Archive for September, 2011
What’s wrong with this picture?
Well, maybe nothing, if your point of view is different than mine. In my point of view, though, these people need more initials or letters after their names.
This is the current Executive Board of the Society of Human Resources Professionals (SHRM). Left to right, they are
- Hank Jackson, CPA
- Janet Parker, SPHR
- G. Ravindran
- Henry Hart, JD
- J. Robert Carr
It does to me.
This week I got a call from a man who needed someone to speak at a workshop on an emergency basis when his scheduled speaker landed in the hospital. He wanted someone to speak about “HR and something internet related”, so a couple of people gave him my name. He had no idea if I was a good public speaker, but he had looked me up on Linkedin and knew that I had the letters SPHR after my name, which gave me – and him – all the credibility he needed. I wouldn’t have landed that gig otherwise, even if I was the most knowledgeable and talented public speaker in metro Detroit.
I think we deserve as much from SHRM leadership, don’t you? Or are professional certifications a waste of time and money? Do they tell us anything at all? Let me know in the comments because I value your opinion!
(By the way, if you thought what was wrong with that picture was that it contained only one female in a profession easily dominated by females, I’m with you. But that’s another post. In the meantime, the song “Initials”.)
As the Director of the recently concluded Ohio HR conference, he chose a fun theme – HR Rocks – and then had vendors, presenters, and attendees spend their time immersed in the theme, listening to, looking at, and even dressed like rock stars. Steve himself opened the show in wig and with guitar in hand. (See the video of his opening act here.) There was no way to confuse this conference with any other.
I spent most of my conference time sitting in on sessions that focused on HR as a business function, not as a compliance, benefits, or health care administration department. The best of these sessions were “Making A Business Case To the C-Suite”, by Mark Stelzner, and “Transform From HR Leader to Business Leader” by Jennifer McClure. Both speakers were excellent as they discussed HR pros as business people first and foremost, and how speaking business language, not HR language, was one of the keys to strategic business success.
The most important thing I heard during my 2 day experience came during Jennifer’s session. She was discussing the need for HR pros to look at themselves as business functionaries. She used Steve Browne as an example: ”Ask Steve what he does for a living. He won’t say, “I’m the Executive Director of HR for LaRosa’s. He says, ‘I make pizza.’ ” Jennifer’s point was, of course, that Steve helps run the business – which is a chain of pizzerias. Making pizza is the main function of LaRosa’s, and Steve’s function in the long run. That kind of thinking is what HR needs more of.
It also shows that Steve is a genius, with or without the insane.
Right after I graduated from law school I went to work for a large, “silk-stocking” law firm, where all of the lawyers were stressed and overworked, and large corporate clients paid big bucks to keep them that way.
One lawyer I met in my early days at the firm was different from most of my colleagues. He was bright and cheerful; always ready with help and advice. It was surprising and refreshing, given that he practiced environmental law, one of those practice areas where you deal with unreasonable clients and extensive, obtuse government regulations.
So I asked him one day how he maintained his positive attitude around colleagues and clients, something others in the firm couldn’t manage. His answer?
“I’m a can-do lawyer.”
He went on to explain that he preferred to tell his clients what they could do, and how to go about doing it, instead of telling them what they could not do. For a lawyer, that’s a pretty radical approach. But his clients loved him for it, and it clearly made him more successful.
I have been reminded of the power of this approach several times in the past month as I make the rounds of HR conferences. Some of those reminders come from speakers, and some come from smart and valuable conversations with other attendees. The message needs to be made to all HR pros, no matter the source:
- Tell employees what they can do, not what they can’t.
- Tell yourself what you can do, not what you can’t.
- When someone gives you an idea, tell yourself how to make it work, instead of telling the giver why it won’t.
( While I am in Florida closing on our new house – more on that later – I am happy to turn this week’s post over to friends at Bisk Education/Villanova University. See their info at the bottom of the post. Back next week with news from Mid Michigan Human Resources Association and OHSHRM.)
It is inevitable that you’re going to run into a problem employee at some point in your career. How you handle the situation will determine whether a problem is minimized or becomes an ongoing struggle. A good suggestion is to identify the who, what, where, why and how of the matter. Only then can you start finding the best solution.
1. Head problems off at the pass
Problem employees often have the same sense of entitlement as a toddler. When a two-year-old realizes she isn’t getting what she wants, the pouting starts. After a short five minutes with no results, she turns on the waterworks. If that doesn’t seem to work, she ups the stakes again with a shrill scream until her parents give in, or she wears herself out and comes back down to reality.
Employees will often work in the same way. What might start as a low grumble to a co-worker can quickly escalate to a big problem involving multiple employees, managers and HR. Be proactive and try to rectify the situation before it becomes a screaming situation.
2. Don’t fight anger with anger
It’s natural to feel angry when someone is being unreasonable, but fighting anger with anger isn’t going to fix any problems and will often only create more headaches. If the problem employee sparks your temper, take time to gather yourself before handling the issue. Two angry parties are likely to talk over one another and aren’t often inclined to listen. Talk with the employee after giving him or her some time to cool down. Only then will you start to fix whatever issue is at hand.
3. Don’t ignore the rebel with a heart of gold
It is easy to root for movie characters that are a mix of rebellion and kindness (think Ferris Bueller). Rebelliousness may work in Hollywood, but it can get everyone in trouble at the office. A lot of companies have that employee who may do a great job and perform well, but also can’t help themselves from breaking company rules.
While looking the other way might seem like a good answer, it’s merely like putting a piece of gum over a leaky pipe…sooner or later it’s going to fall off and start gushing. The problem employee will start breaking more rules and other workers will see that corners are being cut and be apt to follow suit. Your mouth is going to get really tired trying to chew all that gum to cover up the leaks!
As soon as you see a rule being ignored, address it with the employee. Explain that procedures are in place for a reason and that no one is above following them. By giving them a warning and handling the situation with respect, you’ll send the message that you’re aware of what’s going on and that you won’t tolerate rules being broken.
4. Inconsistent attendance might be caused by a problem
Do you have an employee who is always calling out of work? Are the excuses getting more and more stretched from the truth every time? Your employee may have a serious problem that they’re trying to deal with at home. It’s important to sit down and try to find out what might be going on. Try to work out a plan of action (from a work standpoint) to help the employee with the issue and get them back on track. If it seems to be a personal problem that isn’t going to go away, action may need to be taken to ensure the company is running at its greatest capacity.
5. Know your limits
Not every problem can be solved by you. Understand when professional help might best serve everyone involved, especially the well-being of your employee and co-workers. Some problems won’t ever be solved, often because the person refuses to make the necessary changes required. Termination may be the only alternative.
No matter the problem, treating everyone involved with respect should help relieve tension and move toward fixing the issue at hand.
University Alliance submitted this article on behalf of Villanova University’s online programs. Villanova offers online human resources training courses in addition to a masters in human resources development program. For more information please visit their site at http://www.villanovau.com.
Four months ago I published a post about HRevolution, that most excellent of all HR conference-type events. In case you don’t want to click here to read the post, I will just tell you that in that post I mentioned Sue Marks, CEO of Pinstripe Talent, because her company was nice enough to furnish the attendees with Meet-Meme cards. I didn’t endorse her company or say much of anything except thank you.
So I was a little surprised to receive notification of the following comment just a couple of weeks ago:
Now, I presume you will agree with me that the comment is not offensive, vulgar, discriminatory, or any other negative type that we all agree is fair game for deletion. It contains spelling and grammatical errors, but I think we can also agree that poor writing skill is a problem up and down the social web, and certainly not a reason to hit the delete button.
The issue with this comment is that it is really not about the substantive content of the post, but a politely worded political commentary. Not exactly spam, but . . . close. A troll? Not quite.
Since that comment was posted, I have been thinking a lot about the spirit of free speech and whether, in that spirit, I should allow this comment to stay. I was reminded of a case I studied in law school, which discussed whether private property owners of large open-to-the-public shopping malls should be required to allow picketers and other public speech demonstrations. The argument was that these places have supplanted public parks and town squares as gathering places, and that free speech principles should be allowed to follow the public.
In law school I argued vehemently against such a law, believing that business owners can best determine whether allowing demonstrators on their property was in their best financial interest. Now, with this blog comment, I’m not so sure. Even though I own my blog and can delete any comment I want to – should I? If the social web is the “democratization of communication”, as pundits claim, do I have a social responsibility to honor that democracy by allowing political comments on an HR blog?
What about you? Would you delete this comment if it was your blog? Does it matter if you agree with the comment? I’d love you to tell me your thoughts.
Patty Grossert is the Human Resources Director at North American Medical Management in the Chicago, Illinois area. She currently has 155 contacts on Linkedin, about 3 times the national average of 60, so she is not an absolute stranger to social networking.
When Patty started a Twitter account in 2009, though, she did what many people do: she tweeted once, then abandoned the account.
That was Patty’s first, and until last week, only tweet.
Then Patty attended the Social Media Boot Camp at the Illinois State SHRM Conference. This pre-conference session, led by Jessica Miller-Merrill, was intended to help HR pros learn the tools necessary to make informed decisions about how and when to use social media platforms.Part of the session naturally covered Twitter. Here’s what happened to Patty:
As read from the bottom up, Patty started tweeting at that pre-confrence session, and she didn’t give up. The coaching and information kept coming, until Patty had become so enchanted with Twitter that she posted the day after the conference was over:
The freak flag reference is to Talent Anarchy, first day keynote speakers. So not only is Patty tweeting after the end of the conference, but she is referring to something she learned there.
To me, there is no greater measurement of the success of the Illinois state conference than Patty Grossert. The conference planners saw a need for practical, how-to, hands on information in an area beneficial and important to HR practitioners, delivered that knowledge, and encouraged the attendees to use that information before they even left the building. I give all of the credit for this to John Jorgenson, chair of this conference. He saw what was needed, and did it without apology.
Can you say the same about the last conference you went to?