HR Lagniappe

Louisiana SHRM


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The Art of Foresight: A Tool for HR in a Changing World #lashrm13 preview

signpost of timeToday’s guest post is from Mike Haberman, SPHR, who will be presenting a concurrent session at the Louisiana SHRM State Conference on Monday, April 8th entitled “7 Steps to Becoming an HR Futurist” – you can find the details here  Follow Mike on Twitter and check out his blog, HR Observations.

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If you have read HR Observations for any period of time you know that Futurism is a frequent topic. I have written about it here, here, and here as examples.  The title of this piece came from a special report published by the World Future Society called The Art of Foresight: Preparing for a Changing World. This report described tools that can be used to anticipate the future. There were 12 tools in all listed in the report. A few of them, simulations, computer simulations, scenario development and analysis, may be beyond the resources of many companies. Some of them, trend analysis, trend projection, polling, historical analysis and modeling may be beyond the interest level of most HR people. But there are four tools that all HR departments, small or large, can use and use effectively. These include:

  1. Scanning: The materials for SHRM’s certification program teaches us that environmental scanning is an important competency for the HR professional. The WFS defines it as “An ongoing effort to identify significant changes in the world beyond the organization or group doing the scanning.” Typically this is a concerted effort to survey newspapers, magazines, web sites, blog posts, newsletters and other media for changes that may have future importance. Google alerts is a good tool for this type of scanning. Pick words or phrases that you consider important to your company or industry. According to the WFS “Scanning focuses mainly on trends–changes that occur through time– rather than events—changes that occur very quickly and are much less significant for understanding the future.”
  2. Trend Monitoring: This is paying attention to trends that have been identified as being important, or potentially important to your particular company or industry. They need to be watched on a regular basis and reported to key decision makers. Be it unemployment, fashion, a particular technology or whatever, you need to determine what it is (scanning) and then watch it. Again Google alerts help as does subscribing to various trend newsletters. I read one published by Trendwatching.com.
  3. Brainstorming: Most of us have heard this term before. WFS defines it as “…the generation of new ideas utilizing a small group assembled to think creatively about a topic, such as a problem to be solved, and opportunity to captue, or a direction to take a new organization.”  Brainstorming is helpful in understanding possibilities and risks. Brainstorming can be done internally or with the help of an outside consultant/facilitator.
  4. Visioning: This consists of picturing your ideal future, often creating several possible and desirable futures. This is often the lead in to strategic planning. Again this can be done internally or with outside help.

So there you have four tools that all HR professionals and HR departments can use for aiding in anticipating the future in order to be better prepared for it.


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It’s not about HR – #lashrm13 preview

up arrowToday’s guest post is from Broc Edwards who will be presenting a concurrent session at the Louisiana SHRM State Conference along with Cheryl Gochis on Tuesday, April 9th.  The name of their session is “No Place Like Home: Changing the Organization with Eight Months of Silo Bustin’, Relationship Buildin’, Educatin’, Innovatin’, Process Improvin’, Job Shadowin’ Fun” and you can find the details here  Follow Broc on Twitter and check out his blog, Fool with Plan.

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It’s not about Human Resources. It’s never about Human Resources. HR is a means to an end, not an end onto itself. It’s about creating great business results by building phenomenally good companies by finding, hiring, developing, and supporting fantastic people so they can make the right decisions and take the best actions.

When we make it about HR we turn inward, build the walls and fill the moat, and start checking the boxes regardless of whether or not they make sense. We hide behind legislation, regulation, and policy. We focus on NOT GETTING SUED. We operate out of perpetual fear and we marginalize ourselves and our contribution. We overbuild processes and policies that weigh people down with complexity.

When we make it about getting really great business results through people (and that’s the only way to get great business results) we become inclusive, expansive, and invaluable. We are aware of and help the company meet it’s legal obligations, but we see that as the start, not the finish line. We build, honor, assist, and create. We push for what’s right and what’s smart. We hold ourselves accountable for performance, outcomes, and results. We understand that people are our customers and provide the highest levels of service. We strive to make things simple.

And we get to choose. Every day we get to choose. What are you going to choose today?


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Resolve to Be Flexible in 2013!

convo(This post, written by Lisa Horn, co-leader of SHRM’s Workplace Flexibility Initiative, originally appeared on the SHRM blog.  You will be interested to see that Louisiana is one of the 15 states that will be heavily involved with the When Work Works initiative this year!  You can follow Lisa on twitter for regular updates)

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It’s that time again when we make our resolutions for the New Year – resolutions that we may or may not keep, of course, but that we make nonetheless. As we turn the corner into 2013, here’s a resolution HR professionals should make (and keep!) for their organization: BE FLEXIBLE!

The 21st century workplace and workforce demand that organizations think about work differently.  Work, for example, is no longer someplace we go, but tasks we complete from home, the airport, or the Little League bleachers.  Work means delivering results for customers and clients, not sitting in a cubicle after the work is completed for no reason other than not wanting to be the first to leave.

The Building Construction Products Division of Caterpillar Inc., with 95 employees based in Cary, N.C., is a Sloan Award-winning worksite that focuses on results.  Here, the leadership realizes that flexibility is not only a necessity for employees to manage their personal and professional issues, but it also helps the company attract new talent, ensuring that the company remains competitive in its field.  Caterpillar Inc. focuses on results, rather than hours worked, so employees understand that as long as they get their work done, supervisors are able to support flexible work schedules without questions.

All 362 recipients of the 2012 Sloan Award for Excellence in Workplace Effectiveness and Flexibility are excellent examples of organizations that have figured out how to make work “work” for both the employer and employees.  Whether they are well-known large firms, or medium or small organizations known primarily in their own communities, they embrace workplace flexibility as a business strategy.

So whether you are wondering how to make workflex a reality for your organization in the coming year or whether your company already utilizes innovative flex strategies, resolve in 2013 to get involved with When Work Works, a joint project of the Society for Human Resource Management and Families and Work Institute.

This national workplace flexibility initiative brings cutting-edge resources, research, and best practices uncovered through the Sloan Award to HR professionals and business leaders across the country via a network of community partners.  When Work Works will be rolling into 15 target states in 2013 –Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Dakota, Washington – and continuing in California. Keep an eye out for a program near you!

Applications for the 2013 Sloan Award open on Jan. 14, providing you an opportunity to either showcase your organization’s flexible work environment or learn how your worksite stacks up against other employers. Apply online at www.whenworkworks.org.

Don’t let this resolution end up like that gym membership – unused! Flexible work is the future of work.  Your organization’s ability to compete may just depend on it.


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Employee Development is Crucial to Employee Engagement

Today’s guest post is by Craig Juengling who will be presenting a session on Thursday April 26th at the Louisiana SHRM State Conference entitled “Becoming the Employer of Choice.” You can find Craig here

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The business outcomes achieved with a highly engaged workforce can propel your company to improved market share and profitability… and a significant reduction in absenteeism, turnover, product defects and accidents. Research from Towers Watson helps leaders focus on the five most important drivers of employee engagement. This post will focus on employee development.

There are four major elements to bring a focused and disciplined process to employee development at your company.  These elements are derived from employee engagement leaders of the industry like Gallup, Marcus Buckingham, Towers Watson, Dale Carnegie and others.

  • Understand and allow your employees to use their strengths. A workplace poll taken in 2001 revealed that only 17% of the surveyed employees felt they used their strengths at work “most of the time”. I would further argue most leaders, managers and supervisors have no clue about their direct reports’ strengths, much less how to use those strengths.  You can build a more effective team by hiring people with diverse strengths and then allow them to use them as a team. When you understand their strengths and how to use them, you create an engaged employee as well.
  • Encourage professional growth and development. Most people are genuinely curious and desirous of personal and professional growth. Through conferences, coaching, mentoring programs and just being more intentional about giving people the opportunity to take on new assignments and roles, you can demonstrate to your employees how important their personal growth is to you. And while they grow, they become an even more valuable “asset” for the company too.
  • Create achievable challenges. When you challenge your employees, you show them you have higher expectations for them and how they contribute. I think you also show them respect when you see their potential. Remember to make their higher expectations achievable. If you raise the bar too high, they will smack into it. I once worked for a guy who set budgets so unrealistically, the incentive plan tied to beating budgets became a disincentive plan. Achievable challenges create the opportunity for personal growth!
  • Have an ongoing dialogue about employee performance. Don’t wait until the end of the performance review year to let folks know how they performed; make the conversation continuous. Take every opportunity to recognize the job well done and take advantage of those teachable moments.  We all want feedback and some need it more than others. Find balance in your comments, but find the time for the conversation.

Employee development is one of the most important drivers of employee engagement and you have control over it every day. When you invest in your employees, you invest in their future and yours as well.


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Top 10 Reasons to come to #LASHRM12

With anticipated attendance of 400-or-so HR professionals, there are probably 400-or-so reasons why HR folks will be coming from every corner of the state (and beyond) to the 2012 Louisiana SHRM State Conference.  But I think there are probably a few reasons we can all agree on:

1.  The conference is being held in New Orleans for the first time in about 10 years.  And even if you’re from Louisiana (or even New Orleans for that matter) it’s hard to deny that this uniquely Louisiana city has a flavor all it’s own – the ideal setting for conferences, meetings and gatherings of any sort.  Who doesn’t want to have a perfectly good excuse to tell one’s spouse, kids or significant other “but I had to spend the night carousing in the Quarter; my fellow SHRMies insisted!”

2.  There may be beads.  See Reason #1.

3.  You can go home and take great satisfaction in earning up to 11.25 HRCI recertification credits which you can enter to your online profile.  Rest easy my friends; you’re well on your way to recertifying without having to retest.

4.  You can get your HR fill of new ideas and new knowledge.  This year’s speakers will educate, engage and inspire – that’s a fact.

5.  You can hang out with our friend Bill Boorman who is traveling all the way from London to present a session.  Just wait until we see what sort of hat he wears and what sort of witty slogans he sports on his tshirts.

6.  Extra points may be awarded for the nice HR Lady/Gentleman who pulls an all nighter on Thursday and wraps up their evening at Krystal Burger at 5 AM.

7.  The CEOs of two iconic Louisiana brands will be speaking at Thursday afternoon’s general session – Hugh Weber with the Hornets may provide us with the scoop on the NBA lock-out kerfuffle and Rose Hudson with the Louisiana Lottery Corporation may be able to provide us with the winning lottery numbers.  Well, we can all dream – can’t we?

8.  The conference venue is home to Drago’s and is conveniently located across the street from Harrah’s.  This means you can have some delicious charbroiled oysters and then walk across the street to spend several mindless hours playing Jack’s or Better.

9.  You can truthfully shout “Author! Author!” during both the Thursday opening general session and the Friday afternoon closing general session.  The fabulous duo of Joe Gerstandt and Jason Lauritsen (“Talent Anarchy“) who open the conference just had their first book released.  And Scott Eblin will let all of us know how we can take it to The Next Level.

10.  There may be beads.  See #1.

So come and join us.  I know I’ll be there.  And sleep can come on the weekend (see #6).

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Today’s post is by Robin Schooling, SPHR, who is a Vice President of HR in Baton Rouge.  She blogs at HR Schoolhouse and you can also find her hanging out at Women of HR and SHRM’s We Know Next blog.  Robin serves on the LASHRM State Conference Committee so does have a bit of skin-in-the-game for the success of the conference.  Follow her on the twitter too; she tries, for the most part, to keep it suitable for workShe also begs everyone to take off their conference badge before hitting Bourbon Street.

** badge photo courtesy of Fistful of Talent