Would your employees hire you?

I enjoy a good conference, and I especially enjoy a good speaker who is reinforcing things I agree with in a room full of thousands of people. I realize that means I’m participating in a self-serving conference experience and not necessarily something that pushes me out of my comfort zone and grows me professionally, but it hasn’t always been that way for me.

When I started attending conferences, I was learning new things in every session. I was opened up to a whole new world of HR and how we can improve what we do and how we do it. Having been in the conference loop for the last 10 years now, I’m realizing that I’m either picking sessions that sound like something I would agree with, or we’ve been basically saying the same things for the last 10 years.

I don’t say that lightly. I think there is still a lot of value in the conversations we are having, but we need to be mindful of the conversations and if we are evolving them or not. We also have to consider, who are we sending to these conferences? If I am hearing the same content for years, maybe it’s time to send a lower level HR professional for them to get inspired and hear this content for the first time.

For all of us who have been listening to the same ideas and agreeing with how things should be for the last several years, it’s time to change the conversation. It’s time to take what you are hearing at conferences and put it to work.

I get it, it’s not easy to do. You have to go to work and pitch the executive team on the things you want to do. You have to sell hiring managers and line managers on it. You have to instill confidence in the team that will have to carry out what you are recommending, but don’t over think it. Lets not make this more complicated than it has to be. Consider one thing, if the employees at your organization had the opportunity to hire you for their HR needs OR outsource it, what would they do? Would they choose you? Why or why not? What can you do about it?

It’s easy to hear speakers say things that you think are wonderful ideas, but the only way to know if it will work in your organization is to talk to your employees. Find out what they need, find out what they aren’t happy with, just talk to the humans that you are a resource for.

If you don’t care if they would choose you or not, its time for you to get out of HR. We wish you well and hope you have a wonderful experience in your next career choice, but its time for you to leave us now.

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After interview thank you note advice:

Recently I called on some of my pals to help me navigate a question… What makes a thank you note from a candidate stand out after an interview. Check out what some of the best business professionals had to say below and let us know if you would add anything else!

Don’t do it tomorrow

Why do it tomorrow when you can do it today?

Time management has been my biggest challenge over the last couple of months. I thought after giving up some of my volunteer roles I would have all this free time, but that hasn’t exactly happened. I don’t know how or why, but I’m going to spend some time the next few weeks figuring it out.

Part of it can be addressed with some clearer goals for myself. Today is day 33 of my 33 days of writing in a row… aka the last day! I didn’t know if I could carve out time every day for 33 days in a row because my time management has been all over the place, but somehow I made it work.

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So I’m going to keep setting goals, not just for my writing but for work. Completing projects sooner, chatting less, coming in earlier, not putting things off for tomorrow if I know I have a few minutes to work on it today.

I’m not going back into workaholic mode by any means, I still want to be done with work no later than 5:30. I think I can make that happen with defined micro goals.

So for now, the content from hrpockets will drop down to one or two (hopefully better written) pieces a week. For the rest of 2019 make yourself some goals and stop putting things off when you don’t have to.

Don’t underestimate boundaries

Boundaries at work/with work are good for you.

You can love your work and have boundaries. I’d argue that having boundaries can make it easier to love your work.

Boundaries at work can look like saying no to projects you know you don’t have the bandwidth to complete.

Boundaries can look like not staying late or coming in early or over the weekends.

Boundaries can look like telling co-workers or managers when they say something that makes you uncomfortable or offends you.

Boundaries can look like expecting people to value your work outcomes and respecting your knowledge.

It’s important to start setting your boundaries early on. It’s much easier to have boundaries from the beginning than to try to walk people back to your boundaries after you’ve let them get away with disrespecting them.

I used to have a job where I kept volunteering to stay late to get the job done for the team and before I knew it I was expected to stay late to get the job done. It snuck up on me. I agreed to take phone calls on the weekend and then I was always expected to take phone calls on the weekends and early in the am during the week. By the time I had enough and started letting people know I had enough and I couldn’t work like that anymore (years later) I was the bad guy.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t work hard, you should work however you want to-just have boundaries.

Who do you really support?

The most important career lesson I ever learned was to understand the business.

There seems to be a lot of back and forth about HR being business professionals/or not being business professionals. In my opinion the easiest way to win this discussion is to make sure you understand the business you support-not just the people portion, but the whole picture.

How does your company make money? What are the products/services your company provides? How do they provide it? Like really, how? What other areas do your HR policies or actions impact and how.

From where I sit, you can make better decisions about the HR support you provide when you understand the business. Looking beyond your schedule and how quickly (or slowly) you choose to respond or how much information you decide you want to share can move your department forward.

People (managers especially) choose to not value HR when you choose to ignore the bigger business picture and only do things the way you want to do things. When HR isn’t valued it’s hard to see them as business professionals.

In 2019 don’t just try to teach the business HR, let HR learn the business.

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Dig out the root

When I was in elementary school one of my chores was to pull weeds in the yard. I didn’t really like that chore much. Day after day I would pull up dandelions out of the yard only to find two or three times as many the next day. If you don’t get to them quick enough they spread their seeds all over the yard.

Finally I learned to use a spoon to dig up the root. The spoon helped me to make sure I got the whole problem so it would stop spreading. Had I thought that through from the beginning, I would’ve really cut down my chore time (and effort) but I’m one of those kids who has to learn things the hard way.

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When we have a problem at work, we have to dig out the root to solve it. The most common avoidance tactic we take in response to a problem is “I’m too busy” to x, y, or z.

But are you really? Because if you would take the time to stop what you’re doing and get to the root of the problem, you may free up some time on the back-end. Accepting “I’m too busy” as an excuse makes the problem build and spread.

It’s real simple. Take the time to find the root and dig it out. If you don’t the problem is going to eventually spread and then it may be out of your hands to solve altogether.

Send it back

You cannot fix a communication problem by ignoring it.

The first time I experienced communication problems at work was at my afternoon job in high school. I had a boss who would tell me to do something, I would go do it, and then she would freak out asking me why I did what I did.

She actually made me feel crazy.

I talked with my careers teacher who had arranged for me to get this position (for school credit) and she recommended that I take notes during the conversation and either read them back to my boss afterwards as in “I understand you want me to do x, y, z” or email that statement back to her.

It felt really weird to do that at first, but what happened next was a game changer. My boss would correct where I heard something different from what she was trying to say or approve of my interpretation. It pretty much eliminated those weird melt downs after I completed tasks.

I don’t know why people communicate differently or why we hear what we want to hear, but I do know there are plenty of opportunities we can work on our communication together and get better.

I’m glad I had that experience early on to send back my notes for confirmation because it helped me prepare for future communication barriers.

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What is something you’ve done to build better communication and understanding with your team?