#SHRM16, Career, Working in People & Culture

A Kiwi Who Lives in Oz Takes on America!

I’ve had an amazing time in the USA (just like last time) – but there are some things that I just can’t get used to. Nothing negative, but there certainly are some differences between the USA and Australia/New Zealand!

I’m here for the #SHRM16 conference, some work and also holidaying with family – so I’m getting to see a bit of this awesome country.

 

Things that have made me, or those around me, face palm:

  • Where is the coffee I’m used to? I’m now detoxing.
  • Why is everyone so nice? It makes me feel uncomfortable when everyone you meet is so darned helpful!
  • Californians texting/facebooking/on the phone while they drive! (Definitely is a negative for me).
  • Drying everything in a clothes dryer – don’t your clothes shrink? And you miss out on the feeling of air-dried clothes which is the best!
  • Alcohol is so cheap in the USA (scratch that: everything is cheaper).
  • Tipping – it’s a constant struggle for me to math it up.
  • Australian/NZ humour is much drier, I’m constantly tripping myself up saying things I think are clearly jokes but are not translating so well.
  • Kiwi’s earn 42% less (but also spend 63% less on healthcare, 72% less likely to be in prison and experience 19% less of a class divide (CIA World Fact Book).

 

And the things that remind me of home:

  • The beaches in California – mmmm the smell of the sea!
  • Hotel rooms look the same everywhere #corporateart
  • Sometimes in Australia I can’t understand what people say if they’ve got a thick accent, it’s still true in the USA!

 

I have to admit… I was dubious about how I would find the USA – but I love it. The people are lovely, the place is beautiful, and the ultimate seal of approval? I love how many dogs I got to pat, because everyone seems to have one, in California.

 

Leadership, Personal brand, PKM, Thinking differently

Psych Assessments and Personality Profiles: Worth It?


This week’s post is a result of a question submitted through Engage Learn Build. It’s a question I get asked frequently in various forms – from executives looking to evaluate their team or a new hire, managers who feel they should be using psych assessments but don’t know where to start, right through to friends who are wondering what on earth the correlation is between a seemingly random request for a psych assessment midway through the recruitment process.

My response to these questions varies greatly on the why:

  • Why is the decision maker wanting to engage in a psychological assessment or personality profile?
  • Will the tool that is being suggested actually help answer that question? (Quite often the answer is no…)
  • And finally, does the decision maker actually know how to interpret the results, or do they have someone on hand to walk them through the process? (Again, quite often the answer is no).

Question:

Hey Renée, as a leader, the most valuable learning I’ve done has been about myself. Tools like MBTI,  360 feedback mechanisms and TMI profiles (IE creator / innovator, concluder / producer etc) have all made me much more aware about how to get the best out of others, but most importantly made me much more self aware of my own strengths and weaknesses and helped me out plans in place to compensate.

How do you rate the different tools out there for leaders looking to be more mature and self aware in their approach to leading others and what traps and pitfalls should they look out for using those tools?

– Damo

Answer:

I totally agree, I think there is a time and place for these tools (which I geekily love) and I get heaps out of them too. I think for me the key is context. If you’re someone who can go out and take what they need from these types of tools, apply it etc. then it is less important, but I often see people engaging with tools (either themselves or with their teams/organisations) and then not contextualizing it and making it mean something for the individual/group.

Most people don’t naturally do this (it is a skill highly related to EQ) – but as a leader, when engaging others in this space, the context is everything. Ideally these tools should help inform a broader plan rather than be the plan. As for preference I personally have gotten the most out of 360’s, especially when it is a goodie. The Human Synergistics LSI tool is pretty decent and I really like Facet5. Although if you’re looking at team dynamics rather than individual development I’d lean more towards personality trait profiles (MBTI, DISC are all much of a muchness in my opinion) because they’re easy to understand and focus people on understanding how they relate to others – and others relate to them, which when you’re trying to get a team to work together is pretty critical.

The big trap is the idea that any one tool (or often, consultant selling that tool) has all the answers. While most tools are supported by good theory there is a lot of room for error and an element of subjectivity in analyzing results. Some assessments have been developed with sales people in mind for example, where extroversion is an asset – where someone who is trying to cultivate a collaborative leadership style might rate badly but actually still be really effective in their substantive.

My readers might have differences of opinion when it comes to some of the psych and personality tools I’ve listed. But I maintain the most critical part of the equation is the ‘why’, and if the organisation or the manager concerned hasn’t got that figured out then I’d suggest that any of these tools are next to useless.

Working in People & Culture

Why Work in HR?

Guest post from Helen Sabell

The Benefits Of Working in Human Resources

A career in Human Resources can offer a wealth of opportunities within all business sectors. The HR industry has undergone a significant transformation, it is competitive and an essential part to any successful organisation. HR professionals are often involved in the execution of fundamental business change and on a daily basis liaise with senior management to coordinate their company’s performance.

Talent Development

There is a mentality within HR to be continuously growing and learning new skills and techniques. You will take pride in creating new training initiatives that you and your affiliates will utilise in order to maximise your professional skills in key performance sectors.

Challenging

Companies and their models are constantly evolving. As our workforce progresses, businesses are being required to attract and engage with new generations of employees. Human resources handles this area in order to ensure the business is continuously developing and employing proficient professionals. The HR department has a crucial role in implementing changes whenever a business goes through major developments, such as restructuring or mergers.

Variety of Tasks

This of course depends on the size of the company but you will be working on a variety of different tasks. These could include training and recruiting, interviewing, pensions, resource management, benefits analysis, payroll, redundancy, compensation to implementing employment law.

Workplace Opportunities

Ultimately, this gives you an opportunity to find the best workplace best fit for your personality but also career goals. You could work for schools, to small business firms, or major corporations as they all have a high need for HR professionals. Once you have the experience and essential skills you can take them to any organisation worldwide.

Working With People

Most significantly this job role requires a great level of interpersonal skills. You will be required to work with new hires to the leaderships teams meaning your communication skills will be utilised on a daily basis. So, why do you want to work in HR? The motivation is usually working with people. Employers look for candidates who are good with people and this quality is crucial in Human Resources. It is paramount that you genuinely care about the well-being and development of your employer’s employees which results in close working relationships with people across the whole business.

Author Bio

Helen Sabell works for the College for Adult Learning, she is passionate about adult and lifelong learning. She has designed, developed and authored many workplace leadership and training programs, both in Australia and overseas. Helen also works with a select group of organisations consulting in People Management & Development, Education and Change.