it's possible I might be a little more complacent about how my candidates experience my organization.
HR metrics and measures abound, but sometimes there's no substitute for what we learn from a little personal experience with the programs and processes we
inflict on create for others. Thoughts, HR pros?
About the author: Krista Francis, SPHR, is nonprofit HR Director and sometimes Acting Executive Director. She lives outside of Washington DC with her soccer-crazy hubby, two active teenagers, a neurotic cat and the best dog in the world, Rocky, aka Party like a Rockstar. In her loads of free time, she tries to keep her scooter running, tests margaritas for quality control purposes and blogs at aliveHR. You can connect with her on Twitter as @kristafrancis.
photo credit: antwerp
Everyone faces distractions at work. Very seldom do any of us ever enjoy the luxury of eight to nine solid hours to dedicate to focusing on priorities and projects without something coming up to draw our attention elsewhere.
Maybe it’s a phone call from school to let you know your child is sick; maybe it’s your significant other calling to vent about some frustration; maybe it’s a co-worker who’s just in the mood to chit-chat about the latest reality TV show. Or maybe it’s self-inflicted distraction as you find yourself day-dreaming about that long awaited vacation that’s just around the corner.
These types of distractions are common, but also typically easy to deal with. You make arrangements for the sick child, your listen to the venting, you politely break away from the conversation with the co-worker, or you tell yourself if you can just focus for a few more days that vacation will be here soon enough. You do what you need to do and soon after return to the task at hand.
But what happens when you’re faced with a distraction that’s not quite so easy to deal with? What happens when it’s a more major crisis in your life, or even a series of significant distractions that all but sap any hope for concentration you might have?
I was faced with this kind of distraction a few months back. It came at a time of year that usually leaves me a bit melancholy anyway; as the long, warm, busy days of summer transitioned into the cooler, more mellow days of fall and winter, I found myself facing a particularly difficult time with an unexpected brief illness and subsequent death in my family. And because I have been very fortunate in my life to not have had to face many experiences like this, the loss hit me
During this time, there were days that I found myself struggling to focus on much of anything, nonetheless work. For the most part, I was able to accomplish what I needed to do to get by – but there were days when more than that was just not possible. Sometimes that meant finding busy work to make the hours pass. Sometimes it meant leaving the office and taking a book to Starbucks for a coffee and a 30 minutes of reading to force my mind to focus on something.
As time went on, I was able to start powering through and get myself back on track, but it led me to wonder if there was a better way? Were there any tricks I was missing, any secrets to pushing past the distraction?
Beyond that, it made me contemplate how do we as HR professionals and managers help our employees through their distractions? Every day, around us there are likely numerous employees who are attempting to deal with their own personal struggles, some of whom may be very good at hiding that fact. How do we recognize the signs and support them through it?
What about you? How do you manage your distractions when faced with them? How do you get yourself back on track? And how do you help those around you manage theirs?
About the author: Jennifer Payne, SPHR is experienced in employee relations, employment/staffing and training & development. She currently works in talent management in the retail grocery industry and is honored to be in the company of such talented and seasoned Women of HR bloggers. Jen is a fan of happy hours, hockey, traveling and connecting with interesting people. You can connect with her on Twitter as @JennyJensHR and on LinkedIn as Jennifer Payne, SPHR.
Photo credit iStockphoto