Managing employees is tough, but there are some fundamental principles that weave through the manager/employee relationship we can all benefit from remembering. Check out the short video below (transcript below that if you prefer reading) to learn more.

(Email subscribers may have to click through to view the video.)

Proper care and feeding of employees

  • People come to work for the money, and leave because of their manager (the research backs that often tossed-around phrase) .
  • All of the data comes from research done by the Corporate Leadership Council. They\’ve found that providing fair/accurate informal feedback has a 39% impact on performance. (The problem? We don\’t know how to give feedback for the most part!)
  • Never really thought of it this way, but the manager acts as a conduit whose primary role is to connect employee with company. They can directly shape the employee\’s perception of the organization, their team, and their job. (I\’ve really noticed this a lot when I didn\’t get the right tools and attention from my manager.)

Anything else you’d like to share that goes along with managing better?

Yes. I know how to use social media. But I want to be in the middle of a group of HR professionals who battle in the trenches every day and hear what they want to know about the social stuff. While I love doing what I do, I understand that there\’s a whole other world out there of people who could really use this stuff (if only they knew how or what to ask). That\’s why Project:Social was started.

By the way, I\’m coming to you from the Human Resources Management Conference in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Check back for more coverage of the event!

The fun for me actually started before the actual session. I had the opportunity to share my lunch hour with Dawn and we talked on HRevolution, deep career issues, and blogging. Plus I got to show off pictures of my girls. Always fun. :-)

Killer Quotes

“[Why did I start using this stuff?] I just wanted to start learning about social media for recruiting.” Dawn Hrdlica-Burke

I\’ve received more than I\’ve given with social media/blogging. That\’s why I do what I do. -Kris Dunn

Your handbook is already there to help remove people who have a major error in judgment. Don\’t need a special social media policy. –KD

“Hey, nobody died” (in defense of asking forgiveness, not permission, for testing social tools). –KD

Who I follow in social media: not only people who put out content, but also people who share other resources that are not theirs that are helpful to people in the profession. –KD

I never trust a blog that blocks comments. Controlling the conversation doesn\’t work. –Dawn

social media + HR: Employer branding, recruiting, and career advancement for HR in a digital world

Ten reasons to use social tools

  1. Sucks to be a dinosaur (don\’t be leapfrogged on strategy)
  2. Rock and roll is dead (so is print)
  3. Elvis,Tony Soprano, and the internet (other generations thought they were fads)
  4. elearning is turning into ulearning (don\’t wait on content from SHRM/HRCI)
  5. Toby from the Office (show that you are growing/engaged)
  6. You\’re so vain (Have you googled yourself? What does it say about you?)
  7. I trust people I meet on the net (people with online brands)
  8. You can build professional authority without posting beer bong pics (it’s really not hard to keep it professional)
  9. Network/connections will drive knowledge transfer (be involved to observe what\’s going on)
  10. There\’s better food at the Marriot than at the Motel6 (market pays for rare skills (social media, for instance))

Pitfalls, Landmines, and other practical advice for HR rockstars in the trenches: You say you want a social media revolution

Ten barriers to social tool usage

  1. Don\’t have the access (54% are blocking completely, 90% blocking some)
  2. Don\’t have the tools (already have other stuff filling my work slate, is there room for another piece?)
  3. Underestimating the time (posting a job=5 minutes of work, building a network of social contacts=greater than 5 minutes)
  4. Being overwhelmed (start small—lurk/observe!)
  5. I don\’t get it (well, your grandma does)
  6. My company won\’t let me go public (go internal!)
  7. IT and marketing took over my world (be prepared and be a partner,  not a flunkie)
  8. Where\’s my ROI (time vs. dollars)
  9. I fought the law (don\’t be stupid)
  10. You, you control freak (can\’t control every other conversation, so don\’t try this either)

My thought: The fact that companies don\’t really trust end users/employees is where a lot of the friction (blocking social sites) comes from. If you didn\’t trust them, why in the world did you hire them?

how to run a small HR departmentThe first concurrent session I attended on day one of the 2010 Tuscaloosa HRM Conference was Team of One: HR Professionals Who Have to Do It All. A big plus (in my book) for this session was that it was a panel discussion and very informal. This sort of content is better covered by a group of people with varying experiences and backgrounds, because even when you’re running a one man (or woman) HR shop, it still can vary greatly due to industry, company size, etc. While I don’t currently work in a one-man HR shop, there’s always the chance that I could be doing that one day, so I want to stay on top of things. Plus, I’ve always been intrigued by those HR pros who can keep all those balls in the air on their own.

Here are some notes and tips from each of the panelists on resources and ways they were able to navigate the one man (or woman) human resources department. I’ve interspersed my own notes as well.

  • Jane Chandler-I used the SHRM hotline, participated in NASHRM meetings, and relied on my peers/colleagues to help me fill the gaps.
  • Bill Rush-I’m involved with my local SHRM chapter. I learned there’s a big difference in working in a one-man shop if you have a corporate headquarters offering support/resources than if you don’t. I used a state-run job skills center to help w/recruiting & retaining at one facility, and it was an astounding success. It’s quite a challenge falling under a general/administrative portion of a military contract, and it made it tough to work for a government contractor. One company I went to work for had 600 employees and I was the first HR person they’d ever had. The company founders basically said, “We\’re not sure about HR.” So I took it as a challenge! A big factor in your success in moving into one of these roles is you have to embrace the vision (can help shape it eventually, but you have to support it from the start) understand it and help it move forward. The first step if you’re leaping into a one-person operation is an HR audit to discover gaps and start making a plan.
    • One thing I learned quickly is the importance of identifying and developing capable supervisors. Most of the time HR does too much hand-holding to be effective in other areas.
    • If you want to make the case to management for some budget room for training/development, then you need to be able to show time and $ cost. Don’t just say, “I need money for skills development.” Be factual and specific and you’ll have a higher probability of success.
  • Melanie McNary-One of the biggest challenges I faced? Knowing when the HR department of one is no longer feasible. Another was gaining credibility by sharing the value of HR function. I did that by showing up at non-mandatory meetings and knowing the business inside out. I had to train my CEO that if he wanted me to focus on a specific thing, then I would be losing focus on x, y, and z (can’t do it all!). An important lesson for everyone: while your HR skills are transferable from job to job, you still have to learn/know the business and how it works to be effective as an HR professional. I learned not to implement policies/procedures just because(there was no attendance policy at one employer when I started, but it turned out to be unnecessary anyway).
    • Question from the audience: How know when one HR person is no longer effective enough? Make a list of everything you do and the time that takes. Then show it to your boss and explain the impact and how much it\’s costing you to do what you do with regard to time and missed opportunities for other projects due to busyness. Yes, it’s hard to slam on the brakes and sit to ponder this stuff when you\’re drowning in work, but it’s necessary.
    • Hard truth: If it\’s not going to happen and you can’t get a new person to help, then focus your work on business priorities and high-visibility projects and hold the other “nice to have” stuff for later. It’s hard to face it, but sometimes things just can’t be done. It doesn’t say anything about you as an HR pro if you’re working at capacity and can’t complete everything. Just make sure the C-level leaders understand your workload, because there’s a good chance they are underestimating it.
  • Melva Tate-My company’s leaders promised me they would keep the 1:100 ratio, but it never happened. I eventually moved to consulting to focus on “the pile that I was passionate about” instead of all the other stuff that I wasn’t. It’s hard moving into a small business role for several reasons: usually a new HR person is a result of a problem (litigation, etc.), and also it’s easy to fall into a “family” environment/culture and feel like an outsider to the others. Again, credibility is key if you want to be successful. I put a big emphasis on connections with other professionals.
    • Share/Trade training/development resources with other small organizations so you’re not all reinventing the wheel every single time something needs to be created or taught.

Quote of the day-Credibility

Question from a senior leader in the organization: What makes you qualified?

The response from a new person in the HR department: Nothing. But let\’s agree that if I am effective, then we’re okay. If not, then you\’ll talk to my manager and get me out of here.

Six success strategies for a HR team of one

Great handout from Melva Tate lists six success strategies for the HR team of one. My comments follow each strategy.

  1. Obtain your HR certification (you know I\’m loving that one)
  2. Know and commit to the six overarching HR competencies (tough for me, more on that later)
  3. Join local/national HR professional associations (I prefer local over national for people connections, national over local for research/info)
  4. Leverage relationships with other HR pros (if you’ve got ’em, use ’em!)
  5. Connect with social media (helps to build those connections you\’re going to be leveraging in #4)
  6. Using Google and other paper (gasp!) resources (this is more about staying excited about what you do and encouraging idea generation than deep learning in my opinion)

Anyway, that’s my long recap of an amazing session. I love seeing people share ideas and tips on how to do those things we do every day, and this session was a great example of that. Anyone else out there running an HR shop of one (or two, maybe)? What sort of tips and suggestions do you have for success in that area?

ua human resources management conference banner

I was looking through some old emails the other day, and I saw someone mention the Human Resources Management Conference. I thought it sounded interesting, so I clicked through expecting to see a small, local event that might be semi-interesting to attend. Then my jaw dropped. This event is loaded with amazing speakers, great content, and it’s in its 56th year! Wow. So I reached out to the conference organizers to see if I could cover the event for them, and they quickly got back to me with a press pass. This is going to be pretty sweet!

What I’m looking forward to

There are several sessions I am planning to attend (although this could change with the flow of the day). Check out the descriptions from the event brochure to see what kind of cool stuff I have to look forward to!

  • Leadership GPS – Growth, Performance, Sustainment®What is your organizational direction? Are you ready to emphasize growth over survival?Are you ready to demonstrate to your organizational leaders that they are vitaland valuable? Are you ready to re-calibrate your organizational GPS? This lively andinteractive session addresses the basic foundations for leadership training that canactually improve the business bottom-line.
  • Managing For High Performance and Retention: Key Drivers of Employee Engagement – Based on extensive analysis of data from 90,000 employees around the world, this presentation discusses the top 10 ways in which managers can drive higher levels of performance and commitment from the workforce. It specifically examines how managers directly and indirectly drive employee performance through engagement. Further, the presentation considers how the manager influences employee engagement with the broader organization in addition to the team and to the employee\’s immediate work.
  • Social Media as an HR Tool: How It Can Help and How It Can Hurt – Does your organization twitter, blog, wiki, link in and have “face” time on the web? This timely session focuses on not only using social media as an HR tool for recruiting, screening, training and development, building a community image and more, but also covers social media liabilities – what is being used against companies that you should avoid. Our presenters teach how to use social media in HR while watching out for pitfalls and liabilities.
  • On the Recruiting Trail – It\’s now widely recognized that HR is a key function in driving business forward and influencing business strategy. Companies are more aware of the value and importance of HR functions and the need to recruit and retain the best workforce. Companies also demand that diversity of thought and experience be brought to the table to address their needs in a more comprehensive way. From the Strategy Model to the Intake Model this session takes a look at how to automate and accelerate each step in the recruitment process.

Why this event is unique

Although I’m not a big football fan, since it’s held on the University of Alabama campus, everything has a football theme to it. Scoring, half time, and tailgating are just a few of the terms that run through the agenda, and I love to see people having fun and breaking the mold of conference customs. :-)

If you’re in the Alabama area and think you might like to attend, here’s the link to sign up online.

On a side note, hopefully I’ll be able to wrangle Kris Dunn into a conversation. Only had the opportunity to meet him once before but definitely looking forward to it again!

I’ve had some major conference envy recently with everyone attending other events, so now it’s my turn to attend a killer show and bring the content to you live!