#SHRM19

#SHRM19 Q&A: Jonathan Segal on HR & Sexual Harassment

#SHRM19 is just around the corner, and one of the speakers I always make time to see is Jonathan Segal. This isn’t just because he is a genuinely delightful human being who also is a champion for animal rights. It’s also due to his exemplary knowledge and wisdom in the field of gender bias and sexual harassment and his ability to clarify complex issues for an HR audience.

I spoke to Jonathan recently to hear more about his session Sexual Harassment Case Studies.

Tell me more about why you wanted to speak about sexual harassment case studies?

We all know now that harassing conduct is both severe and pervasive. No industry is immune. Responsible employers have done even more to prevent and remedy harassing conduct since the “great awakening” in 2017. This includes strengthening policies, complaint procedures, training, etc.

Now, however, I fear that HR may have some #metoo fatigue. After all, it has been the topic de jure for more than a year. While #metoo is not the only issue for HR, it must remain top of mind. This means focusing not only on compliance but also on culture.

This program will provide guidance to HR to assist other leaders navigate the gray, receive complaints, respond to potentially harassing behavior, avoid retaliatory conduct, etc.

What motivated you to get started in law?

I grew up in a family where social justice was very important. Dr. King remains my hero. I became interested in how law could increase equality.

When I went to law school, I became particularly interested in employment law. Originally, I had considered being a plaintiffs’ lawyer. But, for many reasons, I decided I wanted to try to make a difference by working within the system, that is, for employers. A recovering litigator, I focus entirely on maximizing compliance and managing risk with an eye toward culture. I love what I do. I am quite fortunate.

What has been your most valuable lesson professionally so far?

There is no such thing as risk avoidance. In HR, it’s all about managing risk.

Avoid risk by hiring a questionable applicant? You may have a riskier termination if things do not work out. Avoid risk by not terminating an employee who should be separated? You may be creating a bad “comparator” when you terminate someone else for same or similar reasons. Plus, what damage can the employee cause while remaining employed?

Somethings are legally mandated or prohibited. But where there is legal risk rather than illegality, we must get comfortable with the gray. Afterall, sometimes the greatest risk of all is to take no risk at all.

What is your favorite part of attending SHRM?

I love the short and not-so-short conversations with HR professionals, scheduled or impromptu. I like listening to what issues HR people face day to day. I think I am a better business partner as a result.

But it goes beyond the professional. Annual is a great opportunity to meet up with people I don’t see often live but really like. It is also an opportunity to meet people I “know” from social media and get to know them the old fashion way.

What do you think attendees will be most interested in in your session?

I suspect people will be interested in how to respond “in the moment” to harassing and other unacceptable conduct, even if no complaint. This is so important and so much room for error.

I anticipate there may be questions on navigating the gray. I never expected that a large part of my counseling practice would be the “when and how” of hugs and compliments.

What sessions are you most excited about attending yourself?

So many great sessions but here are but 5 (in alpha order):

1. Steve Brown, HR Rising! From Ownership to Leadership

2. Sol Adrianna Echeverría, Doing Business Globally with Multicultural Teams: Strategies to Manage Integration

3. David Edelman, The Emotional Connection Between Your Brand and Employees

4. Jim Reidy, When Smoke Gets In Your Eyes: Legal Issues and Hiring Strategies in Era of Legalized Marijuana

5. Allison West, He Said, She Said- Now What? Tips for Effectively Assessing Credibility

What do you do when you’re not at work?

My passion outside of work is animal rescue. I have been a hands-on volunteer virtually every week for more than a dozen years. Thank you Montgomery County SPCA. In the interest of full disclosure, I am now a Board member, too.

No feeling is better than getting a shelter cat or dog adopted. I have a soft spot for the older animals, so I push a bit harder for them and, by a bit, I mean a lot. We cannot save every animal. But we save a universe with every animal we save.

To quote Anatole France: “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” In addition to the shelter animals, Scotty, Finny and Larry awaken my soul every day.

What’s the most important lesson you want attendees to your session to walk away with?

That the problem of harassment remains, and that HR plays a critical role in ensuring that our workplaces are respectful, safe and productive.

We can make a difference. We must! I hope to support HR by sharing some practical tools to make this happen.

AHRI, Australian HR, Career, Human Resources, Leadership

5 Key Takeaways From The AHRI Awards

AHRI get a lot of things right for me as an association – they work incredibly hard (every employee or volunteer I’ve met have confirmed this), they listen to their membership, and they lead with the genuinely good intent that our profession can be better and can create better work environments for others.

Last week I attended the AHRI Awards, a national event that I have never had the opportunity to go to before. It was fabulous. Not just because of the great MC (Peter Berner), performances & food – but for the great conversations and stories that were shared throughout the evening.

The “people profession”, as described by Lyn Goodear, came together to celebrate the hard work of both individuals and workplaces in bettering work for others.

Ok, ok, ok – without further ado, here are my 5 key takeaways from the event:

1. Individual awards are where it’s at

The first two acceptance speeches for the night really set the tone, both giving heartfelt thanks to their teams, mentors and managers who believed in them. It was a timely reminder that no matter how busy you are, how much you’ve got going on, the support you give those in your team will make an impact far bigger than you realise at the time.

There is amazing talent coming through in the field of HR and I’m excited about the impact and change that this will inevitably bring.

2. Diversity & inclusion is where all the cool work is happening

The HR Diversity Champion Award as a really big one for me. The Defense Force isn’t necessary an employer that I would have picked as a front runner in innovative HR practice (which I full well acknowledge may be my own denseness) but I was really impressed with Shane Cox’s work in providing career pathways for indigenous youth.

3. The numbers of people with AHRI certification are growing

I’m really enjoying the growing professionalisation of HR in Australia, largely due to the efforts of AHRI. Certification was a topic of conversation at the awards – which definitely prompted me to reflect on exactly when I will be getting my A into G on that one!

4. AHRI = genuine advocacy

A message I heard loud and clear – not just from AHRI (because what member association isn’t going to advocate this), but from volunteers, staff members, and from what efforts are recognised makes it clear, we are fortunate to have this be our professional association.

I heard multiple times from the winners in their acceptance speeches of the honour of their work being recognised by AHRI. What AHRI is doing is celebrating work that is changing the way others work, interact and experience their own work. Work that is genuinely changing peoples’ lives.

5. Conversations!

The AHRI Awards was a fabulous opportunity to get out and meet (and reconnect with) people who do great HR. Sometimes life can get busy and its easy to forget, or just not prioritise, meeting new people and listening to what makes them tick. I was lucky enough to sit next to someone who had also rejoined the workforce, and changed role, soon after becoming a parent for the first time. I got to hear about the fascinating experiences of someone who has moved into HR after a long career in energy. These conversations, among others, were a good reminder that its easy to get caught up in your own bubble and forget to take the time to learn from others.

I had such a brilliant night. Not just because of the organ (OMG THE ORGAN), the showtunes from Wicked, the Phantom, Les Mis & Jersey Boys, but because of the honour of being around people that are so brilliant at what they do that they inspire me to be better.

AHRI, Career, Human Resources, SHRM

Finding My Tribe & The Power of Multipliers

This morning I sat down for breakfast with Greg Hawks ahead of presenting at the Illinois SHRM 2018 Conference – #ILSHRM18. A completely random occurrence: both Greg and I were speaking at the equivalent Ohio conference (a fabulously run event), and upon seeing we were both going to be in Chicago, Greg suggested we have breakfast.

Greg, myself and 110 mousetraps sat down, main-lining coffee, chatting about how we’d both ended up at the Hilton Suites ahead the conference kicking off. We just didn’t shut up! We discussed conferences (how well run was #OHSHRM18?!), kids, HR, business, speaking, American hospitality (it’s disconcerting how polite everyone is here), and the amazing people we’ve met along the way.

If you asked me a few years ago whether I’d be here, bouncing around ideas with a phenomenal speaker (do make sure you check him out) in the restaurant of a hotel in Chicago where I’d been invited to speak at a conference the answer would have been a resounding hell-no!

But here I am. And the unreal nature of the situation has not been lost on me – I’m incredibly fortunate. Yes, it’s taken hard work to get here, but much of how this has all come about has been because I’m surrounded with a tribe of smart, successful, kind people, like Greg, who have been generous with their knowledge, friendship and time and paid it forward.

I worked with a wonderful human, also called Greg (Jennings), in Melbourne at the YMCA – it was this Greg (perhaps there’s a consistency with the name?) who introduced me to the concept of ‘Multipliers’ (from Liz Wiseman & ANOTHER GREG (McKeown)). Multipliers are people who believe in the concept of plenty and are all about helping others, encouraging growth and creativity in the workplace. I took to this concept quickly as it immediately resonated, providing a reference point for all those people I most admire & the way they work.

As I sit here in my hotel room I reflect that the tribe I’ve got gathered around me are all multipliers. Colleagues, past and present, friends, random acquaintances-turned-good-friends, mentors and of course the incredible #HRTribe, many whom I first met via social media, have all helped me grow, learn and be more confident in my work. There are far too many to name, but I am particularly excited that over the next 3 days at #ILSHRM18 I get to spend some time with a few of these multipliers – who probably don’t really understand the impact they’ve had on me, and others, with their approach to life.

Who are your tribe? Are they multipliers? How do you prioritise learning from, and spending time with them?

So without any further ado, a bit of well-deserved gratitude:

Thank you so much to Dave Ryan, Steve Browne & John Jorgensen who I get to hang out with this week! Thanks to Julie Doyle & the whole Ohio SHRM team for my past few days. Thanks to Andrew Morten & Mary Kaylor, the SHRM crew & SHRM Bloggers for everything (there’s a lot). Thanks to Mardi Versteegen, Andrea Martinez, Brylee Neyland & the Widex group for being a fabulous, supportive & scary smart team to work with. Thanks to every single person I worked with at YMCA Victoria – there are far too many to name here – but you’ve impacted me more than you’ll ever know. Thanks to the AHRI team for all the the education, support & leadership you show in the HR space. Thanks to the incredible network of Melbourne-based business & HR leaders that are so generous with their time and gifts.

Disclaimer: This list is by no means exhaustive, as there are many, many other people who have had a huge impact on my professionally. I’m just quite jet-lagged, forgetful and am happy to trot out the excuse of being a mother to a 1-year old to explain my forgetfulness.

I’m really looking forward to the next couple of days at #ILSHRM18, I hope that I am able to do half as much for others as they’ve done for me. I want to thank the committee, volunteers, speakers and attendees ahead of time – as it’s the hard work that you all are doing that allows me to learn from each one of you.

Thank you to my #HRTribe!

Australian HR, Human Resources, SHRM, Social Media & Learning

HR in Australia (Unlike everything else here, it probably won’t kill you)

Everything is more likely to kill you in Australia right? The snakes, the spiders, the great whites…

When I moved to Australia (from New Zealand, a rainforest-filled paradise with amazing beaches… but a small economy) I had a rude awakening – luckily this wasn’t in the form of meeting the wildlife face to face. Despite having heavily preparing for the changes in employment law I would encounter on my transition ‘across the ditch’ I realised there was a lot I didn’t know. There are a lot of facets of HR that are location-agnostic. Sure, there are legislative differences, and cultural/business practice differences. But the core of what we do is understanding both people and organisations and help them work better together – and that doesn’t change across borders. I relied on this in my move, although I think I underestimated how much there would be that I didn’t know.

Now, 5.5 years later, I’m travelling to the USA to speak about lessons learned over my time working in HR in Australia; the good, the bad & the ugly (just kidding, there’s not too much that’s ugly). I’ve learned from some amazing HR practitioners, both in Australia and internationally, I’ve benefited from some (forced) networking and getting my head around social media and I’m excited to share the lessons learned over the past few years.

In a matter of weeks I’m catching up with my SHRM friends, speaking at both the Illinois and Ohio State Conferences. Even though it was just a couple of months ago that I had the pleasure of seeing many of these superstars at the SHRM18 National Conference, I’m even more excited about this trip, reasons being;

– smaller conferences are less overwhelming (There were 22,000 people at SHRM18 – TWENTY-TWO THOUSAND!) and I find it easier to join more conversations, learn from people and you get a better chance of speaking with keynote speakers at a smaller conference

– the speaker line ups for both conferences are incredible – seriously, check them out

– even though I’ll miss my son I’ll get a good week of uninterrupted sleep – win!

I can’t wait to share my learnings and meet more SHRMers at these conferences. If you’re heading along and would like to find out about something in particular message me – I’d love to chat. I hope to see you there!

 

Human Resources, SHRM18, Working in People & Culture

Q&A with #SHRM18 Speaker, LinkedIn’s Eric Owski

Eric Owski, self-confessed sports nut, a voracious reader, traveler and above all else, a committed dad to his eight-year-old boy, leads Talent Brand & Talent Insights for LinkedIn – before that incredibly impressive role Eric was an executive at Bright (acquired by LinkedIn) where he led sales and marketing. Eric is leading the #SHRM18 session ‘Talent Intelligence: Building the Workforce of the Future’ which is getting into the detail of what we all know – your company’s cutting edge isn’t product, tech or services – it’s your people.

Eric’s passion for getting talent right comes across easily and I for one am excited to hear him speak – particularly for the passion that comes across when he discusses companies which get talent intelligence right!

Eric-Owski

What makes you tick? 

First and foremost, I’m a dad to a wonderful and curious eight-year-old boy. When I’m not hanging out with him or at LinkedIn HQ, you can find me watching a game, rooting on the Tigers, Lions, or Pistons (I’m a diehard Detroit fan, win or lose) or somewhere reading a good book. Some of my recent favorites include The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen and Return to the Dark Valley by Santiago Gamboa. Traveling is also on top of my list of favorite things to do. I love to discover new places and often seek out the art these cities have to offer.

 

What work experience has influenced your career path the most?

At my first professional job, I held six different positions in six years. It allowed me to learn many different sides of business, and to see the whole strategic picture. What I learned during that time has helped inform decisions to this day.

 

What company (other than LinkedIn) do you think uses talent intelligence the best? Why?

Using talent intelligence means that companies are leveraging real-time insights about the movement and development of talent to inform strategic talent decisions. On average, LinkedIn sees about 10,000 requests per year for insights on talent pools, competitors, and more as the pressure to leverage data to make smarter decisions, is on.  As data reaches a maturity level where even more analytics are possible, we see companies making great progress with their talent intelligence strategies.

Take Intel for example. They were facing a shortage of software engineers at Intel’s offices in Gdansk, Poland. When searching for specialized tech talent, LinkedIn Talent Insights revealed large populations of this talent pool in neighboring cities Krakow and Warsaw. Competitive insights further revealed that professionals in Warsaw were working across many different companies, whereas in Krakow it was largely concentrated in a few top organizations. Using these insights, Intel built a strategy to run a highly targeted billboard campaign in Krakow and received buy-in from engineering leadership. This campaign, coupled with a recruitment event in the area, led to a 20 percent increase in visits to Intel’s careers site.

Atlassian is another great example. Their talent marketing team was tasked with developing recruitment campaigns that target both designers and developers. Atlassian wanted to understand the size of their talent pool in desired locations, so the team turned to LinkedIn Talent Insights. They learned that for every 25 developers in the markets they were targeting, only one designer was available. Using this insight, the team was able to recommend investing a greater amount of money in a talent brand campaign targeting the designer talent pool, in order to hit their hiring goals.

 

Do you think what Intel and Atlassian have created is transferable?

Absolutely.  Over the past year, I’ve talked to a few hundred talent leaders and the questions I hear are universal. We’ve talked about using data in talent so much that we’ve almost mythologized it. The reality is, every talent leader wants to make more informed decisions. When you’re trying to figure out where to open an office, no one wants to be endlessly debating the merits of each stakeholder’s anecdotal evidence. The right insights can quickly prove or disprove someone’s thesis and it leads to more efficient and more confident decision making. I think the vast majority of talent organizations are on their way there.

 

What do you think attendees will get the most excited by with your session?

The HR industry is feeling the pressure to use data and insights in their decisions, whether that be finding talent, or retaining and understanding the talent they currently have. Ultimately, talent intelligence can help empower talent acquisition teams to tackle both the simplest and the most complex issues. Attendees will walk away understanding how they can dig into their own data and use these insights to help build and deliver a winning talent strategy.

 

You can hear Eric speak at #SHRM18, in Chicago June 17-20 (Tuesday 19th June 2.15pm). I’ll see you there!

Human Resources, SHRM, SHRM18, Working in People & Culture

Is Global HR Still Relevant? A Q&A With Brad Boyson

Brad Boyson is the Executive Director of SHRM’s Dubai office and has an impressive career history including the Mitsubishi Corporation, Royal Caribbean International and Hamptons/Emaar. In short? Brad is global HR.

Brad Boyson.jpg

Brad is a self-confessed deep diver… 8 months after being introduced to triathlons and hearing that the gold standard for the sport is the Ironman, he completed his first one in Hawaii. This “jump-and-backfill” approach to learning has stretched him careerwise as well, during the 1990s, he was fascinated by the Japanese way of doing business, so Brad studied Japanese (history, language and culture), moved to Japan and eventually ended up working for the Mitsubishi Corporation. While working in his next job for a ‘dotcom’, he concurrently completed 60% of a bachelor degree in computer science.

So it’s fair to say when Brad gets interested in something, he fully commits. This is why I’m looking forward to hearing Brad speak about whether global HR is still relevant. I’m one of the many international attendees that the SHRM Conference & Exposition attracts each year and it seems more and more that with migration and technology, HR expertise is becoming a more mobile profession.

Where does your passion for HR come from?

My passion for HR comes from my very first job as a teenager when I worked in a unionized supermarket back in Canada. When you are that age you are devoid of workplace politics and other more ‘adult’ issues. Nevertheless, the younger version of me was asking myself:  why was the union and management so fixated on each other while the key stakeholder, in my humble opinion, was the customer who was paying my salary?  I was a strange kid who subscribed to and would read the Harvard Business Review cover to cover even though, at the time, I was just a high school graduate.

What made you decide to join SHRM?

I think like a lot of people, SHRM becomes a part of your bloodstream once you take the red pill and decide that HR is your career not just a job.  I first ‘discovered’ SHRM in 1998 when, as a Canadian living and working in Canada, I decided to look outside the national HR box for career and professional development.  I quickly realized that SHRM was doing the most of any HR association in the world to advance and promote the HR profession. I proceeded to earn my SPHR in 1999.

A few years later I started to actively volunteer with SHRM in 2007 after participating in the SHRM delegation to China. In 2012 there was an opportunity to set up a SHRM office in Dubai and, as you might expect, I jumped at that opportunity.

What do you think of the current commentary in the global HR space?

I don’t want to give too much away about my session at this year’s conference, but the eureka moment seed was planted in my head when I was traveling through Heathrow airport last year and there was a book on display in the bookstore with a title that immediately grabbed my attention: From Global to Local – the making of things and the end of Globalization.  It reminded me of the book by Francis Fukuyama entitled, The End of History and the Last Man.  And I asked myself, are we really at the end of globalization? If so, what’s next, what’s next for HR?

Again, I’m hesitant to give away too much, but let me say I think we’ve made a big mistake by all too often framing HR as having two-worlds: one is an inward looking ‘domestic’ HR, and the other is an outward looking ‘global’ HR. At the highest-strategic level other professions don’t do this. You don’t have US-medicine or Canadian-law or Australian-finance, those are technical or lower order differences which do not define the ‘profession’, they define the local practices. In contrast, the profession is defined as the profession: medicine is medicine, law is law, finance is finance and … HR is HR. If ‘We’ choose to emphasize the technical aspects of HR at the expense of the higher level strategic aspects of HR, then we deserve the outcome we have always gotten: HR perceived as a secondary profession or worse yet, merely a management function.

How has your experience been working in Dubai? Has it shifted your thoughts on global HR?

I live and work in one of the most unique cities in the world – Dubai in the country United Arab Emirates (UAE). And as someone who has travelled most of the world, I’m confident of my assertation that Dubai is a real-world case study in what’s next. Imagine a place where 90% of the workforce is on a temporary work visa (akin to an H1B), imagine how that fact would change the work environment?  It might work a lot like an economy where the vast majority of workers are gig-economy, project to project, dependent-contractors. I think that’s the workplace of the future – a new category of work that fits in between the more traditional notions of employee and self-employed; a bit both.

What are you hoping to get out of the SHRM18 conference?

At the risk of oversimplifying, I always learn something at SHRM’s annual conference I and hope that trend continues.  As an employee of SHRM, most of our hours are allocated to supporting the event and hosting our coveted attendees, but if I can find time to sneak away and catch one or two concurrent sessions, I will be better for having had that experience.  And I really look forward to the international reception and encourage anyone attending from outside the US to mark that event on your daily planner. My experience has been that event is one of the best single opportunities to connect and network with all our international delegates.

Brad is speaking at #SHRM18 in Chicago this June, make sure you get along to see him:

SHRM18 Conference & Exposition

June 17-20

Brad’s session on ‘Is Global HR Still Relevant?’ 4-5.15pm Tuesday 19 June (concurrent)

Career, Human Resources, Leadership, Reflective practice, SHRM, SHRM18, Uncategorized

The Disruption of HR

Disruption doesn’t happen from the inside.

The founders of Invisalign weren’t dentists. Uber wasn’t created by Taxi drivers. Airbnb wasn’t created by hoteliers. And yet now they dominate their industries after completely upending them.

The digital disruption means that everyone’s specialty is at risk of being toppled by someone else. Someone that doesn’t know your business and industry as well as they did. But it turns out that’s an advantage. Because they’re not constrained by the same limitations you place on yourself.

I’m fascinated by speakers in the disruption of HR, of how we treat people within business.

Over the past month I’ve been soaking up some gems from a few people who are the very thought leaders (without making you sick with an over-used term) who I believe will take HR where it needs to go to deliver on what the world of work needs in the future.

The futurist

I am lucky enough to know the fantastic Alex Hagan – Alex is the founder & CEO of Kienco, a workforce strategy consultancy based in Melbourne who works all over the world and as well as being generally excellent at what he does, is a lovely human. We got talking about the future of HR the other day.

The discussion centred around the ‘old guard’ (AKA those who live for policies, procedures, control and to say ‘no’), and the opportunity and responsibility of nurturing those who see the real value-add: to provide strategic people counsel and guidance to help organisations flourish along with the people within them. The ones who will guide the HR profession into the future, when the ‘no’ crowd’s value is superseded by apps and automation.

The Dr of Change

I went to a fascinating breakfast learning session the other week (often an oxymoron) where Dr Josephine Palermo spoke on the cultural disruption an exceptionally large telecommunications company in Australia – Telstra – is facing as it expands over borders and moves into becoming a technology company – rooting it’s change in the customer experience. I know. Customer experience. It’s so overdone. But what got me excited about hearing Josephine speak was this was real.

The key takeaway for me? That we need to move away from ‘best practice’ – there’s no such thing when you’re looking at such new concepts and changes. What you should be aiming for is ‘emerging practice’ and knowing your business well enough to create a fail fast safe environment.

This really resonated with me – it speaks to the core of what HR needs to understand, live and breathe and then teach others to do. If we’re all about people – then we should be modelling great change, understanding the people in our organisation (and by extension, our customers), and helping the business deliver on what’s required to meet our goals.

The Social Movement

I’m so fortunate to be a part of the #SHRM18 blogging crew – but what’s cooler about this than me being stoked to be a part of it is the company I get to keep. HR is a social beast and to continually improve we need to surround ourselves with people that do it differently, people that do it better, and learn and adapt and share what we know to help make work better – because isn’t that what we all want?

To be a part of the social movement making HR better I’ve got some brilliant recommendations of where to go:

  • (self promotion alert) check out the phenomenal crew of #SHRM18 bloggers – they’re all on Twitter and there’s also some great individual blogs that you can follow. It’s easy to set up a feed rather than subscribe to them all if that’s your thing? Feedly is a great resource to get all your blog/article/website articles in an easy-to-read magazine style one stop shop.
  • Definitely get onto HR Open Source. They are freaking awesome. What could be better than a community of people just like you (if you are also fantastic) who want to make HR and work better for everyone? There’s a tonne of crowd-sourcing of HR challenges, sharing of resources and just a great sense of community.
  • Soak up some podcasts. On your way to work? You can totally learn while you’re doing that. Check out:
    • Drive Thru HR (so good – and heaps of content!) hosted by @MikeVanDervort it is seriously good stuff.
    • HR Happy Hour – hosted by some of the best in the business @SteveBoese & @TrishMcFarlane.
    • Impact Makers from @JenniferMcClure – this is a new one but Jennifer is AWESOME and you should definitely check it out.
    • We’re Only Human – HR is about people, and Ben (@BenEubanks) is a phenomenal interviewer who has one of the longest histories in HR/work podcasting out there. Highly recommend.
    • Business, Life & Coffee @joeyvpriceHR, the CEO of Jumpstart:HR is an excellent interviewer and really expands your horizons with some really interesting business leaders and a wide variety of experts.
    • Talking People & Tech from @DaveGass & Jared Cameron looking at the intersection of HR & Technology.

(There are so many more I could go on about – but often I find out about a really good one from listening to another – it does become a bit of an addiction).

  • Get into the HR Book Club – it’s not too late! From the HR-famous (yeah, that’s a thing) @LRuettimann herself. Laurie also has an excellent Vlog series that you can access on her website.

So what do we need to do? Keep asking questions, soak up all the knowledge you can, and as you’re figuring it out make sure you share so we can all learn from you too!

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.

#SHRM17, Career, Human Resources, Working in People & Culture

Heading to #SHRM17 as an International Attendee?

Last year I attended SHRM for the first time – it was spectacular!

Attending as an international delegate, the scale of the conference was mind-blowing – much bigger than anything I’ve attended in Australia or New Zealand. I was surprised with the number of international participants, but to be honest the biggest takeaway for me was the calibre of attendees and speakers alike.

This year the conference is in New Orleans – somewhere that would be amazing to get to!

SHRM17StreetSignLOGO

It wasn’t just the keynotes either (although they were pretty spectacular all round) – the value I got from the other attendees – in particular, the organisers, volunteers, bloggers and the people I met in the lunch lines was the absolute highlight. Being able to share in their enthusiasm for rethinking how we engage with people in our organisations and witness the evolution of HR was career changing.

As a first time attendee I relied a huge amount on the SHRM Blogger articles and the guides published on the conference website. The scale being much bigger than anything I’d interacted with before was a little (edit: a lot) daunting: multiple streams, concurrent sessions, a large venue, all meant that relying on advice from the experts in planning my time was invaluable.

Things to consider for international attendees?

  1. Check out the international lounge – you will meet a huge variety of people and it’s nice to have a ‘base’ to work from.
  2. Read up on the SHRM Blogger articles. These are the people to take advice from, veteran SHRM attendees and new additions alike, they’ve scoped some of the hottest speakers and expo attendees and will point you towards all the hidden treasures of the conference.
  3. The Smart Stage is absolutely the place to be when you’ve found yourself with a bit of time (and there’s undoubtedly a number of speakers that you want to schedule into your conference time too) – but the ‘aha!’ moments I had when just sitting down for half an hour were some of the highlights of my SHRM16 time.
  4. Plan plan plan! No you don’t have to plan down to every minute (unless that’s your thing – then go nuts!) but make sure you’ve had a good look through the schedule and find your top picks – the venue is big and if you have a must-see you don’t want to miss out because that session was at the other end of the venue or you got lost (see step 5 for getting lost).
  5. Make use of the friendly volunteers. Unless you’re a conference location savant you will be thanking your lucky stars for the hundreds of volunteers who will point you towards the bathrooms with the smallest lines, direct you to your next session and let you know where the lost property stash is for that bag you left behind!
  6. Get on to the message boards – there are the official SHRM ones you get access to with your ticket, but there will also be numerous Facebook groups spring up where people will organise dinners and you’ll hear about events happening over the time of the conference. If you’re not one to normally get out of your shell make this the exception – I’ve never met such a welcoming group of people as at these events, some who have become wonderful friends.

The most important thing to do though? Have fun! Open your mind and listen to a few speakers that have different points of view than you. Make it a mission to speak to as many different people as you can and make the most of what will be one of the best professional learning experiences you can hope for.

 

This blog post was first published at the SHRM blog for the #SHRM17 conference.

Difficult Conversations, Human Resources

Getting Uncomfortable in HR: Adapting to our Changing World

This article was first published at Blogging4Jobs.com

We hear it a lot: the world of work is changing. Often we hear it at the beginning of a big sweeping statement about how we need to become more ‘responsive’, more ‘agile’ and that because Google, Facebook and Snapchat are doing something new with their approach to employment then you should be too.

At first I thought this was another one of those ‘Death of HR’ things (google that phrase – you’ll have fun for hours) – but then after a bit more research, reading and interviews I realised that I’d been looking at it all wrong.

We shouldn’t just throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater because everyone else is ditching their performance reviews (or whatever everyone’s talking about at the moment) – we at least need to look into what they’re replacing it with, how they’re supporting their people in the change and does throwing the baby out work for us in our context? But when the research stacks up we do have to start thinking differently about how HR happens and what value we add as the people-people of the organisation.

I recently spoke to Michael Haywood, co-founder of LiveHire, about the changing world of work and how HR needs to adapt. It was really satisfying to speak to someone who, instead of waxing lyrical about an inevitable need to change (really? Of course we need to change and evolve, calling it out as a new trend is decidedly old) he focused on what has already changed, what changes are probable, and what the world of work, and HR, needs to think about to respond.

Michael and the team at LiveHire are part of a new wave of antipodeans taking on the world through innovative solutions to changes in the world of work, joining HROnboard, Atlassian and Culture Amp in global domination. Much like the globalisation of the workforce, HR solutions are going international too, proving that geographic location is in no way a barrier to the world of globalising HR.  As a New Zealander, it’s great to see colleagues in the USA be able to access some of our best and brightest (well… some of Australia’s best and brightest, but we’ll take some of the credit due to proximity,) as we’ve enjoyed HR solutions from the USA for years.

Globally our issues are similar – managers are worried about the next generation and how they ‘just don’t get it’ #socratessaiditfirst, we have increasingly diverse and contract-based workforces, and we’re all transitioning from wanting to do HR differently to needing to do it differently.

Social media & the internet are great playing field levellers: knowledge-based workers can now be in far more control of their destiny through identifying potential employers, being able to find the good, the bad and the ugly out about them online, before using user-centred platforms to register their interest and put the ball in the employer’s court.

HR practitioners in knowledge-based workplaces need to respond accordingly. It’s not just a matter of using a few new buzzwords, it’s getting comfortable with changing some of our fundamental assumptions born from the way we have operated in the past. And then, advocating for, and leading change within those organisations that are slower to adapt to make sure they don’t get left behind.