Recently I asked for some help in preparing for a local session on employee compensation challenges. I had some good responses and wanted to share some of the insights and advice with everyone. I’ll be sharing two blogs on the topic: determining what to offer employees and how to get managers on board

The number one response that HR professionals said was most difficult was figuring out what to offer. In the video I talk about some of the key ways to determine that information, including using local salary surveys for the cheapest and most accurate information. I would encourage companies to avoid using free, unverified tools like salary.com for building compensation structures. In addition, I discuss the importance of having an overarching compensation strategy to drive decisions from a high level. Check it out!

Employee compensation challenges video

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employee communicationsEmployee communications are dominated by email

According to a recent survey, up to 28% of our time is spent creating, reading, and replying to emails at work. In the average workweek that’s about 11 hours of time that you won’t get back, and we do that every single week.

There’s something else I’d like you to consider trying this week: video.

I am a firm believer in the power of video for learning and for communication purposes.

  • It’s personal.
  • It’s easy to create.
  • It conveys emotion and meaning.
  • It helps to explore complex topics.
  • And so much more!

While I know we can’t completely get away from sending emails to our employees, I think we could do a better job of incorporating video into the overall communications we use to increase opens, clicks, and overall understanding. And no, you don’t have to be a 10,000-employee organization with a dedicated video team on staff. This is incredibly simple.

And if you happen to be one of those people who think video isn’t going to “catch on,” you should take a second and recall those individuals that printed emails because they knew that that whole “email thing” was just a fad.

So, why use video for employee communications?

In the comment above, you can easily swap out “marketers” and put your own name in there. People are used to seeing and interacting with video content online. Some studies show that up to 75% of executives watch business-related videos online each week. This isn’t just for your front line employees–it can be a valuable tool for your C-suite as well.

I shared a case study of how ADP used video for their open enrollment communications (not only to share information, but to actually drive specific behaviors). Check out How to Increase Benefits at No Cost for more info.

Try it for just 30 seconds

One of my friends used to walk around with a small handheld camera (and now we all have phones that can do this just as well). He would grab a manager and ask them to talk for 30 seconds about how they help to manage career development for their employees, and then he would post those on the internal network so that employees could see and learn from those little clips. What was the impact?

  • The managers weren’t out more than one or two minutes of time.
  • He could get them talking on things they might not normally bring up with employees.
  • And he (HR) was seen as bringing value to the employee/employer relationship through facilitating these discussions.

Explainer videos

As far as the type of video that we’d use, the “explainer” type is probably most common. Here’s a simple way to start: think about the top three questions you receive from employees that you have a hard time responding to via email due to the complexity or sensitivity. Here are a few examples:

  • How does our FSA work?
  • What will our tuition reimbursement plan cover?
  • What are the career development options available for my position?

Then, take 30-60 seconds to create a short video explaining how that works in plain language your employees can understand.

Seriously, it’s as simple as that!

If you’d like some more research and ideas on video and how it can be used, check out the infographic below. Continue reading

I recently received a reader email asking how to get into human resources without experience. It made me pause, because I had just responded to an email asking virtually the same thing less than five minutes before. So I dug into my email and looked at how many times I’ve had a conversation with someone over the past five years about how to get into HR. The result? I’ve had over 250 conversations in just five years, and those don’t include the many interactions outside of email. Today I’m sharing my thoughts on the subject, some data from a recent survey I developed, and insights from other HR professionals on how to get into human resources without experience. This is going to be long, but it’s going to be good.

Table of Contents

  1. How to get into HR
  2. Relating real-world work to HR
  3. Improving your HR education (mostly for free)
  4. How to position yourself for success
  5. Things to remember for your first HR job
  6. Comments from the experts
  7. Additional resources

How to get into human resources

I think its hard to get that first HR job without any experience. What would you give as advice for the newbies to land the first job in hr? Alison Continue reading

So the SHRM 2013 Conference is in Chicago. I’ll be there, will you?

shrm 2013 conference chicagoThis will be my third SHRM conference to attend, and my hope is that it will be the best one yet. 60+ other HR and recruiting bloggers will be there.

Who else is going? What sessions are you looking forward to?

I know it’s a few months away, but is anyone interested in a quick, informal meetup? Maybe for breakfast or something? I’d love to have the opportunity to chat with some of the smart people that follow the blog.

Hashtag #shrm13 for those following on Twitter.

Tips for SHRM 2013 conference first timers

Here’s a short video where I talk about my tips for the first-time attendees for the SHRM 2013 conference. Subscribers click here to view. The video notes are below if you don’t have time or can’t watch it now.

Video notes

Here’s what I wish I had known ahead of time for my first SHRM conference events.

  • Plan to talk with 2-3 vendors who might be valuable partners for your company. Maybe not today, but six months or a year from now you might be looking for an applicant tracking system, a rewards supplier, etc. Take this time to talk with them face to face in the expo.
  • Look for the “parties” or after-hours events. I’m not a party kind of guy, but those events are great in that you can develop friendships and lasting connections. Bottom line: leave some space open for unscheduled networking and learning. Some of the best experiences you’ll ever have!
  • Start connecting with people before the event. That way you’ll have connections there on site that you can meet with and those connections can greatly enhance your enjoyment of the event.
  • Definitely plan to learn, take notes, and take things back with you. But those three areas are some that I wish I’d known about when I attended my first SHRM conference.

So, anyone else planning to attend? Do you have any tips for the first-timers out there? 

If you like keeping up with new business concepts, I have one for you: the ROWE.

I’ve talked about the idea of a Results Only Work Environment before, but the latest book by Cali Ressler and Jodi Thompson (Why Managing Sucks and How to Fix It) is the handbook for organizations and managers looking to put it into place.

why managing sucksLet me start by saying that if I could flip a switch and turn my employer into a ROWE, I would do it. In essence, a ROWE means that staff work when they want, where they want, and as long as they are getting the results, the rest doesn’t really matter.

The issue is that I work for a government contractor, and we are required to track each hour worked for every employee (exempt or non) for billing purposes. I’m not 100% sure, but I’m betting the government isn’t about to change the way they do business to align with greater efficiency and effectiveness based on their track record.

The Appeal of a ROWE

Here’s why I love a ROWE. Managers can’t just come to you and say, “Bob isn’t putting in the hours.” They have to come to you and say, “Bob is not achieving the results we agreed upon.” As an HR pro, in which of those situations would you feel most comfortable backing up the manager? Yeah, definitely the second.

It forces managers, employees, and business leaders to ensure that people actually know what they are supposed to be achieving. That’s what really matters. And that, my friends, is a very refreshing thought.

Check out the video below where I talk more about the book. I highly recommend it!

Click here to check out other book reviews.

While we have plenty of resources for how to onboard new hires, there isn’t much info with regard to new job orientation for remote employees. How do you handle off site employee orientation? What do you say? How do you communicate?

Today we’ll look at all that, plus I’ll share a few ideas on how to make it especially valuable for the employee. New job orientation isn’t easy, and it’s even harder when you’re off site! Here’s the message from a reader that got my brain fixed on the topic:

Just read your article about Onboarding. Some really useful stuff there but I was wondering if you have ever written about trying to onboard a new employee in a remote location where there is no team in place yet. I am currently doing this and came across your article in my desperate search for some help. — I’m located in our office and the new employee is located in the remote office which has the awesome advantage of being in a different time zone. We do have employees in the office there but nobody who will be doing anything like his specific job. This is also my first employee ever so I’m having a minor meltdown as you can imagine. There are so many things like taking them to lunch etc that I can’t do so I’m trying to figure out ways to substitute these kind of team bonding activities. We are going to be hiring a few more people in the next few weeks but I want to try and get it at least partially right with this first one so that he doesn’t run screaming from the building. Any advice would be most gratefully received.

Here’s what I had to say.

Very neat! I definitely agree that you have a challenge on your hands. I would make it a point to use video chat if you have that capability. That’s the most personal, and personable, interaction you can have with someone who’s thousands of miles away. Another neat idea might be to do a quick video tour of your local office, show them who else works for the organization, and let each person wish them a quick “welcome” message. That would take ten minutes to walk around, record, and upload/send, but it would be very valuable for creating a connection among the staff.

If you have the capability, you might also put together a short writeup on your culture, what it’s like working there, and the things your leaders believe in. I’ve attached the one I recently put together as a sample. If there are no standing meetings in place, this is a great opportunity to create one and allow each location to kick in a few ideas about what they are working on, any issues they are facing, etc. over a group conference call.

Let me know how it goes!

How to approach new job orientation for remote employees

Here’s a short video where I discuss this topic.

Additional resources

What about you? How do you handle new job orientation for remote employees?

The only people who seem to know about getting entry level HR positions are those who already have an entry level HR job.

It’s a crappy system, and it needs to change.

As I said yesterday, we have to stop setting people up to fail. We need to help the next generation understand what it will take to break into HR and getting entry level HR positions. College isn’t preparing them. For the most part, parents aren’t preparing them.

Who will take up the call and join me?

Today I’m going to teach the newbies in the audience about entry level HR positions. Everything I know is based on my own experience over the past few years, both my own and helping others with getting entry level HR positions. In the short video below I share some basic ideas that have helped me immensely any time I had to look for a job change within my HR career. The three keys?

  • Networking
  • Professional Development
  • “Doing HR” wherever you are

Video: Entry Level HR Positions

Click here to view the video on YouTube.

Digging deeper

getting entry level HR positionsI have developed a video course to help entry level HR pros find and get their first entry level HR positions and then knock them out of the park. If you are an entry level HR pro or someone looking to get their first HR job, I highly encourage you to check it out!

The course is made up of over an hour of video content, several bonus eBooks, and weekly articles and assignments to help the training “stick” for the long term. These skills will carry you through your entire career; you just need to take the time to learn them!

It’s easy to learn how to get a job in HR, but it isn’t necessarily easy to do it!