When There Are No Resources For Your “Human” Resources

When There Are No Resources For Your Human Resources

I completely get that there are many businesses that continue to feel the pinch financially. With that “pinch” it requires cutbacks in certain areas and in some cases across the board. One of the areas I am seeing some less than reasonable cuts in is: supplies and tools. You may be thinking that this is extremely reasonable to do in a time of strained budgets, but it really isn’t.

Please know when I say “supplies and tools”, I’m not talking about the kind of cutbacks that result in getting rid of the colored post-it notes to go with the budget yellow ones. I’m talking about cuts to supplies to the extent of employees not having enough resources to do their jobs.

Still in the dark? Here’s an example.

A world-renowned law enforcement agency with millions of dollars earmarked annually for its operation has a printing paper deficit. In many of its departments it is a requirement to print various pieces of information to complete several of their processes. The printing paper deficit has gotten so bad that employees hoard reams of paper when they are ever lucky to receive a shipment. The hoarding of paper means that many employees are left without any paper which then causes them to beg and barter among themselves for company resources to get their jobs done.

To make matters worse, there are two said printers in some of the departments with high-volume printing work, which means there are constant interruptions to the flow of work to wait for other printing jobs to finish before retrieving their own work.

One day, there was very little paper, computers were having a moment, and one of the printers was out. Keep in mind that there is also a quota looming over these workers heads for having to have a certain number of queries done on new hires per day. With no letting up on the queries despite the severe deficit in office supplies to get the job done, the employees are left thinking: ” What do you want me to do?”.

Let’s talk systems and tools.

How do you have employees show up and expect them to work without access to the very systems they need to get the work done? In a recent instance, an employee went almost four months without having properly assigned codes and access to the systems they needed to get their job done. Instead, they had to use the usernames and passwords of a co-worker to complete work. During this time of sharing usernames and passwords, the co-worker changed codes frequently without sharing this with the new employee – so you can imagine there were several lockout instances.

Again, I can’t understand how we can talk about employees being unproductive, yet not give them the resources or tools necessary to get the job done.

If your budget is scant or you have fallen into this rut without realizing it – let me be your light and guide to proper onboarding and productivity measures:

 1) No one should be transferring or hired into your company without being allocated the pertinent tools, resources and/or access to systems. You want productivity on day one and your employees want to be productive. Create a simple system for onboarding new people so that their access to things doesn’t fall through the cracks. It is not your employees’ responsibility to onboard themselves and properly assimilate. We must do better!

2) Purchasing office supplies is not your employees responsibility. Now, I’m not saying if your employee enjoys a certain expensive pen or supply that they shouldn’t be responsible to purchase it on their own dime. I am saying that if you cannot afford printer paper, you have a bigger cash flow or budget problem on your hand that needs to be addressed. Outside of maybe teachers and healthcare professionals purchasing applicable uniforms, there is no good reason in my head why an employee should have to purchase supplies out of their own money to complete your work.

3) Less is only more when employers are saving dollars. Sometimes you have to invest. If the expectation is for a high-volume of work to be churned out, you need to speak to your staff regularly to keep a pulse on how the technologies, tools, processes and resources available to them are working out. Often times, we see the work getting done and assume all is well on that front. The reality is your employees – in many cases are moving mountains, dealing with your cutbacks and creating workarounds to get your work done. The least you can do is check-in with them and make the investment when it is clear it is time for an upgrade.

 When it comes to work, we are only as productive as our environment and resources will allow. Work ethic matters as well, but for the sake of the article we will assume most people come to work with an intention to do their best. Give your employees the support, resources and tools they need and watch them thrive.

#SHRM15 Recap: Do More Than “Thrive” HR, Execute!

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I had the pleasure of attending SHRM National last week in Las Vegas, Nevada as a member of the blogger team. I found this year’s theme to be interesting. They chose: “thrive”. To set the stage for what I’m about to say, let’s examine the meaning of “thrive” by definition. Thrive means: “to grow, develop or flourish”. When I think of this in the context of HR, I take this year’s theme to mean that: HR must no longer just exist, but grow, develop and flourish as it seeks to be a key authority on the management of people.

There were no shortage of sessions geared towards helping HR achieve just that. Starting with Marcus Buckingham’s keynote, his talk was all about how most of our processes are flawed in HR. For instance, Performance Management is a flawed HR process. Let’s start with the fact that we conduct reviews once a year and couple that with the forced ratings and curves we impose on our employees. Marcus shares that this method not only does a disservice to the employee, but “says much more about the rater than the person being rated”. Additionally, the flawed data that results from those reviews leads to flawed decision-making which will inevitably hurt your retention efforts. I noticed a lot of people nodding their heads in concurrence with what Marcus was saying. However, the bigger question isn’t do we as HR practitioners concur, but what are we going to do about it?

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The overall message from his talk was: Recognize the inherent flaws that exist when a human being is put in a position to manage and even evaluate another person’s work. Moreover, there needs to be a focus on a person’s strengths rather than their flaws. Performance Management as it stands is geared towards finding flaws in work behavior and tailoring performance improvement around those deficits. The baseline for improvement should come from an examination of strengths first not deficits.

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The next session I attended was with Gregg Tate, Senior Vice President of Human Resources for Adidas. His talk was all about Adidas’s “New Way Of Work” concept. Adidas is already planning for 2020. During two separate instances at  SHRM National,  I shared with IBM that part of what HR suffers from when it comes to strategy is being bogged down in the details and fires of the day. I am 100% comfortable saying that the average Talent Acquisition group is so busy filling requisitions, managing hires, and chasing hiring managers that they have very little time to plan for the next year let alone five years from now. It’s not a matter of whether they have the interest in workforce planning- they do. The issue is: tactics. If you are so preoccupied with the present that you can never get beyond the present day’s struggles- you will find it hard to achieve what Adidas is proposing. Nevertheless, Adidas has a clear vision for how they plan to manage their people over the next five years and it is as follows:

1) Provide meaningful reasons for people to join their company and stay.

2) Deploy role models that inspire.

3) Bring forward fresh and diverse perspectives.

4) Create an organizational climate that empowers employees to make a difference.

If this sounds like pie-in-the-sky, I will respectfully disagree and remind you that engagement is stagnant as SHRM speaker Richard Finnegan pointed out in a private blogger briefing. I will also share one of my favorite quotes of the conference from Gregg Tate at Adidas which is : “The War for Talent is over. The talent won.” You have heard from me before about why I think the whole “war on talent” thing is employer propaganda. If you don’t believe that “meaningful work experiences” and “role models” make a difference I challenge you to conduct a very unscientific survey of your people by asking them if they feel their current job has a purpose and/or meaning. Whether they answer “yes” or “no”, it provides you with a window of opportunity to ask them about what does or would provide meaning or purpose in their current positions. If they can answer that question without further probing you are on the right track. If enough of them cannot answer that question easily, you may have a workforce in need of one or more of the four pillars to Adidas’s New Way Of Work concept or perhaps something else.

It is clear that success for HR is grounded in our ability to adapt to the rapid change and innovation we are seeing. Additionally, we need to be able to evolve with the times creating processes and procedures only where needed. More importantly, our call-to-action is to ensure that the right people continue to walk through the door and can be retained. One of the key ways that HR can try to ensure  retention is through “stay interviews”. Richard Finnegan, CEO of C-Suite Analytics  says: “we need to stop conducting exit interviews and start implementing regular stay interviews” to get a head start on retention in your organization. He suggests that new hires be debriefed twice within the first year so we can deal with any concerns or issues they have  before they begin thinking about an exit strategy. Mr. Finnegan also shared that the immediate supervisors of employees should be held accountable to conduct these stay interviews.

This was one of many instances at the conference where there was an emphasis on line management accountability. HR may have oversight over stay interviews as a process, but would lose any direct governance over administering it. Who knows or should know their people better than the line manager? This marks an important shift in HR governance whereby we will likely have to start delegating some of the duties that we have traditionally handled to the departments. Does it make us obsolete to do so- not really? After working with hiring managers for years, I am certain they don’t want all of our burdens.

SHRM is correct. We need to continue to grow, and flourish as a profession, Part of the growing up and flourishing is grounded in discomfort. This discomfort is the sweet spot where we get out of the mindset and practice of doing what we have always done and start challenging the status quo. We have to execute. There was more than enough data to support the need for us to raise the stakes in our organizations. If it doesn’t work, change it. If people are unhappy, find out why. If productivity is suffering, have a conversation. We can no longer afford to sit idly by while society and work progresses beyond our grasps. Managing people is what we do; now all we have to do is own it.

Thanks to SHRM for a great conference and thought-provoking speakers. We now have more than enough food-for-thought to power us through the remainder of 2015 and into 2016.

 

“I am Revolutionizing HR”- The One-Page Proposal

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In 2002, Patrick G. Riley published “The One-Page Proposal” that became a bestselling self-help book in North America, China, Japan, and Korea, which described how the author succeeded in helping businesses all around the world using one-page proposals. In 2011, Patrick G. Riley and Joanna Weidenmiller co-founded 1-Page. The co-founders wanted to take the successful approach and founding principles of the book, and leverage technology to tackle the largest demographic with the biggest communication problem: companies and job seekers.

For every job post it is reported that companies receive an average of 250 resumes, with leading brands receiving up to several thousands of resumes every week. The problem goes beyond quantity, as the content received within a resumes doesn’t provide any indication on the future performances, fit and motivation of a candidate. HR departments and hiring managers need a new system of engagement to identify top candidates before the interview, enabling job seekers to pitch their value instead of simply providing a list of their past accomplishments.

1-Page provides the Challenge-based Assessment Platform that gamifies hiring, giving recruiters the access to predictive data for enhanced decision-making on talent. With 1-Page, companies engage candidates to compete for jobs based on their ability to solve real-time business challenges, to achieve company’s strategic objectives. Candidates’ ability to pitch their value to the company for that specific role, and propose their solution on a 1-Page Job Proposal, is at the core of the process.

Some of the largest US and global companies like First Republic Bank, BevMO!, UST Global, Orange, rely on the platform for:

  • Hiring talent
  • Engage passive candidates
  • Internal promotion
  • Open- source innovation

The platform helps the talent acquisition team to turn job descriptions into real-time business challenges that are unique and specific to the role, and share them through their ATS, customized email invitations, referral lists, and social media. Companies can track in real time the status of candidate’s progression, and leverage collaborative and automated proposal scoring (powered by Natural Language Processing technologies) to identify the best. Thanks to the innovative approach to hiring, the technology behind the scoring model, the great candidate experience delivered, and the results achieved by their enterprise clients, 1-Page has been awarded as one of the top three HR technologies in the US (HRO Today, iTalent 2014). 1-Page has also been endorsed by some of the leading experts in the field of HR technologies:

– “While I always ask candidates to describe how they’d solve a job-related project as part of the assessment, the folks at 1-Page.com have taken this idea a few steps further … candidates submit a one-page proposal summarizing how they’d handle some challenge likely to be faced on the job.”- Lou Adler, Best-selling author and CEO of The Adler Group.

–  “The idea of a company engaging with a candidate through evidence of what he or she could do, rather than for what they have done in the past, is a very bright light in recruiting.” –Bill Kutik, Founder of the HR-Tech Conference, on HRE Online.

1-Page’s clients have been able to lower cost per hire by 70%, increase retention by 75% and reduce time to hire from an average of 13 to 4 weeks. With 1-Page, companies have significantly increased the quality of interviews and hires, while delivering the greatest candidate experience.

Author Biography

joanna headshotJoanna Weidenmiller is CEO and Co-founder of 1-Page, the next generation hiring solution that revolutionizes talent acquisition.
Successful and active woman in tech, prior to launching 1-Page Joanna was CEO and Founder of Performance Advertising, responsible for building one of the US leading outsourced direct sales and marketing firms for two Fortune 500 companies, with a successful exit in 2007. Joanna moved back to the US after spending 5 years in China where she developed and led technologies in the mobile and e-commerce fields. On top of building 1-Page, Joanna most recently served as Managing Partner for Hubert Burda Media (one of the largest magazine and digital publishers in the world) in China, where she headed the expansion and led all strategic operations. Joanna earned her BA degree in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia where she was a Full Scholarship athlete and National rower. Joanna was recruited to the FBI out of college, where she trained police in the Middle East.

Currently she lives in San Francisco, CA.

The Power of Onboarding

FTC Disclosure: I received compensation for writing this product review listed below as one of the services I offer my clients. I only work with companies I feel have great products, services and offerings. In accordance with my blog disclosure statement, I will only work with and showcase products and/or companies I believe my readers will benefit from. iCims is an ATS provider and I have either reviewed or used their product personally. I have not made any absolute statements about its functionality but endorse the capabilities I have personally observed.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

In recruitment, we try any reasonable tactic to gain the attention of the candidates we seek for our positions. We will do whatever is necessary to attract and hire the right candidate all the way up to the offer. You make the offer with a sense of accomplishment; but further engagement or communication dies with the offer, doesn’t it? Fast forward several weeks into the future. Your prized employee starts orientation day- what has transpired? You haven’t been in touch, not even via e-mail. This employee who is bright-eyed and excited is now made to fill out a bunch of dusty HR new hire forms and sit through a long day of company pitches and presentations on what you expect of him or her going forward.

Great first impression?

Not so much, you had the candidate at hello, but you forgot to keep the dialogue and courtship going beyond the offer. This is where the power of onboarding helps. Onboarding is more than a checklist of household items and tasks you and your employee needs to accomplish prior to the commencement of your official partnership. It is about making sure every new hire is consistently and thoroughly made aware of how they will contribute to the organization and what the organization aims to offer them in return.  Being proactive and ready to onboard your employees is a key indicator of the employee’s future productivity, morale, and success. In addition, it is a significant gesture that lets the employee know you are dedicated to their success.

Did you know?

Despite the ongoing discussion about the importance of having a formal onboarding process, only 37% of organizations have invested in a strategic onboarding program for more than two years according to a March 2013 Aberdeen Group report. Taking the time to look at your new hire process and finding areas where you can streamline and automate can only further benefit your new employees and the company.

How do you accomplish all of this?

iCIMS Onboard is an intuitive and extremely versatile platform that not only allows you to automate your onboarding process by allowing new hires to fill out and submit everything from your direct deposit form to I-9’s; but offers a personalized and unique introduction to your company culture. No shock that Aberdeen Group reported that 68% best-in-class companies cited “getting new employees productive more quickly” as a key driver for implementing a strategic onboarding process.  iCIMS electronic forms will save you time and effort in both explaining and collecting papers on the first day; giving you more time to spend with your new hires acclimating them to the company and their new work environment.

With iCIMS Onboard, you can set up notifications and tasks through the platforms task management capability- allowing hiring managers to properly prepare workspaces and other internal clearances so your new hires can be productive day one.  Task management is dynamic enough to be set up by department, region, and new hire type so there is a unique experience delivered for the spectrum of new hires that join your organization.

Got video?

The iCIMS Onboard platform is configurable and able to be designed to match your company’s branding incorporating welcome videos or even training videos to further engage and accelerate your new hires assimilation into your organization. Think of your organization as a mini-society, each citizen that joins your society should be socialized appropriately understanding things like mission, values, culture, and ways of conducting business. Using iCIMS video capabilities in Onboard allows you to deliver company messages, communicating business objectives from day one so employees connect the dots.

Onboarding is no longer a nice-to-have but a business imperative for all organizations. This is especially true, if your goal is to retain new hires and truly realize the ROI on your recruitment efforts.

Start communicating and socializing your new hires today with iCIMS Onboard.

 

What I Really Want CHRO’s To Know

Image courtesy for Stock Images For Free.com

Image courtesy for Stock Images For Free.com

This is a real-talk forum. I’m not about to list leadership competencies or some empirical data I happened upon in my latest internet search on where CHRO’s and leaders in general go wrong.

As a CHRO, you are the figurehead and face of Human Resources. The success and failure of HR’s programs and initiatives rest on your shoulders. The obvious strategy ( assuming you still need to assert the value of HR in the organization) is to align at the top and do whatever they ask of you- even if it undermines the very essence of what HR contributes to the organization. It takes a vision, business savvy, strategy, and the ability to advocate and raise the important issues/discussions around employing people. According to some, marketing and/or financial types are just a few of the professionals being touted as the better choices for HR leadership and even at the staff level. The fact is I don’t care if you put someone with 20+ years of HR experience or 20+ years in Marketing- the central point is you better know people, the challenges of the business and the opportunities that are inherent in investing in talent. HR has always been a field that welcomed professionals from non-traditional backgrounds, so professionals in different fields outside of HR as HR leaders or professionals isn’t exactly groundbreaking.

When people join your organization they are in effect putting their faith in you and the possibilities that may or may not exist within your company. Essentially, they are entrusting you with their livelihoods. The hope is that they can make a decent living, enjoy the work they do and grow. The growth doesn’t necessarily have to mean promotions, but just the ability to continue to learn and grow in the way that is most meaningful for them professionally.

Newsflash– there are few people currently employed purely out of the love of working. Your employees are humans. They have families, problems, debts, health concerns, marital concerns etc. Your job as a leader of HR isn’t to be their psychologist, financial advisor or angel investor. However, it would help if you saw your employees, I mean really saw your employees in the context of being human beings with needs, wants and complex circumstances.

If you can see them through this varied lens, you may be moved to also see them as an investment. If you see them as an investment you might also be moved to do some of the following:

1) Get to know your people. How can you invest in something you know nothing about? Take the time to get to know the people behind your company. Say hello, shake a hand, know them by name where possible. It all makes a difference in how they see you.

2) Now that you have gotten to know your employees- it’s time to be honest. Be honest about work conditions, raises or lack thereof, your plans for the future. Somewhere along the line we have learned to treat employees like children withholding information and disseminating it as it suits your interests. Know that the omission of facts that affect your employees are seen as deliberate and underhanded.

3) Now that you know them and you are being honest. Good job! Put your money where your mouth is. Invest in your employees. There is nothing in this world that allows for us to receive something for nothing. Where are the programs aimed to develop, train, compensate, re-recruit, and allow flexibility where possible to retain your employees?

Some more questions…

How are you prioritizing your efforts? What’s the strategy? Pleasing the C-Suite is important and there’s no doubt that your decisions will not always be in the best interest of the employees. However, what if you tried to do the absolute best you could by your employees? What if- the key to keeping the C-Suite happy was to ensure that the employees were happy and productive. Isn’t that what you were hired to do?

That was a lot of questions, but these are all of the questions you should be asking yourself as a CHRO. HR has the unfortunate plight of having to walk a fine line between competing interests, people, obligations to the business and legal matters. That said, you are the consummate middle man leader. You cannot be so aligned to the top that you lose sight of the very element that keeps you employed- the people.

Are you a CHRO putting your talent first and impacting business strategy through dynamic employee-centered programs? Share your story.

 

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