This week I connected with a wonderful person who shared something that I just had to plug here. You know I’m a fan of certification and the benefits it can bring to your career. But once that certification is done you have that teensy, minor detail of getting 60 credit hours in order to recertify every three years.

Truth be told, many of us scramble at the last minute to get them in (or just to collect the information if we already attended enough events–goodness we can be so disorganized with our own professional development!) But what if I told you there’s a way to get 80% of the credits you need for your next recertification. For free. Over the Web. From the comfort of your home or office.

Yeah, I knew that would get your attention. :-)

free hrci credits hcm academyMay I introduce you to Ultimate Software’s HCM Online Academy? Let’s get you two acquainted. Continue reading

ricky bobby go fastThe other day I received an email from UPitch. It’s basically like Tinder for PR pitches. Still not sure? Here’s the gist:

You open the app and see a pitch. Then you have two options:

  • You don’t like it, don’t care, or generally are disinterested, then you swipe it left off the screen and see the next one (anonymously).
  • You like it and want to know more, you swipe it right and connect with the PR professional behind the pitch to begin the conversation.

What’s the point? Speed. Within a minute you can swipe through a dozen that are irrelevant to you personally and find the one or two that you want to pursue.

Taking the Leap

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the front line leaderRecently I read The Front Line Leader by Chris Van Gorder while I was on a flight. Usually when I’m flying I take something fun/entertaining to keep my attention, but I needed to knock down my review pile so I grabbed this one.

I’m so glad I did.

I read it from cover to cover and made dozens of notes as I did. In short: this book is one of the best and most interesting that I have read in several years. It highlights Chris’ role as the CEO of Scripps Health Network and how he leads the organization, some of the practices they use, and loads of other interesting things about this innovative organization. Get your own copy.

The Front Line Leader Video Review

(email subscribers click through to view the video)  Continue reading

assess training needsIf you’ve been tasked with conducting a training and development program, it’s important to look at the issue from all angles. This involves taking a deeper look at the role that each individual plays in the organization, and where there are gaps in the current employee training program. Here are five areas to focus on as you examine the organization’s training needs.

1. Analyze the organizational goals

One of the primary ways to identify a business’s training needs is by looking at the organization’s goals and strategies. An organizational assessment takes a deeper look at what these goals and objectives area, and how effective the team currently is at the moment. You can also look at the history of employee training and if it made any measurable changes in the organization’s performance. The purpose of this type of assessment is to help you see the bigger picture, forecasting where training would be required and how effective it would be.

2. Conduct a work or task assessment Continue reading

credibility integrityRecently someone asked this question on Quora, a site that I sometimes drop by to help shed some light on the world of HR:

If I lie about a past felony on job applications, will the California FCRA keep background checks from finding out?

The first two responses to the question were focused on what the law covers and how the person might hide their information–interestingly enough I don’t see their answers on the site anymore, so I’m not sure what to think on that. However, here’s what I offered as advice:

Since the others didn’t address it in their answer, I’ll go ahead and say it: you don’t want to start your career off with a lie. There are studies that show the number one predictor of long term success is integrity–if you’re willing to sacrifice yours now, well…

If I was the HR director at the organization and found out later that you had lied about something like that, we would terminate. If you lie to me once there’s a good chance you’ll do it again.

This isn’t a dig at you or your history–this is a plea to maintain your honesty, especially when it gets hard. There are careers that don’t require you to pass background checks (small employers and startups rarely use them).

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crazy employeesFun, happy, and crazy employees make this job awesome

I absolutely love this profession, but we have some interesting challenges in front of us. On one hand, HR really wants to be strategic. On the other, we deal with unbelievable people issues. The variety really keeps us on our toes! The notes below are based on comments I have had with employees and managers over the years, and I’m willing to bet you have had some of these, too. Feel free to add your own to the list below!

  1. I know you don’t like that brand of clothing that one of your employees wears, but we can’t create a policy banning it. Might I suggest something radical? How about taking with the individual directly?
  2. Yes, we have limits on what we can offer to candidates. That’s why we call it a compensation range, not just a compensation suggestion.
  3. No, you can’t fire her for poor performance solely because she’s not working as much as your other staff. She’s taking intermittent FMLA leave, remember?
  4. No, I can’t find someone with all of those qualifications you listed. The job requisition asks for a combined total of 72 years of experience.
  5. Sorry, tuition reimbursement doesn’t cover your travel to a quilting conference. No, I won’t request a waiver of the rules just for your “special” case.
  6. Certainly! We’d love to consider you for a promotion just as soon as you can start coming to work on time and sober for more than a two day stretch. No, I don’t think that’s asking too much.
  7. What do you mean you didn’t know about the seven emails I sent, the poster in the break room, the flyer I put on your desk, the letter I mailed to your home, or the all hands conference call where I explained the open enrollment deadline?
  8. I know you think you’re right, but cc’ing every management level up to the CEO on notes in your email battle with another individual is a bit much. Yes, it makes you look a bit crazy.
  9. I appreciate the retirement plan fund suggestions, but your brother’s company stock isn’t available through our company plan. Yes, I already checked.
  10. I know you think your employees are engaged, but your manager survey scores indicate otherwise. Why haven’t they said anything? Probably because of this “blows up angrily at any comment or question” item that I keep seeing on all of your survey results.

Bonus (vendor style): Yes, I’m well aware of the mistake, Mr. Insurance Provider. We provided the complete and accurate documentation in time and via your requested method. Apparently the mistake was choosing you as a provider since despite all that you managed to lose my employee’s application for coverage and are now denying them coverage.

So, which ones have you said lately to your employees? What would you add to the list? 

I’ve made it pretty clear that I’m a nerd of many facets. Recently I listened to an episode of Freakonomics on behavioral science and really enjoyed it, so I listened to it all over again, took notes, and created lessons for you guys from them since it was just that good. Enjoy!

  1. We need to make it safe to have conversations others won’t naturally have. That’s how you make innovation an integral part of what you do, not an after the fact, bolt-on, clunky process. The more comfortable people are in making innovative comments, the more innovation you’ll have. The more “danger” people face in making innovative comments, the less you’ll have.
  2. Economics focuses on a perfect world. Behavioral economics focuses on real behaviors from real people in an imperfect world. Don’t assume all else will remain the same when you make a change in the workplace. There will be some unintended consequence, either for good or ill.
  3. Don’t assume cash is the answer to motivating people. They highlight a newspaper losing customers that brought in an agency to help them use non-cash incentives to retain subscribers, and they were incredibly effective (see #6).
  4. Use role playing to demonstrate new techniques. Don’t rely on PowerPoint or even something as interactive as employee video communicatins just to get the point across, especially when the interaction requires dialogue. Role playing might be a bit uncomfortable at first, but it’s better than facing a new situation unprepared.
  5. Behavior trick #1 to get what you want: get some background on the “why” when you get a question/complaint. Use that in your counter. For example, “I want to cancel this subscription because I’m busy, have a full time job, and my kids are growing up so they need my attention” would warrant a response such as “Oh! Did you realize you could get reduced price movie tickets for you and your children with this subscription?”
  6. Behavior trick #2 to get what you want: using social norming (peer pressure) to help drive behaviors. “Many people in similar situations do xyz.” That pressures us to follow the norm and not take our own path, even if the norm seems to be against our own best interests at the time. “Most people choose x, but you can choose y or z” led to triple the conversion rate.
  7. Behavior trick #3 to get what you want: loss aversion is powerful. Basically, this means that it hurts us more to lose something than the pleasure of gaining something of equal value, even if we don’t particularly like what we have! Script: “I’d hate to see you miss out on that…”
  8. Reframe statements to be positive. Calls using positivity and the techniques above were 3x more successful with an 80% save customer/avert loss metric. Wow!
  9. More on social norming: we feel a sense of comfort doing what others do and mild anxiety of doing what others don’t. It’s the “herd mentality” at work.
  10. Human beings survive on inference (guessing about a situation based on known facts), so copying others is a fairly safe bet. people pay for big brands because they think there’s less chance of it being catastrophically awful.
  11. If you can play these emotions in other people you can get them to do what you want. In a position with a lot of influence opportunity but little hierarchical position power, this is a big deal. We are extremely irrational creatures, even though we like to think we are good at rationalizing things. Newsflash: we’re not. (click to tweet)
  12. The funny part is that these ideas aren’t new, they’re just being rediscovered and proven with empirical data. Shakespeare, Solomon, and others throughout history have used ideas like these to get their points across.
  13. Plus, advertising firms have been using these techniques for years–now they are gaining exposure elsewhere and for other types of situations.
  14. Moment of joy! They turn to HR/employment and bring on the Chief Analytics Officer from Cornerstone OnDemand, Michael Houseman. He talks about his mission to help companies hire and keep the best employees by analyzing all the potential factors of employment:  prehire assessment results, when the person was hired (or left), supervisor, shift, wages, overtime, etc.
  15. There is some correlation of pay vs longevity: pay enables people to stay longer. Data shows that a 10% increase in pay delivers a 5% decrease in quitting behavior.
  16. You know that “warm fuzzy” feeling someone gets from a raise? Research shows that feeling only lasts 1-4 weeks. (click to tweet)
  17. Wages are a lever you can use to drive behaviors, but other things keep your turnover low, and are less costly. For instance, finding better supervisor fit is a great opportunity.
  18. But seriously, how important is a supervisor in the employment relationship? The supervisor accounts for about as much reason someone will stay as all other factors (culture, job, wages, etc.) combined. Huge.
  19. Research shows that raw talent only predicts about 10-15% of success. This is the myth of “A players.”
  20. Measuring honesty in employment–people claiming honest were 33% more likely to be fired for policy violations. (click to tweet)
  21. The issue is in asking people if they are honest. Dishonest people are likely to answer falsely, and honest people are more likely to admit when they have faults here, skewing the numbers.
  22. The real way to measure honesty: applicants were asked about computer skills and level of tech savvy, then a couple screens later they were tested. Researchers compared the results of both data sets. In the end two groups emerged: one was honest and one was “creative” in their responses (cheating/lying, in other words).
  23. Honest employees tested better on virtually every performance metric, except for one: sales.
  24. And my personal favorite: employee web browser choice can indicate job proficiency. In their studies Chrome/Firefox users are better employees on every metric. They can’t speak to why that is or what the cause is, but the simple answer is they suspect users that are informed about technology and concerned with productivity will actively choose another browser and not rely on the built in (and poor overall choice) of Internet Explorer.

 So, what was most interesting for you? Anything truly surprising?