Tag Archive for change

The Community Has Spoken – #truBatonRouge

global-communication-background003“HR people and recruiters sure think differently, don’t they?” (quote from #truBatonRouge attendee)

They sure do; and I’ve talked about it quite a bit. I feel somewhat able to pontificate on the subject as I’ve not only worked for an agency, been an internal recruiter, and managed corporate recruiting teams, but have also held numerous HR leadership positions over the years.

If we imagine we’re just one ginormous agrarian society, the recruiters are like the hunters and gatherers who track down the talent; they’re out there fishing in the pond where no-one-else is fishing. The HR practitioners are back home tiling the soil; waiting, as it were, for the food to come to them.

It’s endlessly fascinating to me why these two groups – all invested in finding the right people for the right jobs at the right time – have such differing views on what talent attraction and acquisition looks like. So often, I continue to find, the HR leaders/practitioners in an organization operate via the ‘staffing’ model; let’s open the req, confirm the job description, blast an advert of some sort, and assume the people will come to us. Make the offer, close the req, and wait until the next person quits and we have to fill the same job all over again.

Is it a matter of time and resources for many HR practitioners? It can be. One of the #truBatonrouge attendees was from a rapidly growing organization with 600 employees where it’s no doubt a challenge to create a strategic sourcing and recruiting strategy when there are 3 people in the entire HR Department and they also handle payroll, benefits, comp, FMLA/ADA/WC, employee relations, etc. etc. etc. Out of necessity, perhaps more than anything else, they’ve migrated to a model where the hiring managers are fully empowered to handle all their own hiring; HR manages the process, workflow, and tools, but is hands off unless specifically asked to participate.

Without a dedicated recruiter the 25+ open positions they have (I checked) are, more than likely, being blasted to job boards in an attempt to get as many warm bodies loaded into the recruitment funnel as possible.

It’s the HR way.

And I anticipated this sort of tension – if that’s the right word – to rise to the top when I planned the event. Knowing the market here in south Louisiana the attendees were a varied bunch: we had a handful of recruiters, a gaggle of HR professionals (generalists who have recruiting as one of their responsibilities), some entrepreneurs, a health care executive, a bunch of organizational development folks, and a few communication/marketing professionals.

So what did we talk about?

I led a track on the “The Problem with Job Interviews” which focused on exploring things like uselessness due to lack of planning and our focus on hiring for “fit” when we don’t even know what that really means. We dove into the impact of bias – with confirmation bias being one of the biggies as we seek to confirm our initial gut feeling from the first 90 seconds with an applicant. We chatted about the use of data. We conversed about how many interviews is too many; one attendee reported he had multiple visits and met with 15 interviewers for a job. Sweet fancy Moses.

Casey Kugler led a track on “Recruiting Tips from a Corporate Recruiter” and discussed sourcing and searching strategies. He shared the results of an experiment he recently conducted to see if taking the time to personally construct LinkedIn communication (“Hi Joe…I see you like Pearl Jam!”) garnered more results than generic messages (note: he saw a 3% improvement). Darren Sherrard, Associate Director for Recruitment with the VA, discussed recruitment marketing and specifically chatted about paid vs. earned media as well as the evolution/merging/blurring of PR and recruitment marketing.

We had a track called “Fear and Loathing in Succession Planning” and dove into the topic “Are YOU the only one who cares about your Performance Management Program” with Sandy Michelet. The latter discussion was interesting; enough HR/OD people expressed a desire to hang on to numbers, rankings, ratings, and forms that it appears the shitty performance appraisals we’re often saddled with aren’t going anywhere soon.

We wrapped up the day with a free-wheeling discussion merging all sorts of topics together with a focus on how HR/Talent professionals can, perhaps, innovate; wellness (ugh!), use of technology, the digital divide, and spirituality in the workplace/business environment all landed on the table.

It. Was. Awesome.

We held #truNOLA in 2012, but I wanted to hold an event in Baton Rouge to gather more people together who have an interest in talent, recruiting and the evolution of work. I wanted varied experiences and differing opinions. I wanted people to meet and connect and build community.

And we did.

Thanks to Devin Lemoine and the team at Success Labs for providing the space and hosting us for the day, and thanks to my friend Bill Boorman, founder of #tru, who believes in building this global community.

“Those HR people and recruiters can get on the same page after all.” (me)

When is an HR Job…NOT an HR Job?

groucho marx glassesThere’s always a lot of chatter about the upcoming demise of HR; will the profession adapt and change in order to remain viable, effective and relevant in the future world of work?

Ah yes…but the future is here:

  • Technology has reshaped how people connect and it has driven new and different ways for people to share and collaborate.
  • The traditional view of ‘the job’ is being blown up.
  • Employees are consumers of work and they expect immediate and transparent access to information and to each other.
  • Leaders have quickly learned that the old models of managing people (command-and-control anyone?) are withering on the vine; dead and dying.

In the midst of all this change sits the HR professional. She’s often hesitant to use technology and reluctant to realize that candidates are increasingly unwilling to purchase the work experience she’s selling. She’s sometimes unable or unwilling to understand that her role is not about promoting the HR agenda (compliance! structure! benefit administration! policies!!!!) but is, rather, about impacting the business agenda by strengthening capacities and capabilities for success.

Yet even if she is planning for the future of work that doesn’t mean those around her are doing the same.

I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit lately because of two distinct situations that came to my attention over the last year.

Company A has several thousand employees and, in a volatile industry sector, experienced the need to shore up some financial and operational items. A new leadership team, consultants and other interested parties moved into slash-and-burn mode with RIFs, re-organizations and changes/cuts in product offerings and business lines. Working for a labor intensive organization with high turnover (common for the industry) the human resources team always had a lot of fish in the fryer…but no more. HR was gutted. Eviscerated. The new model included the elimination of the CHRO position (“I don’t believe in HR” was uttered by a senior executive) and the removal of various HR generalists and specialists while the lone (as in 1) HR employee was moved under the Risk and Compliance Department. While he still holds an HR title it’s not – really – an HR job. Or is it?

Company B has several hundred employees and, in a hot and competitive industry sector, is in hyper growth mode. The leadership team identified talent, people development, and sustaining of organizational culture as necessary ingredients in the organizational gumbo and looked to grow out the HR/talent function by adding an HR leader to unite the talent acquisition staff (long nestled within business units) with the foundational HR staff (reporting to the COO). They had an idea to implement a fairly traditional model that was later upended for, one can assume, various reasons. Rather than create a human resources department with a defined leader, the HR/talent function (and along with it some plans for revising and revamping that which exists) was assigned to an executive who also oversees a key business division. It was akin to informing the VP of Sales that she’s also now the head of HR. She doesn’t have an HR title and it’s not – really – an HR job. Or is it?

 

So who, at these two very different organizations, has the HR job? If we take the traditional view we would say it’s the practitioner at Company A; he has an HR title and a smorgasbord of tasks associated with human resources are in his domain including policies, compliance, and the vetting of employee relations incidents and calls.

In my estimation though we’ll come to see in the very near future that it’s the multi-tasking executive in Company B who truly holds the HR job; she’s leading the business agenda while maintaining oversight of the talent strategies that lead to the attainment of growth and revenue goals.

Kind of an exciting time to be in HR. Or not.

Depends on what you consider an HR job.

Culture: You Can’t Fake It

Nancy Drew Old ClockI think by now we all have a pretty clear sense of what company culture is: the collective behavior of the people who are part of the organization as formed by organizational values, norms, systems, beliefs, symbols and traditions. Culture affects the way individual employees and groups interact with each other as well as how they interact with customers, clients and other stakeholders.

It’s the foundation that impacts ‘how stuff gets done.’

In any given organization, there is not one person (or group) who defines culture. There is not one person (or group) who owns it. There is not one person (or group) who controls it.

Yet many who work in HR and Recruiting (or, sometimes, those who advise them) dash around in misguided efforts to categorize their culture as something it’s not.

Perhaps there’s a need to pump up college recruiting efforts to meet projected growth and hiring needs. It’s entirely possible that turnover is picking up and there’s a mass exodus of employees so the HR Department feels an urgent need to re-brand because a member of the HR team sat in a session about branding at a local SHRM conference. Employees (per the latest annual engagement survey!) are demoralized, un-challenged and just not feeling it.

“Hey,” says Debbie the HR Leader, “until we can change the culture, let’s promote what we want it to be.”

See what’s wrong there? First of all, neither Debbie nor her team should believe they can change culture through some sort of voodoo HR. And they most assuredly should not communicate a misleading version of today’s reality. Their culture, whether they consider it great, mediocre or downright evil, is-what-it-is.

But Debbie and her team may still persist in promoting the organization’s ASPIRATIONAL culture as opposed to the ACTUAL culture.

I sat through an event the other week in which the speaker (who had no specific recruiting experience by the way) promised to share the secrets to winning various recruiting and retention wars, battles and skirmishes.

At one stage she advised the audience members to review their company’s career sites. ‘If you don’t have any smiling faces on your career site make sure you show people being happy at work!’ she advised. ‘That’s how you’ll get people to apply!’

Oh bullshit. For so many reasons.

Stock photos on a company career site are as inauthentic as Kim Kardashian. A contrived employer brand is false advertising. A counterfeit value proposition is worthless. And the goal (no matter what this speaker told audience members) is not to get more people to apply; it’s to get the right people to apply. If a company culture is controlling, formal and efficient then THAT is the story to tell; there are candidates who desire a work environment like that – and they can be found.

So Debbie feels good (and HR smart!) when she heads to the quarterly Executive Team Meeting and unveils new tag lines for the company career site: “We have a collaborative culture” “We’re creative and innovative!” “Our culture promotes teamwork and consensus building!”

But she’s just gotten into TAO Nightclub with a Fake ID. She bought a rip-off Gucci bag. She pulled a Nancy Drew.

Is she really satisfied? Or is she just glad it’s over?

*********

image courtesy of Nancy Drew Sleuth

HR & IT: Friends, Foes or Partners?

HatfieldClan-EI recently read The Evolving Workplace: Expert Insights, part of a global project commissioned by Dell and Intel. For the study, TNS Global is exploring key future trends and themes pertaining to the workplace and workforce, with a specific focus on understanding the role that technology has played in its evolution

There is some fascinating information in Report #1 as the researchers outline seven trends and their accompanying hypotheses. Among these trends are Productivity (measured in outputs, not hours), Employee-led Innovation, and a revised view of Employee-Employer trust – labeled ‘Values versus Rules’ by TNS Global. We’ve been discussing these trends in the HR sphere for some time now but it’s interesting to read about them from the side of the IT professionals.

One of the interesting trends identified is one called “Many hats of the IT Manager.” The researchers state that as employee aspirations shift and people seek greater fulfillment and happiness at work, the role of the IT Manager will increasingly align with that of the HR Manager. Their hypothesis further states: “Workplace IT of the future will not merely be a tool to accomplish tasks, but constitute a means of recruiting and retaining staff, of managing well- being, and of facilitating personal and professional development.”

There are some global comparisons noted; the perception of the IT role will vary depending upon whether it is based in the East, West or someplace else, but in any event, the authors believe, IT managers will become increasingly responsible for satisfying the needs of employees.

The authors point out that the IT department has often been viewed as a barrier; implementing and enforcing policies and putting in place regulations that block employee development – rather than assisting or encouraging access to technologies that increase employee efficiency or provide satisfaction.

Our friends in IT are warned that if, for example, they don’t offer choice of device or access to software, tools and technologies desired by employees or applicants the organization will lose in the long run; engagement, talent attraction, retention…you name it.

I wonder how this makes the folks working in IT feel?

Let’s face it; if you work in HR, depending upon your organizational experience, you’ve either been best buddies with your IT manager or viewed him/her as the very embodiment of Satan. Over the last several years, more and more IT Managers have come face to face with empowered HR gals and guys who have pushed for the previously unthinkable.

“She wants a cloud-based HR solution? Let employees bring their iPhone when all we’ve ever supported are corporate issued Blackberrys? Unblock Facebook and YouTube and all those social sites? Has my HR lady lost her mind?” thought Joe the IT Manager.

The skirmishes continue. Within the last several weeks an HR leader told me “I would really like to implement xyz, but our IT Department won’t let me.

Time and budget constraints? Lack of clarity or understanding regarding the business strategies on both sides? Territorial pissing matches?

Undoubtedly all of the above.

But you know what? If you work in HR and are in need of getting some alignment and cooperation from your IT group start with a discussion around these seven trends. Approach the conversation from their perspective. That SHRM Research report you’ve quoted before isn’t going to sway their thinking…but something like this TNS Global report might.

Just gloss over the fact that your IT manager is going to have to start thinking like an HR strategist; that might start a feud akin to the Hatfields & McCoys.