Category Archives: General

hr professional lessons

50 Conversations in 50 Days: 10 Things I Know about Today’s HR Professionals

Wow.

Really.

I have spent the last 50 or so days speaking with dozens of HR pros (more than 50 now, but the number worked for the title so I ran with it!) and the takeaways I’ve had are pretty incredible.

The gist of it: one of the research projects me and my team have been working on this summer was researching employers with 1,000 or fewer employees. Another was around compensation technology, which involved conversations with companies in the 1,000 to 10,000 range.

These all came with conversations to understand challenges, opportunities, and more, but what I really loved was getting to hear the unique stories of each professional, company, and culture. Here are the ten things I know as a result of talking to dozens of people like YOU:

  1. HR tech is part of your job performance. We’re all using some kind of tools for payroll, benefits administration, recruiting, etc. This stuff isn’t just something we grab off the shelf–it’s an enabler of our performance on a daily/weekly/monthly basis. It helps us get the job done, which is really cool when you think about it. hr professional lessons
  2. We love and hate it :-) That said, sometimes the tech doesn’t work or function the way we want it to. It’s life. When it’s not saving our skin it’s giving us a headache.
  3. We love creating the right environment for our people. SO many of the HR pros I spoke with have unique and interesting ideas for how to support their teams, connect them with the mission of the firm, and build an inclusive, exciting culture. I’ll be interviewing one of these people in the next few weeks on the podcast to talk about how to engage remote teams and keep them connected, so stay tuned for more.
  4. We can’t create value if we are treading water with administrative busywork all the time. Our insights on the HR-employee ratio have shown us that that drives strategic activity. HR wants to be strategic but has 1,000 employees to every HR pro? Strategy won’t happen because you’re just treading water. HR wants to be strategic and you have a ratio of 75 employees to each HR pro? Now you’re in the driver’s seat for success.
  5. High-performing companies have a higher ratio of HR staff to employees (and more HR technology). Essentially they just put more budget towards the people side of the business. Kind of like this best place to work winner.  FYI, “high-performing” companies aren’t the cool ones like Google or Facebook, they’re everyday firms like yours that have positive metrics in employee engagement, retention, and revenue.
  6. Most of you are very creative and looking for ways to improve the employee experience. In the last couple years the “” has become a recurring theme. These conversations showed me that you are trying to create that on a regular basis for your own teams. It’s not just about getting payroll done or running a performance process but about how to do those things in a way that differentiates us from the competition.
  7. I am personally thankful for each one and what they bring to the professional community. Wow. You are all doing amazing work but it’s often unsung internally. Some of the people I spoke with were getting the accolades internally but others were not. If you are, keep up the amazing work. If you’re not getting recognized, make sure you are doing the work that aligns to the business and getting the results/metrics out in front of the right stakeholders.
  8. We love our certifications but we also hate the struggles we have between which one is the best for recertification credits
  9. We may have gotten into the job on purpose or entirely by accident but that doesn’t change our vision for what HR can be and do for the business and its people. No matter the path that led the person to the role they are currently in (or what led you to the role you are in), that should not and typically does not change your vision for a high-impact, highly relevant HR function that creates value for the people and the business.
  10. This is the best profession there is! All the time and effort I’ve put into helping people get into HR, whether they have education in this space or they are coming from another profession, has shown me that we attract some of the very best people from across the world of business. Yes, we occasionally get the person that’s crusty, cantankerous, and disinterested in creating the right environment for workforce success, but they are few and far between.

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61: Why You Shouldn’t Pick Low-Hanging Fruit as a New Leader

Should employers be onboarding their leadership talent the same way they bring on an hourly worker or an individual contributor? 

No, yet so many firms have a single approach to onboarding: push everyone down the “orientation assembly line” and hope that they are ready for the job when they come out the other end. 

In this discussion, Ben talks with Linda Reese, Managing Partner of LeaderOnboarding, about how employers and HR professionals can create a more strategic approach to leadership transitions, driving higher rates of success and satisfaction for all involved. 

Ben and Linda also talk about critical decisions for new leaders, like why you shouldn’t pick that low-hanging fruit, critical factors for success or failure, and so much more. 

Learn more about Linda and her work: 

leaderonboarding.com 

Twitter: @lindasreese

hr certification course feedback

New HR Certification Study Kit Mobile App: Beta Testing and More

Why do I help people study for the HR certification exams? It’s simple. When I get emails like this one I received recently, there’s no way I could ever stop.

hr certification course feedback

Wow. So honored to be part of the process people take toward changing their HR careers for the better!

Making a Good Thing Even Better

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Episode 60: 69% of Job Seekers Would Not Reapply After a Negative Experience

What if your candidate pool shrank by 70% after every job you filled? According to new research, seven out of 10 job seekers would not reapply with your company after a negative candidate experience. So, how do we prioritize it?  

In today’s discussion, Ben speaks with Dwaine Maltais, CEO of Talentegy. Dwaine shares some stats from his company’s new research study as well as some ideas for employers on why candidate experience is such a big deal in today’s market. Plus, Ben shares a personal story about his best and worst candidate experiences he created as a recruiter (including the time he told a candidate off in the hiring process). 

If you enjoyed the conversation and want to learn more, check out https://www.talentegy.com/

We’re Only Human 59: Stomping out Stereotypes with AARP’s Heather Tinsley-Fix

When we think AARP we think retirement, but with more workers staying in the workforce even longer than ever before, the organization is increasingly focusing on careers and employment conversations to guide its members. The tip of the spear in those educational efforts is Heather Tinsley-Fix, Ben’s guest on the show today. 

Heather is particularly interested in AI, bias, and how to eliminate ageism in the workplace, but she has an amazing knack for snackable sound bites that can change your thinking. In this discussion Ben and Heather not only discuss diversity and inclusion and age bias and AI, but also how both enjoy cooking, or baking, or whatever kind of kitchen activity is all the rage these days. 

Connect with Heather: https://www.linkedin.com/in/htinsleyfix

Learn more about AARP’s employer pledge: aarp.org/employerpledge

exit interview

How Can We Fix the Exit Interview Process? [Reader Question]

When I left my last job, I had an exit interview where my employer asked me all kinds of questions about my satisfaction and why I was leaving, but I didn’t answer honestly because I was already leaving. Do they actually use that information or was the exit interview a waste of time?

exit interviewThe Value of Exit Interviews

Exit interviews are the process by which employers talk with exiting employees anywhere from a day to a week before they depart the company, asking questions about their satisfaction, issues, or areas to improve.

As an employer, I very much appreciated exit interviews. They gave me insights that were tough to get from the day-to-day interactions with people. While I did hate having to have conversations with people who were leaving, I tracked each answer they gave and created a system that categorized the information to make it as meaningful and actionable as possible.

Sample Exit Interview Questions

  1. Why did you begin looking for a new job?
  2. What appealed to you about the new job, company, and/or culture?
  3. What could have been done for you to remain here?
  4. Did you share your concerns with anyone here prior to leaving?
  5. If you could change anything about your job or the company, what would it be?
  6. Would you consider coming back to work here in the future? In what capacity? What would need to change?

The Issues with the Exit Interview Process

The biggest problem with exit interviews is that people are not often honest in how they respond to questions (which can make the data useless). For instance, asking someone why they were looking for a new job will often net the response of “I’m just looking for a new challenge” or “I needed career growth.” Those can sometimes be code for “My manager is a terrible person and I can’t stand it anymore.”

So, why are people sometimes less than truthful, since they are leaving anyway? The biggest reason is a fear of burning a bridge in case the new job doesn’t work out like they hope. If it turns out to be even worse, the person might want to come back, and answering the questions truthfully may seem like they are slamming the door, locking it, and throwing away the key forever.

Potential Solutions for Fixing Exit Interviews

That said, there are a few techniques I’ve learned over the years to improve exit interview data collection and the experience for the person on the receiving end as well. If you want to have a great exit interview, here are a few of my go-to requirements these days:

  • Send a survey form via Google Docs (it’s free!) at least two weeks AFTER the person takes their new job. They are already rooted in their new role and will usually give you more honest answers, especially if they don’t have to do it face to face or via voice.
  • Do a follow up phone call a month later asking deeper questions and reinforcing the responses they already gave with any additional detail. By now they are six weeks into their new job and they know if they are going to stay and be happy, for the  most part. This means they can be more open and honest about the conditions and experiences at your company, offering more helpful data points to support decision making.

The other important piece is to try and use the data you get. If a manager is consistently losing people but nobody will say the manager is the problem, you need to dig deeper, because statistically managers are responsible for 70% of an employee’s satisfaction on the job. It may be pay or it may be benefits, but the majority of the time it’s actually their direct supervisor that is the issue.

With a standing desk you can practice these kinds of awkward standing poses all day long!

Do I Have to Buy a Standing Desk for My Employee?

Spoiler alert: people have a love/hate relationship with standing desks. Some people swear by them, others can’t stand the thought of standing all day long on top of their otherwise demanding job.

With a standing desk you can practice these kinds of awkward standing poses all day long!

With a standing desk you can practice these kinds of awkward standing poses all day long! :-)

But this is a real issue that HR teams are dealing with almost every day. Managers are bringing up the question: do I have to buy this standing desk just because the employee wants it? What about more nuanced questions, like “do you need a doctor’s note for standing desk requests?”

Well, if you experience pain or other associated issues from sitting at a desk, there are legitimate medical reasons for standing desk usage. Below, I talk about some of the medical benefits of a standing desk and how to build a solid business case to get your (or your employee’s) request approved.

The Anatomy of Reasonable Accommodation

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