CARNIVAL OF HR – Time Of the Season

Yesterday was the first day of summer, and what better way to start the season than with a carnival? So apply some bug spray, grab some cotton candy, and ENJOY!

LEGAL

“Strange voices are saying things I can’t understand” – from Cruel Summer, Bananarama

Summer does not mean an escape from employment and compliance for the HR pro. Eric Meyer  tells us what to know about providing employees with time off at The Employer Handbook and Jessica Miller Merrill cautions about Twitter related terminations at Blogging 4 Jobs.

Finally, in a post I wasn’t given permission to insert but am doing so anyway because I loved the title, we have the folks at I9/E-Verify discussing how the ICE has put a chill into summer.

CHANGE

“Seasons change and so did I, you need not wonder why” – from No Time, The Guess Who

Seasons are always about change of some kind: change of clothes, change of weather, change of attitude. Our bloggers that recognized and wrote about this include Robin Schooling of HR Schoolhouse, who discusses her worst HR job and the changes it brought.

Also discussing change are Laura Schroeder of Working Girl asking what attrition is good for, and Steve Roesler at All Things Workplace discussing the changes that come with a new boss.

Rounding out the change theme was Erik Samdahl at i4cp, who tells us about agility and the willingness to change as a best practice among best companies.

PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT

“In the summertime when the weather is hot, you can stretch right up and touch the sky”

from In The Summertime, Mungo Jerry

Many of our carnival writers recognize that summertime is a good time for personal reflection and growth, like Sri Subramanian of the Talented Apps team, who tells us that performance reviews come around like the seasons, and to use that self-evaluation wisely.

Jennifer V. Miller at The People Equation suggests using the summer to create a “career bucket list.” Lyn Hoyt, guest blogging at Working Girl, discusses work-life balance and making time for everything.

Rob Lockard discusses a related, but slightly different season – graduation season. A commencement address became the inspiration for his post about The Lovejoy of the Season.

Finally, we have Naomi Bloom writing Harry’s and Naomi’s Rules To Live By. Hoe many of these rules do YOU live by – and how many will you embrace this summer?

TALENT MANAGEMENT

That Championship SeasonPulitzer Prize-winning play by Jason Miller

Lois Melbourne loves the Dallas Mavericks basketball team, and she uses her blog at Aquire, Inc. to analyze how their organizational talent management created their championship team. Also discussing talent mangement is Jay Kuhns of NoExcusesHR, who wants you to determine what that phrase means within the four walls of your own organization.

SUMMER

“Sweet days of summer, the jasmine’s in bloom” – from Summer Breeze, Seals and Crofts

Some contributors took the theme quite literally, and contributed posts specifically about the summer season or issues that are specific to the summer, like Evil Skippy, who hilariously discusses the summer vacation request, and what to do about employees who try to beat the system. Another humorous look at summer HR issues is Stan the HR Stand-up Man (Ian Welsh), who discusses all kinds of summer issues, like dress codes.

Interns are usually a specific-to-summer HR issue, and Susan Heathfield at About.com gives you pointers on how to make your summer intern program sing.

In her aptly named post, “Summertime”, Alive HR author Krista Francis compares the organizational lifestyle to the changing seasons, and Kevin Eikenberry wants you to learn six ways to work and lead differently this summer.

Camping is a huge summertime activity in my home state of Michigan, so I was pleased to read that the Brits enjoy this summer ritual, too, according to Doug Shaw at What Goes Around Limited in his post Windy, Wet and Wonderful.

To wrap everything up, why not watch and listen to Dwayne Lay of LeanHR give a weather report from his current professional travels in Europe. He’ll talk about change management, too. 😉

THANKS TO ALL OF YOU FOR PARTICIPATING IN THIS CARNIVAL – HAVE A GREAT SUMMER!

 


 

 

 

 

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Blogiversary Repost: WHAT HR CAN LEARN FROM GOOD PET OWNERS

It’s my one year blogiversary!  I posted my first blog, which was basically just an “intro to me” on October 24, 2009.  It was just a few short months prior that I had been introduced to the online HR community, many of them bloggers.  I knew NOTHING about blogging – except that I wanted to try it.  Now it is one of my favorite pasttimes.  Thanks to everyone (anyone?) reading – I appreciate it tremendously!

I am reposting my first substantive blog in recognition of my anniversary, and in memory of Freckles, the dog I miss so much.

At my direction, my veterinarian killed euthanized this dog today.  He was very old and very sick, and it was my first experience with this most humane and selfless of acts.  Since I have four more dogs at home, it will certainly not be my last act of this kind.  I know that good and responsible pet owners welcome the ability to euthanize their animals to end their pain and suffering; it is the ultimate and final act of kindness to the animal, even though it causes the owner great sadness.

In reflecting on my life with this dog, I found some analogies that could be drawn between pets and employees.  Not, of course, that employees are pets or should be treated like them.  But how WE behave, or should behave, toward our pets can be helpful in defining our HR behavior.

1.  ENGAGEMENT

It’s easy for everyone to spend time with a new puppy or a kitten –  they’re so cute and delightful!  Even the youngest owners can’t wait to play with them or stroke them.  But as the puppy or kitten grow into larger animals, many people lose interest in playing with or exercising or engaging their pet.  Their basic needs of food and shelter may be provided, but little else.  Unless the pet needs discipline or restraining, the pet is simply left to amuse itself.  A good pet owner is different – a good pet owner knows that the pet is a vital part of the household and makes sure that the pet is walked, played with, trained, touched, or talked to as much as the pet needs.  Forever.

There is often a similar honeymoon period with a new employee.  HR makes sure the employee is successfully onboard, and hovers a little bit while the employee gains their footing and grows confident in their surroundings. But all too often, once that honeymoon period is over and the employee is trusted to perform on their own, the employee is essentially forgotten.  Sure, the basic needs (pay and benefits) are met.  But no one attempts to engage the employee, to seek him or her out and make sure they remain interested, motivated, trained, or involved.  Unless the employee needs discipline or counseling, the employee is often completely forgotten about by HR.

Good HR is like good pet ownership: there should be resolve to stay interested and engaged with the employee forever – not just the first weeks or months.  Seek out your employee and find out what you both need to do to stay involved with each other.

2.  COMMUNICATION

It is sometimes very difficult for a good pet owner to determine if their pet has a problem that needs attention. Since pets can’t talk, good pet owners are vigilant in watching for signs that the pet is in trouble: Is he eating properly?  Does she seem lethargic?  Is he pooping too much? Too little?  What does the poop look like?  FIVE dogs – and I could tell each one of their feces apart.  I had to, because it is an early – sometimes the only – sign of distress.

Employees can usually speak, so the HR pro doesn’t have to go to such extreme measures to determine if there are problems needing attention and discussion.  Unfortunately, many are not taking the time or making the effort.  When did you last ask an employee if everything was alright, or if there were any issues or concerns that you could help them address?  Too often, we expect the employee to come to us if they need or want something.  But often a problem is not discovered until an exit interview, when it is too late to fix (at least for that employee).  It’s natural for an employee to prefer to be asked to give information, rather than have to demand it be given.

Good HR:  be vigilant and care enough to look for warning signs indicating a problem.  Communicate with the employee and make sure that trouble is addressed as early as possible.  Ask the employee before s/he asks you.

3.  COMMITMENT

Every good pet owner buys, rescues, adopts or otherwise obtains a pet with the knowledge and agreement that their obligation to that pet is forever.  Good pet owners expect that their home will be the animal’s home forever.  Yes, sometimes unforeseeable and insurmountable problems arise that cause pet and owner to be separated.  Even then a good pet owner will work to re-home their pet so that the pet’s well-being is maintained.  When the time comes for the pet to be released from its physical pain or suffering, the good owner does what is necessary, no matter how hard, to help the pet die in peace and with dignity.

I harbor no illusions that employers have a lifetime obligation to their employees.  But HR should hire an employee with at least an idea that they are going to commit to the employees professional well-being for as long as they possibly can.  If HR has shown that commitment to the employee, consistently engaged and communicated with the employee, and has acted similarly to the good pet owner throughout the employment relationship, the end, even if involuntary, will be more dignified.

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