Tag Archives: We’re Only Human

81: Rethinking Work, Productivity, and Engagement in the Modern Workplace

“People don’t want flexibility. they want complete control over their time.”

Today, we keep hearing that flexible work is the way to go. People want it. They crave it.

Yet in today’s episode of We’re Only Human, Ben talks with Jody Thompson, creator of the ROWE movement. ROWE stands for “results only work environment,” and it has been around for some time (the first book, Why Work Sucks, was published in 2008).

Today the workplace looks different than it did then, but according to Thompson, employers are still chasing the wrong things. We’re looking at when work gets done and where work gets done, but we’re not focusing enough on the what in terms of results.

That lack of focus on the right things sometimes forces our people to fight for control over their work. How? By looking for workarounds, playing the “I’m busy” game, arriving early or staying late, and more. Instead of looking at managers as controlling figures, we should look at them as performance coaches. Expect to explore all of this and more in today’s conversation. Enjoy!

Learn more about Jody and ROWE at: https://www.gorowe.com/resource-library

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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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We're Only Human Podcast

The Top 5 Podcast Episodes of We’re Only Human in 2019

Nearly 11 years ago I started writing this blog as a way to capture my learning moments in a new HR job. Today, I still write a good bit but it comes in the form of reports, research, and case studies. I still create plenty of content, but the podcast has become an increasingly fun and interesting way to gather information and share it with the world.

Becoming a Podcast Listener and Reaping the Rewards

I made a new year’s resolution a few years ago to listen to more podcasts when I had downtime (washing dishes, folding clothes, etc.) or in the car, and I have learned so much and have been thoroughly inspired from that otherwise “wasted” time.

It’s a great tool, especially for those that are “too busy” for professional development. For instance, I recently met an HR director who drives an hour each way to work and home daily. She can’t go to lunch and learn meetings or other development sessions because she doesn’t have time. She normally listens to talk radio but felt like it wasn’t really preparing her mentally for the day and was stressing her out. I told her to take a week and listen to the podcast in the mornings and whatever she wanted in the afternoons. She reported back a week later: not only did she learn a few new concepts that she was already planning to incorporate into her HR strategy but she had reached out personally to connect with a guest with a similar background to her. Score! :-)

I’d encourage you to check out the podcast and try to listen during your commute in the mornings on your way to work to give yourself new ideas and inspiration for your role. Even if you listen to something else in the afternoons, you can feel better knowing you’re educating yourself while you’re in the car, on the train, etc. every day. Also, if you are certified and want recertification credits for that listening time, our team has pulled together some free sets of podcasts just for that purpose.

With that in mind, here is a starting point if you don’t listen to the show yet. If you do, this might be a good opportunity to revisit a few episodes that were most impactful in 2019.

Top 5+ We’re Only Human Podcast Episodes in 2019

  1. 54: Forecasting the Future Jobs of HR and Recruiting: In this rare solo episode (most episodes are interviews, but in a rare case I will take the microphone and lead a discussion on a trend that I think is interesting for today’s business leaders) I look at the changing roles of HR and recruiting and what the future of these positions looks like through the lens of automation and the human skills of work.
  2. 53: How to Partner with Your Talent Analytics Team: During a conference I had a chance to interview a pair of sharp HR and analytics pros from Cox Enterprises. We dig into how to build a partnership between HR and the reporting/analytics team to get better results.
  3. 65: Delivering HR Technology for 75,000 Global Employees at Emerson Electric: I had the opportunity to talk with the head of HR technology for a global enterprise, and this case study offers insights into how to pick technology that meets the needs of the business and build the right selection team.
  4. 56: How Delta Airlines Designs its Candidate Experience: Another valuable case study, this episode explores some of the interesting ways Delta Airlines adds value for every candidate that applies for a job. The airline does this not only because it’s important to create a positive candidate experience, but also because for consumer-focused firms, those candidates are also likely to be customers as well.
  5. 52: The Top 3 HR Tech Implementation Mistakes: If you’re going to buy HR technology for a firm with 100 employees or one with 100,000, then you need to get a few key things right. In this conversation with an experienced implementation consultant, we explore the “big 3” as well as how to solve for them in the implementation process.
  6. Bonus: 62: How to Respond to Negative Glassdoor Reviews: Just one listen behind #5, I’m throwing in a fun interview I did with a recruiting leader about how he responds to negative Glassdoor reviews if/when they are created. This is a good piece of practical advice and a great interview to start with if you’ve never listened to the show.
  7. Bonus: 55: The New HR Leader’s First Year on the Job: Tied with #6 above for listens and a great first episode to try for new listeners. I had the opportunity to interview the head of HR for a research organization about how to hit the ground running in a new role as an HR executive. The insights on establishing credibility, planning ahead, and more were incredible.

If you have an idea, a question, or a piece of advice you’d like to see covered on the We’re Only Human podcast, please don’t hesitate to reach out! Also, if you learn something new or are inspired by a particular episode, please let me know! Love hearing those comments from listeners.

Sponsors: We also have openings for sponsors on the show if you want to get your message in front of thousands of HR professionals as well. Ping me for a media kit and details!

mark onisk skillsoft

We’re Only Human 45: How to Pursue a Culture of Learning Innovation

Ask almost any business leader, and they’ll tell you that they want their organization to have a culture of learning. However, in today’s discussion, Mark Onisk points out that firms often fail at that “squishy” dream because it’s not well-defined. Simply setting up a learning portal won’t lead to improved results, says Onisk.

In this episode, Ben talks with Mark about the development of learning as a discipline and how it has changed over time. Mark is the Chief Content Officer at Skillsoft, a company that recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. In the discussion, Ben and Mark look at how to create durable skills for workers, the biggest mistake to avoid when setting up a learning strategy, and how to get business leaders to prioritize skills development.

If your organization is looking for ways to build a more competitive workforce that is ready for a digital future, this is the episode for you.

Read Mark’s blog on how learning will change in the next five years: https://www.skillsoft.com/blog/2018/11/5-ways-corporate-learning-will-change-in-the-next-20-years/

Get the 2019 HCM Trends Report mentioned in the introduction: http://lhra.io/blog/2019-hcm-trends-market-size-investment-priorities/

Lisa Seacat DeLuca

We’re Only Human 43: IBM Leaders Share How Algorithms and Bias Affect Us

Amber Grewal

Amber Grewal

Recently Amazon announced it had shut down a talent-finding algorithm built by its internal team. Why? Because it was perpetuating bias against women at the tech giant, which is unacceptable in today’s work environment.

With so many bots, algorithms and other tools being used to automate our work and personal lives, it’s important to think about how this affects each of us. Is there bias in the algorithms that drive our decisions? If so, how do we mitigate that?

In today’s episode, Ben talks with two IBM leaders with diverse perspectives on AI, bias, and more. Lisa Seacat DeLuca and Amber Grewal both join the show to talk about how they see AI benefiting the workplace but also how to watch for bias and prevent it from creeping into the finished product.

Lisa Seacat DeLuca

Lisa Seacat DeLuca

To learn more, be sure to check out the following resources from IBM:

Website: https://www.ibm.com/talent-management
Twitter: @IBMWatsonTalent 
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/showcase/watsontalent

Links to the references made by Lisa and Amber on the podcast:

cheree aspelin

We’re Only Human 41: HR Leaders, Stop Treating the Symptom

“HR should see themselves as the sole source of people exertise in any organization… You don’t go to IT to get ideas on how to formulate product. You go to them for [technical] expertise.”

How many times do you solve a problem only to have it come back around again? Are you treating the symptom instead of treating the root issue? In today’s conversation with Cheree Aspelin, Ben asks about how HR leaders can get beyond this common issue.

In Cheree’s words, HR needs to “buck up” and make some tough choices about how to lead the business and the function. It’s an encouraging conversation because Cheree’s passion and excitement about HR as a profession come through in her words, tone, and message.

Connect with Chereee on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/chereeaspelin

If you enjoyed this episode you’ll want to check out “How to be a Chief Troublemaker in HR.”

What about you? Does this resonate? Are you treating the symptoms or the real problem? 

We’re Only Human 40: How Southwest Airlines Lives and Breathes Corporate Culture

collette williamsonDoes corporate culture matter? Does it really? In today’s interview, Ben talks with Colette Williamson of Southwest Airlines about the company’s approach to culture, hiring, and training.

It’s quickly apparent that culture is about more than just a fluffy set of core values on the wall at corporate headquarters–it’s about a way of life that makes the company fundamentally different than the competition.

In the interview you’ll hear from Colette how the company takes that 2% of applicants that make it through the hiring process and helps to mold them into the people that serve and love their customers in an almost fanatical way. The stories will make you laugh (and may just make you cry), so we hope you enjoy the show as much as we did recording it.

To learn more feel free to reach out to Colette on LinkedIn or, as you might have guessed, check out the Southwest blog site to learn more about the company.