Archive for Business

Yours, Mine and Ours

don-and-blankenshipI think we can all agree that language matters in the workplace. Often this is a culture indicator; the leadership team at the silk-stocking law firm may (in public at least) be formal and circumspect – “Miss Blankenship, will you please come in here and bring your steno pad?” The dudes running the tech start up down the street however embrace my favorite four-letter word and freely interject this vivid descriptor into any and all conversations – “What the f’ing hell is going on with this f’ing beta test?”

Language also reflects how we view and treat our employees – sometimes in subtle ways.  This struck me the other day after separate conversations with two different leaders from two wildly divergent industries. Fellow A spoke of his team in the context of “we” while Fellow B referred to his staff members as if they were his possessions.

Ours vs. Mine

It struck me that Fellow A came across as inclusive; exhibiting a spirit of “we’re all in this together.”  Fellow B, on the other hand, came across as a total dick. Everyone in his glorified solar system orbited around him; he could scarcely speak of others without relying on his own title and elevated function to describe their jobs.

Do your leaders or managers say:

  • my administrative assistant” or “the department’s administrative assistant”
  • my A/P clerk” or “our A/P clerk”
  • my HR Rep” or “the company’s HR Rep”

Does it sometimes make sense for a bona-fide denizen of the C-suite to say “contact my assistant to schedule that?” Sure. Although saying “contact my assistant Ida to schedule that” (use her name!) recognizes Ida as a self-sustaining and productive member of the team and not merely an entity that exists solely for the continuation of Mr. C-Suite’s exaltation.

Know what I mean?

This isn’t Mad Men anymore – “My girl will take your coat.” “My girl can get some coffee for you.”

Oh well, it’s 2 pm. Freshen up my drink won’t you Miss Blankenship?

Choosing Darkness over Light

darkness lightYesterday I spent some time lamenting the reluctance of HR practitioners to adapt to change and embrace the future. I get on that wagon every now and again.

The information is right there!  How can you not see it?  It’s shiny!  It’s bright!  My god – everyone is talking about < insert it here >!

  • “You absolutely must be able to fully articulate your employer brand.”
  • “I can’t believe your career site isn’t optimized for mobile.”
  • “What do you mean you’re not doing social recognition with an embedded dashboard?”
  • “Seriously?  Posting ads on job boards is not recruiting.”
  • “You still don’t have an ATS?  Are you a luddite?”

Imagine two men seeking out the same object.

The first man, knowing what he is looking for, enters a well-lit room, sees the object of his desire, picks it up immediately, and puts it to use.

The second man enters a darkened room so his vision is not as clear.  As he seeks out this one unique object that bears some similarity to other items he must take his time.  He touches multiple things, turns them over and examines them from different angles.  He mentally categorizes each one, tests them to see how they fit with other existing pieces he owns, and works to understand if this IS, in fact, what he has been seeking.

Perhaps…just perhaps…that second man who struggled to locate the object developed a deeper understanding than the man who picked it up straight away.

Something to think about.

Put #HRTechConf on YOUR Calendar!

hrt_17thannualDo you, like me, ponder the changing way of work?  Do you marvel at what technology has brought – and wonder what is yet to come?

If so then surely you realize that amid the plethora of HR conferences there’s one that stands out as unique for those who work in the HR space. The HR Technology Conference and Exposition will once again land in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay (October 7 – 10, 2014) and this year’s conference promises to showcase more of what attendees have come to expect including coverage of technology trends (mobile, social, video, big data, SaaS, et al.) and sessions highlighting the business processes – and successes! – enabled by HR technology.

I love this conference.  The discussions are about much more than the software and tools; the conversations move beyond “how” and “what” and “why.” While there’s bountiful information about that which is new or trending in products and solutions, the greater value comes in exploring the ideas.  Many of those concepts have been fully formed and brought to market, but sometimes the plans are still percolating right below the surface.  And the people with the ideas are right there – you can strike up a chat with them at the receptions, parties, cocktail gatherings or while hanging out in the Expo Hall.

I love those chats.

Naturally, attendees who wish to explore the latest products – and test, touch and truly understand! – can do so by strolling through the massive (and I mean massive) Exposition Hall.   In the Expo you’ll find the long-established leading vendors as well as start-ups that are relatively new to the HR technology scene.

The session offerings, once again, are spectacular; many feature senior executives and leading strategists.  Just a few of the sessions I’m looking forward to include:

  • “Making the Right Choices in the Second Machine Age”OPENING KEYNOTE by Andrew McAfee, principal research Scientist at MIT and co-author of “The Second Machine Age”
  • “What the End of the ‘Job’ Means for the Future of Work and Talent Management”Jason Averbook
  • “The Social HR Town Hall”moderated by Jeanne Meister and featuring Ron Garrow (CHRO, MasterCard), Ambrosia Humphrey (VP of Talent, HootSuite), Gary J. Kildare (CHRO and Global VP, Global technology Services, IBM) and Kelly Palmer (Global Learning & Development Executive, LinkedIn).
  • “Whole Foods Market Takes a Fresh Technology Approach to Navigating the ACA”Keith Morrison (Global Executive Director, Benefits and Compensation, Whole Foods Market) and Mike Psenka (SVP, Workforce Analytics, Equifax Workforce Solutions)

Also new this year will be the Start-Up Pavilion – an exciting space where new and cutting-edge companies will exhibit their solutions and showcase the innovative products they’re bringing to the market.  (The start-up organizations will also be featured in one of two “Awesome New Technologies for 2014” sessions; the other session will feature more established solution providers who are continuing to innovate and expand).

This conference truly offers an abundance of riches for anyone who works in the people, talent, HR, and technology arena. Plus it’s Vegas – so that’s always lots of fun.  Am I right?

I hope you’ll consider joining me at this exceptional conference as this is one that is not to be missed!

As an added enticement, readers of the HR Schoolhouse can use event registration code SCHOOL14 to receive a $500 discount off the standard rate of $1,945 (your net price will be $1,445!)  Click HERE to register.

See you at Mandalay Bay!

P.S. my lucky slot machine is directly adjacent to the House of Blues.

Building Effective HR and Manager Partnerships

cherriesHR professionals are responsible for aligning HR objectives with business objectives; devising the underlying people strategies that support the attainment of business goals.

This requires that we not only continuously analyze trends and metrics with a focus on developing solutions but also that we’re adept at relationship building in order to gain support and achieve results.  These relationships – these partnerships – are critical and we need to understand that we cannot possibly get stuff done without them!

After all, while there may be day-to-day HR tasks and deliverables we’re responsible for, and we may serve as a liaison between internal Centers of Excellence, our primary role is to deliver state of the art HR to our internal clients – whether that be across the enterprise or to a specific line of business we support.

The key for ANY of these HR/Manager relationships is working together to envision, develop and implement strategies that address competitive – and often complex – business issues. We must develop a shared understanding and commitment to:

  • WHERE we’re going
  • WHAT we’re trying to achieve
  • our PLAN for getting there

Of course we’ve known for some time what needs to happen across the HR spectrum: we need to develop deeper business acumen, strengthen our analytical skills, serve as performance advisors and – in many respects – evolve our thinking of WHAT the workforce needs are today.

We also need to be proactive in uncovering and identifying the needs within our organization and we must understand how everything we traditionally do (talent attraction, performance management, cultural socialization, total compensation and rewards) connects – as well as the critical role managers play in these function that have traditionally resided only in human resources.

Once we demonstrate our capabilities in these areas and build credibility by solving problems and delivering results then it’s time to commit to bringing our managers/partners with us so that we can transform these relationships into true partnerships.

I’ll be leading a webinar on July 10th for the Talent Management Alliance“Building Effective HRBP and Manager Partnerships for Organizational Success” where we’ll discuss the opportunities that HR professionals have for growing understanding – and building partnerships – with managers.  Specifically we’ll take a look at the talent management cycle and discuss how HR professionals can support effectiveness across the entire employee lifecycle and strengthen their visibility as strategic partners/advisors by demonstrating business acumen and workforce management knowledge while effectively creating, innovating, analyzing and providing leadership.

I hope you’ll join us!