After looking deeply at the research on generations in the workplace, I have come up with some findings that will help everyone to perform their jobs better. It seems like a new study comes out every day attempting to explain how to approach each generation of workers, what matters to them, etc. This blog is a synopsis of everything I’ve read on the topic. Note: Please read this entire post for context. Thanks!

Generations-at-Work

Boomers

This group of workers has been in the workforce the longest and often holds senior level roles. There is a significant amount of institutional and tribal knowledge locked away in the minds of these workers. It’s up to companies to help find a way to get that knowledge out to the rest of the workforce while they are still around.

Actually, who cares what they said? They’re all going to retire soon anyway. Let’s just wait them out and we won’t have to listen to them anymore.

Gen X

Simultaneously voted most likely to be annoyed at Millennials because they have it so easy and equally annoyed at Boomers because they are still holding the senior leadership slots in a death grip. Gen X is really just full of people that look for ways to use generational research as a lever to get what they want.

Need to mollify them when pursuing a change initiative? Just turn on Ferris Bueller’s Day Off or another inane 80’s movie and they will subconsciously zone out.

Millennials

Voted most likely to text during a performance review, chew with their mouths open, kick your puppy, or whatever else we can say about them to make them seem like the most uncivilized humans on the planet.

In fact, why are we even allowing these monsters to stay in the workplace at all? Let’s fire them all and look for a way to survive until a better generation comes along.

Gen Z/Whatever

Let’s just give up before they even get here. Life as we know it in the business world is going to cease to exist. Good luck.

 

Note, this is completely and totally fake. I’m trying to bring some attention to the ridiculous things that people say about generations in the workplace and how divisive they can be. If you agree, share this with a coworker or friend in the industry. Bonus points if you get a photo of their reaction!

My real take on this topic? We can find ways to work with anyone, and their “generation” has less to do with it than their career or life stage. Instead of looking for things that divide us, let’s spend more time looking for common ground!

7 lessons employee experience

I just finished reading a brand new book called The Employee Experience. It’s a great look at the relatively new concept of creating an experience for employees, not just trying to engage them or do some other one-off program that doesn’t deliver long-term results.

7 Powerful Lessons on the Employee Experience

1) Congruent customer and employee experiences

I’ve long said that the customer experience will never exceed the employee experience. Well, what I’ve actually said is, “Employees will never treat customers better than their management treats them,” but it’s one and the same. The experiences will be congruent, or similar. That means companies that live and die by customer satisfaction scores need to start not with customer bonuses or other gimmicks but with a positive employee experience.

2) The Employee Experience is not the Employee Life Cycle

One of the issues with someone’s initial attempt to grasp the concept of the employee experience is to put it in the context of the employee life cycle. The experience, or how someone feels, is part of the life cycle, but it’s not quite the same thing. Don’t think that understanding the mechanics of onboarding and performance management means that you have a great employee experience. Instead look at the candidate or employee-centric nature of your processes and see to what extent they support, encourage, and engage your workforce. That’s your hint.

3) Tell me about your employees first

If I walked up to you right now and asked about your company, what would you start with? Your products? Your mission? Your customers? What about your employees–would they even make it into the discussion? It’s so common to think about this in the context of customers when in reality it’s our employees that make us successful. Start with employees and go from there. It will change the perspective of those around you.

4) Expectations rule the day

A big part of why employees have bad experiences in the workplace is because of expectations. Have you ever had high expectations for a raise, performance discussion, or meeting, only to walk away feeling disappointed? The theory of expectancy plays into motivations and how we feel about choices we make. If you want to deliver a poor experience, make sure you give people a warning ahead of time so their expectation gap (what they expect and what you deliver) isn’t as large.

5) Companies don’t really exist–people do

The trouble with leaders in many organizations is that they view the company as “The Company,” an automonous entity that doesn’t need to be understood or afforded respect. In this worldview, employees are replacement parts, and we don’t have to worry about the feelings of replaceable parts.

People get stuff done, not “the company.” People are the face of the firm, not a logo, billboard, or slogan. Remember that.

6) Design thinking for the win

The concept of design thinking centers on this: efforts are spent not just on solving problems, but on creating solutions with the end result in mind. In this case, how can we create ideas that focus not on the organization or on the customer, but on the employee experience. Instead of thinking about how to fix a problem specifically, the focus is on becoming something radically different. For many of us, that’s the direction we need to go to rectify design flaws in our processes and policies that can actually hamper our efforts to engage our workers.

7) Scrap the fancy job titles and get to work

I’ve heard in the last few years about new job titles popping up in the HR space. Chief Culture Officer, Chief Employee Experience Officer, etc. This was also mentioned in the book.

At first I was excited about the idea, but the more I thought about it, I realized that in some cases it was an abdication of responsibility. Think about it–when a task is assigned to someone specifically, everyone else can forget about helping with it and it falls off their list of priorities. That’s where I see the challenge in hiring these types of roles or even trying to create that kind of organization. Guiding and shepherding corporate culture isn’t one person’s job, it’s everyone’s job. Creating a powerful employee experience isn’t just HR’s or the C-suite’s job, it’s everyone’s job.

What are your thoughts on the employee experience? After reading some of these ideas, are you creating a great one, or does yours need some work

The HR profession is mostly women (look around you at any event and you’ll see). Yet when we look at the representation of females in the C-suite, whether in HR or in general, the blend is more evenly mixed or even weighted towards men. Why?

were-only-human-logoThe 2016 HR Technology Conference had a new feature: the Women in HR Tech Summit. The event was a success by all measures, but one person heard about the summit and started to wonder, what do female executives in HR technology do differently? What makes them successful? What lessons can we translate to the HR community at large, helping women to achieve greater success in their roles as executives, HR leaders, and business professionals?

In episode 6 of We’re Only Human, I interviewed Lynn Miller, a researcher exploring the interesting world of female founders and CEOs in HR Technology. She talks about what separates this group from their male counterparts and also explains the value they can bring in terms of customer satisfaction and more. (Subscribers, click through to listen to the embedded show below.)

For more information about Lynn’s research, check out her LinkedIn series .

To check out other episodes of We’re Only Human or learn more about what I’m up to, check out the Podcast page.

Also, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. Why do you think this mix of females diminishes at higher levels of responsibility? What can we do to fix it, if it should be fixed? What would you want to know from these CEOs and high achievers if you had a chance to talk with them one-on-one?

Update 3/1/17: the presale is over, but the course is now available for the public here. The bundle with the SPHR course is here. Audio continues to be added to the course to flesh it out and increase the value. 

One of the most common questions I get from people interested in certification is where to find something they can listen to in the car, on a walk, or even at work. I’ve mentioned before that as busy as I am with kids and work, I really like to listen to podcasts and other audio programs while I’m washing dishes or chaperoning people around town. Today, I’m excited to announce the presale for the new HR certification audio series.

Until now there has only been a minimal selection in the market for audio prep tools, and they are all fairly pricey. I wanted to develop something that would help to improve the HR certification prep experience while still meeting that need for auditory learners. We are launching this in time for people to use it for 2017 exam preparation.

The Details

This program is in presale and officially opens up later this spring. I have been developing it since late 2016 and expect the first version to be available by the end of February. Presale supporters will be the first to gain access to the audio course when it opens. The course will have lessons spanning all areas of HR to help students better understand best practices and have the most up-to-date knowledge of how to leverage those practices for business success. In addition, these courses can be used for recertification credits! If you’re currently certified and want to use the content in these courses for recertification purposes, you can manually add them to your profile to get credit.

Is this just for the PHR or SPHR?

No. I’ve had dozens of students use our other courses to study for the SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP exams. I’ve also had some even use it for the aPHR exam with excellent results. The principles explored in this audio study course will be applicable across the spectrum of HR. If you like the kind of work I do here at upstartHR (including the podcast) or if you’re interesting in improving your HR game, this will help you.

What is included? 

The course will initially include audio lessons totaling more than 3 hours of content. This will grow to 5+ hours by June and could eventually reach 10+ hours of training by the fall, depending on the level of interest in the course. It’s my goal for learners to be able to use these audio lessons for reinforcing concepts, examining practical applications, and exploring case studies of HR in action.

What is the format?

The presale will include mp3 audio files so learners can learn anywhere. The official launch later this spring will include a CD option as well. At that time, the course will be offered in either format or as a combined offer to allow learners to study anytime, anywhere. The mp3 files will include lifetime access in the event you need to put off your studies, come back later to refresh, or just want to use them for recertification credits after you pass your exam.

What is the price? 

The presale price has been discounted to allow as many people as possible to access the course. I regularly get questions from people needing tools that don’t cost an arm and a leg to purchase, and these definitely make that cut.

  • Digital mp3 audio course presale price: $47

As a reminder, this price is temporary and will increase after the presale period closes.

Special Presale Bonus Offer: For a short time only, we are bundling this audio with our powerful SPHR course to help people get a jump start on their certification prep. The bundle price is just $127, a savings of more than 10% off the combined set of tools. This offer will not be available after the presale period closes. Click here to get the limited time bundle.

If you have questions, please contact me at ben@upstarthr.com and I’ll be glad to answer them. I’m excited about the next evolution of certification preparation support here at upstartHR, where we’ve been helping hundreds of HR professionals like you with certification for more than seven years. If you want to go ahead and get on the list for the limited time presale, click here. If you want the bundle with the SPHR email course, be sure to click here.

were-only-human-logoThe idea of a “gig” isn’t anything new, but the concept of using gig workers as an alternative source of talent certainly is. More companies are starting to realize that getting a job done doesn’t always have to mean creating a requisition, posting a job, interviewing candidates, and making an offer. In the case of some new applications on the market, companies can bring talent to their front door at the veritable push of a button. Yes, really.

In episode 5 of We’re Only Human, host Ben Eubanks interviews AJ Brustein, cofounder and COO of Wonolo, an on-demand hiring application. Ben and AJ discuss Wonolo’s beginnings as a startup within Coca Cola to solve a specific talent challenge and how it spun off into its own brand. In addition, they talk about how companies can make use of gigs to not only meet company objectives, but to help meet the needs of workers as well. It’s a fascinating conversation and one that will challenge your assumptions about the on demand workers you meet on a daily basis.For more information about Wonolo, check out http://www.wonolo.com

If the gig economy topic interests you, be sure to check out my previous post on the topic about how to use the gig economy to find talent.

Subscribers click through to stream the show below or click here to visit the podcast site. As always, if you subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, or your favorite podcast app, you’ll be notified of the new shows and never miss an episode. 

To check out other episodes of We’re Only Human or learn more about what Ben’s up to, check out the podcast or the Where I’ll Be page.

As an HR professional, I am used to being on the interviewer’s side of the hiring table. That makes it easy for me to forget all the hard work candidates put into preparing for their interviews—well, some candidates. There are also people who waltz in totally unprepared, which makes me wonder whether they really want to be hired.

These 21 tips from Company Folders reveal the things prepared candidates do before, after, and during their interviews. Knowing these prep strategies will help you discern which candidates did their homework—and which ones didn’t—so you can get a better idea of who will make a good employee. Besides, it never hurts to brush up on interview etiquette; one day, you may find yourself on the other side of the table. Continue reading