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!

neuroscience learning content

The Neuroscience of Great Learning Content: Attention, Memory, and Exploration [Podcast]

neuroscience learning content

Ask any business leader, and they’ll tell you they invest in the development of their workforce with the goal of improving performance. Yet the training and content delivery methods of the past aren’t keeping pace with the needs of the modern learner. No longer can you throw an hour of eLearning at a problem or slap a speaker in front of an audience and hope that knowledge will transfer and behaviors will change.

What gives? 

In today’s episode of We’re Only Human, I explore three critical components of great learning content based on neuroscience principles. In other words, I look at how people actually learn from experiences, interactions, and content and focus the discussion on those elements. In the discussion of how attention, memory, and self-exploration impact learning, I also provide helpful advice on how to create learning experiences that deliver impact and results.

Additionally, if you want to explore more deeply, you can check out my new eBook, the Neuroscience Principles of Great Learning Content, which can be found here: http://lhra.io/neuroscience

For more episodes of We’re Only Human or to learn more about the show, check out https://upstarthr.com/podcast

Check out the podcast embedded below:

 

 

master's degree hr

Should I Get My Master’s Degree in HR?

master's degree hrFor most of you, I’ll go ahead and said it: You should not get a master’s degree in HR. Really. While that doesn’t apply to everyone, it does apply to a large number of the people that email, comment, and interact with me online. That’s mainly because this question looks a lot like this template:

  • I just completed my bachelor’s in xyz. I have decided/now want/think I should get into human resources. Should I get my master’s degree in HR?

OR

  • I just completed my bachelor’s degree in HR, but I haven’t been able to find a job. Should I get my master’s degree in human resources?

No. No. And no.

In each of these cases, you lack something very important that most of you overlook when you’re asking the question: do you even like HR?

No, really. How do you know? What evidence do you have? What proof?

All too often I hear about someone finishing their bachelor’s on student loans and jumping right into the master’s degree in hopes it will make them more marketable, only to find out later that HR wasn’t a field they actually enjoyed working in. If only you could drop the loans because you didn’t like the profession, but it doesn’t work that way.

And even if you pay for it outright by choosing an affordable college (like this one, for instance) AMBERTON LINK, how do you know that HR is going to be a career field you even like?

For me, I didn’t even consider a master’s degree for the first few years of working after college. That’s because I wanted to make sure of what I wanted to do. Now I’m actually enrolled in an MBA program because I realize that while HR is the love of my life, I also need to be crystal clear about how HR intersects and interacts with the rest of the business. Hint: you need to be able to understand that as well.

Click here to watch the video where I explain the nuances of this decision.

But I have some HR experience

Now, if you have some HR experience under your belt and you’re wondering if you need to get an advanced degree, we can have a conversation about that. It is often interwoven with the certification conversation (Should I get the PHR OR SHRM certification?), because people wonder about the value of each and how they interrelate.

If you have experience and you want to pursue an advanced degree, you need to understand the purpose and intent very clearly. Are you hoping to move up the ladder? Is there another job you need it to be qualified for? Are you trying to make yourself more marketable? Do you need it to perform better in your own work?

In some of these cases, depending on how you answer the question, education might not be the right answer for you at all. On the other hand, it’s possible that additional education could help you to achieve a goal you’ve set for yourself.

I’ll be doing a series in the coming week addressing two other related questions. First, should I get an HR degree or an HR certification? I’ll also address another fundamental question around HR education, which is this: Should I get an MBA or a Master’s in Human Resources?

I’d love to get your take on this commentary. Am I spot on? Way off the mark? What’s your reasoning?

We're Only Human Podcast

Recapping the We’re Only Human Podcast: One Year, Many Lessons

We're Only Human Podcast

Whew.

I’m in recovery mode from last week’s jaunt to Vegas for the HR Technology Conference. For people in my line of work, that’s our version of the Olympics (or whatever other metaphor you need to demonstrate how much it puts you through the wringer). With that in mind, I’m feeling like a walk down memory lane might be a good route for today.

For starters, though, did you notice our new logo for the show? I was looking for something that was somewhat playful but still kept the “human” element at the forefront. Hope you like it!

So why the walk down memory lane? Back in August I celebrated a year of hosting the We’re Only Human podcast. I had some initial ideas and thoughts before starting the show in 2016, and some of them turned out to be true (while I obviously also had a few lessons to learn!) For instance, I had a suspicion that the format would make people feel more comfortable with me because it’s a very personal medium to hear someone’s voice. That very quickly showed itself to be true.  Continue reading

Want a Sneak Peek at my Upcoming Ignite Talk?

This week I’m at the HR Technology Conference. I wrote about everything I’m looking forward to and planning to talk about last week on the Lighthouse blog if you want to check it out. One thing I’m doing again this year is a 5-minute Ideas and Innovators talk to close out the conference, and this time I’m talking about something very personal and very close to my heart. The video below was my semi-practice run and reflection on a few of the things I’ll be squeezing into the 5-minute presentation. Plus, Berklee joins me for the first time on video! (subscribers click through to the website to view)

Check out this behind the scenes peek and let me know your thoughts below. If you’re interested in hearing more of the takeaways from my talk I should be able to get a recording for you after the conference.

HR Gives Back: Help Me Raise Money for Parkinson’s Research

Be sure to read all the way to the end. I’m giving away free stuff to those that help!

The first person I ever met with Parkinson’s disease was Mollie. She is an incredibly sharp analyst and friend, and she taught me some great lessons in my days transitioning from practitioner to analyst. She is a proud supporter of the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s research and this year has asked me to help as a supporter of her campaign.

At this point my team is behind and we need to surge and pull ahead. I know many of you are runners, walkers, just parents that cover a lot of ground chasing your kids, etc. :-) I think we can still win this but I need your help!

How to sign up

  • Head over to the website to register
  • When given the option, whether on the website or the app, be sure to choose Team East, since I’m the captain
  • After you register and download the app for your phone, it will take you back to the website to donate the required $15 minimum to participate
  • The steps challenge will take place Sept 25-Oct 6 (just a few days left, this isn’t a big commitment!)
  • Help my team win the step challenge by walking at least 5k steps and checking in on the app (every 5k steps you log, ADP will donate additional money to the cause)
  • If you have issues with the app, step tracking, etc. the app support team is very quick to respond

A special “thank you”

If you sign up to help within the next 24 hours, just forward me the signup confirmation email as proof and at the end of the challenge I will send you a copy of the HR Recertification Guide or the Rock Your Corporate Culture Guide, whichever you prefer, as a special “thank you” for supporting this challenge.

Thanks in advance for helping!