HR Lagniappe

Louisiana SHRM

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Meet the #LASHRM12 Speakers – Laura Wolfe

Today’s guest post is by Laura Wolfe who will be presenting a session on Friday, April 27th.


If you have 3 minutes, sit back and relax and enjoy a wonderful, bluesy Bonnie Raitt tune called Trinkets. Saw her at the fest a few years ago and she’ll be back again this year.

Love the lyrics:

“Mom and daddies get a good idea what your babies want

To help ’em be happy…”

Change a few words and it’s smart advice for managers and supervisors – get a good idea what your valued employees want, To help ’em be happy…

Why? Because happy employees, positive employees, those in a good mood tend to be better than miserable employees at achieving some important outcomes. Science has found evidence this is the case. 🙂 Do you know what makes employees happy? Is it money, benefits, time, or the intrinsic stuff? I’ll share research, benchmarks and best practices for figuring this out.

Do you think much about the relationship between pay dispersion (pay differences within a group) and turnover? Or, whether a firm’s performance history is a factor in CEO pay decisions? I’ll throw in the latest on these questions too.

What else is new in the world of getting employees to produce at the top of their game? Recently saw this tidbit: praising for effort rather than outcome increases performance, task persistence and task enjoyment in students. Could it be the same for your employees? Do you consider or advise managers on how to praise employees?

And finally, I’m loving the work of Dan Pink, Carol Dweck and Teresa Amabile right about now.

This is the direction of my Louisiana SHRM session titled “Total Rewards and Motivation: Mistakes, Myths and What’s Working” which is scheduled for Friday morning of the conference. It is only the tip of the iceberg however, because as you know, total rewards’ relationship to motivation is a huge area of knowledge.  My challenge is culling out the most relevant and interesting for our discussion at Louisiana SHRM.

The goal is to present the latest thinking but I am pretty sure I can get some music, video and action into the session as well.  Here’s looking forward to a fabulous conference!


Laura Wolfe earned her MS and PhD in Industrial Organizational Psychology from The University of Georgia in Athens and her BS in Hotel, Restaurant, & Tourism Administration from the University of New Orleans.  Prior to starting her own firm, she worked for LSU’s Rucks Department of Management, with periodic gigs as department undergrad advisor, faculty advisor for Sigma Iota Epsilon and SHRM at LSU adviser.  Follow her blog and hang out with her at Jazz Fest.

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Meet the #LASHRM12 Speakers – Craig Juengling

Today’s guest post is by Craig Juengling who will be presenting a session on Thursday April 26th entitled “Becoming the Employer of Choice.”


Become the Employer of Choice – Focus on Employee Engagement!

What would you do with 5 to 10 extra hours in your work week, every week? Could you use it to finally finish off those projects that never seem to get done? Or, would you become the proactive leader that drives bottom line results and begins to implement your vision for what your work world could be… and finally stop the reactive circus that consumes your regular day.

The average manager spends about 18% of their day managing employees. That’s everything from hiring, firing, managing the petty conflicts but also the good stuff that comes with being a manager.  But would your performance skyrocket by cutting that 18% in half? What if your turnover dropped by nearly 50%? What if your absenteeism ratcheted down by 37%? What if the time you spent investigating and solving safety incidents declined because incidents declined by 49%? I bet you’d have a whole lot more time in your day. All of these positive outcomes can occur with the results that come from a focus on creating a highly engaged workforce!*

Employee engagement is very different from employee satisfaction. Satisfaction is a left brain rational thought process that focuses on issues like pay equity, workplace conditions, fairness of the boss and the performance review methods. It is very much a “head” thing.  Employee engagement is when you have your employee’s heart… you have made an emotional connection with the employee, their values are aligned with the company’s and they see their success being inextricably intertwined with the success of the employer.  The outcomes from engaged employees are vastly different from satisfied employees. The examples in the second paragraph are just a beginning… the engaged employee’s contributions are beyond production, they volunteer for countless projects and squelch the negativity of the naysayers.

The path to creating engaged employees is long, but amazingly inexpensive. It’s not about wooden clocks, gold watches or expensive retreats. It’s about understanding the “drivers of engagement” and how to bring them alive at your company. It’s about doing a real employee engagement survey (not a satisfaction survey) and holding yourself and managers accountable for following through on the opportunities for improvement. It’s about consistency because going from good to great takes time. It’s about understanding the tactics that demonstrate your commitment to employee well-being.

The role of leadership is crucial to creating a highly engaged workforce.  Personal buy-in AND involvement is non-negotiable; creating the vision of what the engaged workplace looks like and the employees’ role in getting there must be articulated frequently and completely. Every manager, supervisor and leader must be on the same page and speak to engagement with one voice.

Wouldn’t you love to come to work because you love where you work? How about the rest of your folks?

Over the next 15 years, 80 million baby boomers may retire, changing the demographics of your workforce forever. With nearly 35% of the workforce potentially retiring, the war for talent will become absolutely fierce. Employee engagement represents that game – changing opportunity to get out front of the competition and transform your work world.

*Research from Gallup Consulting and 12 The Elements of Great Managing by Rodd Wagner and Dr. James Harter.


Craig Juengling’s session is guaranteed to get you thinking about Employee Engagement and putting some plans into action.  At the age of 29 Craig was already running his first hospital and by the time he left that company 7 years later he was responsible for 11 hospitals in 7 states.  He then proceeded, over the course of 10 years, to build Maryland’s second largest specialty hospital system.  Today, Craig is a Professional and Executive Coach with an MBA from LSU where he also serves on the faculty of LSU’s Stephenson Entrepreneurship Institute Executive Education Program.  You can follow Craig on Twitter and find him blogging and sharing insight at The E2 Coach.