Tag Archive for work

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)

The ennui of the average worker

60s-smud-office-470Once upon a time people worked in offices like this. Desks lined up in neat and orderly rows. Handbags tucked securely inside drawers. Open concept…well, for some of the employees.

As this picture dates from the 1960’s, my guess is this was where the gals in the secretarial pool sat. The fellas, no doubt, had plush and luxurious offices with windows.

I am worn out just looking at this picture.

Now for all I know these busy employees were doing stimulating and enthralling work. Maybe they were processing multi-million dollar wire transfers to exotic foreign lands or solving complex engineering problems.

Perhaps Beatrice there (2nd desk, cat eye glasses, bouffant hairdo) read The Feminine Mystique and realized she too suffered from ‘the problem that has no name’ so she marched out and got a job a few years ago.

At first it was fun. There was something new to learn every day and she was thrilled, beyond belief, to feel productive and empowered. She learned to operate that fancy multi-line telephone on her desk and initially found the endless repetition of running adding machine tapes hour-after-hour somewhat soothing. Mr. Jones, her boss, was very nice to ‘his girls.’ which is how he referred to Beatrice and her coworkers Enid, Maeve, Wanda Mae and Gladys. He (well, his wife) made sure the girls got a bouquet of flowers on their birthday to place on their desk, and he never (ever!) raised his voice; he didn’t want to upset anyone lest she be having her monthly female visitor.

But then boredom set in. Excruciating, teeth-numbing, soul crushing boredom.

Beatrice, after several years in her job, has moved from satisfaction to the point of contentment. But this is not contentment that resulted, as one might have anticipated, in continued happiness and acceptance. Rather, it resulted in further listlessness. Restlessness.

Ennui.

Beatrice became what we call today, 50 years later, a ‘disengaged employee.’

Disengagement at work is not always due to compounding negative forces; it can just as easily arise due to ennui.

Perhaps that’s a ‘problem that has a name.’

 

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image of 1960’s workspace via Sacramento Municipal Utility District

Work Factors and Retention Outcomes #EWS2014

Screen Shot 2014-10-26 at 5.50.56 PMI’ve been partnering with my friends at Spherion to share some information from their 2014 Emerging Workforce Study; see below for full disclosure details.

As 2014 draws to a close, HR professionals from hither and yon are pulling together end of the year reports and reviewing their dashboards to recap ‘the year that was.’ The historical data being reviewed covers the entire employee life cycle from number of hires to time-to-fill all the way to turnover and retention.

Beginning to end.

But the information that lies within and underneath the numbers is often never gathered. We don’t do a very good job of evaluating why our time-to-fill rate has moved from 39 days to 41 days. We also, sadly, don’t do a very good job of understanding the work factors that drive retention. We may toss up our hands in frustration when yet another key employee resigns, but are we asking “why do employees stay…and why do employees leave?”

And leave they do.

According to the 2014 Emerging Workforce Study findings, 25% of workers are likely to look for a new job in the next 12 months. Can you afford to lose 25% of your employees? Oh sure, maybe no one will mind if Bill in Sales hits the road (he’s kind of a jerk), but what about that new .NET Developer you hired? Or the Director of Marketing you successfully wooed away from a competitor? What if they leave?

We know it’s something we need to think about yet companies report they’ve only put in minimal effort to retain their workers. Or, perhaps, those efforts have been misguided and not in alignment with the work factors that matter to employees.

The #EWS2014 study finds that employers believe that the management climate (89%), an employee’s relationship with his or her supervisor (85%) and the culture and work environment (81%) are most important when retaining employees.

On the other hand, the work factors that matter most to employees include financial compensation (78%), benefits (76%) and growth and earnings potential (71%).

Why do employees stay…why do employees leave?

The big questions, am I right?

And the HR professional who can answer them for her organization will be a 2015 winner.

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Disclosure Language:

Spherion partnered with bloggers such as me for their Emerging Workforce Study program. As part of this program, I received compensation for my time. They did not tell me what to purchase or what to say about any idea mentioned in these posts. Spherion believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Spherion’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.

(Check out the full infographic for some interesting information.)

Diving Deep on Complacency

scuba diveComplacency: a feeling of being satisfied with how things are and not wanting to try to make them better; a complacent feeling or condition (Merriam-Webster) 

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This week has turned into my week for writing about words/concepts that frequently make their way into the conversations held between HR folks and organizational managers.

One of the go-to-things we often say, particularly when an employee or group of employees, seem to lack zing-spirit-zip is “s/he just got really complacent.”

Yup. I’ve said it too.

And then, more likely than not, we go down one of two paths:

Path 1: We fall into the ‘Engagement’ rabbit hole (Let’s do a survey! Let’s put a ping pong table in the break room! Let’s survey again to see if employees are engaged now that they have a ping pong table!)

Path 2: We label the employee with a moniker which will, sadly, stick to her during the duration of her employment (She’s not a go-getter. He’s content to just do the minimum. They’ve all just retired-in-place.)

Heading down either path is not right. Or fair for that matter.

The step we often fail to take is diving down real deep to ascertain why, exactly, we have an employee or group of employees who have gotten into the mode of clock-in/clock-out and “just let me do my job.”

HR professionals and leaders who sit on high in a tower or segregate themselves behind walled-in offices need to do some pretty serious self reflection about the institutionalized dynamics that have become embedded over time. Employees may have moved into the complacent mode for any number of organizational reasons:

  • Lack of feedback from their supervisor or manager
  • Lack of communication across the entirety of the enterprise
  • Lack of clarity around the meaning and purpose of their actual work/job
  • Lack of recognition and appreciation
  • Lack of mechanisms to raise issues, solve problems, and have input on decisions that affect their job and/or scope of responsibility

I’ve seen all of these. I’m sure you have too.

Next time you’re quick to characterize an employee as non-motivated, lazy, or not-on-the-bus-with-the-rest-of-us…take some time to look beyond the surface.

Dive deep.