Category Archives: OD

The real test is studying

Firstly, my apologies for being absent for over a year. I am back and committed to blogging more often.

I am in the midst of obtaining my Canadian HR Designation, the CHRP. To do so, I am studying for the second exam, National Professional Practice Assessment (NPPA), and what I have learned is that studying after being out of school for a while is actually the real test. Having the discipline to put time away to study, meet others to discuss topics, and research is really the test.

Our lives and work get in the way of intellectual conversations that are about theory, reality and great practices. What I learned through my current journey is that I work at an awesome company, I work with people that work hard, and that ‘best practices’ is not really a thing. ‘Best practices’ really should be coined ‘great practices’ since they are literally taking something HR, say performance reviews, and making it great. Great performance reviews fit the company culture and create a healthy buzz and interest of the employee base. Not all companies do this, really.

The exam takes place on May 5th and I will know 2 months later if I passed. Passing would mean the world to me. It would set me free of this content so I can work towards passing an MBA Admission test. Hello Harvard or Stanford? And do you sponsor people like me?

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Workday – turning HR from 1.0 to 4.0

I would like to preface this whole blog with saying this is truly just my opinion. One that has taken me 5 months to pull together. I am currently implementing a new HCM (Human Capital Management) system (formally known as HRIS) called Workday. They are based in Pleasanton CA and darn it, they just get it.

You make a change, and its effective NOW, you chance your mind, you can undo and have a sandbox for ever and ever. You can buy their content for not so much, and have the piece of mind that an update will take you 1-2 weeks. My favorite piece, customer vote for new functionality (how freaking cool is that) and you get 2-3 updates every calendar year.

Does this remind you of anything? Facebook perhaps? Companies that just are with the times, can move quick, and listen their customers. It’s fortunate we have at least one solution in HR right now that is so innovative. Lets keep on progressing to a place where HR isn’t the policy police, but the business & employee growth & development place (my future heaven).

How do ideas mate?

Buddy systems are simply two people doing the same thing.  We have had buddy systems in kindergarten when you had to go somewhere were the teacher couldn’t go with you; you had them in high school when running outside school grounds for the Terry Fox Run.  Did you realize there are buddy systems all over the place?  Police, ambulance, doctors, work out groups, run clubs, and even powered golf carts.  They work because more people (buddies) means more ideas and as ideas get shared, they improve.  Then why is the thought of having a buddy system at work is so scary for many people?  Is it the fear of being perceived as inferior, or is it a form of creating job security?

I am fortunate to be a part of multiple teams on multiple projects, all of which are high performing.  If it wasn’t for buddy systems, sharing knowledge and releasing ownership of work, real innovation wouldn’t be a possibility.  This is the era when HR stops being the police and participates in “idea sex” (see the video!).

In my own personal opinion, buddy systems have worked in the past and continue to work.  There is no shame in not having all the best ideas.  Allow yourself and the people you work with be part of amazing possibilities.

Idea Sex – from TED.com

Business trip etiquette: just some thoughts

I am going on a trip to a conference as well for training to two separate companies.  I am interested to know what people believe is the correct dress code.  As many may know, I work for a yoga apparel company where I wear stretchy pants, tank tops, flips flops, runners, and so on all day long.  If I worked at a bank or another corporate type of environment this really wouldn’t be an issue.  Now if I am going as the guest to a conference, does that mean I need to go shopping and wear clothes I wouldn’t otherwise?

I figure since I am the “customer” in both situations that I should be allowed to wear and do as I would at my normal job.  But the question does arise – am I pushing the boundaries, does dress code really matter to the other company, and would they find it offensive or refreshing?

To make things more interesting, when we have consultants or vendors come to our office, we ask that they wear comfortable clothing (even if it isn’t stretchy pants) and have people come in wearing 3 piece suits, sweat pants, short shorts, dresses, and jeans.  Never have I seen anyone receive it as offensive if the person didn’t wear athletic wear.  What should I do?

40 hour what?

Who is to say 40 hours a week is truly the right number of hours someone should work to pull off work life balance?  I am writing this blog in the midst of working though a 65 hour week and a working through another weekend.  I have a bit of an unconventional opinion on time management.  I, like many new and young aspiring professionals, feel limited by the 40 hour work week where going above and beyond makes you look bad.  Not only do individuals struggle, but “…many employers feel work laws are strangling their ability to be flexible.”

Now consider if all new professionals were limited to a 40 hour work week with 2-4 weeks of vacation (lets assume 2), they would only receive 2000 hours of experience in a year.  Now I work for an organization that lets me have my own “time management” and work life balance.  I am able to achieve the same amount of experience in 8 months (well really 6), be recognized quicker and promoted faster.  I continue to be healthy by eating right and working out, volunteering, and spending quality time with my family.  I don’t waste time watching TV or any other unhealthy “time fillers” just because I am done working.

The war on talent that once was (and then wasn’t during the economic crisis) just a symptom on the bottle neck of how business’s are run.  Many small to medium-sized companies are able to pivot and change faster, not only based on size, but the people who are inside who have an undeniable loyalty to making the business a success.  Consider a large company that has the same loyalty and how they have taken a large part of a market away, for example Microsoft’s competitor:  Apple.

Do it your own way, RFP that is.

Recently I have been part of picking vendors for everything HR.  To speed up the process, I decided to keep the RFP part to myself and gather the information via research and one on one meetings with all vendors; this way I could assess those non-tangibles.

When I was done with the process, I decided to put the top two vendors to the test.  The one who on paper and in person seemed to blow the competition out of the water ended up not meeting our service levels and what they communicated.  I was delighted to see that the runner-up didn’t just meet my expectations, they delivered better quality, faster service, and were able to pivot on the spot for our company needs.

My lesson learned – the right decision isn’t how good you do your research, it’s based on reality.