Author Archives: Ben

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HR Career Advice: Share Your Own Tip and Be (HR) Famous!

I’ve written many times about my entry into the HR profession. One of the things I’ve always prioritized is creating resources to help people get into HR and move toward their strengths and interests. Over the last year I have answered countless emails from people needing career advice and support (some of them answered publicly here on the blog).

It’s difficult to answer every request, so after talking with a few people I have decided to start a podcast series on We’re Only Human that features content focused on HR careers. I recently started crowdsourcing the topics for this series, and a number of people pointed out critical things that they think new or aspiring HR pros need to know.

For example, consider some of the comments below:

I don’t think enough gets said to HR career seekers about the knowledge, experience, and skills you get and the knowledge, experience, and skills you need at a small company vs a midsize company vs a large company. Titles often appear similar across postings but duties and skills required are vastly different based on company sizes. –Marquesa Ortega

I had a hard time applying what I learned in school to my HR career. It took a couple of years to close that gap. I found it difficult to know how and when to apply what I had learned since it’s not as obvious in the context of work. There isn’t a quiz at the end of the day. You have to always be considering when to use what you learned. That’s something I would have liked to learn about so maybe others would too. –Andrea Lato

There needs to be more awareness of the knowledge-skills gap for HR folks. I have hired dozens of HR practitioners right out of school who have acquired quite a bit of knowledge (some with 6 years that includes a Master’s in HR), but lack the skill set to be effective, without quite a bit of upskilling and training. In terms of skills, I am talking about: tech selection and procurement, writing a business case, tech implementation, change management Comms and training, content/copy writing for external and internal Comms, data collection, data analytics, basic Stats, design thinking, marketing skills for recruitment, branding (for building an employer brand), Machine Learning, evidence based practice, and I can go on and on… The solution: let’s be honest up front and let the next generation of human resources pros know that their career will be a lifelong learning journey covering the skill sets mentioned above, along with many others, and that they should embrace being a Polymath. It is indeed an exciting time to be joining the ranks of HR! –Robert St-Jacques

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WOH: 75 What if Your Employees Could Use PTO For Anything They Want

Employee paid leave is often overlooked because it has been around for what seems like forever. It’s fairly standard, and the biggest advancement in recent history has been moving from a split vacation/sick model to a paid time off or “PTO” model, where employees can use the leave flexibly for illness, vacation, or other personal needs as they see fit. 

The problem, though, is that people still don’t use that time as they should. They carry heavy leave balances, which creates liability for their employers. They don’t take the time off because they feel like they can’t be away from the office. Whatever the case, it’s not serving the purpose that it should. Research shows that people return from time away from work with better mental health and reduced anxiety (even when they have an overflowing inbox), so how can we solve this? 

In today’s discussion, Ben talks with Rob Whalen of PTO Exchange. Rob shares some sobering statistics on PTO usage by employees and how much is forfeited annually, failing to serve the employee population it was designed to help. Rob also explains how PTO Exchange is helping employers to help employees by converting PTO into retirement savings, emergency funds, charitable donations, and more. It’s time to start thinking strategically about paid leave benefits to help employees with a diverse set of needs. 

 

Contact Rob or PTO Exchange: 

https://www.linkedin.com/in/rob-whalen-1287077/ 

https://ptoexchange.com/contact  

Resource: 4 ways to get employees to use more vacation time 

Leadership-it's about asking tough questions...

I’ve Done HR But I Don’t Have an HR Job Title [Reader Question]

One of my favorite things to do is answer reader questions here on the blog. If you have a question you’d like answered (I answer as many as possible!) just shoot a note to ben@upstarthr.com. 

Question, Questions, Man, Head, Success, Lamp, Brain

Hi Ben,

I’m a Business Administration major. I’m in my last year and I’ve chosen 5 Human Resource courses as my electives to assist me with gaining a basic knowledge of the career I want to pursue.

I have some experience with the recruitment process. I worked as a Assistant Leasing Manager for 9 years, and the company was small I would use social media and job platforms to search for Maintenance candidates, make the calls to schedule interviews, process their testing and applications and assist with completing their W2’s , insurance, and set-up their employee file. I assisted the company with setting up new payroll systems and establishing employee profiles.
Long story short Ben is could this be used to assist me with gaining access into a entry level position. Every time I apply for a position, they want 1 to 3 years or more of experience. I have never worked with HR systems before, but have encountered them them course work. How do I get firms to consider me for positions in this career? I have bits of experience but have missing parts needed to qualify for them.

Please , any advise you have would be beneficial to me. Can you point me in the right direction?

Sam


Before I dive into an answer here, I want to let everyone know that I’m going to be recording a podcast series on We’re Only Human focusing on HR careers to help share these kinds of answers in a broader way, reach and help more people, and get some outside perspectives as well. If you have any ideas you want to share about what you think might be helpful or things you might want to learn yourself, please weigh in here

Now, as for the question today, this is such a common question that I want to address here for anyone that’s trying to get into HR.

One of my long-time recommendations is to “do HR where you are.” If you are in retail, find ways to help set schedules, train other workers, or coach new people. If you’re in an office environment, help to welcome interviewees and show them around, work with new people on orientation, etc. Anything you can do that extends your capabilities into the realm of HR is a good thing. The next step is to take any of that experience and translate it onto your resume.

Sam, I would revise the resume to prioritize your HR-related skills, because everything you listed in your experience above is something that an HR pro would do at a larger firm (recruiting, onboarding, new hire paperwork, etc.) If you have to explain your role/title as “Leasing Manager and On-site HR Support,” that would be accurate based on your job duties even if it wasn’t your technical job title. You can explain that in an interview but right now the leasing job title is preventing you from even starting a conversation with a potential employer.

I have written a lot on this topic and these resources will help you to think about this, but I think changing the resume is your best bet as a starting point. In the big scheme of things, the resume is about starting a conversation with an employer. The interview is about really selling them on your capabilities. If you are applying for early career/entry level HR roles and you have these experiences you mention, it should be easy to convey in an interview. Right now you just have to get over that resume-to-interview hurdle and then you can really show off what you can do.

You’ve got this! Good luck and go make it happen. See other reader questions here.

If anyone else has advice for Sam, feel free to share below!

WOH 74: Using Internal Podcasts to Communicate with Deskless Workers

Today, more workers than ever are in roles that do not provide them with an office, a desk, or even a computer or email address. Forbes says that more than 2 billion workers work in a deskless environment. So how can employers communicate with those staff, engage them with learning content, and keep them informed? 

In today’s episode, Ben interviews Jon Thurmond, an HR leader with Team Fishel, to explore this challenging issue. Thurmond has led the charge at Team Fishel to create an internal podcast to share content both for communications and training purposes, and it is already receiving positive support from the rest of the organization. 

In the conversation, Jon explains how to get started, what it takes to build a business case, and a few ideas for the kinds of content he is targeting with the new communication channel. 

 

Connect with Jon on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Jon_Thurmond

Check out Jon’s podcast: https://hrsocialhourpodcast.podbean.com/

Take the one-question Talent Acquisition Priorities survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/VGKB7LH

HR and Talent Trends webinar: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_mRX4LkNSTzSz90OjZOP1NQ

SHRM-SCP vs SPHR: Which Senior HR Certification Makes More Sense?

Are you a senior HR pro thinking about getting a certification, and you’re selecting between the SHRM-SCP and the SPHR? Have you wondered if the SHRM senior professional certification or the HRCI senior professional in human resources certification is right for you? Or maybe you’re one of those thinking about getting both of these credentials? Then this post is for you!

One of the most popular posts I’ve written in the last few years continues to be a piece on HR certifications SHRM-CP and PHR. It is a very common question, and before SHRM and HRCI broke up, it wasn’t an issue. However, I’m now seeing more people who are moving up in their careers that want to explore the senior HR certifications like the SHRM-SCP and the SPHR. As someone who holds both certifications, I am an advocate of them for a few reasons:

  • They quantify, to some degree, the person’s understanding of HR and how it ties into the business.
  • They have more situational questions than the basic PHR/CP exams that are much harder to study for, requiring you to really know and have hands-on experience. That adds credibility when you do pass.

You will run across people who do not believe in them or care about certification. You will find Chief Human Resources Officers, VPs, and Directors that have no certification. Does that mean you shouldn’t pursue one? Absolutely not. If it’s on your mind and you are seriously considering it, then don’t let someone else’s career choices derail you from getting the certification you think you want. There’s also the financial aspects of earning more money with an HR certification.

SHRM-SCP SPHR HR CertificationsTo be transparent, I didn’t have to take the SHRM-SCP exam. SHRM was very smart during the split away from HRCI and allowed any practitioner to answer a few questions and in five minutes transfer our SPHR over to the SHRM-SCP certification. Many of the people you find with both have had both since the split, though there are some that have taken the additional time and expense to get them the “old fashioned” way by studying and taking two separate tests. I have great respect for those people and highly recommend that you reach out to a few friends or colleagues in the industry that you respect to ask them how they got the certification and for any advice they might offer for you.

I will offer my normal disclaimer here before I go any further: Continue reading

WOH 73: What it Takes to Mentor Women (and Men)

In our study on Disruption and Reskilling, we found that one of the top ways employees want to learn new and different skill sets is through coaching and mentoring. However, mentoring is one of those concepts that is often oversimplified in the workplace. It’s more than a casual conversation or one-way relationship. As today’s guest on We’re Only Human puts it, there’s a level of “needed nervousness” to create positive tension and a supportive relationship. In other words, if you’re always comfortable, you are overlooking growth opportunities and you’re not developing at the rate you could be.

In an intriguing conversation with Major Chaveso “Chevy” Cook, an active duty officer and expert on mentoring and human interaction, Ben works with Chevy to dig into what it takes to create powerful, positive mentoring relationships that drive impact and value for the participants.

Learn more about Military Mentors: MilitaryMentors.org

Connect with Chevy: chevy@militarymentors.org or visit him on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/chaveso-chevy-cook 

 

Weigh In: What’s Hot in Talent Acquisition and Recruiting in 2020?

Click here to give your vote in 20 seconds or less. 

One of the most fun pieces of my work is getting the opportunity to tap into the ideas, energy, and creativity from HR and talent leaders like you and then share that insight with the rest of the world. This year we are revisiting our shortest but most popular study from a few years back with a single question: what’s hot in talent acquisition in 2020?

My team and I will be reviewing the responses, tabulating the results, and creating a report to share the findings and how they compare with our last set of data on the topic. I would personally love to hear from you what is going to be hot for the coming year!

If you want a free copy of the results, just drop your email into the survey after you answer the one question on what you think will be hot in 2020. Easy peasy! The survey will be close on February 7th, 2020 so be sure to respond and share this with your peers so they can vote as well.