I recently completed a book that I believe that either most business people have heard of or even read, “Good to Great” by Jim Collins. After reading the book I had a couple of thoughts that relate to HR and where I believe 2015 trends are going (thanks Forbes).
My colleagues and I talk a lot about “great employees” and how many times we lose them for the wrong reasons. However, what I loved about the book, and specifically the chapter on “first who then what,” was the notion of hiring great people even if you don’t have a role.
Like most organizations, January is the sign of a new budget approved, or the final ending of a fiscal year, which means that things usually slow down (specifically in the talent acquisition realm). However, how many times do you lose a great candidate due to timing?
Now with Gen Z coming (it is true) and Gen Y taking leadership roles, I suspect HR will need to catch up by taking less linear and more holistic employee centric approaches to both attract and retain the next two generations of our business world.
Food for thought, based on the book, Level 5 leaders start with the “who” and then go to the “what”, but as Gen Y’ers become first time leaders, they like to win (stereotype, absolutely) but they also will follow rules if it lets them win faster. So possibly, HR (and other business) processes are stopping potential Level 5 leaders in developing sooner.
Now there are three principles in the book to help you become “rigorous,” and like all things in January, there is one that sounds like a New Years resolution. “When you know you need to make a people change, act.” To put this in other words, if you see your plant dying, water it. If you don’t like the number on the scale, do something. If you want something, do something about it.
Good luck to those out there looking for great talent.
If I were to think of one phrase that makes me roll my eyes, cringe, or even laugh, it would be ‘best practice’. It’s such an HR cliché, and something that people just throw into a conversation or direction to give it some more umph. At the end of the day there are some flaws with ‘best practices.’ First, they are usually specific to an industry (and rarely disclosed). Secondly, it is usually unknown who has deemed it a ‘best practice.’ Was it a dinosaur who has liked something a certain way for a long time, and solved the issues of the 1980’s? I’m just saying. Next, ‘best’ is not equal to ‘always’ which is a common mistake of practitioners. If you think about it, how many times there is a unique situation and people (maybe even yourself) have tried to cram in a situation to fit a ‘best practice,’ and was it really the best? Lastly, ‘best’ also insinuates never needing revision, innovation, or challenge, which makes is mediocre.
Don’t get me wrong, I use the term ‘best practice’ but specific to an outcome. For example, when a manager sent out an amazing PowerPoint slide deck announcing someone moving overseas for an internal job. But I said the same thing when another manager created a tumbler countdown for theirs! It wasn’t the tool, but the outcome or intention. In HR so few times do we ask why something is a ‘best practice’ or what obstacle it solves. Usually it seems obvious, but than that’s not a ‘best practice’ its just common sense.
I challenge us, HR professionals, to undertake what it means for something to be a ‘best practice’ and sometimes its just a really good solution at your company for your culture and lastly your outcome.
Becton, Bret J., and Mike Schraeder. 2009. “Strategic Human Resources Management.” Journal For Quality & Participation31, no. 4: 11-18. Business Source Premier, EBSCOhost (accessed February 10, 2014).
Being a manager (in both role and skill) is important; this is the first installment to supporting you develop a great onboarding experience for your new employee, regardless of how much or little your company does today. This part is about the human side of onboarding, and the second one as a follow up with be about the business side.
The most common mistake I hear managers make is that they either 1) coddle a new employee for way too long or 2) drop them in the middle of the ocean to swim. Neither are good for them or the business. Here are some ideas to help a newbie feel welcome while getting their contribution right away.
1. Send a welcome email at one week prior to their start date (or at the latest the day before they start) to express you excitement, tips and tricks, and a general feel of the first day will go.
2. Day one is important for both you and the employee, and making sure you are available and visible is important. Its okay to still have meetings, but find ways to check in, invite them, and spend time going through a plan.
3. Week one check in.. A good practice is to spend a casual one-hour at the end of the week and let them do a AMA (as me anything) session.
Remember, everyone has a human side.
To move up on onwards people have this idea you need to take on more responsibility and get better results and faster. But really how is that possible? Do you see any of your senior management team or CEO running around like a crazy person trying to do more and get more done, probably not. I don’t even see directors doing that.
So why is there some idea when people are at the individual contributor level that more is better? It’s not, in fact, more is less. The more you do, the less better it becomes. It’s a cycle to keeps you at the individual contributor level. What distinguished managers from individual contributors is the ability to let go. To find someone you trust who is capable, who is driven and who will deliver. Once you pass off the work (note: pass off is not equivalent to dumping) you free yourself up to take on new and challenging work that grows you. Sometimes even then you aren’t a manager, but the ability to let go is one that great managers have. They hire great people who deliver great work.
Don’t know how to let go because you “can’t”? Think people require you do to the work you want to let go of? Here is a negotiation trick I learned early in my life, say about 13, you tell the people who want to see you succeed, presumably your boss, that if you cannot let go of the work then the opportunity to take on this new and exciting challenge just won’t be possible. Simple right! You will be surprised how well people will respond when you lay out the facts. Great managers will find a way to reshuffle, reprioritize and make a great employee (like yourself) have the opportunity to develop. Remember, your success is actually their success. Happy letting go.