Author Archives: Ben

Moving Beyond Performance Management to Performance Enablement [Infographic]

Earlier this fall I reported on a study we had completed at Lighthouse Research focused on performance management practices that separated high-performing companies (revenue, retention, engagement) from their peers. The infographic below illustrates these points well and offers a great set of takeaways and advice for employers looking to improve their talent management outcomes in the coming year.

The part I’m most intrigued by? Companies that follow a specific set of practices are more likely to not just improve the employee experience around performance and talent management, but also improve engagement and business results, a double shot of positive organizational impact. I’d love to hear your feedback–does this resonate with your own company? Have you seen similar benefits?

performance management infographic

How to Be a Professional Troublemaker in HR [Podcast]

We're Only Human PodcastThis coming year, my wish for you is that you become more of a troublemaker in your business.

Yes, you heard me correctly. HR has a longstanding tradition of being the administrative department. The party planners. The “that’s how we’ve always done it and let’s avoid the risk” police.

But what if there was another way? What if we could be disruptors and troublemakers as a force for good? In this episode of We’re Only Human, I interview Jill Kopanis, a VP of HR that seeks to shake up the workplace every single day. There are some great notes and lessons for each of us and I highly encourage you to check it out.

(Subscribers click through to check out the episode below)

Show Notes

We’re Only Human 18 – How to Become a Chief Operating Trouble Maker in HR

Host: Ben Eubanks

Guest: Jill Kopanis, VP HR, Dynamic Dies

We’ve heard the “seat at the table” conversation repeated over the years, but what if that’s all just a bunch of nonsense? In this episode of We’re Only Human, Ben talks with Jill Kopanis, VP of Human Resources at Dynamic Dies, about what it takes to break away from that conversation and become what she calls a Chief Operating Trouble Maker within the business.

During the show they discuss a handful of topics that will help any HR leader become a force for positive disruption within the business, including:

  • How to get beyond the buzzwords
  • How to focus on engagement that matters
  • How to avoid the “Millennial” or “Boomer” stereotypes and biases

Disruption can be a good thing, especially if it’s driven by someone that knows the business and how to shape it for the better. Are you ready to be a trouble maker in your own organization?

If you’re interested in joining Ben and Jill on the HR Conference Cruise, learn more here:

www.aspect-marketing.com/HRCruises/2018/Cruise1

Be sure to use code “FRIENDOFBEN” for $50 off the ticket price.

building teams

How to Build a Team Like the NBA

building teamsIf you know me, you know I’m not a sports person. I don’t watch. I don’t follow.

It’s not that I have some strong dislike for sports. It’s just that when I stopped doing them in high school, I lost all interest. I can watch them, if I am at a live event or if I don’t have an alternative. But when I’m listing things I look forward to each week, that isn’t at the top of my list. If you’re like me, then this post is still going to be valuable for you!

That’s because despite my indifference to sports, at the same time it’s hard as a leader and as an HR pro not to think about some of the innate elements of building a high-performance team that stir my attention.

For several months out of the year, sports fans are focused on the NBA season and its teams and players. Yet one concept that isn’t often considered is the talent management strategy behind these teams. As the New York Post notes, dozens of team changes can happen on the first day of trading. How does the free agent model of employment affect teams and performance? What might enable or prevent new talent from connecting with team members?

The Core Element of Teambuilding

One of the core principles of building a team is this: a team’s existing dynamics change when you add someone new to the mix. In other words, you don’t just add one or more people to an existing team — you create an entirely new team any time you make a new hire. It’s like a recipe. While you might have separate elements, once you integrate them you create something new and different each time.

This concept is important to grasp, both for those leading a team and for those on it. It can be common for hiring managers to believe that adding a new hire to a team will change everything. However, it’s often a surprise to later find out that despite careful planning, things are just not the same after new talent is hired.

If you’re enjoying this post and want to learn more about how to match team fit and stability with a diverse set of individual strengths, click here to read the rest of my article on the ADP Spark blog

money hr certification exam

How Much Money Can You Earn With an HR Certification? [Free Calculator]

money hr certification examHow much does an HR certification impact your salary? While it matters differently at every organization and for each person, let’s answer that question with some data.

Using data from Payscale.com we (hat tip to my youngest brother Barrett for his Excel wizardry) hacked together a calculator that shows you the median pay for job titles in HR as well as the adjusted rates based on whether the person has a PHR or SPHR certification (at the time of this data gathering there was no data on SHRM certifications, but assume similar levels of competency for PHR and SHRM-CP and SPHR and SHRM-SCP).

Additionally, we threw in a 10-year impact to show you the potential for what a certification could mean to your earnings over time. Again, this is a linear projection and does not take into account all the variables that could happen in your career, but it’s a good starting point when considering whether you’re going to prepare for the HR certification exams.

A few notes and caveats:  Continue reading

hr certification audio

Preparing for the HR Certification Exams: Audio Style

hr certification audioIn 2017 I launched a “beta” version of the HR Certification audio product. That has continued to mature and develop and now has 50+ tracks and several hours of content that ranges from technical to practical. For example, it covers highly technical analyses of specific HR elements, such as:

  • Executive compensation
  • Validity vs reliability in pre-employment selection testing
  • Performance evaluation methods

However, unlike virtually every HR certification prep tool on the market, it goes a step further to more broad explorations of HR’s impact on the business, such as:

  • Recruiting and hiring trends
  • The impact of talent technology on employees
  • How to improve training outcomes

Additionally, since the beginning I have been looking for quality external sources of audio content to throw in as bonus items just to round out the content and give a broader perspective. I’ve referenced a few of the episodes from great HR podcasts like HCI and Xenium, and I’m also adding some of my shows from We’re Only Human to the mix. Why? Because the number one reason people fail the exams is because they don’t understand how to see the big picture–they only study academic terms, take practice tests, and then assume they will understand the strategic impact when it comes test time.

Sorry, but it doesn’t work that way, especially for the senior level exams (SHRM-SCP and SPHR). For these types of exams, learners must critically examine the full scope of decisions in a specific area and how it impacts the larger business. That’s where these additional resources come into play and help.

Because the team is continuously adding content and demand is increasing for the audio content, the price is going up over time. If you’re interested in getting it, this post has the links to the course as a standalone or packaged at a discount with the SPHR self study prep course.

For those of you that have already signed up, thank you for supporting the work we do here at upstartHR! I appreciate it.

How to Radically Change Your Performance Management Practice [Podcast]

autumn speharIn today’s episode of We’re Only Human, I talk with Autumn Spehar, HR Director at Stout Advisory, about how her company made a radical change in its approach to performance management. We also talk about how it’s working out one year later and the key lessons learned.

Check out the show below:

Show Notes

Performance management is one of the most hated HR systems in existence. Yet virtually every employer has a need to measure performance, set goals, and give feedback. So, what’s the right balance between a system that meets the needs of business leaders and one that meets the needs of the employees?

In today’s discussion with Autumn Spehar of Stout Advisory, Ben delves deep into this question by asking Autumn to describe her company’s transition from annual, paper-based performance management to a technology-enabled approach utilizing continuous feedback, real-time recognition, frequent check-ins, and more. This conversation is more than theory–it’s based on a year of practice in using the system, including the ups and downs that any company might face in this kind of transition.

Listeners to this episode will not only get to hear about Stout’s new outlook on performance, but they will be treated to some insightful commentary about the connections between culture, behavior change, and other elements that some of the “headlines” on performance management seem to miss. If you’re in charge of performance management at your company or you think your system could use a refresh, this is the episode for you!

Tips for Hiring Deaf Individuals: Practical Advice for Employers

hiring deaf workersCarol and Teri. I’ll never forget them as long as I live.

These two women were amazing. Always bright and cheerful, I couldn’t help but smile as well any time they were around. And they taught me an incredible amount not just about the technical aspects of the job I did at the time, but also about interoffice politics (how to avoid them) workplace dynamics (how to read others’ emotions) and more.

Carol was the quiet one. She kept to herself, did great work, and didn’t bother anyone. However, she was the first to send you a message when she thought you needed a pick-me-up.

Teri was definitely more vocal, but she also had a way about her that just made me smile. She was very interested in the work I was doing and wasn’t afraid to give me pointers on how to improve.

Oh, and neither of them could hear. Yes, while both of these wonderful ladies were deaf, they still had an amazing impact on me from the earliest days of my career.

With that in mind, I reached out to Bobbie LeMere at Tangram to give me some practical advice for employers looking to make a concerted effort to hire more deaf or hearing-impaired individuals. LeMere says that 80 percent of people who are deaf or hard of hearing do not work, which paints a dismal picture of today’s work environment. Her tips below give employers ideas on how to support these workers and give this population a fighting chance to succeed in the workforce today.

Practical Tips for Hiring and Working with Deaf Individuals

  1. Use on-site interpreters for interviews and meetings—While technology has made it possible
    for those who are hearing and those who are deaf to communicate, through apps,
    videophones, text messaging, and other methods, an on-site interpreter can best ensure that
    all individuals are able to participate fully in the conversation.
  2. Provide disability awareness and etiquette training to all employees—Training is an essential part of ensuring that your company is prepared to hire and integrate individuals with all types of disability in your workforce. Providing a forum for employees to learn about disabilities and to debunk the myths around disability will ultimately lead to a more cohesive and productive workplace where employees of all abilities are comfortable with each other.
  3. Hire individuals based on their skills and their ability to complete the essential functions of their job—Hiring someone for charity is just as inadvisable as not hiring someone because of misconceptions about disability. When interviewing someone with a disability, be sure to focus on their ability to complete the job. Don’t make assumptions about what someone is able to do.
  4. Get buy-in from leadership—If your organization doesn’t have support from the top, disability inclusion is less likely to succeed. Be sure that all levels of an organization understand the importance and benefits of disability inclusion so that all employees feel valued and can thrive.
  5. Find the right accommodations—Ask the person what accommodations would work best for them. There are many technological tools that can help a person who is deaf or hard of hearing communicate, such as:
    1. Video Remote Interpreting (VRI)—this can be of use in one-on- one meetings, basic conversations, short meetings or exchanges, or meetings where the primary goal is to sign paperwork.
    2. Video Relay Services (VRS): this allows individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to communicate over video telephones with those who are hearing in real-time via a sign language interpreter.
    3. Video Phone Technology—these web camera videophone and videoconferencing systems can serve as complements to personal computers and are connected to other participants by computer and VolP networks (ex. Skype).
    4. Other tools—dry erase boards, notepads, text messaging, apps, Boogie Board, and other tools can be useful for very simple conversations or exchanges. You could also learn basic American Sign Language to help bridge the communication gap.
  6. According to a survey conducted by the Job Accommodation Network, most employers report no cost associated with accommodations. The typical one-time cost for accommodations is around $500.
  7. Safety First—Are your emergency procedures inclusive of those with disabilities? For those who are deaf and hard of hearing, you may choose to install special alert lights or implement a buddy system to inform employees when there is an emergency. If an employee who is deaf or hard of hearing faces away from an entrance or doorway in their workspace, use a mirror so they can easily see when they have visitors or when someone is approaching them from behind.

I hope these tips and ideas help you and your own team to be more inclusive of your hearing impaired workers!