Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Motivational Mapping


The art of establishing Employee Engagement has been a Slow Train Coming.....

We've adopted buzzwords and put others to bed. We've seen technology impact frequency and pats on the back are now covered with a strategic glove. Things don't change with rapid pace but the more we investigate the more we tend to find one common denominator to organizational excellence:

COMMON SENSE

Today, we will examine your employees personality types and design an all-encompassing engagement strategy. It may just be the last blog post on #EmployeeEngagement that you will ever have to read.

The Behavioral Science of Intrinsic Motivation will tell you that your employees inhabit one of the following Professional Personas:
  1. The Controller - one who seeks the autonomy to control their own success (without political interference).
  2.  The Test Taker - one who wishes to measure personal development through certification and/or training.
  3. The Difference Maker - one who seeks a greater purpose in their work.
  4. The Achiever - one who wishes to elevate through results.
  5. The Socialite - one who seeks a social connection at work.
Historically, an organization would cast an employee to fit one of the above behavioral characteristics through job description. But, things are not longer that simple. Many employees now view competition in tandem with collaboration. Climbing the ladder no longer happens at the expense of another. Everyone seeks knowledge for the sake of making the organization better, but reciprocity is a reality.

Providing a scale for talent development means you take a path to success and cut it in 5. Now, one's ability to accelerate within your organization takes on a multi-perspective landscape where there was once only a straight line.

The Questions Surface:
  • How can we measure cultural impact?
  • Does certification ensure development?
  • Does community development improve loyalty?
  • Is compensation more important than benefits?
  • Does socializing with co-workers actually improve workplace engagement?

Ask a priest to prove to you that there is a god and you'll likely hear:

When You Believe There Is No Need For Proof

Such a response does not satisfy the non-believer. In a similar vein, there are those who do not believe that rewarding someone for "doing their job" should be an extended benefit. Fortunately, we've arrived in a time where almost everything can be measured.

Be A Coffee Bean

Life is a boiling pot of water. Employees can be:
- a carrot
- an egg
- a coffee bean

The carrot gets soft when over-exposed to boiling water.

The egg hardens

But, the coffee bean resonates within the water and turns a bland liquid into a life-altering beverage.

Any person has the ability to completely transform their environment. Most, however, react to the very human workplace by allowing it to squash them or by rendering themselves indifferent to any and all opportunities for development.

A Learning Experience

"When you are willing to say you don't know the answer the only path is to learning"
- Laird Hamilton

Organizations tend to view training as a necessary means to disseminate content for the sake of appeasing a requirement. For this reason, many organizations archive content in learning management systems without a path for advancement or a higher purpose in the learning process. You can develop a thousand courses but if employees cannot access them or do not understand why they matter..... your archives will gather dust.

Have Your Cake.... and eat it too

Most organizations have a regimented Total Rewards model that informs an employee of the benefits of their job and how to maximize their income. Again, we create a checklist where there should be a graphic novel.

Insurance and a paycheck are an expectation, not a motivator.

Every one of your employees wants a path to engagement....

through controlling their own destiny with the opportunity to learn every day in a place where their efforts might just change the world.           

Don't Forget to Remember,

Dave

Monday, September 9, 2019

Intrepreneurship

As one who has dedicated the better part of his life to finding the Holy Grail of Employee Engagement, I am consistently in the trenches trying to find what works and what needs to change. This requires 4am conference calls with other regions of the world, speaking at and attending conferences of various disciplines and driving technical deployments that are massively complex in scale. Every day presents new challenges, every organization wants something different and no concept seems impossible to bring to reality.

The studies that promote global employee dissatisfaction are flawed. The method for research is outdated and the means by which information is collected/benchmarked are disingenuous.

Those of us who have conversations with corporate business leaders and those who serve them every day have developed solutions for gaps in performance, but it all remains based in the Human condition:

People want to work for a cause they believe in
People want to believe that their effort makes a difference
People are no longer willing to be bullied into keeping a job

With the above in mind, I proposed a road map for building an organization's Employee Value Proposition to a group of Human Resource professionals earlier this week. To my shock, one workshop attendee stood up and said:

We are willing to train our employees but only to the extent of their job requirement. If they learn anything more, they will leave.

... This is an extremely misguided construct that (unfortunately) was not unanimously disputed.     

We live in a time when individual employee brands are stronger than those of the organizations for which they work. In the gig economy, employees of all ages are finding comfort in short term employment and are willing to adjust their lifestyles accordingly. Respect for tradition is rampant, obedience to authoritarianism will not be tolerated.

Seeing a member of a major technology company's sales enablement team emphasize the concept of Intrepreneurship to our workforce last week made all the sense in the world. She focused on the following as a means for employee development:
  1. Co-Creation
  2. Mastery
  3. Leadership
  4. Competition
This format for employee development hits the scale of intrinsic motivators. Is it disappointing that this came from a Sales Enablement Leader and not from HR?

The alpha-male constructed rules for advancement are dead. Micro-management is over. Competition has taken a backseat to collaboration. Idea generation is now social and no longer confined to silos.

In short, people who do great work, climb! Politics are no longer an excuse for promotion...and we have all-accessible data to validate the climb!

As organizations, we are called upon to provide learning and advancement opportunities for employees at all levels. Advancement applicable to core-job-function, and beyond that, soft skill enhancements for the sake of Culture Building and Leadership Development.

Employees now have the opportunity to:

  • Contribute to organizational development (regardless of their pecking order).
  • Master the core-function of their given position at their own pace.
  • The ability to develop as a professional beyond the control of their manager.
  • To be promoted by the pure virtue of their effort, creativity and degree of collaboration.

It's here. The time is now. Lead, Follow or Get Out of the Way!

Don't Forget to Remember,

Dave   
      

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

The Lucky Ones


"The difference between a good poet and a bad one is luck" - Charles Bukowski

The climb to success has peaks and valleys. There are points when we over-exert ourselves only to run into walls, other times things just seem to fall into place. There are times when our faith is tested prompting us to take action as a means to control our fate. Some times we push too hard. Some times we lose sight of what is important.

I've been writing a personal motivation blog for over a decade, but I don't consider myself to have an insight specific to others. I've also been very lucky. Some of us are born with opportunities, others have to earn them.

Having faith is often a blind turn. Don't be afraid to allow room for luck. Faith is a process of submission and there are those who do not like to relinquish control. Somewhere between mastery and failure, a little bit of luck never hurts.

In each day our willingness to fail can be built as much by our ability to heal as it is our pure skill. Self-confidence is as much an affect of experiencing the worst as it is achieving our personal best.

We can train and prepare and anticipate and adjust. The ever-slight bounce in our direction should be cherished. If we acknowledge that there is luck in everything, it makes our failures more digestible. There will be days when someone is just better than you, but you will catch up to them. It might take 10 days or 10 years but the playing field always levels.

The greatest hits are a centimeter away from a strike. Some people barley catch passes and others nearly miss them. There is the big throw that was an inch too high and the shot that bounced twice and missed. Luck has it's place in everything.

You'll win some and lose some. There will be moments after you made the winning play when you find a corner to breath a sigh of relief. There will be times when you believe you have let everyone down, when in fact, you have lifted them up. Some times those who show heart win a thousand little wars without winning the battle. Some times the loser gains ground on the winner. If winning only brings you relief you may be playing the game for the wrong reasons.

Chasing luck is a fools game. Seizing the opportunity given you turns the lucky into the superior skilled.

Don't Forget to Remember,

Dave    

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Monday Funday


For years I've questioned research that reflects 3 of 4 people dislike their job. From the trenches in Silicon Valley, I'd say the majority of the people with whom I work enjoy what they do. Sure, we'd all prefer to be on the beach but sand between your toes gets annoying too. Most people when asked aren't going to jump for joy at the prospect of explaining "what they do (for a living)". Still, we all get up, get out and make it work.

I'd say disengagement doesn't necessarily spell complete disdain. I am of the opinion that human beings are reasonable enough to accept their working contract and make the most of it.

Call it Engagement or Happiness or Purpose: there are a few very simple steps in the ladder to finding a way to Love Mondays.......

Believe In The Buzz
I remember my first International Sales Meeting at my first real job. I was mesmerized! I held those up on stage presenting in the same light I did Iggy Pop or Jerry Garcia. They were Rock Stars with a mission they believed in and a whole lot of verbal confetti to go along with it. I recall being at the bar talking to a few of the more seasoned salesfolk who politely kept from rolling their eyes as I re-read my notes.

With experience tends to come apathy. But the more you allow yourself to believe the corporate speak, the closer you'll get to achieving your goals. At the very least, let the kids believe in it!  

Love Your Boss
I've had 3 bosses for whom I knew I couldn't work. They replaced people who hired me with all the grace of an alcoholic step-dad. Not only did these individuals not support my career path, they genuinely disliked me. People don't leave companies they leave managers who have replaced the managers who used to like them.

If you and your boss have a common mission, success is certain. If your boss hates you, QUIT!

There is nothing worse than going into a job you hate. If your boss was brought on to deter your success, enjoying your job will be difficult!

Don't Be Annoying
The aforementioned boss hatred was likely deserved. I used to be the guy in the room who opposed every point for the sake of doing so (turning a 30 minute meeting into a 2 hour meeting).

We all want to make an immediate impact on any organization we join. Here's how to do that:
  1. Hit your revenue goal
  2. Follow leadership direction
  3. Be a good teammate
  4. Shut your butt with a coconut
 In contrast, here are the ways to drive yourself directly to the doghouse:
  1. "Replay All" to emails with "ideas"
  2. Consistently share information that doesn't apply to the tactical line to production
  3. Ask a ton of questions or comment at length in team meetings
  4. Make your Manager's job harder   
Focus on You   
If you are failing at your job it is the direct responsibility of one individual:

YOU

Keep your head down and do work that benefits goal attainment. Don't gossip. Don't listen to workforce veterans about "the way things are done around here". Don't feel that you have to share to contribute. Do not compare yourself to others. If you are going to question the current state of things, you better have data and action planning to support your suggested re-direction. Separate yourself from negative people. Don't pretend to be smarter than you are. If you are wrong, own it. Get better every day.

Don't Forget to Remember,

Dave

Friday, August 9, 2019

The Fast Lane to Failure


I have the rare privilege to observe organizational culture from the periphery. In essence, I am trusted to visit historical constructs and identify areas of concern.

It gets easier every day.

Whether it is my work with college students or global corporations, there are a few very certain red flags that assure broken culture:
  • The loudest voice is the negative voice
  • Any iteration of change is viewed as enemy
  • Tenure is automatically associated with influence
  • Excuses are given greater attention than performance

I had a ton of success very early in my career. I wasn't great at my job, I was simply unwilling to fail. Sooner or later, reality caught up with raw motivation and I had to learn to adapt. I struggled with the intensity of a baby having his toy taken away. I abused my social clout to shade my inability to perform. I don't lack sympathy for those in a rut, I've been there and it sucks. One usually works their way into a rut when they lose focus. 

As I abused my social influence to gain validation from my peers, one unspoken truth hung over every conversation like a chandelier:

I knew I wasn't evolving and I was unwilling to take action.  

Organizations with entitled cultures always fail. For some, the fall is more-gradual, but those who empower inadequacy only deter those willing to try.

There a million different ways to accomplish your goals. If there was a silver bullet to success, everyone would be successful. There is, however, a laser-tight way to fail....

If you allow negativity any audience, your odds for success grow less-certain.     
We can be guided by our lack of willingness to give in to the things that distract us.

I've never met anyone with a bad attitude who has been successful. The great news is that negativity is fixable.

People who present themselves as negative may just be having trouble framing their intensity. Their intentions may be good, they may just be allowing their drive to look like a car wreck.

You might choose to surround yourself with people who validate your negativity. But. here's a newsflash:

They are not laughing with you, they are laughing at you. 

The more your negativity fills the room, the easier it is to ignore. 

If every day you wake up with the intent of replacing challenges with action planning, you will win the day.

If you enter the day under the impression that the day is going to suck.... it will!

Don't Forget to Remember,

Dave  

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Tracking Employee Lifecycle


We who study Employee Engagement are consistently looking for trends in hiring and the direct effect on retention. The Human Resource landscape is slippery, no other profession is tasked with such a diverse cycle of management skills. The ability to find great talent, train, engage and promote are an unenviable set of tasks. Recruiters mirror sales people, Total Rewards professionals have to have an acumen for numbers and the disparate technologies that represent the progression from hiring through promotion can make one's head spin.

So, we stare down the inevitable:

How do we create an synchronized strategy from recruitment to retirement.... ????

Let's start with the job market....
As a new generation of talent enter the workforce are expectations changing? 

Are those escalated in age better equipped with irreplaceable experience?

Is a recession coming?

Do elite talents have any interest in job hopping?

Those who are great at what they do are probably not interested in switching jobs and there are others who simply do not have the proper qualifications. So, staffing professionals are tasked with finding people who are qualified, able to engage and humble in their entry level financial expectations. 

Prospective employees have a few simple expectations:
Sounds simple enough but the ability to pull together these traits under a common mission is difficult. Companies are often great at producing quality products but lacking in employee development. Again, our staffers are called upon to sell the good qualities of the company while side-stepping what isn't working.     


Sustaining Engagement....
Getting them in the door is one thing. Delivering on promises is another.

Once employees are trained they need to develop the confidence to acclimate to the culture. Our extended HR team has to sustain the attraction of the hiring process with technology that is accessible and intuitive. HR is then called upon to make sure there is a vessel for strong manager/employee communication while keeping leadership abreast of the action in the trenches.

Take inventory:
  • Does training scale to specific functional traits while enhancing soft skills?
  • Is your Human Capital Management technology integrated and engaging?
  • If employees and managers aren't on the same page, how will you know?
  • Does your CEO recognize general employee goals?
Train, Reward, Challenge and Eliminate Silos!
     
Seeing departures before they happen.....  
If exit interviews are part of your engagement strategy, you are a step behind. The popular counter is to have HR integrate "stay interviews". If you need to administer a survey for employees to validate your existence, your workplace relationships might be fractured. 

Managers should have an accountability plan for their employees that is more parts celebration of achievement than calling out deficiencies.

Recognize in public, discipline is private.

If in every day you leave people with a firm understanding of what is working and where they need development, there is no guess work. People know when they haven't performed to their fullest potential, calling them out twice a year doesn't work.

Ask yourself: do our hiring enticements continue through our day-to-day engagement propsition?    

We all just want to represent something we believe in among people we respect and an ever-evolving challenge cycle complete with rewards at every step of progression.

Don't Forget to Remember!

Dave  

Saturday, August 3, 2019

We Are Not Giving Up


With all the difference that surrounds us at the moment it is getting difficult to avoid disengagement.

The political climate is crippling us. Everyone has a published opinion. Negativity seems to have won. We are seemingly further from one another than we've ever been.

What happened to us? What happened to love? Where do we go from here?

My life moves in uncommon contributions to humanity (some more inspiring than others):
The aforementioned assumptions would mean that the work to which I've dedicated my life is a huge waste of time. Good thing I believe none of it!

The wonderment in everything we do remains firmly planted in a simple ideology:

The easiest thing in life is to disbelieve and join the negativity

But, not us, we're not going to let that happen!

In spite of all the practice we've had, it's time to relinquish arms in an effort to get a little closer.

There are people who will advise that life comes down to a few crucial moments. I think life comes down to a few songs.

Let's explore the leadership ideology of Kate Tempest in a time when leadership is defined by those bold enough to stand up for their belief that humanity is at our best when we are not divided

I felt it clawing at my clothes like a grieving friend

Getting old sucks: You think you've learned all you can, your body breaks down and your worries are kept silent in your bedroom at 3am. We hide from expressing our vulnerability for the sake of keeping up defenses, choose a side and use our emotion to fuel aggression. Maybe we could acknowledge that we are all dealing with the same frustration. Are we pretending to be too busy to admit we could use a little help?

The other part about getting old is that your friends begin to die. Last week, I lost another friend.

There is no way to tell a person that their hang ups in the moment are not worth their agony. Indeed, we tend to power through the difficult human struggles to get past them. We look at the faults and failures of others as something that didn't happen to us then count our blessings. What we don't realize is that our friends failures are distinctly our own.

We just don't care enough. Embracing the short comings of others would only serve to bum us out.

What The Fuck?

More empathy, less greed, more respect 
... you heard it from yourself when you were lying in your bed (and couldn't sleep), thinking:

Couldn't We Be Doing This Differently? 

It's hard helping people who need a friend. We tend toward celebration more than picking a friend up off the floor. People keep their heads down and their hackles up.

The worst advice I ever received was: you have to look out for yourself

That's backwards. Those who put their personal privilege last so as to engage others always win. There is little competition in doing the hard stuff. 

Think of the last time you talked to a friend who genuinely cared about your struggle. I'd venture to guess at the times when you really needed someone to listen, all they could do was talk.
  
Regrets lie in words unsaid, time diverted and the priority of self. Self-confidence is an affect of helping others.



Don't let the millions of unauthorized authors destroy you with their inability to embrace collectivism.

Don't allow the voices of the negative to be the loudest.

Don't give up hope!

Don't Forget to Remember,

Dave   

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

The Summer Slump


We workforce engagement types seem to have been advocates for flex work for many years.... mostly because it's about the most sensible form of Employee Engagement. The fear in offering flexible work from a Human Resources perspective rests firmly in the line between necessary down time vs. abuse of flex time. It is a conundrum that has found no silver bullet.

We don't need to reference a workforce study to conclude that people who sit a desk 10 hours a day are less-healthy than those who work on their feet. Allowing employees unlimited work from home hours makes tracking efficiency equally difficult. There are employees who spend 7 of their 8 hours in the office on facebook. While those who work from home might log on at 5am and log off 10pm.

When Are We Ready to Work from Home?
When I graduated college I went directly to work for one of the world's largest companies. I was given a phone book and told to place vending machines anywhere anyone would need one. I was hung up upon 97 out of 100 times a day leaving me with 15 new accounts a week and a $1,000 weekly bonus. These statistics may seem miserable but I was one of the top producers in the company.

87% of people who attempt a career in sales quit after 3 months because the 97% "no" rate is too crushing to their ego. When I was 24 years old my tenacity to accept failure was far more resilient than it is in my 45th year on earth. I was either too dumb to care or too cocky to give up. Either way, it worked.

I did not receive corporate training, there was no real expectation for my performance... hell, the Internet barely existed when I started my career. It was, however, expected that I would show up to the office and make 100 calls a day. Some days it took me 4 hours, some days it took me 8.... the days that were extended on the phone created far more sales.

In simple terms, if I had been faced with navigating the aforementioned career challenge from my apartment in San Francisco, my odds for success would have been far less dependable.

After 10 years of working the phones from an office I accepted a job that allowed me to work from home. The same discipline I put into waking up, getting to the office, preparing for calls and progressing the sales cycle at age 22; I still practice at age 45. I've elevated myself from an inside sales rep to an Enterprise Sales Executive, but the process never changed. The discipline I learned early in my career has guided my approach to turning activity into results.

There are a thousand sales trainers out there that have a "bullet proof" plan for producing results who are the worst mentors one could care to follow.

Success comes down to 1 thing: 
  • Resilience     
You can get a degree from Harvard, read 10,000 books or attend 100 sales seminars. What they don't teach you in the classroom is the pain of falling on your face and the often unrewarding slog of getting back up.

Don't Forget to Remember,

Dave

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

3 Vessels to Cultural Engagement

It was a lively Pre-SHRM19 NextChat last week as we addressed the topic of Organizational Culture. We've been tackling culture within organizations since the turn of the century when the pendulum began to swing from Micro-Management to Employee Empowerment. Companies like Zappos and Google put their brand on the map by offering corporate campuses that resembled summer camps. Suddenly HR was being heard as creators of Employee Experience as opposed to the employee police. As Benefits budgets swelled, compensation and medical support became qualifiers. As we entered 2010, recruitment was driven by office tours by way of scooter.

At some point, Culture started to become an enigma....

How do we measure the ROI of beer pong?

Does everybody want to meet in bean bags chairs?

Let's explore what we've learned and how to improve culture.

Leadership Endorsement
Our CEO's have jobs that encompass legal debate over ticket items beyond the average pay grade. Most Executive discipline exists behind the scenes. Your CEO has larger concerns than keeping every employee happy.... it's simply an occupational hazard.

.... So Then .....

We expect only one thing from our Chief Executives:

The ability to articulate Vision with undeniable confidence to a crowd of millions!

Culture starts with aforementioned articulation of vision, then it's the responsibility of unit Managers to take the Mission into the trenches and tactically apply it.

Technology
There are four distinct corners of culture, all of which require technical application:

Events on campus can be a blast, but these experiences need to connect to organizational directives. It does not need to be forced, there simply needs to be a connection from the message to the strategy of implementing it.

Employee training should be direct and limited to 5 to 10 minutes a day. This way, employees get snacks to chew upon in succession that elevate them at their own pace.

Badges, Missions, Leaderboards and virtual competitions work because individuals have an Intrinsic need to compete. Internal competition driven by ego kills culture! Designed on a level playing field, game dynamics can propel every employee to over-exceed their potential. Those who say they care not for competition think differently when they win.

Don't want to put your employees in the octagon against each other? No problem, you can use gamification to reward contribution in community format. This can be in the form of a blog post, use case sharing or contributions to role assigned skill sets.

I've been in the rewards and recognition space for 12 years.... one certain rings true:

Cash is an expectation, rewards that incentivize behavioral development create advancement.


 

Killing Entitlement
Want to test organizational culture? Ask to sit in on a team meeting before you take a job. If the loudest voice comes from the guy in the back of the room who has consistently been in the bottom 50% of performance throughout his 10 year tenure... run for the exits.

No CEO in the world can control the reverberation of negativity in the trenches. It is up to everyone on the team to negate the influence of employees who assume themselves culture regulators.

Managers need to stop allowing interface with negative employees to their new hires. It is further important to limit the interaction in team meetings that drive vision to blindness. If managers allow their worst employees to be the voice of the organization, raising stars will quit and you'll be left with mediocrity.

When those who cannot control their impulse to criticize are given the conch you create a Culture of Can't.... the only result is failure!

Don't Forget to Remember!

Dave       

Thursday, May 30, 2019

The State of Human Capital Management

A recent study by HR.Com showed increased focus on the replacement of HRIS, Payroll and/or Performance Management systems. The intent to overhaul points to three specific trends:
  1. System Consolidation is afoot
  2. Rule Structures are changing 
  3. Systems that remain unchanged will be complimented by others
Consolidation
Installing Human Capital Management technology can be a journey: the qualification process is lengthy and once the system is adopted we care not to steer employees in other directions.

Which is why we tend to put up with aging technology.

As legacy systems remain the backbone of hierarchy holding, you'll see a move toward system consolidation to improve program access and create ease in the user experience.

The emphasis on system consolidation through integration and middleware programming can improve the user experience across all platforms without overhauling entire systems.

Strategy & Scale
Too often, technology is deployed with half baked initiatives through an off-the-shelf solution. Piloting programs can yield actionable data but turning baby steps into a marathon can tarnish long-term engagement.

Technology needs to allow for self-administration, the ability to add/delete function with relative ease and a path to development to ensure users are incented for continual participation.

Steady as She Goes
The aforementioned study showed Employee Recognition programs remaining unchanged throughout most organizations.

Is this because programs are allowing for scale?

As employee recognition becomes an integral spoke in the larger Employee Engagement cycle, we are seeing these programs evolve through functional integration and gamification. You'll also find goal setting and real time feedback to start moving their way onto ER platforms.
  
Technical integrations can enhance the look and feel of an employee site while increasing adoption through communication and challenge architecture. Before you attempt to re-write history, you might want to explore how you can give your existing deployments a face lift.

Your learning at #SHRM19 is complimented by a wide-reaching solution set displayed in the Exhibitor Hall. Inventory your HCM systems before arriving in Las Vegas. You may find there are ways to improve upon your current solution set without spending $1 million or re-tooling your entire HRIS technology stack.

Learn, Apply and Improve!

Dave