Tag: Human resources
I have had a really, really, really good year so far as an HR consultant. I have not been able to say that since 2007 and 2003 before that. In my opinion, one of the main reasons I have been so busy is because managers are consistently getting the wrong people on the bus (a Jim Collins term for the organization). I suspect it is because they don’t know what they don’t know and they are not putting the time and effort in the beginning of the process to get it right from the get go.
In order to be successful at interviewing and selection, I think it would benefit all managers if they read the book Good to Great, by Jim Collins. He refers to getting the right “who” (people/employees) on the “bus” (the organization) and making sure the “who” is going the right direction. Going the right direction is the “what” (the specific job) which ultimately means making sure they are doing the right things the right way. He says the first and most important thing is getting the right “who” aboard. You have to do a good job in recruiting and selection, getting the “right” people on the bus first. Then you worry about the what.
One of the main reasons I have been so busy this year is because many companies are just not focusing on the number one thing – they are not doing a good job of recruiting and selecting the right “who.” I don’t think it’s purposeful at all; I think perhaps they just don’t have the right tools in the interviewing toolbox, and in some cases never had them or don’t realize they are missing. Perhaps it’s one of those skills that everyone thinks they can do without any formalized training. Just like everyone thinks they can do HR — everyone thinks they recruit, interview and select.
They are WRONG!
Not everybody understands how to screen, probe, and research the who to make sure they are the right “who” to fit in the job and organization for which they are interviewing. Talent management is really and truly an art to perfect once the basic skills are learned. These skills are not ones that you are born with; you absolutely have to learn the best tips and techniques.
The result of assumimg you “got it when you don’t” is BAD Hires with BAD attitudes!
Here are just a few examples of problems I have been dealing with as a direct result of bad hires (“who’s” that have):
• Become disgruntled employees
• Sabotage the employer
• Do whatever they can to get back at the employer
• Call the attorneys to initiate a lawsuit against the employer and/or coworkers
• Call the federal agencies like the department of labor or EEOC
• Call the state human rights department
The list can go on and all this creates drama and takes a lot of time, energy, and money away from the success of the organization, and quite frankly away from the employees when you consider the bigger picture. The afterthought: “Had the management done a good job in the beginning they might not be in the place they are now – calling consultants, like myself, or an attorney to help bail them out of these kinds of problems.”
Additional skill is required to develop the right behavioral based questions to help more accurately predict the KASO’s needed for the “what.” Are the right questions being asked even once you do have the right who? The “what” interview questions determine prior training for the job and doing the right things the right way. Often interviewers will tend to ask questions around the topic but not specific enough to really determine whether the interviewee knows the job and can perform the job effectively. In some cases the “what” can be taught, and other cases you don’t really have time to train the person. Managers should seek the right training and not assume they have it. The cost of replacement can be up to a year’s worth of salary.
Learning how to effectively find the right ”who” and “what” need a formalized training program. Over the years I have use DDI’s Target Selection Program, which I was trained on early in my career and have used ever since. My training included not only how to use the program as an interviewer, but also how to train others on it. While I have not formally trained anyone using the program, I still feel it is one of the most effective tools available.
There are a number of books by William Byham, Ph.D. that are very good resources for both the interviewer and the interviewee focusing on the targeted selection process. I often recommend The Selection Solution: Solving the Mystery of Matching People to Jobs and Landing the Job You Want: How to Have the Best Job Interview of Your Life. The basis of both is looking at prior experience as a predictor of future success.
I know there are many other techniques available; what I would like to emphasize is there are preventative measures managers can and should take to ensure that they are interviewing the right way. Thus they need to look in the mirror and take responsibility for the bad hires they make instead of blaming the employee.
Get the right “who” and then determine if the right who knows the “what” and/or can be trained. You have to know what the “who” and “what” is in the first place to know how to ask for it in the right way. Turnover will go down, retention will go up, replacement costs will go down, and everybody will be happy, happy, happy!
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It happens to all of us in HR at some point in our lives. We find ourselves caught in an awkward position at work and we ask ourselves, “What is the best response here?”
I am talking about situations where compassion is needed, but with extenuating circumstances. You’ve encountered the scenario before. An employee confides something deeply personal:
- A health issue
- A break-up
- An unexpected pregnancy
She is coming to you not really as a friend, but as someone who she thinks can help her. She wants:
- A break
She doesn’t know or understand the awkward position this possibly puts you in. The information she provides may or may not be true. You know that:
- Her supervisor is at his wits end because her performance is so poor
- She was late again three times this week
- The organization doesn’t have a warm and fuzzy culture with flexibility
- There are impending layoffs and her employment is at risk
What are your responsibilities in this situation? How involved should you be? How do you protect company interests while being a human being?
Human resources practitioners are not registered psychologists or social workers. We are not “Mother Theresa”. For most of us, our employers do not want or expect us to be advocates for the downtrodden, but we are expected to be kind, helpful and looking for the win-win. We do not have a magic wand. Therefore suffice to say that there are no clear cut answers about the level of compassion we need to provide in these tough situations, only possible approaches.
Here are some things you can do:
- To the extent possible, help her find professional help. Does your benefit plan offer an EAP? Are there help lines or government services available? Is counseling a covered benefit? Keep abreast of the resources available to a person in need and share them freely. Short lists are better than single resources. Encourage her to make the call. That way, you don’t have to give advice or get overly involved.
- Are there small things you can do? Can she borrow your office for 20 minutes to get her composure or to make a private call? Is there some small token you have that you can give to her to show her that you and the Company care?
- Be clear about what you can and can’t keep confidential and your channel of communication within the organization. For most employees, the role of HR is unclear, which in many cases leads to the risk that an employee won’t come and see us out of fear or mistrust, even when it is prudent that they do so.
- Encourage her to be discrete about whom she confides in about the circumstances. The workplace is full of people who are your frenemies. Your Company has policies regarding fair treatment but you can’t control everything. While it has become commonplace for stars to rise out of their personal meltdowns, it is more difficult for the rest of us to do so. Also a privately-managed issue will likely result in less workplace disruption.
- Be clear about the conundrum created when personal information like this is shared with someone in HR. Ask for clarity on the reasons she came to you and what she expects your involvement to be. Be clear about what you can and can’t do for her.
- With regards to how the personal situation impacts her job, encourage her to speak with her Supervisor and to be open to possible solutions. Offer to open the discussion with the Supervisor if you feel there may be a risk that the Supervisor may not handle the situation in a manner appropriate to the circumstances. If it is possible, try to create clarity about the continuing performance expectations and work through strategies to address them. Try to keep to as much of a third-party approach as possible.
- Get legal advice as needed. There are a myriad of potential challenges that could present themselves if down the line she is terminated. It could be construed that you used the knowledge gained in the circumstances inappropriately with undesirable consequences.
Above all, be genuine. The success of the outcome is in direct relation to your ability to:
- Be compassionate
- Think on your feet
- Keep your head
- See it through
Photo credit iStockphoto
The other day I happened upon the Fast Company article 12 Trends That Will Rule Products In 2013. The article was focused on consumer goods like phones and washing machines, but you know what? The trends listed made sense in the context of the workplace too and here’s why: your employees are consumers. It’s inevitable that their consumer purchasing behavior will shape their attitudes at work as well.
Here are four trends Fast Company listed that have implications for those of us in the human resources and management functions of our companies. These trends are driving employee expectations; a wise organizational leader pays attention to these inclinations and responds accordingly.
Customer-facing employees are your brain and your backbone. The article states, “The crucial element in any customer experience is still people, no matter how much technology has transformed the landscape.” Do not be seduced by what your company’s latest technology can do. The “gee whiz!” factor gets old fast – for both employees and your organization’s external customers.
Worth is determined by philosophy, not price. Can you say “intense, endless salary negotiations?” The Fast Company authors ask, “How do you determine a product’s intrinsic worth?” They say that rather than focusing on price, focus on alignment in values. Seems like a no-brainer, right? Then why is it that when the “product” is a talented job candidate, we often get mired in “nickel-and-diming” during the negotiation process? Either an employee will bring a talent set and corresponding values alignment, or s/he won’t. Are you willing to pay for that? If not, quit wasting your time and theirs.
Narrative is a delivery vehicle to make information stick. The Heath brothers made this point with Made to Stick many years ago, but it bears repeating, because, some of us still haven’t figured it out. For example, company policies and procedures are D.U.L.L. but they’re important to efficient business operation. Where’s the “story” behind why you must implement the new policy? If there’s no compelling narrative, maybe you don’t need that policy after all.
Human interaction has never been more precious. “Look for places to act more human.” We’re all fatigued with automated everything. Sure, we love the convenience, but sometimes we just crave an interactive experience with a real person. Like the Discover TV ad that features a customer who is surprised when an actual human answers her call, as leaders and HR managers, we must remember to value the power of a conversation.
Everyone is a specialist. The other day a colleague told me that they were consolidating job functions in the sales division; their sales reps would move from selling three lines of very complex business to eight. That’s insanity. The Fast Company article states “trying to be everything to everyone is a losing proposition.” I agree. People love to “show what they know” and that’s pretty tough when they must “know” everything.
Taking a seemingly unrelated topic like consumer behavior and applying it to workplace issues can help offer insights we might otherwise overlook. As leaders in our respective functions we can glean new insights on bringing out the best in our employees with a slight tweak in perspective.
What say you? How do you see consumer behavior outside the office influencing the way employees act in the workplace?
About the author: For 20+ years, Jennifer V. Miller has been helping professionals “master the people equation” to maximize their personal influence. A former HR generalist and training manager, she now advises executives on how to create positive, productive workplace environments. She is the founder and Managing Partner of SkillSource and blogs at The People Equation. You can connect with Jennifer on Twitter as @JenniferVMiller.
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Over the years I’ve had a handful of people reach out to me to find out what my thoughts are on workplace flexibility–namely, for men. Many people still seem to be stuck in the thought process that women need flexibility for work and family time, but men don’t.
And that sucks.
I have a wonderful wife and twin girls running around at home. My wife works full time as a teacher, and if she ever has to be off work it takes several hours of advance planning and preparation for a substitute. Guess who has the “easy” job when it comes to flexibility? Yeah, I drew that straw.
The great part is that I work for a wonderful company. The not-so-great part is that as the resident HR pro, I have to be vigilant about fighting off the insidious mediocrity that lurks around the corner. A manager starts talking about “core work hours?” I coach them in the other direction. Another leader starts talking about eliminating the ability to work from home? I discuss the retention of key people due to our flexibility in the past.
99% of the time these discussions aren’t difficult or malicious, and in every instance thus far I’ve been able to guide the manager back to the reason we offer these accommodations to our staff in the first place. We want to be different. We want to focus on our people. We want our people to trust us so that we, in turn, can trust them with our customers.
Whenever my focus starts to slip, I think back to the day when the girls were born. We had been expecting it for a few months, obviously, and I went in to tell my manager that I needed a week off to help with the girls. The look of disgust on her face has never left my mind even after several years.
That’s why I fight for our people.
That’s why I fight for flexibility.
That’s my battle cry. What’s yours?
About the Author: Ben Eubanks is an HR professional, author, and speaker from Huntsville, AL. During the day he works as an HR Manager for Pinnacle Solutions, an award-winning defense contractor. After work hours, he writes at upstartHR, an HR blog focusing on leadership, passion, and culture.
“”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.
Personal development is incredibly important for both employees and employers, yet few take it as seriously as they should. However, by making personal development a part of your office culture, you can create a company staffed with a well-trained, knowledgeable workforce eager to further their career with you. To help you increase your employees’ interest in personal development, consider the following:
One of the best ways for you to get employees interest in training or making personal development a part of your company culture is by taking your own personal development seriously. Attend trainings yourself, and be actively involved in finding your own development events and helping those around you find trainings beneficial to them. Another great way is by acknowledging that others are taking their personal development seriously. Thank employees for attending trainings or point out their accomplishment during the next staff meeting.
While it may seem like a no-brainer, many employers and managers actually overlook marketing their own training opportunities. Don’t just post a flyer on the community board briefly listing any training opportunities. Be sure to send out emails, let employees know about such opportunities during meetings, and also be sure to pull employees aside that you believe would most benefit from such trainings and give them a heads up. The more aware employees are of the trainings available to them, they more inclined they will be to attend them.
Cross-trainings are not only good for your employees, but they are good for your business too. When you have employees that can competently perform other jobs within your business, it makes promoting from within easier, and also makes the need to temp staff during an absence unnecessary. Offer opportunities for cross-trainings in both inter- and intra-department settings so that employees truly feel like they have the ability to move both laterally and upwards in your company.
Keep Opportunities Available
Trainings don’t have to only be off-site or on the employee’s personal time. Remember that while the training may be benefiting your employees professionally, in doing so it is also benefitting the productivity of your company. So provide learning opportunities throughout the office and do so on a regular basis. Create a multimedia library with relevant CDs, DVDs, and workbooks; offer in-office trainings that employees can attend on company time; and bring in guest speakers during lunch hours that employees can glean information from. The more accessible training is the more inclined your employees with be to take advantage of it.
Take Development Seriously
Many employees don’t take advantage of personal development because they often don’t know where to begin. To help employees focus on their strengths and weaknesses and how they can improve upon them, turn regular reviews into development sessions. Don’t just tell them where they can improve. Ask employees to pick out areas in which they would like to improve, and then coach them how to get there. Become a mentor to your employees or find another employee that would be better suited to do so. Also be sure to set timelines together so that employees understand that you take their development seriously.
If you want a motivated and loyal workforce, you need to make it obvious that you are interested and invested in their personal development. Provide them with frequent and adequate opportunities, demonstrate your own eagerness to improve yourself, and offer extra support where needed. Most people are eager to better themselves, especially professionally, but often get overwhelmed and don’t know where to begin. Take the time to develop your staff, and they will be more inclined to work harder and longer for you – which will ultimately, make your company more profitable. It’s a win-win for everyone.
About the author: Amanda Andrade, SPHR, CCP, GRP is the Chief People Officer for Veterans United Home Loans – Fortune magazine’s 21st best medium workplace and one the fastest growing companies in the United States according to INC magazine. Amanda has led human resource organizations in both public and private sectors, serving employees in diverse work settings, focusing on environment and behavior in the workplace. Connect with Amanda on Google+.
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The glass ceiling is a very real challenge that many professional women face at some point in their careers. Long described as an invisible cap on women’s earning potential in the workforce, it’s been a headline-making topic since the mid-50s – and for good reason. With the current shift in HR toward objective, automated assessments, the gender-based playing field may really start to level out.
Despite high-powered women taking on major executive roles – Marissa Mayer of Yahoo!, Meg Whitman of HP, Denise Morrison of Campbell Soup – roughly 97% of publicly traded US firms are still run by male CEOs. Does this mean that men are naturally better cut out for executive leadership? Not at all. But it does indicate that men have the upper hand.
There is currently a major shift taking place in HR that may very well move our hiring process away from such male-preferential hiring, as well as from other prejudices. While in the past HR has been heavily reliant on conventional wisdom, gut feeling and personal references, recruiters and hiring managers are now interjecting behavioral science and job-relevant benchmarks into their assessment processes. Not only does this improve the efficiency of their hiring, but it also allows them to more accurately assess candidates’ competencies and overall job fit in an objective manner.
What’s more, automated assessments generate candidate reports in a way that cannot be manipulated. In other words, hiring managers end up with validated hard data on each candidate’s potential rather than mere notes compiled from a recruiters chicken scratch on multicolored Post It Notes. Information gathered through the latter method is much easier to undermine or ignore, especially for bias-motivated reasons.
Let’s consider a more explicit example of how this change can and will help break down a significant hurdle for women in the workforce.
Ten years ago when Susan applied for a position, she submitted her resume to a highly subjective resume scanning process. Recruiters would often peruse the document for a mere 10-60 seconds before making a judgment call. Naturally, many of the keywords and qualifiers that the recruiter was using offered little in the way of job-relevance. Likewise, this sort of system left the door wide open for bias at the very top of the hiring funnel. In other words, Susan, who was often a potential top performer for the jobs she applied for, would be nixed before she was really ever even in the running – and for subjective or unsubstantiated reasoning.
While automated assessments are unable to completely eliminate gender-based bias in the hiring process, they can significantly mitigate its impact. When a female candidate like Susan comes to the table with a strong job fit and high quality references, and a hiring manager is shown hard data to prove it, it will be that much harder to simply discredit her potential because of her sex.
About the Author: Greg Moran is the President and CEO of Chequed.com, an Employee Selection and Automated Reference Checking technology suite as well as a respected author on Human Capital Management with published works including Hire, Fire & The Walking Dead and Building the Talent Edge. Greg can be found blogging at disrupthr.com or on Twitter as @CEOofChequed.
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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
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I have always been the type of person that wants to get the most out of every experience in my life. A large part of personal fulfillment comes through interactions with others. If you are open to it, there are always “random encounters” that can make your life more fulfilling and enriched. By opening myself up to random encounters, I discovered a fulfilling career in human resources with a progressive, inspiring company.
One of my early random encounters as a young professional was with a recruiter who piqued my interest in the profession. He allowed me to see how my passion of helping others could be fulfilled through recruiting. I obtained a position at a small staffing agency when I first relocated to Atlanta. Working at that staffing agency left me wanting more. I simply did not feel fulfilled through the brief interactions and placement of talent, where many placements were the goal. There was a misalignment of goals between me and the company. My goal was to truly get to know each and every person’s passions and goals both professionally and personally and help them fulfill these even after placement.
Luckily, I was working at a staffing agency in an office building that also housed Response Mine Interactive (RMI), a company that truly valued its talent and wanted to see them grow. I discovered a unique opportunity with this forward-thinking company through another “random encounter” that I had in the building with two of RMI’s passionate employees. RMI was in dire need of a corporate recruiter and who better to fill this role than me?
The appreciation for this role that had not previously existed was felt immediately and expressed from the intern to executive level. After all, being in a services industry, talent is what we sell. Without talented people who had a passion for contribution, RMI could not prosper. Growing the business became a side effect of finding talent that wanted to grow with us and had goals that aligned with Response Mine Interactive’s mission.
After working just a few years at RMI, I began to realize that one of the most fulfilling aspects of my role was participating in panels at local colleges and acting as an ongoing mentor for students. I wanted to expand this fulfillment into my daily life at RMI. Thus, I began to take a more prominent role in developing these hires once they became a part of our agency. Although, RMI was an environment that encouraged growth, initiative, and an entrepreneurial spirit, simply bringing them into our environment wasn’t enough. I wanted to lead them down the path of professional and personal growth.
I slowly began taking more time with each of the hires; spending time answering their questions and concerns, educating them, and providing insight. Sure it was great to receive flowers and “Thank You” notes; however, the most rewarding aspect was being able to leave every night feeling as if I made a difference in someone’s life. In turn, they had made a difference in mine. They fulfilled my desire to interact on a more intimate level with each and every person in my company as they all had something to give that led to my personal growth. I could then pay this growth forward to others.
I couldn’t get enough of this fulfilling feeling and began to work with Ken Robbins, President, to construct a role that enabled me to focus on making a difference in our employees’ lives every day. I joined the Society of Human Resources and attended their annual conference. At this point, I knew there was no turning back for me. I met and interacted with so many amazing people. Random encounters, we’ll call them. They had a passion for making an impact on their employees’ lives and introduced me to many ways of ensuring that this impact permeated not only the work place but people’s personal lives as well.
Every day I am so thankful for my interactions with people and my ability to see what each person has and wants to give. This in depth understanding of what makes them tick allows me to form a deeper bond with them and have a greater impact on their growth. It wasn’t through self-reflection that I was able to find fulfillment, but through valuing the unique random encounters with people that taught me more about myself, and how to make a lasting positive impact on all those I work with.
About the author: Amanda Papini, Recruiting Director at Response Mine Interactive started her career in recruiting at Medical Staffing Network in 2005, and moved over to a corporate recruiting role at BKV and Response Mine Interactive in 2007, where she built an internal recruiting practice for both companies. Amanda has since staffed over 250 full-time employees within both companies; an average of 50 hires per year. After assisting with RMI and BKV’s growth over the last 5 years, Amanda decided to move over to focus solely on RMI’s talent acquisition and take on a role more dedicated to employee development.
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We are all guilty of it at one point or another. We mislabel it as hand holding, coaching, giving directions, leading, etc. In reality there is a world of difference between what we are really doing and all these labels we mask it under. I’m talking about nothing but that hideous spoon-feeding we all do.
Everyday we hear of stories from managers complaining about how over-reliant their employees have become on their managers to solve the tiniest of problems; how no one bothers to research an answer, and worse, as one manager put it, how this ’laziness’ as he termed it, is catching up with whom he thought were the stars on his team. The managers’ agonies are genuine and we do sympathise with them (by we I mean the HR community. After all, of all functions, HR suffers most from this spoon-feeding habit: as an employee, I don’t have to research what benefits I’m entitled for, I will call HR and they will read me that clause in the policy which by the way, is a click of a button away from me on the company portal!).
But being genuine doesn’t take away our responsibility as leaders for allowing this to fester. Let’s admit it, spoon-feeding is our own hands wrong doing. We do it with all the good intentions in the world but a time must come when we must push back if we want to institute a performance culture in our organisations.
For the one or two of you who want to know what sparked the idea of me writing this short posting about this topic, well the HR team literally spent the past 2 weeks answering employees calls and responding to emails of how to complete the employee engagement survey launched earlier last month. Despite the fact that the communication employees received was so clear, and contained a detailed step by step guide, yet no one seemed interested in reading and instead, the easy way out, ring HR, they will read for us!!
So yes, back to my point, for everyone’s sake, let’s please stop the spoon-feeding. And here’s why:
- As a leader, you want to encourage your employees to find solutions to problems they are facing. You expect them to have explored all possible solutions before knocking on your door with a problem. After all they are fully competent to do so. One leader I know constantly pushes back by asking his team two questions when they come to him with a problem: a- what in your opinion is the solution to this problem? And b- if you were me how would you solve this problem?
- Embedding the above within the culture of your organization is a perquisite of innovation. One effective approach is to challenge assumptions and stay in question mode. You want to ensure that your employees are exhausting all possibilities, and they are doing this on their own. Your role as a leader on the other hand is to trust and provide them with the right environment and resources. Do that and a new idea is inevitable. You start unearthing the potential in your team, which leads me to the third reason.
- Stopping the spoon-feeding is an effective approach to identify future leaders. Combined with the right level of empowerment, the stars on the team have an opportunity to discover new ways of doing things, do away with ‘that’s how things were done in the past’ syndrome, and outperform. Spoon-feeding keeps employees stuck in a rut and breeds mediocrity.
- Spoon-feeding erodes accountability. There is no ownership, period. You, the leader, get sucked up into solving day-to-day problems. Productivity and performance suffer.
Moral of my posting today is to say ”No” to spoon-feeding if you want an engaged population and you able to add the value a leader should be bringing to the table.
About the author: Hanadi El Sayyed is a Senior Human Resources Business Partner working for Majid Al Futtaim Properties, the market leader in development and management of shopping malls in the Middle East. Based in Dubai she specialises in strategic workforce planning and development with an emphasis on corporate sustainability and sustainable development. You can reach her on Linkedin or on Twitter as@Hana_ElSayyed.