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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All this talk about employee engagement and how can you better engage your workforce and other nonsense just makes my head hurt. I love our blogosphere and I love hearing others stories from the workplace, but for crying out loud if you want to know what your workforce wants get off your ass and go to talk to them. Don’t you dare send them a survey. “We want to know how we can better provide engagement for you, our valued employee. Please take a few minutes to complete the included survey.” Don’t guess and don’t try to interpret their actions. Just talk to them. There are several things that we can use best practices to guide us on, but for the love of Mike if your people are the difference in  your organization then aren’t you saying your people are different from the people in every other organization? Yet you are trying to treat them the same as every other organization treats them? Maybe your organizations difference isn’t your people, but how you treat your people? Chew on that.

Why do you HR?

Coming out of #SHRM13 I’m overwhelmed with the information I want to share with you guys. I am trying to pace myself and review my notes and break up the posts so I don’t overwhelm everyone else!  Today I had an interesting conversation with an HR buddy that asked a question I don’t think anyone has ever asked me “Where did you get all the crazy ideas about changing the way HR does thing that you have?” [I know it wasn’t an accusing question because this happens to be one of my few HR buddies that has “crazy ideas” too]

question

Errr… well duh. Where did I come up with my definition of HR? It wasn’t from the textbooks (you all know I don’t have an HR degree right?), it came from experience. It came from not accepting that “this is just the way things are done”. There is always room for improvement and I wanted to improve the working experience for everyone I worked with. I wanted to fine tune the screening process to assure we were selecting the best candidates for our customers and the best customers for our candidates. I recognized that to change the recruiting process we had to change the employee development/engagement as well. It doesn’t stop with a job placement. So where did I get these crazy ideas? From failing. From watching customers fail. From watching employees fail. Finding the pain points of customers and applicants & committing to choose a problem and work towards a solution. That meant trial and error sometimes. It meant listening to customers and candidates and making sure I knew all the legal stuff in between. It meant being transparent. It’s something I didn’t know I was passionate about until I did it. And witnessed results. When I started getting thank you cards from candidates after they went “permanent” with one of my customers and after customers started referring other customers to me because I did a fantastic job for them I knew I was headed in the right direction. I will never settle or be complacent. One of the comments that came up in our conversation today is that I will automatically think when something doesn’t work out (especially when I miss out on an awesome candidate) “What could I have done differently”? Not what could the candidate have done differently or even the organization I work for, but me. You’re never going to do everything perfect and if you really want to keep improving you start with that question. It’s a hard question to ask yourself, especially when the situation at hand provides you with a lot of easy answers/obstacles to blame. If you don’t challenge yourself, who will? Commit to growing. What can you do better for the next time?