Archive for Business

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!


Your Gen Y Managers say ‘See You at the Crossroads‘

crossroad1I am so sick of generational generalities.  Over the last 10+ years I’ve stoically sat through numerous conference sessions, workshops and webinars with ‘experts’ telling me all about the scary things happening in the workplace because of Gen Y/Millennials. The HR drumbeat has been strong on this topic and there’s no sign of the volume being turned down anytime soon.

The semi-definitive source lists members of this generation as having been born between 1982 and 2004 so while latecomers to this group are 10 years of age some are now 32 years old. Millennials are the parents of millennials; members of Gen Y have spawned members of Gen Y.

Yet I’m invited to another HR event in the upcoming weeks that warns me “there is a new generation moving into the workplace now!” and informs me that I better “begin planning now!.”

Um no.  Nothing new is coming; Gen Y’ers have been in the workforce for 10 – 16 years. In fact, go take a look around – these folks are the managers in your organization.  And more will swell your leadership ranks when the last gasping Baby Boomers finally give it up and sail off into the sunset.

Besides the obvious organizational implications (you’ll now be playing Bone Thugs-n-Harmony tunes at the company picnic and quite possibly stocking Red Bull in the cafeteria vending machines) there are some things I can guarantee your new Gen Y overlords will do that will change your company dynamics. Things that will lead many an HR lady to spend evenings with her gal pals at whichever local watering hole sells $4 chardonnay and promotes ½ price appetizers.

So what are these new managers, freshly promoted or newly arrived in your company, going to do?

  • They’ll question everything.  Most assuredly they’re not going to believe everything you tell them, they won’t trust what’s written in your employee handbook, and will doubt the veracity of the slickly written marketing content on your company website. If they think your performance appraisals system, staff incentive plan or attendance policies are crapola they will let you know.  And if you, Sally HR Manager don’t listen to them, they will scoot on up your sacrosanct chain-of-command to bend the ear of your boss.
  • They will expect – and require – the ability to collaborate across boundaries, silos and organizational hierarchies.  When one can reach out on Twitter or Instagram and connect with anyone why be held back from reaching out to Bob in Accounting if that’s what is necessary to get the job done?  Or the VP of Marketing?  Or the CEO?
  • They will not let you squash either their curiosity or their access.  If you tell the Gen Y manager of a regional sales team that she can’t download Skype because of firewalls and privacy concerns or some other garbage reason, you know what?  She’s going to down load it anyway, hack the system, and make sure she can communicate with her sales team.
  • They will redefine diversity and inclusion for their team and for your organization.  Your ridiculous HR definition of diversity, confused with race and gender definitions as captured on your EEO-1 reports, will mean nothing to this new manager who has grown up in a multi-cultural world where labels and categories hold little, if any, importance.

Stuff is changing; but not because someone working for you was born in 1987 as opposed to 1973. If you haven’t recently reviewed your recruiting strategies or continuously assessed how to optimize job performance in today’s business environment I’ve got news for you; the need to do so has nothing to do with the birth years of your employees or candidates but has everything to do with your abilities to forecast, plan and understand the shifts occurring in the marketplace.

Evolution in the workplace occurs when we land in the sweet spot where organizational demands, professional expectations and personal desires converge.  Cultural and societal norms shift and sway which allows people – individuals, not monolithic groups – to craft their personal world view and determine how they will walk on their unique pathway.

Let’s break it down with a topic that every HR practitioner understands – dress code.  When baby boomers became managers SOME made it OK to ditch the girdles and pantyhose. SOME Gen X managers set the stage so we can now wear Chuck Taylors to the office. SOME Gen Y managers will question why you think tattoos and body art have any sort of correlation to the ability of someone to perform a job.

Are the oversimplifications we gravitate towards generational garbage? Are any of these conversations something new?  Is it not necessarily one…or the other?

See you at the Crossroads baby.


Cross Road Blues by Robert Johnson (1936)

Crossroads by Bone Thugs-N-Harmony (1995) 

Acknowledge THIS

TY cardI think we can all agree that when someone puts in a lot of work it’s important to say ”thank you.”  Not everything requires fireworks, cannons and a corps of dancing Chippendales (or Chippengirls – equal opportunity) of course.  Sometimes it’s enough to send a well-timed email, give a pat on the back, or ring someone up on the phone to merely say “I appreciate all you’ve done.”

People crave personal and heartfelt recognition.  Who doesn’t want an ‘atta boy every now and again?  Am I right?

It seems like something every manager or organization would know is important. Yet, the longer I live on this earth, the more I realize it often escapes a lot of people.  It’s a concept that just doesn’t get pinned down in their brains; like dandelion fluff adrift in the air.  Like tumbleweeds gyrating lazily down Interstate 25.  Like clouds floating in Denver Portland Madison on 4/20.

I recently had a conversation with someone who had worked for an organization for 10 years.  It was not an extremely large organization so his work was known to most every associate.   As he transferred from department to department over the years it only increased his socialization and relationships across the depth and breadth of the organization.

During his tenure he made some pretty major contributions, drove some key strategic initiatives, and contributed to growing success among the organization’s market/customer base. When he retired, with a lengthy notice, he dutifully trained his successor, wrapped up some final items and headed off to enjoy his golden years after a decade of service.

Ten years. A dime. A 10th of a century.

At the end of his notice period he was treated to the standard off boarding experience – “turn in your keys, complete this paperwork and be aware we’ll be changing your passwords at COB today” – and sent on his way.

He wasn’t expecting fireworks, cannons or a corps of dancing Chippendales Chippengirls.

But a thank you would have been nice.