upstartHR - 2/114 - entry level HR, corporate culture, and human resources leadership

How to Get a Job Without HR Experience

Hi! I am glad you’re here today, because I need a little help.

Well, actually, the HR profession needs a little help. You see, there’s a longstanding problem that I’m going to solve with your help. We are going to take on the age-old question: How can I get an HR job without having experience?

I’m currently writing a “how to” essay regarding how to get a job without HR experience. I am looking for some inputs from the HR community out there to help those students and early career professionals. The survey has fewer than 10 questions. The information will be used in an upcoming article, and you can choose to be anonymous or not within your response.

If you have five minutes to take this survey, you’ll be helping thousands (yes, really!) of entry level HR professionals answer the age old question about how to get a job without HR experience. Thank you in advance for your support!

Click here to take the short survey and make the future of HR just a little bit brighter

What HR Students Need to Know

Last week I sat down at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and spoke with some of the students about what they need to know as they prepare to leave school and enter the real world.

I talked about some of the career aspects: negotiating salary, establishing credibility, networking, etc. I also talked about some of the things I learned very quickly after I left school (namely, the degree isn’t as helpful as most schools would lead you to assume). Many of the topics I discussed are a part of the entry level HR course I developed last year. (Side note: I’ve had a few senior level HR pros sponsor that short course for their entry level HR interns/admins, because it focuses on some of the early career skills that many of us had to pick up in bits and pieces. I think that’s awesome that they help them by putting them through the course!)
Keep reading…

The Talent Mandate Book Review

The Talent Mandate: Why Smart Companies Put People First by Andrew Benett

I have learned that based on my own interests and daily work, I am eager to consume just about anything I can find related to talent management. When I got this review copy, I dove in and while it’s been a while coming, I finally had time to put together a review of this excellent resource.

Things I liked

  • Show, don’t just tell. the talent mandate andrew benetStop saying, “People are our greatest asset!” and actually demonstrate how it’s true. Actions speak louder than words.
  • Make culture a priority. “There is something strangely intangible about culture, something that can be felt but not always articulated.” In other words, culture is what happens when you are not looking. So how do you embed that into your organization? Codify what is important. Form a “Culture Corps” to define why people like working for the organization, what the organization and people aspire to be/achieve over time, and reinforce both.
  • Always be asking three critical questions: is the culture grounded in values, does the culture promote cohesion, does the CEO make culture a top priority? If the answer to any of those is “no,” then you’re going to face difficulties in maintaining the best culture for the organization.
  • Consider a “manager detox.” New managers at Rackspace are required to undergo a three day training to “un-learn” outside thinking to avoid polluting the new environment. We’ve all run into “that’s how we did it at my last job” situations, and many of those with questionable results. This process helps to overcome those potential conflicts.
  • “Be comfortable with what you don’t know.” The best ideas come from a team, not just from a single executive. Every employee wants to make an impact, so give them a chance!
  • Hiring for agility as a competency. This means looking for strong thinkers who can apply their knowledge to different types of business problems. Agile leaders focus first on big picture and then on how their piece will contribute to that. Dave Ulrich provides a model describing four types of agility: learning (curious, finds simplicity in complexity), people (self-aware, makes other succeed), change (likes to experiment), results (flexible in ideas, works well in teams). The bottom line: find someone with those traits and you’ll have an excellent example of an agile leader on your hands.

Final thoughts

If you’re also looking for ideas and tips on talent management, then I encourage you to check this book out. I think you’ll learn a few things, see some old concepts in a new light, and challenge yourself and your organization to be better at managing talent overall. The Talent Mandate is a great book. Click here if you would like your own copy.

HR Philosophy from the Trenches

I have 2 HR philosophies; “Keep It Simple” and “Deal With the Problem”. My that I mean that people always seem so scared of dealing with something going wrong because they see it as conflict and that they will upset the person involved. The way I approach it is, something has happened, and that is what we need to address. I’m not going to belittle them, or attack them, we just need to address the issue as soon as possible. ~Leeanne, a dedicated upstartHR reader

Recently I asked some questions of a few of my audience members as a way to learn how to provide content that is better targeted toward their needs. I received the comments above from Leeanne, and I got her permission to share them here. I absolutely love them and wanted to take some time to unpack the comments here for the benefit of the rest of you out there. As we say here in the Bible Belt, I’m going to step on some toes today, but it’s good for each of us to get that once in a while. Heck, half the advice I give here is to hold myself accountable for doing the right thing instead of the easy thing. Listen up, school’s in session…

Keep it simple
Keep reading…

Introducing My TeamType

Tomorrow is the first day of March, and I hereby designate March as National Teamwork Month. Yes, I have randomly declared 31 days as my own unofficial holiday. No, I won’t change my mind. Why? Because we all need a good reminder of what the power of teams can accomplish. And what better way to kick that off than with an amazing tool from noted organizational psychologist, Dr. Daniel Crosby.

teamtypeMy TeamType is an assessment that you can administer for teams in your organization to determine where they fall in terms of overall performance. And for the month of March, I have a special bonus for anyone who orders an assessment for their team(s). Read on for more details.

My experience

When I was testing this tool recently, we had a new manager join our organization. I saw that as a prime opportunity to help them understand where their team currently was on the scale as well as some ideas for how to move them even farther down the road toward an ascending team. That is a good option for any team, but for one with a new manager, I knew that it would be a great way to help get a grasp on how the team saw itself as the new person took the reins as the leader of the group.
Keep reading…

How to Measure Team Performance

Last time we talked, we discussed some of the difficulties that affect team performance. Today we’re going to narrow it down to the two key areas that matter most: rapport and results. In the big picture, the relationships within the team and the quality/quantity of work that gets done are the only things that really matter. If you go back to the list at the link above and read through it, a team with an orientation of high rapport and high results will overcome virtually all of the potential roadblocks to solid long term performance. But what exactly do I mean by “rapport” and “results?” Let’s delve into those two categories a little deeper.

Rapport AKA “How you communicate”

rapportWhat is rapport, anyway? In short, it’s the interpersonal interactions that make up the overall communication health of the team. Do they get along? Do they interact well? Do things flow? Are there bottlenecks? What about gossip? Do people go beyond the basic required communication to keep each other in the loop and up to date? Do people hoard information or share freely?
Keep reading…

Team Difficulties-Why is this so hard?

I’ve talked here before about teams and what makes them work (or not). Have you ever stopped to think about why it’s so difficult to get teams working in the right direction?

  1. Different people want different things from their work.
  2. Different personal styles/personalities.
  3. Interpersonal communication preferences.
  4. Power struggles and competing agendas.
  5. Politics.
  6. Lack of participation.
  7. Members who reject new ideas because “we’ve never done it that way before.”
  8. People with a constant sense of negativity.
  9. Team that agrees on everything too quickly just to avoid conflict.
    Keep reading…
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