Feeding the beast in 2016: It’s my turn to pivot

Feeding the beast in 2016

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a happy and safe holiday. I took some time off to breathe, recharge and position myself and business for the New Year. It was a reflective time where I was fortunate to catch up with family, friends and colleagues. In doing so, I gained a perspective on what I have done and what I am called to do through my business going forward.

I am happy to share that this month marks the 3rd anniversary for my company, Talent Think Innovations, LLC. Admittedly, I knew what I intended for this business when I started it in 2013, but had no idea where it would actually take me.

What do I mean by this?

I wrote an article in 2014 called: “Are You Ready to Pivot?”. The goal I had in mind for that article was to raise awareness around the need for HR and people in business to become adaptable and ready to make decisive changes when circumstances and/or market shifts call for it. Ironically, I look back at this article and recognize that 2016 has presented fertile ground for me to pivot. I spent much of my time off considering how I would continue propel my business to success and whether I am prepared to take yet another step outside of my comfort zone and let the world know.

After lots of wine, prayer and discussions with my circle of trust, I decided it is important to honor the work I do fully. Honoring my work means ensuring that people have a clear perspective on what I do and how I do it. Talent Think Innovations, LLC was founded as a HR Consulting Firm focused on helping small-to-midsize businesses establish sustainable talent management strategy. I made the decision to create the company focus around HR as a matter of comfort and passion. It was what I knew for over eight years and it just felt right.

Without boring you with all of the details, I find myself today having a much broader impact than HR strategy. I’m not abandoning HR, but I am giving my HR prowess some friends with which it was already comfortable. As such, Talent Think Innovations, LLC is now a multi-disciplinary business strategy and management consulting firm focusing on practical and sustainable strategies in the following areas:

  • HR/Talent Management Strategy
  • Executive and Leadership Coaching and Training
  • Career Coaching
  • Digital Marketing Coaching for SMBs
  • Technology Advisory Services and Strategy
  • Startup Mentorship & Advisement for Women
  • Brand Influencer Marketing

The funny thing about this re-branding of sorts is that this “pivot” has been evidenced in the clients I have been working with over the past three years. I just needed recognize and accept where this business journey was taking me.

What does this mean for “The Aristocracy of HR”?

You can still expect Workforce Strategy and HR talk to be the core of this blog. HR is still in my heart, but I will be opening up my topics as I have done in the past two years to cover entrepreneurship, digital marketing, data, technology and quite frankly anything else that tickles my fancy as I continue to grow and evolve.

What I really hope you all take from this is the following:

  • A friend/colleague recently told me, don’t wait too late to change the direction of your business. I took this to mean that you need to have faith in the signs along the journey and clear your space to do the work you are truly called to do.
  • Discomfort is really preparation for the next great thing coming your way. I have been in a state of discomfort since I started this business. I have had my share of struggles , but every consecutive year has brought more opportunity and blessings to my business than the last.
  • Every day things are changing and we need to remain adaptable and ready to move when life pleasantly and unpleasantly pushes us in a new direction.

I am so excited to share all of the new and fun things going on in my corner. As a reader of this blog, you will also be able to reap the rewards- as I work to provide the next level of value for this community. I hope you will join me on this journey and I thank you for your interest in my musings and readership.

Here’s to having a successful and sweet 2016! Time to feed the beast. Stay tuned!

 

Why Self-Auditing Matters

Courtesy of Flickr.com

Courtesy of Flickr.com

 

For you among the crowd that have been involved with audits whereby an infraction was found and you had to pay up- it cuts deep. It stings even worse when in hindsight you recognize that you weren’t proactive and missed something that has now cost the company money. The ultimate question from the top will always be:  “how did this happen?” How will you answer: “I don’t know”, “I’m sorry”, “It was a mistake”. Mistakes happen. However, when your mistakes are preventable and they cost your company money that could have been used for other endeavors-HR is going to take some heat and rightfully so.

Take a small to mid-size business (SMB) for instance. You are a business that makes a specific coating for tanks used by the US Military and your federal contract is worth 2.5 million dollars. You have other clients too and they keep you solvent, but this federal contract keeps you afloat. Now consider this: you have not run a pay equity analysis in a few years. As such, one of your mid-level employees has just had a compensation discussion with their boss that turned ugly and in return alerts both OFCCP and DOL of discriminatory compensation actions. You (HR) receive a notice from DOL asking for your entire compensation history for the past three years. Their review of females and minorities corroborate the narrative supplied by your employee- which leads to an onsite audit. Over the course of a year, they find there are plentiful pay equity violations that result in a fine of $700,000. Ouch! Fines of this magnitude can sink a business or at a minimum leave an indelible wound.

Do you remember the Astra-Zeneca DOL Settlement of 2011? Women were found to make at least $1,700 less than their male counterparts doing the same job at AZ. 124 women were awarded a $250,000 settlement. In return, AZ promised to review pay practices and fix any problems.

Could Self-Audits have helped Astra-Zeneca?

Yes. Had they been reviewing their compensation policies and practices regularly they would have seen issues warranting attention and revision before this became a class-action lawsuit. Self-auditing or mock audits can save you and the company from hefty fines, awkward conversations and/or having to close your doors.

Here are some tips on implementing self-auditing as a practice:

  • Depending on how often you can expect to be audited by outside agencies, set up an internal audit schedule.
  • Create an internal audit team to review your practice against your policy and procedures. Where possible, it is ideal to have someone outside the group being audited conduct the audit for objectivity purposes and for a fresh pair of eyes.
  • Summarize findings and create a threats and opportunities analysis to see where you need to improve. “Threats’ in this context would be items that are inconsistent with your policy and violate the law. “Opportunities” are areas where you do well in complying with policy, but there is potential for violating the law.
  • Get your team involved. Ask them to conduct their own random spot checks. This holds everyone accountable for the consistency of following procedure and allows you to get ahead of potential issues.
  • Train your team on communication during an audit. Saying the wrong thing or too much during an audit can be detrimental your success. Ensuring that each of your team members understands what to expect and how to respond can be helpful for when they are faced with a real auditor.

When it comes to your business, ignorance isn’t bliss. Don’t be afraid to self-audit. It is far better for you or your peers internally to point out your faults than any regulatory agency. Become informed about where your fall short and tighten up your practices. You will thank yourself and the executive team will thank you for saving their money.

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