Over the past few years I’ve put significant time and effort into researching, developing, and sharing HR certification training tools. Today I am unveiling a new course I developed over the past few months that I’m excited about. Read on for how you can get it for way cheap (or just go check it out now).
While I had released the very popular SPHR/PHR Self Study Course a while back, I felt like something was missing. I really wanted to incorporate more video content as a way to help students feel more engaged and to help convey some thoughts and ideas that were difficult to translate in a written context.
Then I found the Udemy platform. Udemy is a tool for developing and delivering courses to students around the world. I was itching to try it out, and then I remembered my desire to incorporate more video into a study tool. The HR Certification Study Course was born! A few highlights:
- This course was designed to be used in conjunction with the HRCP study materials for the PHR/SPHR exams. HRCP offers a money-back guarantee if you do not pass, and I am a big fan of that policy. Plus, it’s much less expensive than the other options!
- The course includes over five hours of video content.
- This course is meant to take the place of going to a local study group, sitting there for an hour, and going home for additional studies. Sometimes that isn’t feasible due to geographic restrictions, scheduling issues, lack of local programs, or a multitude of other reasons. Now you can watch the course from the comfort of your home!
- The promo video for the lecture is below. Check it out!
Get the friend discount!
For the duration of this week, I’m giving blog readers $50 off the price if you use this link. This offer expires Friday the 14th of February, so “get it while the gettin’ is good” as we say in the South. :-) This is for lifetime access, so if you plan to take the exams any time in 2014 or 2015, this is the best price you’ll ever see on this course.
Also, please note that this is my first venture with Udemy, so any input, feedback, or thoughts are appreciated! Thanks, as always, for your support. You guys are the best!
I talk about corporate culture often. Very often, in fact. You can tell what people value by what they talk about most often, so it’s no surprise that I believe a solid culture is one of the key ways to differentiate your organization.
But there’s a problem with that. See, you have to know what it means when you talk about this “culture” thing. If a new hire comes in, how do you explain it to them? If someone is not fitting the culture and needs to move on, how do you explain the invisible requirements they are not satisfying?
It’s time to take a few moments to articulate your culture. Define, in concrete terms, what it really looks like. Whether it’s through legends, core values, or something else. I was recently hiring for an opening, and I wanted to put together my “service philosophy,” but it’s also a good peek at what the culture is like and what we expect from our people. Here are a few of those key pieces:
- Find ways to say “yes” as often as possible
- No job is too small or insignificant
- The better we treat our staff, the better they treat our customers
- Talk about the “why” of what you do as often as the “what”
- Everyone should know what winning looks like
Those are just a few of the concepts, but it gives you an idea of what I mean. If more people took the time to explain these sorts of things, there would be fewer poor hires and thus fewer unhappy/disengaged staff.
Have you ever taken the time to articulate your culture in real terms? What sort of information did you share? What would your bullet points look like?
When I tell people I work in Huntsville, I usually get a glassy-eyed stare in return. I mean, really, I work in Alabama. How great could that really be, right? Cotton fields… Relatively low population density… Who cares? :-)
The other day I ran across this study and wanted to share. Just click on the image to view it larger. The gist of it is that the top three fastest growing technology jobs areas are all centered right in Silicon Valley. No big surprise, right? But number four on the list is my own hometown of Huntsville! Pretty cool to see.
With the concentration of NASA, Redstone Arsenal, and the various other government contracting firms in the area, we are not what people think about when they think of Alabama.
In a 2011 study, Huntsville came in as the “4th geekiest city in the US” based on the number of math/science-based jobs and the average educational level of the people in the city.
What’s the point?
I’m using a familiar place to illustrate the example, but I get a few key lessons from this kind of thing.
- Don’t assume you know everything about a place unless you’re familiar with it. I live just outside Huntsville and didn’t even know this stuff until recently.
- Know the place you’re recruiting for, because it helps when you have to relocate someone to the local area. Some people are drawn to cities with more people, others prefer a more rural existence (rural recruiting), and some don’t much care either way.
- Now I have an idea of why it’s hard to find good engineering talent when we have openings. Lots of competition!
Have you ever been surprised by a place you had to recruit for?
I was reading a white paper recently that touched on the role between HR and the CEO, and it was something I have experienced personally and never took the time to put into words. There are a few key roles that the head of HR plays when it comes to the CEO, and I have listed a few below. But first, a quote:
75% of CEOs say their relationship with the head of HR is close and trustful and 76% hail it as one of their most valued.
Most valued. Wow. That’s both an opportunity and responsibility that many HR professionals should not take lightly.
In terms of feedback, HR takes on the role of informal executive coach to the CEO. They will provide input on things that might not be at the forefront of the CEO’s thoughts and help them to get their message across in a way that is “comfortable” for the parties involved.
“Safe” performance improvement feedback
In cases where critical feedback might be necessary, the HR person might have to provide “safe” performance feedback to the executive. In this context, “safe” means direct, private, and confidential. The advice is provided directly to the CEO, it’s in a private location, and the feedback is confidential and will not be repeated.
The one that I’ve seen more of is what my friend likes to call “the office spouse.” I liken it to my relationship with my wife in that when we go somewhere, I look at her helplessly and say, “Who is that guy’s wife again?” and “What did you say happened to their son?” She has those minor details all memorized. Same relationship at work: the CEO expects the HR professional to have the staff information on a personal level close at hand, among other things. In addition, HR acts as a representative of the staff. The CEO can also ask (this ties back in with the two points above) how staff will receive/comprehend an announcement about upcoming changes, whether good or bad.
The relationship between the executive leadership and HR is an interesting one with many facets. I think this is an area for HR to be strategic to a certain extent. The relationship is a very personal one, and just like any friendship there can’t be more taking than giving; however, it can be an excellent way to facilitate necessary discussions in a safe way.
Have you ever had a one-on-one relationship with a CEO? What do you remember most about it?
Last week I was driving to do some face to face interviews for a key position. With five hours on the road, I had a little time to think about what made the “perfect” personality, skill set, etc. for the opening. Then I started backing into the interview questions I wanted to ask. While we had asked mainly about background and experience during the phone interview, I wanted more of an idea of how people fit during the face to face (and final) interview.
Funny enough, I was listening to a podcast for a portion of the drive, and the speaker was talking about some of their hiring practices. He said that when he’s hiring for a “doer” position, which ours definitely was, he asks a specific question to delve into the person’s background of doing things. Basically, he says, “What have you done?” and takes the conversation from there with follow ups, etc.
If I had to critique most people I’ve seen interview in the past, they don’t do a good enough job of the follow up questions. They have their favorite questions and they are sticking to that list no matter what the person says. However, if you really want to dig deeper, uncover half truths, and establish an actual baseline for what the person can actually do, then you need to listen carefully to their responses, then ask an additional question.
It doesn’t have to be complex, maybe just a “tell me more about that” or “and then how did it turn out” or “what did your manager think about what you did?” Those questions aren’t on any preparation website, so it’s hard to study for them. You should get a good picture of what the person is actually capable of from those sorts of interactions.
I’m also now a big believer in asking situational type questions to determine how a person will respond. We haven’t done much of that in the past, but this time around I asked a dozen questions based on what an average day/week would look like, and the answers steered us to the right person.
How do you decide what questions to ask in an interview? Is it time to change?
Event planning? Really? I thought HR was supposed to give up the “party planner” role in the move to strategic partner… Well, let’s hear what the indubitable Sue Meisinger has to say about that:
Open Communication Spurs Innovation
Meisinger then pointed to employee social events as an opportunity to tear down boundaries that many HR professionals seem to miss. She asked the audience to raise their hand if they resented the fact that their organization expected them to organize social events, such as holiday parties and corporate picnics. Dozens of hands shot up in the audience.
“Excuse me while I go on a rant here. You’re looking at this from the wrong perspective, and you shouldn’t resent this opportunity and instead embrace it,” she said. “You need to look at these employee events as strategic opportunities to open communication channels.”
In social settings, people talk and get to know each other, and HR’s role should be to help encourage that interaction and promote the culture where people talk to people, she added.
“Is it more likely that someone from accounting will return a call or consider a suggestion from someone in publications that they barely know, or is it likely that they will listen and pay attention to someone whom they remember meeting and sharing a good time?” Meisinger asked. “HR’s role is to ensure clarity and the organization’s efforts to develop and maintain a culture that encourages and celebrates innovation.” Source: SHRM
Bringing it home
I am the events team lead at work. To be totally honest, I’m not very good at the details part of the event planning. It’s just not an area that I am strong in.
However, I do put effort into determining what events support the culture we want to develop and how to use the events as a way to link diverse groups of employees. There is no substitute for the conversations and camaraderie that develop as a result of the events we have for our staff.
Another element is seeing our senior leaders participating in these events alongside our staff. That opportunity to interact on a personal level increases the trust in our leadership.
So, say what you will, but I’m going to keep putting the effort into developing events that our staff enjoy, because that is one of the things that makes our culture what it is. What are your thoughts on the topic?
Last week I published part 1 of this series of essential HR skills focusing on Organization, Dealing with “Gray,” and Negotiation. Here’s the followup.
The remainder of the items in our list include the following traits:
- Discrete and Ethical
- Dual Focus
- Conflict Management and Problem Solving
- Change Management
Every job requires some proficiency with communication, but the level of communications necessary to do this job well is pretty substantial. If nothing else, you need to have an “awareness” (for lack of a better term) of the communication going on throughout the organization, as well as a good understanding of how people will receive messages/announcements. I get questions from senior leaders often on “how people will respond” to specific comms. That takes attention, an understanding of how things work within your org (this usually grows with tenure), and knowledge of how people act and react. I can’t stress enough that this can make or break your success in this role. Split testing internal communications is a good way to get started learning how people process and respond to new information.
Discrete and Ethical
You hold the keys to the kingdom with salary information, medical data, investigation records, and other highly sensitive information. Being able to maintain a division between who needs to know xyz information and who doesn’t can be a difficult task, especially when you have friends at work who are not in positions with a “need to know.” This one is easier in my opinion–just keep your mouth shut when dealing with sensitive (or potentially sensitive) information, and you’re good to go.
I struggle with this one sometimes. Basically you are an advocate for the employees while also being a representative of management. The way I usually get around the questionable topics is this: I’m also an employee, if I didn’t have this information passed to me from the leadership, how would I feel? More often than not, stopping and asking that question of myself and the other management team members is an excellent way to refocus on what is best to share with all staff. Sometimes the answer to that question is a definite “no,” but other times we lean toward “yes” to align with our corporate culture of open and honest communications.
Conflict Management and Problem Solving
I sometimes run into trouble with this one, because I have a much higher tolerance for stupid behavior than others. People don’t always get along. We understand that. But if they are focusing on things that are irrelevant, I will work with their manager(s) to help reconcile those differences. There are times when those differences can’t be fixed, one party might be belligerent, etc. and in those cases the solution is a more final one, but I have seen plenty of times when someone is frustrated in the heat of the moment only to completely forget the issue a few days later. Knowing how to discern work stress bleeding over into relationships vs. actual, real relationship problems is the key here for me and my staff.
Things change more often than they stay the same. There’s always new information to share, new initiatives to begin, and new people to bring on. All of those have the potential to bring stress into the workplace. Two solid pieces on how to avoid or control this: The Double Down Effect and Communication Stealth Tip.
I hope you enjoyed the series! Let me know in the comments if you have another “critical” skill for HR pros. What should make #10 on the list?