Cindy Dopson, CPHR 2013 HR Professional of the Year
Recognized as CPHR BC & Yukon’s HR Professional of the Year in 2013, Cindy D0pson, CPHR has over 20 of experience in operational and human resources leadership. She is passionate about driving innovation and enabling change and about supporting leaders to engage employees and achieve organizational results.
Cindy has led human resource teams in non-profit, healthcare, fundraising, and telecommunications organizations, and has held responsibility for all aspects of strategic and operational HR. She has also led the design and implementation of innovative and award-winning HR programs, and has contributed to overall business strategy achievement.
With an MBA with a specialization in human resources leadership and the CPHR designation,Cindy is a dedicated volunteer in the human resources profession and in her community.
Looking back, what was your experience of the awards process and what do you recommend for those considering nomination?
Being nominated for the HR Awards of Excellence was a highlight in my career, and is still a source of pride and inspiration for me. Winning was really the icing for me. The most amazing part of the experience was reading the nomination that had been put together and realizing the impact I was having on my organization. That, together with meeting the other finalists in the process. I made connections with outstanding leaders that I value years later.
If you work with an HR professional who is making a difference, there is honestly no greater recognition than submitting a nomination. The awards teams do such a great job of supporting the nominations to ensure the impact of the nominee really comes through—that the best of what they are doing is highlighted. The quality of the awards finalists is so high, to be considered in that caliber is an honour regardless of the outcome.
How did the experience of recognition affect your or others’ impressions of the HR profession’s impact?
I have always known the extent of the impact of HR, so it was exciting to have that shared out so broadly through the nomination and award recognition process. I was proud to have my executive team at the awards ceremony to hear about the achievements of all the award finalists and winners, and to hear the stories of how we are influencing success in public, private and nonprofit organizations across the province.
What do you consider to be the hallmarks of an HR Professional of the Year?
An HR Professional of the Year is first and foremost a leader in their organization—someone who impacts the overall success of the business by enabling people. These leaders see the puzzle before it’s built, and know how to find the pieces and put them together so the picture is clear for everyone.
An HR hero in the eyes of many, who was your first or most enduring role model or source of inspiration?
I was very fortunate early in my career to have a mentor and advocate who saw more for me than I saw for myself. He pushed me to think bigger about my future and to not be afraid to leap boldly into new opportunities. For over fifteen years the impact of his confidence and support has inspired me to take chances, to create new opportunities and to set high expectations for myself.
What is the ethos that drives your ongoing best efforts?
I just love what I do. It’s easy to put your best in each day when you are driven by passion. I love seeing pieces come together: matching new leaders with an organization where they can thrive; seeing a new organizational structure come together to provide clarity and enable a team to bring their best to what they do; or providing coaching or feedback that allows someone to overcome obstacles and reach their potential.
At the end of the day it’s knowing that what you do makes a difference—how can you not give it everything you’ve got?
Have an HR star in your midst? Nominations for CPHR BC & Yukon’s 2019 Professional Awards are accepted until November 23, 2018. Learn more about the HR Professional of the Year and Rising Star awards and come celebrate. Come nominate today.
Nominate someone today for CPHR BC Yukon Annual Awards - YouTube
Transparency and leadership are similar in a very important way. It has often been said that we are all leaders whether we like it or not; people in our families, social groups and workplaces are always watching us and emulating us (or not). This is where corporate culture comes from.
Transparency works like this too. People see, or think they see, what is really going on. There is a very profound contradiction in terms here because, figuratively speaking, if you close the door to hide what is going on behind it you are actually being very transparent—insofar as people definitely see the door.
Transparency and Leadership So, as with being a leader, we are all variably transparent whether we like it or not. Moreover, we have developed simple techniques for gauging others. First we ask, “Do we like what we see?” Then we try to detect or suspect and effort to disguise something.
If the answer to the first question is “yes” and the answer to the second question is “no,” then transparency is working in a positive way and trust is established. While not 100 per cent foolproof and worth revisiting periodically, these two basic steps are something we all do almost involuntarily.
The challenge therefore is to translate this “casual” transparency into the workplace so that it becomes the fundament upon which all else builds. What this boils down to is a harder look at management—of ourselves, our teams and groups, and our organizations—to find a truly genuine path of leadership and shared results.
Why Trust is a Must
So what does trust have to do with transparency and why are we discussing them together? As discussed by Stephen Covey in his book The Speed Of Trust, and in previous PeopleTalk articles, high levels of trust actually generate financial benefits for the organization.
Importantly, one of the four key elements of trust is intent. People trust leaders when they are confident that the leaders’ agenda, vision or ”why” is consistent with their interests. Moreover, we have seen from the discussion above that people really do see what the leaders’ intent is, whether the leaders make any effort in this regard or not.
If leaders want to be truly understood and perceived as being genuine, they must recognize that they are being judged by people who view them through a lens that is inevitably tinted by their own attitudes, ways of thinking and experiences.
The Merit of Questions
Effective leaders understand that their “message” must not only be delivered, but that it must be perceived and understood correctly by those that get it. This is true transparency.
In order to effectively actuate the transparency that we now know is already there, the key questions that must be addressed by leaders are:
What is important to the people for whom the message is intended?
How will they interpret your message?
If they have heard similar messages from others how will yours stand out?
How will you make your message credible?
Anchoring With Integrity Another key pillar of trust is integrity. This was most famously characterized by Mahatma Gandhi, about whom it was said that what he thought, felt, said and did were all the same. If leaders’ actions don’t match their words or their words don’t match what people know to be their true thoughts or feelings, then those people will not accept the stated intent of the leader and there can be no trust in that situation.
We started with the premise that trust and transparency are free i.e. they do not cost any money. Frankly, as shown, they are much better than that. When there is genuine transparency, there is a higher level of trust and this generates very definite and specific financial benefits for organizations. If you want your organization to be more profitable or financially viable then trust and transparency are your tickets to that destination!
It is no secret among HR professionals that resumes are outdated, plain, and notoriously fickle. They have become documents designed to be people pleasing and optimized for keyword scanning. Recruiters are often left to guess at soft skills and applicant personality based on an overly formatted basic document.
Furthermore, resumes sometimes contain misinformation, stretched truth, and untruths that may or may not be discovered during a reference or background check. This is after a long and expensive process of moving the applicant to that phase of the recruitment process.
Although resumes have been an employer’s first line of assessment, they are clearly missing the mark. Managers agree that promising resumes often come from applicants who are unsuited for the position. In many cases, it is necessary to interview the applicant to verify experience, assess soft skills, and evaluate technical skills.
Thinking Outside the Box in the Hiring Process
HR professionals are learning to think outside the box, so they will not have to deal with endless cookie-cutter resumes. With modern technology, employers have options to reboot the resume and get to the bottom of who they are hiring.
Joining the 21st Century
Companies that are not already doing so should start posting jobs online. Otherwise, they could be missing out on much of the available talent, as most candidates search for jobs on the internet. Employers should streamline the application process and upgrade their software if necessary. The process should be quick, easy, and user friendly, or it may turn candidates away.
Fully-integrated human capital management software can streamline applicant tracking and accelerate recruiting and onboarding. Look for software that provides intuitive user interface and integration with job boards and social networks. The right software can make it possible to quickly pre-screen applicants, review resumes, record feedback, rate candidates, and tag key applicants. Better still, with state-of-the-art software solutions, hired candidate data converts seamlessly to a new hire record to jumpstart the onboarding process.
When applicants submit resume information online, employers may opt to add screening questions to the process. These “mini interview” questions can serve as a first assessment of an applicant. Employers can even set a distance filter to reduce the risk of new employees failing to show on the first day of work.
Hackathons, the new recruiting tool for software engineers, can also be applied to the workforce in general. Simple pre-interview testing can help refine a pool of applicants. A short answer form in which the applicant explains how he or she would deal with a specific situation, can serve to demonstrate skills and qualifications.
Short answer forms are more personalized than a resume. They allow applicants to use personal pronouns and easily express their thoughts and skills. Cover letters also allow employers to catch a glimpse of the applicant’s personality, see soft skills at work, and gauge cultural fit.
Beefing Up Referrals
Applicants referred by an employee can become valuable assets to a company. Employers can increase referrals by setting up a reward system for employees. Referred applicants are more likely to be a good fit with the company culture, as they are less likely to be in the normal scope of applicants, and may provide a diversity of backgrounds to create a better culture and better employees.
Broadening and Eliminating Job Requirements
Candidates who encounter a long list of requirements for a position may become discouraged and move on to another company. Recruiters should scan the list of requirements for a job and decide which ones can be safely broadened.
For example, specific certifications may not be necessary for proof of technical skills. Job seekers may have skills they can demonstrate for which they have not been officially certified. Minimum time requirements for experience may also be overly specific. Instead of specifying minimum times, ask for proven expertise.
Consult with team leaders to find out what are the make or break skills for a position. List only the top skills required for the job, along with the team leaders’ most wanted traits and a few personality points to show your company culture.
Recognizing the Impact of the Employee
The employer-applicant relationship is changing overall. Employers today are as interested in finding top talent as employees are interested in finding meaningful positions. Many employers are beginning to realize that their employees are the company’s greatest investment and most valuable asset. From entry level positions to CEO of the company, the impact of an individual employee on a business is now being recognized.
Some employers are using personality tests, language assessments, or other customized assessments to narrow down applicants for a position. However, accessibility and reliability may be issues with these methods. Instead of completely replacing the resume, recruiters today may achieve better results by supplementing the resume with cover letters, applicant screening questions, short answer responses, and other options.
Michelle Lanter Smith is the Chief Marketing Officer of EPAY Systems, where she oversees the company’s go-to-market strategy, customer success and technical support operations.
How will digitalization impact the British Columbia labour market?
The Business Council of B.C. (BCBC) recently released a glimpse into the not so distant future in the form of a research paper, “The Automation Potential of B.C.’s Labour Market,” authored by David Williams, vice-president of policy for BCBC. Available for download here, the paper focuses on the changing role of labour and the fact that about 42 per cent of B.C. jobs are in markets with high potential for automation over the next 10 to 20 years.
The waters of technological change are rising for many workers in the global labour market. Technologies can perform an ever-expanding range of tasks in the production of many goods and services. There will be economic opportunities and adjustment costs as labour’s role in the production process and the overall economy changes.
As per the paper’s highlights: “There is much uncertainty about the pace of digital innovation, adoption and transformation across the economy. This study is a technically-focused risk assessment only. The actual pace and extent of automation will depend on non-technical factors as well, including economic, social and regulatory developments. Furthermore, productivity gains and the creation of new roles for labour could more than offset automation’s effects on overall labour demand.”
Overall, B.C. has a slightly larger share of jobs with a high potential for automation compared to Canada as a whole and this could result in great adjustment costs, making BCBC’s study both a timely and worthy read.
Sarah is an admin assistant at ABC Tech. She’s had a tough year with health challenges and difficult family situations. In spite of having used all her sick days, her doctor suggests she needs more time off. She has spoken with her manager about what she is facing and how it is impacting her work. Her manager’s compassionate and understanding response has reduced her stress and she is free to take the time she needs to get better. Her co-workers have picked up the slack and a number of them have been in touch to wish her well and offer help if she needs it. Sarah is grateful for her company’s caring and is motivated to get better and get back to work as her most productive self.
Across town, Sonya is a marketing coordinator at XYZ Marketing. Her personal circumstances mirror Sarah’s, but unlike Sarah, she is terrified to ask for the time she needs to heal. Her manager has implied that her health issues have inconvenienced the whole team. Sonya suspects he has spoken with her colleagues about her situation because they are letting her know they are not pleased with having to take on some of her tasks. The stress of both her health and personal issues, and the strain she feels from her company not supporting her return to wellness, leads her to come back before she is ready, struggling with focus and productivity. Sonya knows she is not performing, but feels she does not have a choice.
The Profit of Care Because Sarah’s company demonstrates a culture of care, she is likely to get healthy faster, deal with her stresses more effectively and get back to work at her best capacity more quickly. Sonya is likely to limp along until she either can’t cope and must take a formal leave or go on short-term disability, or she can no longer cope with the stress and quits.
Why does having a culture of caring matter? Because it impacts your bottom line. A caring culture increases engagement, which positively affects absenteeism, retention and productivity. Culture also impacts the customer experience. Employees who are happy and feel cared about, valued and supported are more likely to provide a positive customer experience.
The Catalyst of Care
While front-line behaviours affect the customer experience, workplace culture is created by an organization’s top leaders. What they say (and more importantly, what they do), sets the tone for how people will function in an organization. When you receive exceptional customer service, are treated with kindness, respect and professionalism, it’s highly likely that those employees feel they are valued members of that company—and that comes from the top.
Leaders who care engender loyalty, productivity and high levels of performance. They also create a contagious atmosphere where employees care about one another, their customers and the company’s success.
The Pillars of Care
A December 2016 article titled, “How a Caring Leader Can Create a Culture of Support,” published by Orange County’s Brandman University, identifies two important elements that lead to caring cultures:
Empathy and Trust
As the article states and HR professionals know, “All relationships are built on two foundational concepts: empathy and trust. If either is missing, the relationship either fails to progress, or ends completely.”
Some people are uncomfortable with emotions in the workplace, dismissing them as “touchy-feely.” They believe that money and/or position are the only effective motivators and that feelings are irrelevant.
However, the article reveals that a surprisingly large portion of employees are actually motivated less by money and more by quality of life choices like paid time-off or high-quality recognition programs.
Work cultures that are safe environments where everyone is encouraged to talk about what’s important to them, especially difficult topics, cause employees to feel cared about as people (one of the top indicators for engagement according to Gallup’s Top 12 Engagement Factors). Employees who are supported are empowered to positively influence their work environments. Leaders who model this behaviour build trust.
Personal Commitment And Ownership
While strong, authentic, caring leadership is the first step in creating caring cultures, employees must join their leaders in upholding that environment and committing to living it out day-by-day. The Brandman article states, “No one gets a pass. Leaders have a responsibility to maintain safe environments for their employees to be frank, and to avoid favouritism, judgment and roadblocks. Employees are responsible for being the eyes and ears within the organization and to speak up to identify which corners need the light.”
The cost of not having a caring culture, like the one Sonya finds herself in above, are significant. High turnover, increased stress (leading to lower productivity and effectiveness), toxic work environments where employees are more likely to gossip and foster negativity, and an increase in health-related issues, leading to absenteeism and medical/stress leaves.
Seven Strategies to Build Caring Culture
Developing a caring culture starts at the top and then holds the team accountable for nurturing and sustaining that culture. Derek Carpenter, director at Hueman, a recruitment process and outsourcing firm, proposes the following seven strategies for creating a culture of caring at your business, published on business2community.com.
Know what drives and motivates your employees. Ask your employees what they love about their jobs, what keeps them engaged. Allow them to explore their passions while remaining true to the company’s mission and vision.
Be a transparent leader. Trust is a direct result of transparency. Keep destructive rumours and half-truths at bay by providing as much information as possible. This helps employees feel that they are valued and that they belong.
Let employees take the reins. Ask for your team’s feedback. They have ideas that could make your company stronger. Allow them to occasionally test their ideas. When they fail, help them rebound without judgment to create learning experiences and strengthen their ability to take risks and make good decisions.
Be upfront about performance goals. Employees who don’t know what is expected of them become frustrated and disengaged. Be clear about your expectations.
Focus on strengths, not weaknesses. It’s human nature to focus on weaknesses and seek to improve, but it’s far more powerful to focus and build on strengths. In a Gallup poll, about two-thirds of those employed by an organization that focused on their strengths felt engaged in the workplace. By comparison, the same study showed that less than one-third of people working in a weakness-emphasized culture felt similarly.
Provide competitive compensation. Money isn’t everything, but if your compensation isn’t competitive for your industry, it’s difficult to keep talented workers. If possible, do not risk losing an outstanding employee over a salary issue when the cost to find and train a suitable replacement would likely be significantly higher.
Offer rewards and celebrate wins. Regularly reward acts of excellence. Find ways to celebrate both personal and company wins on a regular basis. Offer meaningful rewards to keep your top players aware that their contributions are respected and applauded.
Care Delivers Daily Dividends
Any organization can introduce caring to the workplace. Cheerful greetings, conversations about family members or simply delivering a much-needed cup of coffee can set the tone for a compassionate environment. Showing people you care, and creating policies that foster compassion, are simple, effective ways to improve business.
Creating a caring environment may seem like a soft perk, but it has the power to create loyalty, motivate high performance and set the stage for a happy workplace. The positive impact on your bottom line is anything but soft.
As principal of SMART HR, Ingrid Vaughan’s focus is building systems and processes that keep organizations’ HR running smoothly, and providing tools to help managed teams in a powerful and effective way.
If your organization doesn’t yet have mindfulness practices in place, don’t fret, because it doesn’t have to cost much or take many resources. To simplify the discussion, here are a three popular ways to bring mindfulness into your workplace, from biggest to smallest:
Big Budget: Strategic Mindfulness Training
The biggest and boldest way is to obtain a sizeable budget and hire a mindfulness training company. This likely would involve planning a long-term strategy of training management in mindful leadership, then possibly training staff thereafter.
This is the Cadillac approach, requiring a business case, HR resources to partner with an external training vendor, integrating mindfulness with organizational development plans and rolled out over a several years. A small percentage of organizations do it this way.
Small Budget: Train Employees to Become In-house Facilitators
Many companies are now seeing a demand from employees to do something with mindfulness. It doesn’t take much to find employees who have their own personal mindfulness and/or meditation practice and jump at the chance to help create a group practice at work.
To create a respected, well-run ongoing practice requires these employees to be trained as skilled facilitators. Most companies pay for this facilitator training and allow meeting rooms to be used for group mindfulness sessions on a regular basis.
Typically, you might invite an outside speaker to kick-off a new program and speak a few times per year. The ongoing practice lead by employees-trained-as-mindfulness-facilitators is generally a weekly group gathering where the facilitator leads them through a live, guided meditation and discussion.
No Budget: Taking Tips, Tapping Talent and Tech
Many people know a little bit about mindfulness, but don’t know how to start. It’s easy to pull content from many online sources to share out with your employees. Most companies have some kind of wellness communication channel such as emails, lunch and learns, team meetings, website and posters that can be used to help employees get introduced to the concept. Sometimes a knowledgeable employee might even volunteer to give a talk to their co-workers.
If you don’t know what the appetite is for mindfulness, don’t be afraid to ask your employees. If you are timid about this subject, think about starting by sharing out tips and resources and then seek reactions.
Workplace mindfulness brings much benefit to employees. Research in this area is growing quickly, and many companies have adopted it. If you missed our June webinar “How HR Can Start a Great Workplace Mindfulness Practice,” it covers the why and how of starting workplace mindfulness.
So whether you have a lot of interest within your organization, a big or a small budget, there are ways to jump in and start realizing the benefits.
Wendy Quan, founder of The Calm Monkey, is an industry leader, helping organizations implement mindfulness meditation programs and combining change management techniques to create personal and organizational change resiliency. She trains meditators to become workplace facilitators.
CPHR BC & Yukon hosted close to 150 excited and intrigued HR professionals for the HR Technology Symposium + Showcase at the Marriott Hotel (Pinnacle) in downtown Vancouver this past Monday.
The event featured two keynote speaker panels. The morning panel was moderated by Sheh Shojaee (Stevens Virgin Law Corporations) and featured Rian Gauvreau (Clio) and Nahal Yousefian (MEC) discussing how the HR profession is being redefined by tech. The afternoon panel was moderated by Fiona Ho (Industrial Light & Magic) and featured Paul Twigg (Sierra Systems) and Lea Scherck (Thoughtexchange) talking about ‘real life’ business stories of HR software.
Six breakout sessions were held throughout the day-long event, focusing on everything from building a case for hr software to succeeding with search – optimizing the tech at your finger tips. Presenting companies included, Deloitte, Global HR Collective, TELUS Employer Solutions, 7 Simple Machines, Indeed and First West Credit Union.
The event also included a tradeshow style showcase, featuring 13 unique vendors, where people could learn all about the HR technology that is transforming the industry, straight from the companies themselves.
The event concluded with an hour of social time that allowed people the opportunity to mingle, network and socialize during the Ultimate happy hour.
MEMBER AND SPONSOR FEEDBACK
“I learned that you don’t have to spend a lot to implement technology into your HR practices and it’s instrumental that you stay on top of technology trends because if you don’t, you’re going to be left in the dust…I really like the presentation by Saeed from Indeed, It really reinforced what I know about recruitment and recruitment information for any organization is very useful.”
~ Sara Colliss, Chartwell Retirement Residences ~
“I like that CPHR BC & Yukon decided to host an event on tech because there’s a lot of people out there that either don’t know what is out there for tech, or they don’t know where to go to learn more about it and how it can help their organization…I really liked the session with Paul Twigg, Lea Scherck and Fiona Ho where everyone in the room brainstormed ideas and we all collaborated to look at how technology could influence those ideas.”
~ Kelsey Chan, Metrie ~
“The best part has been meeting people who are genuinely interested in learning more about technology and how technology can help them take HR to the next level…Our first demonstration was on our HR self-service capabilities that can help team members find their way on various internet platforms. That presentation was in connection with our HR contact centre solutions and that product is actually a partnership Oracle that we are currently jointly selling. Our second demonstration was on a Telus built, work-force analytics model, which focused on the power of big data and how you can bring in data from various dashboards to tell stories.”
~ Diana Nguyen, TELUS Employee Solutions ~
“It’s been great just getting out into the HR community and interacting with people. We’ll also take a few things back to our office from those interactions, so today has been mutually beneficial for sure…I really wanted to spend the time I had in our presentation focusing on the basics of Indeed and some of the things you need to do to recruit talent in the digital age. I shared some best practices, what works well for our clients and how you can get the most out of a recruitment strategy on a platform like indeed.”
I read a curious article about retiring PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi. The article’s author lamented the fact that, to do the job well, Nooyi worked 20-hour days and “had to give up everything she loved.” The author suggested this lack of work-life balance was a sad state of affairs and that society needed to change.
I had two reactions to this. On the one hand, sure, compassion is fine, and sure it might be nice if life had fewer hardships. On the other hand, Nooyi was making well over $25 million a year and must have known what was expected in return. A CEO should accept the tradeoffs and learn to adapt—or else not take the job. To Nooyi’s credit, that’s what I believe she did.
It’s probably not often that the CEO of a Fortune 100 company will come to your office complaining that the world should change; however, you might well run into young employees upset with their shift schedule and arguing that the company should know how stressful it is and change the system. How should you respond to this?
Of Balance and Backburners
As is usually the case in HR, we need to be able to believe two contradictory things at once. Of course, we should show some compassion, and if it’s true the company has poor shift scheduling we should encourage them to improve it. However, our compassionate belief that the world should change needs to be put on the backburner in favour of believing that young employees should take personal responsibility for adapting to the world as it is.
There are for two powerful reasons for putting the compassionate instinct on the backburner. One reason is that there are quite likely to be good reasons why the schedules are set the way they are, and that youthful proposals to change it are probably ill-informed. The second, and even better, reason, is that a young employee is unlikely to be successful in changing the company whereas they have a much better chance of changing their personal circumstances. First do what you can do, only then start asking others to change.
Specially you could advise them to ask their manager what they could do to improve their schedule; they could arrange their lives to cope better with the schedule; or they could look for a different job. In all cases the onus is on them to make things better. This may seem to lack compassion, but young people who expect the world to change for them will be less happy and less successful than ones who focus on their own ability to cope with the world as it really is.
Is expecting the world to change for them an iGen thing?
The generation born after 1995 is best known as “the iGen” since data suggests their lives have been immensely impacted by the iPhone (see the book “iGen” by Jean Twenge). Are the iGen particularly susceptible to the notion that “society should do something” rather than “I should do something”? Perhaps. The iGen may be particularly vulnerable because they’ve grown up far more protected than previous generations. They come from universities with trigger warnings and safe spaces. They may well expect that organizations should be a safe space too—and if they expect that then they won’t do well in the real world.
It’s not the case that life in organizations is routinely brutal, but at times it will be a jungle; and if you have not been taught how to look after yourself then you’ll suffer needlessly. We need to withhold some of the tendency to simply agree with young people that the world ought to change, instead we need to tell them that they need to learn to adapt and overcome.
What you should do, what they should do
What the iGen should do is prepare themselves for the reality of the world and focus on what they can do rather than lamenting that the world should be different. They’d do well to read—in fact, not just read, but really study—Jeffrey Pfeffer’s book Power: Why some people have it and others don’t. Pfeffer is much misunderstood; he’s not suggesting you should be a manipulative power-hungry employee, he’s suggesting you should have a realistic understanding of how organization’s work so that naivety doesn’t ruin your career.
Another good book, from ages ago, is Robert Ringer’s entertaining Winning Through Intimidation. The title might be off-putting, but Ringer’s book isn’t about crushing the innocent, it’s about protecting yourself from the lions and snakes who will happily have you for dinner if you presume the business world is a safe space.
HR professionals should help young people toughen up, learn to cope, and thrive in adversity through self-reliance.
David Creelman is CEO of Creelman Research. His new book with Peter Navin is “The CMO of People.” You can connect to Mr. Creelman on LinkedIn or email him at email@example.com.
The HR function has historically been considered a cost centre since it does not specifically create income, while still costing the organization money to operate. However, this thinking is not only out of date, it has always been inaccurate, more so in the changing business environment of today.
The fact is that HR has always indirectly contributed to the profitability of any organization by supporting and streaming process efficiencies and showing them how to use their resources in smarter ways. In recent years this contribution has grown in consideration as the benefits of organizational culture, morale and engagement become more widely known.
The Profits of Morale
What I would like to focus on for a minute is the relationship between maintaining an organizational culture of high morale/accomplishment and profit or cost. According to the Canada Human Resources Centre, employee disengagement costs North American businesses some $350 billion annually in lost productivity, while Gallup’s 2016 meta-analysis finds that firms with high levels of employee engagement report 21 per cent higher profitability.
Disengagement affects far more than the wellbeing of the individual working in an organization. It can take an organization to its lowest point, impacting multiple bottom lines: dysfunctional team relationships, turnover, low productivity, poor reputation, and, naturally, profits.
This is where progressive HR comes in. Their role is no longer solely to find and recruit the best talents, terminate as needed and do the necessary paperwork, but to be people-profit oriented, aligning initiatives and making strategic decisions that would drive individual and company growth.
Given the impact of poorly managed human capital in a competitive marketplace, HR can not only stem the tides of attrition, but truly truly transform and influence a company’s success. Ultimately when understanding that profit is all about the people that make a business “be” and when acknowledging that a well-engaged talent is a profitable employee, it reminds us that it has always been about the people, and will always be.
Embrace The Culture Experience
With a third of our life spent at work, people are increasingly looking for organizations that can offer them not just a job, but an experience—or essentially a job with meaning. As opposed to a job, which can be switched, a unique work experience has a magnetic effect; it can make them feel they belong, allow them to grow and benefit the business in the process.
Here is where HR can play a critical role in creating that experience by developing a unique culture that will attract the right people—and serving as cultural catalysts and organizational role models in their own right. It is HR’s ability to articulate the employee work experience that allows that culture to thrive.
Your organizational culture is your identity and yours to define, while keeping front of mind that each of your current and future employees represent a facet of that defining culture. To them it acknowledges a feeling of belonging to a greater group and shared mindset, while outlining the essence of how your people interact, what drives them and what they value.
This is why it is important to have a clear culture that can attract people, and leadership which clearly understands HR’s ability to create and maintain the collective belief systems that support that culture.
Is your current culture the one that will make you attract the best employees and customers? Was this culture thought and chosen? What are you currently doing to adjust, preserve, protect and grow this culture?
Here are few suggestions for catalyzing your cultural returns in both recruitment and retention:
Use your company’s culture as a hiring tool
To attract the best candidates, go where the candidates are—and talk culture first. Post your job offers on various media and social networks and talk about your company culture before even discussing the role and responsibilities. Use marketing tools that represent your culture and utilize your branding as a communication vehicle. Interview your current employees and make them share their view on the culture, what they enjoy about your organization and use their testimonials for attracting new talents.
Highlight your brand, culture, people and values. Explain to your candidates what they are going to do, but also who they are going to work with, where and how. The work environment (culture) is as important as the role. You’ll get more chances to reach a world of candidates that speak the same language.
Consider adjusting your interview process. Use behavioural questions to get a better idea of ??your candidates’ personality and behaviour, and assess whether your values ??and theirs are aligned.
Use your company’s culture as a retaining tool?
Create a culture committee including new and current employees to create present culture initiatives, while using these meetings to ensure the present culture is still relevant. Having new employees participate will help them integrate your values much faster and feel they belong from the early stage. It will also invaluable insight.
Put your people at the centre and listen to them by being available and inviting them to have open conversations. They will tell you who they are and what they need. Consider it as a precious source of information that will help you sharpen your culture. If you want your people to “be” the culture, coach them to do so and that starts with making space for them to express who they are.
Proclaim your values ??loud and clear and define them to make them clear for everyone. It is not about choosing a couple of keywords that would look good on your company’s walls. It is about the meaning behind it, what it means for your company. A value of freedom may mean something to someone but surely something else to someone else. So be specific in what each of your values mean.
Develop initiatives to make the office more fun, support the relationships’ development between your employees, and bring your values ??back in the centre in the form of activities. To be engaged, employees need to feel they belong to a team.
Show employees who they are and how much they align with and impact your company’s culture. There are many tests and psychometric tools that can help your employees better understand who they are and how they work. Provide them with the right tools for self-discovery, build trust in their strengths and abilities, and help them develop a positive self-image. It will also help them define the role they play within the company, the place they hold in your culture.
Have your leaders be people-focused and not just results-focused. Train your leaders to be great listeners and communicators, be your culture ambassadors.
Empower People: Share the Wealth Being a culture catalyst is simply about taking care of your people by putting them at the centre. They are what make your culture what it is. Your job is to help them articulate it and preserve it. Empower them to make it grow, to adjust it when needed and make them responsible of it as if they own it; they will take even better care of it.
Benedicte Flouriot is a career and leadership coach working with clients across industries and continents to find the career they were meant for and ways to excel within it.