Author Archives: Ben

WOH 80: 11+ Ideas to Engage and Support Your Remote Teams

In recent weeks the podcast has covered critical topics like the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and how HR technology providers are supporting businesses during this time. Today, we’re going to take a step toward engaging those workers that are working remotely, many of them doing so for the first time. 

In this solo episode, Ben covers 11+ ways HR leaders and line managers can support and engage their workers, from simple concepts like one on one’s to more complex ideas for how to run company all hands briefings. Working remotely may be a challenge right now, but for those workers that enjoy the experience and want to remain remote after the COVID-19 scare is over, managers will need new tools and ideas to help them support workers they can’t see on a daily basis. 

If you have your own ideas to add to the list, please send them to ben@upstarthr.com and we’ll add them to the show notes here. Thanks!

WOH 79: How Employers Are Responding to Shutdowns, Quarantines, and Coronavirus

“As the head of HR, I’m now suddenly expected to be a doctor, virologist, and epidemiologist.” 

That quote came from a discussion with an HR leader in the last few days, and it clearly outlines what many companies are going through right now. In today’s conversation, Ben talks with Brett Meager of Paycor to learn how employers are responding to the dynamic situations happening across the country as well as how the company is supporting its small and mid-size clients in the middle of the chaos. Brett talks about how the firm is helping to keep people informed on legislation and other details as they arise (see the links in the show notes below for more on that).

The best thing we can all do right now is share positive, helpful resources and information with each other, so if you would be willing to share this episode with a friend or colleague as a way of making work better and safer, I would greatly appreciate it. 

 

For pandemic preparedness plans, advice, resources, webinar and communication templates check out the Paycor Coronavirus Support Center for SMB Leaders. Paycor posts on Twitter and LinkedIn daily with our latest COVID19 resources, we encourage you to follow along!

Brett also shared a few tips on Working From Home with Kids: https://www.paycor.com/resource-center/how-to-work-from-home-with-kids

WOH 78: Families First Coronavirus Response Act – What Employers Need to Know

“Here’s my general advice for businesses–don’t be afraid to get help.”

In recent weeks a flurry of legislative activity has led to numerous laws to help employers and businesses dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak, and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act is a big part of the activity. What does this law mean for employers, and how does it benefit them? What other considerations should employers think through as they support their workforces during this pandemic? 

In this episode, Ben talks with Eric Meyer, Partner at FisherBroyles, LLP, about how employers should be responding to the current environment and what the law means for them. 

Connect with Eric: https://www.linkedin.com/in/emeyer/

Follow Eric’s blog: https://www.theemployerhandbook.com/

 

List of HR Tech companies offering free software and/or support: https://lhra.io/blog/hrtech-companies-offering-free-resources-information-covid-19-crisis/ 

 

Ben’s personal piece on how to respond to the crisis: https://upstarthr.com/rising-up-to-embrace-our-humanity/

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Rising Up to Embrace Our Humanity

“Come on. You can do it. I know you can. I believe in you.”

I’m watching my baby make the transition to “toddler,” and it’s a bittersweet moment. No longer will she stay where she’s put. She’s going to start exploring the world, and that exploration will only speed up as time goes on.

This moment, this incredibly precious moment, is forever burned into my memory. We learn very early in life that when we fall, we try again. When we struggle, we try again. When we fail, we try again.

We rise up again.

In the grand scheme of things, simply standing up, or doing anything, would be so much easier than hunkering down, cutting most of our ties to human contact, and sitting around waiting for this crisis to be over.

Throughout this challenge we are all going through as individuals, as communities, and as a global population, we have seen the worst that humanity has to offer. We’ve seen the hoarding and the selfishness. We’ve seen anger and hatred.

But we have also seen glimpses of the amazing kindness, grace, and love that we all have to offer.

In an eye-opening interview with a former astronaut and flight leader for several key space missions, the interviewer asked how it was possible to survive in close quarters with other humans for weeks and months on end.

The answer was fairly simple, even if it wasn’t always easy in the moment. The astronaut said that the recipe for success was doing one random act of kindness for someone else every day. This practice formed deeper bonds, created more goodwill, and smoothed over any potential slights or issues that might appear in the day to day.

Was it perfect? No.

But it did create an experience that allowed each person to try and bring out their best and most human qualities of charity and goodness that make us who we are.

If “rise up” is too vague of an instruction, then resolve yourself to doing at least one random act of kindness daily for others. Better yet, why not journal that list of deeds so that you can look back on it one day far into the future and remember how you embraced your humanity in a time that tried to wrest it from you.

If you’re a rational thinker, Thomas Paine once said, “These are the times that try men’s souls… [Y]et we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.

If you’re more spiritual, James said in the New Testament, “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial.

Either way, the concept of struggle isn’t new or novel, but an essential component of the human experience. Let’s not just survive this thing. Let’s rise up and share kindness, charity, compassion, and love for our neighbors and communities.

I leave you with this: “Come on. You can do it. I know you can. I believe in you.”

Family, Parents, Mother, Father, Toddler, Life, Evening

free career book

Free Access to HR Certification Courses and Other HR Tools

[Update 3/23 at 9:29am CST] We have already given away our first $1,000 but are doubling down and offering a total of $2,000 in courses at this time. We are hoping to bring something positive out of such a negative and worrisome time for our workforce.

[Update 3/23 at 12:20pm CST] We have provided over $3,000 in free access codes for the HR community. What an amazing response. To those of you that are seeing this now, we have created a discount code for 50% off any of our courses through the end of the month but have exhausted all of the free courses we can provide at this time. We appreciate you and the work you do for the workforce. If you use the code humanity you can get 50% off our PHR or SPHR prep courses

Over the last week I have had over a dozen calls with HR practitioners to check in and connect as humanly as possible while we are all quarantined in our respective areas of the world. Several of them mentioned that they were going to use this unprecedented time to think about getting certified while they have more downtime than usual in their days (once things settle down a bit from the transition).

free career bookHearing that, I realized that I could help make that a reality for many HR leaders, especially those that might be furloughed or laid off right now because of the struggles many companies are facing.  Continue reading

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4 Ways to Support Employees During a Crisis

Over the last few weeks the environment has changed dramatically when it comes to work and life. As an HR leader, I can remember other times of crisis in the past, such as when our employees had their homes destroyed by tornadoes. We have to deal with the logistics of this from a work perspective, because HR is often the hub of policies around working remotely or being flexible for those that have personal needs that limit their availability for work during emergencies.

However, I can’t stress enough the need to embrace compassion for our people.

Think of it this way: when our local schools asked a few days ago if families had wifi at home, I know there are some families that do not have it because they can’t afford something that most of us consider a basic fact of life. Some of those children were getting free breakfast and/or lunch at school to help fill gaps in their nutrition that they weren’t getting at home.

When you think about taking care of your people, that care for the basic components of life should be part of the equation.

The Science of Doing Great Work: Tips for Working Remotely 

Before I jump into some of the tactical ideas to help support your employees during this time, I want to point out something for those (you or your employees) that might not be accustomed to working from home.

When you’re in an office, you have a fairly rigid schedule and setup. At home, that’s not the case. One of the biggest challenges for many, even though it technically shouldn’t be different than working in an office, is prioritizing what to do. The science we know on how the brain functions shows us that we have a limited amount of capacity to focus.

Focus for an hour? Sure. You can do that. Focus for six hours? Not likely.

For that reason, it’s important to approach your to do list strategically. For those things that you find hardest to do because of their greater demand on mental capacity (creative work, strategy meetings, etc.), do those earlier in the day or when you have uninterrupted time (which will be a challenge for those with kids at home during crisis times). For those things that require less mental energy (responding to emails, for instance), save those for later in the day when you are naturally in a lower state of focus.

If you make this change, you will probably be surprised to see the difference in what you can get done, how creative you are, and how you feel. For more on this you can read some of my takeaways from Two Awesome Hours, where a doctor explains this in much more detail than I could.

home-office-336377_1280Oh, and skip answering emails right before that big meeting (even if it’s virtual). You will use your much-needed focus and acuity on routine messages and fail to have that focus when you need it during the meeting. Trust me on this one. If you DO have a big meeting you need to be “on” for, then take a walk outdoors without your phone for 5-10 minutes in the last half hour before the meeting begins. That can help to refresh your energy and focus.

Those big meetings include creative ways you might support or cover your employees during this time. Or maybe one of these options that you never quite seem to have time to get to: Continue reading

WOH 77: Implementing the Agile Talent Acquisition Methodology at BBVA

Agile talent acquisition? What’s that? 

Many of the talent leaders we encounter have heard of agile as it pertains to the software development industry, but what lessons does this methodology have for today’s talent leaders? 

Agile, at its core, is about prioritizing (ruthlessly) on the things that need to get done. In agile talent acquisition, managers hold more power to set priorities. At the same time, recruiters and talent advisors get the benefit of clearer communication, a framework that sets them up for success, and a true partnership with their customers (the hiring managers in the organization). 

In today’s discussion, Ben talks with Trent Cotton, a key figure in the implementation of agile talent acquisition methods at BBVA, a global financial firm with more than 10,000 North American employees and a global workforce of over 100,000. Cotton explains how the process works, what benefits BBVA has seen from the approach, and offers specific advice for how to make it a reality in any organization. 

If you’d like to connect with Trent, you can find him on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/trentcotton

If you found this episode valuable, you might also enjoy episode 58, which was an intriguing conversation with Paul Shane about how Northwestern Mutual created its hiring playbook: https://upstarthr.com/were-only-human-58-open-sourcing-the-recruiting-playbook-from-northwestern-mutual/

This is somewhat like our conversation with the H&R Block head of TA on episode 25:
https://beneubanks.podbean.com/e/were-only-human-25-how-to-forecast-hiring-needs-and-lead-a-recruiting-team/