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Sadly, I must admit that I received this question a while ago and have been looking for a way to offer some good resources. Parental leave is an important subject and one that the U.S. often fails at miserably

Hi Sharlyn. Quick question for you: what do you think is a ‘good’ maternity policy for a startup of 15 people to have? My company is in Missouri and they offer disability, which is all that is legally required. I’m working on building a business case for more but am struggling with a baseline for a company of our size. Any thoughts or suggested resources? Thanks!

This question is so hard for many reasons. We don’t know what industry the company is in. It’s possible the industry has a baseline that should be considered. We also don’t know the company’s growth plans. The organization might want to think about the future when making this type of decision instead of creating a policy today and then changing it in a year or two. I’m taking a broad approach, but here are a few resources to consider when it comes to parental leave:

First of all, if you are a member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), then you have access to their “Ask an Advisor” member benefit. You can call, chat or email with an advisor who will send you relevant resources. I’ve used it for inclement weather policies, breaks and lunch policies, etc. 

Additionally, the SHRM website has a forms section, where you can find parental leave forms as well as information about California parental leaves and guarantees of reinstatement. Not only do companies need to think about the best benefits to attract and retain talent, but how to legally implement and maintain those benefits.

If you’re looking for a specific policy that will give you some creative inspiration, I shared some details about Cisco’s parental leave policy in the post “Organizations: It’s Time for Family Friendly Leave Programs”.

And if you’re trying to sell a policy to senior management, it might be helpful to check out this post where our friends at Kronos share the details of their MyTime program, an open vacation benefit. While this reader note isn’t about unlimited vacation time, Kronos’ MyTime program provided them with the cost savings to expand their parental leave benefits.  

We don’t always have to look at the United States to get creative inspiration about employee benefits. This infographic shares some information about parental leave policies around the world

Finally, it’s important to remember that parental leave is a topic that is changing rapidly. Michael Carty from XpertHR discussed the impact of UK’s shared parental leave lawrecently in an HR Bartender post. 

Parental leave is an important topic. Employees want to know that they are working for a company that respects their family life. Today and in the future. Honestly, it’s just good business. Ultimately, organizations will want to do their homework and create a benefit that aligns with their company culture. 

Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby at the Venetian Resort Hotel in Las Vegas, NV

The post Bookmark This! Parental Leave Policies Edition appeared first on hr bartender.

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I’ve been asked many times to share resources about HR careers and becoming a human resources professional. Today’s reader note has an interesting facet – they’re studying to be a lawyer.

Hi there. Thanks for taking out the time to read my query. I am a law student currently in my final year. I’m contemplating earning a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) with human resources as my specialization. I have received a call from a respected business school with one of the best HR programs in the country. I want to make an informed decision whether to pursue the Master’s so I have a couple of questions:

I’m struggling with how I would align my existing legal knowledge with the knowledge I would gain in a business / HR program. It would really be very helpful if you could provide me with some guidance regarding this. That leads me to my second question. What HR opportunities could be leveraged by a legal person such as myself?

Any help would be welcome. Thanks again. 

Obviously, the decision to earn a degree (and in what subject) is a very personal one. So, I don’t know that it would be fair to give out specific advice. But there is definitely a relationship between HR and the law. 

When I received this note, I immediately thought of a friend of mine who I know has sat on both sides of the HR and law table. Carrie B. Cherveny, Esq. is senior vice president of strategic client solutions and chief compliance officer at HUB International Southeast, an insurance brokerage providing a full-suite of coverage, investment, benefits, and wealth management services. Luckily, I asked Carrie if she would share her story and she said “yes”. 

Carrie, I know you’ve been both an HR pro and now you’re a practicing lawyer. What would you say are the common knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) between the two professions?

[Cherveny] In the role of legal advisor and in human resources I have always understood that I was there to serve and support both internal and external customers. I am, at the very core – a in a service role.  My philosophy:

  • I am here to serve and support those who rely on me.
  • When someone calls me, he/she is likely concerned/stressed – it’s my responsibility to do what I can to put him/her at ease, make a potentially difficult call as pleasant as it can be, and most of all – be helpful and responsive.
  • There’s always someone out there who would be happy to take my place, so I remind myself each day that I’m fortunate to do the job I do.

It’s this philosophy that has shaped my paradigm for the job I do and the service I provide. The four KSAs that I use every day are:  

A Service Mentality – My first job in human resources was in the hospitality industry. After I completed my masters, I began working for Marriot International in its healthcare division. At 24 years old (or so) I traveled to Washington DC where I spent several days at the Marriott International headquarters. Many years later I still remember the vital lessons I learned: 1) We are here to serve those who rely upon us and 2) Our service should be courteous, professional, and prompt

Analytical Skills – Near the end of my HR career, I worked for a boss that required I develop a myriad of spreadsheets and conduct extensive data analytics. I’ve grown to appreciate his insistence that we compile data, organize it in a variety of ways, and look for patterns, details, and anomalies to help better understand our circumstances. Both as an attorney and an HR professional you have to allow the facts, data, and documents tell the story.  

People and Communication Skills – I’ve met all kinds of HR professionals and attorneys in my life and those who excelled in their profession were the same people who knew how to communicate with and relate to the people they served. Empathy, compassion, and the ability to deliver constructive and honest feedback are key skills for an HR person and an attorney.

Reading People and Circumstances – Both as an attorney and as an HR professional, reading the person that you’re speaking with, along with contextual circumstances, is an extremely valuable skill. What I have learned is that in all cases there is more going on than what ‘meets the eye’. Pay attention to non-verbal’s, tone of voice, facial expressions, and the smallest details and pieces of information. The details tell the story. 

If I’m a legal professional considering HR careers, what would I be surprised to find out about the job? 

[Cherveny] I think attorneys would be surprised by the nature of many of the issues that make their way to the HR department. Quite frequently, the nature of the issues that arrive in human resources can (at times) be relatively small or inconsequential. Attorneys generally become involved in matters of significance, consequence, or risk.  However, the day-to-day in human resources can be quite different. 

HR professionals very frequently do far more than employee relations. I think an attorney may be surprised by the variety of projects and areas of work that arrive in the HR department. As an HR professional I’ve been responsible for in projects including marketing, budgeting, sales, safety/OSHA, purchasing, commercial insurance, and vendor relations/negotiations.

And let’s do the reverse. If I’m an HR pro and decide to get my law degree, what would I be surprised to learn?

[Cherveny] Your professional success won’t mean much in law school. By the time I went to law school I had been in charge of two different HR departments for multi-million-dollar organizations. I was mentoring several new HR professionals and I was a frequent contributor and speaker at HR events. I was confident. I was successful. I was totally unprepared! 

Think of law school as a total reboot. Who you were in your past professional life is not particularly relevant in law school – especially in the first year. The first year of law school is a pre-defined curriculum. In year-two you can begin to add electives. Imagine my excitement to finally take an employment- law class! After 12 months of total discomfort and stress I was sure I was going to finally find my groove. I was very excited to read all those cases that I heard attorneys reference throughout my HR career. Wrong! Would you be surprised to learn that my employment law class was my third most difficult class in law school (just behind property and agency)? It was! 

Why was it so difficult for me? What I learned during my time as an HR professional was the practical application of legal principles. Black-letter law and cases are very different than real-world application.  Law school will remake you into someone stronger and more capable than you ever imagined you could be. Trust the process. Be prepared to feel like a fish out of water for at least the first semester. Be open to reinvention. Be excited about the possibilities. 

One of the things that I was surprised to learn is that some individuals study the law and get a law degree, but don’t practice law. Is this a strategy? What are the pros / cons to this approach?

[Cherveny] Sometimes it’s a strategy – sometimes it’s a necessity because of challenges passing the bar. In today’s increasingly competitive educational environment, a Juris Doctorate (aka ‘JD’) is a way to set you apart from the MBAs and other advanced degrees. Let’s talk about the cons first:

CON: Law school is expensive! And stressful!!Even in-state tuition at a public law school is by no means a cheap endeavor. Individuals who choose to attend law school and take advantage of law-school loans should be prepared to carry some significant debt after graduation. 

Law school stress is nothing like any other stress I had experienced. I had a master’s degree, worked in corporate America, been in court hearings, depositions, board meetings, and even had a shoe thrown at my head by a very angry CEO. I thought I knew stress and anxiety well – I felt we were old friends! Law school is a completely different kind of stress and anxiety. Its fiercely competitive and failure of any kind is completely public. 

CON: Perception of a JD vs. Practicing Attorney– recently I was partnering with a co-worker who is a JD but chose not to sit for the bar. Instead, she went right to work and is now a very successful sales professional. She shared with me that initially when she graduated from law school, she encountered some people who viewed her choice not to sit for the bar negatively – as if she were somehow less qualified or less intelligent than other people who had a JD and sat for the bar exam. 

PRO: Competitive Edge- In a world where MBAs seem to be a far more common achievement – JDs remain a unique and impressive achievement. A JD sets you apart from many of the other advanced degrees in a very competitive educational environment.

PRO: Versatility and Relevance- When I was making the decision to go to law school everyone had an opinion. I was well on my way in my career and had already realized some significant success and growth in my career path. Why would I toss it all aside? Because I knew that a JD degree could never be a bad thing. 

While I initially followed the traditional path of litigation, in the past 8 years I’ve had non-litigator opportunities become available to me that never would have been an option without my JD. The work that I do now – helping clients operate compliant employee benefit plans and HR departments – would never have been available to me without a JD. Regardless of whether you take a traditional path of litigation or go in another direction with your JD it will be something that you rely on throughout your career. 

Last question. The reader mentions talking to a college / university in evaluating HR careers. What are 2 – 3 questions that someone considering a Master’s or Juris Doctorate should ask (to help them make this decision)?

[Cherveny] To quote Stephen Covey, ‘Begin with the end in mind.’ I would suggest finding professionals who have achieved the goals that you are considering for yourself. Find individuals working in the field or industry of your interest. If you’re interested in a JD and applying it to a corporate position, then speak with executives in organizations who have a JD and never practiced law. Ask the questions that will help you make your decision:

  • Was the JD helpful or instrumental in his/her success? How did the JD add value to his/her career and growth?
  • Would he/she do it the same way if he/she did it all over again? What would he/she do differently? 
  • As a person who makes hiring decisions, would he/she value a candidate with a JD over a candidate without one? What skills and experience are most important to him/her when making a hiring decision? 

Another great resource is recruiters. Speak with recruiters who recruit for your industry of interest. Recruiters will have the best view into the job market and the desirable educations, skill-sets and experience. 

A huge thanks to Carrie for sharing her experiences with us. As the mantra of “owning your career” becomes more popular it’s important to do our homework and ask ourselves a few questions before making big career decisions. Carrie’s advice to reach out to your network and understanding the job market are spot on no matter what career path you’re considering. 

Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby at the WorkHuman Conference in Austin, TX

The post HR Careers for Legal Professionals – Ask #HR Bartender appeared first on hr bartender.

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(Editor’s Note: Today’s post is brought to you by our friends at Kronos, a leading provider of workforce management and human capital management cloud solutions. For the second consecutive year, Kronos has been named one of the FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For. Many congratulations to them! Enjoy today’s article!)

Last fall, I shared with you a wonderful (and FREE!) learning opportunity offered by our friends at Kronos. Well, it’s back by popular demand. The spring HR & Payroll eSymposium will be held on Wednesday, May 1, 2019 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern. This is one event you do not want to miss.

I don’t have to tell you about the importance of professional development. But I also know that sometimes we’re so focused on everyone else’s development that we forget to schedule time for ourselves. That’s why I wanted to share with you some specifics about this event. 

HR and Payroll eSymposium Agenda

The eSymposium is designed to bring HR and payroll professionals education on the topics we deal with most. This one-day experience will offer three tracks – HR, payroll, and workforce management – with many sessions eligible for recertification credits (more on that in a minute). As participants, we can follow one track or switch back and forth to explore the topics that we think matter most to our organizations. I checked out the agenda and there are five sessions that caught my eye, both HR and payroll related.

The Turning Employee Experience into Financial Strategy – If you’ve never had the opportunity to hear John Frehse, senior managing director at Ankura, speak, this is your chance. John is going to talk about the challenges associated with quantifying the value of investment in employees — and how this lack of clarity can cause an unintentional misallocation of human capital investments. He’ll explain the steps that organizations can take to improve the employee experience through strategy and technology. 

The Future of Work: Don’t Believe All the Hype About Robots Wiping Out Human Jobs – Another speaker that I was delighted to see on the agenda was Mollie Lombardi, co-founder and CEO of Aptitude Research Partners. She’s going to share what steps top companies are taking today to balance people and automation along with some strategies for integrating people and technology to adapt and stay competitive. Prepare now for the changing technology and employment landscape.

But strategy sessions aren’t the only type of content being offered during this eSymposium. We’ve seen a lot of conversation lately about compliance matters and I was happy to see that this event is going to cover those issues from both a payroll and HR perspective. 

Charting Your Course Through Changing Regulations – Explore how a multistate workforce comes with challenges that include compliance with a variety of rules and regulations across different states and municipalities — some of which may conflict with federal law — and how failure to comply could be quite costly. Multnomah Group Senior Consultant and CCO Bonnie Treichel will not only cover recent and expected changes but she will also discuss best practices for monitoring changes to the rules to ensure that HR can grow the company without drowning in legalese.

Payroll Compliance Update: New Laws and Required Changes in 2019 –The requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) are complex and often misunderstood by employers. These misinterpretations about how the FLSA is applied and the rules for determining overtime pay can expose an employer to millions of dollars in back pay claims. Calvin House, partner with Gutierrez, Preciado & House, LLP,will explain the requirements for white-collar exemptions, how tipped employees are treated under the FLSA, the facts that the Department of Labor (DOL) uses to determine whether a worker is exempt as an intern, as well as trends in enforcement. 

And in full disclosure, I certainly hope you will take a few moments to listen to my interview with Kronos CEO Aron Ain. During the interview, Ain takes us inside Kronos’ award-winning culture, showcasing the surprisingly simple rules that any organization can follow to replicate their success. Kronos employee engagement has continued to climb to an all-time high of 87 percent and has earned the company many coveted best-place-to-work distinctions around the world, including the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) When Work Works, Glassdoor’s 100 Best Places to Work, and Forbes’s America’s Best Employers.

Work Inspired: How to Build an Organization Where Everyone Loves to Work – Imagine a company where everybody loves to work, where employees feel not just “satisfied” but truly cared for, respected, and energized. Think of the impact this would have on recruitment, retention, customer satisfaction, innovation, and overall performance. This session will focus on how to create an inspired culture by embracing employee development and engagement as a growth strategy, including holding managers accountable and giving employees their time back. 

Now of course, I couldn’t list the entire agenda (as much as I would love to). This is just a sampling of the sessions being offered. You’ll notice when you check out the complete agenda on the Kronos website that there are more sessions than you have time. Please don’t let that discourage you!

Listen to the Recordings if You Can’t Make the Live Event

There will be recordings of each session and you’ll be able to download any session materials. So, if you’re not able to listen to the live sessions on May 1 OR your learning preference is to space listening out over time, then you certainly can. That’s the beauty of this learning format.  

Also, let me add that there have been a few times in my career when I’ve been responsible for both human resources and payroll. Having an event for both payroll and HR is a big selling point. I could see this as an opportunity to bring everyone together, order lunch, and listen to a session as a group. Because the event is free, it’s a good way to encourage HR to learn more about payroll and vice versa. 

As someone who has attended Kronos conferences in the past, I can speak from experience that Kronos delivers quality professional development. I know that I’ll be signing up for the eSymposium and hope you will do the same. 

Kronos HR & Payroll eSymposium

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern

Registration and Details: 

https://www.kronos.com/about-us/events/kronos-hr-payroll-esymposium-5-1

Oh, and P.S. The Kronos Spring eSymposium is eligible for recertification credits! I’m sure some of you were wondering if this event qualifies for continuing education credits. And yes, it does. Most of the sessions have been pre-approved by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI), and the American Payroll Association. Kronos will be providing a certificate of participation for your files. So, if you’re certified, this event is a no-brainer. It covers the trifecta of learning: 1) free, 2) high quality programs, and 3) approved for recertification credits. I don’t have to tell you that this doesn’t happen very often. So sign up now. 

The post FREE Learning Opportunity: Kronos Spring #HR and #Payroll eSymposium appeared first on hr bartender.

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Kurt Lewin Change Model

Everyone needs to deal with change. Doesn’t matter if it’s a change we’ve decided to make or one that’s forced on us. It also doesn’t matter if it’s small or big. In fact, sometimes it’s the small changes we decide to make ourselves that can be the most difficult. 

Regardless of the type of change you’re processing, it’s important to find a change management model that works for you. Personally, I’ve always like Lewin’s model. Kurt Lewin was a psychologist and major contributor in the areas of group dynamics and organizational development. His change model is very easy to remember, which is one of the reasons I like it.

The UNFREEZE stage is where we realize that change is necessary and how it will impact us. We start thinking about how to create change.  

During the CHANGE step, we begin to do things differently. We work through the discomfort and challenges of changing our routine.

Finally, in the REFREEZE phase, we acknowledge the new normal. This is also when we can celebrate the success of dealing with the change.

I recently learned another way of thinking about Lewin’s model that I thought was pretty creative. I was facilitating the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) seminar on “Organizational Development: Designing Successful Organizational Performance” and we were talking about change interventions. One of the participants said they talk about change in terms of “pencils, pens, and Sharpies”. So, I asked for permission to share their idea here.

PENCILS represent those current processes, policies, or habits that we have. They can also be considered tentative. Things written in pencil can be erased and changed. 

PENS are things that become more permanent. It might be an action we plan to have for quite some time, but still realize that at some point in the future it’s going to change. 

SHARPIES are for those actions that are going to be around for a very long time. We want everyone to know about this change. Think bold and ingrained in our culture!

I immediately liked this 3-step approach because I could see it being used as part of organizational decision making. For example, the group can agree that an idea is “ready to be PENNED” or we don’t have enough experience with this process to “document it in a SHARPIE”. It also makes for a good visual. 

Next time your organization is going through a change management process, think about where they are. Is the group still penciling? Or have they moved to pen? Maybe even Sharpie? It might help to guide the process change in a new and different way.  

The post Change Management: A 3 Step Model appeared first on hr bartender.

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A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post with tips for attending the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Annual Conference and Expo. The event is June 23-26, 2019 in Las Vegas. I received a comment on the post asking what kind of swag will be available at the event. Frankly, it’s a great question! 

I believe conference swag is important. It’s marketing. When you give someone a logo item, the goal is for them to keep and use it. So, every time they look at it, they see your logo and think of you. That’s the purpose of swag. This means the goal should be to give people swag that they want to keep and/or use.

Honestly, I don’t know what kind of swag exhibitors are planning to give away during the conference. But it did occur to me that instead of finding out what kind of swag exhibitors are considering, let’s tell them what kind of swag conference attendees want to receive. Right? This will tell exhibitors what will attract you to their booth and what you’re prepared to keep and use. 

I’ve put together a quick one question poll about conference swag. I got this list from a Facebook group I belong to where I asked about conference swag. The group gave me some awesome feedback about their favorite swag items. Some people even posted pictures of them. Just proving the point that people will keep and remember companies that give out good swag. I’ve put their comments in categories for easy reading and voting. 

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If you haven’t checked out Steve Boese’s HR Technology blog lately, he ran a great explanation of the latest job openings and labor turnover survey (i.e. JOLTS report). What I liked about his summary was the closing paragraph that talked about the pros and cons to having more open jobs than job seekers. 

Obviously, lots of open jobs is great for companies because it could be a sign of increased business growth. It could also be a great thing for job seekers because they can find good career opportunities. Boese also points out the downside to this situation. Companies might feel it’s a negative that they have to raise wages to attract talent. They might end up paying more for a candidate who ultimately doesn’t deliver excellent performance. It could also be a negative for job seekers who make a leap to another employer and later regret the decision. 

But there’s another player in the “more job openings than candidates” scenario that organizations need to keep in mind. That’s the customer. In recent months, I’ve become very aware of how not being fully staffed impacts customer service. 

I went to have some routine maintenance done on my car. While I was there, the mechanic suggested having some belts replaced. So, I said, “Okay, let’s do it.” The mechanics response? “Oh, I don’t have the staff to do it. Can you come back in a few weeks? I hope to have hired someone by then.” Guess what happened. I found another mechanic to do the work. 

Since we moved to Gainesville, I finally found someone I like to style my hair. One day, I get a call from the salon saying that my stylist is pregnant (good news!) but she’s bedridden (not good news for me!). Unfortunately, they only a have a part-time back up stylist and she’s booked for the next three months. They said they would put me on a waiting list. Guess what happened. I found another stylist. 

These stories are examples of how being understaffed can impact the customer experience. This doesn’t even touch the other scenario that happens when companies are understaffed and load extra work on the remaining employees, who then get stressed out and cranky because they’re overworked. And they may pass that along to the customer. 

I wish I had a magic formula to answer a company’s staffing challenges. Unfortunately, I don’t. But here are five things I do know. 

  1. A better employee experience will help keep the employees you have.
  2. A better candidate experience could increase the number of people who accept job offers.
  3. Candidate sourcing involves more than posting jobs on LinkedIn and Indeed. (No offense to LinkedIn and Indeed).
  4. Hiring managers need to plan for jobs to be open longer than a few days or a week. 
  5. HR departments should start building a freelance network to help fill staffing gaps. 

The numbers would lead us to believe that the more job openings than candidates scenario is going to be around for a while. Organizations have to start thinking about how they’re going to take care of the customer while continuing to look for the best talent. 

P.S. Hey everyone! Just a quick note from behind the scenes. Mr. Bartender and I are celebrating our anniversary this month. We will be posting content but do have a few things planned so it won’t be on our regular schedule. Thanks for reading and supporting HR Bartender! It means a lot to us.

Image capture by Sharlyn Lauby while exploring EPCOT Center at Walt Disney World

The post Customer Service In the Age of Full Employment appeared first on hr bartender.

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One of the recent trends we’re seeing more conversation about is wellness and well-being. Frankly, it’s about time. I’m happy that organizations are realizing that the old saying “Leave your personal life at the office door.” doesn’t and shouldn’t apply.

Employee stress is a real workplace issue. According to a study from Colonial Life, more than 20 percent of workers spend more than five hours on the clock each week worrying. An additional 50 percent of employees said they lose between one and five hours of work to worry each week.

I don’t have to tell you that when employees spend their time worrying, they’re not being productive. And this costs organizations money. The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates there are approximately 128.5 million full-time employees earning an average of $21 per hour. This means the cost of employee worry is in the billions. 

What I did like about this infographic is how worry was separated from the category of stress. I’m not trying to get into a semantics argument, but I do wonder if employees just figure worry is part of being human and don’t take steps to address it before it becomes a bigger issue. 

Add to that the number of times an organization feels they’re being transparent or authentic when the reality is their doing “corporate vaguebooking” and adding to an employee’s worries. The infographic says that an employee’s biggest worries come from where? Yep, work.

Bottom-line: organizations and employees need to recognize worry and take steps when necessary to manage it. Some examples include:

My guess is many organizations already offer these types of programs either in-house or as part of a well-being program. If organizations do offer these types of programs, it’s important that employees know they exist and how to access them. An employee might be reluctant to stop by HR and ask about them. Don’t simply mention them during orientation and believe that’s enough. Sending regular reminders about all of the benefits available to employees is the right thing to do. 

Ultimately, organizations need to create a work environment that supports employees and provides a psychologically safe place for all. That happens through comprehensive benefits programs and supportive management. 

The post Worrying Is a Symptom of Employee Stress [infographic] appeared first on hr bartender.

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During last year’s HR Technology Conference, one of the speakers said something that I’ve been thinking about for a while. They said that we have to not only get buy in for our ideas and projects but keep it. Totally makes sense. But in reality, how often do we actually do it?

I know many times someone has said to me (or I’ve said to someone), “If you want that project to succeed, you must get buy in from senior management.” The question becomes, during those conversations where we ask someone in senior management to buy into our idea and support us, how often are we outlining what we really mean by “support” including asking what it takes to keep their support? It seems to me that when we’re looking for organizational support, we need to add that step. 

The process of garnering organizational buy in might look something like this:

  1. Identify who is the best champion for the project or initiative. Let’s face it some managers are better at this than others. Part of a project’s success is choosing the right champion or sponsor.
  2. Ask if they are open to hearing about the project. I believe this is their prerogative. It’s their political capital being put on the line.
  3. Pitch the idea using business research and value to the organization. I’d add include the potential obstacles and challenges. Your champion will want to know this anyway.
  4. Tell them their role as the champion of the project and get their commitment. This ties into #3. As you’re explaining the project, let them know where you believe they will provide the most value.
  5. Ask what needs to be done to keep their commitment. It could be as small as just sending regular reports or meeting with them over coffee occasionally. Or it could be more – like not changing an aspect of the project.

Senior managers get asked to champion projects all the time. In fact, I’ve seen senior managers forget projects they’ve bought-into. I don’t know that it’s really completely their fault. Sometimes project leaders forget to keep them in the loop. Senior managers also have changing priorities. Sometimes the projects they support today aren’t the projects they would support tomorrow (if you know what I mean). This is where having a plan in place to keep senior management support is critical. 

The last thing a project leader wants is to start working on a project only to discover that their senior management champion isn’t on board anymore. And this could happen for a variety of reasons that have nothing to do with the project itself. Business goals might shift, budgets and resources could be reallocated, or key staff members needed to focus in a different direction. 

By keeping senior management aligned with the project, it’s possible the staff and resources allocated to the project will stay intact. And if a redistribution of resources needs to happen, maybe the senior management champion can keep the project from totally being abandoned. So, keeping buy in might not help in the short-term but it would definitely help in the long-run. 

P.S. Speaking of the HR Technology Conference, it’s going to be here before we know it. This year’s conference is October 1 – 4, 2019 in Las Vegas. The event includes their annual “Women in Technology” pre-conference session. A must-attend in my book. Registration details can be found on the HR Technology website. 

Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby during the Qualtrics X4 Experience Management Summit in Salt Lake City, UT

The post How to Get and Keep Buy In From Senior Management appeared first on hr bartender.

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A few weeks ago, we asked you the question “If you were to start looking for a new job today, what would be the number one reason?” The answer won’t be a surprise. 

I went back and checked your responses from 2018 and guess what, the turnover reasons rank exactly the same: 1) compensation and benefits, 2) opportunities for advancement, 3) supportive management, and 4) flexible work. The percentages did change.  

  • Compensation and benefits increased 11 points (from 24 percent last year)
  • Opportunities for advancement increased a point (from 21 percent last year)
  • Supportive management decreased a point (from 20 percent in 2018)
  • Flexible work decreased 9 points (from 20 percent in 2018) 

Training and development was at the bottom and in the single digits both years. There could be a few reasons for this. I believe employees have really embraced the “own your career” mantra that became so popular during the Great Recession. As a result, training looks different. Training can take the form of MOOCs, books, blogs, webinars, etc. Many of these resources are free. 

From the survey results, I also noticed a few more things:

Flexible work is on the rise. I’m going to assume the year over year decrease in flexible work as a reason for turnover coincides with the increase in organizations offering it. I believe that companies are starting to realize with the increase in technology that they can offer this option, it doesn’t cost too much, and employees like it. It also keeps employees from choosing to freelance as a way to have a more flexible lifestyle

Speaking of freelancing, in this labor market, organizations do have to factor in the gig economy from two angles. First, employees looking for career advancement might choose freelancing as a way to have more control over their careers. And companies that don’t have much to offer in the way of career advancement might need to start looking at freelancers as a way to fill positions. While freelancing could cost more than an hourly employee, companies don’t have to pay benefits. Which leads us to the next point…

Compensation and benefits continue to be an the issue for workers. At some point, organizations will have to create competitive salary packages and benefits. If you want the best talent, it will be necessary. Not surprisingly, I’m starting to see an increasing number of organizations offering signing bonuses. 

Finally, management development still needs attention. While training was last on the list, that doesn’t mean organizations can stop doing it. One area that continues to be a cause of turnover is management. 

While this survey was only one question and there are many factors that go into turnover, there is one other interesting thing I’d like to point out. I didn’t ask the question “Why did you leave?” I asked the question “Why would you start looking?” They are two different questions. And for the past two years, employees have provided answers that they probably are very comfortable telling the company. 

In my experience, employees wouldn’t hesitate to tell me during an exit interview, “I’m making more money.” Or “I’m getting more responsibility.” On the other hand, employees were sometimes reluctant to say, “My boss is a jerk.” Because they didn’t want to burn a bridge.  See where I’m going with this? Employees are starting to look for new opportunities based on reasons that they are usually very open about – money and opportunities. Companies have the answer to turnover right in front of them. The question becomes are they going to do something about it?

P.S. Hey everyone! Just a quick note from behind the scenes. Mr. Bartender and I are celebrating our anniversary this month. We will be posting content, but do have a few things planned, so it may not be on our regular schedule. Thanks for reading and supporting HR Bartender! It means a lot to us.

The post Turnover 2019: Why Employees Leave [survey results] appeared first on hr bartender.

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I can’t remember what event I was at, but I remember the comment, “Employees aren’t the same as customers.” It’s true, they aren’t the same. But today’s Time Well Spent from our friends at Kronos reminds us that, on some level, they do expect the same experiences. 

Technology is doing some wonderful things for the customer experience. I can make doctor appointments and see my lab results using an app. If my flight is delayed and I miss my connection, the Delta Airlines app will automatically rebook me on the next flight. It’s those little things that make life easier. And if individuals can get that experience in their personal lives, it could drive the employee experience and they will expect it in their work lives. 

Use technology strategically. There are times when “going old school” is fun. But there are moments when it demonstrates otherwise. Organizations do not want to appear to be “behind the times”. The goal of technology is to free us up from the mundane so we can focus on things that technology can’t do – like having team conversations or making business decisions.

Technology is definitely a part of the employee experience. Organizations use technology to run their operation. They use technology to source and hire the best talent. Employees expect technology to help them do their jobs. This includes everything from email to artificial intelligence and employee self-service. Employees can see how technology is helping them manage their personal lives and they want to know their employer is going to do the same.

Organizations don’t have to be early adopters for everything. Let me balance the push for organizations to adopt technology with a caveat. Companies do not have to adopt every single new piece of technology that comes to market. It’s perfectly okay to wait a while, see what others are saying, and test drive it before buying. The challenge comes when organizations take years to do that. 

While employees and customers are different, they are both essential to our business. And they expect a good employee experience with the company – both in terms of their face-to-face and technological interactions. 

The post Employee Experience Must Mirror the Customer Experience appeared first on hr bartender.

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