Thursday, March 26, 2009

Employee Relations: Survey

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Many companies fail to properly account for the social relationships that form in the workplace as well as to account for the fact that these social relationships directly affect the performance and the psychological health of their employees which ultimately affects the performance of the company as a whole.

So, does your company take social relationships at work into account?

Please take 30 seconds to answer 5 multiple choice questions. We will post the results to this blog as well as e-mail them to those who would like them.

Click the Start Button to Take this Survey

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Play Now, Pay Later

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By HR-Worldview Regular Columnist: George Krafcisin

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We went to our granddaughter’s third birthday party on Sunday. We gave her some cute new outfits, a book about cars and trucks, and a bill for $40 trillion.

Huh? Yes. By now you’ve heard that she and her older sister will be paying their share of a national debt that will grow from today’s $10 trillion to $40 trillion or more over the next few decades if we don’t do something about it today. I’m willing to bet that Congress (responding to YOU) will do nothing about it.  The decisions are too painful to address, so they’ll be ignored. And my granddaughter will end up sending most of her paycheck to Washington to service federal debt.

Why do we put off thinking about difficult issues? In your life, have you put off setting up a budget?  Talking to your spouse about something they do that bugs you? Planning for taking care of your elderly parent when they can’t drive any more? Cleaning out the garage? Starting a diet? Going to the gym?

I think we put things off because we all have a built-in procrastination filter. When confronted by an unpleasant future problem, we subconsciously shut it out. “Maybe something will change, or the problem will go away, or I’ll die before I have to face it.” There’s pain in facing the problem, no immediate pain to ignore it.  Instead, we watch football, eat pizza,  or go shopping. The pain comes later.

It isn’t just bad things we push off – we put off thinking about how good the future might be, if we start now.  Many of my coaching clients have no definite thoughts about what they want to be doing five or ten years from now. They come to me with an immediate problem – their company’s sales are slow, or they hate their job, or they can’t keep up with their workload. But when they stop and think about what the future could be, rather than how miserable the present is, they discover possibilities and a path to a more satisfying future. They learn that today’s to-do list is the first step towards that really satisfying career five years from now.

So the first thing to do about avoiding difficult problems is to give some thought to what you should be doing, but keep ignoring.  Talk it over with a good friend, your spouse, a trusted co-worker, or your coach.  But DO something about it.

About Our Columnist:

George Krafcisin is the President, coach and trainer of Mosaic Management, Inc. He writes regular installments on the topics of leadership and management here on HR-Worldview. 

Friday, March 20, 2009

Is It Really Worth Paying Attention To Ethics?

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As part of our series of articles by exceptional HR professionals, today we present article by a new guest author, Chris Bauer.

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Hopefully you pay attention to your ethics and those of your company simply because it is the right thing to do. Plus of course, as a terrific bonus, better ethics ultimately make for better business and only the most cynical amongst us would argue otherwise these days.

Sometimes, though, you may be in a position where you need some specific metrics to support your arguments in favor of an organizational focus on ethics. Perhaps it’s to make your case for the ROI for ethics training or perhaps it is simply to satisfy the occasional, understandable need for supporting conventional wisdom with some specific facts and figures.

How about this, then? 

In the American Association of Certified Fraud Examiners most recent “Report To The Nation On Occupational Fraud and Abuse”, they estimate that a full 7% of gross is lost each year to fraud and abuse in major U.S. companies. 7%!!! Other studies suggest that this figure is more or less accurate in smaller companies as well. Further, although data is less clear from other countries, anecdotal information suggests that this figure is reasonably representative internationally if, in fact, rather conservation for some locations where corruption is more institutionalized.

Now, add to that information that fraud and abuse only accounts for one part of the losses related to ethics violations. Among many other things, this already astronomical estimate does not include such considerable costs as:
  1. The legal fees and settlement costs for hostile work environment actions.
  2. The legal fees and settlement costs for discrimination actions.
  3. The costs associated with unfulfilled contracts due to inadequate, inappropriate, or otherwise ethically compromised oversight.
  4. The recruiting and training costs associated with replacing employees terminated due to unethical practices.
  5. The business your company doesn't even get in the first place because a prospective customer, partner, or affiliate heard, saw, or felt something not entirely 'on the up and up' about your organization and they won't even do business with you in the first place. (And remember, all it takes is the appearance of loose ethics by one of your employees for this to happen, it need not be the reality.)
So, potentially, losing 7% of your gross may be the proverbial tip of the iceberg when it comes to routine losses due to ethics problems. More frightening still, many of these problems will not even be visible to you until either you learn to look for them or the damage is already done. Possibly both.

Now, here’s another fact to add into the equation, a variety of studies have shown that companies with effective ethics training programs lose as much as 50% less per year to ethics problems. What a difference for an investment in training that will be truly nominal compared to what it will be able to save you.

7% (plus) of gross minus 50% saved would equal a whopping 3.50% increase in your bottom line each year. But suppose your gains weren’t actually that high. In fact, let’s cut it in half for the sake of argument. Do you think that you would be investing 1.75% of your gross into ethics training. In most organizations that would be a pretty wildly extravagant amount to require; chances are that it would require only a fraction of that. 

What could your company do with an additional 1.74% annual gross?  3.50 % increase? Perhaps more? Even a portion of that would make your ROI for ethics training a huge value!

Ultimately, we should all be doing what is right simply because it is right! One of the many underpinnings of that is assuring that employees all receive credible and effective ethics training. If the bottom-line value of doing so ever becomes a question, though, these are just a few of the available numbers to support your argument.

Dr. Bauer is the author of “Better Ethics NOW: How To 
Avoid The Ethics Disaster You Never Saw Coming”, now in its second edition, and his Weekly Ethics Thought is seen by thousands of readers worldwide. Information on his programs as well as free subscriptions to his Weekly Ethics Thought can be found at here.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Organization Helps Laid Off HR Professionals

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As companies slow their hiring, it is no surprise that HR professionals will be laid off or downsized. It is somewhat ironic that these former company gatekeepers are brushing off resumes not dissimilar from ones they used to critique.

In response, the Greater Valley Forge Human Resources Association (GVFHRA), a Pennsylvania nonprofit membership association for HR professionals, is taking extra steps to lend support. It is offering a free $75 membership to people in job transition. Membership provides access to educational programs, job search resources and networking opportunities available through its monthly transitions group. Over the last two months, GVFHRA has gained 18 members.

Among them is Edmundo Hoffens, an HR professional who was laid off with 4,000 other workers from a pharmaceutical company nearly a year ago.  Hoffens calls the transition group meetings an “intellectual harbor” where he can meet people who are going through the same experience and can provide support.

GVFHRA, the premier regional forum for leadership and advancement in the field of Human Resources, is the key regional organization committed to helping its members through economic turbulence. Providing leadership, motivation and education through chapter activities and affiliation with the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), GVFHRA equips members for roles as leaders and decision makers within their organizations.

HR-Worldview & HR-Meter LLC applaud GVFHRA for their efforts 

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Field Research: 360 Degree Feedback

We recently wanted to do a little "field research". We asked some serious HR executives and consultants the following question:

"Have you experienced a case where you found that a 360 Degree Feedback and a follow up coaching simply didn't provide the longer-term performance tracking that you were looking for?" 

The question was ambiguous and broad enough that we weren't surprised at all to receive a wide variety of responses. Nevertheless, there is a common theme!

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So, let's have a look at what some folks had to say.

"In my opinion these feedback systems work when they are not only used as appraisal systems, but as developmental systems as well. Effective 360 feedback systems seem to work better when a manager is engaged in implementing these systems and when the employee is given timely feedback that they can use in goal setting and improving their performance. These systems should be used to reinforce organizational values set forth by the company."
- Anonymous HR

"While 360 Degree Feedback is widely accepted as a critical tool for key HR interventions, many a times it falls short of delivering on the objectives it was destined to achieve. One of the key reasons for this is the credibility of the feedback as perceived by the feedback receiver. Many a times feedback providers are either chosen by the feedback receiver or become known to the feedback receiver through informal communication channels that exist in every organization. Once the curtain over the feedback providers is raised, a smart feedback receiver knows what tone of feedback to expect. In such cases, not only does the feedback receiver become a little indifferent to feedback, but also contributes to the lack of impact of the intervention on his/ her performance tracking/ other program objectives."
- Lakshmi DVS, PHR, SPHR

"I have had experiences where 360s or other similar processes raised the client's awareness, which is itself of real value. I can think of several instances where the clients were just not ready to take the next steps (declare that they wanted to make a specific change and develop practices to develop new habits), and I found myself taking on more responsibility for their change than they did. Good lessons learned for me as coach (particularly when I was in an internal consulting HR role). In hindsight, I recognize many alternate paths I might have taken to better serve my coachee."
- Anonymous HR

"In my experience this can happen if the Manager is not clear in his/her expectations of the employee. You can have great 360 feedback and coaching with mixed signals from the manager. When this happens this sets the employee up for failure. The saying that you "join a company and leave a manager" is very true. In this economic environment I am seeing even less leadership at the management level which unfortunately makes it very difficult for the employees working with that manager to succeed."
- Alanea Kowalski

"Even most of the managers find the 360 Degree Feedback a task and not a development process. But who told us that any manager can act as a coach? Who can say if the manager has the right skills to coach, train, lead and support? This is the question I guess we, HR, should ask ourselves and should never take it as granted. Actually I'm more and more convinced about individual employee initiative for development rather than a company's one, or support coming from his manager!"
- Anonymous HR

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OK, so the big question to ask is, what's the common theme here? Is there one? I think that there is, but I won't spill the beans because I want to hear from you! 

Hint: It has something to do with "after" or "the next step".

Introducing: Resource Buttons

We have recently begun linking various articles from the HR-Worldview blog with new Resource Menus from HR-Meter.

Suppose you're reading a particularly tantalizing article on the topic of "360 Degree Feedback". You're thinking to yourself "hmmm, this sure is interesting, but I want I know more, right now!" You can! 

All you have to do is look for the Resource Button!

There is a whole world of information on all of the topics you read about here on HR-Worldview. That's why, we will now be including Resource Buttons to take you to a relevant HR-Meter Resource Menu. 

Monday, March 9, 2009

Five Trends We May See Happening in Recruitment

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As part of our series of articles by exceptional HR professionals, today we present an article by David Talamelli. This article originally appeared on Oracle's Recruitment Blog and can be navigated to by clicking here.

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I have been asked to say a few words about what trends I think we will see in Recruitment. As a sneak peak, here are some thoughts that I think we will see happening in Recruitment:

With the increased use of technology to search, identify and connect with candidates, I do believe technology will continue to shape and redefine the recruitment function. I think there are 5 trends that will we will see develop in the greater Recruitment Industry.

1) Web 2.0 technologies will continue to gain acceptance and usage in the Recruitment Industry as a viable means of sourcing and connecting with candidates. I believe many Recruiters are on the periphery of many of the Web 2.0 technologies with LinkedIn now being the common online social tool used by Recruiters. The uptake of Web 2.0 Technologies in the Recruitment Industry will expand into deeper and more meaningful conversations as we utilise the technology available (blogs, facebook, twitter, branding).
2) Candidates increasingly will gather information from multiple sources about a potential employer. It used to be a Job Description and information from a potential hiring manager/company was all a candidate had access to, to get information about a company or role. Now candidates can access an online community that openly shares information and experiences with each other about potential hiring companies/managers. Decisions about joining your organisation can be influenced by people and groups out of your network or association that you have no control over.
3) Recruitment will be a much more transparent function than it has been in the past. Recruitment is still about connecting with candidates and hiring managers. In today’s world however both candidates and clients alike have access to much more information about each other than ever before. We need to change our mindset to one where we share information about our processes and company (yes – the good, bad and ugly) rather than holding onto this information.
4) Our role as Recruiters is becoming a progressively more proactive service to our clients it will not only incorporate searching for and identifying talented individuals for our organisation but it also will include connecting with and engaging individuals/groups on employment branding. We will still be measured by hard targets such as number of placements, time to hire, candidate/interview/offer percentages, etc… however there will be more focus on soft targets or targets harder to measure such as employment branding, indirect hires, etc….
5) The ongoing shift from Job Boards to online networks will continue. Job Boards continue to play a part in the recruitment function however I think the trend of utilising other means of search will continue and there will be less reliance on Job Boards as a means of attracting candidates. 
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About our Guest Author:
David Talamelli is a Principal Recruiter in the APAC region for Oracle Corporation. He has been in IT Recruitment for 10+ years and is a regular writer and contributor to Oracle’s Recruitment Blog