At the end of the day, employees have to trust any HR pro enough to come forward and share bad stuff with said HR pro. What type of bad stuff? What type of bad stuff do your employees have?
Hate. Addiction. Family Dysfunction. Ambition. Concerns about others. Just to name a few.
All these things and more are filed under topics that employees would love to talk to someone about. Due to the role of HR, a good HR pro is a likely target for an employee to vent to. But before they make the decision to confide in you, they have to evaluate whether you can be trusted.
“But I do recall a conversation I had one day with an employee who was experiencing some issues at work. When I offered to listen and provide support, she said “Unfortunately, I can’t talk to you about this. It’s not that I don’t trust you personally. It’s the chair that you sit in. You have the authority to fire me. And I can’t risk that.”
After she left my office, I thought about what she’d said. I wanted to be offended. But I kinda understood where she was coming from. While it was frustrating that she wouldn’t allow me to try to help out just because of my position in the organization, I also knew that sometimes it was part of my role to be involved in making decisions about her career. So sharing a weakness or performance problem with someone who has that type of influence could be perceived as a risk.”
Go read Jennifer’s post. Then think about the kind of HR pro you are. I’d tell you that when it comes to employees considering whether they want to confide in you on a deep level, there are 3 types of HR pros:
No way, no how. You’ve got a reputation for sharing information about others with the wrong people. You talk too much, and this is most commonly manifested by you talking about other employees to… you guessed it…. their peers – other rank and file employees. Which causes them to wonder what you would do if they shared something deep about themselves that they’re struggling with.
You haven’t ####ed it up yet. They look at you as an HR pro and see someone they shouldn’t distrust, but you haven’t earned your stripes yet as someone that can go on lockdown and be fully trusted. At some point, someone’s going to test that, seeking to trust you and ask you for advice. When that day comes, you’ll have to listen, offer advice, put the info in a lockbox (shoutout to Al Gore, inventor of the internet) and not share with anyone. You know, be trustworthy.
The Rock. Employees have trusted you with some bad stuff about themselves in the past. You listened, offered advice and then most importantly, locked it down. You didn’t talk to other employees and just as importantly, didn’t share the info with their boss, other senior team members in your unit, etc. As a result, employees talk. You’ve got a reputation as someone that can be trusted, even though the employees who share that opinion never talk about what they shared with you.
HR pros earn their reps with results – either negative or positive – when employees choose to trust them. Like the rest of the human race, some HR pros are great at building and maintaining trust, some aren’t.
My advice for any HR pro is to develop a quick script to share with any employee that approaches you and tells you they’re about to go deep. My favorite is something related to confidentiality that suggests, “If you’re asking for confidentiality, I can tell you I can deliver that with the exception of things that are legal issues or would negatively impact our business.”
My experience is that the best HR pros usually have quite a bit of stuff on lockdown. Do employees trust you? That’s a fair question any HR pro should ask themselves.
You know that side-job you have as the informal HR Advisor for any/all of your friends? It can be enlightening at times, even uplifting, when you hear some of the ridiculous sh*t people are forced to put up with in their workplace.
For the situation to reach the “Mind if I run something by you?” stage, it usually entails the insufferable actions of someone’s direct supervisor. And, since it’s annual review time for many folks, you find many of your friends in that uncomfortable situation where the “boss” has just documented & delivered feedback that is either:
Based on a single event rather than a body of work
Sexist or otherwise inappropriate
Meaningless and vague
If the review is tied to compensation, as most are, it becomes more than frustrating to receive any of these misappropriated judgments of performance – it can also be career-limiting.
Want an example? Here’s a quote from the review of a close friend:
“The perception is that you care too much about your team, and that your team cares too much about you. Next year, your development will revolve around being less engaged.”
“oh look, you’re all out of shut-the-hell-up”
Seriously. There’s a person on a company’s payroll in a position of influence, and they actually wrote something this ass-backwards. In the tightest labor market we’ve had this century, this person was being encouraged to distance from employees. Not only that, but this action is seen as development (insert maniacal laughter here).
I wanted to make sure I clarified the statement to make sure the review writer wasn’t encouraging more delegation or less fraternal relationships, or something not so…..I don’t know, stupid? But nope, it was truly a situation where the team admired this manager and literally chose to work for her; and that was seen as a problem.
So this begs the question – how much is too much when it comes to your relationship with your direct reports? I know this can’t be the first time you’ve heard something similar to this, right? I can still remember my first role as a manager of people, when a more senior colleague took me aside and gave me his pearl of wisdom; “be a jerk for as long as possible, the minute they think you care you’re cooked.” I would attribute it solely to a generational difference in management style, except I still see this pattern replicated by younger managers who still subscribe to the “I show that I care every two weeks when you get your paycheck.”
Allow me to mention once again that an unemployment rate this low has a significant impact on the importance of retaining your key employees – the opportunities are there for them, inside your walls or outside. You may be strapped in your ability to use tangible rewards to show your appreciation (there’s the magic word), so your ability to create an environment of true intrinsic appreciation is critical.
I’m reading a book, “The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace” by Gary Chapman & Paul White (yes, the same guys who wrote the “love languages” book, shaddap) for a more granular discussion of the “how,” but you’ll have no problem finding reasons for the “why.” Dan Ariely estimates that “88% of the time employees leave because they don’t feel appreciated.” Lazlo Bock, a lover of data, says “meta analysis shows that appreciation is more important to retention than compensation.”
So hold your head up high, friend – your boss may not appreciate what you’ve built with your team, but you broke the cycle and engaged your team anyway. Has your boss considered what might happen if you leave? My guess is you’d have a few people who would follow you out the door.
In my last article, Turn Your Talent Failures into Wins – Part 1, we dove into how our best intentions of planning for the New Year go just as well as our plan for using our gym memberships – they don’t. I know, it sounds almost too simple but the fact is that effectively planning is half the battle to having a killer talent strategy. The other key factor comes down to effective communication and adoption.
Piece of cake; blast off a quick email and you’re on auto pilot – I wish. Unfortunately, email is where your strategic plan goes to die, and once it’s dead, good luck reviving it. In the last article, we talk about 6 common road blocks that I’ve encountered, and for the sake of this article, I’m focusing in on two of them:
Planning: Your strategy is not an email nor is email how you communicate a plan. The plan is the roadmap of your strategy, and without it, the strategy isn’t a strategy.
“No battle was ever won according to plan, but no battle was ever won without one.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower
Being a Lone Ranger: Whatever you do, don’t create a strategy without the input of your stakeholders! Once stakeholders have skin in the game, they will make your goals their own.
“People support a world they help create.” – Dale Carnegie
Before I go any further, I have nothing against email! The issue is when there’s a robust program and email becomes the sole platform in which the plan is communicated, tracked, and where it ultimately lives.
The way you go about executing the communication and keeping your goals at the forefront of your stakeholders’ minds is crucial. Now that you have carefully planned out your strategy, focus on these few next steps:
Timing is everything! Make sure you are aware of other initiatives that may overshadow the roll out of your programs.
Getting in front of your audience is extremely important. By making this initiative important to you helps others see it as being important to them. Find time to join their divisional leadership or staff meetings to get their undivided attention. Remember, don’t be a lone ranger!
Meetings are not usually a great time for status updates, in my opinion. I much rather provide status reports and meet to discuss next stages or gain feedback on progress.
Visuals – Project Timeline or MindMapping
Most leaders don’t like sifting through pages and pages of data. Providing a simple one page update is often more impactful, but it requires you to differentiate what is a priority to share and what isn’t… more is less.
To help quickly capture everyone’s attention in a world when time is abysmal, less is better. For each specific initiative, utilize production and timeline schedules as a visual along with specific KPI’s.
Below you will see an actual timeline that was created in December 2017 to begin laying out the transition for a software that is automating the delivery of our training & onboarding initiatives. For this specific initiative, each division within the organization is a stakeholder and this allows for everyone to understand expectations and timing. For each status meeting, this timeline is updated to reflect changes and updates to the original plan.
By utilizing a visual timeline, we are able to tackle the messaging of our communication in a simple one page document. This covered the: Why, How, Timeframe, and Performance Indicators.
Next time you have a killer strategy, go the extra mile and get out of the email comfort zone!
I’m not a great Catholic; decent I’d say. Decent enough to go to Ash Wednesday service after several months’ absence.
Better late than never.
I was inspired by the sermon, which gave the congregation some perspective on Lent, including how to personally reflect over this time. The sermon also touched on themes of forgiveness and selflessness. The sermon got me thinking: is it possible to be selfless in a corporate environment? More importantly can you be selfless as an HR pro? And the kicker-question: must you be truly selfless to successfully lead efforts of creating corporate cultures of engagement?
Here is the blogger’s requisite “post definition”:
Selfless (adjective): concerned more with the needs and wishes of others than with one’s own. Synonyms: unselfish, altruistic, self-sacrificing, compassionate, kind, charitable, benevolent.. (Oxford Pocket Dictionary)
Corporate environments of all sizes have not proven to me (yet) that one can survive or thrive as an individual selflessly (as defined above). The C-Suite, usually riddled with pressures outside of their control, forget to model selflessness themselves. I can list 20 more deterrents to selfless leadership, but It really stops and starts there.
So, what if you are the pro trying to create an employee engagement strategy or more significantly lead a cultural shift in your organization? A shift within your company to actively pursue a more employee-driven environment. A strategy that includes all the cornerstones, typical in cultures of engagement including building trust, allowing for and modeling vulnerability, allowing people to be their authentic selves, being transparent, creating many channels for feedback, focusing on strengths, rewarding and recognizing great work, and giving most employees more decision making autonomy.
My experience tells me those leading that movement should inherently posses the synonyms listed above in their DNA. But damn, that’s a whole basket-full of pressure for anyone.
This is really hard. So much so, I don’t think being truly selfless, even if you are a believer in engagement cultures, is possible.
But, who is to say complete selflessness is even prudent or smart business. In fairness, corporate environments also need conflict to thrive, for without conflict it’s hard to have important breakthroughs necessary for innovation and success. Also, if you happen to be a leader, your job is to make tough calls which by default could selfishly benefit you (aka that big bonus you need. #justsayin). And that’s not all bad. But, if you want to engage, I still think behaving in altruistic, selfless, and kind ways is the way to go.
Now back to the Ash Wednesday part. My solve for this conundrum is inspired from the sermon I heard. If you are leading engagement efforts, put it all in perspective.
We are humans. Lovable, complex, brilliant and flawed; the whole sha-bang. Changing a culture is hard. Giving up control, a big tenant of engagement cultures is hard. It’s OK if you aren’t 100% selfless.
As employees, we need to give our selves a break. Those of us even contemplating creating corporate inclusivity are fighting for good. Don’t worry if you aren’t perfect. Stop.
If you are leading the efforts to create an inclusive culture of engagement, you must identify why you even care. What is your purpose in leading these efforts? Is it for altruistic reasons, is it because your turnover is awful, or is it because you want recognition from your boss? You don’t have to be selfless in these endeavors, but I do think you need to be crystal clear on your why? If your own reasons are too much in conflicts with some selflessness traits, you may need to re-assess you plan.
Recognize and embrace your limitations and the companies limitations in regards to engagement. Know your limitations, create a reasonable plan, and if you stray from the plan, that’s cool. It’s even forgivable.
“Listen to understand” others needs. If you do that, you probably are much farther ahead than most in a) being selfless and b) creating the foundation of an engagement culture.
Be an ambassador of the project, even when it is difficult. Be an ambassador of the project even if you fail to model some of the tenants of engagement.
Apologize when necessary. If you do something that goes against some of the engagement practices you are trying to incorporate, it’s cool. It happens.
In a nutshell, no one can be completely selfless at work, nor do they have to be. And just because engagement practices intuitively incorporate selfless practices, it doesn’t mean you or your strategy will be perfect. The intersection of business and humanity is never easy, but if your intentions are good, you have a fighting chance of creating good things.
Today at FOT I get to announce a new sponsor, Paycor, and I get to announce to our audience something really cool that Paycor is doing with the launch of their HR Center of Excellence (HR COE) site! It’s a must-see for sure! Paycor has 30,000+ SMB companies they work with and they were able to bring all of this data together to benefit all of us.
Paycor built the HR Center of Excellence around six pillars: Recruiting, Benefits, Labor Cost, People Management, Compliance, and Employee Experience. These are the big rocks that all of us running SMB HR departments must move on a daily basis. The HR COE is packed with content that helps you deliver great results across each pillar.
The HR Center of Excellence is not a marketing site, it’s a resource site for SMB HR and Talent departments to help them move to world-class. Within the site, you can actually take 5 quizzes (they’re super quick):
After taking these quizzes you get a score and based on that score you get access to a certain level of content for the level you currently are. Basically, as you progress and advance your HR and Talent skills there are three phases:
Assess – what’s working, what’s not, where do we begin.
Optimize – what are some new ways we can get better, little by little.
Excel – this is where you take your department to the next level and become the envy of your peers!
So, how can you start on the path of becoming an HR Center of Excellence?
The best way to begin this journey is to start by taking one, or all, of the quizzes. There is no cost to this. If I was you, I would take a look at the five quizzes and begin with the one where I’m feeling the most pain. How can I get some early, quick wins and start delivering results my executives expect.
Once you take a quiz and assess where your department is at within that pillar do this:
– Start with one small change, something you know you can sustain. Maybe it’s something like ensuring every application gets replied to.
– Track it. Make sure it happens. Hold yourself and your team accountable to make it happen.
– After the first week, report the results to those above you. “We started doing this and here are the results, and here’s why this is important.”
– Celebrate each small win.
– Rinse, repeat.
What you don’t want to do is take all five quizzes and build a list of twenty-five things you need to change overnight and try and implement those things the next day. This will fail. You and your team will feel stressed, and you’ll just go right back to doing what you always have done. The path to becoming an HR Center of Excellence begins with understanding where you truly are and then making purposeful small steps to making yourself better each day.
We don’t become successful through failure. We become successful through small successful steps on our path to greatness. Good luck, and let me know how you’re doing on your path so I can celebrate with you!
Paycor is out to help SMB HR and Talent pros get better. We love that at FOT and we are proud to have them as a sponsor because they think like we think! You can go subscribe to Paycor’s HR Center of Excellence newsletter and download a blueprint for the HR Center of Excellence, by clicking this link. As with every FOT sponsor, Paycor has agreed to allow us to write without limits, that’s pretty cool as well! If you haven’t checked out Paycor lately, you should, this isn’t your Mom’s payroll company!
Ahhh. The Olympics. The beauty. The drama. The similarities to our work world.
The 2018 Winter Olympics are just beginning, but the anticipation of great competition and hyper-sports analogies are in full blast. And all the Tonya and Nancy memories. Seems like just yesterday.
Therefore, it’s only fitting to highlight the talent trends between our HR lives and the Olympic scene.
The New Events: PyeongChang will debut some new events – Mixed doubles curling (can’t wait to see the outfits for this event); Mass-start speedskating (bound to draw some blood); and BIG-Air (160ft) snowboarding (because regular snowboarding isn’t dangerous enough).
The New Talent: Internal freelancers, pop-up organizations, predictive analytics in hiring and planning, recruiting intact teams, and talent sharing among organizations. These innovative approaches to talent will necessitate BIG changes in HR and overall people processes. And we all know how adept most organizations are at change. If over 50% of the workforce is on-demand, what happens to communication, culture and succession planning?
Frigid Temps: No more tropic-like temps from Vancouver and Sochi; PyeongChang takes us back to Lillehammer in ’94. A reading from the PyeongChang Olympic Stadium recently showed -8 degrees Fahrenheit. Polo Ralph Lauren will outfit Team USA in heated parkas powered by a battery pack.
Frigid Relations: Like ice-cold temps, it’s gotten to be downright chilly in the workplace. Salary history bans, dusting off sexual harassment training videos, increased focus and demand for D&I pros, and likely the death knell for anyone still hanging onto liquid lunches. All of this means more focus, communication and work for HR to get relations back on track in order to attract and retain key talent.
No Age Limits on Talent: The Olympics has no age limits. Claudia Pechstein, German speedskater, is 45 and the first woman to compete in seven Olympics. Americans Kelly Clark, Kikkan Randall and Shani Davis are all appearing in their fifth Olympics. Vincent Zhou is the youngest U.S. Olympian at 17.
And since NHL players will not compete in the Olympics since ’94, Brian Gionta said buh-bye to NHL offers so he could return to the Olympics 12 years after his last appearance.
No Age Limits on Talent: With skilled talent pools shrinking, low unemployment, stronger economic times, older workers leaving, younger workers avoiding corporations – the competition for talent is even more intense. Data scientists and engineers to manage AI. Workforce planners to manage on-demand talent and global mobility. Marketers to keep potential talent, in addition to existing talent and customers, engaged. HR will be in demand to harness all the necessary resources.
Just as exciting as the Olympics, these talent challenges and opportunities should get HR pros hyped up. This is the time to shine and to arm your organization with every (legal) advantage possible. What are you going to do about adapting to on-demand talent? How do you ensure gender equality across your company? And how will you address the shrinking talent pool effectively?
It seems the Olympics come around faster and faster every four years, even though the reality of time is the same. For HR, the pace has picked up and we must face the talent challenges now. Otherwise, they will quickly be on us out of nowhere, like a pipe to Nancy’s knee fast!
I recently had a wonderful conversation with a colleague who was asked to create a training program for our organization that would teach and foster “Critical Thinking”. The request makes perfect sense. We want to nurture the minds of our workforce so they are able to think critically.
Or do we? Do we need more Critical Thinkers? Or, do we need something else? I’m being critical. Honestly, I am tired of people trying to prove how smart they are just because they can criticize someone else’s thoughts. Good for you, bro, but do you have any better ideas?
Leaf Group did a great job describing a Critical Thinker:
If you are a critical thinker you examine the situation and facts and think in a linear and rational way. The critical thinker gathers information, analyzes it and evaluates it. If you think critically you are able to separate fact from opinion. You like details and clear-cut information.
It is suggested that typical thought is biased. As a result in the business world, much of our thoughts can waste time and money. We often continue moving towards the status quo, supporting ideas because of who created them, and go along to get along.
So, what does a Critical Thinker do?
Organize the info
Structure their thoughts
All good stuff, right? Yes, when used correctly, critical thinking can be wonderful. Here is where it gets hairy – we’ve been taught how to think critically since Middle School English class. Do we really need more Critical Thinkers?
Sometimes Critical Thinkers are the “No” before “Yes” folks. The arguers. The stalemate creators. The analysis-paralysis-rabbit-hole-chasers.
So, in a fast paced work environment where companies are trying to outpace the other, should you really be bringing in even more Critical Thinkers? I believe some of us will look around our organization and wonder why the hell we have so many. Perhaps there is another type of talent we should be recruiting and fostering.
What about Creative Thinkers?
Leaf Group states that Creative Thinkers:
Tend to be imaginative and like to brainstorm. A creative thinker looks at things from various perspectives, coming up with ideas and making novel and uncharacteristic connections. The creative thinker often goes against standard views and is apt to take risks. A creative person is curious. He likes a challenge, seeks out problems to solve and is imaginative.
In order to stay ahead, organizations need to get creative, so perhaps they should recruit talent that is able to do so. This may mean changing some of your stale interview questions. Inc. has done a fantastic job assisting business leaders in their effort to hire creativity. I encourage you to read the article, but for those of you who like to skim, here were my takeaways on how to attract Creative Thinkers:
Determine how creative you actually want your creative folks to get. You need focused creativity. You want innovators, not someone who wants to count stars all night.
Creative people are attracted to creative people. Get creative with your careers website and your job descriptions. Hey corporate CEOs, maybe even stop using Times New Roman. (gasp!)
Look for folks with adaptability. It might not typically attract you, but maybe those world-travelling hostel-sleepers are better candidates than you think.
In the end, I think there is a need to balance the talent of the organization. Attract a mix of Critical and Creative thinkers and set them loose. So while critical thinking assesses and judges assumptions about ideas, creative thinking develops unique solutions. Oh-oh! Perhaps you could create a little brain army of folks who can do both! Tim Hurson calls these Productive Thinkers.
In Conclusion, if you want to be innovative then hire more Creative Thinkers and let them get to work. Want to find out how viable those divergent ideas are? Then set the Critical Thinkers loose to poke holes. Want to keep spinning your wheels? Well then keep hiring Critical Thinkers and let the Creative Thinkers find a place they will be happy counting the stars.
We have heard the saying a million times: “Don’t believe everything you read”. Or maybe it is “don’t believe everything you hear or see on TV”. In any event, written, verbal or visual, with the advent of social media and 24-hour cable news, we are bombarded with a smorgasbord of “news” on demand. And how do we know if we are getting the whole story or the true story. One can look at the last presidential election and the controversy over fake news on sites, including most notably Facebook, by all accounts one of the most visited and read websites in the world.
For me, the real conversation and issue is not so much fake news, but real news. It seems that every news outlet, regardless of their political affiliations, has taken to editorializing and spinning their position into their reporting. For me, news should come unfiltered, or as close to unfiltered as possible. I am not sure that is even possible anymore. Opinion and spin is part of every spec of media we consume today.
Take last week’s State of the Union speech by our president. Whether you like or hate him, some things he said resonated with independents and even a few Democrats. How do I know this? Well CNN conducted a poll with a 48% full approval rating. The issue is that they editorialized what it means. Now I don’t know about you, but I can make my own judgments of data. If 70% of the polled group partially or fully approved of his speech… well, that’s the number.
But then the fun starts—Fox spins it way right, MSNBC way left, and of course, CNN adds a banner on the bottom of the screen as they report the news stating, “Their reason why they believe the number was 48% approval”. I would say it was an editorial add-on. Are we all that stupid?
The reporter, in many cases, has become as important as the story itself. We have all come to have our own favorite narrators of our daily information. I am as guilty as any of us. I like Anderson Cooper and Chris Cuomo on CNN. I also like Tucker Carlson on Fox (even though I don’t often agree with his viewpoints) and Bryant Gumball on HBO Real Sports. Except for Gumball, they each spin the news of the day in a certain direction. Sometimes my views are biased by their points of view. I also have my favorite bloggers and websites for HR and Talent information. I won’t mention any one person, however, I read my colleagues pieces religiously here and on the other sites I write for.
So, this leads me to HR news and social media specifically. For the most part, I believe that access to unbiased HR news is sorely lacking. There are certainly some great bloggers out there and I respect most of them for their viewpoints and brevity in discussing issues publicly. But let’s be honest, they are not HR news reporters. We, and they, are editorial writers at best and critics at worst. What they are though are folks who are at the front of the innovation curve. They see the trends or new software first and give us their often-unfiltered perspective. Without them, we would be in the dark ages of cutting-edge information or awareness of the next shift in how we do our work.
The few magazines out there in the field are either a year behind the curve of innovation or tainted by being the underdog desperately trying to find an audience. For the second group, they often put their editorial angle on the products too. Maybe it has something to do with advertising support and I factor that in as I peruse their articles.
For the few Talent and HR practitioners that are at the front of the curve, they typically rely on their own networks or a couple of sites that those in the know read regularly. For a few with the privilege of large budgets, or prestigious roles, there is access to the Mckinsey’s, Accenture’s and Gallup’s of the world doing some interesting stuff. However, most of us just can’t rely on having access to leading-edge organizations as our source for attaining new research or the latest and greatest new software offerings. As a profession, we are sorely lacking credible sources for unbiased news and timely news at that.
SHRM magazine and their website, along with World at Work, HR Executive magazine, and a few others make a noble attempt. But there is too long a lag time on the type of news we need to hear timely about our own profession. Maybe that is part of the function’s problem. Our knowledge or lack of it in a timely and relevant way….They are now relying on their social media too, to get the word out faster.
A handful of us currently relies on participating in talent oriented conferences and unconferences to keep up to date with trends and talk behind the scenes with insiders to get our news firsthand and play with the latest software. There are several this spring. I will be at SHRM’s Talent conference in Vegas, speaking and listening, along with a couple of my Fellow FOT writers. Workhuman is another one I highly recommend.
Some might argue that if we had more timely news, no one would consume it except for the folks reading here on FOT. I just don’t buy it!… I am open to hearing suggestions on how to move the bar… if you have one give me a howler… ’til then I am turning the volume down and just taking in the data points. I can do my own editorializing too.
Posting jobs on social media is the minimum — and in today’s competitive recruiting world the minimum isn’t enough. That’s why we here at FOT put together a webinar comparing, contrasting, and ranking the top social media platforms for recruitment marketing advertising. We cut through the noise and help you make smart recruiting decisions with your recruitment marketing budget related to social.
Join Kris Dunn and the FOT team for “The Talent Acquisition/HR Leader’s Guide to Social Media Buys for Recruiting”, sponsored by Jobvite! On February 15th at 1pm ET/12Noon CT/10am PT, we’ll give you the following goodies:
–A primer on buying recruiting ads (in all their various forms) with the players you expect – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and more.
–No-nonsense rankings of where to spend your money on social platforms based on your specific needs – with sub rankings related to reach, audience and more.
–Benchmarks on what others are doing related to their overall recruiting budget – in social, job boards, Indeed and more – to give you a sense for how you compare.
–The best way to run recruiting campaigns that don’t cost you anything – and are probably right under your nose.
–Some quick-start templates to use to get social ads rolling for that tough to fill job that’s currently crushing your soul.
Your job is to find a rule based on those three numbers that will allow you to predict the next number in the series. Ready – GO!
I’ll give you the answer at the end, but take some time… jot down your theory. Don’t jump ahead and read the answer – it will ruin the fun and all of us at FOT will know if you cheated and we’ll social media shame you. See, we have a tracking pixel on this page that tells us who reads the post and if they jumped from the top to the bottom within the first 20 seconds of this post loading in your browser. Don’t be that guy or that girl. Srsly.
But here’s my premise: HR makes employee engagement complex and difficult on purpose when a simpler explanation is probably the right answer.
Why do I think that?
Glad you asked.
It Ain’t Worth It Unless It’s Hard
Why do people think brewing coffee with 20 steps, precise water temperature and atomic-clock level steeping time makes a better cup of coffee than simply plugging in the Mr. Coffee?
Why are “big data”, artificial intelligence and systems thinking pushing their big, complicated noses into the HR tent? Because it feeds our need for complexity. Humans LOVE complexity. There is actually a decision bias attached to it called, not-complex at all, complexity bias.
We assume someone using big, obscure words knows what they are talking about. We think complex math is better than really smart deductions and insights based on our innate ability to recognize patterns. Complexity makes things seem important and special. Think about the coffee example. Can a Mr. Coffee brew a good cup of coffee? Does the 20-step process really create a beverage that much better? In other words, is the juice worth the squeeze? And what about all the corporate bureaucracy designed to increase the relative importance of the activity (or the department requiring it?) Complexity elevates the position of an issue in our primitive human brains.
Simple ideas are relegated to “newbies” while higher paid minds wrestle with the complex issues.
Yet are they really complex – or are we making them complex because we want them to be?
We feel better when we accomplish something complex – even if it doesn’t need to be. And like our executives in their mahogany cube-farms, their complex problems allow them to create their own little tribe. A tribe of insiders – consultants – gurus – ninjas.
If things aren’t complex we wouldn’t need all the support, would we?
Time To Bring It Back To Simpler Times
Two things cross my mind as I think about all the complexity in our business world.
One – the quote attributed to Einstein (you all knew I’d get here right?)…
“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”
And Two – Occam’s Razor – a scientific principle that states for of any given set of explanations for an event occurring, it is most likely that the simplest one is the correct one.
I’m not suggesting our problems in HR with engagement aren’t complex. They are. After all, we’re dealing with human beings – nothing more complex than that. But just because the object of our focus is complex doesn’t mean our solution needs to be complex as well. In fact, I’d say that in many cases, the more complex our problem, the simpler our thinking should be. After all, if we are going have impact with our employees we have to find the thing that applies in most cases – not in each case. I do believe engagement is local and personal – that’s the “what” part of the engagement equation (or the “why”). But “how” you get there is pretty standard.
In HR we need to simplify our solution sets. Get it down to one thing.
Every research project I read, every blog post from the HR-Intelligencia, ultimately boil down to exactly the same thing.
If you talk to people more often, you will have greater engagement.
I almost double-dog dare you to pull out any post on HR and engagement, and at the core of it is a finding that can be fixed, mitigated or helped by simply having more in-real-life conversations.
Let’s not get wrapped up in the all the data points we CAN have or even do have. Let’s not run fantastical and mysterious statistical analysis and pay consultants in bitcoin just to find out we need to talk to our employees more.
Sometimes it really is that simple.
Recognition drives engagement – so does saying thank you in person. Calling people to tell them how you value them in the organization.
Find their “why” drives engagement – so does asking people what they are passionate about and finding a way to connect that to their day to day work.
Having a voice in the direction and success of the organization drives engagement – so does asking and acting on the thoughts and feelings of your employees.
It really isn’t any more complex than that, is it?
Here’s the problem IMO… if we make it simple, then it isn’t easy to hide. Managers will be exposed. Entire segments of HR consulting will disappear tomorrow.
So here’s the Occam’s Razor for HR and engagement.
Talk to people one on one.
Listen more than you talk.
Simple is hard. But worth it.
Oh yea… the answer to initial problem at the start of the post…
Find a rule from those three numbers that will allow you to predict the next number in this series: 7… 84… 3,321
The answer: The next number in the series can be any number larger than one before it.
That’s it. Nothing too complicated. Just a larger number.