Posts tagged HR
Expanding Your Network: Achieving Great Things Together
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How many people do you know? When we consider all of our online connections and people we have met over the years in our careers, social engagements and events, each of us probably has a network of thousands of people. Of course, there are close, trusted friends and family members as well as our work teams that we interact with on a daily basis. But many of us underestimate our own reach when we consider the sheer size of our networks.

But do those peripheral connections really matter? How can one person actually connect on an authentic basis with so many others? Think about your brand and the message you send online and in person. Are you a leader who welcomes new people into your circle, or do you default to an attitude of exclusivity? No one expects that each of us has time and energy to drop everything and give substantial resources to developing a deep connection with each new contact that comes into our mutual orbit. However, adjusting our attitudes about embracing new human beings that we come into contact with can help us cultivate an assumption of openness to new ideas and people that can enrich our lives and work in countless ways and, yes, bring us more career success in the process:

·      Curiosity. Are we genuinely curious about the interests, work and lives of others? Or are we too busy with our day to day tasks to generate passion about the world and infinite opportunities to learn and grow? Thinking about the “why” in everyday issues can help us find genuine, authentic connections with others.

·      Shedding Labels. Today’s Coordinator is tomorrow’s Manager. Or today’s Instagram trend-setter and soon-to-be entrepreneurial sensation. Or community organizer and world changer. Or all of the above! Stop making assumptions about who people are from their job titles. We all have immense value to one another and I am often greatly inspired by and humbled to be in mentoring relationships with early career professionals who teach and coach me as I do the same for them.

·      Extending our Reach. Think about writing, posting your ideas on social platforms, engaging with others and creating your own opportunities to collaborate outside of your typical channels. One of my most treasured platforms is a Slack channel I created with several pros I have met over the past few years, where we can freely collaborate, tackle difficult problems, and support one another. It’s allowed us to take tenuous connections across social platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn to a new level that allows for on-demand deeper discussions without taking a lot of time or energy, but that are surprisingly timely and rewarding. My dear friend Wendy Dailey and I not only chat on Slack, but we also text and talk, and keep in touch on social. We have grown our originally Twitter-ignited relationship to many in-person adventures too.

·      Diving in to our Groups. Are you a member of any professional groups? They provide boundless opportunities not only to meet new people with shared interests, but also to exercise your leadership muscles and develop new skills you never knew you could excel in, and new passions that deepen the reward of your work. For instance, I am a member of the American Bar Association and my state and local bar associations, as well as the Disability Management Employers Coalition and the Colorado ILG-these organizations provide opportunities for connections, and also deep and timely updates and analysis of important issues I care about. I am also president of my local HR management chapter, the Boulder Area HR Association. My groups provide opportunities to stay on top of the areas of work I love (particularly, employment law, disability accommodation, and strategic human resource management) and also to meet, connect with and develop relationships with amazing people who offer me new perspectives, support, informal coaching, and opportunities to take on new challenges. I endeavor to do the same for them-and we all have a lot of fun in the process.

·      Body Language. When you meet new people in person, do you open your stance (and even your arms)? Do you catch yourself in small, closed groups of connections you already know well, hiding out in your introversion instead and forming a closed circle that tells outsiders to stay away? Networking is more naturally comfortable for some of us than it is for others. Instead of falling back on old habits, be mindful and plan your networking so you can be open, grow your ability to connect with others, and challenge yourself in the process. Alyce Blum, a wonderful colleague of mine, teaches others to do this and I highly recommend her to anyone who needs coaching and support. 

·      Generosity. In networking, as in work and life, it feels great to be generous with our resources. I look to my friend, Steve Browne, as a wonderful example of this. Steve not only connects with and celebrates everyone, he also encourages (and even sometimes admonishes) us all to connect with one another. He not only coaches and pays forward a stunning energy of leadership and connection, he also generates this energy, that emanates throughout his network and back to him again. It’s a heavy lift but you can see how it genuinely feeds his passion about his work.

What can we achieve together as we grow our connections? The sky is the limit. Alone, I am an attorney and HR professional. Together with my network, I can be an expansive and creative thinker, inspired to do my best work that will have positive ripple effects throughout my community, my profession, and the larger world. For example, this year, my Boulder Area HR Association colleagues and I doubled our reach with an expanded conference that brought in Nancy Lyons of Clockwork, a truly inspirational and innovative leader, as our keynote. We offered not only HR benefits and legal content, but also a track for innovation in HR, populated with speakers who shared new ways of thinking and approaching problems and barriers in HR. How many leaders were inspired and brought fresh thinking and ideas back to their work teams from just that one event? I’m proud to say that’s my network at work.

What heights can you reach with your network? Share your successes and ideas!

Image credit: created with Canva

Should Employers Give Employees Time Off to Vote?
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Voting is a civic duty, and a privilege. It’s something that all of us should have an opportunity to do, and I believe employers build trust, engagement and loyalty among their employees when they provide opportunities for their team members to get to the ballot box. That includes providing time off work, if needed, for everyone to ensure they can get to their designated polling place within the hours it is open.

Some states require that employers give time off to vote. In this list, compiled by the organization Workplace Fairness, all of the requirements are laid out so you can check out what requirements apply to employees in the states where your organization does business. The rules do vary by state regarding when an employee is required to be given time off, when it must be paid, and what the penalties are for non-compliance. For instance, in Colorado, if an employee has three non-work hours to vote while the polls are open, no time off is required.

While following the law is not optional, are employers obligated to make their employees aware of their rights? Many employment laws also require posting to raise awareness, but the time off laws do not seem to mandate this. But should employers make employees aware, or even exceed what the law compels them to do when making it easier for their team members to vote?

Nancy Lyons, of Clockwork, not only decided to give her employees time off to vote, but made the bold decision to close the entire office on election day. In her announcement, Nancy explained that it was a strong statement of the company’s values, in an age where our personal, political and work lives are increasingly intertwined. Nancy shared, “I see this simple act of closing for the day as us demonstrating our values, not just here at work, but in our neighborhoods and greater communities.”

It isn’t always practical to close an entire work location. But in the spirit of encouraging this critically important civic duty celebrating our democracy and valuing our freedom, why not show your employees you value them as well by giving them the opportunity to make their voices heard?

The Sandwich Moment
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Have you ever been moved almost to tears by a small gesture that someone who cares about you has done for you? That’s what my sister and I call a “sandwich moment.” The name refers to the time eight years ago when my sister was in the throes of mom-hood and trying to juggle a hundred things every minute, and her sweet husband sent her with me to spend a Mothers’ Day weekend away in the mountains. For the drive up there, I packed us ham sandwiches. They even had lettuce and cucumbers on them, and they were neatly wrapped in foil.

When she opened the bag and took one out, her eyes filled with tears. She said that she couldn’t remember the last time someone made her a sandwich. We burst out laughing and ever since, whenever we offer small kindnesses to each other, which we often do, we call those “sandwich moments.” It’s one of the things I love most about my sister-that each of us notices when the other could really use a sandwich, and then we quietly make one and offer it up.  

For me it’s totally turned around the phrase, “Give that girl a sandwich,” which has been a snide way to make fun of the famous and beautiful folks who are never too thin or too rich. When I think of giving someone a sandwich, I think of giving just a little bit of love freely and without strings attached. Yes, food is nourishing, and caring in itself, but the gesture is what means more to me.   

It’s made me think about other people who quietly toil at work, in the world, among my friends and neighbors. Some of them are lonely, some of them are suffering, and some of them feel lost in this big, complicated world. My daughter lives in New York City and she shared that she really only began to feel at home when she realized that small gestures connect her with the millions of other people who live there. Holding a door, sharing a chuckle, helping someone when they drop something-these are little bits of loving kindness that we give and keep a tiny corner for ourselves, connecting us with other human beings that share our world.

The same feeling arises from giving to people far away too. Finding causes we care about and supporting them can create sandwich moments too. And in the place where we spend a lot of our time, at our jobs, if we can share these moments of kindness, we make the workplace a better experience for everyone. Because sandwiches, although they are quickly consumed, give rise to more sandwiches. The memory of that moment lives on and the person who was loved will share love. This is a short ride we’re on, in this world. I find that it’s really just a collection of moments and the more kindness we share, the happier we all are.

So share a sandwich moment today and spread a little ripple of love.  

Photo on Foter.com

Generating a Game Plan for Improving Candidate Experience
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Your compensation is in the right range, you’ve added some great benefits job seekers value, like student loan repayment, and your employer brand is showcased on your newly updated career site. But you haven’t noticed a great response to your recent open positions, and feedback has been tepid. You’re a successful organization, and people like you. Why haven’t you been attracting great candidates for your open positions lately?

47% of candidates think employers do a good job of setting expectations regarding communication in a potential hiring interaction. 78% of employers think they do a good job. Where is the disconnect, and what other aspects of your candidate experience are lacking? Hiring is a two-way street. In many markets, industries, and specialized roles, job seekers can take you or leave you. The power imbalance that once existed in favor of employers has shifted mightily. Improving your candidate experience can differentiate you from other employers and help you land the best hires.

How do we define candidate experience? According to Mike Roberts, writing in the Jibe blog, “Candidate experience is defined as how job seekers perceive and react to employers’ sourcing, recruiting, interviewing, hiring, and onboarding processes.” What does this have to do with employer brand? Employer Brand defined: Your employer brand is your promise to your potential employee. “This is what you can expect.” Ideally, employer brand and organizational branding are aligned.

Now that we know what employer branding is, how do you develop your brand so you know that it’s contributing to a great candidate experience?

  1. Take ownership of what it’s really like to work for you!
  2. Recognize the problems and work on solving them, but don’t hide them or pretend they don’t exist.
  3. Be open about your culture so job candidates can opt in if it’s a fit.
  4. Recognize that looking for the right job & right hire is a two-way street.
  5. Don’t make excuses but do be able to communicate why your culture and way of doing business works for your organization.

Employer brand can contribute to (or detract from) a candidate’s experience in the hiring process. It’s all about expectations. When expectations and experience do not align, this creates disappointment-when promises are made, they must be kept! So consistency between branding and experience is key.

What about the other way around? How does candidate experience impact employer brand? A poor Candidate Experience can wipe out gains in visibility & credibility of your employer brand. You can’t have a great employer brand without a great candidate experience. A poor candidate experience can also negatively affect your company brand. Candidates are often current or potential customers, so turning them off in the hiring process can also hurt your brand perception with them and those they share their experience with.

All stages of the candidate experience are potential touchpoints for positively impacting candidate experience. Some of these points are:

•       Pre-application/interest community

•       Application for open requisition

•       Pre-hire assessment

•       Screening (phone, live video, recorded video)

•       On site interviews

•       Offer stage

•       Post-offer background check, drug testing

•       Onboarding

Responsiveness, communication, setting realistic expectations about the process and timeline, and clear descriptions of jobs and qualifications can make the candidate experience better at every stage along the way. Additional support for pre-hire assessments and other technology solutions like video interviewing are critically important and appreciated by candidates. Respecting job seekers’ time and treating them with dignity and appreciation can set you apart from your competitors.

Continued communication post offer, as well as an organized and effective onboarding program, will be icing on the cake if you have followed through at the other steps. Removing barriers, creating a frictionless process that doesn’t drag on, and providing candidates the support and status updates they need will help you create a superior candidate experience. Asking new hires in the onboarding process to provide a frank assessment of their experiences will provide you with the data you need to identify needs and make continuous improvements. With unemployment at all-time lows in the U.S., it’s time to make your move toward the best candidate experience, and capture your competitive advantage!

Transition Coaching is a Good Investment in You!
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I am an HR consultant. To the untrained eye, that might look like I’m a recruiter, or someone who helps people figure out how to find the right job. But that’s not really what I do for my clients, even though I really think that work is important and valuable, and I highly respect my colleagues who perform that critical function.

I’ve found myself recently crossing that line between talking with really good friends and close colleagues about career strategy and getting meeting requests from people I barely know or just met, to help them with their careers. I often feel like I am giving scattershot advice, and I don’t know how to help them along in their personal journeys toward a rewarding career choice, because I don’t know them well enough and don’t have the tools available that my colleagues have to help identify strengths, tendencies and archetypes. I know what I would want to do, but not everyone is like me. I also don’t have time for a bunch of follow up conversations, which people in transition really need. It feels like I am letting them down when I can’t just jump on every request or question they have, because I am trying to do paid work for my own clients.

When I started thinking it through, I realized that the best choice is really clear. My network has all of the answers that transitioning job seekers need!

When someone recommends, “You need to talk to so and so, he knows everyone,” or “my coworker such and such, she has a great eye for personal branding,” that is a start. It makes sense to go ahead and reach out to that person. But the next question shouldn’t be, “When can we meet for coffee?” but instead should be, “do you know of a good transition coach you would trust with your career?”  

I am a lucky, lucky member of the #HRTribe and I know several amazingly effective and talented professionals I could call, located all over the U.S., if I needed transition coaching. I would contact any one of them immediately if I find myself in need of that assistance. Many folks who know my work understand I am not a career coach. I fear I am not up to the task, and this kind of work doesn’t feed my passion. That said, if we work with one another, as volunteers or on work projects, we are in the same network and know many of the same people. I will go to bat for you and recommend you, and I will send you job leads and get you in the back door all I can. Beyond our connection, that is just good business, because you get a great new job, and the people I know get a great new employee. Everyone feels good about that result!

But the bottom line is that people like me are touchpoints in the job search process, but we can’t be your primary way to get a job. My advice: don’t trust your career to half-hour phone conversations you are having with referrals adjacent to your network, who don’t know the superstar quality of your work, the depth of your values or the fire of your passions. These random calls don’t benefit you or the people you’re talking with as much as you hope they will, because they lack alignment with a real career strategy. Also, the people you set up calls with are busy, and they may even resent your intrusion on their schedules unless they are personally looking to hire someone like you now or in the near future.

The exception? An offer of help should ALWAYS be accepted. There is no such thing from me as a disingenuous offer. If I offer to help someone, that means I have already considered what I can do and am willing to spend time talking about how I can assist.

How do you help your network get a leg up in their job searches? Share with me and we will help everyone up their transition game.

Photo by PhilWolff on Foter.com / CC BY-SA