Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Happy Birthday Marley

Hey Mar -
I'll start by apologizing for this post now that this thing called social media is readily available to you (and your friends).

I've been writing these letters to you every year in case one day you might need to remember how much your Dad loves you. I know you think I'm annoying right now but some day you might miss me.... and you can revisit this post without having to call me.

I got really lucky in life. Your Grandma and Grandpa taught me to be a Gentleman, to work hard and to stick up for myself. You may not realize it now but having a supportive family provides the groundwork for everything you seek to achieve in life. Your Mom and I want you to develop a sense of self that will carry you through life when you are no longer within the length of our arms. Some times you have to do the hard things to make your life easier. You'll understand some day soon.

My favorite thing in life is watching The Office with you. That show is so great because it reveals the subtle reality of life's structure. There is only one feeling better than laughing until you can't breathe.... it is the way your heart feels like a warm-lit-fire when you are in love. All the characters in that show are silly and their daily conundrums are insignificant but the conclusion of every act in based in LOVE: the love you have for your friends, your family, and the people with whom you come to share your life.

So now you are 11. The great news is that the hard part is over. There are those who will struggle through teen age years and early adulthood, but you will not! You already know who you are. Sure, you'll run into the parts of life that are unfair. People who don't deserve things take shortcuts, adults act like children and (unfortunately) good people die.

The great news is: every single day is a new adventure! There isn't a single day that will come and go in your life when you cannot achieve something that will change the world. You should strive to change the world every day! Don't ever devote your time to anyone who does not believe the aforementioned statement.

You will achieve extraordinary things in life but some of the best days are those when nothing much happens at all.... and you hear some great music and the sun hits your forehead.

If you are reading this years from now just know that there has never been a second in your life when you have not been cherished by your Dad.

You are surrounded by privilege and there is a responsibility that comes along with that. You'll get a little nervous before certain pivotal events in your life, that's just part of being alive. You'll also get through your challenges and emerge from each of them a little smarter and a little stronger. Challenge yourself every day!

You've got a great group of friends. Your teachers are fantastic. The coaches you have had have all been fantastic (especially me).

Today is a day to celebrate YOU! You should celebrate YOU every day, but remember to celebrate others more than you celebrate yourself. WE is more important than ME!

I'll get older and fatter and more annoying and I'll always love you! 

I could not be more proud of you! Keep Being You!



Thursday, March 7, 2019

Recognizing Red Flags

As the practice of  Employee Recognition takes a more-strategic organizational purpose, initiative expansion and platform consolidation are guiding course adjustment. Pats on the back are only one part of a larger Employee Value Proposition (EVP), so Human Resource Leaders are expanding workforce strategy. Improved accessibility will increase program adoption but relevance to engagement is more important than the multitude of initiatives.

When expanding the Engagement landscape it is important to understand the difference between opportunity and force feeding. If you are using the elements of your EVP to sell your company to candidates or improve survey results, you have it backward. Great culture feeds the Employee Experience and you cannot pretend you have an effective end-to-end workforce strategy.

Survey Says....
Surveys continue to be a quick fix for transactional feedback. If you ask questions that are coming from a place of genuine intent and action is taken; progress is imminent!

Unfortunately, the historical survey has hit a point of failure for the following reasons:
  1. Person taking the survey feels intimidated to answer genuinely
  2. Survey is intended only to reward the organization as opposed to finding gaps in workforce engagement
  3. No action is taken
  4. Results are dressed up to mask cultural deficiencies
Organizations who incent or discipline mangers based on survey feedback are holistically missing opportunity for improvement.  

Recognition as part of Performance Management
There is a reason the Total Rewards suite is split between compensation and benefits.

Outstanding performers are often self-centered so their sales results may sky rocket while their recognition score is at the bottom of the engagement scale.

Never in the history of life would a sales rep be fired for not having a recognition score even with their astronomical revenue production. 

Bend the teeter totter the other way and you can start revising your resume.

Here's a better idea.....

There are 6 elements of your Employee Value Proposition and (at least) an equal amount of systems. Develop a technical integration model that provides one-stop access to all employee programs while keeping initiatives separate.

Just as easy to streamline without co-mingling policies.

Forced Diversity
A person I know was hired by an organization and quickly jumped on their internal social recognition feed. There, she discovered her boss had achieved a DIVERSITY badge for hiring her...... Talk about trust destruction. Whats worse is her manager had no idea said initiative was in place.... she hired her because she was the right person for the job.

While we all strive to make sure Employee Recognition inspires Employee Engagement through Employee Experience based in a well-thought-out Employee Value Proposition; Let's be sure not to overthink it! 

Don't Forget to Remember,


Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Career Utopia on Your Terms

I'm in a wonderful spot in my career where people (old and young) are looking to me for career advice. My consulting does not waiver from one generation to another, I just happen to be the man in the middle. I have learned a lot of lessons from my time in the trenches (some at my own expense others through finding out better). I don't pretend to know more than anyone and I tend to listen as well as I talk, but I guess this is where our lesson begins.

Whether you are considering a job move or are feeling stuck in your current gig, you should ask yourself a few things:
  1. What is my assurance that the grass is greener?
  2. Am I free to be me?
  3. If I left, would they miss me?
  4. Is my pursuit of something new driven by material aspirations?
Having a career you love is often more about the "have not's" than the "haves".

In short order, you should never give up a job you do well with people you love because you think you can earn more money! 

... nor should you put up with a miserable professional experience because you are making a ton of money. It is important to realize that having the flexibility to live your life on the job is astronomically more important than having a "work self" that rivals your "personal self".

Don't Self-Promote
At the time in my life when I had the most professional energy, I chose to spend it on making sure everyone knew how great I was. Instead of allowing my work to speak for itself, I used every "networking" conversation as a moment beneath the spotlight to impress my audience.

When you showcase your excellence in conversation with others you are categorizing yourself as the person to ignore at happy hour.

The bandwidth of the bullshit radar expands every day. Stay off the radar!   

Be Willing to Play Second Fiddle
Work is about teamwork. The most-competent person does not always step forward but the least self-secure usually does. People who dominate the initial team training often fail to make their one year anniversary. Part of being a great team member is giving others the fuel to perform without wanting to take credit for the team's work.

Success happens when you are willing to be humble in victory and accountable in defeat.

Don't Take The Money
Corey Ciocchetti has an interesting story. Now an ethics professor at the University of Denver, Corey spent his early career as a lawyer. He describes a life of long office hours, no personal life and a bunch of money. His ultimate resolution:

"I've never met anyone who put money first who is truly happy"

Money is a transaction and an expectation. There is never enough of it, and once prioritize it, you will only be happy with more than you have.

Seth Godin's research revealed that most people put in 80 to 90% of the work before giving up. This is especially prominent in organizations where projects involve multiple people and long cycles of completion. When there are varying opinions and milestones that are difficult to measure, frustration often overwhelms.

You don't have to be a Buddhist Monk to have purpose in your work. Purpose often reveals itself after a 12 month project when a team creates something unique and useful.

When I was 25 years old, I was the first to the office and the last to leave, because I didn't have a life to tend to. Young parents, those with "after school" interests, and people seeking higher education may not be willing to stick around after 5pm.

You can lean into a wall or you can run into it. Often times, stepping away from your work gives you a better perspective.

Some people are lucky enough to find a job that they love: whether it's the product they develop, the opportunity the company affords or the people with whom they spend their day.

Happiness at work is not driven by an algorithm.

There are great people and there are assholes in every company. Creating meaning often requires hard work. Sometimes you have to give credit to another for the sake of the team. People will let you down, people will annoy you, and the great certainty of work is that we cannot succeed without one another.  

Don't Forget to Remember,


Friday, March 1, 2019

Human Resources in the Social Enterprise

The world  of Human Resources is not often affiliated with snap decisions. HR Professionals are well-thought-out and change tends to happen by committee. Any given workforce would look upon such strategic alchemy with appreciation, however, the HR Blogging Community (its a thing) has been less patient.

New topics seem to be popping up with greater frequency; some experimental others intended only to ruffle feathers.

One could argue that opinion in the Social Enterprise can seem to resemble a three legged donkey running in circles. At least some are bold enough to socialize new ideas

Challenging The Process
The image of Johnny Taylor (SHRM CEO) shaking Donald Trump's hand sent shock waves through the HR Blogosphere.... prompting the #fixitSHRM hashtag. While I love a good protest, I am not willing to downplay the effort of Leaders who step out of process to generate new ways of thinking.

Are you upset because the way things have always been is being challenged? Or are you mad that you didn't try to change things for the sake of losing favor on Twitter?

Generational Stereotyping

Amen! Millennials have spent more than a decade being discriminated upon for their date of birth. Let's not minimize another generation of workers because we are afraid they are smarter than us!

Best Place to Work?
Mark Stelzner's article on the age-old litmus test of Organizational Culture is compelling.  Setting standards that can be benchmarked is essential to measuring growth. Is the process of applying for a trophy to put at reception solving workforce issues? With the workforce evolving at whiplash pace, can we still rely on developmental pillars written in the 1990's?

These questions prompt an investigation.....

Let's look at how "thought leadership" is positioned in the Human Capital Management space:
  • Apply to speak at a conference (your speaking application will be more likely accepted if you are a Platinum sponsor of said conference).
  • Apply for an industry award (and while your at it, donate to fund our research).
  • Apply for a media pass to cover an event (and you'll receive a discount on your vendor fee to exhibit at said conference).

The aforementioned examples are nothing more than buying influence and only serve to promote the ideas of the less-insightful.

The Misinformation of Influencers
This week I wrote a piece extolling the virtues of my company's research. It was met with vitriol from a few different "influeners" in the space who read only the author's name and title without taking time to understand the extended applicable nature of the research.

For some reason, there is a competition for influence in the Social Enterprise. I've been part of the SHRM Social Media Team for 10 years. I've always used the platform to learn as much as possible while promoting ideas for the sake of organizational development. If you are in the trenches every day, I value your opinion and advice. Regurgitating the ideas of others may get people to advertise on your blog, but the lack of authenticity solves no workplace challenges.

Don't Forget to Remember,