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Showing posts from June, 2011

GenY and the Performance Review

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Today I am pleased to have Kyle Lagunas from Software Advice as our guest blogger. Thanks Kyle for contributing to our blog!
The workforce is changing. Just as a company would adjust its business model to a changing market, organizations must rise to meet the needs of the new kids on the block: Generation Y. One of the biggest questions posed to HR professionals has been, “Can Gen Y handle performance reviews without the sugar coating?” The answer is yes.Some analysts have dubbed us “trophy kids,” and believe we grew up being rewarded for our endeavors regardless of scale or success. Many believe we cannot handle life in a less-than-adoring work environment. Contrary to popular belief, though, we don’t need our hands held or our egos stroked daily. It’s important for leaders and managers to understand things from our perspective, so they can get the most out of our performance reviews.Here’s how we see it:1. We don’t get it. You say performance reviews are important, but they are exec…

5 Things to Make Your Performance Appraisals Rock!

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Now more than ever performance metrics are becoming more and more visible. As companies demand high performance from their talent, performance metrics are critically important in determining who is performing and who is not. The recession has forced managers to get every ounce of efficiency from their staff as budgets were tightened and slashed.

Pre-recession we viewed performance management as the "necessary evil." Now, we are needing to rely on performance data but we are discovering that the data may not be valid and reliable. Often times, we are using the same appraisals that we used five or ten years ago. Employees have a huge need for feedback especially Gen X'ers and Y'ers. With managers needing performance data and employees needing feedback, it just makes sense to make sure the performance process is updated and improved.
Here are 5 suggestions to make your appraisals rock:
1. Identify your organizational competencies that are critical for your success. …

What Do Experts Say About Human Resources Changing Role?

The experts have looked at HR over the past 10 years or so very critically. They have criticized HR for not focusing on the reason they all really have jobs, PEOPLE. They have also looked at HR to be a leader in moving the mundane issues they deal with to outsourced providers such as benefits administration, HRIS, hiring, service awards, and programs like that. They have also viewed HR as a slow moving profession in the area of strategic human capital investment, business acumen and strategic planning. 


I agree with them in all these areas as well as defining the following areas:

Outsourcing of human resources, as a profession, will go into the billion dollars range to service providers like BeneFlex and IBMHR people will need to collaborate with line managers in identifying potential leaders as they focus on the human capital aspect for which they have been criticized. Emotional intelligence and diversity management will continue to gain importance especially in the C-S…

What Makes Good Journalism?

Journalists and others concerned about the status of the news industry in North America and Europe keep arguing that we are getting poorer journalism because of the economic state of the industry. But when you ask them “what makes good journalism?” they find it nearly impossible to articulate the concept.

Those trying to articulate the elements good journalism tend to use comforting and immeasurable platitudes and to describe it through attributes based on professional practices: pursuit of truth, fairness, completeness, accuracy, verification, and coherence. These are not a definition of quality, but a listing of contributors to or elements of quality practices. Each attribute alone is not sufficient for good journalism and degree to which each contributes is unclear.

In practice, most of us settle on identifying journalistic quality by its absence or by its comparison to poor or average quality journalism. Thus we know it when we don’t see it or we describe by giving examples of excel…

Susan Spencer on Essentials for Women in Business

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A Wharton interview with Susan Spencer on women and essentials in business. This is a must see.

HR Innovations Conference Recap: Day 1

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Yesterday, I presented and attended the "HR Innovations" conference hosted by the Performance Institute in Washington, DC. This conference is geared to the public sector and has some very interesting sessions.
I found some common themes in today's sessions. Effectiveness, efficiency, performance and strategy were key topics. Today's discussions had a different focus than previous conferences that were also geared to the public sector have had in the past. I have to assume that the recession has forced our public entities to move from a culture of "status quo" to one of "high performing and service focused." I think the reasons are clear, our government and educational institutions have slashed budgets, smaller workforces, and potential outsourcing and privatizing of "usual" government services.
So, with all that said, it was refreshing to hear HR professionals from many government organizations discuss strategy and metrics. Just like …

Is HR About People Anymore?

Our profession continues to have more in-depth business responsibilies associated with the board room that detract us from our core area of responsibility, people. Our human capital sometimes gets lost in that matrix because we have a harder time balancing the board room and the work areas. What we all have to remember is "people are our business". The true HR professional has to strike that delicate balance between business and people all the while remembering who our customers are, "the people". Our board room is where the people are too.

Turning a Wide Eye

So you’ve monitored your brand for a while, you understand how to draw and apply conclusions you’ve drawn from the data you’ve gathered but you sense that there’s something missing. One thought crosses your mind – what are others doing in this space, or lets take it one step further – what exactly are your competitors doing in this space? You might be driven by curiosity or you might be driven by the annual benchmarking report, whichever it might be you’ll quickly find a lot of value in monitoring the wider industry conversations including your competition.
Making use of social data to understand your competition is important for several reasons and may at the most basic level help you benchmark a brand’s marketing, communications and general perception against that of others in a similar space. In addition to this, the data can provide insight into competitor activity online, the way in which other products are marketed in social media, online service innovations and how they speak to…

Metrics...Check! Anyone Using the Data?

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We all know the drill. You spend time creating your HR metrics that matter to your organization and then you send them out to management and they hit with a gigantic thud. I had one conference attendee tell me this story:
"I spent 24 months developing and HR scorecard, I sent the new scorecard out to our management team with a "return receipt" on the email. I had 2 managers out of over 40 to actually open the email. WOW!"
I hear stories like this all the time. We get so proud of our metrics that we forget to assist our managers in the "what do I do with this information" piece. The simple answer is to take action on the data. If we don't take action then why would we be measuring anyway?
In my experience the best way to get managers to pay attention to metrics that (should) matter is:
1) Make sure the data is relevant to the end user 2) Make sure the data is displayed in a way that is easily understandable and meaningful 3) Have action planning meeti…

Writing With Skill

I Tweeted "If you can't articulate the business case, don't expect the funding" on Twitter today as a reminder to all HR executives. Truer words have never been said, especially by Jason Averbook who initially Tweeted this. HR executives and middle HR managers focus so much on effective verbal communication that they easily forget the real fundamentals of effective written communication. Today's way of communicating through VM, social media outlets and text messaging have hindered our overall communication skills. And the bets are on that as the next generation to sit in your seats will be less skilled than you. Think about that!!!  


There was an article in the Business section of the Atlanta Journal Constitution this past Sunday, June 5th, talking about the failure of individuals today to really be effective writers. And if you cannot write effectively with significant skill then you will not make it to the top levels of the HR pyramid. The article sites the foll…

Why HR? And Why Now?

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I am asked to speak and teach quite frequently for graduating college students and continuing education students. Most of the time, I am asked to speak on a topic that goes something like this:
Why should I get in HR? How do you get in HR? Is HR going away? Why did you get into HR? What is next for HR?
Why I get asked these questions, I will never know. Maybe it is my passion for my profession. I am a "glass half-full" kinda girl, so I try and see the positives in life, people and work. Maybe that is the reason, they know I won't come in and tell them all to find a new major! :)
So, I guess my message to students is that NOW is a great time to enter HR because I do feel a shift coming and I do see progress into the world of "HR gets it." I believe our profession is at an important crossroads where "value" and "transactions" intersect. I see more and more HR professionals going down "value" street. Some will argue it is a little too l…

The HR Turnaround Specialist or Maintenance Specialist?

Many HR professionals look at themselves as maintenance people but there are a choice few that see themselves as turnaround specialists. Keeping everything status quo is what most HR professionals would do when going into a new company. Those choice few see this as a great opportunity to really excel when they are faced with broken down systems, dysfunctional teams, poor management, benefits that have not been looked at for years, unfunded pensions, decreasing revenues, and poor to market products. Think of yourself as a turnaround artist when you go into a new company. Look at this new job as an opportunity to start with a clean slate and begin making your mark.  Here is what you should do think about, do, change, or move when you get settled into your new role:

review the benefit contracts and dissect the costs against claims and historical experience. Call in a trusted actuary to review the details of the contract, funding, and measure against local or regional increases;assess the …

Organizing Innovation — Making the Invisible Visible

Some of you may remember the connect the dot painting color books kids used to have; there was no color on the page, just a series of dots that when connected by a wet paint brush revealed a picture defined by different colors. When I was five I thought it was magical, yet someone had thought through the underlying design that allowed a new picture to emerge.
How do leaders and managers organize innovation? While some might say innovation is not to be over-engineered (or it could stifle creativity), there is clear need for a process that connects the elements that contribute to innovative breakthroughs and their implementation. Elements desirable in company cultures today include collaboration, recognition, diversity, and empowerment (google searches on these terms bring up 33 million to 184 million results) — but how are all those incorporated into a process that develops innovation by design?
Price Waterhouse Coopers' report "Demystifying Innovation" connects the dots on…