Spreading the Word About #MentalHealthAwareness

MAY IS MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS MONTH. Since 1949, May has been designated as the month to raise awareness and educate the public about: mental illnesses, the realities of living with these conditions; and strategies for attaining mental health and wellness. It also aims to draw attention to suicide, which can be precipitated by some mental illnesses and to reduce the stigma that surrounds mental illnesses.

As the month of May comes to a close, I couldn’t let it end without expressing my sincere gratitude for the opportunities I’ve had so far this year, and this month in particular, to discuss mental health awareness in the workplace. In March, I had the pleasure of presenting at the North Alabama SHRM (NASHRM) Workshop on Creating the Best Place to Work for Your Employee.  In April, I did a video interview for WorkHuman with Dan Tomasulo & Steve Pemberton on Igniting Hope to Combat Mental Health Challenges. This month, in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, I co-presented a webcast on Developing Empathy During Times of Uncertainty with Jarik Conrad and wrote a whitepaper on Mental Health in the Workplace During Times of Uncertainty, both for Ultimate Software. Last, but certainly not least, I was interviewed for Osasu Arigbe’s blog. Each of these opportunities was a true honor!

I have dedicated my career to helping people in one form or another, but this by far is the most rewarding. THIS is my mission. I see every aspect of my work, of my life really, through a mental health friendly lens which ties directly into diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. As an HR practitioner, it’s so important to me to help employers understand how critical it is to support employee mental health and show them how to do so. Employees must also understand the importance of maintaining good mental health and that if they are experiencing mental illness or another type of mental health crisis, there are resources available to support them. 

I will continue to do this critical work and to be grateful for every opportunity to share my story and to help employers, to borrow a phrase from NASHRM, create the best place to work for their employees.  

NOTE: I would be remiss if I did not mention the particular toll on Black mental health that is occurring during this challenging time. In addition to dealing with a staggering number of deaths from COVID-19 in the Black community, almost daily we are exposed to another racist incident that leads to a Black person being harassed, assaulted and in the worst cases – murdered. THIS IS NOT OK. We often speak on the grace we need to extend to our employees in the face of the coronavirus health crisis – greater flexibility, remote work options, understanding why their child is on the Zoom call, etc. Please let us also remember to extend grace to our colleagues who are dealing with constant assaults on our very humanity.

 

 

Managing #MentalHealth During the #COVID19 Pandemic

alone2Like many people, I am currently teleworking five days a week due to the COVID-19 / coronavirus crisis. As this is an unprecedented situation, folks have been checking in on each other a little more than usual. This past week, when people have asked me how I’m doing, I tell them, I’M GOOD. To be honest, except for not seeing my granddaughter, I couldn’t be happier!

My office officially started all staff teleworking last Friday. I was on leave that day, so I didn’t feel anything out of the norm. I knew something was different, though, when I didn’t feel my usual Sunday night anxiety. Every Sunday night – unless I’m on vacation – I feel a lot of anxiety and I have insomnia. It never fails. This past Sunday, that didn’t happen. Somehow my mind and body knew that the next day was going to be different. No struggling to get myself together to leave in the morning. No commute. No stress. All was well.

As a person with Major Depressive Disorder and anxiety who is also a strong introvert, self-isolation is nothing new for me. Of course I don’t usually do it because of a pandemic, but I’m definitely familiar with the concept. For better or worse, I’m built for this! As long as I have my bed, books, music, food and drinks, I think I’m going to do OK with this forced social distancing. People have asked me if it feels different because it’s not by choice. It really doesn’t feel different to me. At least not yet. Ask me again in a few weeks.

grateful-addiction-recoveryI don’t take this comfort with my alone time for granted. I know there are many other people who are feeling extremely anxious about self isolating, being socially distant or being quarantined. I also don’t take for granted that I have a job that allows me to telework. There are several people who, unfortunately, have either lost their jobs or have to go to work and risk catching the virus because they can’t afford not to. There are people who are going to feel lonely because they look forward to socializing or being around others at work. On top of all of that, fear over the virus itself and the economic impact of it are enough to make anyone angsty.

PROTECT_YOUR_MENTAL_HEALTH_RAINBOW_PNG_1200x1200While most people are taking measures to protect their physical health (and the physical health of others;) we mustn’t forget about protecting our mental health as well. This crisis has created a perfect storm for stress, depression, anxiety, loneliness, and/or paranoia. Unfortunately, being isolated or quarantined in the home may also be a catalyst for an uptick in domestic, substance and/or child abuse.  This is truly a crisis in more ways than one. If the coronavirus madness is negatively affecting your mental health, there are some tools and resources that may help. This is by no means an exhaustive list.

CONNECT WITH OTHERS:

TWITTER – Good for having real-time conversations and following hashtags for topics of interest

FACEBOOKGood for finding and joining groups focused on certain topics. Any topic or hobby you can imagine, there’s a Facebook group for it. Groups like Therapy for Black Girls and NoStigmas Mental Health Allies can also be good support systems if you are NOT in a crisis situation.

WHATSAPP OR GOOGLE HANGOUTS – Good for catching up with family and friends via chat, phone or video chat. (You can also use FaceTime if you have yet to realize Android phones are better. 🙂 )

SLACK – Good for group communication, especially with co-workers.

*DISCLAIMER: If using social media does more harm to your mental health than good, please avoid. It is also not recommended to use social media in place of seeking professional help, especially during a crisis.

CALM YOUR MIND:

EMPLOYEE ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (EAP) – If your employer offers an employee assistance program, it can be a great source of information and resources. If you are not sure if your employer offers an EAP or do not know how to contact them, ask your Human Resources representative.

CALM is offering FREE resources for mental and emotional wellness including soothing sounds, meditations and exercises.

GROKKER is offering FREE yoga, fitness and cooking videos through April 30, 2020.

GET THERAPY:

TALKSPACE  is increasing access to licensed therapists and providing free resources for both existing users and those who haven’t yet tried the service. They are also offering numerous resources for managing anxiety COVID-19 anxiety including a Facebook group. 

OPENPATH has several therapists who are now offering online sessions.

MANAGE YOUR MENTAL HEALTH:

COVID-19 Lockdown Guide: How to Manage Anxiety and Isolation During Quarantine – ADAA

Coronavirus Resource Hub and Free Virus Assessment Survey Questions (CultureIQ)

How to Manage Your Coronavirus Anxiety (WSJ)

How to Self-Quarantine (NY Times)

6 Ways to Protect Yourself and Your Family from Anxiety About Coronavirus (Thrive Global)

Are you worried about Coronavirus? (Psychology Today)

Mental Health & Coping During COVID-19 – Manage Anxiety & Stress – CDC

Coping With Coronavirus: Managing Stress, Fear, and Anxiety – NIMH

Managing Depression and Anxiety During COVID-19

HAVE SOME FUN:

7 Things To Do While Self Isolating Without Self Sabotaging

19 Things to Do When You’re Stuck at Home During the Coronavirus Isolation Period 

7 Things To Do While In Self Isolation

Top 10 Things To Do While You Self-Isolate

**IF YOU’RE EXPERIENCING A CRISIS**

If you are experiencing a mental health crisis, feeling unsafe, or feel like you are in danger of breaking your sobriety, please contact a professional.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)  National Helpline – 1−800−799−7233

National Domestic Violence Hotline– 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline –  1-800-273-TALK (8255)

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Helpline – 1 (800) 950 – 6264

ChildHelp National Child Abuse Hotline – 1 (800) 422 – 4453

Crisis Text Line – Text SHARE to 741741

Stay Safe. Stay Healthy. Wash Your Hands. Keep Your Distance. Rest. Be.

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Stop Talking Yourself Out of a Good Thing! (#Hiring, etc.)

There’s been an article making the social media rounds in which the author states they would not hire a candidate who does not send a ‘Thank You’ note following an interview. As you might imagine, the internet crowd went wild.

Comments and opinions were plentiful, including mine. My initial thought was NSFW. LOL. My second thought, however, was about how often we talk ourselves out of a good thing. In other words, come up with random reasons why a candidate shouldn’t be hired, why an employee shouldn’t be promoted, why you shouldn’t accept that job offer, why you shouldn’t choose that new home, why you shouldn’t go on that date with the person who’s “not your type..” I digress. But you get my point – talking ourselves out of a good thing. Or at least what very well could be a good thing if we weren’t coming up with random disqualification criteria.

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Now, don’t get me wrong, I understand there’s power in discernment. We are given the ability to make choices for a reason. And we should. After all, we can’t hire multiple qualified candidates for the same position just like we can’t give multiple qualified employees the same promotion. However, when making a decision on who to choose, the criteria used should be valid and job-related. Not hiring a person because they don’t send a ‘Thank You’ note is no better than not hiring them because they didn’t wear a suit or because they didn’t refer to you as “Your Highness” during the interview. Neither of these is an indicator of the person’s ability to do the job. You also have to be aware of the impact of making these types of decisions. Some people don’t even know sending post-interview ‘Thank You’ notes is a thing because they were never told. Apparently, it’s also not common in several other countries. So now your non-job-related disqualification has unwittingly turned into discrimination based on cultural differences. That’s a no-no.

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Another way folks often lose out on potentially great employees is by being too rigid about the hiring criteria. For example, having a list of 25 “qualifications” and disqualifying someone who meets 20 of them. Or even 15. Sometimes you have to be able to determine potential. I’ve seen many cases in which someone didn’t “meet the criteria” simply because they hadn’t previously had a role that gave them an opportunity to do so. It doesn’t mean they don’t have the ability to do so. I’m not saying hire someone who’s only work experience has been two years as a cashier at Burger King for your senior leadership team. This is where your masterful interviewing skills, power of discernment and good old common sense have to work together. #TeamworkMakesTheDreamWork Or, in this case, teamwork can help someone else get their DREAM JOB.

Please stop using irrelevant criteria to talk yourself out of a good thing. Just imagine all the good things you may have missed out on. Just because you didn’t get a “Thank You” note or some other irrelevant reason? It’s not worth it.

My #MentalHealth Moment of Truth

mentalhealthIf you follow me on social media – and you should – you know that I am a fierce advocate for mental wellness in general, but particularly in the workplace, which is where many of us spend the bulk of our time. Too many people are dealing with the physical and mental effects of stress and burnout while too many employers stay too focused on the work and not focused enough on the person. In addition to that, many people are living with a mental health condition that, while not necessarily making it impossible for them to work (at the moment) can impact them at work in various ways.

Anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, OCD, PTSD… all of these and more can affect someone’s work style, preferred working hours or environment, etc. Employers need to commit to understanding how various mental health conditions can impact their people AND how they can support people who are in the midst of a mental health crisis, may be at risk for one, or who may just need some minor accommodations to perform at their best.

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As I mentioned, most people who follow me on social media know I speak frequently about mental health & wellbeing, but it wasn’t until recently that someone actually asked me why this topic is so important to me. I was contacted to participate in a SHRM article on mental health in the workplace and of course I jumped at the chance. I started the interview by saying this topic is near & dear to me so of course the interviewer asked why that is. So now it was time for my ‘moment of truth.’ Do I give some generic “because I care about the quality of life for all people” reply or do I share my truth? I decided to share my truth. I figured it’s pretty hypocritical to advocate for destigmatizing mental illness while remaining quiet about my own. So I told the interviewer, with full knowledge that this article was going on the SHRM website, that I live with Major Depressive Disorder. Did I have more than a smidge of anxiety about it? Of course. But I weighed the pros & cons and believed the pros outweighed the cons. Tell the truth and shame the devil as the old folks say. (Not meant to be an ageist comment. It’s just something usually said by older individuals.)

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When the article came out, I was preparing to attend the WorkHuman Live conference so I didn’t pay too much attention to it. No one said anything to me about it so I kept it moving. I already had enough anxiety about traveling and having to be ‘ON’ for four days straight at a conference. But now I’m back and after four days of listening to practitioners and celebrities espouse the importance of humanity in the workplace and being your whole self, I’m ready to get back to this.

So yes; I have Major Depressive Disorder. What does that mean for me? In part – Some days it’s a struggle to get out of bed, let alone go to work or socialize. I can become incredibly sad or be in a bad mood for no apparent reason. I can become overwhelmed by negative thoughts. I have severe insomnia. My motivation can lag at times. I have a tendency to procrastinate. These are some of the ways the disorder manifests for me but every person is different. None of this makes me any less amazing or effective as an HR professional but it does factor into who I am and therefore how I work and how I work best. And I’m not the only one. Not by a long shot. 

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Many employers would easily understand why someone with cancer or even a broken leg might need support at work but are far less understanding when it comes to mental illnesses (or other invisible illnesses, but that’s a topic for another day.) To be fair, some of it is a lack of education. Mental illness is so stigmatized that no one wants to talk about it. So no one talks about it. I believe it is incumbent upon us as HR professionals to open up these conversations as part of building inclusive workplaces.

In addition to talking about mental health, we need to educate our employees on how to support those dealing with a mental health condition, especially if we know they’re dealing with one, but even if we don’t know for sure. For example, if someone’s personality or productivity changes, it could be for a number of reasons including that they may be dealing with a mental health condition. Several of the things managers are quick to complain about could be due to mental health conditions. For example,

  • Someone dealing with an anxiety disorder may find working in an open workspace overwhelming and thus it may take them a bit longer to finish projects.
  • Someone who is frequently “late” to work could be dealing with depression so it takes them longer to get going in the morning.
  • Someone dealing with OCD may take longer to leave the house.
  • Someone with PTSD may be triggered in certain environments or situations.

When you start viewing and treating people as human beings, not just cogs in the machine, you develop a better understanding of who they are and how you can best help them succeed. 

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Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying we need to deal with horrible attitudes or subpar performance on a constant basis. We still have work to do and some people are just jackasses or poor performers. It happens.  What I AM saying is, we’re ALL dealing with something. It may be a mental health condition. It may be a physical health condition. It may be the loss of a loved one, a divorce, family problems, financial issues… We don’t shut off those parts of our life when we cross the threshold of the office. Know your people. Understand your people. Get educated on how to best support your people. And if support looks like telework or flexible work hours, change in desk location or some other fix that isn’t a hardship on the organization – DO IT.

Do your best FOR your people so you can get the best FROM your people.

P.S. – I feel compelled to make a special note of the mental and emotional toll current events and lived experiences can take on people. A person may not have a diagnosed mental health disorder, but:

  • If you are a Black person who regularly sees your people getting killed in the street by the folks who are supposed to ‘serve & protect’ us, or getting the police called on them for having the audacity to live & breathe, you’re gonna carry with you – into work – the fear that one day it might be you.
  • If you are Latinx and see how committed the current administration is to deporting people who may be your family, or may be you, you’re gonna carry that with you – into work.
  • If you are transgender and see that transgender individuals are being found dead, particularly transgender women of color, just because someone didn’t like or understand how that person identified, you’re gonna carry that with you – into work. 
  • If you are a person who lives in a crime ridden area and/or lives paycheck to paycheck, you’re gonna carry that fear of safety or instability with you – into work.

The microaggressions members of marginalized groups often experience in the workplace also take a significant mental and emotional toll. Death by 1000 cuts. This is why intentional inclusion is so important.

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I’ve shared my moment of truth. What’s yours?

2018: My #HR Year in Review

As 2018 comes to a close, I have been mentally reviewing my professional accomplishments. I started the year off with a few goals I wanted to accomplish and I’m happy to report that I accomplished all but one. Maybe in 2019..

My 2018 goals included speaking on a panel, receiving paid writing opportunities, and attending some key industry events. I’d like to share my goals with you and how they were accomplished.

Speaking on a Panel. Due to my strong introvert tendencies, I wanted an opportunity to speak on a topic I care about without ALL of the attention being focused on me. eX Summit to the rescue! In August, I participated on the ‘Diversity in the Workplace’ panel at eX Summit Philadelphia representing the nonprofit perspective. It was a good time! Peep the discussion at the 2:11:15 mark.

 

BONUS: ‘Diversity Means Nothing Without Inclusion’ panel on WorkHuman Radio.

Writing & Thought Sharing. You may not be able to tell from the inconsistency of my blog posts but I enjoy writing. Plus I’m pretty good at it.  🙂 This year I was approached by a leading nonprofit consulting firm to write for their newsletter.

I also like to share my thoughts on a variety of HR topics – especially when asked because it makes me feel special.

BambooHR came through with TWO ‘HR Expert Roundtable’ opportunities:

I was also interviewed for HR Magazine (Yes; THE HR Magazine!)

Attending Key Industry Events.

There were four events I wanted to attend this year and luckily I was able to attend all four. I wrote a few blog posts about them but I did A LOT of live tweeting so check the hashtags on Twitter.

Making Connections IRL.

2018 was also a year in which I got to connect (or reconnect) in “real life” with several folks I’ve enjoyed connecting with online. I’m sure I’m missing some pics but life is too short for me to dedicate endless hours to searching for photos. You get the idea.

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Last, but most certainly not least, I completed the Cornell University Diversity & Inclusion for HR certificate program. 

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YAY ME!

In just a few hours it will be 2019. I’m looking forward to doing even MORE speaking, writing, event attending and connecting with folks in the new year. I’ll probably come up with some additional goals as well. As for my one professional goal that wasn’t accomplished this year – making more money – I haven’t given up on it. I’ll just have to work harder in 2019 to achieve it. If you have any legitimate, non-scammy ideas on how I can make this happen, feel free to reach out.

See you next year!

P.S. – In 2018, I also had the most engagement I’ve ever had with one of my social media posts. Hopefully the practice of unnecessarily requiring degrees and valuing them over actual experience is on the downturn. So many missed opportunities.

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Join the Movement! #WorkHuman

PrintWe’ve all heard the oft-spoken directive “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” The words are usually attributed to Gandhi but my friend Google tells me this is not actually a direct, verifiable, Gandhi quote. Sounds good though, so let’s go with the sentiment.

When I think about the WorkHuman conference, I think about being the change I wish to see in the workplace. Recently a peer asked me a version of “what does your ideal job look like?” Ideally, I would have a role in which I am able to focus on employee experience – to make work a place folks don’t dread going to everyday or drag themselves to just to pay the bills. I want to create environments in which people are able to do their best work because they are free to be their whole, best selves. I want to help develop cultures in which individuals are valued for their unique backgrounds and experiences and recognized for their accomplishments. I want to help people understand what diversity truly is and that it means nothing without inclusion. I want to train managers to coach and encourage their direct reports. I have no idea if this job exists other than in my dreams but that would be the ideal.

That’s what attracted me to WorkHuman. I first heard about it in 2016, after the second conference was held, and immediately committed to attending the 2017 conference. At the time I didn’t know how I was going to make it happen but I knew it was a must because it was the first time I’d heard about a conference that focused on exactly the areas I’m passionate about. I had to be there. Thankfully I was able to attend in 2017 and 2018 and hope to attend forever and ever. In 2018 I was even asked to participate in a Diversity Means Nothing Without Inclusion  panel discussion on WorkHuman radio. 🙂

From the website:

Globoforce pioneered the WorkHuman movement to galvanize leaders worldwide to harness the transformative power of people for the next generation of HR. We celebrate breakthrough organizations building human-centric workplaces where employees achieve their fullest potential – where people feel appreciated, connected, and empowered for who they are and what they do. WorkHuman recognizes businesses that thrive by bringing humanity and crowdsourcing to the employee experience. WorkHuman is the future of the workplace.

Each year, WorkHuman builds on the content offerings and always has a great speaker lineup. The tracks for the 2019 conference are:

  • Applying the Value of Gratitude
  • Bringing Humanity to Performance Management
  • Creating a Culture of Community
  • Elevating Your Employer Brand
  • Empowering through Diversity & Equality
  • Living Your Best Work Life
  • Merging Humanity & Technology
  • Navigating Employee Emotions at Work

I can’t wait to dig deeper into these topics, particularly ‘Empowering through Diversity & Equality’ and ‘Bringing Humanity to Performance Management.’ In addition to the sessions, I look forward to soaking up wisdom and inspiration from the incredible roster of keynote speakers which includes Kat Cole, Cy Wakeman, Pamela Puryear and Eric Bailey.

Join me in Nashville March 18-21, 2019, as we discuss creating workplaces that focus on the whole human being. It’s going to be an amazing time!

Use code WH19INF-TRA for $100 off. Don’t say I never gave you anything. 🙂

Hope to see you there!

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How Do You Get People to Talk?

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This post references the 2018 SHRM Diversity & Inclusion Conference

Day One began with a keynote address from Brandon Stanton, creator of the wildly popular (it reaches 25 million people) blog, Humans of New York. I’m a fan of the site because I like hearing/reading people’s stories. Everyone has one. I care about people so it would follow that I care about their stories.

If you’re not familiar with Humans of New York, Brandon travels the world taking photos of people and on the site he shares those photos along with some part of their story. As he discussed how he is able to accomplish this, something he said really resonated with me as an HR professional. He said one of the questions he is often asked is “How do you get people to talk?” After all, these people do not know him, they have no previous relationship with him, yet they often share intimate details of their lives with him. His response – “I just ask.”

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He followed up noting the importance of getting to a place where a person is examining and unpacking an emotional, impactful part of their life. It involves intent listening, asking follow-up questions and not thinking about himself or having an agenda. This reminded me of what HR professionals are charged with doing when an employee comes to us with an issue/concern. Before we can address the concern, we need to know what it is and what’s behind it. Just as Brandon does with his photo subjects, we need to listen intently and ask follow-up questions without having an agenda. We need to make the individual feel safe enough to share with us. Psychological safety is a key component of inclusion.

The first question Brandon usually asks a person is “What is your greatest struggle right now?” I immediately thought of how helpful it would be to HR professionals to know the answer to this question when speaking with an employee who has a concern. Actually, it would be good for us to know even if they aren’t having an issue. Understanding what people are experiencing is critical to developing and maintaining an inclusive culture. People are often reluctant to talk out of fear of being exposed; however, they will also have a deep appreciation for being listened to and having their concerns validated. At the end of the day, validation outweighs fear. Ask (with genuine concern) and you will probably receive the answer. People have an innate desire to be heard and understood. PRO TIP: Employees are people.

Are-You-ListeningAnother comment that resonated with me was “The world is all about sharing right now; but we’re really not listening.” Between work life, home life, social life, social media, etc., the world is full of noise. Full of it. We hear a lot; but we actually listen to very little. This also relates directly to our roles in HR. On any given day we hear a lot of information and we have to make sure that we take the time to listen to what’s critical, particularly employee concerns and complaints. Not only do we need to listen but we need to ask the right questions, follow-up and check-in. We need to have open lines of communication. To do this effectively, we need to ensure people feel safe enough to be vulnerable.

“Safety is about intent; not content. Learn to monitor and manage safety and you can talk to anyone about anything.” – Emily Gregory, VitalSmarts

 

 

Employee Experience for the WIN! #eXsummit

logo-lrgAnyone who is, or has ever been, an employee understands the importance of employee experience. Where it rates on the importance meter may not be the same for everyone but I think we can all agree that when it comes to the place you’ll most likely spend at least 1/3 of your life, the better you feel about being there, the better you’ll feel all around.  An article in Forbes even called 2018 ‘The Year of Employee Experience.’ Well, it’s about time more employers started paying attention to it!

Employee experience (EX) refers to the totality of every interaction an employee has with their employer including how the employee feels about working there. Whether the experience is positive or negative impacts productivity, happiness, tenure and whether the employee would recommend the employer as a good, or great, place to work – among other things.

IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER:

  • Employee experience is NOT employee engagement. Engagement contributes to experience but they are not the same thing.
  • Employee experience is not just about having fun. Don’t confuse simply providing some fun things to do with designing a complete employee experience.

As an HR professional, an employee, and an individual, I’m very interested in EX, what it looks like in different organizations and how organizations can create the best positive experience for their employees, realizing that it won’t look exactly the same for each organization. It’s also important to remember that individuals experience experience differently. When crafting an employee experience that will make people want to join and stay at your organization, remember that one size rarely fits all. 

In August, I have the honor of participating in the eX Summit in Philadelphia. The eX Summit “brings a different lens to the employee experience: a brand and CX angle, rather than a traditional HR angle.”  The creators of the Summit pose the following questions:

Why are companies focusing more on user experience (UX) and customer experience (CX) than employee experience (EX?) And what can we do about it?

Excellent questions! Employees are the ones who determine and implement what it takes to make the UX and CX experiences positive for others, why would it not be deemed equally as important, if not more so, to make the work experience positive for your employees? Let’s talk about it. Join me in Philly on August 15 to discuss key components of designing an employee experience. Use code TAMARA5 for $5 off the registration fee.

bonusBONUS ALERT: I will be part of a panel discussion on Diversity in the Workplace. Diversity is but one ingredient in the employee experience recipe but it’s an important one. Among other things, diverse teams inspire creativity, promote innovation, are more productive and perform better. Employers must value different dimensions of diversity along every step of the employee experience – from pre-hire to post-employment termination. Interested in how to do this? Let’s talk about it.

To be successful in creating a positive employee experience, employers must change the traditional mindset and adopt more of a consumer approach to engaging with employees. At the eX Summit, we will address the following key topics:

  • Why is it critical for employers to change the their mindset and adopt more of a consumer approach to engaging with employees? (Think of employees as internal customers. Instead of selling a product, you are selling working at your organization.)
  • What organizations should do to create personalized employee experiences. (One size does not fit all.)
  • What part technology, the human element and storytelling play in designing these experiences. (A multi-faceted approach is key.)
  • Why “culture fit” is no longer relevant and why we need to focus more than ever on diversity, inclusion and “culture add.” (This is my favorite part!)

Employee experience is and will continue to be critical not only to business success but to individual success. Let’s make sure we treat our internal stakeholders (employees) as well as we treat our external stakeholders (clients/customers/users/members.) Not only is it good business, it’s the right, and smart, thing to do.

Interested in learning how to design the right employee experience for your organization? Check out the eX Summit in a city near you. Preferably, Philadelphia on August 15. 🙂

PERKS OF ATTENDING THE PHILLY eX SUMMIT:

  • Philadelphia – We’ll turn the ‘City of Brotherly Love’ into the ‘City of Employee Love’ for a day.
  • Discount – Get $5 off registration with the code TAMARA5
  • mj

 

*The IBM Institute for Business Value has developed some easily digestible graphics regarding employee experience. The images below are property of IBM.

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#HRCarnival – In Full Bloom

april showersThey say “April showers bring May flowers.” Well, in my neck of the woods (DC,) the showers have stuck around well into May but nevertheless blossoms abound! For example, I’m blossoming as host of this month’s Carnival of HR!

 

If you’re not familiar, the Carnival of HR is a compilation of HR (or HR adjacent) blog posts. Every month a blogger takes over hosting the carnival and this month it’s MY turn. Just like a real carnival, it’s tons of fun but without the unpleasantness of standing in line to get on rides or getting sick from overdosing on cotton candy and funnel cakes. There’s no theme to the Carnival this month. The topics are as varied as flowers in a garden. Pick the ones that stand out most to you or pick them all for a colorful bouquet of HR (or HR adjacent) goodness.

(In No Particular Order)

Dorothy Dalton (@3PlusInt) – 3 Plus International –  How to Attract Female Talent to Your Jobs

Yvonne LaRose (@VivaVoce) – The Pundit – Inclusiveness

Heather McCulligh (@SabaSoftware) – SABA Blog – Making the Case for People-Centric Performance Management

Chris Connolly (@VoiceofHR) – Voice of HR – How We Use Technology to Build a Data Driven HR Business Case

Mark Levison (@mlevison) – Agile Pain Relief Consulting – Specialists are Overrated

Jennifer Juo (@udemyforbiz) – Udemy for Business – 3 Ways L&D Can Change Employee Behavior

John Hunter – (@aJohnHunter / @curiouscat_com) Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog –  Good Project Management Practices

Keith Enochs (@KeithCEnochs / @workingtitlehr) – WorkingTitleHR – You Hired Dr. Jekyll but got Mr. Hyde

John Baldino (@jbalive / @humareso) – Humareso – Live to Tell

Judy Lindenberger (@LindenbergerLLC) – The Lindenberger Group, LLC – How to Ask for a Raise

Mike Haberman (@MikeHaberman) – Omega HR Solutions, Inc. – Age Discrimination in Today’s World

Sarah Brennan (@hrtechblog) – HR Tech Blog – Following My Passion and (re)Launching Accelir

Prasad Kurian (@prasadokurian)- Simplicity @ the Other Side of Complexity – Treating the Multiple Personality Disorder of HR Professionals

Mark Fogel (@HC3) – Human Capital 3.0 / Fistful of Talent – Did HR Blogging Jump the Shark?

Jesse Lyn Stoner (@jesselynstoner) – Seapoint Center for Collaborative Leadership – A Flawed Idea Well Executed Does Not Fail Forward

Wendy Dailey (@wyndall93) – My Dailey Journey – #HRMixtape: Hamilton

Jazmine Wilkes (@HRJazzy) – HR Jazzy Blog – The Unpopular Opinion of a Black Woman

Dr. Dawn Graham (@DrDawnGraham) Dr. Dawn on Careers – Switching Careers: Bypass the Bias!

Sabrina Baker (@SabrinaLBaker) – Acacia HR Solutions – Introversion is Not a Weakness – The Speech I Give in Every Myers Briggs Workshop

Laura Schroeder (@WorkGal) – Working Girl – Get Off the Couch: Agility, Innovation and Failure

Helo Tamme  (@WPHappinessBlog) – Workplace Happiness – Can Food Affect Workplace Happiness?

I hope you’ve enjoyed the May 2018 Carnival of HR aka HR Carnival! Be sure to keep an eye out for the June Carnival, hosted by Bill Boorman (Extra Edition!) and Jazmine Wilkes.

HR’s Role in Creating a Culture of High Trust: Q & A with Richard Fagerlin #SHRM18

Richard-Fagerlin-Head-ShotI just looked up and realized SHRM18 is about a month away. Wow. Chicago, here we come! As you know, I have the honor of being a part of the SHRM18 Blogger Team and as such have conducted Q & As with three of the speakers who are having sessions. I’ve already posted Karlyn Borysenko and Joe Gerstandt. Last, but certainly not least, I have Richard Fagerlin who gave a FANTASTIC presentation at SHRM17 on the topic of trust and is back for SHRM18 to keep the message going with his session: HR’s Role in Creating a High-Trust Culture: Tips, Tools & Techniques to Increase Your Trust Factor.

Richard Fagerlin is the president of Peak Solutions, Inc. a leadership development firm dedicated to helping companies invest in their greatest asset — their people. Richard travels the U.S. and internationally as a dynamic trainer, facilitator, and keynote speaker. As a leading authority on the topic of Trust he has four times (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018) been recognized as one of the 100 top Thought Leaders on Trust by the organization Trust Across America – Trust Around the World. 

TrustologyAs the author of Trustology: The Art and Science of Leading High Trust Teams, Richard has left an impact on thousands of people through his powerful, poignant, and often humorous talks on trust where he will challenge your long-held beliefs on the issue of trust.

Humorous and challenging – what more could we ask for? Richard was kind enough to take some time to answer my questions. As usual, I will not edit for length but comments I found particularly poignant are in bold. 

TR: What is HR’s role in creating culture (in general and high trust specifically?)

RF: HR’s greatest asset to an organization is in shepherding the alignment of mission, vision, values and objectives of the organization with the human systems that make these all happen. Said differently, HR is the guardian or gatekeeper of organizational culture. The funny thing about culture is that I don’t think you can change it. Culture is a result of what you do. If you want a different culture you have to do things differently. You can’t change culture by the stroke of a pen and with a well crafted memo or email from the C-Suite. We believe that every organization is perfectly designed to get the results it gets so it is HR’s responsibility to make sure that the current culture is what will drive organizational mission and vision and if not, to help alter the design to get different results. Equally important is to make sure that if the culture is in fact what you are looking for and what works for you that HR takes time to examine what is being done (or not done) to achieve this result and to help protect and preserve the culture that is driving high trust, that is driving performance, that is driving impact, etc.

TR: Why do some organizations have a high-trust culture while others do not?

RF: Organizations that have high trust cultures have proven by their actions and areas of focus that it is important to them. Not to oversimplify this complex issue but in every organization we have worked with that has high trust it is something that is valued, worked for and on daily and embodied by the very top of the organization. High trust organizations have significant clarity of purpose and leaders provide clarity and focus to their team members. There is a spirit of openness and vulnerability and there is a sense that others are “for you.” Difficult decisions are made that show a bias for living out high trust values, even when it may slow down progress, cost time and money and make people uncomfortable.

Organizations that don’t have a high trust culture have a bias for speed and performance, sometimes at any cost. Respect for the individual is low and employees make too many decisions based on fear instead of making decisions based on what is the right thing to do.

Bottom line, it starts at the top. You cant have a high trust culture if there isn’t cohesion and trust at the executive level. Period.

TR: What’s the easiest way to determine the level of trust that exists in an organization?

RF: Are people for each other and do they give each other the benefit of the doubt? It’s not blind trust, it is a vulnerable strength that is shown by the way people admit fault, accept responsibility and react to mistakes.

TR: Why is a culture of high-trust so important to an organization? How does it impact other areas of business?

Organizations with high trust have lower turnover, greater productivity, less absenteeism and as an added benefit…employees simply like their jobs more. It touches all areas of the business and puts immediate benefit to the bottom line.

TR: What is the biggest takeaway you want attendees to get from your session?

RF: I want them to walk away with a different perspective on trust and to understand the role they play in creating a culture of high trust.

 

I am so fascinated by this topic because I see the impact trust, or the lack thereof, has on every function of an organization. I feel this particular comment bears repeating –

Bottom line, it starts at the top. You can’t have a high trust culture if there isn’t cohesion and trust at the executive level. Period. 

This is so true. One of my biggest takeaways from SHRM17 is that culture is not what you say, it’s what you do. Not that I didn’t already know that, but hearing it from multiple sources was affirming. Actions must align with words and it all starts with trust. You can’t have an organization that values communication, innovation, honesty, etc. if the trust isn’t there. It will never work. If the trust isn’t there, you can’t even say you value people for real. I’m looking forward to attending Richard’s session this year and taking copious notes. I hope to see you there!

Contact Richard:  Web / Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn