Uncategorized

#HRMixTape2018 – The Beyoncé Edition

I was spending some time waiting on my flight to Sydney getting right into my twitter feed and what do I find?

The perfect opportunity to work Beyoncé quotes into my blog. #lifeachievementunlocked.

#HRMixTape2018 is a challenge issued by @MarkSWHRF to write an HR blog using and linking 5 pieces of music to illustrate your point. So, in honour of one of the smartest HR pros I know, and an epic Beyoncé fan, Bella Yool, this one’s dedicated to you!

1

Single Ladies

(AKA: Engagement)

All the single ladies

Now put your hands up

Oh, oh, oh

Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh

Oh, oh, oh

Oh, oh, oh

Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh

Oh, oh, oh

‘Cause if you liked it, then you should have put a ring on it

What’s one of the most critical elements of getting HR right in your organisation? Employee engagement. Because you can have the best of everything but if your people aren’t committed and they don’t care then you’re fighting a loosing battle.

In the wise words of the Queen herself, if you liked it, then you should have put a ring on it.

2

Run the World

(AKA: Creating an Environment Where Women Can Succeed)

Who are we?

What we brought?

We run the world

Who run the world? Girls

The #metoo movement has been a timely reminder for many who (mistakenly) thought that sexual harassment in the workplace was a thing of the past. It still happens all the time, and just because this type of harassment (and others) aren’t always visible doesn’t mean they aren’t happening.

While this cannot ever be just HR’s responsibility, we have an important role to play in making sure that organisational leadership makes a conscious effort to create environments where women can thrive (and maybe run the world?) without fear of harassment.

3

Telephone (with Lady Gaga)

(AKA: Work/life Balance)

‘Cause I’ll be dancin’

‘Cause I’ll be dancin’

Tonight I’m not takin’ no calls, ’cause I’ll be dancin’!

Work is important. You can work your whole life towards a career objective and I respect that. But you can’t just be work. Family, friends, quality puppy time, these things are important. And sometimes HR people, when our lives are about careers, it’s easy to forget that we should also be the guardians of promoting a healthy balance.

So kick off your work shoes, grab some dancing ones, and head out for a boogie!

4

Daddy Lessons

(AKA: Know Your Business)

My daddy warned me about men like you

He said baby girl he’s playing you

He’s playing you

Cause when trouble comes in town

And men like me come around

Oh, my daddy said shoot

Oh, my daddy said shoot

Don’t let yourself get played! A key element of being an excellent business partner and delivering valuable people guidance to your stakeholders?

Know your business. Don’t just listen to the spiel. Get in there, understand the crucial elements of your business. What keeps your CEO up at night? What about the executive team? Your manager? The frontline staff? They all matter. Don’t take anything on face value alone, you need to dig deep.

5

If I Were a Boy

(AKA: The Gender Pay Gap)

If I were a boy

Even just for a day

I’d roll out of bed in the morning

And throw on what I wanted and go

Drink beer with the guys

And chase after girls

I’d kick it with who I wanted

And I’d never get confronted for it

‘Cause they’d stick up for me

You know what sucks? People getting paid differently for the same job because of their anatomy. You know what else sucks? Not understanding the systems behind the undervaluing of work traditionally seen as feminine.

I’m not suggesting a radical overhaul of your remuneration policies to put the cleaners on the same salary as the C-Suite – but when reviewing and setting remuneration continually challenge yourself and your colleagues:

  • Is this decision fair?
  • Does this decision consider equity? (Not always the same thing as ‘fair’), and
  • What assumptions are we making about the real value of someone’s work and them as a valued member of our company?

Oh my gosh – and now I’m realising. I could run my whole career on Beyoncé’s advice? Who knew?!

Thanks Mark – I have really enjoyed this!

HR for non-HR people, Human Resources, Leadership, Thinking differently

What’s Your HR Problem? (Or is it just you…)

HR wants a remuneration review.

HR wants to improve employee engagement.

HR wants to create a better graduate program.

HR wants to review performance management policies…

Ugh.

My problem with all this?

If it’s only HR wanting it, you may as well not bother.

You’ve got two options in your organisation:

  1. Employ a HR team to manage your legal liability, administration, check pay rates and holidays are by the book, manage recruitment… etc. Or,
  2. Be the kind of leader that prioritises ensuring you cultivate a brilliant place to work that people love and then, employ a HR team to help you and your leadership team achieve that.

If the opening paragraph of this article resonated with you (and you inwardly groaned because it all sounds so bloody familiar) I’m challenging you to consider – what if it’s not the HR team who is getting it wrong? What if it’s you?

The HR function has two primary purposes in my mind:

  • Ensure that the company is meeting its legal obligations, policies, procedures. remuneration etc. This stuff is boring critical but is crucially important for a well-functioning business.
  • Providing the leadership team with the tools, knowledge and advice so they can actualise the workplace they want for their people. This could be the cultivation of a zany, fun, creative workplace. Or a results-driven one. Or a family atmosphere. But the most critical component for me is that they enable the leadership to fulfil their mission.

What often happens instead of the latter is that either, the HR team aren’t set up for success in terms of team/experience, or, the leadership team doesn’t know what work environment they want, or they don’t think the HR team can help deliver it.

How do you figure out what your problem is?

If this is resonating with you and you recognise something has to change, I’d recommend looking at:

Step 1. Consider, where does your HR team report into?

Rather than a blanket ‘you should have a CHRO’ statement – as clearly there isn’t a one-size-fits-all structure that you can pick up and drop in – I’d challenge you to consider what your HR team’s place in the structure says about your priorities.

– Does the HR Director report to the CFO? An operational executive? Safety? What does that say about how important your people strategy is to your business?

– Do you have an HR Manager who is focused on the detail? Or someone the CEO comes to for advice, HR related or not.

– Is your HR function strategic? Has your structure been set up to give them that luxury?

Step 2. Ask yourself the tough questions:

– Are you the problem? Potentially your HR team has the capability to deliver much more than you’re currently allowing them to.

– Have you ever seen HR operate in a truly strategic capacity? If not, ask your network. What business leaders do you know who count their HR leader as one of their first ports of call when considering a strategic business decision?

– Do you really consider establishing the culture of the workplace as a priority? How much thought have you given, how much strategic planning time? How linked do you see the workplace environment to reaching your goals as an organisation?

Step 3: Conduct a HR review:

Two years ago, I completed a piece of research for my Masters on how my organisation’s shared service functions were delivering on what the operational part of the business required (and the concept of organisational drift – thanks Snook). As a part of this work I examined the literature around how shared service teams evaluate their own work, vs those they business partner with. Surprise surprise, we’re often not great at critically reviewing our own work.

Be wary of engaging a random consultant to analyse your team, instead, go with recommendations and someone who has successfully reshaped HR teams for reasons driven by the business. This can’t just be a review of your HR function either – remember, the problem could be bigger than just the team! So, as well as their capability, capacity and ability to deliver to the business, look at their remit, the support and the responsibility given to the team.

Woah! That’s a lot of food for thought. If this is something that you’re keen to talk more about I’d love hear your thoughts.

Career, Formal learning, Human Resources, SHRM, Uncategorized, Working in People & Culture

Investing in Yourself

L’Oréal says ‘you’re worth it’

Nike says ‘just do it’

And I say ‘what they said’.

 

It’s easy to go through life, be content in your job, hope for something better to work out one day but think ‘it’ll happen in time’. But it’s not that easy. Good things don’t always come to those who wait. Sometimes you need to back yourself – because if you don’t, other won’t either.

This week I spoke as a part of a panel to a fantastic group of university students about transitioning from university to their career of choice. These students had made the admirable decision to invest in themselves, and put in the hard work (and expense) and attain a graduate or post graduate degree.

Formal university education is often what we think of in relation to getting the career we want, but in a competitive employment market, it is never enough. In my years in HR it has never been the letters at the end of an applicants name that have stood out. It’s when I can clearly see how much they’ve prioritised their own learning and development, beyond what is offered in tertiary study or as a part of their employment.

When giving advice to new graduates and people looking to take the next step in their career, my advice is always similar:

  1. Study can be your friend. But consider all options.

    Many hiring managers highly value the right letters from the right school – and without knocking that, I think it’s important to consider your industry, where it’s headed and what your goals are. Want to be seen as an employment law expert? Then a Masters in HR with law as a major might be for you. If you’re not sure and just think it will be easier to land a job with an MBA? Proceed with caution.

  2. Don’t undervalue your professional association.

    I’m a big advocate of professional associations, upon relocating to Australia from New Zealand five years ago AHRI was a magic bag of opportunity and learning. Likewise, over the past 3 years I’ve been a member of SHRM I’ve been exposed to a HUGE amount of learning and professional development. Don’t forget, it’s not just the professional development you may have access to, or the certification you may achieve (both worthy elements though) – but it’s the people who will share with you and help you grow that I think are the most valuable element of a good professional association.

  3. Use social!

    You’re reading a blog right? There are so many better ones out there than this! I’m an (enthusiastic) amateur, I’ve learned so much from people in my field who share freely and offer advice, support – and sometimes even resources. The beauty of the internet? You don’t even have to attend a conference to be able to learn from it and connect with the attendees thanks to Twitter.

  4. Get outside your comfort zone.

    Scared of public speaking? Think you can’t hack a secondment within the operations of your organisation? Afraid to put yourself out there by writing an article on LinkedIn? Just do it. Getting outside of your comfort zone is the perfect way to learn new things, whether you succeed or ‘fail’ (read: learn an important lesson about how to be more effective next time).

  5. Chase brilliant people.

    The times that I’ve learned the most? When I’ve been partnered with great minds on pieces of work – an experienced nonprofit executive, a dynamic CEO, a GM who ran rings around everyone they worked with. Grab hold of roles and opportunities where you are surrounded by people who know their stuff. Because their smarts do rub off!

  6. Most importantly – provide opportunities for others.

    Good things come to those who put their money where their mouths are. Want to take the next step? Provide assistance to someone who needs theirs. My most successful moments can all be traced back to someone else believing in me, offering my advice or an opportunity (and I’ll forever be grateful).

 

 

Book review, Leadership, Working in People & Culture

Your Pet Project Is Probably Going to Fail

….but there might be some things you can do to avoid it.

 

The successful execution of a project, like the creation of any effective work environment, is reliant on the leadership of the group. In a project’s case, this falls heavily on the Project Manager (PM) and Project Sponsor.

Colin D Ellis’ first book The Conscious Project Leader is an excellent guide for effective project management, and his new book, ‘The Project Rots from the Head’ really hits the nail on the head in regards to the issues with projects today and provides a guide for how project sponsors can avoid theirs ending up with the majority of projects that fail.

What Ellis gets right, that many in the project management space do not, is that projects are primarily about people – and successful projects are fruitful because of great leadership, not budgets or task lists. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Ellis speak, and like his presentation style, the book is lively and entertaining, as well as clearly knowing demonstrating that Ellis knows his stuff. He’s passionate about people being front of mind when managing, or sponsoring a project, as it’s the people that will make it a success (or not).

Far too many times I’ve seen projects that should have been a slam dunk fail because the PM is not adequately supported by their sponsor, or worse, the sponsor has inadvertently undermined the PM’s effectiveness due to a lack of understanding of their role.

As I read the book with an HR lens, I found the lessons glaring, considering the types of projects that happen within our space, and the negative impact on the people within a workplace when they don’t go to plan (missed pays or badly planned restructures anyone?).

Ellis’ book though is not written with an HR audience specifically in mind, the lessons are universal, and due to Ellis’ easy-to-read style, also simple to absorb and apply.

Shockingly, 71% of projects fail, the Project Management Institute estimates that $3 trillion is spent annually on projects –that’s $2.13 trillion going towards failed ones each year! ‘The Project Rots from the Head’ is an excellent how-to guide, to help those that have senior leadership roles and stewardship over projects a practical way to avoid the negative statistics. The book is broken into the three key areas of project sponsorship: stewardship, decisions and results.

Ellis states unequivocally that “without strong accountability a project will fail at the first sign of trouble, time and time again.”

If you’re wondering whether this book is for you (or perhaps a gloriously suggestive New Year gift for your senior leadership team), pose yourself the following questions – which project sponsors should be able to answer:

1. What is the project vision?
2. What stage of the project are you in? (or sprint if it’s an agile project)
3. What are the outstanding decisions that need to be made?
4. What is the biggest risk to the project?
5. What is the projected cost of the project and how different is this to the business case?
6. What are the reasons for the difference?
7. What is the projected live date of the project and how different is this to the plan?
8. What are the reasons for the difference?
9. Will the benefits stated in the business case be realized?
10. If not, why not? Should the project be stopped?