Company Leaders Partnering with HR…It’s About Damn Time.

Partners in Strategic Planning

The most important issue I see now when companies are looking for an HR leader is the ability to be a strategic partner to the executives. We are already strategic by nature so put us at the table and let us help you move the company forward.

How do you feel when you have to wait for something you really, really want? A great culture; engaged, motivated, and enthusiastic employees; and exponential organizational growth.

Who is Responsible?

This type of growth is not just the responsibility of the HR team but a business partnership between the C-Suite, HR Leaders, and Department Heads.

Today I’d like to talk to you about First, the need for HR leaders to be at “the table” alongside the C-Suite during strategic planning, Second, the roles and responsibilities of each team member, and Finally, how the organization and employees benefit from this strategic business partnership.

Innovation

Start-up businesses along with small to mid-size companies need to be fresh and innovative to attract and retain the type of employees that will propel your organization forward to reach the goals you have set. The problem is that most leadership teams only engage their HR leaders when they have hit a snag or need to clean up a mess that has been made.

Human Resource professionals are more than just “benefit enrollers” and “overhead”. The Director and the other team members in human resources are the strategic partners and revenue generators you are looking for. We already think strategically. We are already processing each decision we make to see the trickle-down effects. We do this when writing policies and procedures; visualizing new benefit options; brainstorming recruiting and retention programs; and creating training, development, and succession plans. We hire the employees that are producing or providing the services that create revenue to propel your organization to reach its strategic goals.

This is Important

Human Resource strategic partnership is very important. Do you have a five to ten-year strategic plan for your company? What better way to get moving toward the goals of those plans with the subject matter experts that can help establish the necessary programs and team members to get you there.

  • HR Leaders are tuned into Federal, State, and Local laws that can and will affect your organization.
  • HR Leaders can realistically assist in the budgeting for people, processes and programs. This is especially helpful in a brand new organization as well as businesses that are not so new but need a collective refresh. If the organization wants significant growth, the investment towards technological advances to keep up with that growth will need to be factored in the beginning of the process so the company doesn’t outgrow the technology they currently have. HR will facilitate the needs as the expansion happens with the technology that adapts and upgrades in tandem with the organization.
  • HR Leaders bring to the table, metrics on time-to-hire, cost of recruiting, and turnover to name a few.
  • HR Leaders provide professional development for all employees and leadership training for supervisors, managers, and executives as a tool for retention.

Now Do You See It?

I’m sure you can now see the need for this strategic business partnership with human resources. You might be asking yourself, how can I make sure my HR team can get us to the strategic finish line? Let me tell you.

Best Practices

Here are some best practices for partnering with HR Leadership:

  • Communicate with your executive team about the goals and expansion you are looking for and the type of culture it will take to get you there.
  • Solidify HR as a member of your regular executive strategy meetings.
  • Give HR leadership the resources they will need to build a team to support the success of the organization.
  • Brainstorm ideas of culture, benefits, total rewards packages, and trust that your HR leader knows what they are doing. This is why you hired them in the first place.

Budget resources tactically with the anticipation and expectation that pre-planning and extensive research will catapult your strategy into reality.

It’s Not Rocket Science

You can see that it isn’t difficult to partner with your HR leadership. Let’s look at what may happen if you choose to bring HR into your strategic planning sessions and what may happen if you choose not to.

  • If you do invite your HR leaders to be strategic partners, your organization will be the beneficiary. The culture, processes, policies, and procedures will create the momentum to compliment and expedite the forward progress you are planning on.
  • The problem you face when you don’t have this type of partnership is the lack of additional resources and innovation needed at the forefront of your planning to be the type of organization that stands out and leads the pack rather than be lost in the masses.

Your Most Important Decision

Adding HR leaders to your strategic team will contribute to the success of your company and is the most important decision you will make.

Imagine the workload you might face had you not made this decision to include the HR team in your strategic planning. Think of the satisfaction and benefits this alliance can have for your organization.

Remember that HR leaders are strategic by nature. Your organization should benefit from the innovative leadership created by this new and everlasting partnership.

Is Your Workplace Fabulous or a Flop?

How to Fab up Your Workplace

We want to take a look today at a workplace makeover. Where are some small things you can do to switch things up a bit?

We’re going to take a lesson from these amazing guys on TV that consistently change people’s lives for the better. Secretly, I am in love with all of them!

We’ll go through five distinct areas to see if we can zhoosh up the work environment for your team members. it doesn’t have to be huge, it doesn’t have to be expensive, but should be selfless. Something you do just for them.

Decor

Some businesses were decorated years before your current employees came on board. Are you still rockin’ the Beige walls? Is your carpet stained? Is the art reminiscent of 70’s landscapes? Please say it ain’t so!

If you can paint all the walls, do it. bright it up! There are ideas on the internet for chic work spaces for days!

A chic office space can make your employees feel like they work in an important place. Not that is wasn’t important before, but this shows the team that you are invested in the company appearance and a safe, fun place for the team.

If not all the wall, how about the employee lounge to start? Slap that colorful paint on the walls, purchase a nice throw rug, some plants (fake or real) and comfortable seating for rest and break periods.

Wardrobe

Depending on the type of business you have, you might require uniforms. What about a bright new color or style of shirt? A new uniform that is crisp and sharp or what about a fun t-shirt given at a company barbecue. A free gift for working so hard for the organization.

Psychological

Instead of a quarterly all-staff meeting, turn one of them into an employee appreciation event and require all of the executives and directors attend (without their cell phones). Their job is to mingle with all levels of the staff.

Work with your HR team to make sure that your total rewards package and benefits are in check and reflect the needs of the team. Ask your team what they would like to have and see if it fits within your budget. Including the team’s ideas shows them that you call about their needs which in turn, will make them more productive.

Self-Care

This can be added in the total rewards package by making their space comfortable and brightening up the decor.

It also can be that you provide:

* A meal or healthy snacks at work in the break room;

* Gym use (if you have one) or a gym membership in your total rewards package;

* Hairspray, mouthwash, or hand lotion in the lavatories

These are only a few things that you could provide at a minimal cost.

Food

Back to the healthy snack conversation. Instead of donuts every Friday, put out apples, oranges, and mixed nuts (be careful for those with nut allergies). Have potlucks with themes, minding different people’s food styles such as vegan, Vegetarian, Keto, and Gluten free. Veggies and dip is always a hit!

Respecting cultural food styles is also important. Ask your employees what foods are culturally appropriate and those that are not.

These “fabulous” five things can make a world of difference in your organization. Show your team how much they mean to you.

Are You Ghosting Your Applicants?

Ghosting in HR

I’m finding that job candidates are getting ghosted by employers. To me this is unacceptable. At the minimum employers should send the standard email explaining that due to the high volume of applicants not all candidates will be contacted. We thank you for your interest in our company.

This is an appropriate email after someone has chosen to work for you.

Phone Interview Etiquette

If you have done a phone screen on the applicant and you know from their responses, they won’t be moving on to the next round of interviews. At the minimum, human resources should send a rejection email thanking them for their time. You don’t want to explain in too much detail why a candidate didn’t make it to the next round but you should give them the courtesy of a response.

In-Person Interview Etiquette

If you have performed a phone screen and brought the candidate in for an interview with the team, and you aren’t going to be moving the applicant further, call them and let them know in person. If they don’t answer the phone leave a voice mail and be sure to thank them for applying and wish them luck in their search.

The most important thing to contact them. We, as employers, should not be so arrogant to think that this employee is desperate to work for us but they have a choice. We should be grateful they wanted to apply. Ultimately without applicants and candidates who want to work at our organizations, we would be out of business.

Reference Checks

Do me a favor and don’t check references until you have your final two candidates. It is disrespectful to the candidate and to their friends, colleagues, and former supervisors taking the time to perform said references for your organization on behalf of your candidate.

Please don’t waste their precious time doing references on everyone. Save it for the two finalists.

Final Thoughts

Please be respectful of job seekers. They have looked at your posted job description and feel they qualify for it.

They have looked at your company website and feel your organization would be a good fit for them.

They have possibly received a referral from a current employee. Show them why this person would say it’s a good place to work.

Give them the respect they deserve and show them their first great impression of your company.

An Employee Coaching Story

I’ve recently been coaching an employee that has had to endure a plethora of manager changes in a very short period of time.

His first manager who was with the organization for many years started going through a change in his behavior. There was a change in his home life which spilled over into the workplace. This happens to managers as well as employees but when it’s a manager it may be even more disruptive than we think.

This particular manager became disengaged and unfocused putting great pressure on this employee that has long term tenure on the team. It added responsibilities that he normally wasn’t required of him and he found mistakes that he had to figure out how to deal with.

My advice to him was to document the mistakes and behavior and turn that information in to his human resources team member. He was hesitant but ultimately did take my advice.

At this same time, the assistant manager at his store transferred to a different location. The reason: this same manager.

This went on for several months until the organization decided to redistribute the management team to different locations. When this happened a new fresh exciting leader became this employees temporary manager. Of course it was short-lived but in that limited time this leader motivated this particular employee to seek a promotion that was well deserved and long overdue. His friends also encouraged him and as his coach I spent time working with him on his interviewing skills and question responses.

This new found confidence and secure feeling he received from this new manager he aced the interview and earned the promotion. The change in this employees confidence was exponential.

The organization decided to make another change and sent this new manager back to his previous location. Once again the morale of this employee and the rest of the team instantly dropped. My client, having gained this new position really stepped up and took control and responsibility for his team.

More Changes from the Business

The company decided to bring in a new assistant manager. This one only lasted two months, again more upheaval. During this two month period, the company brought in another interim manager, a new second assistant manager and a full time replacement for the initial manager that was moved to a new location. Then the first manager suddenly decided to quit.

Are You Confused Yet?

I write this out in such detail because more than likely a situation like this is happening at other organizations and maybe even yours. What do you think the impact of this is on the morale of the tam? Not only the morale but the feeling of safety and security that all employees require for a work/life balance.

From an outside perspective there were several points of breakdown.

  1. The Regional Manager did not step in and take the concerns of the middle managers seriously. The first manager was not held accountable.
  2. The HR Director was not involved and able to help the regional manager.
  3. The second assistant manager was not held accountable and moved to another location like being swept under the rug.

The only stable person in the scenario is the employee that I coached. A person that has no real authority but is left keeping the location up and running.

What is your organization doing?

Is your company dealing with a communication breakdown like this? If this story made you cringe, I ask you to do a deep dive and make sure your managers are happy, trained and supported. We don’t want to burden our top performers with responsibilities that will lead them to resigning from your company. We want to nurture these team members so they stick around and become the next generation of leaders in your company.

Employment Application Dilemma

Dear Future Employer,

Why do you ask me if I have been terminated, laid off, or resigned and not include an “other” option? I know how important it is to find out so you won’t hire someone in your organization that will wreak havoc or cause problems, but there has to be a better solution or question that can be asked. How about another option for people to use?

Sometimes jobs are not a good fit for the employee.

Sometimes the employee is leaving a toxic manager or environment.

Sometimes employees are not a good fit for the organization.

Sometimes employees are asked to do things that are in opposition of their personal and business values and morals.

This is the tough one. What happens if an employee was asked to do something illegal and wouldn’t do it? Is that insubordination? It could be seen as such, but in my opinion it isn’t. There are toxic work environments and shady leaders out there and we must be mindful of them and the employees that work in them and for them.

Certain positions require the utmost ethical and moral behavior. When it is tested you must prevail with your ethics intact. The problem is, you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t. If you give in to the request of the leader, then you risk having it backfire on you and end up being thrown under the bus when shit goes sour. If you don’t give in to the request you end up getting terminated. This is where looking for a new job is difficult.

So, I ask you first….PLEASE stop asking people to do things that are not legal, moral, or ethical. Easier said than done, right? Wrong! Just don’t.

When we answer truthfully that we have been terminated on your form, don’t use this as a reason to not bring forward for an interview. Instead provide us with a drop down comment section to write something that will give us a chance to explain and ease your mind at the same time. This will provide you the ability to ask more questions when you interview us. Remember too, we may be under legal documents that prevent us from saying anything against our former employer (release documents). That doesn’t mean that we are bad employees. That doesn’t mean that we are trouble makers. It could mean the employer had something to hide and this was the easiest way to deal with it. If you read the information we provide and you deem it to be legitimate then you already have a glimpse of the person you are thinking of bringing into your organization and the higher standards they strive for. Don’t you all want an upstanding employee with high integrity? I surely do.

Think of it this way, can you imagine how hard it must be for them to have lost a job for doing the right thing? For following the law? For standing up?

So future employer, not only should you update your applications with legal items, you should update this termination question section too. Please do the right thing.

Signed, Everyone.