#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

Designing the Inclusive Employee Experience: Q & A with Joe Gerstandt #SHRM18

happy dance

My “I get to interview Joe Gerstandt” happy dance.

Full disclosure: I’ve been internet fan-girling over Joe Gerstandt for a while now. Why, you may ask. Well, his Twitter bio says, in part, “I speak, write, advise on issues related to Authenticity, Diversity, Inclusion…and I do it well.”  If you’ve been following me on any social media channel, you’ll know those are the top HR/workplace issues I’m interested in. Finding someone who always has something insightful to say on them, and actually interacts with people, was a treat. Thus, a Joe Gerstandt fangirl I became.

As you know, I was lucky enough to be asked to be a member of the 2018 SHRM Blogger Team. As such, I have been given the opportunity to interview some of the speakers. Imagine my delight when I saw Joe (we’ve never met but I feel I can call him Joe 🙂 ) was on the list and available. 

joe g

Joe Gerstandt is a speaker and consultant helping leaders and organizations to better understand what diversity and inclusion mean to our organizations and communities today. He is an advocate for resetting the diversity and inclusion conversation, and believes strongly that we can ill afford to continue applying a 20th century approach to an increasingly critical set of 21st century business issues. He will be presenting a concurrent session as well as being on the Smart Stage this year. He was kind enough to answer a few questions from me on his session, Designing the Inclusive Employee Experience – something we should all be working diligently to achieve. Inclusion is Joe’s jam (his word) so some of his responses are a little long but I couldn’t bear to cut out anything. It’s all so good. Statements I found particularly poignant are in BOLD.  Don’t be surprised if I BOLD entire paragraphs.

TR: What is inclusion and why is it important to employee experience?

JG: This is a fantastic question and I would suggest that one of the largest reasons companies talking about inclusion are not making more progress is that they still have not answered the first part of this question. In 2018, inclusion is a terribly popular word relative to the workplace, yet in most workplaces it remains a vague, abstract idea. Vague, abstract targets are hard to hit. Most leaders today are quick to let you know that, yes; they are indeed inclusive, but most of them cannot explain what that means in a logical and concise way.

Inclusion is a complex idea and it can mean different things to different people, but for your organization you definitely need your definition. Your definition will be incomplete and imperfect as we are trying to capture something that is intangible and experiential, but you desperately need it. A clear, concise, logical definition of inclusion is quite possibly the single most valuable component in a successful inclusion effort, and it is the most commonly missing component. While organizational definitions can and should vary, I believe there are some fundamental components to this idea of being fully included and I generally spend some time on these components to help organizations, leaders, and teams start finding some really clarity regarding inclusion.

1) Belonging & Authenticity. Belonging is nothing short of an existential need for human beings, and when you feel that you belong in a place or space, you also derive sustenance from being there, regardless of how hard the work is. I am a straight, white, middle-class, middle-aged dude who lives in the middle of the country and I have never experienced discrimination toward myself. I have consistently received the benefit of the doubt (even when I did not deserve it!), but I have had the experience of not feeling that I belonged in an organization and I know that feeling to be mentally, emotionally, and spiritually exhausting. When simply going to work on Monday morning is an act of courage, you are not likely to be your best self at work, you are not likely to be your authentic, creative, collaborative self…you are much more likely to be in survival mode all day long and that invites a drastically different kind of contribution. Can I show up for work on Monday morning, be largely true to who I am and feel like I belong? How much do I have to compromise to fit in at an organization that has chosen me? These are questions that have real consequences in performance.

2) Psychological Safety. Psychological safety is a little bit buzzwordy right now due to the Project Aristotle insights that came out of Google recently, but research on the topic goes back to the 1960s, and in fact there was a really rich meta-analysis on Psychological Safety released in 2017 that pulled from over a hundred different individual studies. I think an incredibly valuable marker of inclusion is whether or not people are willing and able to tell the truth to each other – spoiler alert, they’re not! – and telling the truth to each other (sharing your big crazy ideas, your uncomfortable questions, disagreeing with people, even people who have more formal power than you do) requires a certain amount of psychological safety. If we are going to deliver a more inclusive employee experience (and if we are going to do better around decision-making, problem-solving, and innovation) we have got to make it safer (and in fact, rewarded) to have respectful conflict with each other. Today, that is very hard to find. If we are truly going to aggregate (or include) the human potential we have access to, we have got to make sure that it is safe to be different, to think different, to be (at least temporarily) unpopular, to disagree with people (including your boss and their boss) as long as we do so respectfully, and I see a lot of room for improvement in this area.

3.) Access & Agency. Who has access to what, how is that decided, and is it explicit? Who has access to information? Who has access to decision-making? Who can initiate change and how? These are all really important aspects of an organization and they are almost always unwritten (which makes it hard to evaluate them, learn them, improve them, etc.) and they are almost always informed more by power, privilege, and personality than they are by actual performance related evidence. I am not opposed to different levels of access for different employees, just make sure there is a legitimate justification, that it is reevaluated from time to time and that it is explicit. Unwritten rules make inclusion (and a bunch of other stuff) much harder to achieve, and most organizations are swimming in unwritten rules about some of the most important things. 

TR: How do we know if an organization is inclusive? Does inclusion look the same across teams/organizations?

JG: On a very fundamental level, inclusion is about creating spaces and places where people who are naturally different from each other can be true (belonging & authenticity), tell the truth (psychological safety), and make a uniquely valuable contribution (access & agency). It is likely going to be mean something different to be fully included at The Federal Reserve than it means at Facebook, they have wildly different cultures, but I think that these are three of the more universal components to consider in getting specific about what inclusion means for your organization. One of the beautiful things about having a clear, concise definition in place is that it allows you to take that definition to your employees and ask them whether or not it reflects their experience, and their answers are one of your most valuable metrics relative to this work. I hear people complaining that this stuff is all so hard to measure, and it is, because we are dealing with intangibles, but if you get some real clarity on what you are trying to actually accomplish there are some solid metrics we can use.

TR: Whose responsibility is it to ensure an organization is inclusive? Does the responsibility like solely with HR?

JG: This is about leadership, full stop. HR (and some other functional areas) have a unique role to play in supporting these efforts and may own specific aspects of it (compliance, for example), but this is about leadership. HR has their own work to do regarding diversity and inclusion, and often gets an undeserved free pass on this work, but it should not be their responsibility and I am not in favor of housing D&I efforts inside of HR. HR does not necessarily have the expertise, and they certainly do not have any financial, political, or social capital to spare right now. Inclusion, properly understood, should be the first priority, the first practice, and the first product of leadership. If you do not have an inclusive organization, it is because you have an absence of real leadership. The fact that we are still trying to convince people in management positions that inclusion matters tells me that our approach to leadership is and has been deeply flawed.

TR: What should we do if our organization is not inclusive? How can we change that?

JG:  That depends on a whole bunch of stuff. The nature of the organization, support from others, your own gifts and tolerance for risk-taking, etc., these are all important contextual factors on the individual level. Maybe you should start talking to people about it, maybe you should leave, without knowing more of the context I am not sure what is best to do on an individual level.

On the organizational level, there are a few basic steps that I think scale up or down and are nearly universally applicable. I generally start by injecting new information and new ideas into the organization to prime decision-making and planning. Diversity and inclusion are likely the most poorly understood, most often misunderstood issues relative to the workplace today. Everyone says they “get it,” (as there is that expectation today), but most people do not get it. This is not their area of expertise, they have not explored issues relative to identity, social dynamics, bias, ingroup/outgroup, etc., they are not familiar with the science and scholarship relative to this set of issues. They tend to view “getting it” as simply wanting to be a decent person, which is awesome, but something different than actually getting it. So, we start by pushing on their thinking. You can use speakers, videos, articles, books, discussions…expose them to a mix of information related to diversity and inclusion and get them to really start thinking about what diversity and inclusion mean within the context of this organization and how this organization creates value. Then we start drafting our language and logic. What specifically does inclusion mean here? Why is it valuable to us? How might we capture that value?

While most organizations have poetic and rambling statements of commitment to diversity and inclusion, they are missing this clear and concise foundational language and logic, so they are trying to deliver a product without actually defining it. Good luck with that project. Get informed, get clear on what diversity and inclusion mean for your organization (especially the experience of being included, how do we know when it is happening, what does it look like, feel like, sound like, and smell like…the more specific we can get on this, the easier it is to figure out how we get there and what to measure along the way), and then develop your plan for getting there. Once you have defined what an inclusive experience is in your organization it becomes much easier to identify the behaviors, the practices, the processes that go into it. Most organizations skip ahead and start hanging posters up and launching programs, without the underlying language and logic in place.

This work really is still in its infancy, and as such it remains conceptually and linguistically underdeveloped…tackle that first in your organization. Champion clarity, put a common language in place – that makes everything else easier and more likely to succeed.

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

JG: Clarity is one of your very best friends. Language is your first intervention. Clear, concise definitions are your first evidence of real commitment. Inclusive spaces, places, and experiences are not the natural by-product of people having good intentions, they happen because we intentionally design them and build them and I have some tools and tips to share toward that effort.

TR: Is there anything else you want readers/conference attendees to know?

JG: I think this is the 7th SHRM Annual that I have presented at and this conference is one of my absolute favorites. There is something uniquely inspiring about sharing space with so many people that are committed to the craft of HR, I always get a buzz from this show. In addition to my concurrent session, Designing the Inclusive Employee Experience (Tuesday, June 19th 10:45-12:00), I am also going to be rocking the mic on the Smart Stage on Monday afternoon (3:20), talking about the importance of conflict done well. See you in Chicago!

So there you have it, folks. Words of wisdom on designing the inclusive employee experience from someone who knows a thing or a thousand about the subject, Mr. Joe Gerstandt. We definitely have a long way to go but with the right guidance, we can do it. It was my absolute pleasure to have him answer the questions I posed. He even asked if we could meet for coffee (tea, for me) in Chicago. Of course! I will try to keep my fan-girling to a minimum in public.

Contact Joe Gerstandt:

Website / Twitter / LinkedIn / Facebook

Joe is also half of the dynamic duo, Talent Anarchy.

Performance Management – No Dumping Allowed

Recently I came home to find a note from my apartment management company warning people that dumping trash outside of the dumpster is prohibited. Furthermore, anyone caught doing so would be fined and continued infractions could lead to the offender being asked to vacate their unit. ALL CAPS and red text were used in abundance to indicate the intensity of the message.

tenor

On its face this makes perfect sense. You should absolutely not place garbage outside of the dumpster. Without question. It’s unsanitary and attracts rodents of varying sizes and ilks. However, the complex has 20+ units, several with multiple residents but only ONE dumpster and ONE trash day. In other words, residents aren’t equipped with sufficient resources to achieve the desired outcomes. This immediately made me think of – you guessed it –  performance management.

ominous music

We can talk all day about how the traditional performance management system/process is broken. Too often I’ve seen managers hold their direct reports accountable for outcomes they haven’t provided them with sufficient resources to accomplish. The needed resources could be in the form of money, time, training, assistance or equipment. Missing resources can even be the criteria upon which the individual will be evaluated.

“You seem to be having a problem doing your job. You failed to meet the standards I never explained to you or reach the goals we never discussed.”

“I know you told me multiple times what you needed to accomplish these goals and I never provided it, but that doesn’t explain why it wasn’t done.”

We have to do better. Performance management doesn’t just take place once a year when you do the formal evaluation. Or even twice a year. It is an ongoing process of communication, feedback and coaching. It is understanding what your direct reports need in order to be successful in their roles and providing them with the necessary resources. It is encouraging their professional development and utilizing their strengths. Too often managers think ‘performance management’ is a static function based on using a particular tool. Every interaction you have with your team falls under performance management. Listen to your people. Help them help you, themselves and your organization be successful. Set clear and realistic expectations and provide the necessary training and resources for them to be accomplished.

 

Don’t be like my apartment complex. You know you don’t want garbage (poor performance) strewn around the place. So do what you need to do to keep it from happening. Don’t wait until it becomes a problem.

Give me an ‘S’! … #SHRM18 Blog Squad

cheerleading-clip-art-13As you may know by now, I have been selected to be a member of the SHRM18 Blogger Team. Members of the team will be sharing information and content about the SHRM 2018 Annual Conference on social media (blogs, Twitter, etc.) before and during the conference. We are basically cheerleaders for the conference, without the matching uniforms and acrobatic stunts. Maybe we should get pom poms though. Because why not?

This is my first year being a member of the blogger team and I’m super excited about it. I even posted a video about it on Instagram which, if you know me, was major. LOL. One of my fellow team members, Michael Vandevort, is doing an interview series for his podcast, DriveThru HR. The point of the series is to get to know each of us a bit as well as discuss the conference and what we’re looking forward to about it. The episode featuring me is below (click image.) Check it out. While you’re at it, check out the other blogger team episodes too. We are one great group of inspired and inspiring HR professionals! When you see us at the conference, be sure to say hello.

See you in Chicago!

drivethruhr

 

Everything You Need to Know About Managing People: Q & A with Karlyn Borysenko #SHRM18

SHRM18 is right around the corner! Of course by around the corner I mean three months away. But it’s never to soon to start checking out the agenda and trying to plan at least half of the sessions you want to attend. I recommend planning but also allowing room for flexibility because stuff happens.

karlynI have the honor of being a member of the SHRM18 Blogger Team. Yay, me! As such I have the opportunity to select a few speakers to interview and give you a “behind the scenes” take on their sessions. First up is Karlyn Borysenko, PhD, Principal at Zen Workplace. I chose to interview Karlyn because she is an organizational psychologist which I find to be super interesting. I’m intrigued by all things dealing with the mind. Karlyn works with individuals and organizations to create better work experiences that lead to bottom line results and greater career success. Karlyn will be a busy bee at SHRM18. She’s conducting a Preconference Workshop, a Mega Session and appearing on the Smart Stage! I interviewed Karlyn about her Preconference Workshop, Everything You Need to Know about Managing People. (Statements I find particularly poignant are in bold.)

TR: Why is it said that people leave managers, not organizations?

KB: Managers dictate that daily experience that any employee has with their organization. If you have a great boss, you’ll have a great experience. If you don’t, then the organization might be an amazing place to work for people who have different reporting lines, but your experience won’t be so great. No amount of cultural or employee engagement investments can make up for when a person has a boss that doesn’t empower or support them.

On the flip side of this, however, is that you can have organizations that are pretty toxic from the leadership level…but if you have a great boss who makes their team the priority regardless of the example they are getting from above, you will have a better experience than others and probably be less likely to leave, all other things being equal. So, it works both ways.

This is why it’s so critical for managers at all levels to take responsibility for the experiences of their team members. Being promoted into a manager role is not just a more powerful version of being an individual contributor. You are, in a very real way, responsible for people’s lives. Unfortunately, very few organizations ever teach people how to be a great boss on a psychological level. They may teach you how to administer an annual performance review, the process for hiring and firing, but that’s just process. To be a great manager, you need to know how to engage and motivate a team based on how their brain works. That’s why a workshop like this is so important – we’ll look at the topic from the inside out to help you get the most out of your team members while creating an experience that will drive engagement and productivity.

TR: What skills are most needed to be an effective people manager and why?

KB: I believe the most important skill to develop is a service mindset. You may be in a position of technical power over the people who report to you (for example, you can make the case to fire them if you want to), but authoritarian power just gets people to be compliant. It doesn’t help them to embrace being empowered, go the extra mile when it comes to communication, or bring creativity and innovation to the table. To get there, you have to serve your team members, and that involves putting the ego aside and individually giving them what they need to achieve their best work. When they are successful, you will be successful.

TR: What is employee engagement and what role does it play in the success (or lack thereof) of a team/organization?

KB: There are about 1,000 definitions of employee engagement. Last year when I visited the SHRM exhibit hall, I couldn’t go more than a few booths without a company selling a tool proportion to solve your employee engagement problems. I asked many of them what they mean by “employee engagement” and almost every one of them gave me a different answer!

Now, that’s not to say they don’t have some great tools that could help, but fundamentally I don’t see employee engagement as a technological question. I see it as a human problem. That’s why my definition of employee engagement is all about intrinsic motivation: Employee engagement is when your team comes in primed to give it their all, no matter what their role is. They are intrinsically motivated to do their best work. 

It’s the intrinsic motivation piece that trips a lot of people up. Engagement is not about a paycheck or a raise or a promotion…no one is going to turn those things down, but it’s not the psychological driver of long-term high performance (it gives a nice short-term boost but that only lasts about two weeks). People need to feel listened to, they need to feel valued, they need to know that their manager sees the effort they are putting in and positively responds to it. And when they’re trying to improve areas of their performance, they need to hear from their manager that they see the effort and the improvement to keep up their momentum.

engaged

Don’t Be Like THIS Manager.

Now, here’s the thing: A piece of technology like all those vendors sell seems like a quick solution to say that you’re “working on” or “fixing” employee engagement. Connecting on a human level is much harder, and much more uncomfortable for many managers, but it is truly the best way to drive the long-term results you’re looking for.

TR: What does it mean to manage “from a human perspective?” Why is this important?

KB: There’s not a single person that goes to work and leaves their humanity at the door, yet most people try to deny that aspect of themselves when they enter the office. We build up these walls and tell ourselves “it’s not personal…it’s just business.” You’re talking about people’s livelihoods here – their mortgages, their car payments, putting their kids through school. It couldn’t be more personal!

No matter how you try to frame it, you can’t get around how our brain is hardwired to work. Most of our decisions are driven from the subconscious emotional part of our brain, and then we use logic and reason to justify what we’ve already decided to do emotionally. What that means for managers is that you have to appeal to people on an emotional level to get them to do their best work. There’s no getting around it…it’s science.

kumbayaNow, I’m not suggesting that you all need to be sitting around the fireplace singing kumbaya, but you do need to be very mindful of how your employees perceive their experience. Do they think you really listen to them, or do you just wait to talk in meetings (or, worse yet, take notes on your laptop)? Do you give them significantly more positive recognition than critical feedback? Do you take the time to coach and professionally develop them? Do you allow for failure as a natural part of progress, or do you make them believe that any misstep will have consequences on their career? These are all issues we’ll address in the workshop, and how to do them really well to appeal to that human element.

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

KB: This workshop will be a crash course in the top four things I think managers need to do to drive productivity and engagement on a psychological level – adapt, communicate, empower, and support. We’ll go high level, and dig down to some very specific, actionable tactics. However, the takeaways that I want people to leave the room with is the responsibility that comes with being in a manager position and developing that service mindset I mentioned earlier. Management is not about process. It’s about people.

TR: Any additional comments?

KB: For those managers thinking about attending, understand that you have a responsibility to provide a great working experience for your team, even if your boss is not doing it for you. So often, I hear from managers, especially at the mid-management level, “my boss isn’t doing this stuff so why do I have to?” I’ll be blunt: You do it because it’s the right thing to do, not only from a work perspective but as a human being. Is it fair that your boss might not put the effort in for you but I’m asking you to do it for you team? No. But change has to start somewhere. You can choose to be the person that opts out and uses your boss as an excuse….or you could be the person that says “I’m doing this regardless, because I know it’s what’s best for my team.”

Connect with Dr. Karlyn Borysenko.
If you’ve ever seen my posts on Twitter or LinkedIn, or had a conversation with me, you can see from Karlyn’s responses why this session is right up my alley. Everything she’s saying is everything I stand for. Humanity in the workplace. Positive employee experience. Managers taking responsibility for their people. The tagline on my site is “Life. Human Resources. It’s All About the People.” Because it is. Full stop.

Looking for a Job – The Full-Time Job from Hell

Over the past few days I’ve had multiple conversations about the job searching process. Some of them have been with myself, some have been with others. One thing me, myself, I and everyone else I’ve spoken with has agreed on is that the process sucks. It’s broken. It’s been left on the side of the road and needs to be fixed. Somebody call AAA.

Non-HR folks are usually surprised when I can commiserate about how painful this process tends to be. In their minds, I’m part of the group of evil sadists who have created the problem.

one of them

But trust me, I know your pain. I know the agony of uploading a resume and then having to complete an application with the EXACT. SAME. INFORMATION. I, too, cringe when having to answer irrelevant questions like when you graduated high school or what your last salary was. Or worse yet, the salaries for all of the jobs you’re listing, along with the name, address and current contact info for each of your former managers. If we aren’t connected on LinkedIn, chances are, I don’t have it.

rebukeLet’s not forget the cover letter requirement. Heaven forbid you just look at a resume and gather why the person is interested in the job. I absolutely suggest cover letters for career change situations. If your job history has been in sales it may not be immediately apparent why you’re applying for a job as a social worker. But if your job history is a long line of social work or social work adjacent roles, it should be pretty obvious. Cover letters should not be required to apply for a job.

We need to stop making it difficult for people to work with us. We want great people but we don’t want to value their time. I can just imagine the number of great candidates who have been lost to a tedious application process. Who wants to spend 30 minutes applying to one job?

Don’t get me wrong. I get that an application is a legally binding document whereas a resume is not. I get that cover letters are often used to assess writing skills. Some employers call themselves weeding people out by not making it too easy to apply. “If it’s too easy, everybody will apply! We only want the cream of the crop who doesn’t mind spending an entire evening applying to our jobs!” Well, that’s a place I’m dying to work at. Not.

The hiring process is a window into what it’s like to work at an organization. This includes the application. If the process is tedious, time-consuming and disjointed it reflects an organizational culture that doesn’t value people. For example,

  • Long, drawn out application process
  • Waiting several weeks to contact people to schedule an interview
  • Bringing people in for more than two interviews

If you don’t value someone’s time when they are trying to work at your organization, that already tells me you won’t value it when they work there. Hard pass. 

job-search-5The job search/application process needs to be fixed. All applications should be mobile-friendly and involve no more than three steps. It shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes.  Sometimes I just want to apply for a job real quick during my commute. Resumes alone should be accepted. Until we come up with something better than resumes. Interviews should be scheduled in a timely manner. Communication should be consistent during the process. It’s really not that difficult to create a more person-focused process.

Value people. Value their time. Value their desire to work at your organization. Value the fact that after they’ve sifted through numerous job postings (another mission from hell) they’ve decided to take the time to apply to your job. Then don’t make them use too much of it. Looking for a job shouldn’t BE a full-time job.

If we really want to make a difference, let’s also have all job postings include salary ranges, realistic expectations and only consider requirements as things that are legitimately required to be able to do the job. What a wonderful world this could be!

 

will

Real time image of someone who’s spent the day searching and applying for jobs.

Be the Change… You Belong at #WorkHuman

betheWe’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.

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.

I want to be part of that future! That’s why I’m looking forward to attending the conference again this year and in perpetuity. The tracks for the 2018 conference are:

  • Crowdsourcing and the Performance Revolution
  • The Business Case for Social Recognition
  • Thriving through Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging
  • Your Whole Self
  • Humanizing Your Employer Brand
  • HR Leaders as Culture Facilitators
  • The Human Workplace

It’s perfect for me! In addition to the sessions, I look forward to soaking up wisdom and inspiration from the incredible roster of keynote speakers which includes Tarana Burke, Brené Brown, Shawn Achor, Salma Hayek Pinault, Simon Sinek, Amal Clooney and Adam Grant.

Join me in Austin as we discuss creating workplaces that focus on people as human beings, not just as workers. We are only two weeks out from the conference (April 2-5) but there is still time to register. Through April 1, you can save $200 off the onsite registration fee. Use code WH18INF-TRA for an additional $100 off. Don’t say I never gave you anything. 🙂

Hope to see you there!

Previous posts on WorkHuman:

WorkHuman 2017 – Bring Your Whole Self

WorkHuman? How Else Are We Gonna Work?

The Gender Pay Gap is Real; Particularly for Black Women. #InternationalWomensDay

I have shared parts of this video multiple times on Twitter but today I thought I’d share the entire interview. No discussion of women and equality of opportunity and pay is complete without discussing Black women. All Black women. Everyday Black women. But folks tend to take more notice when celebrities bring up a topic. I can’t think of any more we’ll known, celebrated and talented celebrity to illustrate this issue than Viola Davis.

“If I’m the Black Meryl Streep, pay me Meryl Streep money.” I cringe at that comment because Ms. Davis is more than worthy of being paid top dollar without being compared to a White actress. Yet, here we are. And if SHE isn’t getting paid what she’s worth, just imagine what it’s like for the rest of us who haven’t won Oscar, Emmy and Tony awards. The rest of us who toil away in office jobs, working hard, never winning awards or having our faces on the big or small screen. Ms. Davis also said something along the lines of, if white women are getting paid half of what men are getting paid, black women are getting paid a fraction of that. Yep.

So on this International Women’s Day, as we recall, relive and remember the greatness and sacrifices of the women who’ve come before us – The Ida B. Wellses, the Shirley Chisholms, the Marian Andersons, the Madame C. J. Walkers, the mamas and aunties and grandmamas and foster mamas – we must also remember that we still have a long way to go in this fight. One of the greatest actresses of our time – not black actresses, actresses, – still has to fight to get paid what she’s worth. In 2018, HR folks are discussing using ‘blind resumes’ so hiring managers aren’t influenced by gender or racial biases.

Karen vs. Ken.

Karen vs. Keisha.

Harvard vs. Howard.

Glass ceilings still exist. Boards and Executive teams are still overwhelmingly white and male. The gender pay gap is very real.* This must end. Run us our coins!

*The gender pay gap is very real. But the best-known stat—that women earn 76 cents for every dollar earned by men (according to PayScale’s latest data)—only tells part of the story. This stat is representative of the uncontrolled—or “raw”—gender pay gap, which looks at a median salary for all men and women regardless of job type or worker seniority. When looking at the uncontrolled gap, it is true that the median salary for men is roughly 24 percent higher than the median salary for women. But what often gets lost in translation is what the uncontrolled gap truly represents—that women are less likely to hold high-level, high-paying jobs than men. The more stubborn gap is one of opportunity rather than “equal pay for equal work.” (Payscale, 2016)

Are You Woke or Are You a Joke? (#BlackBlogsMatter)

#BlackBlogsMatter Challenge Week 3: The Tao of Woke

Most of y’all know me as an HR pro but as I said in my intro, I contain multitudes. I’ve been a social media management consultant (and a makeup artist and an image consultant. I’m sure you see the connection to HR. 🙂 ) When the world of social media was the world in which I lived, it seemed every other person was referring to themselves as a social media “guru,” “rockstar,” “ninja” or some other equally self-aggrandizing title. I’ve actually noticed a similar trend in the HR world but I digress. I bring this up because to me, calling yourself ‘woke’ is similar to calling yourself a ‘guru.’ If you have to constantly tell folks you’re it, you probably aren’t it.

So what does it mean to be ‘woke’ anyway?

 

woke

I’m gonna go with this definition. 

 

The other day a friend of mine referred to me as one of the two wokest people she knows. I took it as the compliment I knew it was intended to be. I knew she said it because she knows me as being quick to point out an injustice and work to fix it. She knows I’m passionate about inclusion, diversity and equality. She knows I’m always down for the cause. She knows I do it for the people. If that makes me ‘woke,’ I’ll take it. Unfortunately, too many folks have started co-opting ‘woke’ the same way they’ve co-opted “Bye, Felicia.” Watering it down and overusing it to the point that it becomes pointless.

A few weeks ago I read the following question in an advice column from a woman who identified herself as white:

“I consider myself to be pretty woke but I’m dating a black guy and I need to know how to deal when we visit his family for the holidays.” 

This, my friends, is the problem with self-proclaimed wokeness. Take the racial component out of this question and it’s perfectly innocent. How do I deal with my boyfriend’s family over the holidays? However, the racial component is clearly the crux of the issue, since the writer felt the need to specify that she was white and her boyfriend was black. But she wasn’t just any white woman. Oh no! She was a ‘woke’ white woman. How did she know? Because she told herself so. ‘Woke’ but had to ask a stranger how to interact with a group of black people. Ok. She was probably a rockstar too.

Wokeness is such a complicated and fickle state of being. Can one be born woke? Raised woke? Suddenly woke? If you are woke today does that mean you were previously asleep? At what point does one cross the line from asleep to woke? Are there levels of wokeness? Is there a wokeness registration process? Can your wokeness be lost or revoked? Can you be a woke person of color and be in a relationship with a non-woke white person? Can a woke white person be in a relationship with a non-woke person of color? So. Many. Questions.

I don’t have the answers, people. I told y’all, I’m not a thought leader. I just know that using the above definition of ‘woke,’ I’m proud to be it. I think it’s something every single person should be or strive to be. It’s 2018 and this is not a time to be asleep. We have too many nightmares and monsters under the bed to contend with.

Stay woke.