Sometimes It Is Just Old Stuff

Recently we moved and everything came down from the attic.   Years’ worth of memorabilia from my parents, grandparents, aunts, and great uncles.  Treasures that had been carefully saved over the years.  It was the proverbial walk down memory lane, reminiscing about different life events from before I could walk and taking a peek into a life that was lived long before I was born. Life in the 1800s (morsesociety.org) At the end of multiple sorting weeks, though, came the question of what to do with it now?  Store it back up in the new, tiny, and insulation-filled attic?  Place it around the house fully realizing it wasn’t going to accentuate my mostly transitional/modern vibe.  Or make sure it got into the hands that would truly cherish it, the way I was supposed to? After a few guilt trips and another week of ignoring it, door #3 won and I started a campaign of picture taking and editing to showcase each treasure in its best form.  Then I advertised them everywhere and I waited…. and waited.  Finally, one person reached out to ask if I would take $10 for all three antique Kodak cameras Kodak No 3A Folding Pocket Antique Bellows Camera with Anastigmat Lens WORKS V11 | eBay and could I please package them up and send them to Oceanside.  For $10?  I don’t think so.  I felt inundated, defeated, and overwhelmed.

The moral of this story is that sometimes, it is just old stuff or even just stuff.  And it really isn’t of value to you or to anyone else.  Not unlike the myriad of messages, we get in our inbox every day.  Some thinly veiled advertisements for something, some hawking wares like the latest seminar, and some actually the news of the day or more likely, someone’s interpretation of the news.  We feel inundated and overwhelmed, but hesitant to let any of it go for fear we might miss something important or let go of something of value. Declutter Your Inbox In 5 Easy Steps (forbes.com) Our day is full of should’ s.  I should flag that to read later.  I should spend more time determining strategy.   I should ( you fill in the blank).  Sometimes, we have to realize that maybe it is just like old stuff.  It is really not of value.  Not of value to you and not of value to anyone else and we just need to let it go and move on.  If something is critically important it will come back around or someone else will have added it to their to-do list and will forward it to you with bullet points. 

We artificially determine what to spend our time on by allowing the shoulds to intrude on what we already know we want to do.  Strategic plans for 2022 have long been established and it is unlikely, barring another pandemic type of event, COVID-19 pandemic – Wikipedia that those will become derailed by the latest e-mail communication. Focus on what you want to do- what you want to have accomplished-whether it is an attic cleaning session or an Outlook inbox.  Control your time, add value and let the clutter go.

The Key to Success

We have all been there.  Should we buy the house or not?  Should we go back to school or put our energies into our current role Should I Go Back to School During a Recession? – Kenzie Academy (snhu.edu)?  Should we hire the candidate or move on?  We, more frequently than not, choose to stay the course.  We choose not to buy the house and to stay where we are, we choose not to return to school and we choose not to hire the candidate.  We pat ourselves on the back for making a great decision.  The house was too expensive, and we probably couldn’t have sold our current home, we probably couldn’t have managed to further our education and continue to work and that candidate that we decided to turn down was lacking in at least 6 different ways.  You have avoided what was certain to be a failure.  The question is, whose failure are you actually trying to avoid and what are you giving up when you are unwilling to take a risk? The Incredible Power of Taking Risks in Life – The Daily Positive

The fact of the matter is, the greatest achievements require going outside of your comfort zone and taking a well thought out risk.   Many of us have a difficult time dealing with the uncertainty that goes along with taking risks. We grow uneasy not knowing the outcome and we fear potential failure. What if I cause my family financial ruin?  What if I lose my job because I can’t put in as many hours as before? What if the candidate that I hire isn’t perfect and I am blamed? At the root of most of these questions is the questions “What if I’m not good enough?”  

One way to combat the fear of risk taking is to ask yourself “What if” or “So what?”  These questions can diffuse the negative self-talk by providing alternatives. Taking a risk to achieve a goal requires courage to face the fear of uncertainty. No matter the outcome, either way, we grow through the process and become more resilient and confident.  There is no right or wrong answer to many of life’s questions and avoiding them all together ensures that you never allow yourself the opportunity to grow.

Another way to combat the fear of uncertainty is to remember that in almost every situation, you are allowed to make a U-turn.  If the decision you made does not work out as you expected it to, then make another decision.  Figure out what your learnings are, what experience you took away from the situation and move on.

One of the more obvious ways to reduce the fear of risk is to learn as much as you can about the experience you are considering embarking on. Career advice: How to get better at taking risks (usatoday.com) Find other people who have done what you are considering doing and get their advice, listen to what they have learned and what they would have chosen to do differently.

Successfully taking risks The Importance Of Taking Risks (7 Reasons To Take More Risks) (eightysixfourhundred.com)can lead to very positive outcomes including:

  • Standing out form the crowd
  • Helping you to feel alive and empowered
  • Enabling you to think more creatively
  • Helping you to learn about yourself

Risk taking can be healthy and help people develop confidence. Any failure you experience is part of the success process, not the antithesis of success.  If you aren’t willing to risk failing it is likely you will never be willing to take the risks necessary to experience great success!

The Great Resignation Becomes The Great Regret

It is no secret that employees have been quitting in droves, leaving the safety of positions where they have built up political capital for new positions that promise greener pastures and can come with 25%, 50%, and higher increases. Employees say they are leaving to work for employers who are more people-centric, where they feel like their work has a purpose and can add meaning to their lives. According to Pew Research Pew Research Center | Pew Research Center in a new study, “low pay, a lack of opportunities for advancement, and feeling disrespected at work”, are the top reasons why Americans quit their jobs last year. But are all these workers leaving their jobs for new jobs finding that the new jobs are that much better than their old jobs? That their new employers are that much better than their existing employers? In many cases, the resounding answer is “No”.

That theory has been echoed by another study released this week by the job search site the Muse. Muse Jobs (Hiring) – ItsMyCareer Its study of more than 2,500 workers found that almost three-quarters of them (72%) experienced either “surprise or regret” that the new position or new company they quit their job for turned out to be “very different” from what they were led to believe. Nearly half (48%) of these workers said they would try to get their old job back thanks to a phenomenon that the Muse is calling “shift shock”.

“They’ll join a new company thinking it’s their dream job and then there’s a reality check,” the company’s CEO, Kathryn Minshew told FOX Business. “It’s this really damaging phenomenon where people are brand new in their role, and they suddenly realize it’s not at all as advertised.” They have given up the solid relationships and reputations built over the years at their previous positions, to chase the next best thing.

Much of this confusion is being driven by Gen Z, Generation Z – Wikipedia those generally born after 1995 who make up more than a quarter of the workforce. According to a recent study by career counseling provider Zety, Zety – Professional Resume & Cover Letter Tools For Any Job those workers report that the factors that are most appealing in a new job include, of course, a good benefits package (67%). But just as important to them is a company with “values that match their own” (62%), that has a purpose for being that “goes beyond merely making a profit” (61%), offers “plentiful career development and progression opportunities” (59%) and has a “strong brand reputation” (49%).

Ask any baby boomer who’s been in the workforce for a number of years and they’ll tell you that the grass is often the same color at the new job. But few, if any Gen Zer’s are seeking the advice of boomers.

The good news is that companies have a choice and research firm Gartner Gartner | Delivering Actionable, Objective Insight to Executives and Their Teams urges employers to adopt a more “human-centric” work model that includes better working hours, more productive meetings, and greater flexibility to reduce this turnover. Having clear growth opportunities and career paths are a must for a generation that grew up with instant gratification. Neither the great resignation nor the great regret is in employees’ or employers’ best interests. A strong people-centric philosophy will likely cure both.

Time Affluence

We are all familiar with the term financially affluent, however, the term gaining traction today is time affluence.  Time affluence Time Affluence Increases Happiness. So How Do You Achieve It? – MOJEH is when you feel like you have enough time to relax or pursue meaningful activities. Time poverty is when you feel stressed because you are constantly rushing and feel you never can catch up.  It becomes especially obvious during this time of year when many employees are off work for the holidays.  People slow down and start wondering whether the hamster wheel they are on is truly the best way to enjoy and bring real meaning to their lives. In fact, four out of five adults report Why You Never Seem to Have Enough Time (berkeley.edu) feeling that they have too much to do and not enough time to do it. People who experience less time affluence also experience less joy each day. They laugh less. They are less healthy, less productive, and more likely to divorce. In one study, stress related to time poverty produced a stronger negative effect on happiness than even unemployment.

Unlike money, where we have choices to either spend what we have more wisely or create/earn more, we cannot increase our time.  We all have the same 24 hours each day. So, the option that leaves us with is finding a way to use our time most wisely.  Below are some ways to get the most out of the time we have.

Meditate

Strangely enough, taking downtime, especially to meditate, How to Meditate – Mindful can make us more productive in the time we spend working or actively engaged.  Especially if you have a difficult problem to solve.  Our subconscious minds will often continue to work after we have taken a break, allowing us to come back and see new solutions.

New Experiences

Engaging in new experiences can alter our sense of time.  We have all had the experience of time moving more quickly or slowly depending on what we are doing and how engaged at the moment we are.  When we free our minds to try new things, we allow ourselves the gift of experiencing our daily life differently.

Funding Time

Research has shown that people that make the decision to “buy” their way out of unenjoyable activities frequently respond more favorably to being time affluent.  The peace of mind you receive by giving yourself 3 hours of housekeeping/cleaning services may pay big dividends in your life.

Block Time

Blocking out time What Is Time Blocking And How Does It Work? (2021 Guide) – Biz 3.0 (timedoctor.com) on your calendar to just think or catch up with someone you haven’t seen in a while starts to reframe how you think about time.  In our “always-on” society, there is an expectation that we will respond to e-mails within minutes, creating a vicious circle.  Blocking time for downtime and treating it as just as important as the next barrage of e-mails can keep you feeling more in control of your day.

Money and time have much in common.  They can both be measured, and we feel as if we never have enough of either, forcing us to constantly choose between the two. The choices that we make, every day, can powerfully shape our feelings of fulfillment and happiness from the moments, days, and years of our lives. Choose wisely to enjoy your definition of a life well-lived.

Internal Mobility

Internal mobility The Complete Guide to Internal Mobility — Paddle (paddlehr.com)refers to the movement of existing employees across different departments or roles within the organization.  These may be “permanent” roles such as an employee who moves laterally from an Accounting position into a Finance position or an employee who is promoted from Accounting Supervisor to Accounting Manager.  

An internal mobility program can ensure employee retention, leadership development and produces well-rounded employees who truly understand the various aspects of the business. It also reduces cost, time, and effort in hiring outside talent.

The successful cross-functional movement of employees starts with a well-thought-out program and a receptive work culture. In order to grow, leadership and HR must develop a culture where employees have an opportunity to learn new skills.

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In PwC’s most recent Millennials at Work survey, they found that the #1 most attractive employer attribute was the possibility of career progression.

Talent Profiles

Internal mobility is only truly possible if you know what each employee is capable of and the skills that they already possess. Auditing each team member, preferably during the hiring stage, and then again annually, will enable you to track the skills each employee has, what skills are needed and what gaps remain.  Managers should use Talent Profiles to assess career opportunities for each person on their team.

Career Paths

Develop learner pathways that employees can reference and develop self-directed training programs that will assist employees in transitioning into new roles or to learning new skills

Succession Planning

Succession plans are necessary so you have a clear idea of what will happen if an employee leaves their position. Who in the organization could be tapped for a promotion?

As Harvard Business Review Succession Planning: What the Research Says (hbr.org) bleakly highlights, all CEOs will inevitably leave office, yet research shows most organizations are ill-prepared to replace them. However, a CIPHR study found that although 92% of companies admitted it was a risk to not have a succession plan in place, only 25% felt they had the right candidates to fill vacant positions. To fill the void, you can look within your current talent pool, or hire externally.

According to PaddleHR, The Complete Guide to Internal Mobility — Paddle (paddlehr.com) 66% of job seekers look at the current company before looking elsewhere for a job.  Now is the time to stem the tide of the Great Resignation The Great Resignation: Why people are quitting their jobs (cnbc.com)and ensure you are offering your employees a reason to stay!

2018 Canadian HR Trends

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It is always interesting to look at Human Resources Trends from around the world to explore the similarities and differences of varying cultural perspectives.  As our parent company is Canadian, let’s look at a few of the trends that are top of the list for 2018.  Morneau Shepell compiles an annual list of Canadian HR Trends:

Insights on what HR leaders are expecting in the coming year:

 

• Improving employee engagement is a top priority

Employee Engagement is top of mind for companies in the US as well.  Not only for altruistic motives, but for the sheer fact that engagement can be tied to better productivity and bottom line numbers all around.  Trying to tap into the discretionary effort each employee has is big business. http://www.snacknation.com/guides/definitive-guide-employee-engagement/

• Streamlining administration and absence management continue to be focus areas

Streamlining administration is a worthy cause in any country.  Streamlining can take the form of creating new processes or automation.  Robotic process automation has real potential to transform the mundane tasks in HR.

HR leaders continue to be cautious about salary increases.  Salaries expected to increase by 2.3 per cent in 2018.

While salary increases are trending just slightly higher in the US, there are still concerns about how to differentiate between average and high performers with such small increase budgets.

• Employers are looking at workforce data in silos, with very few looking at data in an integrated way

Data will be THE FOCUS in 2018 whether in silos or a more integrated approach. 

• Complex mental health claims are the top disability management concerns

Large claim management in general is a concern.  A few large claims can turn the loss ratios in the wrong direction.

• Manager training is a focus in managing absence and disability

Manager training is a focus for all companies.  It should encompass the hard skills like managing absenteeism and disability LOA’s, but should also encompass softer skills like having difficult conversations, confrontation and inspiring your employees.

• Organizations are concerned that their employees are not adequately prepared for retirement

This is a growing concern amongst many US employers as well.  Financial wellness training for the workforce is a partial solution.  Other approaches may include automatic enrollment in 401(k) plans and writing plan documents to exclude the popular loan provisions.

Companies around the globe have the same goals, to inspire their workforces, yielding a team of more engaged workers and better profits at the bottom line.

Predictive Analytics in Human Resources

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Data based decision making and predictive analytics are buzz words you are hearing a lot about these days.  However, they are emerging from the dark corners of the developer’s worlds and into the light of mainstream business operations. I was speaking at an Analyst update earlier this week and the question came up “which companies do you follow that are using predictive analytics in Human Resources?”   A great question, but the answer was, unfortunately, no one.  Although it may be some time before this data based approach becomes mainstream in the world of Human Resources, there are a plethora of reasons it should.  

Let’s start with a definition of predictive analytics.  It is basically just a script or a technology that learns from current data and then uses that current data to “predict” or forecast upcoming data or behavior. Think about how your credit score works.  The rating agencies use data, your past history of paying on time, as well as other data points, to “predict” your ability and willingness to pay on time for a new loan.

HR has massive set of data on its employees.  By applying predictive analysis to these data sets, HR moves toward becoming more of a strategic partner at the table.  Decisions become fact and data based instead of depending on someone gut feelings or instincts.  Predictive analytics allows HR to forecast the impact that different policies will have on their workforce and to get ahead of the curve on turnover, candidate success models and employee engagement.

From Deloitte’s 2017 Global Human Capital Trends Survey. While 71 percent of companies see people analytics as a high priority in their organizations (31 percent rate it very important), progress has been slow. The percentage of companies correlating HR data to business outcomes, performing predictive analytics, and deploying enterprise scorecards barely changed from last year.

Analytics is being applied to a wide range of business challenges: Recruiting remains the No. 1 area of focus, followed by performance measurement, compensation, workforce planning, and retention. We see an explosive growth in the use of organizational network analysis (ONA) and the use of “interaction analytics” (studying employee behavior) to better understand opportunities for business improvement.

Staffing and on-boarding tends to be an area that we think of first when it comes to utilizing Predictive Analytics.  We all want to be able to predict the success of the candidate in the role.  Progressive HR organizations are using interview data, careful parsing of job posting language, and candidate screening data to do just that. New tools that look at social and local hiring data can even help companies identify people who are “likely to look for new jobs” much before they are even approached by competitors.

Turnover is another area that could greatly benefit from this approach.  Capturing and reporting on it is nice, but what about getting ahead of it?  What about using data to be able to predict who is likely to submit their resignation within the next 3 months and conducting extensive stay interviews with those employees? Or being able to offer them an Individualized Development Plan to solidify their engagement?

There are a multitude of opportunities to utilize Predictive Analytics to help us make better decisions across the board in each of our organizations.

Compensation- putting the plan in place

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Last week we talked about establishing your Compensation Strategy and how to determine the competition and your rationale for certain recommendations.  Once you have a thorough well thought out strategy, though, you need to execute.  Careful, well thought out execution is every bit as important as developing your strategy.  Remember, it is likely that you understand compensation better than anyone else in your organization so start at the top.

 

Get your Executive Team Bought in

Keep in mind that executive teams have a lot on their mind and are likely not up to speed with why a compensation strategy is important, so start simple.  https://www.shrm.org/ResourcesAndTools/hr-topics/compensation/Pages/AlignPay.aspx The payroll in a company is by far the largest expenditure and compensation touches all areas like candidate attraction, retention, turnover and satisfaction to some degree.  Pay ranks in the number three spot as to reasons why employees leave positions and the cost to replace that employee is anywhere between 100-200% of their base salary. https://www.appleone.com/Employers/SCALE/2017/EngagementTools/cost-of-turnover-calculator.aspx  Plenty of reason to make sure that compensation is NOT the driving force behind your resignations.

 

Train your Managers to have Compensation Conversations

Once your executive team is bought into your strategy, it’s time to train your managers to talk about compensation. https://hbr.org/2014/04/how-to-discuss-pay-with-your-employees  We have all heard or experienced firsthand the horror stories of employees finding out what their raise is when their paycheck comes out, never having had a conversation with their manager, or the manager walking into a group of employees, handing each a piece of paper with their raise on it and walking out, thus missing a critical opportunity to further enhance the employee’s satisfaction and level of engagement. https://compensation.blr.com/Compensation-news/Compensation/Compensation-Administration/Preparing-for-Compensation-Conversations-with-Empl/  The first step is to listen.  Listen to what the employee has to say, repeat back what you think you have heard.  Share critical information, such as the merit budget pool for the year and the compensation philosophy.  

 

Communicate the Process

Letting the team know up front and reminding them often of who will do what we go a long ways towards preparing for success. http://www.simplehrguide.com/compensation-strategy-key-content.html  Communicate the roles that HR will play-to establish salary grades and structures, to provide compa-ratios, to set the merit pool amount and to weigh in on any recommended market adjustments.  The first line managers will be responsible for recommending salary increase, justifying recommendations for promotions or market adjustments and communicating the approved increases to the individual employees. Your executive team has the responsibility to communicate and support the compensation strategy and philosophy they have approved. Employees, too, play a role.  They have the responsibility to ask questions and ensure that they get a satisfactory answer.  Make sure that they know their manager is their first stop, but if questions remain unanswered that HR’s door is always open.

Do you best to create an environment where compensation is not practiced in a black box, but is implemented in a thoughtful, straight forward way, where everyone understands what it is meant to achieve and feels comfortable offering suggestions to enhance the process.  A compensation strategy, created and implemented well, can enhance many aspects of the organization and the employee experience.

Compensation- Getting it Right

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This time of year brings all the excitement of the holidays, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukkah, among others.  Amid all the festivities, for many organizations, it brings Compensation planning activities including revisions of salary structures, decisions on merit increases, promotions, adjustments and bonuses.  Before you say “Bah Humbug” let’s take a closer look at how to structure a compensation plan and why it’s so important to your organization. 

For all of the articles out there espousing compensation as a short term motivator, compensation speaks to our employees.  It tells a story of how we perceive their value in the workplace.  There is little that is more important than the value one sees in oneself and that is partly determined by the value others place on us and our contributions.

Ask Questions

You have to start out by asking the right questions in order to determine what your company’s compensation strategy should be.  It’s OK not to have all the answers, they will provide topics for discussion with your internal teams.

What are your goals?   

It’s important to know what problem you are trying to solve before you launch into a strategy to solve it.  Do you have excessive turnover?  Are you having a hard time attracting candidates?  Are you losing your high potential employees at an alarming rate?  Do you need to focus certain groups on different goals

How would you define your market?

Is it defined solely based on a geography you are in?  Do you need to include competitors outside of your geographical regions?  Is it domestic or do you have international competitors as well?  Sometimes, you can get a good clue to identifying this by asking where do your employees come from, and where do they go when they leave?

How competitive do you need to be?   

Some disciplines like Big Data are highly competitive and there may only be a handful of candidates that everyone is competing for.  On the other hand, if your positions are relatively common and there are many candidates available, you may be able to set you target closer to the 50th percentile and be just fine

What and how should you reward?  

What behavior do you want to reinforce and what types of rewards will you give?  The most effective plans focus on a Purpose Statement and/or Guiding Principles.  Your rewards should ultimately drive the culture you are trying to create.  Even monetary rewards come in many different forms.  They could be merit increases, promotions, short term or long term cash incentives.

All of the above questions will help to guide you toward the most effective compensation strategy for your organization and drive employee productivity forward. 

 

Holocracy- Implementation Challenges

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Last week we talked about Holocracy, what it is and what its advocates say the potential benefits are.  But in reality, does Holocracy work ?  Can a type of self-management that gives decision making power to fluid teams, or “circles,” and roles rather than individuals yield results and better decisions than a traditional structure?  How well do people deal with the uncertainty that a holocratic approach creates

Sourcing and Hiring

Holocracy models complicate sourcing and hiring decisions.  How do you advertise for a job that is comprised of ever changing micro roles and how do you assess whether the person sitting in front of you actually is competent at those micro roles and any other talents they might have?  People are used to looking for traditional job titles, but in holocracy, there are no traditional job titles.  Do management level employees worry that deviating from their career path might stall out their careers.  What if they are at a Director level now and you are trying to recruit for a team member with a skill set normally held by an Accounting Dir.  How many would take a “team or circle member” title?

Micro Roles

Another issue that holocracy creates is the formation of micro roles.  No longer is one individual responsible for a specific set of set roles, but a swirling set of micro roles that are ever changing.  It can complicate the work actually getting done as employees may be responsible for up to 25 different responsibilities and struggle with prioritizing them and deciding where to focus first.  They may be members of a number of different circles and have weighty responsibilities to each, but not be able to satisfy all of them or be forced to prioritize in conflict with others. 

Compensation

Compensation becomes difficult as well.  Not only are there struggles with determining internal equity as this now requires each of 100’s of micro roles to be assessed and the value of these roles change as new circles are created and as the organization matures and different skills become more or less valuable, but external equity is an issue.  How do you go to the market to assess the worth of a position when there is no longer a match for the position?  There is nothing to compare the person’s position to.

Unlearning old behavior

For holocrcay to be successful it necessitates that both bosses and subordinates unlearn old behavior.  If everyone is truly to be tapped for their full potential then there cannot be those who are hesitant to express opposing views in front of what used to be superiors.  This is a hard habit to break for both bosses and subordinates.  It is hard for leaders to learn to step back and not lead all the time.

Holocary has yet to be proven as a model that offers significant benefits over a traditional structure. The best of both worlds may be to incorporate some of the circle mentality into the traditional structure allowing everyone a voice to be heard and encouraging growth horizontally as well as vertically.