Category Archives: General

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/

under our skin getting real about race book review

Under Our Skin: Getting Real About Race (Book Review)

A few weeks ago a friend recommended a book called Under Our Skin: Getting Real About Race and Getting Free From the Fears and Frustrations that Divide Us. It is an excellent book for anyone to read to better understand the different perspectives that are wrapped up in the racial discussion, but I would say it’s doubly so for HR and business leaders that need to be working continuously to create more equitable work environments.

under our skin getting real about race book reviewPersonally, it has opened my eyes to other perspectives and helps to give context to the conversations I am having with leaders that are trying to create more inclusive workplaces.

The book is written by Benjamin Watson. For some of you sports fans, you will recognize that name immediately, but as a self-proclaimed “sports agnostic” person, I learned of Watson’s sports affiliation only after digging into the book. That said, this is not a sports book. It’s a book about work and life.

Why I Recommend It

Watson tells stories, offers examples of both sides of each issue, and helps readers understand the realities of living in an unequal world. Continue reading

WOH 76: What a Study of 1,000 SMB Companies Tells Us about HR

“HR is representing the people at your organization that deliver the results of whatever mission you have… There is no greater voice for the people than HR.”

We hear so much about large employers and enterprise firms in the news. These organizations are a key part of the global economy, but did you know that over 99% of employers in the US have fewer than 1,000 employees? Yes, really! This market of smaller organizations employs more than half of the US workforce and creates incredible value not just globally but in millions of communities where these firms create jobs and opportunities in their respective areas. 

In this episode, Ben interviews Tom Hammond from Paychex to talk about this critical SMB (small and mid-sized business) market and how these firms operate. Last year Lighthouse Research ran an analysis of 1,000 employers to understand how they buy technology, hire HR staff, and outsource HR activities. This study offers critical insights as Ben and Tom talk about how many of these firms have HR technology, what drives decisions about hiring HR staff, and more.

To see the research Ben and Tom discuss, check out https://lighthouseresearch.lpages.co/hr-adoption-curve/
To learn more about Paychex, visit Paychex.com
To connect with Tom, reach out on Twitter: @thammondhr

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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

Continue reading

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