Category: Thoughts & Musings
Which type of employee do you have working for you? Alternatively, which type are YOU?
- How do much money do you want to make per year? How much net worth do you want to have? Why? By when? How will you add more value to get there?
- If it wasn’t for the money what would you be doing today? How can you incorporate that desire into your current work?
- What do you want to stop doing today? What’s not cool anymore or never was? How will you delegate or eliminate the activity?
- What feels unfair? What’s the fear behind it? How are you dealing with it? In a way that you can be proud of, with no regrets?
- Where is your edge? What are you excited about? How do you get to do more of that?
- How does the story you tell yourself about yourself have to change for the above to happen? What do you have to believe? What support will you get
- Have you spent sufficient time projecting your career into the future? Have you played the movie to the end? Will you write the script or will you allow others to direct your life?
- Are you building a nest egg? Do you save 10-20% of your compensation? Automatically? Remember, it’s not what you make, it’s what you keep that matters.
- What’s your next stop? Put it in writing. Have a plan and go for it!
I was reading the excellent book Hacking Work and they talked about Google’s 10 principles which I will set forth below and give my feedback on through an HR filter.
- Focus on people, their lives, their work, their dreams. Problem is HR typically focuses on how to protect themselves from employees’ lives, their work, and their dreams. HR would prefer to focus on controlling their lives, managing their work, and pigeonholing their dreams. While I hear many employers give lip service to this concept, I see few of them actually employing it. For every Southwest Airlines, there’s a dozen U.S. Airs.
- Every millisecond counts. Time is becoming the new currency. We are more stressed about the availability of time than ever in the history of mankind. In the world that Google helped create, every millisecond does in fact count because it determines the life and career you will create for yourself. One reason why we encourage HR That Works members to study the time management training materials.
- Simplicity is powerful. Yes it is. Simple compensation, performance management, and reward systems are the ones that work. How can you simplify things?
- Engage beginners and attract experts. That’s exactly what we try to do with HR That Works. We know that two-thirds of our members wear multiple hats, only one of which being HR. That’s why we have designed many tools that they can just simply put into immediate use. We also want to be the most cutting-edge HR program on the planet and our high-end HR executives love our strategic tools. A 56-year-old HR executive told me that he’d rather give up his SHRM membership than his HR That Works membership because it has reignited his career. But, just as with Google’s excellent tools, our excellent tools have no impact if they aren’t utilized. One of our greatest challenges is to increase the utilization of a tool that we know can grow both companies and careers. Your company probably has a similar challenge with its excellent services, too.
- Dare to innovate. When you think of HR is the term innovation something that comes to mind? I didn’t think so. In fact in most environments HR is boring. If you don’t want to be boring then check out the Creativity Checklist and the Creating a Fun Workplace Checklist on HR That Works.
- Design for the world. We have designed HR That Works for our world: companies with 15 of 500 employees. Yes, there are companies smaller and larger that use the program but 15 to 500 is where our focus lies. As long as we stay focused, nobody can produce a better program for this audience.
- Plan for today’s and tomorrow’s business. I don’t want to just plan for those businesses, I want to help us to create them. HR is going to evolve and we’re determined to be part of that evolution!
- Delight the eye without distracting the mind. If I walked into your office, would it delight the eye without distracting the mind? Just like your website is always communicating, so is your office environment.
- Be worthy of people’s trust. Trust has two basic components: ability and desire. I want to trust in your ability to do something and I want to know that you have the desire to get it done.
- Add a human touch. HR is all about the human touch. Unfortunately, it’s been kidnapped by the lawyers and regulators and turned into the negative part of our relationships. As one of my buddies says, “It’s the ‘Department of No.’”
I will continue to challenge HR executives, whether they be part-time or full-time, to embrace opportunities like those identified in the list above. Take one of these ten items and ask how you can do something to implement them in your workplace. Imagine if you looked into one a week for the next ten weeks what that could do for both the company and your career!
I read an interesting article in a recent Sports Illustrated where 14-year NFL veteran Champ Bailey from the Denver Broncos offered five lessons he learned to help rookies prepare for their first training camp. I believe that these lessons apply equally to anybody new to a team or company in the workplace.
- It gets no worse than this – Your first year is always tough because you’re going to be tested to see how good you are. As Bailey said, “Everything’s on the line.” For a HR executive that means you’re going to have to show how you can not only work quickly but also work smart. When I say smart I mean that you first study the political landscape before you begin pressing an agenda. It means that you spent time diagnosing the company’s needs before you offer any prescriptions. It also means that you’re able to suffer the judgment that is sure to come your way. Don’t play victim; take it as a learning lesson because that’s what it is.
- Remember: mind over matter – In the NFL everyone is a great athlete. According to Bailey, it’s the mental part, including the ability to overcome and push through pain that’s the greatest challenge. When I coach HR executives, I always have them take a personality profile. My rough estimate is that 4 out of 5 of them profile to be highly sensitive about judgment. They are well intended; seek to work within rules, and to do the right thing. In a sense they are very hard on themselves. As a result, when someone else throws judgment their way it can throw them out of whack. Again, what can you learn from the judgment? What fears will you have to address? What pain will you have to push through? Often times I find that people start a self-talk that they should perhaps quit and look for work elsewhere. But because they lack initiative they do nothing and wallow in their complacency. I would encourage that person to do everything possible to push past their mental limitations and create a positive outcome before surrendering. If you surrender at this job then when you hit the mentally tough part at the next one you’ll only surrender again.
- Watch the veterans closely – You can begin as Champ did by finding a mentor. His was the Hall of Famer Darryl Green. Who can you find as a mentor at your company? How well do you really know the leadership team? To what extent have you observed and absorbed their practices, philosophies, and strategies?
- It takes time to feel at home – Of course one of the most difficult things about being new is you don’t have any established relationships. And every human being needs relationships to survive. Champ’s recommendation is not to force it. Find a low key way to start connecting. In the workplace that might be a quick conversation about that person’s children or sharing a good lunch. Of course, there may also be some hazing along the way. This is because they want to make sure you’re committed. That you can take the heat and, when necessary, even push back. Of course if you’re going to push back be sartorial and have a good sense of humor.
- Stay sharp by studying hard – Few people see the off-field activity of any great athlete. The endless hours of practice. As Malcolm Gladwell noted, “It takes 10,000 hours to become great at something.” To what extent are you sharpening your sword? I read a book per week, about 3 magazines, 10 blog sites, 6 or so podcasts, and 5 newsletters. You can do the same thing. I find that most people don’t do the learning required because they are tired from a long day’s work and would rather plop down in front of the TV or the computer again. The real opportunity is to engage wellness, keep your mind sharp and body fit, and use your relaxation time in reading, thinking, and meditation. Of course this is only necessary if you are interested in excellence.
Having played sports my entire life, I too see many parallels between sports and business. Including how we hire people, retain, compensate and motivate them, and kick them off the bus when necessary. On sports teams, leaders naturally emerge. Follow these rules and your leadership potential will emerge too!
I just blasted through about a dozen HR magazines and blogs. Here is a highlight of the most important things discussed:
- The Affordable Care Act – no surprise here. This will be a one-time event and then we’ll be getting back to normal. Not surprisingly the Administration called a one year time-out!
- Mobility – both in terms of mobility of employees as well as their mobile technologies. How it affects everything from monitoring wage and hour, productivity, communication needs, etc.
- Gaming – the buzzword in software development is “gameification.” For example, how can we make an HRIS system fun to use? How can we create contests among different HR executives using similar software programs? How do we reward employees using social media and software platforms?
- Just-in-time demands – With change occurring so rapidly, HR has to be agile, nimble, and tactile. Even better, be the change and not just a reactant to it. As the saying goes “you’re either the actor or the audience.”
- Branding – people are finally starting get it that the same concepts used to support making efforts with customers should be utilized to brand to job applicants and employees. As I’ve stated for years we treat our clients and customers in color but our employees in black and white. Time to cut that nonsense out!
- Adopting a consultative HR role – Over recent years companies have been hiring HR consultants to be employees. The change in language identifies the fact that they want these executives to help them work not just in the business but on it as well. They’re looking for the value-added beyond policies and procedures.
- Managing how work gets done – this is one of my favorite subjects to discuss. What goal do you have to help increase the productivity of your workforce? What technologies and methodologies are you using to get there? How will you manage collaboration with outsourced teams to get these projects done? One program I really like is www.halogensoftware.com.
- Everything’s moving into the cloud – in general this is a good thing even though it will take some adjustments. Certainly there are some risk management concerns that should be addressed upfront. Then of course there’s the training on usage of cloud technologies.
- Lastly, constantly evolving laws – legislatures and politicians are in business for one reason—to make laws. Therefore you can expect to see ever evolving laws offering ever evolving rights to employees. What we’re seeing now is less legislation and more regulation. When the administration presses to the regulatory edge, you can expect employers and courts to push back.
What are you seeing happen in your workplace related to these trends and what are you doing about it?
Congratulations on your appointment. I wish to briefly share what the overall concerns are of the thousands of private company business owners that use our program and that I have had the chance to speak to over the last 14 years. 90% of the companies we work with have between 15- 500 employees. One of the few sectors of the economy with real job growth! So, here you go:
- Allow me to grow my business. Sounds simple, and straightforward, but I can tell you the general feeling is that the government doesn’t support, but rather impedes, this growth. The fact you mention moving away from an adversarial approach is a great start! As corny as it may sound, it is time to start playing win/win.
- Allow me to hire people I can trust. This means inquiries like criminal background, financial, and medical backgrounds are relevant. For example, I can’t trust a felon in general and if I want to engage in a compassionate act and give somebody a second chance then that should be my choice, not a government requirement. This is not an act of discrimination on the part of any employer but one of legitimate concern. Who wants to hire a trouble maker or potential claim? More than anything, employers want to be able to hire on the basis of skills and character: the building blocks of trust.
- Allow my people to be productive. For example, I have worked with JAN (Job Accommodation Network) and have a great deal of respect for the work they do and for people with real disabilities trying to be productive. Unfortunately, I have seen far too many people pull out the disability/discrimination/retaliation card as soon as they realize they may be fired for non-productivity at a job they gave up on years ago. Employers are being told they can’t really understand the nature of a disability but only its limitations. Getting independent medical information is very difficult under the law. As a result of this, well intentioned employers, who are in fact concerned about a worker’s health, have learned that no good deed goes left unpunished. The lesson they often learn is not to proactively offer help because it can and will be used against them.
- Don’t drag me through a frivolous lawsuit simply to satisfy a political agenda. We don’t have the time or money for that. For example, the EEOC and NLRB in particular have “pushed too far” and I’m a former plaintiff’s attorney saying this. For example, I don’t want the NLRB to waste my tax dollars expanding NLRA precedent to protect some disgruntled loser who tweets some seriously damaging information while sitting in the parking lot on his break to another worker who should be getting their job done. This is not “concerted activity” as intended by the laws passed more than 60 years ago designed to protect workers who wanted to put in a hard day’s work for fair pay. It’s simply more social media nonsense dragged into the workplace. And…it is really the NLRB/Administration agenda to get rid of “at-will” employment? Really??
- Lastly, the ACA is a mess. Of course, employers are not in the job of being responsible for the health of others outside legitimate safety concerns. But for now it’s the law so we are stuck with it and as the Administration had to finally concede, it’s confusing as all heck, even to the regulators. I can tell you that many employers and their brokers remain confused about what to do. Pay or play calculators, FAQ’s, checklists, audits, webinars, and more can be used to support the EBSA website.
Let me conclude by saying I understand there are in fact bad people who care neither about their employees or legitimate laws designed to protect them. Most folks I know have zero sympathy for these people. Most business owners I know want to and try to do things right, do care about people, and want a mutual success. What they and I don’t want to see is an agenda that supports anything but good work.
I wish you the best in your new position; our country needs you to be successful.
Don Phin, Esq.
President of HR That Works
P.S. Perhaps you can also get the website to work so folks can really leave you comments. I tried to do so four times but it kept saying I can’t do basic math right!
I recently received this email from a competitor of ours, BLR. While I believe they have excellent compliance resources I also believe they are dead wrong in what is most important.
You see, the #1 goal of HR should be to help grow the company. That’s the biggest risk ownership will ever face. That’s what they tell us in our surveys and in my workshops with them. That means you help hire well, drive performance and retain your winners. Guess what?…do that and chances are you don’t get sued. And, any exposure to an EPLI claim should be capped with the purchase of an EPLI policy.
Unfortunately, the lawyers and compliance publishers want to you live in fear, not abundance. My advice…don’t listen to that nonsense! Get your compliance blocking and tackling in place and then look to be a strategic partner. There are a ton of tools on HR That Works to help you do just that!
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” ― R. Buckminster Fuller
Today is Earth Day! Companies can do some very basic things to change to a green model:
- Reduce waste, including use of plastics and paper
- Reduce energy use
- Telecommute and ride-share
- Adopt a local green charity
- Use sustainable carpeting, furniture, etc.
- Ask employees and leaders “how can we be more green”?
Check out these great websites:
Here’s to supporting Mother Earth!
Every once in a while, out of morbid curiosity, I will peruse websites like www.workrant.com. I just recently read their top ten work rants. Doing so, I realized I wasted 15 minutes of my life that I will never get back! So, let me not waste any more of your time and get right to the point: These people need to get over themselves. It seems as though it’s a good work rant if it has a lot of capital letters and profanity; people shouting at the top of their lungs, hidden in isolation behind their computers. Does this conduct make sense? If it’s an airing out process that allows somebody to get on with their life, then maybe it does. My concern is it is more like a series of waves that people turn into a big tsunami. If any of these people thinks they really have problems, I’d like to take them down to the children’s ward at the local hospital. Then they’ll see just how petty their rants really are.
So here’s a message to all of you ranting employees, even those of you protected by the National Labor Relations Board: Get over it! Who really cares about your problems anyway other than other ranters? Find a new place to work. Ask yourself how you found yourself in this place, in the first place. Make yourself valuable to a good employer. Take full responsibility for your life and you won’t find yourself ranting as much in the future.