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As part of our coverage of the 2018 SHRM Annual Conference & Exposition, each of the official bloggers is once again conducting Q&A’s with session speakers.  When I saw this speaker’s name on the list, I knew right away she was the one I wanted to feature for my Q&A.  A leader in the HR and HR technology space, Cecile Alper-Leroux is not only an intelligent, successful, innovative female leader, but she’s an amazing person as well.  And she works for Ultimate Software, a company that has continuously been recognized as a great place to work.   Cecile will be co-presenting a session titled “Don’t Let the Best Ones Get Away! How to Entice & Engage the Best Candidates with Pre-Boarding.”  Here’s what she had to say about the concept of pre-boarding, the human side of the workplace, technology, the role of managers in creating employee experience, and what makes Ultimate Software such a great place to work…

Read the full post on the SHRM Blog

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For women with busy schedules, finding ways to focus on physical and mental health can be next to impossible some days. If you’re a professional who has many appointments to keep up with and responsibilities to take care of, you may find yourself at a loss for how to handle stress and anxiety. This can make achieving your goals difficult, especially if you’re unsure of how best to arrange your day to maximize efficiency.

Getting organized is a great start. Keeping a full schedule is hard enough, but it’s even more difficult if your life is in disarray. This includes your professional as well as your personal life. Look for ways to get your home into shape and make your office work for you. It’s also a good idea to separate both facets of your life. No matter how busy you are, try to keep your work at the office rather than bringing it home.

Keep reading for more tips on how to reduce stress when you’re a busy professional.

Appointment reminders

One of the best ways to keep stress at bay is to get (and keep) your schedule on track. It can be difficult to keep up with all your appointments, even if you have a date book or desk calendar. Consider using a service, which not only keeps you organized, but allows you to effectively communicate any last minute changes. If you work in an environment where billable hours are key, appointment reminders are even more critical, as they’ll likely result in fewer no-shows and ensure your time is spent in profitable ways. There are several free and paid services out there to choose from. For instance, Square’s option allows you to send personalized reminders (with a logo included) as emails or texts. Click here to find out more.

Take care of yourself

Reducing stress isn’t always easy, but a good way to start is by taking care of yourself. This means different things to different people, but basically it boils down to finding healthy ways to stay happy and relaxed. It might require carving some time out of your schedule to fit in some daily exercise or just some “you” time spent binge-watching your favorite television show. Whatever it is, it should benefit your mood in some way. Practicing self-care will help you stay calm even on the busiest of days and will allow you to focus on what’s most important.

Learn to say “no”

Many professionals know how difficult it can be to say “no” when there’s a new demand for their time. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s important to learn how to say “no” when your plate is already full. Whether it’s personal or office related, practice a polite way to turn someone down when they need time you just can’t give.

Sleep well

Not getting enough rest is a popular complaint from busy professionals, and if you also have a family to take care of, it can be even harder to get the sleep your body requires. No one wants to feel bogged down by exhaustion, so make sure you’re getting enough rest each night by creating a bedtime routine that you can maintain.

Separate work and home

Creating boundaries is imperative when you keep a busy schedule, especially if you work from home often. Making sure your home life and work life are completely separate can be difficult, but even making small changes such as setting a goal not to answer emails after a certain time can give you defined boundaries that will reduce stress.

Reducing stress and anxiety is essential for those who want to continue with a successful professional life, and it can help you reach any goals you have much more easily. Create a plan that will help you get to where you want to be, and garner support from friends and family so you’ll feel ready to tackle anything that comes your way.

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We all know the statistics at this point: Women represent 52 percent of the total U.S. population but only 20 percent of C-suite roles, the Fortune 500 list includes only 32 women (just two of them women of color), and entry-level women are 18 percent less likely to be promoted than their male peers. Our recent research also shows that men are 50 percent more likely to report their leadership training is very effective in improving their job performance.

All of this is despite the fact that gender-diverse companies experience better financial performance; companies whose leadership ranks consist of at least 30 percent women are more likely to be among the top 20 percent of companies.

We know we’re preaching to the choir – but what can HR leaders do about this gender gap? There’s plenty – but here are three key strategies.

Encourage Manager Support of Leadership Development

Our research found that when employees feel their managers support their leadership development, their perceptions of access to development opportunities was more likely to be higher. That’s not surprising; what is significant, though, is that the improved perception was significantly better for women than it was for men. So, while it’s important that managers encourage their employees to take advantage of opportunities to develop leadership skills on the job and through formal development programs, it’s even more important that managers of women do so.

Implement Formal and On-the-Job Coaching Programs

Our research found that when it keeps women’s needs and learning preferences in mind, coaching can be a powerful way to equalize access to leadership development. Whether you hire a coach from outside your organization or train managers and trainers in coaching skills, make sure you have a process for women to receive one-on-one attention from someone who can provide her with support, help her identify strengths and weaknesses, and assist her in setting and achieving career development goals.

Measure and Report on the Leadership Pipeline.

Before beginning any new leadership development initiatives aimed at closing the gender gap, take a baseline assessment of your organization. What’s the gender ratio like at each level? What will it take, in pure numbers, to achieve balance? Use this assessment to inform your goals. Then, measure progress.

Make sure that reporting on gender equality is standard throughout the organization. Align programs to the goals your organization and departments set for improving gender parity. Then, evaluate – and celebrate! – success.

About the Authors:

Amy DuVernet, Ph.D., CPTM, is the director of certification programs at Training Industry, Inc., where she oversees all processes related to continuing education programs, including development and evaluation. Follow her on LinkedIn or on Twitter @AmyCPTM.

Taryn Oesch, CPTM, is the editor of web content at Training Industry, where her series on cybersecurity training won a 2017 APEX Award of Excellence. Follow her on LinkedIn or on Twitter @TarynOesch.

Amy and Taryn are the co-authors of the new research report “Women’s Access to Leadership Development: A Tale of Two Experiences.”

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Women of HR by Kathleen Connolly - 3w ago

Recently, I came across an article from The Society for Human Resource Management that reports the average employee is only allotted 2-4 days off after a death of a loved one. My stomach churned as I went over the sentence again, making sure I had read it correctly.

The data is from their 2016 Paid Leave in the Workplace Survey. On average, workers receive 4 days paid bereavement leave for the death of a spouse or child and 3 days for parents, siblings and domestic partners.

That doesn’t seem right, does it?

But what can we do when our company won’t budge on bereavement days, besides picking up a condolences card and passing it around the office?

 

Do Your Own Research

Do your own research and share it.

If you work for a small or medium sized company without an Employee Assistance Program, do your own research and spread it around. Do a Google search for Grief Support Groups near you.

I wanted employees to have access to this information all the time, so I made a list of links and posted it in the company’s Google Drive. I included TED Talks on surviving loss, a list of local bereavement coaches and a Surviving Spouse Financial Checklist.

If your company doesn’t share files often, you can create your own brochures or print-outs to leave on your desk or in the employee lounge.

 

Teach Your Team How to Help Each Other

Advise your employees on how to properly care for each other.  Do they know the stages of grief?  Do they know to offer specific things instead of saying “Let me know if you need anything?”

“Would it be helpful if I followed up with the people from XYZ for you?”

“Do you want me to pick up anything from the grocery store for you?”

 

Remind them not to ask questions that are too personal. Just because someone is showing you parts of their pain, doesn’t mean they have to share all of it.  Things like medical status and finances are extremely personal. If your coworker is sharing this information with you, it’s because of trust, not because they’re obligated to explain their grief.

Inform them of the importance of confidentiality and privacy.

Embrace I Don’t Know.

Don’t make the mistake of assuming that your training, personal experience, or knowledge of your coworkers means that you know what they’re going through or what they need. 

Talking about loved ones and their grief is an important and normal part of healing. As Human Resource professionals, we care a great deal about our coworkers. When someone is showing you a soft, vulnerable side of themselves, it can be tempting to try and connect with them. Sometimes “I know how you feel,” tries to push its way out. Don’t let it.

You know how their story and how their pain makes you feel. You know how you felt when your mother passed away. But you don’t know how they feel. Even if they tell you, you’ll never know.

It’s better to tell them that you don’t know how they feel. That you don’t know what to say. That you don’t know what they’re going through. But that you want to help. Your compassion means more to your team than an attempted connection.

If you read my first article with Women of HR, you know that I’m new to the HR field and work for a small company with less than fifteen employees. There are days where I can’t count the amount of I Don’t Knows on both hands. But everyday I learn something new, and as long as that happens, I’ll know I’m doing something right.

 

Source:

Roepe, L. R. (2017, August 22). How to Support Employees through Grief and Loss [Blog post].

Retrieved from Society for Human Resource Management website: https://www.shrm.org/hr-today/

news/hr-magazine/0917/pages/how-to-support-employees-through-grief-and-loss.aspx

 

 

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Women of HR by Jennifer Payne - 1M ago

Company culture is a priority that is becoming more and more important to companies and HR professionals.  In fact, the “2018 HR Trends Report” from McLean & Company cites culture as now the number one priority for the companies surveyed.  So the idea of hiring for culture fit is a concept that has gained much traction in recent years as well; the thought that specific skills and knowledge can be taught and it’s more important to seek talent that matches company culture, or that “fits in,” has become the focus of many HR pros and hiring managers.

It’s an idea that sounds great in concept, but it comes with a risk.  That risk manifests when hiring for “culture fit” becomes an excuse for hiring too many of the “same” types of employees.  When even if we don’t realize it, we focus and hone in on the wrong things when we assess “culture fit.” And when we do that, the result becomes far too homogeneous of an organization.  Why is that so bad?  Well, quite simply because research shows that organizations that embrace diversity of thought generate better ideas, have better problem solving, and ultimately produce better results.

So what exactly does “culture fit” mean?  And what should it mean?

 

Culture Defined

Looking at a definition of the word “culture” we find the following:

“The set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution or organization.” (Mirriam Webster)

“The behaviors and beliefs characteristic of a particular social, ethnic, or age group.” (Dictionary.com)

“The sum total of ways of living built up by a group of human beings and transmitted from one generation to another.” (Dictionary.com)

So if we take a combination of those three definitions, we could say that company or organizational culture is a set of shared beliefs/goals/values that are developed collectively by the individuals within an organization over time and passed along as new individuals enter the organization.  So hiring for culture fit becomes an exercise in finding folks who will most easily assimilate into those shared beliefs, values, and goals.  Sounds fair enough, right?

The Myth

It certainly sounds like the right approach if in fact what we seek when hiring for culture fit is truly focusing on finding individuals that share the same values as the organization.  The problem is, as humans, we tend to gravitate towards people who are like us.  And when we say “like us” we often mean those who have things in common with us.  It’s human nature to try to find commonalities to make connections with others, so it stands to reason that it could be really hard to take that out of the equation when assessing someone who may work with us or for us.

So hiring for culture fit should mean:

  • We share the same goals and/or core values, and those are in alignment with the goals and values of the company, and/or
  • We share the same approach to work, an approach that is proven to be successful in our organizations (i.e. entrepreneurial, innovative thinker, comfortable with risk taking, etc.)

But if we allow our personal biases to creep in, culture fit sometimes ends up meaning:

  • We like you
  • You are like us
  • We went to the same college
  • We like the same sports teams
  • We have the same hobbies

And when we focus too much on these things, not only to we tend to hire those who end up thinking like us, therefore discouraging diversity of thought and problem solving, but we also risk alienating those already within our organizations who might not fit this mold.

 

Fitting In vs. True Belonging

Researcher, writer, and TED speaker Brene Brown in her books “Daring Greatly” and “Braving the Wilderness” talks about the difference between fitting in and belonging:

“Belonging is being somewhere you want to be, and they want you.  Fitting in is being somewhere you want to be, but they don’t care one way or the other.”

“Belonging is being accepted for you.  Fitting in is being accepted for being like everyone else.”

“If I get to be me, I belong.  If I have to be like you, I fit in.”

When we hire for the wrong kind of culture fit, we tend to force the need to fit in, rather than promote a culture in which true belonging exists.  And without true belonging, we discourage that diversity of thought that has been proven to be so critical to organizational success.

*****************************************************

I believe that there are a number of practices that we can tend to fall into within our organizations that can contribute to the wrong kind of culture fit and perpetuate homogeneous organizations.   Over the next few posts I’ll explore some of those practices.  Stay tuned!

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Courage.

What does that word mean to you?

Does it evoke images of great, daring deeds?  Of facing a perilous situation head on with no regard for one’s own safety and well-being, like a fire fighter barreling head on into a blazing inferno?

But does it ever evoke thoughts of the workplace, about being a courageous leader there, in the day to day minutia of the typical work day?  If you were at WorkHuman 2018 in Austin, TX, even if it didn’t before, it probably does now.

In my opinion, courage was the overarching theme that showed up time and time again at this year’s iteration of Globoforce’s WorkHuman conference; countless stories and examples of why being courageous as leaders and as companies is so important.  And guess what?  What courage looks like isn’t always as grandiose as facing a fiery inferno.  Most of the time it shows up in simpler, much more subtle ways.

Vulnerability Does Not Equal Weakness

Great leaders are supposed to be cool, calm, and collected at all times, right?  Not so, according to Brene Brown. “Cool” she says, is simply self-protection and comfort, and quite the opposite of courage.  To be courageous, we have to be willing to share who we are with all our heart, and that requires vulnerability.

There’s a common misconception is that vulnerability equates to weakness, but there’s no actual basis to that claim.  Brene Brown talks about vulnerability as the courage to show up and be seen even when we can’t control the outcome.

As leaders, sometimes (maybe even often) we feel like we need to be in total control of everything.  But that’s just not possible, especially in a world and in a business climate where disruption is becoming the norm.  Courageous, vulnerable leaders are willing to admit they are human, that they make mistakes; they are willing to be imperfect and let people see that.  And when they lead with that sense of vulnerability, it opens the door for more innovation, creativity, and change…and those are things that benefit any organization, in any industry.

Playing the Infinite Game

There are finite games – ones with specific rules and a desired outcome, and infinite games – ones that never truly end because the challenges keep changing, says Simon Sinek.  The problem is that most businesses act as if they are in a finite game, when in reality there is no such thing as “winning” business; as soon as you get to one destination or goal, the game changes.  When you play a finite game, you make decisions on the basis of short term outcomes, which often have detrimental effects in the long run, especially if they negatively impact our people.

To lead as if you’re truly playing an infinite game requires courageous leadership – a long term view and the willingness to sacrifice the short term to ensure you don’t run out of the will or resources to stay in the game in the long run; leadership in which near term tangible outcomes are sometimes sacrificed to make remarkable things happen in the long term.  Courageous leadership means people are never sacrificed for the sake of saving the numbers, people are always put first.

To achieve this, we need to prove that results don’t come before people by not promoting toxic leaders who achieve results but destroy the fabrics of our organizations.  We need to trust and believe in our people to do the right thing, including trusting them to know when to break the rules for the right reasons, instead of instilling fear that “if I don’t follow the rules I get in trouble and lose my job.”  And we need to always have the courage to take the first risk, to make the first sacrifice for our people, who will then in turn make their own sacrifices in pursuit of a common vision.

Courage in the Era of #MeToo

One of the highlights of WorkHuman this year was the #MeToo panel, featuring Tarana Burke, Ronan Farrow, Ashley Judd, and moderated by Adam Grant.  During the panel, Ronan Farrow challenged the HR pros in the room to never “forget how important your role is, how powerful you can be in the fight for justice.”

Although we may argue that we don’t see situations quite to the magnitude of many of the Hollywood stories that came to light in the wake of Harvey Weinstein, we’d also be naïve to think that #MeToo doesn’t impact every organization in some way.  Sexual harassment happens, and it could be happening in your organization right now.  How we deal with it as leaders is where the need for courage comes into play.  Because to truly address the issues, it can’t just be about “check the box” training, it has to mean promoting a culture where these behaviors are not tolerated.  And as leaders, that may mean having the courage to admit where you’ve failed in the past and the vulnerability to pledge to do better in promoting a culture of zero tolerance.  It may mean having the courageous leadership to cut ties with a toxic leader who achieves results. And as HR pros, it may mean having the courage to take a stand, even when it’s not the most popular one, in the quest to ensure our workplaces are safe for all.  In the words of Ashley Judd, it’s about placing “principles above personalities.”

*************************************

Courage and courageous leadership….the essence of WorkHuman 2018.  If you missed the event this year, mark your calendars for March 18-21, 2019 in Nashville, TN.  If how this event has evolved over the past three years is any indication, it’s bound to be even bigger, better, and more profound next time around!

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Women of HR by A Guest Contributor - 2M ago

During my first semester of college, I applied for a social media marketing internship with a small, local marketing company. It was my first office job. Four years have gone by and I’m still with that same company. Only I’m no longer an intern, I’m now the Office Manager and head of HR.

When I first started as an intern, there were only four part time employees. We were all college students. Founded by a former freelance marketer, the company was new, and only in its second year of business. Since then, my boss secured dozens of more clients, interns and employees- both part-time and full-time.

Over the years, I learned a lot about what it was like to build a business. And the hardest part of it all isn’t gaining clients or filing your taxes- it’s maintaining the relationships you make along the way.

My boss, a young female entrepreneur, quickly realized that trying to keep both your clients, employees, and bank account balance happy can sometimes feel like an impossible balancing act. And that’s why I love HR; it’s challenging, which makes it even more rewarding.

I think we can all agree, the best way to keep clients coming back is through happy employees. But sometimes, that’s not easy. Maybe it’s because of the economy, new management, or working conditions. In the case of my company, it was growing pains.

Eventually, as business picked up, my boss started giving her staff more responsibility, and in turn, hiring more experienced people. Most employees were now out of college, some by two years, others by twenty.

It became clear that the company benefits and policies that had kept her former college-aged employees happy didn’t appeal to her new staff. Flex-Time didn’t matter as much to single men in their thirties as it did to students with class schedules. They cared little about office field trips to Starbucks. They wanted nothing to do with a company group chat. What they did want was higher bonuses and vacation days.

I had a great working relationship with boss. So, when there was a dispute, I started speaking up on behalf of my coworkers, and often my boss too. Both sides, employees and owner, had difficulty properly expressing their expectations, needs and feelings with each other in a clear and concise matter. A moderator was needed, and I was eager to fill the position.

Since then, I’ve worked to help the company create an employee manual, update the vacation policy, adopted staff meetings, conducted performance reviews, and everything else that falls under the HR umbrella- and I couldn’t be happier.

Working in human resources allows me to be an intricate part of the company. While most employees feel frustrated by company problems, I have the opportunity to empower myself, run to the drawing board and find solutions.

And some days it’s exhausting. Some days, the world is an impossible balancing act. You can’t always please everyone, but I always try, and that’s what makes the work-day worth it.

About the Author: Kathleen Connolly is an undergraduate student at Stony Brook University where she is a teaching assistant for the course Organizational Behavior. She is also a candidate for the university’s Human Resource Management graduate program. Kathleen is the Office Manager and Head of HR for the online marketing company Jillian’s Circus. 

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Throughout history, our workplaces have continued to evolve.

Back in the days of the Industrial Revolution and the dawn of mass production, focus was on efficiency, scale, quality control, and essentially getting “stuff” made.  Employees worked on production lines, performing the same tasks over and over, and work was a means to an end.  A way to support yourself and your family.  Management was command and control, and I would guess there was probably not much in the way of feelings of contentment and job satisfaction, but hey, you had a paycheck to bring home.

As we shifted from an economy based on production work into an era of more knowledge workers, management theory changed with it.  We moved into the era of more participative management focused on harnessing the expertise of these knowledge workers.  We now had “goals” and “objectives” and were more concerned with how to motivate employees.  But we were still for the most part operating in an environment of the manager/subordinate, vertical org chart sort of organization.

And through both of these eras of work, there was still largely a focus on loyalty to one company and lifelong employment.  Your goal was to land a good job at a good company, put in a good 30 to 40 years, and then retire from said company.

But times are changing, again.

We’ve moved into a new era.  One where loyalty to one company is not guaranteed, or even expected.  Moving from job to job and employer to employer is far more accepted and expected than in the days of our parents and grandparents.  Today’s younger workers (and for that matter even many who have been in the workforce for quite a while) have different expectations about what work means and the role it plays in their lives.  Gone are the days of blind loyalty and commitment to a company without feeling like there’s something in return to be gained, beyond just a paycheck.  Today’s employees are looking for more purpose and meaning, a feeling of being connected to their work, their coworkers, and their companies, and jobs and careers that fit holistically into their lives.

So with these changing expectations comes a new era for how we as business and HR leaders approach our workplaces.  Loyalty is not a given, but it can be achieved by companies who care about creating environments that nurture and encourage getting the best work out of their people, and who want to grow and retain those people as they work together towards success. The folks at Globoforce like to call it the “Human Era.”

And this is right where the WorkHuman movement and conference comes in.  Now in its fourth year and getting bigger and better with each successive event, WorkHuman focuses, very simply, on bringing more humanity back to the workplace.  That might sound a little “warm and fuzzy” and non-scientific, but the beauty of it is that the agenda is in fact filled with scientifically proven ideas to help bring out the best in our employees. It’s about building great cultures, encouraging recognition, driving engagement, fostering communication, and forging connection.  It starts with top notch keynotes speakers – this year’s (so far) include Brene Brown, Amal Clooney, Simon Sinek, and a historic #MeToo panel led by Adam Grant and featuring Ashley Judd, Tarana Burke, and Ronan Farrow.  And the momentum continues throughout the agenda with each concurrent session speaker as well.

This year’s event will take place in Austin, TX from April 2nd through 5th.  Interested in joining the WorkHuman movement?  You can register here.  And as an added bonus, you can save yourself some money by using discount code WH18INF-JPA.

See you in Austin!

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Editor’s Note:  One of our regular contributors, Donna Rogers, recently participated as an attendee and speaker on the 2018 HR Conference Cruise.  What’s an HR Cruise you may ask?  According to the website, it combines “a robust Human Resource conference with an exciting cruise to tropical islands and gorgeous getaways….It is everything that a land-based conference offers – except that it moves!”  The inaugural cruise set sail in January 2017 and based on popularity and demand returned with two sailings in February 2018.  Donna wanted to share some of her observations and takeaways with the Women of HR readers; below is her second post.  

The morning after a day in Jamaica started off with a bang in Julie Pugh’s session covering harassment in the headlines, most recently referenced with the hashtags #MeToo and #TimesUp.  Her session was titled “Have Your Life Jacket Handy: The HR Professional’s Role in Addressing Pre-Lawsuit Procedures.” Whew! That’s a mouthful! However, being prepared is a big deal and deserves our attention, understanding, and consideration to avoid a mouthful of curse words (quietly of course) when you get handed your first EEOC complaint or lawsuit.  Believe me, they are not fun to deal with!

I have personally had my share of harassment (especially sexual) complaints during my tenure in HR.  So far this year, I have delivered a couple of programs as well as conducted a couple of investigation and it’s only February! The stories I could tell would make you wonder what type of work is actually being done in the workplace.  Matter of fact, I shared one of them in the session that helped Julie make her point about other types of complaints you can get besides harassment.  The one I shared was constructive discharge and sexual harassment.

What I found new and interesting in this session is to look at documentation related to the topic and remove things like the word “confidential.” For example: Don’t tell employees in person or in harassment policies that their conversation or complaint will remain confidential.  Why? Because it won’t! You can’t keep it confidential.  Again, why? Because you may have to conduct interviews, talk to management, attorneys, etc.

So, what can you say or write instead on using the word confidential?

  • Say we will be “discreet”, or
  • We will only share on a “need to know basis”

In addition, Julie mentioned an example of a time she was conducting training when someone in the room asked for a definition of an inappropriate behavior.  She redirected the question to make a point about how managers need to be constantly vigilant about what is discussed in the workplace while another manager got up and demonstrated the inappropriate behavior in front of the whole group.  She politely took the person to the side to have a private conversation about how inappropriate her demonstration was and how that type of reaction and attitude is exactly what they are trying to avoid in the workplace.  I can’t tell you how many times employees and managers have taken pot shots at some of the main points of a harassment awareness training I was conducting.  What a great lesson on how to deal with those outbursts.

Constant vigilance and awareness of surroundings was a key suggestions Julie shared.  As an example: she mentioned the timely resignation of Steve Wynn, Chairman & CEO, of Wynn Resorts and Wynn Macua due to sexual misconduct allegations he denies.  This occurred after we set sail from Fort Lauderdale.  It seems something about this topic is coming out weekly these days.  It’s sad that it’s not a surprise.
Continue to educate staff and management about the importance of this topic from a risk management standpoint.  Most importantly, prevention is key and communication is key to prevention.
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Editor’s Note:  One of our regular contributors, Donna Rogers, recently participated as an attendee and speaker on the 2018 HR Conference Cruise.  What’s an HR Cruise you may ask?  According to the website, it combines “a robust Human Resource conference with an exciting cruise to tropical islands and gorgeous getaways….It is everything that a land-based conference offers – except that it moves!”  The inaugural cruise set sail in January 2017 and based on popularity and demand returned with two sailings in February 2018.  Donna wanted to share some of her observations and takeaways with the Women of HR readers; below is the first of her two posts.

It’s showtime at sea for attendees of the 2nd annual #HRCruise heading to Haiti and Jamaica.  After a great opening session by Greg Hawks, the first session of the week began with Brad and Suzanna Cooper with US Corporate Wellness.  They walked attendees through a well thought out, detailed and thoughtful presentation about what corporate wellness should look like.  In my experience wellness programs have been very narrowed.  For example, when I first started my career, there was a $100 prize for the employee who lost the greatest percentage of weight.  I was only 23 at the time without a great deal of other influences buying for my time.  It was a cinch.  I won! I went out and bought a brand new suit to wear to work with my winnings.  I was excited, proud and focused.  I had willpower.

However, the wellness program was only focused on one thing, weight loss. A strategically planned program will consider so much more like smoking, stress, spirit, mental, physical, exercise, sleep, and so much more.  Sleep today is a huge thing for me.  The light bulb when off when I heard Brad say that without a good nights sleep, I have over a 40% chance of eating junk food in the afternoon.  He was right, I know what I need to eat or drink.  I am a Weight Watcher (recently rejoined) for gods sake.  I know I don’t get good sleep and knowing this helps me understand at least one reason why I am constantly sabotaging my success towards my weight loss goal.
There are so many other great takeaways from this great speaking duo and as I write this blog post, Brad asked everyone, starting with me, to speak out about their one takeaway.  So I typed them up for your to review here.
Takeaways from the attendees:
  • Increase communication of wellness initiative as an ongoing process
  • Tailor your message to your audience – such as generation; ally different employees
  • Creating lasting and meaning full change in wellness – not a one time shot like my personal example above
  • Try-in, Buy-in ~ Let employees try something to help
  • Focus on the individual – one size does not fit all
  • Tracking what I want to be a year from now and track progress towards that goal
  • Scarlett Letter – you don’t have to be perfect on your wellness journal
  • Corporate Social Responsibility tie into wellness
  • Even if you’re good about exercise in the morning but sit a lot at work, doesn’t give you a free pass
  • Never use any phone sitting down – get up and move
  • Being intentional
  • Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs – Top is now Social Media
  • You are all so sexy, I want to be you!
  • It’s just not fitness and food…it’s about so much more like Financial Wellness
  • Create ways to have impact without intrusion
  • Mini SWOT analysis of individual company specific wellness programs
  • Wellness Wheel
  • Traveling trophy in the office when teams win challenges
  • Utilization Review of programs
  • Wellness coaching & EAPs

It’s showtime! What are you going to do to improve your overall wellness program?

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