Should You Tell An Employee You Consider Them High-Potential? #HiPo

The Wall Street Journal had an article saying that only 28% of companies tell their employees what they are ranked in terms of future potential (i.e., High Potential, Low, etc.).  From the article:

According to a report released Monday by consulting firm Towers Watson, just 68% of companies formally identify high-potential employees, and only 28% actually tell the employees they’ve been labeled as such. The survey was based on a study of 316 companies across North America.

“This is really a missed opportunity,” says Laurie Bienstock, co-author of the report. “You need to wonder how [organizations] are fostering the development of these high-potentials if they’re not informing them.”

Don’t you just wonder!?

Let me tell you a little HR secret Laurie, employers don’t need to tell Hi-Po’s they are Hi-Po’s because Hi-Po’s already know they are Hi-Po’s, that’s one reason they are Hi-Po’s they have great self-awareness.   What employers need to do with Hi-Po’s is the following:

1. Pay them.  Above the market, above average and low potentials within the same workgroups and make sure they know it.

2. Challenge them.  Lead positions on projects, putting them in positions to communicate to senior leadership and shine, getting them into the organizational “circle of trust”.

3. Treat them differently.  Yep, that’s right HR Pros – treat your Hi-Po’s differently than you treat your Low-Po’s – they expect, they want it, they’ll appreciate it.  It will tick off your Low-Po’s, and that’s a good thing – you need your Low-Po’s to be uncomfortable – you’re in charge of making your organization’s talent better, not running a charity event.

The other fact from the article that only 68% formally identify employee potential is surprising to me – and not that it’s low – that number seems high to me.  Hi-Po, No-Po, Low-Po, etc. is a big HR shop game that is a luxury for most organizations.  Is it critical for successful succession planning? Yes.  It is also something that takes a ton of organizational resources to accomplish and maintain.  Once you get that data, you then have to do something with it and keep doing it.  That usually means the development of an entire group within HR, depending on how big your organization is.  So, 68% seems like an inflated number – I’m guessing the survey was given to only large corporations.

Should you tell an employee what they are ranked?  I have and I would – but it really depends on the culture and engagement of your organization.  The one thing I will tell you is, if you have no plan on what you are going to do with this data, don’t start – it will be a waste of time.  I see so many HR Pros run down this path of determining who their Hi-Po’s are without any idea of what they are going to do next.  It’s like “Hey! We found out Joe and Lynn are our Hi-Po’s! Isn’t that great?!”  No, not really – so, what?  The real work comes after the identification in developing your Hi-Po’s into their next level position and building succession, the real work is not in the identifying.

 

Future Jobs in HR and Recruiting with @Kris_Dunn and I! (Video)

Here’s what we know for sure! The jobs we are doing today, quite possibly will not be the jobs we will be doing down the road! How do we know this? The world changes and evolves and while we once needed a ton of Blacksmiths in the world, we no longer need that profession as widely as we once did.

So, are HR pros going the way of the horseshoe!? I just lost all of the audience under 75, but let’s talk about the Future of HR and TA jobs!

Shout out the great folks at the SHRM Store for sending me the cool green I Love HR polo! To be honest, it fits super great and people say the green looks great on me! In fact, if you click through the link, I think they should have used me for the model! Tell me I’m wrong! I’m way HR Sexier!

By the way – I love the tagline “World’s Largest HR Store!” Like who else is going to have an HR Store! Amazon!?! Wait, don’t tell Bezos, he might start one!

E30 – HR Famous – Is Johnny Taylor good for @SHRM and HR?

(Shout to the Tim Cook, Ivanka, Johnny selfie above – I had to put that one because it’s totally a pic I would have gotten if I had the chance!)

In episode 30 of The HR Famous Podcast, long-time HR leaders (and friends) Kris Dunn, Tim Sackett, and Jessica Lee link up to discuss Senator Tom Carper’s senate hearing mishap, Tim’s most embarrassing leadership moment, and Johnny Taylor’s time at SHRM. In this episode, KD talks about the worst boss ever and the crew answers the question “is Johnny Taylor good for HR?”. 

Listen below and be sure to subscribe, rate, and review (iTunes) and follow (Spotify)! 
1:30 – Do you like “what’s up?” or “how are you?” better? HR Famous prefers what’s up as a greeting!

2:30 – Do you have any monster.com swag from an HR conference? Tim still has it on his desk! KD isn’t a swag guy and wants to avoid the lines at all costs. 

5:00 – First topic of the day: tech mishaps in US Senate hearings! Senator from Delaware Tom Carper didn’t realize he wasn’t muted and was caught using some profanity in this video. KD wrote about this occurrence on his blog and called him the worst boss ever. 

9:15 – Tim calls this the most embarrassing leadership moment that a leader can have around their staff. What is your most embarrassing moment as a leader?

11:30 – KD thinks the abrupt nature of Senator Carper’s three f-bombs to a staffer gives the signal that he’s the worst boss ever. He thinks the nature of the interaction gives off bad boss vibes. 

14:00 – Second topic of the day: is Johnny Taylor good for HR? Business Insider discusses the reign of the CEO of SHRM in their new article and the cutthroat culture he has created for SHRM employees. 

17:00 – Although some may call Tim a Johnny Taylor fanboy, he praises him for turning a company around and helping SHRM start to turn a profit again. Tim says that the out of touch SHRM of the past is being transformed under Johnny and the new culture he’s creating is trying to update the company.

19:20 – JLee thinks that it’s important to try and bifurcate some of Taylor’s accomplishments from some issues that have arisen at SHRM. She says that it’s hard to deny some of his results even though there have been issues with SHRM’s work culture and their handling of certain situations with their employees. 

22:00 – So, is Johnny Taylor good for HR? KD mentions a past potential book that Taylor was going to write called “Fire half your staff then hire and keep the staff you need”. Tim is glad that the title is up for grabs!

25:00 – Johnny’s wins: financial turnaround, diverse leader of an organization, speaking out about recidivism, DEI programming among others. Tim comments on his charisma and how his dynamic presence may positively affect membership. 

29:15 – Johny’s losses: alignment with the Trump administration, SHRM’s slow response to the Black Lives Matter movement and the killing of George Floyd, and a relationship with the Koch brothers on issues of recidivism. 

32:00 – Tim thinks the messaging about police brutality and the BLM movement is something that SHRM could’ve clarified in order to create a more clear message. 

35:15- The crew answers the question of the segment. What do you think?

HR’s Worst Enemy!

I’m always amazed to hear about all of the Enemies that HR has!  You have employees, and hiring managers, and the EEOC, and employment attorneys, and staffing firms, and insurance firms, and HR software providers. I mean, if I hadn’t been in HR, I would think that everyone is against HR!

It feels like that some days, doesn’t it?

HR’s real worst enemy, though, doesn’t get that without your organization’s service or product being successful, no one is successful.

HR’s worst enemy doesn’t get that more hurdles to jump through, just means less time for operations to focus on the real business at hand.

HR’s worst enemy doesn’t get that treating everyone the same way, doesn’t create a high-performance culture.

HR’s worst enemy doesn’t get that having employees fill out open enrollment paperwork just so you have a document to prove what they filled out, spends more resources then it saves.

HR’s worst enemy doesn’t get that adding five additional steps to a process doesn’t make it simpler, it makes it more complex.

HR’s worst enemy doesn’t get that not leaving your department to go out and build relationships in other departments isn’t a good thing.

HR’s worst enemy doesn’t get that eliminating all risk isn’t something that is possible nor should it be a goal.

HR’s worst enemy…is itself.

6 Things That Make Great HR Pros Great!

The one great thing I love about going to HR and Talent conferences is that you always get reminded about what really good HR should look like.  It doesn’t mean that your shop will be there, but it gives you something to shoot for.  I’ll admit, sometimes it can be frustrating listening to some HR Pro from a great brand tell you how they ‘built’ their great employment brand through all their hard work and brilliant ideas.  All the while, not mentioning anything about “oh, yeah, and we already had this great brand that marketing spends $100 million a year to keep us great!”

Regardless, seeing great HR always reminds me that great HR is obtainable for everyone. Great HR has nothing to do with size or resources. It has a lot to do with an HR team, even a team of one, deciding little by little we’re going to make this great!

I think there are six things you need to know to make your HR department great:

1. Know how to ‘sell’ your HR vision to the organization and your executives.  The best HR Pros I know are great storytellers and in turn great at selling their visions.  If you don’t have a clear vision of what you want your HR shop to look like, how do you expect others to get on board and help you get there?  Sit down, away from work, and write out exactly what you want your HR shop to look like.  Write it long-hand. Write in bullet points. Just start.  It will come.

2. Buy two pairs of shoes: one of your employees and one of your hiring managers. Try them on constantly.  These are your customers, your clients.  You need to feel their joys and pains, and truly live them.  Knowing their struggles will make you design better HR programs to support them.  Support them, not you.

3. Working hard is number 1.  Working smart is number 1A.  Technology can do every single transaction in HR.  Don’t allow tasks and administrative things to be why you can’t do great HR.  Get technology to do all of this busy work so you can focus on real HR deliverables.

4. Break something in your organization that everyone hates and replace it with something everyone loves.  This is usually a process of something you’ve always done, and people are telling you it still has to be done that way. Until it doesn’t, and you break it.  By the way, this doesn’t have to be something in HR.  Our leaders and our employees have so many things that frustrate them in our environments.  Just find one and get rid of it.

5. Sometimes the path of least resistance is the best solution. HR people love to fight battles for the simple act of fighting the battle. “NO! It has to be done this way!” “We will NOT allow any workarounds!”   Great HR finds the path of least resistance.  The path of greatest adoption.  The path which makes our people feel the most comfortable, even if it isn’t the path we really, really want to take.

6. Stop being an asshole. You’re in HR, you’re not a Nazi.  Just be nice.  We’re supposed to be the one group in our organization that understands.  Understands people are going to have bad days and probably say things they don’t mean.  Understands that we all will have pressures, some greater than others, but all pressure nonetheless. Understands that work is about 25% of our life, and many times that other 75% creates complete havoc in our world!

Great HR has nothing to do with HR.  Great HR has a lot to do with being a great leader, even when that might not be your position in the organization.

Creating friendships at work during a pandemic is really hard!

We’ve been told for years now, based on the Gallup research, that having a best friend at work is one of those anchors that will lengthen a person’s tenure with an organization. New research is proving this might not be as easy it sounds! Business Insider:

A Study by Plos One asked students to rate their friendships and also rate whether or not the ‘friend’ would reciprocate by telling researchers they also believed they were friends. Here the results:

In 94% of these perceived friendships, students expected them to be reciprocal. So if John rated Jack as his friend, he expected Jack to rate him as a friend also. But this was so in only 53% of cases; less than half of the students had their friendship beliefs about others reciprocated.

Ouch! Almost half of your friends, do think of you as a friend!

The researchers point to the social network-style of so many friendships today of why people have this wrong perception. People are now building so many friendships with individuals they rarely see or interact with but feel like they have a strong friendship with.

So, what should you be doing as an HR Pro to take advantage of the Friend Anchor?

1. Help provide real-life interactions with your employees to build ‘real’ friendships, not just social network friendships.

2. Give employees the opportunity to work with employees of their choosing on projects. Give an employee a project and let them pick their team to work on it.

3. Don’t ignore those employees who don’t interact with anyone. This is usually the first red flag you’ll get that a person is unhappy at work and more likely to turnover.

I know you didn’t get into HR to play a friendship matchmaker! But, if you value retention and want to lower turnover, being a great matchmaker might be the best tool you have in the HR toolbox!

To increase the difficulty of the position of being a matchmaker, what will you do for a remote workforce to increase friendships? The truth of the matter is it easier to create friendships in person, face to face, then it is when everyone is remote. The process of workplace friendship building has to be purposeful, and again this will mostly fall on HR pros to lead.

Also, remember, you can pick your friends and you can pick your nose, but you can’t pick your friend’s nose. Unless they’re a really, really, really good friend, but even then, that’s creepy, don’t do that.

Female Mechanic, Amateur Porn, and Lawful Termination #TheProjectTakeover

I’m on vacation this week so my friends are taking over the Project! Enjoy their content, connect with them, and share the content with new people! Some amazing voices coming to you this week! 

Enjoy this post by Greg Modd!

Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook are entertaining but there is an adult side to social media platforms. One is called OnlyFans that HR professionals need to be aware of that is in the market. Kirsten Vaughn, 24, created an account to pad her bank account while working as a mechanic at Don Ayres Honda dealership in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She had the potential to be the first woman master technician at the dealership. However, Kirsten’s colleagues discovered her OnlyFans account and she claims that was when the sexual harassment began. A month after she created the account, she was terminated from her mechanic position for violating company policy.

Management met with Vaughn prior to her termination and in a recorded conversation the dealership’s HR leader Jason Johnston said “If there were coworkers over there who had access to your page, that might encourage them to approach you with unwanted sexual conduct or comments,” wow… suppose this could be interpreted as a blame the victim defense.

How should HR professionals handle these situations? The Association of Workplace Investigators have guiding principles to assist investigators to enhance the quality of workplace investigations:

  1. The decision to Conduct an Investigation
  2. Choice of Investigator
  3. Scope of Investigation
  4. Investigation Planning
  5. Communicating with Employer Representatives and Witnesses
  6. Confidentiality and Privacy
  7. Evidence Gathering and Retention
  8. Witness Interviews
  9. Documenting the Investigation
  10. Investigation Findings
  11. Reports

Wow, that’s a long and complicated list of guiding principles. What do they mean “decision to conduct an investigation” can an HR department ignore sexual harassment complaints? No, as employers are legally mandated to investigate harassment, retaliation, discrimination, and certain other types of complaints. Common mistakes made by HR departments in employee relations investigations are failing to plan, ignoring complaints, delaying an investigation, and losing objectivity. Bias is real folks…

Employee relations are complex and workplace investigations are an important piece to the puzzle. Business is about relationships. More importantly positive relationships. For HR professionals to be successful in the workplace they must be trusted advisors to both the business managers and employees. This is a challenging position to be in for most HR pros and one that sometimes can appear to be in conflict.

The bottom line, the sights and sounds human resources professionals are exposed to can be some of the strangest human interactions. Some HR pros aren’t equipped to manage the employee relations complications that come, and it can be an expensive lesson for the employer. My dear friend calls it a lesson in litigation. We can do better and be better if we simply leverage our network’s knowledge to help in these challenging situations. You don’t have to do this alone as we are truly better together.

Bio – Greg Modd is the Principal Consultant at PPC, DisruptHR speaker, and a United StatesAir Force veteran who served two tours in Iraq and one tour in Afghanistan. PPC aims to mitigate risk for small business owners through outsourced workplace investigations.

 

 

3 Ways You Can Extend the Work Lifecycle of Older Employees

One of the biggest biases we have as leaders is ageism. If you’re 35 years old and running a department and you are looking to fill a position on your team that will be your righthand person, the last thing you’re looking for is a 55-year-old to fill that spot! That’s just me being real for a second.

You and I both know that 35-year-old hiring manager is looking for a 25 – 28 year old to fill that spot

That’s mainly because at 35 you’re still basically stupid. I was. You were. We think 35ish is the pinnacle of all knowledge, but it’s really when we just start learning for real.

So, we have this core issue to deal with in workplaces right now. Our leaders are mostly Millennial and GenX, and Millennials are increasing into these roles at a rapid rate. Because of the Boomers leaving in large amounts, there aren’t enough talented young workers to replace the knowledge gap that is being left. So, we are left grappling with what we think we want (youth) with what really needs (experience!).

A recent study at the University of Minnesota found that employers need to add programs to focus on older workers:

The study argued that programs aimed at training workers won’t be enough to satisfy the state’s need for workers between 2020 and 2030. New policy directives and incentives may be needed, including offering pathways for baby boomers to delay retirement, drawing in workers from other states and supporting immigration from other countries

“There’s all this focus on workforce development, but none of it is guided to older workers,” said Mary Jo Schifsky, whose business, GenSync, advocates for meaningful career pathways for older adults and who helped initiate the study for the Board on Aging with the U’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs. “We need career pathways for older workers just as much as we do for younger workers.”
 
In the U survey, managers ranked baby boomers high on loyalty, professionalism, engagement, and their commitment to producing quality work.
Employers need to find ways to extend the Work-Life Cycle of the older employees that work for them until the workforce, technology, and retraining programs can catch up to fill the void. Most employers are only focused on programs that are looking at younger workers.
So, what can you do as an employer to extend the life cycle of your older employees?
1.  Have real conversations with older employees about what they want. Most employers shy away from having the ‘retirement’ conversation with older employees because they think it’s embarrassing or illegal. It’s not. It’s a major reality of workforce planning. “Hey, Mary, Happy 55th Birthday, let’s talk about your future!” Oh, you want to work 18 more years! Nice! Let’s talk about a career path!
I can’t tell you how often I’ve heard a hiring manager say, “I don’t want to hire him because he’s 59 and is going to hire soon.” Well, I spoke to him and he wants to work until he’s 70 (11 years) and our average employee tenure is 4.7 years. I think we’re good!
2. Stop, Stop, Stop, believing that all you can do is hire full and part-time FTEs into roles. If Mary, my 63-year-old financial analyst wants to give me five more years of work, but only wants to work three days per week, in role ‘traditionally’ we’ve only had a full-timer, I’m taking Mary for three days! HR owes it to our organizations and hiring manager to push them out of the box when it comes to schedules and how we have always filled positions. 3 days of Mary is probably worth 3 weeks of an entry-level analyst in the same role!
We do this to ourselves. I hear it constantly from hiring managers, “HR won’t allow me to do that.” Why? Have you asked? No, but HR doesn’t allow us to do anything. We need to come to our hiring managers with solutions and let them see we are open to doing whatever it takes to help the organization meet its people’s needs.
3. Develop programs and benefits specifically designed to retain older employees. I work with a plant manager who developed an entire engineering internship program around having his retired engineers come back and work three days a week with interns and paid them ‘on-call’ wages for the days they weren’t there, so interns could call them with questions at any time. These retired engineers loved it! They could come to do some real work, help out, and still have a great balance.
It went so well, he kept some on all year, on-call, and partnered them with younger engineers who needed the same support and assistance from time to time. The on-call rate was pretty inexpensive, the support and knowledge they got in return, was invaluable.
It all comes down to flexibility on our part as employers to extend the life cycle of our older employees. We no longer have this choice where we can just throw our older employees away and think we can easily replace them. We can’t! There physically isn’t anyone there!
This is about using each other’s strengths. Younger leaders will be stretched and we need to help them stretch. We need to help older employees understand their roles. In the end, we need to find a way where we can all see each other for the strengths we bring to the table, not the opportunities.
It’s our job as HR professionals to work on how we can extend the life cycle of each of our employees.

The Weekly Dose: @VaultPlatform – Workplace Misconduct Reporting Tech

Today on the Weekly Dose I take a look at a timely technology in a world of #MeToo #BLM #Covid-19! Vault Platform helps organizations resolve workplace misconduct including that related to Me Too, Black Lives Matter, COVID-19, and all other workplace issues with a safe speak-up app for reporting incidents.

Let’s be clear to start, this isn’t your parent’s workplace 1-800 hotline, where you called some third-party company that would listen to your story, filter it, and then pass it along to HR, who then call you in. Vault is a technology, mobile-first, platform that allows employees to report any type of workplace harassment, fraud, corruption, racism, etc., and document their experience. Then, when they feel the time is right, they can actually send this forward to be responded to.

Each time an employee reports it is dated and time-stamped and the employee has access to their actual record the entire time. Once an employee decides to move forward it gets sent to the appropriate parties within the organization to resolve the issue.

What I like about Vault:

– “Go Together” – when talking about things like sexual harassment and racism, many times an employee does not feel comfortable reporting on their own, but they also don’t trust others when they say they’ll also report. Vault’s “Go Together” allows an employee to report, but only move it forward once another employee reports the same or similar behavior, so they are not making these accusations on their own. It’s really a brilliant idea!

– Vault dashboard works as a case management dashboard so HR, legal, D&I, etc. can check and track that reports are being resolved and how they are being resolved. It allows executives to instant insight access to the real problems that are going on in their organization, unfiltered, right from their employees.

– It allows employees to communicate in a way that is most comfortable to them, mobile messaging, not a phone call talking to a stranger.

– Employees can record for as long as they want without reporting and always have access to their own words, an organization can not delete or edit the employee’s own records. Many times something happens to an employee but they aren’t sure if it’s actually harassment, but as they see a pattern of behavior begin to happen, it becomes clear. Keeping these records makes it easy for the employee to give proof of how long and how much this is happening.

Right now every single organization on the planet is concerned with the experiences their employees are having. Me Too, BLM, COVID, etc. have shown us that our employees are having very drastic differences in their experiences, and we need to give our employees access and the ability to share these with us quickly and easily if we want to truly make changes and improve their experiences.

I first saw Vault at the HR Technology Conference right after Me Too and I liked it. With the additional social and health issues today, it’s even a more relevant technology. Vault Platform happens to be the perfect workplace technology at the perfect time. I highly recommend you take a look and a demo.

Are You Struggling to Find Happiness at Work?

In 1942 Viktor Frankl, a prominent Jewish psychiatrist, was taken to a Nazi concentration camp with his wife and parents.  Three years later, when his camp was liberated, his pregnant wife and parents had already been killed by the Nazis. He survived and in 1946 went on to write the book, “Man’s Search For Meaning“.  In this great book, Frankl writes:

“It is the very pursuit of happiness that thwarts happiness.”

What Frankl knew was that you can’t make happiness out of something outside yourself.  Riding the Waverunner doesn’t make you happy. You decide to be happy while doing that activity, but you could as easily decide to be angry or sad while doing this activity (although Daniel Tosh would disagree!).  Frankl also wrote in Man’s Search for Meaning, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing, the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

I get asked frequently by HR Pros about how they can make their employees or workplace happier.  I want to tell them about Frankl’s research and what he learned in the concentration camps.  I want to tell them that you can’t make your employees happy.  They have to decide they want to be happy, first. But, I don’t, people don’t want to hear the truth.

Coming up with ‘things’ isn’t going to make your employees happy. You might provide free lunch, which some will really like, but it also might make someone struggling with their weight, very depressed.  You might give extra time off and most of your employees will love it, but those who define themselves by their work will find this a burden.

Ultimately, I think people tend to swing a certain way on the emotional scale.  Some are usually happier than others.  Some relish in being angry or depressed, it’s their comfort zone.  They don’t know how to be any other way.  Instead of working to ‘make’ people happy, spend your time selecting happy people to come work for you.

In the middle of a concentration camp, the most horrific experiences imaginable, Frankl witnessed people who made the decision to be happy. Maybe they were happy to have one more day on earth. Maybe they were happy because, like Frankl, they discovered that the Nazis could take everything from them except their mind.

Provide the best work environment that you can.  Continue to try and make it better with the resources you have.  Give meaning to the work and the things you do.  Every organization has this, no matter what you do at your company.  Don’t pursue happiness, it’s a fleeting emotion that is impossible to maintain.  Pursue being the best organization you can be.  It doesn’t mean you have to be someone you’re not.  Just be ‘you’, and find others that like ‘you.’