Hanging By A Thread- How to Make Your Workplace More Human

Did you know that you’re only connected to your employer by the weakest link?

Think about it.  No matter what we are paid or the type of work we do, we are connected to organizations we feel make strong connections with us.  If that organization, or the leaders we work with, give any reason to weaken the links that tied us to them in the beginning, everything begins to unravel.  That’s why it is no surprise to anyone who has done exit interviews that money is usually not the main reason employees leave your organization.  They leave because they do not feel connection to their leader or to their colleagues.

So, what is the thing you need to have or know in order to retain your best employees?  It’s a more human workplace.  What do I mean by more human?  Well, it’s the kind of place where you are recognized and validated.  You see, many organizations today think that they are doing something special by giving recognition, if they do it at all.  But like money, that is only a small part of appealing to your employees.  It’s giving them validation that what they do matters.  That WHO they are, the whole person, matters.

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There are many other things you need to know when it comes to making your workplace more “human”.  Join me Tuesday, January 26th for a free webinar.  I’m teaming up with Globoforce to spend an hour talking with you about strategies to make your workplace one where employees really will want to stay.  Be sure to share this with your colleagues too….the more people you enlist to get on board with this idea, the better your workplace will be!  Click here to REGISTER free.

 

HR Happy Hour #229: Lessons from The Academy of Rock with Peter Cook

HR Happy Hour 229 – Lessons from The Academy of Rock with Peter Cook

Hosts: Steve BoeseTrish McFarlane

Guest: Peter Cook, Founder, Human Dynamics

LISTEN HERE

This week on the show, Steve and I were joined by Peter Cook, who leads Human Dynamics, offering Business and Organisation Development. He also delivers keynotes around the world that blend business intelligence with parallel lessons from music via The Academy of Rock.

We chat with Peter about the impact of music on our success and learning in business.  We also talk about his new book (coming out in early 2016) called  Leading Innovation, Creativity and Enterprise.  Peter shares his stories from a lifetime in business and experiences with many well-known musicians.

You can listen to the show on the show page HERE, or by using he widget player below, (email and RSS subscribers will need to click through)

This was a really fun and interesting show and I hope you will check it out.

As a reminder, you can find the HR Happy Hour Show on iTunes and all the major podcast apps for iOS and Android. Just search for ‘HR Happy Hour’ and add the show to your playlists and you will never miss a show. And follow the HR Happy Hour Show on Twitter – @HRHappyHour.

HR Happy Hour #230: Email Me! Battling The Pull of Constant Connectivity

It’s an exciting start to 2016 because Steve Boese and I recorded the first HR Happy Hour Show of the year! We chat about email and the impact of connectivity on multiple platforms.  How often do we have people who not only email us, but then follow up with Twitter DMs, FaceBook messages, LInkedin Connections, etc.? Too often!  We somehow get derailed a little bit and end up discussing what Steve plans to do before conference season starts.  Hint….it has to do with facial hair!

We wrap the show by talking about why we won’t make predictions about the HCM industry.  Everyone else already does. Instead, we cover what should HR leaders be talking about in 2016.  From intelligent technology, the world of benefits, to the importance of the employee experience, we cover it all.  Please listen in and then weigh in on what you think is important for the upcoming year.

And of course you can listen to and subscribe to the HR Happy Hour Show on iTunes, or via your favorite podcast app. Just search for ‘HR Happy Hour’ to download and subscribe to the show and you will never miss a new episode.

Are You Stressed Out? How To Cope Today

Image from timeshakers.co.ukIn business, we are constantly told that we need to see the big picture.  We are reminded to set long-term, meaningful goals.  We are considered successful and are rewarded when we can take a vision and turn that into reality over the course of time.

But sometimes, when the stress in our workplace becomes too much, you just have to make it through the day.

Start by reminding yourself that we all have those days where we can’t set the world on fire.  Sometimes it’s about just checking off a few tasks and not thinking about the big picture at all.  It’s how we cope.  Then, there are those times we get so wrapped up in the moment that we put far more time and energy into a short-term situation.  It may be because we are under the weather, burned out, or just needing a day of “routine” vs. strategic planning.  But, having those days does not mean you are not a great leader.

Here are some benefits of just being in the moment:

  • Tasks- It can be a great feeling to have a list of tasks a mile long that get checked off.
  • People-  Taking a day to catch up on all those calls you’ve been meaning to return can leave you feeling like you accomplished more than you expected to.
  • Self-  You can give yourself permission to feel ok by doing a solid day’s work.  You can feel satisfied that you still did a good job.

I don’t think it does any leader benefit to always be pushing ahead at 100 m.p.h.  It just leads to being burned out.  Take those days once in awhile to get through a more “routine” existence.  It may just be the little bit of rejuvenation you need. I find that reading up on suggestions of how to cope better sets me on the right track.  I like the article “Why Stress Management Is So Important For Your Health” by Dr. Isaac Eliaz.  What do you think?  How do you handle those days when you’re stressed out or unmotivated?  Share your thoughts in the comments.

Your 2016 Guide to Finding Your Adventure in Business

Screen Shot 2016-01-01 at 11.21.45 AMThe beginning of each year marks a time when many industry analysts and experts make their predictions.  I could tell you about all the HCM technology trends that came into being in the last couple years like predictive analytics, organizations changing from on-premise solutions to cloud-based solutions, or the constant and continued focus on culture, engagement and wellness.  I could do that, but I won’t.  Enough industry experts have covered those 2016 predictions and there’s no need to rehash them.

Instead, for 2016, I’m interested in what HR leaders can do from a practical standpoint to move the needle in their organization.  What’s my secret to approaching this task?  Combining industry knowledge, personal leadership experience, and a more fun aspect of watching the Tournament of Roses Parade.  It might not sound like a chosen method of guidance, but hear me out and I think you’ll agree that it’s an excellent way to get inspired. Change needs inspiration.

The reason the Rose Parade is inspiring is that it has a theme. Each year, a different theme is selected and all floats have to depict and represent that theme using natural materials such as roses, flowers, seeds, fruit and bark.  These floats are also typically high-tech and computer animated which adds to the fun for the parade-goes and TV audience.  It’s this continuity of thought and execution that leads me to a new way to focus my attention on the business year ahead.

From 1952 and the theme “Dreams of the Future”, 1986’s “A Celebration of  Laughter“, 2003’s “Childrens Dreams, Wishes and Laughter” to last year’s “Inspiring Stories“, I can always relate the selected theme to something I’d like to do or think about in the coming year.  2016 will be no different because the theme is “Find Your Adventure”.

When we think about work, the workplace and the technology that impacts those things, it really is an adventure.  With that in mind, every new adventure needs some guidance to find the way and lead to greater success.

 

4 Steps to Find (and Define) Your Adventure

  • Add to your arsenal- As leaders, we often find ourselves overloaded and struggling to keep on top of the business at hand.  A great way to start the year is to add simple, intuitive solutions via app that can aid in your productivity and management.  Try apps like Evernote, Asana or Slack and watch the improvements start!
  • Break processes- We all get stuck in ruts. Make 2016 YOUR year to break out at work and personally by altering your decision-making process, processes in your daily routine and more.
  • Seek to inform ONE mind-  How often do we complain at work, yet never seek to change what frustrates us?  Quite often.  We tend to think there is no option to make meaningful changes.  Instead of complaining this year,  seek out one person to inform and try to change their mind about a situation or issue.  You’ll find that once you can convince one person, the others are much easier to bring on board.
  • Analyze everything and tell stories-  With all the talk of technology incorporating predictive analytics, it will only work if you are able to understand and interpret the findings.  If you’re rusty in the analytics department, make this your year to focus on being able to tell a great story based on your data.
Making a difference IS possible.  
Leading change IS possible.  
If you make small, iterative steps, you can reach new heights this year and find your adventure!. Cheers to a prosperous 2016!

4 Easy Steps to Reduce What’s In Your Inbox

Are you bombarded by email, texts, tweets, posts and instant messages?  I’m not talking about the fun ones from your friends.  I’m talking about the ones you get from your boss, colleagues, clients and other people in your workplace.   I could easily spend all day trying to sift though all these messages, not to mention the time I spend trying to respond to each one. To top that, at least half the messages people send me don’t really need my attention.

~sigh~

So what do we do with the emails we don’t think we need?  The tendency for many people is to delete the email and prioritize how we tackle responding to the rest.  You may even find yourself feeling anxiety or anger when someone sends you a seven paragraph email when they could have been more concise.  After all, don’t they realize you are busy?

What we all forget is that to the sender, it was important enough to write.  The reason isn’t important.  What is important is that we should take time and acknowledge that it is that person’s work.  I use the term “work” in the sense of discretionary effort put forth with a specific outcome in mind, not actual value.

I don’t want you to spend all day dealing with only answering email or other messages.  What I  want you, and me, to do is realize that we shouldn’t just dismiss the work that someone else finds important.  What should we do?

  • If you ask for a report, read it when it is prepared.
  • If you receive an email, at least read through it once.
  • If you shouldn’t be copied on something, quickly and politely notify the sender to stop including you in the future.
  • If someone creates any work product for you that is not helpful or needed, advise them politely.  Either tell them what information would be helpful or that it is not needed going forward.

Not rocket science, I know.  Just small reminders that just deleting email and other messages won’t help clear your inbox.  You need to communicate with people about what you need, and most importantly, what you don’t.

My 8 Favorite Christmas Commercials- What Are Yours?

christmas-tree-pics-0111It’s been a busy, wonderful year so far and I’m just now taking a breath to think about the upcoming holidays.  With that in mind, I thought it would be fun to share a few of my favorite Christmas commercials of all time to get me (and YOU) in the mood.  Be sure to add links to your favorites in the comment section.  Merry Christmas!

Peter Comes Home:  This one from Folders coffee gets me every time.  I don’t drink that coffee, however, it makes me wish I did.

Jingle Kisses:  Who doesn’t love Hershey kisses?  Well, this girl does and when you add a little “jingle” to each one, the result is priceless!

Have a Norelco Christmas: Care for a stop-motion commercial with Santa riding on a razor?  Makes the perfect commercial of Christmas past.

Oreo Christmas:  Ho Ho Ho, who’d that kid with the Oreo cookie?  Santa, of course!

McDonalds Coupon for Santa:  Take one cute toddler and add a sneaky gift for Santa.  Pure Christmas fun.

Campbells Soup Snowman:  How do you change a snowman into an adorable kid?  Add a little Campbells Soup.

M & M’s Deck the Halls: What could be better than not melting in your hands?  Adding a little Christmas magic…

And last, but not least, my favorite.  Coke and the “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing” that just puts you right in the holiday spirit.

So, those are my favorites.  What are yours?  Be sure to share in the comments and link to the commercial.

Driving Change Based on the Diffusion of Innovators

“We are chameleons, and our partialities and prejudices change place with an easy and blesses facility, and we are soon wonted to the change and happy in it.”  ~Mark Twain

For as long as I’ve been working, and I know much longer than that, there has been talk of how to change and evolve the workplace.  I guess it is human nature to find flaws in things and think we can make it better.  How then is the actual act of changing something so challenging?  In the face of change, why do many of us balk and cling to the less-than-perfect current state?

In order to be creative and drive change, we need to re-examine some of the same industry topics that have been discussed previously.  It’s about taking the truisms of our every day workplace existence and rethink how to better design them in order to have ideal future functionality.  We also need to think FAR beyond our comfort zone to push for new ideas that will revolutionize organizations. We also need to think about how change comes about and how our actions can help drive greater adaptation and acceptance.  It truly is an EVOLUTION where change is adopted slowly and it adapts to the needs of the individual, the organization, the economy, the barriers, and the technology.

One model I’ve come across throughout my sociological studies and in my career is Everett Rogers‘ theory on the Diffusion of Innovators.  Rogers was a sociologist who, at the age of thirty, wrote that diffusion is, “the process by which an innovation is communicated through certain channels over time among the members of a social system.”   Rogers basically demonstrated that  change agents can be broken down into their rate of adoption.  Here’s a common model of how that looks.

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A Real-life Example

Having just completed another HRevolution, we receive questions about how the event fits into the Human Resource landscape.  I have a few observations that can help illustrate the user adoption of an event that is disruptive to the norm.

  1. There is a strong feeling that the excitement that comes with a less structured event will be able to drive the momentum for faster change in the industry.  While I personally wish this were the case, it is not.  As you can see on the curve, only 2.5% of people are truly innovators followed by the 13.5% of early adopters.  I look at people in these two categories who seek out learning in a non-traditional format as the risk takers.  These are the people who are helping create the pressure for change and they are the ones who can personally respond well to change.   So in my opinion, people in the top 16% should really be seen as the people  who are going to take new, innovative looks at old facts and come up with ideas to drive business efforts forward.
  2. The “early majority” need more facts.  It’s not that they are adverse to change, they just need that little extra push in order to support and embrace the change.  This group will need to either be persuaded to experience the change or they will need to see concrete examples of how a new approach can benefit them.
  3. What he labels “late majority” are really the group that needs to be shown WHY they need to get on board.  They have numerous objections and will need many discussions to vet all the possible negative outcomes of the process.  In my opinion, this is where many leaders fall.  It’s not that they won’t change, you just have to provide a compelling case to nudge them in that direction.  They may have more to lose when it comes to their credibility.  However, get them in your corner and people will definitely notice.
  4. The last group is  the “Over My Dead Body” group.  If you need a barrier, here it is.

Regardless of what type of change you think is valuable to your organization, come at the problem with:

  • A plan- Like any skilled business person knows, you have to have a well thought out plan and a business case to even get your toe in the door to start the discussion.
  • Facts- Case studies, research and statistics to support the change initiative.
  • Ability, influence, or power to articulate and persuade- If you don’t have any of these, you need to find someone in the organization who can help you fill this role.  Look to the people you know who tend to be early adopters and convince them.  Then, sell the idea to the powers that be.
  • A backup strategy- What if it doesn’t work?  What is the plan you can come back with that says you’ve already thought through several scenarios in which the change does not take hold?

What are other ways you can convince others to adopt innovative ideas you, or your team have?  Please share them in the comments.

*Adapted from the dusty archives