Food-For-Thought Friday: Speak Less, Listen More- A Lesson on Women’s Rights and Race

Image courtesy of Flickr.

Image courtesy of Flickr.

I have been deciding what I want to call the theme of my Friday posts and then it hit me: Food-for-thought Friday. My goal is to share insights I have on a myriad of topics – either inspired by content I have elsewhere on the interwebs or just something I feel warrants discussion.

Today, I am sharing my latest You Tube video from “The Aristocracy of HR” You Tube Channel. If you aren’t already aware, I post a video per week there giving the behind-the-scenes or background on the article of the week. I also post the replays from my weekly Ask Czarina Live™ Periscope show so you should definitely subscribe, but I digress.

Last night, on my Ask Czarina Live™ show I discussed pay equity for women. I talked about the fact that I am disgusted with talking about it. I also shared the startling statistics in the pay equity discussion for women of color.

Did you know?

Although white women get paid 79 cents on every dollar of their white male counterpart makes, Black women make 64 cents on that same dollar. Latinas get paid 54 cents on that same white male dollar. Women across racial demographics who are disabled make 64 cents on the dollar as well. Which brings to light that even though there is a general issue with pay equity for women, the impact is disproportionately adverse when we break it down by race and even ability.

What I find fascinating is the inability of white males and even females to see how this may be a tremendous hurdle for women of color to overcome. There is a mindset that if we (people of color) simply do the “right things” that the problem of inequity goes away and we can all go home and resume our lives as successful professionals. Quick to speak up and offer up solutions, slow to listen.

I contend that it isn’t that simple. There is a system and an institution in this country that makes it near impossible in some cases for women of color to catch up. Even if white women catch up eventually, we will always be behind. That fact doesn’t change unless, white people recognize the issue for what it is and make some serious and intentional changes in how gender and race is viewed in this country. That’s the price of being the majority. What can I say – with great power comes great responsibility as they say.

Someone on my show mentioned, “People pay for what they want.” We could make the case that the fact that pay equity is still an issue is a sign that women overall are unwanted in the workforce. I can also make the case that women of color and those who are disabled are damn near invisible when you consider the spectrum of how much the powers-that-be choose to pay us.

There are ways we can advocate for ourselves as women on the whole, but the advocacy is a harder sell for some of us. This is a fact.

Here’s the food-for-thought: Don’t be offended or quick to offer-up a solution, when women of color speak about the reality of their own plight in the pay equity debacle. It isn’t an affront to white women or anyone else. Instead, ingest the data and decide for yourself if you would want the same for yourself or your daughter. What would you do? I think I already know what your answer is.

Until the next time…thank you for reading! I appreciate you immensely. Stay tuned for more food-for-thought next Friday.

Three Reasons Why Companies Should Provide a Pathway Back to Work for Moms

Women's Rights

As we continue to explore all of the segments of diversity that deserve our attention, let me add another one to the ever-growing list. If you couldn’t tell by the title – the segment I am speaking about is: Moms. Some of women are fortunate enough to be employed by an employer who understands that there is much more that can be done for women returning to work than what FMLA provides. Those women are in the minority. The larger chunk of this segment is betrothed to companies who either don’t care or aren’t creative enough to create opportunities and pathways for mothers returning to work after starting their families.

Did you know?

The U.S. is one of three countries along with Oman and Papua New Guinea that does not offer paid maternity leave. This is a clear indication that we are not only lackluster in support of women before they become mothers, but that we neglect them on the other side of motherhood as well. As such, “off-ramping” or leaving career tracks for women is not just an option but a decision made under the duress of the stigma placed upon women who decide to have a family.

According to the Center For Talent Innovation’s 2005 study, 37% percent of professional women in the U.S. left their career track at some point. 66% opted for flex-time, temp and part-time work instead of completely off-ramping. According to a 2015 Huffington Post Women article by Sylvia Ann Hewlett, the numbers had not changed much when they revisited the 2005 study in 2010. Shocking!

Let’s be honest… let’s be real.

Women should be able to start a family whenever they choose. It isn’t a decision that requires the ever-popular buy-in of line managers and the C-Suite. That said, when a woman makes that decision- it shouldn’t be the case that she has to bid adieu to her career aspirations, upward mobility and financial security.

Unfortunately, women are hindered. There’s a stigma around pregnancy and being a parent in many companies. While I choose to focus in on women for the sake of this piece, the stigma extends to any person – who has to put familial obligations before their work at some point.

I can remember so many days working for previous employers – where my need to leave at 5pm was met with grimaces and rolling eyes. I recall many days that one of my children were sick and I had to hear the long sighs and pauses directly after letting my immediate supervisor know I would be taking the day to care for them.

From where I sat, starting a family was seen as an affront to what the company needed to accomplish. How dare you set them back like this? You want to take longer than FMLA will allow, we can’t guarantee your job because you need more time. “Good luck and best wishes” is how they say: “You were great until you decided to have this family, good luck being hired again, but we are moving on.”

Leaning-in for the win or not.

There isn’t enough leaning-in in the world that can change an archaic mindset. If companies believe a woman who has family obligations is worth less than one who can sit behind a desk for 12 hours a day and then again from home neglecting their personal wants and needs – I would say they are insane. One isn’t better than the other – it’s just different. We need to stop alienating women because they choose to have a family. More importantly, we need to welcome them back whether it is after a short or long hiatus- offering different options for either scenario.

Here are three reasons why companies need to provide a pathway for women back to work after starting a family:

1) A 2013 Pew Research Center Survey indicated that 40% of households with children under the age of 18 have mothers who are either the primary or sole providers of income for the household.  By eliminating the pathway for women to return to work, you are very likely creating economic disparities for not only women, but for families on the whole. Washington Post reported last year that 47% of Americans cannot afford an unexpected $400 expense. Already strained household budgets, plus unpaid maternity leaves, coupled with women out of work due to lack of opportunity is very likely a financial burden/nightmare for many families in the U.S.

2) Can you afford to lose another segment of the workforce? KPMG published their 2016 Top Global Market Trends last month. One of the five takeaways from this report was that: “Talent shortages are still top-of-mind for many leaders and they see it as the new norm.” I’ve mentioned in other articles that I think the talent shortage is more perceived than actual. How can we claim talent shortages when we are willfully turning away women from the workforce? Realistically, no organization can afford to lose this segment; which is why it makes sense to create circumstances that favor them staying.

3) It’s the right thing to do. How much more volume do women’s issues need for the parity and double-standards to stop? Every person deserves to be able to sustain themselves and their families by way of gainful employment. Women owned-businesses are on the rise and they are likely to rival establishment businesses and their archaic thinking. The true talent shortage is when women push out the big guys and focus on all of the items that were off the table like: paid maternity leave, flex-work arrangements, backup daycare, eldercare options, paternity leave, phase-back programs etc.

I covered this topic in further detail on my show: Ask Czarina Live ™ Unbothered: Moms Returning To Work. Check out the episode below.

 

 

 

Technology and HR Revisited Series: G2 Crowd Report on Core HR Systems

Created with Canva.com

Created with Canva.com

We evolve as we go or so we hope. When I have led HR Technology implementations in the past, my recommendations have been countered at times by word-of-mouth recommendations and/or reports by some of “human capital” firms who make it a practice of regurgitating the same HR Technology vendors in their HR Tech state of the union reports year-after-year. I think we can all agree having more information readily available has not necessarily meant for more qualitative information. In fact, I would say it is harder than ever to find a reliable, factual or useful piece of information.

The “Best-In-Class” Racket

I have read many reports on HR Technology and how players in each segment stack up. As an HR practitioner, user and HRIS Analyst, I was often dumbfounded by the results I was seeing in these reports for the following reasons:

1) Many of the HR Tech vendors that have been touted as being “best-in-class” were the most troublesome to implement, lacked in customer service and many other attributes that would be important to consider when shopping for and implementing a new system.
2) The HR Tech vendors that were providing service as specified or even exceeded customer expectations were often left of this “best-in-class” roster or given marginal ratings. How?
3) Very little of the information presented in the reports I was reading resulted from a significant sampling of actual customers who have had the experience of working with these vendors.

Users Trump All

If you are going to position your company to influence consumers on HR Technology purchases via the reports, analysis and data you provide, you better make sure that you have got the experience right from the ground floor where the practitioners live and breath with the technology daily. Part of the issue with evaluating HR Technology is as follows:

1) Too many companies rush to make hasty purchasing decisions without carefully considering teams, resources and the product’s compatibility with their processes-resulting in a lot of poorly implemented systems.
2) At the enterprise level, you have extreme variability in approach and execution with regard to sales and implementation teams with a specific HR Tech vendor. That means that, I could have a great sales and implementation team for Vendor “X” in NY; but my colleague in Minnesota will have a different team and likely a difference in experience. Different teams are fine. Variability in approach and execution from an organizational and branding perspective is not.

The G2 Crowd Difference

I believe I have encountered a report that is as true to the users experience as it is evaluating HR Tech vendors performance. The company that produces the report is called G2 Crowd. I have made their reports available here before. Their use of crowdsourced feedback from actual users makes for a far different report than I have seen. Finally, I am reading a report on Core HR or Recruiting Software and I’m not cringing at most of the results.

They published their Core HR report in July and I am comfortable with most of their results. I say “comfortable” because there are at least two systems I am not intimately familiar with – so I have to go by their evaluation. Below I share the “Core HR category” grid; but before we get there- some transparency for you. While I love a lot about this report and G2 Crowd, I have to tell you that I have not been paid by them to share this information. As always, I merely seek to keep you aware of the best of the best in HR, HR Technology etc.

What does Core HR represent?

Core HR is defined in this report as the following: systems that automate organization management, expense management, salary structures, benefits administration and time tracking. Below you will find G2 Crowd’s grid for depicting how Core HR vendors stacked up. If you are in the market for a new Core HR system and would like to purchase the entire report of customer-sourced feedback- visit G2 Crowd’s site here.

I have personally combed through their reports and found it to be a valuable asset to have when deciding which vendors to engage based on your company’s needs. Consider making this investment next time you are in the market for an end-to-end Core HR system. I can honestly say I wish I would have had something like this during the implementations I have been involved in.

 

Was this article helpful? Don’t forget to leave a comment or share your feedback with me.

Watch the latest Ask Czarina on “The Aristocracy of HR” You Tube Channel here.

31 Days, 32 Revelations: Taking Chances

Image courtesy of Flickr.com

Series Introduction

Every year, I like to find a different way of celebrating my favorite day: my birthday. Since I am turning 32 next month (I know…awww…), I’ve decided to share 32 revelations I have had during the course of my life about everything from life in general to business. Think of it as daily inspiration for you and therapy for me. It is a challenge for me, because I don’t think I have ever published a post everyday in the entire existence of The Aristocracy of HR. Plus, I recognize that while I am fairly generous in sharing on social media and here, I have only just scraped the surface on sharing who I am when I’m not pontificating how HR and Business can do better. Let’s use the month of March to get to know one another better. I hope at the end of the month, you walk away with something you can use in your own life or business.

Day 21 of 31-  Taking Chances

I sincerely questioned doing this series. I was going back and forth with thoughts like: will my readers enjoy it or will I lose readership because it isn’t my usual HR commentary? I basically took a chance changing the tone of my blog for month and speaking about completely different topics. It is a chance I am happy I took.  My success in this instance ended up outweighing my fear of failure. More importantly, I did something that felt good and when you do things from your heart it typically resonates with people. It’s that whole act of being authentic.

How many more great things could we all be doing if we chose possibility over fear?

By and large, the leaps of faith I have taken that scared me to my core; have had the most rewarding and mind-blowing results. If we don’t let fear paralyze us and we put things out in the world that are true to who we are- there are endless possibilities for doing great things.

I have had some of the best conversations with people this month and it is all due to doing something I was scared to do.  If there is anything I have learned from this experience it  is to trust my gut and have faith that my ideas and efforts will flourish. Sometimes they will  and sometimes they won’t, but if I don’t at least try I have no way of knowing either way. I’m trying new things and stretching myself in ways that feel like an outer-body experience at times. The important thing is I am having fun and not letting fear rule my decisions.

I’m so thankful for everyone that has taken the ride along with me. See you tomorrow for the final post.

Czarina’s Lesson: When it comes down to fear and faith, choose faith.

31 Days, 32 Revelations: 32 Fun Facts About Me

IMG_20141118_064219

Series Introduction

Every year, I like to find a different way of celebrating my favorite day: my birthday. Since I am turning 32 next month (I know…awww…), I’ve decided to share 32 revelations I have had during the course of my life about everything from life in general to business. Think of it as daily inspiration for you and therapy for me. It is a challenge for me, because I don’t think I have ever published a post everyday in the entire existence of The Aristocracy of HR. Plus, I recognize that while I am fairly generous in sharing on social media and here, I have only just scraped the surface on sharing who I am when I’m not pontificating how HR and Business can do better. Let’s use the month of March to get to know one another better. I hope at the end of the month, you walk away with something you can use in your own life or business.

Day 20 of 31-  32 Fun Facts About Me

I can’t thank you all enough for reading, commenting and following this series. I was a little hesitant about switching gears, but I must say I am happy I did. The outpouring of support has been tremendous.

The day that has made this all possible has arrived. I am happy to announce that my 32nd birthday is today. Woohoo! I love celebrating my birthday. I started my day with reflection and giving thanks to the big man upstairs for another year of life.

In honor of my birthday, I am sharing 32 fun facts that you probably don’t know about me. I hope you enjoy them.

Here you go…

1) I am a Hofstra University Alumni.

2) When I started college, I was a Biochemistry Major with a minor in Spanish.

3) I initially planned  to major in Biochemistry because I wanted to become a Forensic Pathologist.

4) In high school, I was in my school’s Intel Program. My project was: The Mutagenesis of Poliovirus and Picornavirus

5) My first job was working as a waitress for a catering hall in a Jewish Temple.

6) I was part of Macy’s TapMania – it was an event that got 5,600 tap enthusiasts of all ages together in an effort to break the Guiness Book of Records for largest tap dancing event.

7) I played the Alto Saxophone in junior high school and high school. I was in both the marching band and jazz band.

8) I really wanted to play the Soprano Saxophone, because my idol, Kenny G played it- but had to settle for the Alto because that’s all the school had.

9) I read in two languages other than English- Spanish and Portuguese. I can speak Spanish and am emerging in Portuguese.

10) I am of Guyanese and Trinidadian descent.

11) I have a West-Indian accent, but it only comes out when I’m around other West- Indians.

12) When I was younger, I used to steal my mom’s black eyeliner to draw on a beauty mark, so I could look like Cindy Crawford.

13) My favorite colors are: teal and hot pink.

14) I love rollercoasters and any thrill rides. I will scream like a baby, but there is no keeping me away from thrill rides,

15)  I’m a Walking Dead fan.

16) My favorite cartoons growing up were: Jem, Looney Tunes, Darkwing Duck, Duck Tales and the Smurfs.

17) I am a trained belly dancer. I was part of a troupe called Fem Fire for three years.

18) I was once on a daytime show called: Living It Up With Ali and Jack. I was one of the models during their teeth whitening segment.

19) I’m a Cooking Channel fanatic. If I am left to my devices on the weekend, I can watch it all day.

20) Speaking of cooking, I love to cook and bake. It’s a labor of love and my happy place. Check out my chops on Instagram.

21) I am the eldest of two kids in my family. I have a younger brother.

22) My favorite sport is: football.

23) I am a diehard NY Giants fan.

24) I played Tennis in high school.

25) My favorite movie is: The Sweetest Thing

26) I was a tomboy growing up. From hopping in creeks to playing crash dummies on bikes, it wasn’t all about dolls and dress-up for me.

27) I love expressing myself through fashion and makeup. It makes me feel great.

28)  I was born in Queens, NY.

29) My favorite genre of music is: Soca

30) I have been known to fall asleep standing up.

31) I was probed to start blogging based on my tweets.

32) I love Philosophy and believe in my previous life I sat on a rock extolling the virtues of life and other phenomenon. My favorite philosophers are: Rene Descartes, Kant and Socrates.

I hope you enjoyed these fun facts about me. Share a fun fact about yourself in the comments. Now for a musical outro with 50 Cent. 

https://youtu.be/_E2w5HiNtic

31 Days, 32 Revelations: Finding My Place In The Universe

 

Image courtesy of quotespictures.com

Series Introduction

Every year, I like to find a different way of celebrating my favorite day: my birthday. Since I am turning 32 next month (I know…awww…), I’ve decided to share 32 revelations I have had during the course of my life about everything from life in general to business. Think of it as daily inspiration for you and therapy for me. It is a challenge for me, because I don’t think I have ever published a post everyday in the entire existence of The Aristocracy of HR. Plus, I recognize that while I am fairly generous in sharing on social media and here, I have only just scraped the surface on sharing who I am when I’m not pontificating how HR and Business can do better. Let’s use the month of March to get to know one another better. I hope at the end of the month, you walk away with something you can use in your own life or business.

Day 19 of 31-  Finding My Place In The Universe

Feminists everywhere are about to cringe, but I have to honestly say my favorite and most rewarding jobs are being a mother and a wife. There is something really magical and sacred about finding someone who gets you, loves you, supports you and shares your goals and aspirations. As if that isn’t monumental enough, your blessings are exponentially amplified when you start a family.

At a certain point in my twenties I realized I wanted to be a mom and wife, but I never imagined the ways it would change me, bless me, and challenge me. All of my life, I encountered settings, groups, and places where I didn’t quite fit. When I got married and had kids, that all changed. I found my place in the universe. Each of my kids are a part of me at different stages of my life and it is a real joy to watch them grow and explore. My husband and I have been extremely intentional about creating a fun, loving and meaningful environment for our kids. Working head and head with him to figure those things out is the most fun workforce planning I have ever done.

I’m not one of those rose-colored glasses mothers that lives and dies by her children and husband. Some days they all make me want to scream; but even on those days-I am in awe of them and so grateful that I we get to walk this journey together. I meet people that are constantly complaining about their husband and children and find me weird when I don’t have the same sentiments about my home life. Just like I don’t question why they are so unhappy, I think people should have the same respect to not to question my happiness.

My formula to a happy home life is pretty simple: I keep my affairs in my home, I mind my own business, and we forge through tough times with love, faith and understanding. There are a few other tips, but I don’t want to fog up your screen- I am an HR practitioner you know.

Having a place you can fail, succeed, be goofy, and be vulnerable is priceless. Everything I have been through in my life has been worth it- if it was all meant to prepare me to create and nurture my little family.

What do you cherish the most about your family?

Czarina’s lesson: We all have a place in this universe. Find yours and be happy.

 

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