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General



Trust in the Workplace-Does It Really Matter?

Approximately half of your employees think you’re not being open and upfront with them, according to a recent study conducted by the American Psychological Association. In an environment where mistrust abounds, how can we operate our businesses in a way that rises above these troubling issues?

What you can do

One activity that human resources has always been fond of is policy creation. There is a time when policy formulation needs to occur, but it also needs to take into account common sense and organizational culture. It all comes back to trust — do you trust your people to do great work, treat customers well, and support their team?

Too often we build policies with the minority in mind.

Instead of creating rules around the 5% of people who will abuse our trust, we need to start looking at the 95% of people who will be inspired by our trust.

Give your people trust and autonomy and they will reward you with engagement. Withhold trust from your people and they will withhold trust from others, creating a downward spiral of negative, toxic behaviors.

Check out this post on trust at work from the Brandon Hall Group blog to learn how to build a trust-based culture that is self-sustaining.

HRevolution–Gearing Up for November

The team and I are feverishly working on HRevolution planning, and we’re excited about bringing yet another fantastic event to life this November. Check out some of the details below, and if you still haven’t purchased your ticket, we have a few left. This is a unique event that you won’t soon forget (there’s a good reason we have a significant percent of the population return every year).

Sponsors

We have three phenomenal sponsors helping to deliver this year’s event. We appreciate the support of each and hope you’ll check them out if you are looking for support.

mercer logo

symbolist logo hi res color

 

Small Improvements

Sessions

We are slowly releasing sessions leaders as they are confirmed. This agenda promises to be one of the best yet with session leaders like Franny Oxford and Bill Boorman sharing their insights and facilitating conversations around HR, recruiting, and talent management.

  • Franny Oxford – Reality-Based HR: How to make something from nothing in the face of continued budget constraints.
  • Bill Boorman – Blueprint for Modern Talent Acquisition

Sound like something you might be interested in checking out? Feel free to comment or shoot me an email. I know the event isn’t for everyone, but as I said, there’s a reason we have people who are wild fans. We’d love to see you there and make you a first time HRevolutionary!

Your Employees are Struggling with this Personally

If I told you that 76% of your employees were stressed about something, wouldn’t you want to know what was going on? I mean, after all, when I’m stressed about something, I am usually not very “together” when it comes to critical thinking and other complex tasks.

employee financial stressYou know where I’m going with this, right?

Research says that 76% of your employees are dealing with varying degrees of financial stress. That can be as simple as “we need to eat out less so we can save for our child’s college fund” to something serious like “I’m not sure how I’m going to pay the light bill this week.”

According to the Washington Post, approximately one-third of your employees are living paycheck-to-paycheck. The first response for many leaders is, “Yeah, so what?” However, this can be an opportunity to impact the productivity and engagement of your staff, so there’s value in learning more about this issue.

Whatever the case, the problem is real, and there’s something you can do about it. Click through to read my post on the Brandon Hall Group blog and learn what to do when your employees need financial help.

Applying Marketing Principles to HR

Today we’re honored to have a guest post from a long-time friend and fellow HR practitioner. Jane Jaxon is the rockstar HR Director for a tech company in Boston. Learn more about her in the bio below the article. 

Marketing 101: You need a product that meets the needs of your target customer or audience, then you need to promote it where it will be seen by and sought out by potential customers.

Branding 101: Define what you are about and what space in the market you occupy. Stand for something you believe in. Build such a strong connection with your audience that they take on your brand identity on as their own.

Wait, this is an HR blog, right? It is. Why are these concepts so basic when building a business and customer base, but relatively foreign in the HR world? Human capital is critical to the success of a company, yet basic marketing principles and resources are rarely allocated to our teams. It seems silly. A business cannot succeed without both the right product or service and the right people to deliver that product or service.

I suspect many of you don’t have marketers on your team, but there are some simple steps you can begin to take on your own to differentiate yourself and strengthen your employer brand to attract a better pipeline.

Understand your value proposition. What value can you deliver to prospective candidates? Examples include: location, work/life balance, opportunity to work with cutting edge technologies, top-of-the-market pay or great mentorship and development programs. Ask your current employees what the best part of working for your company is. And market it! Make sure pictures and language on your website highlight your differentiators. Invite employees to write testimonials or post to Glassdoor. But above all, be honest.

Figure out your market and focus your advertising appropriately. Each position has a unique market and needs to be treated as such. For example, we ask our team to review our job descriptions when we’re adding to the team to give us feedback – the oozing-with-personality job descriptions we use for entry level positions just may not appeal to senior level developers or a CFO. When I’m looking for an engineer, I ask our current team where they spend their time browsing and to tell me about the most effective cold call or email they have received and I tweak my recruitment approach accordingly. Finally, when we land a fantastic candidate, we take note of how so we can better focus our efforts next time.

Deliver. You need your public persona to match the candidate (and employee) experience. If you differentiate by the intelligence of your team, candidates expect to talk to smart people. If you pride yourself on corporate values and culture, the interview experience and questions should reflect that. You cannot attract or retain the right people if you aren’t able to deliver on the experience you’ve marketed. Just think – would you go back to a hotel that showed beautiful rooms and an ocean view but delivered an inferior product? Neither will candidates.

No company is perfect in every area, but you can be much more successful if you are able to identify what your strengths are, how you compare to the competition, and your audience, then relay that message in an effective way. How do you stack up? What differentiates your open reqs and opportunities from the competition?

About the author: Jane Jaxon is the HR Director of a high-growth tech company in Boston where she gets to focus on building a great workplace and scaling people operations. Jane’s favorite buzzwords of the trade are eNPS, talent density and (of course) people operations. She likes neither pina colada’s nor getting caught in the rain, but sure loves marathoning critically-acclaimed tv series, reading in the sun, plotting her fantasy football world domination and, lastly, keeping a stealthy social media presence. Find her on LinkedIn.

The Best PHR Study Guide: Test Prep Review

I often hear from people asking “What’s the best PHR study guide?” or “What PHR study guide is the best for preparing for the exams?” Today I’m going to help answer that question for those of you who might be interested in taking the exam (or maybe you know someone who is preparing who could use this info!).

If you’re not planning to take the exam any time soon, feel free to skip this post. Thanks! :-)

I’ve been using and recommending study tools for over five years now. The industry has made some improvements over the past few years, but there are also opportunities for improving the existing tools out there to better serve the needs of the consumer.

The exams

When we talk about interviewing people, we discuss the importance of making the interview questions and experience as similar to the job as possible; that similarity helps us to determine if the person will be a good fit for the position. The exams are no different.

I tell people they need to simulate the exam experience as much as possible at various times throughout their studies in order to improve their chances of success when actually sitting for the exam. In order to do that, let’s look at how the exams actually work:

Test environment, number of questions, topics, how questions formulated, etc.

The official PHR study guide

It surprises me, because so many people don’t realize it; however, there is no official tool recommended by the Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI) for test takers to use. Think about it. If I created the “Best HR Pro” test to certify people and then started selling study materials of my own design, that would be suspicious and diminish the objectivity of the certification.

In order to be objective and not open themselves up the possibility of “teaching to the test,” HRCI can not and should not recommend any specific test prep tool. That makes sense, correct? They wouldn’t want to raise any red flags by suggesting one provider over another.

The SHRM Learning System has the largest section of the test prep market, but I think that’s more due to the fact that they have a captive audience than that them having the best offering. There are other providers out there, SHRM Learning System alternatives, and their tools cover the same body of knowledge as the SHRM products. With the eyes-bulging-out-of-my-head price that SHRM charges for test prep, that’s why I have pointed my readers to other test prep tools on the market.

Why HRCP is the best PHR study guide

They don’t have anything to go on but their good name and customer success. Nobody is promoting them to the potential student as a pseudo-official option for passing the test. Check out the video review below where I open a box of the HRCP tools and share some thoughts about them. (subscribers click through to view)

With HRCP, it’s about price, features, and responsiveness. If you’re interested in using the HRCP materials, you can get a discount. More info on that here.

63% of Organizations Have No HR Strategy In Place

Study Shows HR Doesn’t Do Strategy (Shocker)

The other day I was reading some data (be still my heart!) and ran across something that didn’t initially surprise me. However, the more I think about it the more I am puzzled that this is still an ongoing issue. I reported on some other data  a while back that ties in pretty closely with this topic.

HR strategy chartSometimes you have to stop and wonder where common sense has gone. Companies are expecting more from their HR team than ever before, but according to data gathered by XpertHR, companies are increasing the number of employees relative to the number of HR professionals.

This leads to a number of trickle-down effects, but the major one is forcing those human resources employees into a more administrative function. There’s no hands-on, friendly interaction. There’s no face-to-face discussion of what the company has to offer to you as an individual. Read more about the HR to employee ratio.

So, in short, the more employees you have relative to HR pros, the more transactional the HR team has to be. Now let’s take a peek at the latest and greatest on HR strategy:

Only a little over one in three respondents (36.5 percent) say that their organization has a documented HR strategy.

Where such a strategy exists, nearly three in four (73 percent) say it was developed as an integral part of the overall organizational strategy, while just 18 percent say it was developed as a follow-up exercise once the overall organizational strategy was adopted. Just under one in ten (8.4 percent) said that their HR strategy was developed independently of the overall organizational strategy, suggesting a potential disconnect from, or lack of integration with, the organization. Source

Approximately 63% of organizations have no HR strategy in place. That just astounds me. The business world needs HR pros to provide business-minded, strategic leadership, but the profession as a whole can’t seem to get its act together and take charge of setting its own path.

I think the conversation around branding an HR department is applicable here. No matter what you say, your actions will always betray your true motives. Don’t just talk about being a strategic partner–live it.

What are your thoughts on this data? Is it surprising? Why or why not? 

I’ll be at #TNSHRM14 Next Month

Some of the most fun opportunities I have include joining HR professionals like you at events around the country. I can write and speak all I want, but having the opportunity to sit next to other trench HR folks and talk about the issues they are facing is something I truly enjoy. Speaking of events…

Next month, I’m going to be joining the social media team in support of the Tennessee State SHRM Conference. The event will be held at Sevierville Convention Center September 17th-19th (more info here).

Fun fact: I was trying to find a “Huntsville” location for my video background since that’s where I am based. The first thing that came to mind was the NASA Space and Rocket Center. The Center is one of the main tourist attractions in the area and features many artifacts and other fun items from the nation’s history of space exploration.  

Not only will the social media team be covering the event from a social perspective, but we’ll also be participating in two sessions on using social for HR and recruiting. I’m really excited about the opportunity to interact with some of the great HR pros in and around Tennessee and to share with them how we can leverage new tools to improve our HR service and delivery.

If you’re going to be at the event or think you want to participate, I’d love to connect with you! Shoot me an email (ben@upstarthr.com) or comment below.

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