HR Strategy Questions of the Week

Ohio Weapons and Firearm Policy 2017 Updates. What Will These Updates Mean For Ohio Businesses That Enforce Weapons Policies?

Question:

Our company has a no weapons policy in place.  Is it true there is a new Ohio Weapons and Firearm Policy that will require my company to update this policy?

Answer:

Yes, it is time to update your weapons and firearm policy in the state of Ohio.  

Ohio’s Senate Bill 199 is expanding in a way that will impact Ohio employers.  In the past, employers still had the ability to disallow weapons and firearms on company property.  Senate Bill 199 permits an individual with a valid license to possess a firearm in a private vehicle parked in a company parking lot.  

Under the new Ohio Weapons and Firearm Policy set to go into effect March 21, 2017, employers (and businesses) can prohibit firearms within the workplace and on their property; BUT they cannot prohibit an employee or visitor with a valid concealed handgun license from transporting or storing a firearm in their personal vehicle on the premises (an employer’s parking lot).  HOWEVER, an employee may not possess a firearm or ammunition in a company-owned or company-leased vehicle where the employer prohibits such possession.

Does your business need a Concealed Carry sign that is approved by the State of Ohio to display on its premises?  The Ohio Attorney General has a model sign employers can use for posting: http://www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov/Law-Enforcement/Concealed-Carry/Model-Concealed-Carry-Sign.

 

HR Strategy isn’t always about planning for the future. Sometimes it means responding to current issues and making sure they fit with the mission, vision or goals of the company. Dealing with a company’s culture can be a touchy subject – especially when you tie that to performance management. Strategic HR, inc. can help you with a variety of issues related to culture. Visit our HR Strategy page to learn more about how strategic HR, inc. can help you meet your goals.

 

 

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Employee Engagement

Question:

Employee engagement is a term that I am not really familiar with.  What does it really mean?  Doesn’t it just mean that an employee is satisfied in their job?

Answer:

In a June 2016 article in Forbes Magazine, Forbes defined employee engagement as the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals.  Employee engagement goes well beyond job satisfaction and is a term used for those who are truly connected to an organization – its mission and its values.

Employees can be fully satisfied with their jobs but still not “engaged” – satisfied with status quo and just going through the motions.  To have a fully engaged employee is to have someone who will go above and beyond in most circumstances.  It is a relationship that is based on trust and communication that enhances the organizational and individual performance, resulting in success for both.

HR Strategy isn’t always about planning for the future. Sometimes it means responding to current issues and making sure they fit with the mission, vision or goals of the company. That can be difficult to do if you are uncertain of your strategy. If you don’t have a clearly defined corporate or HR strategy or need help tying that to your mission and vision we can help. Visit our HR Strategy page to learn more about how strategic HR, inc. can help you meet your goals.

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Conducting Employee Pulse Surveys

Question:

Senior leadership in my organization is looking for numbers on HR effectiveness in the organization.  We have done annual employee surveys in the past but they don’t seem to provide good, actionable information.  Is there something else that can be used?

Answer:

Annual surveys of your employees are a great way to get input from your employees on key issues (i.e. engagement, benefits, leadership, etc.)  But, if you are looking for more specific timely results, yes, there are other options for employers to use.

Depending on why you are doing the employee survey, you may find annually just isn’t enough:

  • Annual employee surveys typically provide a snapshot at a one point in time leaving much room for interpretation.
  • The results of an annual survey many times are so dated that the actual action plans become irrelevant.
  • Long surveys have additional concerns such as: keeping the employee engaged (focusing all the way through question 40 is hard to do sometimes) and eliciting a complete and thoughtful response to all the areas being surveyed.

Today, many organizations have begun the use of employee pulse surveys.  These surveys are often just 1 or 2 questions that employees are asked to answer more frequently (i.e. monthly, weekly).  They are short and very specific, helping give you an immediate picture of what is happening in your workplace.  These surveys allow you to get deep into the issues at hand for quick and immediate response. One of our favorites is TinyPulse but you can also create your own on a tool like SurveyMethods.

Whether you are doing an annual survey or a more frequent pulse, one word of caution…do not conduct these surveys if you are not willing to take action and follow up quickly.  You will definitely lose participation if you do not respond quickly to the surveys, provide survey results, and communicate to those participating.

Bottomline, these surveys are excellent tools to keep employees engaged and get real time information from employees.

A key component of your HR Strategy includes understanding your employees. This means taking the pulse of your employees through employee surveys to identify what you are doing well and where you could improve.  strategic HR, inc. can help you by creating a custom survey to meet your needs and facilitating the survey as a neutral third party. Visit our Employee Surveys page to learn more about how strategic HR, inc. can help you.

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Help! A Key Employee Has Just Resigned

Question:

Out of nowhere, one of my most important employees just gave notice they were resigning.  I was surprised to say the least!  I know my problem employees. I pride myself with being “in the know” and having my finger on the pulse of all that goes on. But this one surprised me.  Any suggestions on what to do in the future to avoid this from happening again?

Answer: 

As we all know, as managers and HR professionals most of our time is spent with our problem employees.  The old adage that we spend 95% with 5% of our employees is usually true.  What happened to you appears to be an example of too much attention to the ‘squeaky wheel’ and not much to your High Performing employees.  As managers we spend a majority of our time trying to get the poor performers up to “ok performance” and letting our great employees lose interest along the way.

If you do not have one in place, it is suggested to create a High Performing Employee program which will allow you to identify these outstanding employees and consciously work to keep them engaged.  Identifying them and showing them their importance to the organization is key.  You’ll need to find a way to challenge  them in different ways.  This will go a long way in terms of retention and productivity for your High Performing employees.  Best of all, it will hopefully avoid future resignations that you didn’t see coming.

HR Strategy often involves thinking ahead to the future and making plans for the unexpected. Strategic HR, inc. knows how integral human resources is to the health of your organization and can assist you with HR strategy needs. Visit our HR Strategy page to learn how we can assist you with your strategy and preparing for the unexpected.

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How To Turn Reactive Solutions Into Necessary Change

Question: 

I get complaints at times that I am too reactive to situations and that I need to be more strategic in my thinking.  I feel like reactivity is necessary, in my job.  Who is right?

Answer:

Well, you both are right.  In human resources, we are required to react in many situations that arise…every single day.  In fact, our handling of those situations is what others expect from us and doing it well is how we become a respected and admired member of the team. There is a difference, however, between being reactive and making decisions off the cuff and being reactive but using our knowledge of the organization, culture, and situation to come up with a solution. 

Using our knowledge and experience, we can actually make a difference with those incidents and ensure those “reactions” are very well thought through solutions that we can turn into opportunities.  In many instances, these events provide us a moment in time to advance a business case for something we were trying to get accomplished…a “strategic initiative”, if you will.  These moments provide the best opportunity to move forward and change something that was in need of change.  Experienced HR folks are able to link the reactive solutions to a justification for change in the future. 

So, reactivity is not necessarily good but it is many times necessary.  The key to success is knowing that your reactions are well thought through and that you take the advantage to further a cause in need of change.

 

HR Strategy isn’t always about planning for the future. Sometimes it means responding to current issues and making sure they fit with the mission, vision or goals of the company. That can be difficult to do if you are uncertain of your strategy. If you don’t have a clearly defined corporate or HR strategy or need help tying that to your mission and vision we can help. Visit our HR Strategy page to learn more about how strategic HR, inc. can help you meet your goals.

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Corporate Social Responsibility

Question:

My new VP is focused on Corporate Social Responsibility and I’m not really sure what that means.  Can you explain what that means and how HR has a role?

Answer:

Corporate Social Responsibility is a broad term for self-regulating oneself in terms of ethical responsibility and compliance. The term can refer to both internal and external activities that an organization can take part in to improve itself as well as the communities and environments in which it works. Strategic HR Leaders should take an active role in Corporate Social Responsibility. HR can take the lead by linking the identified corporate initiatives and tie them to bonus programs, development plans, retention, not to mention recruiting. These identified initiatives can become measurable results for the entire organization.

In many organizations HR still struggles to find a place at the leadership table. By thinking strategically and relying on proven business practices and tools HR can show value and become a partner with the leadership team. strategic HR, inc. knows how difficult it can be to integrate practices with the overall business strategy. Let us assist you with your strategic initiatives – visit our HR Strategy page to learn more.
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Are Your HR Goals Aligned With the Company’s?

Question:  

I know that our HR department’s goals should align with the company’s goals, but I’m not sure how to do that.  What company things can I look at to make sure our goals they align?  Where do I start?

Answer:  

It is really easier than you think to create goals that will support the company’s goals.  First, look broadly at the company.  How does the company make money?  Once you understand what they do and how they do it, look internally at the services your department provides.  What are things your department can do to help enhance revenue?  Don’t think about spending less money or finding a way to make additional dollars – look at what services you provide that will help to enhance revenue building for the company.  Is it getting staff hired more quickly?  Is it better training once they are on board?  Is there a program you can offer that may enhance retention?  Are there safety measures that could be put in place to improve the workplace and reduce workplace injuries?  There are many services HR provides (or could provide) that can directly and indirectly link to the company goals and assist in.

Are daily HR issues interfering with your ability to focus on the strategic matters of your company? Do you find yourself at odds with the directives of the leadership team? Strategic HR, inc. knows how integral human resources is to the health of your organization and can assist you with HR strategy needs. Visit our HR Strategy page to learn how we can assist you with your strategy and help align your goals.

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How Do I Get and Keep the Attention of Generation Y Employees?

Question:

Am I imagining this or do Gen Ys have one-second attention spans?  How do you get and keep their attention?

Answer:

According to Bridging the Generation Gap authors, Linda Gravett and Robin Throckmorton, Many Gen Ys do come across looking like they are unable to keep focused for a period of time, but what the issue truly is that we are unable to keep their interest.  Because of the fast-paced, high-tech world in which they grew up, many Ys do require a great deal of mental stimulation and find it challenging to focus. In the workplace, we need to provide stimulating work and the best technology we can afford to maintain this generation’s interest. If we can demonstrate how our organization contributes to society and how much we need them individually to achieve community outreach, our organizations will have a better chance of getting and keeping Gen Y’s interest.

Are daily HR issues interfering with your ability to focus on the strategic matters of your company? Do you know you need help but don’t know what type of help is best for your situation or your budget? Strategic HR, inc. knows how integral human resources is to the health and growth of your organization and can assist you with all of your HR needs. To learn more contact us at 513-697-9855 or visit our website for details on our services.

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How Can I Keep Older Employees Engaged in the Workplace?

Question:

Some of our older workers seem to just be riding out their time until retirement. How do we get them engaged in their jobs?

Answer:

Put them to the task!!!  We have heard much talk about generations in the workplace and it is up to us as HR professionals to engage everyone, even up to their retirement date!  In Linda Gravett and Robin Throckmorton’s Book, “Bridging the Generation Gap”, we learned that both the Radio Babies and Baby Boomers wanted their coworkers to know they were going to be around a long time and their brains are still functioning. This group likes to share what they do and why they do it – so let them do it.  As they ‘ride out their time’, give them the task to mentor others and put their expertise and experiences to work to help solve a problem or improve the company in a specific area. If that doesn’t work, ASK THEM what lights a fire for them and engage them to make that happen.  Riding out time is no fun for the person doing it or the people watching it…they want to be engaged.  It is up to us to work with them to make the best of their remaining time with the company and allow this time to be exciting for them.

HR Strategy isn’t always about planning for the future. Sometimes it means responding to current issues and making sure they fit with the mission, vision or goals of the company. That can be difficult to do if you are uncertain of your strategy. If you don’t have a clearly defined corporate or HR strategy or need help tying that to your mission and vision we can help. Visit our HR Strategy page to learn more about how strategic HR, inc. can help you meet your goals.

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Importance of Succession Plans

Question:

Are succession plans really essential in the workplace?

Answer: 

ABSOLUTELY!  Regardless of how “formal” your plan is, succession planning is essential!  These plans or even identifiers allow organizations to establish the groundwork for the training and development of potential successors in the organization for roles left open due to retirement or attrition.  Effective use of a succession program in conjunction with the performance management program will allow for:

  • development of staff and visible career paths for employees which will potentially improve retention
  • the ability to identify potential “high performing employees” that could move into other roles or up through the company
  • a clear review of the skills in your workplace and what is “missing”
  • the comfort that your company is planning for the future

Succession plans allow you to evaluate current employee skills and determine what you need to do to develop their skills to move into other roles with in the organization.  You can determine gaps in your organization and determine next steps.  Do you provide training?  Do you provide a mentor to help improve skills and even approach in some instances?  Do you need to consider your next hire as a potential successor for a specific role?  You won’t know unless you think about it.  Look at those around you and continue to develop them…they may be your next leader!

For a company to grow it often involves a lot of change. HR Strategy isn’t just about planning for the change, sometimes it means coping with the aftermath of creating change. Given the individual nature of humans there is no cookie cutter answer for dealing with change; the solution is as individual as each person in the organization. If you are struggling with change in your organization we can help. Visit our HR Strategy page to learn more about how strategic HR, inc. can help you with your strategy for change.

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Presenteeism in the Workplace

Question:

I keep hearing people refer to “presenteeism” in the workplace. What is that and why does my boss want me to look into what it is costing the company? I’ve never heard that term before!

Answer:

Presenteeism refers to employees who are on the job but, because of illness or other medical conditions, are not fully functioning.  These employees are physically present at work but are distracted to the point of not working at full capacity due to physicial or emotional issues.  Chronic conditions such as allergies, arthritis, migraines, back pain, gastrointestinal disorders, diabetes, and depression can lead to presenteeism issues, just to name a few.  Researchers indicate that presenteeism can cut individual productivity by one-third or more. In fact, data suggests that it is a much more costly problem to employers than absenteeism AND it is difficult to manage.  With presenteeism, employees show up to work but it is difficult to tell when or how much an illness or a medical condition is hindering someone’s performance.  They may “look fine” but there performance may be suffering. Presenteeism is thought to be more prevalent during tough economic times, because people are afraid to miss work, potentially causing them to lose their jobs.

Determining the cost of presenteeism to the company is a challenge since the costs are nearly invisible to employers.  It is hard to put a cost on the problem until the person has “checked out” to the point that it is obvious that their productivity is suffering.  There are two surveys available free on line from the World Health Organization that you can use to set a baseline in your organization.  The surveys (links below) can help you determine if there is a problem, possibly put some costs on the issue, and determine what, if any course of action needs to be taken.

World Health Organization –  Health and Work Performance Questionnaire (HPQ)

Tufts Medical Center Work Limitations Questionnaire (WLQ)

Are daily HR issues interfering with your ability to focus on the strategic matters of your company? Do you find yourself at odds with the directives of the leadership team? Strategic HR, inc. knows how integral human resources is to the health of your organization and can assist you with HR strategy needs. Visit our HR Strategy page to learn how we can assist you with your strategy and help align your goals.

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HR Working as a Strategic Partner

Question:

What are some effective ways for HR to become a strategic partner in an organization?

Answer:

Traditionally, Human Resources have served two major roles.  The first is administration. This is primarily centered on processing, recordkeeping, maintaining employee files, etc.  The second is business partner, which mainly supports and helps to maintain the company’s business model.  In recent years, HR has been called to serve a third role; strategic partner.

According to their article “What Makes HR a Strategic Partner” by Edward E. Lawler III and John W. Boudreau, a company can transform Human Resources into a strategic partner in a few different ways; developing its talent through rotation, utilizing teams with specialized expertise, have leaders located in business units, and involve line management in HR decision making.

HR ultimately needs to organize itself to rise to the corporate level.  Its extensive knowledge and analysis of organizational design, business strategy and metrics and analytics are significant aspects of a successful company.  By implementing these strategies, HR can transform into a strategic partner and an essential part of an organization.

Are daily HR issues interfering with your ability to focus on the strategic matters of your company? Do you find yourself at odds with the directives of the leadership team? Strategic HR, inc. knows how integral human resources is to the health of your organization and can assist you with HR strategy needs. Visit our HR Strategy page to learn how we can assist you with your strategy and help align your goals.

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Leader vs. Manager

Question:

What is the difference between a Leader and a Manager?

Answer:

According to Peter Drucker, “Management is doing things right; Leadership is doing things the right way”.

For an organization to achieve strong results, both leadership and management need to be present. Management allows for leadership, and leadership invites development as people stretch toward the new vision and its inherent possibilities.

Many wrongly assume that leaders are somehow “better” than managers or that managers should try to be leaders. Both have their value in an organization. In many companies, employees who master the management responsibilities in a given role are seen as promising candidates for the next level, especially if they offer ideas and strategic suggestions beyond their area of responsibility. However, leadership is not simply an advanced form of management. Often when a promotion comes, a difficult transition process begins when the newly promoted employee must prove value and competency at the next level. To do so, the new leader must let go of managing the very processes and functions on which his or her reputation had been established.

It is extremely beneficial if organizations recognize the challenges of building a strong leadership pipeline. Understand that leadership is not simply an advanced form of management — they are actually separate skill sets, actions, behaviors, and competencies.

Although some people are predisposed to being either a leader or a manager, that’s not to say that an employee can’t acquire the skills to be one or the other. The following are some examples of personality traits and qualities that make leaders and managers predisposed to be one or the other.

           LEADERSHIP TRAITS         MANAGEMENT TRAITS

               Big Picture     /     Detail Oriented

      Strategic     /     Tactical

Vision, Strategy, Execution     /     Goals, Projects, Tasks

 Effectiveness     /     Efficiency

        Forge Vision     /      Follow Vision

   Right Brain-Lateral Thinking     /      Left Brain-Linear Thinking

  People-focused     /      Task-focused

     Internal Frame of Reference      /      External Frame of Reference

   Intuitive       /       Sensing

       Visionary, Dreamer, Romantic      /      Level-headed, Realistic, Practical

HR Strategy often involves thinking ahead to the future and making plans for the growth and development of key players. Strategic HR, inc. understands the balance between company strategy and people strategy and can assist you with both. Not only do we have the expertise to help you develop a strategic plan for your company, but we also have resources to help you develop your people leaders. Visit our HR Strategy page to learn how we can assist you with your company strategy OR visit our Career Coaching page to learn more about leadership development.

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Competency Based Culture

Question:

What do I need to think about when creating a competency based performance management system?

Answer:

As with any type of new program being introduced to your employees a lot of planning needs to go into creating a performance management system.

  • Start with a clear idea of the business challenge or problem you need to address.  What is the business impact in terms of lost revenue, staff retention, performance and productivity, culture, and decision making.
  • Identify what is working well and what needs improvement. You’ll want to keep what’s working and change what isn’t. Articulating your company’s strengths will help identify competencies needed to measure performance.
  • Keep a separate to-do list of other areas that may come up as you create your plan. It’s not unusual to flush some of these things out as you dive deep and you can then make choices about what to work on when.
  • Revisit the company’s mission, vision and purpose to provide a refresher on why the company exists.
  • Review the annual business plan with the goals and determine whether or not you have the talent to deliver the results needed.
  • There can be many options and opinions when creating desired competencies. Try to involve HR – someone with experience in performance management, talent management and/or strategic planning to help guide the process. Be sure to describe behaviors and results. It might be helpful to ask:
    • Who are the existing employees demonstrating the kind of top performance needed to deliver business goals?
    • What does a top performer look like?
  • Identify competencies that span all positions in a company – it sets a common standard and helps create a company culture that drives performance and results.
  • Drill down under each competency to identify specific behavior for performance standards.
  • Define the spectrum of performance from the ‘top’ (exceeding expectations) through the ‘bottom’ (needing improvement). Typically a 3 point or 5 point range is used.
  • Determine the frequency of performance reviews with every employee having at a minimum an annual review. Ideally, real-time feedback is given as it occurs, with more formal checkpoints occurring via monthly or quarterly meetings with their direct manager.
  • Involve a select group of employees to give input on the competencies before finalizing. They may provide additional insights and facilitate quicker adaptation of the new system.

By following the suggestions above you will be well on your way to creating a solid performance management system.

HR Strategy isn’t always about planning for the future. Sometimes it means responding to current issues and making sure they fit with the mission, vision or goals of the company. Dealing with a company’s culture can be a touchy subject – especially when you tie that to performance management. Strategic HR, inc. can help you with a variety of issues related to culture. Visit our HR Strategy page to learn more about how strategic HR, inc. can help you meet your goals.

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Getting Through Change

Question:

Our company is going through a lot of changes lately… any ideas for how to best deal with these changes?

Answer:

There is so much change taking place in the workforce today, we can’t escape it. But it can’t just be ignored, we have to decide how we are going to handle or cope with each change. It’s normal for the ‘current’ way to feel more comfortable and the ‘new’ way to feel uncomfortable – and no one likes to feel uncomfortable. But change is unavoidable in today’s work world, so we have to find a way to accept the “new normal”.

Change evokes all types of responses – anxiety, fear, irritability, resentfulness, overwhelmed AND excitement, opportunity, growth, newness, fresh. It is important to identify how you respond: positive or negative; constructive or destructive; engaging or defensive. Once you know your response, you can then work toward responding more positively. Here are a few tips for getting through change:

  • Pay Attention – Notice signs that change is needed and/or going to happen. If we anticipate a change, we can better prepare ourselves.
  • Knowledge – Knowledge is power. Whether change is happening or imminent, seek information to help you understand it. It’s easier to cope with something if you have a little information.
  • Communicate – Everyone involved is going through the change and likely having mixed emotions. As you share, you’ll find out you are not alone, and together you may be able to identify ways to cope with the change in a positive way.
  • Embrace – Imagine how it will feel once the change becomes the “new normal”. Get involved in the change and encourage others to accept the change through positive talk.
  • Coping Skills – During a stressful time, our bodies all respond differently. Some possible coping strategies may include:
    • Exercise – If you exercise keep doing it and if you are not exercising try adding some.
    • Distractions – Do something for yourself that gets your mind off of the change for a little bit each day.
    • Goal Setting – Establish goals that will help walk you through the change process so you feel more in control of what is taking place.
    • Reflection – Think about past changes you’ve gone through that you survived, and even thrived as a result.

Change is inevitable so we must find ways to accept change. As noted in Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change by William Bridges, “The only certainty is that between here and there will be a lot of change…There’s no way to avoid it. But you can manage it. You can. And if you want to come through in one piece, you must.”

For a company to grow it often involves a lot of change. HR Strategy isn’t just about planning for the change, sometimes it means coping with the aftermath of creating change. Given the individual nature of humans there is no cookie cutter answer for dealing with change; the solution is as individual as each person in the organization. If you are struggling with change in your organization we can help. Visit our HR Strategy page to learn more about how strategic HR, inc. can help you with your strategy for change.

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Measuring Change Impact on Performance

Question:

What’s the impact of changes such as employee relations strategies, policies, and practices on organizational performance?

Answer:

The core answer to your question is that organizations that identify the appropriate employee relations strategies, policies, and practices WILL have ONLY a positive impact on their performance. These are the organizations that we already see named as “best places to work” or “employer of choice”. They’ve realized the benefit and competitive advantage that these changes can have to the overall success of their organization.

Below is a list of some of the key changes observed in organizational strategies over the years:

  • Heightened sensitivity to age differences in terms of recruiting, employee development, and employee relations policies.
  • More flexibility in work structure and policies such as dress code, telecommuting, and flexible hours.
  • Tailored rewards and recognition, especially in consideration of differences across generations.
  • Increased front-line supervisory training and development.

Changing workforce demographics have driven the need for organizational change across the U.S. More women are entering, and staying in, the workforce and now comprise about 58% of the total workforce in our country. We now have five generations in the workforce, with medical technology allowing older workers to be healthy enough to stay well past the historical age 65 should they choose to do so. These generations are very different with regard to their motivations and interests. Cultural diversity is also growing in organizations across the country because technology has made us all global. In short, employee relations policies and strategies have had to evolve to take these demographic changes into account.

Results we’ve observed in our client organizations include enhanced recruiting capability in a highly competitive environment; retention of high-performing employees; and increased and sustained profitability driven by engaged, highly motivated workers. 

We’ve found that companies are becoming very creative when it comes to offering rewards and recognition targeted at retaining their best and brightest employees. Concierge services such as dry cleaning have been highly successful as perks that entice employees of all ages to continue their employment. Posting jobs online on sites that cater to different age groups has become a critical approach towards obtaining a recruiting advantage. In short, companies that are willing to be innovative in terms of recruitment and retention strategies have reaped the result of finding and keeping excellent employees who in turn drive profits. What works for one organization does not necessarily work for every organization. It’s important to figure out what your employees want and need that will help your organization reap the results.

Employee recognition is just one aspect of Employee Relations. In a nutshell, Employee Relations is all about how employers interact with employees to help them remain an engaged and productive employee that is content to continue employment with the company for many years. Visit our Employee Relations page to learn how we can assist you with the Employee Relations issues you may have.

 

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Human Resources Assistance Needed

Question:

I need help with human resources – what are my options?

Answer:

The role of human resources covers a variety of areas such as:

  • Recruitment
  • Training and Development
  • Benefits and Compensation
  • Communications
  • Employee Relations
  • Recordkeeping
  • Health Safety and Security
  • Legal Compliance

The type of human resources help you may need depends greatly on which of these areas where you most need the assistance. The typical rule of thumb is having one HR person to every 100 employees, however; if you have a very pro-active culture and environment, you may see a more pressing need for full-time HR help.

Below are a few options you can consider:

  1. Hiring an HR Generalist
    • Typically, an HR Generalist is going to have the skills and education to provide any aspect of HR for your business. A typical salary for an HR Generalist with about 5 – 7 years of experience will range from $45,000 – $80,000. Keep in mind, as a generalist, the individual may have some strengths and weaknesses in the field of HR, some of which are not as developed or favorable for your specific situation. Choose your HR generalist to have strengths based on your specific needs.
  2. Professional Employers Organization (PEO)
    • As defined by Wikipedia, a PEO is a firm that provides outsourced employee management tasks such as benefits, payroll, and workers compensation. Some PEOs will provide additional HR functions while others are limited to these key areas. You’ll definitely need to investigate to make sure you are getting the right skills needed for your organization. When using a PEO, they become the employer of record for tax and insurance purposes by hiring your employees.
  3. Outsourced HR
    • By outsourcing your HR function, to someone like strategic HR, inc., you get a great deal of flexibility. Using this model you get the HR assistance you need, whether it is everything related to HR or only small pieces or projects. You have the option of having assistance provided on-site or off-site, which is great if you don’t have the space for additional employees. For small organizations, or organizations in a growth mode, this can be the perfect solution to ensure you are attracting and retaining the best employees. An outsourced HR provider can help establish your HR function by creating an employee handbook, job descriptions, performance reviews and more. Plus outsourced HR can provide recruiting, employee relations coaching, training, and other HR related project needs.

Are daily HR issues interfering with your ability to focus on the strategic matters of your company? Do you know you need help but don’t know what type of help is best for your situation or your budget? Strategic HR, inc. knows how integral human resources is to the health and growth of your organization and can assist you with all of your HR needs. To learn more contact us at 513-697-9855 or visit our website for details on all of our services.

Multicolored wheel divided into 7 equal sections Recruitment, Training and Development, Benifits and Compensation, Communicating, Employee Relations, Recordkeeping, and Health safety and security with Legal compliance written on the outer edge and company strategy in the center is emphasized

Setting Up The HR Function

Question:

What are some things to consider when starting up an HR Department in my company?

Answer:

Before you set up your HR Department, the first question you need to answer is “why”? Why do you need an HR Department? Be sure your needs for the HR Department are business driven so that you can tie the functions of HR to your business strategy – mission, vision, objectives, values.

Your business reason’s for starting an HR department will dictate what you need to do. There are basically 8 key areas of HR that you need to think about:

  • Recruitment (job descriptions, application, posting, interview guides, evaluation form, offer letter)
  • Training and Development (new hire orientation, employee development)
  • Benefits and Compensation (pay structure, time tracking, medical, other perks)
  • Communications (all staff meetings, handbook, newsletters)
  • Employee Relations (manager training/coaching, discipline process, culture, retention)
  • Recordkeeping (employee files, reporting)
  • Health, Safety, and Security
  • Legal Compliance (state and federal laws)

Depending on your goals, you may need all or only some of these functions as you start up your HR department.  At a minimum though, you’ll want to think about:

  • Obtaining state and federal mandated posters
  • Creating Personnel Files for each employee
  • Creating an I-9 file to store all employee I-9s
  • Identifying key policies and procedures for your business
  • Developing an employee handbook to keep everyone on the same road map for expectations
  • Assembling the basic forms needed for all employees – I9, Emergency Contact Forms, W4, State Tax Form
  • Establishing a workers compensation account (varies by state)
  • Determining a process or solution for paying employees (in-house or payroll provider)
  • Assessing what benefits you will offer employees (not just medical coverage)

Finally, as you are establishing the HR Department, you’ll need to determine who is going to manage and run the department. How many staff will you need? The typical rule of thumb is one HR person for every 100 employees, but this varies. Who will HR report to? If your employees are valuable to you, HR would likely report to the CEO/President to ensure HR has the support needed to take care of employees.

Last but not least, don’t hesitate to ask for help. Laws change and people change. So you’ll always have a need to improve your HR function.

When you are in the infancy stage of an HR Department, oftentimes your “strategy” is to just get things up and running. There is so much to Human Resources Management that it can be difficult to know where to start while being confident you aren’t forgetting something important. Strategic HR, inc. feels your pain having helped many small companies start or grow their HR function. Let us share our years of experience getting HR “off the ground”. We have great tools to help, including our Virtual HR portal and our HR Coach that can assist you with getting started and successfully growing your HR function. For a demo of these or other tools please contact Robin at info@strategicHRinc.com.

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Community Outreach During National Disasters

Question:

Our local community recently experienced severe flooding and a lot of damage was done. I would like to help those affected and I think my fellow coworkers would too. Am I allowed to collect donations in the office to give to a charity set up to help victims?

Answer:

It’s our empathy that makes us human and when disaster strikes our first reaction is often to help, particularly when it impacts our community, friends and neighbors. It’s understandable that you feel compelled to do something during a time of crisis, but individually soliciting donations in the workplace may not be the best response. As a matter of policy you need to be guided by what is stated in your company non-solicitation policy. Make sure anything that you do is not in violation of that policy, particularly when it comes to asking for donations of fellow employees. The biggest concern is seemingly applying inappropriate pressure to other employees for a donation, especially if those employees are subordinates – you wouldn’t want to appear as if you were asking them to donate as a condition of employment, for example.

A better option may be to look at your company’s mission and vision statements to determine if there is something your company can do as a whole to address the needs created by the disaster. Perhaps you could do a voluntary food and clothing drive instead. Or participate in a community clean-up day representing your company and tying that effort to a corporate strategy relating to community involvement or outreach. With the backing of your company as the sponsor, rather than yourself, it will be more appropriate to involve fellow employees – especially if all participation is voluntary and stated as such clearly.

In any case, don’t let company policy stand in your way of giving back to the community. Your donation of time or money is surely appreciated on an individual level.

HR Strategy isn’t always about planning for the future. Sometimes it means responding to current issues and making sure they fit with the mission, vision or goals of the company. That can be difficult to do if you are uncertain of your strategy. If you don’t have a clearly defined corporate or HR strategy or need help tying that to your mission and vision we can help. Visit our HR Strategy page to learn more about how strategic HR, inc. can help you meet your goals.

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What is an HR Scorecard and how is it implemented?

Question:

What is a HR scorecard, and how is it implemented?

Answer:

The HR scorecard is a method for Human Resources to position itself as a strategic planning partner with line managers and executives within an organization. A detailed and excellent book on this topic is The HR Scorecard, by Becker, Huselid, and Ulrich. This book is available on either Amazon.com or the Society for Human Resource Management‘s web site.

The premise for an HR scorecard is that HR can and should develop metrics to demonstrate how HR activities impact profitability. The process we recommend is:

  1. Identify the critical deliverables for Human Resources.
  2. Identify HR’s customers (for the deliverables).
  3. Define HR activities that provide the critical deliverables (such as high-talent staffing or a retention initiative).
  4. Conduct a cost-benefit analyses of activities that provide deliverables.

Lastly, it’s important to ask the right questions to determine if HR is providing the appropriate deliverables. Examples of these questions are:

  1. How many exceptional candidates do we recruit and retain for each strategic job opening?
  2. How many hours of results-oriented training do new employees receive annually?
  3. What is the differential in merit pay between high-performers and low-performers?

In many organizations HR still struggles to find a place at the leadership table. By thinking strategically and relying on proven business practices and tools HR can show value and become a partner with the leadership team. Strategic HR, inc. knows how difficult it can be to integrate HR practices with the overall business strategy. Let us assist you with your strategic initiatives – visit our HR Strategy page to learn more.

Multicolored wheel divided into 7 equal sections Recruitment, Training and Development, Benifits and Compensation, Communicating, Employee Relations, Recordkeeping, and Health safety and security with Legal compliance written on the outer edge and company strategy in the center employee relations is emphasized

Should I be worrying about employee retention?

Question:

Should I really be worried about employee retention during economic downturns when unemployment numbers are so high?

Answer:

YES!!!

It is still a shock to the system when we give presentations to HR professionals and small business owners and ask “what are you doing about retention?” and we get these looks like “retention” why would I need to do anything about retention? And there is always someone in the crowd that announces out loud “we are all just lucky to even HAVE jobs”. Dare we repeat the recent survey results by the Harvard Business review that found 25% of the top performers at companies are saying that they plan to leave their companies within the next year?

Do you find that hard to believe? Better start believing itit is a reality! We’ve had a number of managers call and report it is already happening to them. To make matters worse, managers feel their hands are tied because their companies are taking the defensive position ”let them quit and try to find another job someplace else”. Guess what? They didand, the ones leaving WERE the top performers! Can you afford to lose your best employees?

So, to ask again “what are you doing about retention?” Yes, some people may be lucky to have a job, but in other cases YOU are lucky you have them as employees. It’s time to start treating your employees in a manner that shows they are indeed valuable. Your business may not be in the position to reinstate the salary you had to cut, give the raise you put off, or offer the 401k match you eliminated, but can you do some things to improve the work environment? Easy things, such as:

  • Providing recognition for sticking with the company during these rough times.
  • Sharing the plan of where an employee fits into the big picture going forward.
  • Seeking the opinions of employees when it comes to helping the company move forward and grow.
  • Setting and sharing some milestones for what it may take before an employee can see an increase in salary again.
  • Asking what is important to the employee that keeps him/her at your company.
  • Determining if you have the right people managing the employees to keep everyone motivated and excited about being a part of the company going forward.
  • Doing things that differentiate between the good employees and the mediocre employees to show that it matters.

Turnover is expensive. It can cost your business as much as 50 – 150% of the annual salary of your lost employee. Can you afford that as your business recovers? What are you doing to manage your employees in the current economy to avoid losing your star performers?

Are daily HR issues interfering with your ability to focus on the strategic matters of your company? Do you find yourself at odds with the directives of the leadership team? Strategic HR, inc. knows how integral human resources is to the health of your organization and can assist you with HR strategy needs. Visit our HR Strategy page to learn how we can assist you with your strategy and help align your goals. 

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Is This a Solution to Help You Become More Strategic?

by Robin Throckmorton, MA, SPHR

“Business changes come as waves gathering shape, gaining energy and momentum, then crash across the companies that find themselves in their path. Those companies that anticipate and respond quickly to these waves of change can often rise with the tide; those that don’t are often crushed on impact.” 
– Michael F. Corbett with Corbett & Associates, Ltd.

This quote from Michael Corbett really hits home for most of us as we deal with different business changes each day. I know there are many days that I feel like the guy standing one step ahead of the wave ready to crash. The key is we need to stay one step ahead (more would be better) in order to succeed and thrive in the business world. We have to be ready to embrace change and always be charging forward as proactively as possible.

In this article, I want to help you evaluate a specific business issue that many organizations large and small are considering – human resources outsourcing. Truly, HR outsourcing is nothing new. We’ve been outsourcing benefits administration, payroll, and retirement plans for years. But the outsourcing wave is “gathering shape, gaining energy and momentum” to include much more.

Why…what’s driving this change? Is it a fad or the future? According to Accenture, the increase in HR outsourcing is the result of increased pressure to reduce costs, improve employee service, and maximize resource availability while becoming a strategic partner. We can’t be everything to everyone but we need to meet these demands. As a result, SHRM has found in the last five years the US market for HR outsourcing has doubled. And, The Yankee Group predicts the global market for HR outsourced services will be $80 billion by 2008 with the US accounting for half of this.

Now, I’m not saying that HR outsourcing is a solution for everyone. Nor, am I even elaborating on exactly what you could outsource. As with most HR decisions, this depends. But, let me share some facts with you so you can make a fair decision on whether you should consider outsourcing. Outsourcing could be a solution for you if it…

  • Increases your focus on strategy
  • Reduces operating costs
  • Limits your legal risks
  • Helps you tap into talent / expertise that doesn’t exist in your organization
  • Increases your focus on your core business / competencies
  • Reduces your investment costs in technology
  • Provides you with staff flexibility to expand and retract as the business necessitates

This list could go on and on…Another way to think about whether outsourcing is a solution for you is to look at the actual makeup of your HR function. According Karen Roberts with Aon Consulting, most organizations spend 10% of their cost and efforts on strategic issues, 30% on HR services (i.e. recruitment, succession planning, performance management), and 60% on administrative (i.e. record keeping, compliance, paperwork). If this mirrors your organization, would you be much more proactive and successful if you could outsource some of the 60% of administrative tasks and focus more effort and dollars on the strategic and HR services? Absolutely!!!!

But with anything, you need to look at both the pros, cons and costs. You need to consider and overcome a variety of obstacles if you decide to outsource any or all of your HR function. How will outsourcing:

  • Impact the customer service to your employees?
  • Limit your opportunity to develop the expertise and skills of your employees in anticipation of pending skill shortage by 2010?
  • Be accepted or rejected by employees and even others in HR?
  • Impact the organization’s culture
  • Increase the amount of your time required managing vendors / projects?
  • Increase potential costs you haven’t considered?

Now, you have thought it through and have decided that outsourcing some or all of your HR function MAY be a solution for you. Let’s discuss a general process you could follow to further explore the feasibility of outsourcing in your organization and how to implement it if you decide to go forward.

Step 1: Create a Team 
Yes another team, but this isn’t a decision that should be made in a silo. You need decision makers and stakeholders involved to ensure you are considering all angles and options. Begin by creating a project plan by completing the following:

  • Desired results: what does this team hope to accomplish?
  • Potential barriers / obstacles: what is going to prevent this team from reaching this result?
  • Supports: what resources, people, or organizations could help the team?
  • Plan: what are the steps the team needs to take? (hint: steps 2 – 5)
  • Evaluation: how will the team know it has reached it’s goal?

Step 2: Conduct a Process Review 
To get a clear idea of what could be outsourced, the team will need to start by mapping all the HR processes from A-Z (i.e. recruitment, payroll, benefits, performance management, etc.) Determine what is done, by who, and for how long. Just going through this process should identify some potential inefficiencies that could be addressed through outsourcing or simple improvements that will streamline your HR functions.

Step 3: Review Strategic Plan 
Once you’ve mapped your HR processes, compare those processes to the company strategic plan. What activities support the plan? What activities need to be done but do not have a direct connection to the plan? What else can human resources do to help support the company strategic plan that may not even be identified yet? Addressing the answer to these three questions will help you begin to make a link between HR and the business plan.

Step 4: Identify Core Areas 
Based on your findings in Step 2 & Step 3, you need to identify the core areas HR needs to focus on because of in-house expertise. To determine your core areas, ask yourself these two questions:

  1. What expertise does your current staff possess that should be capitalized on internally?
  2. What efforts can or should only be done internally?

Your answers should help you identify your core areas that you should be focusing on performing internally.

Step 5: Decide What to Outsource 
The team needs to use all the information gathered during steps 1 – 4 to decide whether or not AND what to outsource. Remember, the advantages and obstacles we discussed earlier in this article, these will be critical issues to consider in deciding to outsource and evaluating what to outsource.

These first five steps will help you determine if and what you may want to outsource. If you decide you want to outsource anything, you’ll want to read our article next month that will cover Steps 6 – 10 on facilitating the outsourcing process.

To be continued…

Robin Throckmorton, MA, SPHR, a Senior Human Resources Management Consultant is President of Strategic Human Resources, Inc. (www.strategicHRinc.com). If you have any questions or wish to share your comments with Robin, you can contact her at Robin@strategicHRinc.com.

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HR New Year’s Resolutions

By Cathleen Snyder, CIR, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

It’s that time again. Along with the New Year, January brings an opportunity to look back at the previous year, what worked, what didn’t and what just didn’t happen. It’s also a time look ahead at the coming year. Many people will make their New Year’s resolutions to lose weight, become more fit, rebuild the relationship with your sister…

HR should be no different. January is an ideal time to take a hard look at your organization. What were the good things that happened last year that you want to make sure are carried forward? What were the not so good that you can learn from? What did you intend to do but never got to? What changes occurred in your organization and what was the impact on HR that needs to be addressed?

Some key areas to consider:

Job descriptions — When were they last updated? For many organizations, job requirements changed out of need. One employee was laid off or left and not replaced, so those duties were absorbed by another. Are these changes going to remain permanent? Also, some of those changes resulted in the realization that certain duties were a better fit for the alternate position. Now is the time to make it official and update job descriptions.

Social Media — It’s everywhere, and as much as some may want to ignore it, you can’t ignore the potential impact on your business, both positive and negative. Facebook is now considered to be the new search engine response driver. The more content you have on your Facebook page the more likely you are to appear on top of search results. Is your company getting the maximum benefit from social media? It’s also important to consider what your employees are saying about your company via social media. Do you have a policy in place regarding the use of social media? Does HR monitor social media outlets to see what is being posted about your company? What liability exposure needs to be considered? This is an area that is evolving daily, literally. The company that chooses to ignore it does so at its own peril.

Workplace Harassment — This past year seemed to bring a rise in Workplace Harassment issues. Companies are seeing an increase in harassment and discrimination complaints. Whether your company experienced this trend of not, it is important to evaluate whether you are positioned to weather the potential storm. Do you have a Workplace Harassment policy? When was the policy last updated? Has it been communicated to employees recently? When was training last conducted? So many companies think that these issues don’t happen to them – until they do. Make sure you have taken the necessary measures to handle any complaint that may arise. The upside is by raising awareness the result is often a more positive work environment.

Compensation Survey and Review — The past couple of years may have seen salary reductions in order to survive the economic downturn. With the economy finally starting to recover, a review of your salary structure may be warranted. Have you reinstated those pay cuts? What about 401k matches? Are you still paying competitively? This is especially important as companies begin hiring again. The coming year promises to be a tight hiring market. You will want to position yourself to attract the best candidates and retain your superstars.

Training and Development — What does your training budget look like for 2011? For many organizations, this is an area that has been slashed in recent years. We have all heard that as the economy stabilizes, employees may be more open to changing jobs. What are you doing to retain your top talent? There has never been a more important time to show your commitment to your employees, by offering opportunities for learning and growth, before they head for the door. 

Recognition — While the past three years has been tough on business, it has also been tough on employees. More has been asked of them during these rough times, as business tightened its belt. How have you shown that you recognize and appreciate those that got you through? Budgets may still be tight. This is an opportunity to get creative in showing your “human” resources how much they are valued.
These are just a few areas worth looking at when considering what you will choose as your New Year’s resolutions. Some may be easier to keep than others. If you don’t already do so, identifying a strategic plan for the coming year is instrumental in ensuring these resolutions are met. Some resolutions may involve changing direction, some may involve formalizing a direction that is already underway. Either way, it’s a brand New Year and a clean slate.

Cathleen Snyder, CIR, SPHR, is a Senior Human Resources Consultant with Strategic Human Resources, Inc. (www.strategicHRinc.com) and can be reached at Cathleen@strategicHRinc.com if you have any questions, comments, or success stories.

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It’s Time for a New Leadership Paradigm

by Linda Gravett, PhD

and John Kucia, EdD

The following article is an excerpt from Linda and John’s forthcoming book, Leadership in Balance.

Part 1

We believe it’s time for a new leadership paradigm to support how an organization survives and thrives in a global society. A “paradigm” is simply a mental map about how to navigate in the world around us. Just like any map, mental maps can be wrong; they can be outdated. Navigating the global society of the 21st century will require updated mental maps for the leaders of tomorrow.

In this article we will make the case that eight updated ways of thinking and related core competencies are required to be a Leader in Balance :

  1. Approaches leadership as a relationship.
  2. Understands the leader embodies the brand promise.
  3. Is motivated by a higher purpose; mission drives the numbers.
  4. Understands collaboration must have a business purpose.
  5. Believes in sharing power and spreading leadership authority.
  6. Believes teaching and leadership have a great deal in common.
  7. Has a personal comfort with and values diversity.
  8. Believes that the challenge of leading change is about leadership in balance, not leadership in control.

The first strength that we believe is essential for top leaders is critical analysis. We can break this competency into two parts: thinking and analysis. Thinking involves manipulation of sensations individuals pick up from the outside world, through the eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin. These sensations are transmitted by the nerves to the brain, which then translates, decodes, and encodes messages before sending them on throughout the nervous system. Analysis occurs when perceptions are turned into reactions, based on concepts, ideas, assumptions, suppositions, inferences, hypotheses, and beliefs.

A major component of critical analysis in the workplace is knowledge management, which can be described as knowing how to apply information and concepts to the true problem. Critical analysis involves knowing what information is important to the organization…..and what is superfluous. We’ve observed that critical analysis requires focus in the face of information overload. A critical thinker can select and use the appropriate technology to process information. Even if incoming data does not affect a critical thinker’s immediate problem or issue, he discerns who within the organization should have the data. Lastly, a critical thinker uses concepts and ideas she encounters to improve existing organizational processes by continually asking questions such as, “where in our organization can this idea apply to improve results?”

Critical analysis certainly does not have to be cold, emotionless, and dispassionate. Actually, it can be very liberating to be free of past assumptions and the self-doubt that can result in constantly making poor choices. Critical thinkers must keep lines of communication open to colleagues at all levels, to keep valuable information flowing, resulting in sound decisions.

Critical analysis affects other leadership behaviors, of course, such as embracing diversity. A critical thinker is sensitive to stereotypes about people and waits to form an opinion about another’s value to the organization until there is substantive information on which to base that opinion. A critical thinker attempts to understand others’ perspectives and reasons for engaging in particular behaviors in order to communicate effectively with them, taking them where they are as opposed to where he or she thinks they should be at any point. A critical thinker works well in a global environment because of a tolerance for ambiguity, or ability to accept multiple interpretations of the same situation. Finally, critical thinkers are often curious about other people and the world around them, always seeking to understand how systems and processes work and how people work best within those systems and processes.

A leader who is not in balance might engage in critical analysis in a totally negative way; for example, searching for ways to tear down ideas without replacing them with viable options. When this happens, leaders cannot make a decision or make commitments to people, ideas, or plans. They fall back on tried and true approaches such as unilateral decision making. Leaders who operate constantly in the command and control posture might fall into this category. Leaders who are not in balance tend to accept justifications for decisions and behaviors (of themselves and others) at face value, without taking time to obtain sufficient facts or engage in intentional reflection, learning and growth.

A second critical competency for the Leader in Balance is reflection. Reflection is looking back at events that have already occurred. Intentional reflection is setting time aside to positively and thoughtfully take a look back, even when that reflection is not flattering. Intentional reflection is reviewing the past in order to make better decisions in the future.

We suggest using reflection to look forward as well as backward. Whenever a crisis occurs, leaders are forced to decide the best course of action and act quickly (and sometimes unilaterally). We believe that a Leader in Balance will pause before acting to draw on both instinct and experience to respond appropriately. Peter Chung, President and CEO of the Eminata Group, an education-based company headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia, said in a 2008 article, “You have to search your soul and discover why you want to go in that direction.” (Secrets of Success, Kevin Miller, “Why Do You Want to be Successful?”) After a crisis has passed, contemplative leaders reflect on important lessons they’ve learned during the difficult time just past. They consider changes their organization can make to minimize the chance of re-occurrence of the same or a similar crisis. Problems are viewed as learning opportunities for people throughout the organization.

One of the leaders we interviewed for our book provides an excellent example of a person who is intentionally reflective and self aware: Bob McDonald, Chief Operating Officer of Procter & Gamble. He said:

 “I think the best leaders are highly self-aware and that, to me, is kind of like a common denominator. Those leaders who struggle lack self-awareness. Being reflective on one’s self is all about character. Being reflective is not weak; it’s strong. You have to be much more deliberate as a leader, much more thoughtful, and much more reflective to get the most out of those personal interactions that you have with others.”

A third critical competency for a Leader in Balance is strategic perspective. This perspective is inclusive of shareholders, consumers, the community, and employees. Jack Kraeutler, COO and President of Meridian Diagnostics, explains strategic perspective this way: “I am an observer and a listener. I do what makes sense to the consumer.”

Leaders at the top level are often faced with divergent stakeholder agendas. How should a leader in balance respond? The direction, we believe, should flow from the organization’s Mission Statement, Core Values, and business imperatives. A Leader in Balance is clear on how his or her personal values align with those of the organization. We believe that the ability to establish and articulate core values is the fourth core competency.

In her research for a recent book on generational differences in the workplace, (Bridging the Generation Gap, 2007) Linda interviewed 500 people in each of the two youngest workplace generations, Generation X and Generation Y. She found that a compelling factor in enticing these employees to stay with an organization is trust; that is, they want to work in a high trust work environment. A leader who can foster a high trust work environment encourages people at all organizational levels to share ideas and suggestions to improve processes. She insists that information is shared, from something as straightforward as a new employee coming on board to more complicated and sensitive information, such as errors in judgment on reporting in an annual report. A leader who fosters high trust is not stingy with praise and recognition; he acknowledges others who’ve helped him achieve success. This leader invites a healthy debate among stakeholders prior to making key decisions. She channels the discussion towards a mission-driven decision that focuses on customer requirements. Finally, a leader in a high trust workplace admits errors in judgment and learns from those mistakes.

Many CEOs today promote the establishment of core values and ensure they are published across the organization and are available for the public to read. The recent onslaught of breaches in ethics and executive “perp walks” on national TV has forced companies to at least appear to be concerned about values. A Leader in Balance is compelled to dig deeper and first search her personal value system for understanding about boundaries of acceptable behavior. A Leader in Balance is able to bring his leadership team together to articulate the core values that serve as the foundation for ethical decision making. Once consensus is reached at the top level regarding organizational values, the Leader in Balance is able to clearly articulate those values across the organization, sharing concrete examples of how everyday dilemmas are dealt with using these values as a compass. A Leader in Balance behaves in a way that embodies the core values, every day.

The fifth competency for Leaders in Balance is fostering collaboration. This competency is evidenced when a leader has a clear purpose in mind that relates to business imperatives each time he brings people together. The leader in balance strives to leverage 100% of peoples’ talents, 100% of the time, to achieve the organization’s objectives. A driving force for this leader is curiosity – about people, situations, and systems. She seeks to understand and tap into peoples’ motivators in order to spark enthusiasm, creativity, and positive outcomes.

The Leader in Balance has a carefully developed network of employees, customers, and colleagues with whom he collaborates to arrive at the best solution for each business problem. A Leader in Balance understands her own strengths and expertise, as well as limitations, and strives to surround herself with people who contribute in ways that are different yet complementary. We think that this leader recognizes talent in others and crafts a leadership continuity plan to leverage those talents for the survival of the organization. As a foundation for this process, top executives reflect on the core competencies required for success in today’s global society. Their role is to place clarity around the behaviors necessary to, in COO Jack Kraeutler’s words, “sit at the table anywhere in the world.”

Merely having a list of core competencies, such as managing change, on hand isn’t all a leader should do. She also needs to articulate and model behaviors within each competency. For example, “global focus and understanding” could be described as:

  • Demonstrates sensitivity to cultural norms
  • Adapts quickly to different cultures
  • Transforms knowledge about U.S. markets to global markets
  • Tailors decisions to fit the location and culture
  • Maintains an awareness of world events that impact the business

A Leader in Balance is able to share power appropriately. Sharing power does not mean abdication of authority or accountability. Sharing power does not mean hiring one or two colleagues that think and act just like you. Harry Nieman, CEO of Premier Manufacturing Support Services in Cincinnati, Ohio, told us that sharing power is part of his company’s business model. He added that he could not work for an organization that operated under a different model and that a “command and control” approach is a symptom of serious organizational issues.

Another core competency for Leaders in Balance is innovation. An innovative leader creates an environment that is safe for calculated risk taking and models this behavior. An innovative leader is open and receptive to trying new approaches and ideas.

Harry Nieman sponsored an innovation initiative that uses an Internet portal to connect his employees worldwide in order to share innovations to address business imperatives and problems. This is not merely a sophisticated way for employees to “vent”; innovations are reviewed, assessed for alignment with business needs, and implemented. Results of innovations are tracked and measured against strategic objectives.

John Lechleiter at Lilly also talked with the us about the importance of innovation. He believes that promoting innovation and calculated risk taking promotes employee engagement. He said that this involves “having the courage to act and to take risks, the willingness to accept that not everything is going to work, and a level of comfort with the fact that perfection is not required in every situation.”

Innovative leaders leverage existing or potential resources to achieve business objectives. In other words, they find creative ways to utilize 100% of their resources 100% of the time. For example, Leaders in Balance not only seek out a qualified, diverse work force, they ensure their employees are actively using their talents and knowledge wisely for their own and the organization’s development. Innovative leaders reach out to individuals intentionally as a form of solidarity to connect human needs and wants to the mission and vision of the organization. The result is a higher level of learning across the organization that continually intersects “real world” constraints and customer needs with the human capital of intellect.

Experiential learning allows all of us to take classroom concepts and apply them on the job. As Buckingham and Coffman note in First, Break All the Rules, one can have a well of knowledge yet be totally incapable of transferring that knowledge to daily life. The ability to take one’s knowledge and use it wisely and appropriately is another critical competency in today’s global community. Linda studied textbook Japanese carefully before moving to Japan for three years. Immersion in the culture helped her learn the nuances of Japanese and navigate life among native residents, not the classroom lessons.

The competencies, or behaviors, that we’ve just described will sound familiar to those of you who’ve studied Emotional Intelligence. In Resonant Leadership (2005, Boyatzis and McKee, Harvard Business School Press) and How to Enhance the Emotional Intelligence of Those You Lead (2009, Caldwell and Gravett, Palgrave MacMillan), the authors present the concept of Emotional Intelligence in four primary domains: self-awareness; self-management; social awareness; and interpersonal competence.

For leaders that possess a high degree of self-awareness, using a “gut” sense to guide their decisions is commonplace. These leaders know their strengths, and when to use them, as well as their limitations. When a leader understands his or her boundaries in terms of competency levels, it’s an easier choice to bring others into the decision making process with specific skills and expertise. There is no belief that as leader, it’s necessary to “be all things to all people” or false pride. A humble acknowledgement that each individual has talents that can be leveraged opens the door for leaders to let the “right people on the bus”, in Collins’ terminology in Good to Great.

Emotional self-control ensures that leaders are able to engage in objective critical thinking and analysis. Especially in crisis situations, a leader in balance needs to manage input and behaviors around him that may be careening out of control. This is the time for a leader to act fluidly, adapting to changing situations and obstacles and ready to pounce on opportunities before or as they develop.

A Leader in Balance employs networks to encourage diversity of thought, innovation, and creativity; to spread influence and power; and organize learning communities and produce disciplined people, thought, and action. Instead of replacing hierarchy, networks can be used to augment it in a balanced manner and to encourage the culture and practice of collaboration.

We believe these competencies and underlying Emotional Intelligence flow from mindfulness, hope, and compassion. Mindfulness is living in a state of full conscious awareness of one’s self and other people – being present in every moment. Hopeful leaders feel excited about the future and possibilities. Compassionate leaders are in tune with those around them, empathetic to their wants and needs, and motivated by a true concern for others.

In practice, the range of challenges a leader must manage in a balanced manner is highly situational, calling for good judgment, at times intuition and even wisdom. The notion of balance as conceived in The Kucia Balance Framework means the right chemistry, the right mix and choice, at the right time, based upon the situation and the good judgment, intuition and wisdom of the leader. Balance does not mean in the middle, half-way, or 50/50. An organization as a living system is not under the control of one person or force, but has many influences that necessitate a balanced operation.

Part 2

Our observation of successful change initiatives lead us to believe that Leaders in Balance have some common ways of thinking, being, and acting.  Leaders in Balance focus on the work and the organization’s Mission, Core Values, and Strategic Objectives.  Even when distractions are buzzing about them, Leaders in Balance manage the information overload and tune into people, events, and information that will help them achieve the organization’s key business imperatives.

Leaders in Balance focus first on behavior changes in themselves and others, understanding that attitudes may not change immediately.  Employees may not fully agree, for instance, that a leader’s newly-published safety procedures are necessary.  The leader wants employees to engage in safe activities first and foremost, regardless of their personal beliefs.  Once employees experience a safe, stress free workplace firsthand their attitude towards following safety procedures is likely to change.

A Leader in Balance establishes methods to build new competencies for herself and others in the organization.  For example, if the company has decided that one of its key objectives during the coming three years is to expand its marketplace to Southeast Asia, key players will need to expand their language skills, operate in a different culture, and be well versed in the economy and currency of the target countries.

Through the conventions and traditions that comprise an organization’s culture, the Leader in Balance achieves results and effects changes that ensure the company remains cutting edge.  The leadership behaviors that are critical during the change effort are envisioning; communicating; motivating; measuring; and retaining change.

Strategic leaders are aware of how events in their environment affect the organization’s ability to succeed.  Given constant change in a global economy, effective leaders have a vision of how their organization can leverage employees’ skills, knowledge and abilities to take advantage of evolving markets.  Visionary leaders regularly ask, “what if we…?” and focus on breakthroughs in technology, services, and products that will provide a competitive advantage.  From this vision, anchored in Core Values, flow key result areas or objectives that drive the actions of the leadership team and all employees.

The critical challenge for a Leader in Balance is finding an effective means to transfer values and a vision for the future from their hearts and minds to all the organization’s stakeholders.  A strategic plan, for instance, is only as effective as the weakest link within the organization, for every employee’s talents, abilities, and behaviors must be called upon to implement the plan.

Our experience with top executives who have taken their organizations through significant change efforts is they use a consistent framework for building commitment to change, a framework we call the “PACE” of change:

PACE diagram

Using the PACE model shown above, we recommend four phases for communicating and building commitment to change:  preparation, acceptance, commitment, and execution.

In the preparation phase, the Leader in Balance lays the groundwork for impending change.  For example, let’s say that an organization has decided to implement a diversity initiative as part of its strategic plan.  Successful implementation may require people to behave differently.  Prior to rolling out the initiative, the Leader in Balance shares information about the world around the organization, such as changes in societal norms, the customer base, and the economy, that will necessitate recruiting, developing, and retaining a diverse workforce.  This information can be provided in several forms:  articles on bulletin boards or on the company web site, company-wide meetings, or brown bag lunch seminars.  At this point, there’s no “pitch” for people to change; the focus is solely on providing information.

In the second phase, acceptance, the Leader in Balance brings employees into the change process through solicitation of ideas and suggestions about how potential changes in their work environment might affect them personally, their department, and the company as a whole.  The question on most peoples’ minds will be, “What will coming changes mean to me and the way I do things?”  If that question isn’t addressed in the acceptance phase, real change will not occur.  Continuing our example with the diversity initiative, the Leader in Balance can build acceptance by commissioning a culture audit, which is a needs assessment that surfaces issues regarding recruitment, orientation, training, career development and compensation.  A culture audit focuses on whether certain employee segments, such as people over 40, believe they haven’t experienced the full benefit of promotional opportunities and training as much as other groups.  If issues like this are uncovered, focus groups could be conducted to get input around ways to ensure every workforce segment is provided with growth opportunities.  The Leader in Balance knows that acceptance of policy changes is more likely to occur if employees have been involved in those changes.

When employees are made aware of specifically how their contributions have affected the organization, the Leader in Balance has more leverage to establish an environment that will motivate people to continue those efforts.  During the commitment phase of the change process, the Leader in Balance establishes new policies and procedures and then acts on the new ways of behaving himself in order to serve as a role model.  He sets and pursues clear objectives; for example, the following diversity goals:

  • Expand our recruiting sources to ensure the organization hires more qualified Hispanic and African-American employees by 12/31/07
  • Expand our customer base by 6/30/08 to include the 50-65 year old demographic

In order to execute change and sustain the momentum, the Leader in Balance empowers employees to remove artificial barriers and engage in behaviors that will support the change effort.  For example, if part of a company’s diversity initiative is to establish cross-functional process improvement teams that are comprised of employees at line, first-line supervisor, and managerial level, the “senior” person cannot step into the first team meeting and assert herself as the boss of everybody.  If executives announce that they have an open door policy to hear and discuss suggestions around expanding a diverse client base, employees can’t be stopped by five assistants and a waiting period of six months before gaining access to those executives.

Michael Marks, CEO of Flextronics International, is known for his disdain of bureaucracy and red tape.  He avoids meetings.  He keeps his management levels to a minimum.  He gives his executives financial and creative latitude to make major decisions and doesn’t micromanage.  In a 2000 article he said, “I’ve surrounded myself with people who are bright and enthusiastic and don’t want a lot of direction.  We grew at 60 percent a year for six or seven years.  If you don’t have this kind of organization, you can’t grow like that.” (Linksy, Gene, “Heroes of U.S. Manufacturing:  Michael Marks,” Fortune, March 20, 2000, p. 192)

The Leader in Balance is constantly nurturing change efforts to allow new behaviors to develop, mature and evolve.  Whether the organization has six days or six months to effect change, the Leader in Balance allows people to move through the four phases in order to fully understand, appreciate, and become involved in the change process.

The Leader in Balance engages in behaviors that establish and expand networks, as opposed to only following hierarchical structures to accomplish organizational objectives.  The Leader in Balance understands when to effect decision making by autocratic methods and when to effect decision making through consensus.

A friend of Linda’s is a surgeon at a Cincinnati hospital.  His demeanor outside the OR is quiet, unassuming and easygoing.  His medical colleagues, however, say that as chief surgeon he is abrupt, decisive, and demanding.  He doesn’t “ask” for a medical instrument; he instructs the nurse to give it to him.  He doesn’t ask for a discussion from the assisting doctors when there’s a crisis with a patient on his table; he barks out orders that he fully expects will be instantly followed.  Autocratic?  Yes, indeed.  Appropriate for the circumstance?  Yes, again.

A Leader in Balance will assess any given situation and guide the decision making process to one of consensus or democratic style, whichever is needed.  Jack Kraeutler, COO of Meridian Diagnostics, promotes consensus among his scientist/researcher direct reports when he wants to ensure that the complete team is involved and invested in a decision.  When this occurs, the entire team is responsible for the outcome, not just him.  Everyone has a stake in the outcome of the decision.  Before leaving the conference or meeting room, then, Jack and each direct report must indicate their commitment to the decision so they present a united position.  Consensus building is time consuming.  It takes practice.  Jack is willing to take the time, and the result is a dedicated team of scientists who support one another and want the right decision for their stakeholders.

On the other hand, Linda worked with a Process Improvement Team a few years ago that thought they had reached consensus on a decision but were woefully mistaken.  The Team Leader encouraged a discussion about understanding fully the process the team was attempting to improve.  After a few minutes, most of the team members were comfortable with the suggestion to videotape employees on all three shifts for short periods of time.  They believed this would provide a snapshot of how the process worked.  One person was very vocal about not wanting to use a videotape because he didn’t think employees trusted how the tape would ultimately be used.  The Team Leader did not provide this member with enough “air time” during the meeting to fully expand on his concerns, and the team reached “consensus” about videotaping employees.  Each team member was asked to videotape a group of employees.  When it came time for the dissenting member to do his videotaping, one of the employees on the line complained, saying that he didn’t want “the man” looking over his shoulder.  The team member stopped videotaping immediately and said to his co-worker, “You’re right.  This is stupid.  I told them we shouldn’t do this.  Never mind.”  The team leader thought there was consensus at the end of the team meeting.  Clearly, that was not the case.  The team leader did not have the right balance between encouraging dialogue and calling for a decision.

Reflections:

Outdated paradigms, or mental maps about leadership, won’t work in today’s global society.  Critical thinking and analysis, strategic perspective, fostering collaboration, global focus and understanding, sharing power, and innovation are all essential competencies for a Leader in Balance.

A Leader in Balance employs networks to encourage diversity of thought and creativity.  Networks do not in all cases replace existing hierarchies; but rather can enhance and augment this dynamic.

New paradigms necessitate new behaviors for leaders:  challenging assumptions; creating breakthrough products and services; engaging in frequent quality dialogues with all stakeholders; and mentoring.  These may on the surface seem like “soft skills”; however, leadership behaviors that minimize conflict, reduce turnover, and enhance productivity directly affect profitability and organizational resiliency.

Dr. Linda Gravett, PhD, SPHR is with Gravett & Associates (www.Gravett.com). If you have any questions or would like to share your comments or success stories, you can contact Linda at Linda@Gravett.com. A special thanks goes out to John Kucia for his help in writing this article!

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Setting Up an HR Department

by Robin Throckmorton, MA, SPHR

Because I was able to attend the annual SHRM Conference in Las Vegas on June 25 – 28, I wanted to share with you some of what I learned from the presentation on Setting Up an HR Department by Nina Drake.

If I had to re-title Ms. Drake’s presentation, I would call it “The HR Audit.” Basically, in the short amount of time that she had with us, she provided us with a brief outline that could be used to audit our current human resources function.

Right off the bat, Ms. Drake’s first recommendation was to “listen…observe…listen”. By this she meant, find out what the company’s strategic goals and culture are, identify what the CEO wants you to focus on, and gather any information about what was done in HR before you. Most of this can be done by conducting a needs assessment to find out what HR functions are in place and what still needs to be done.

To conduct the needs assessment, Ms. Drake broke down the assessment into basically ten different human resources areas:

  1. Recruitment and selection (i.e. job descriptions, selection tools, background checks, offers)
  2. Compensation (i.e. methods, consistency, market)
  3. Employee relations (i.e. labor agreements, performance management, disciplinary procedures, employee recognition)
  4. Mandated benefits (i.e. social security, unemployment insurance, worker’s compensation, COBRA/HIPPA)
  5. Optional group benefits (i.e. insurance, time off benefits, flexible benefits, retirement plans, employee assistance programs, perks)
  6. Payroll (i.e. internal vs. external options, compliance)
  7. Recordkeeping (i.e. HRIS, personnel files, confidential records, I-9, other forms)
  8. Training and development (i.e. new employee orientation, staff development, technical and safety, leadership, tuition reimbursement, career planning)
  9. Employee communications (i.e. handbook, newsletter, recognition programs, announcements, electronic communication)
  10. Internal communications (i.e. policies and procedures, management development, management reporting)

Once you have carefully evaluated each of these ten areas, you are ready to put together your strategic human resources business plan. This will help you map out exactly what you need to do and how it impacts the bottom line, plus when you will need to do it. With a good grasp on this plan, you are ready to sell it to management. Some tips that Ms. Drake offered to successfully make this “sell” included:

  1. Prepare prepare prepare
  2. Focus on bottom line results
  3. Compare to competition (do your homework)
  4. Highlight benefits of implementing the plan
  5. Promote better labor relations
  6. Investigate legal requirements
  7. Be brief
  8. Build consensus

As you begin this process, don’t go at it alone. There is an enormous amount of resources out there including ours – don’t forget you can ask the team of experts at Strategic Human Resources, Inc. any question related to HR Audits and Start-ups to help you in this process. Plus, we would be happy to share any additional resources that we would recommend given your specific situation.

Robin Throckmorton, MA, SPHR, a Senior Human Resources Management Consultant is President of Strategic Human Resources, Inc. (www.strategicHRinc.com). If you have any questions or wish to share your comments, you can contact Robin at Robin@strategicHRinc.com.

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Do All You Can to Protect Yourself Against Workers’ Comp Claims!

by Laura Littlecott, PHR

It’s an all too familiar scenario for employers…you have a hard-to-fill position that has been vacant for months. Finally, a seemingly viable candidate presents themselves. You interview, conduct reference checks and after performing the due diligence, you hire. The new employee starts work. Then it happens…within days of starting work your new employee becomes injured on the job and is out on Workers’ Compensation, causing expense and lost production. The question then becomes “WHY did we hire that employee?”

According to Margaret Spence of the Workers’ Comp Gazette, employers often hire based on an unrealistic idea that all they need is a warm body in a position because “anyone” can be trained to do the job. This is the first mistake on the road to a Workers’ Compensation claim. It is essential that each job fit the worker and that each worker fit his or her job. Recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that 13% of all workplace injuries occur within 90 days of hire – 23% of those happen within the first 4 hours on the job!

Of course, legitimate Workers’ Compensation claims do happen, regardless of precautions taken, but what about the troublesome employee who either fails to observe safety in the workplace, or worse yet, exploits the Workers’ Compensation system for financial gain? There are legal steps employers can take in the pre-employment and post-employment process to mitigate the risk of making a bad hire from a Workers’ Compensation standpoint:

Ensure the job description includes not only the essential functions of the job, but also the non-essential functions, physical requirements and qualifications for the position. This is a hallmark of employers with effective injury management programs.

Ask the candidate how they would perform specific job tasks. Pre-employment skills testing can include a “fit-for-duty” test (NOT a medical exam) involving the duties of the job, if the employer can show a compelling need to do so. For example, you may require the candidate to climb a ladder, lift a box, etc. Now is the time to observe for the ability to do these tasks as well as identify improper body mechanics. If your company requires “fit-for-duty exams” to avoid hiring a Workers’ Comp claim, they should be structured so that they comply with privacy laws and the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). Employers are also limited in the scope of allowable inquiries before making a conditional job offer; for example, employers must not ask about illness or disability, prescribed drugs, past medical treatment (such as for addiction or alcoholism), or prior WORKERS’ COMP claims.

After a conditional job offer, an employer can ask about an employee’s Workers’ Comp history, sick leave usage, medical challenges, etc. as well as require a medical examination – provided that all candidates who receive a conditional job offer in the same category are required to take the same examination and/or respond to the same inquiries. Such inquiries must be job related and consistent with business necessity. If the employer chooses not to hire someone based on their medical history, the decision must be directly related to their inability to perform the job up to a certain standard or because in doing so, they may harm themselves or others. Under the ADA, employers with 15 or more employees are required to consider job accommodations. It is recommended that medical inquiries be done by a physician and that results are considered confidential medical records and be treated as such.

Training, training, training – according to Spence, “Employees should be provided with appropriate safety training and the safety rules that apply to their job and their work areas. Employers, who have successful injury prevention programs, create a training matrix that outlines the minimum safety training required for all positions.” The importance of not only training to perform the tasks of the job, but training in all safety aspects of the job cannot be overestimated. Additionally, training doesn’t end after the employee learns the duties and safety precautions as a new employee. Any time job duties, equipment, or safety rules change or are updated, employees must be trained on the changes. Refresher training on safety rules should be conducted regularly as well.

Spence notes that employers must recognize that bad hiring decisions and improper training programs can increase the likelihood that an employee will be injured. Spend the money to train your employees correctly, from the beginning. If you evaluate the overall cost of one Workers’ Compensation claim, including: the loss of manpower, the administrative cost to manage an injured employee, the Workers’ Compensation premium cost and the overtime to cover jobs that would have been done by the injured worker—you will see the cost benefits of integrating an effective pre-employment evaluation and safety training programs into your workplace.

Laura Littlecott, PHR is an HR Consultant with of Strategic Human Resources, Inc. (www.strategicHRinc.com) and can be reached at LauraL@strategicHRinc.com.

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Why should I take the PHR/SPHR exam?

Question:

Why should I take the PHR / SPHR exam?

Answer:

As the Accounting field has its CPA, Human Resources has its HRCI certification. While not as widely known outside the HR world it definitely carries some weight within Human Resources and with savvy business executives. The Professional Human Resources (PHR) or Senior Professional Human Resources (SPHR) certification indicates that the HR professional carrying the credentials is knowledgeable in his or her field. Additionally, a Global Professional Human Resources (GPHR) and a California exam are also offered. In order to remain certified, those certified are required to continue their education and keep their knowledge up to date, re-certifying every three years, indicating a commitment to maintaining excellence. A candidate for an HR role, that bears the HRCI distinction, brings an assurance that they have mastered the core principles of Human Resources.   Additionally, in a business world where HR often has to fight for a seat at the executive table, the certification is another indicator that you deserve to be there.

Obtaining the certification is not trivial. The testing is offered twice a year through the HR Certification Institute, and involves a four hour, 225 question, rigorous exam covering all areas of Human Resources. Many HR professionals find that they can benefit from completing a test prep curriculum prior to taking the exam. Your local SHRM chapter as well as colleges and universities may offer such courses.

As to determining which certification is right for you, PHR and SPHR are the most common certifications, depending upon the needs of your role. The SPHR addresses the higher level, more strategic HR principles and practices. But, both the PHR and SPHR will have some similar questions that address the more day-to-day issues of HR. If you qualify for the SPHR, you should consider taking it rather than the PHR. You can re-certify under either certification every three years, however, you can only move from the PHR to the SPHR if you retake the exam again.

There are no promises that having the HRCI designation will make an impact on your career. However, some companies do require the PHR or SPHR when they hire a new employee in HR. Others, may actually give more consideration to someone that has the PHR or SPHR than someone that does not. Plus, some companies may actually give you a slight bump in your salary if you take and pass the exam.

For more details about the exam, visit www.HRCI.org. Be sure to visit the strategicHR, inc. website for additional Resources and Practice Questions!

HR Strategy often involves thinking ahead to the future and making plans for the unexpected. Strategic HR, inc. knows how integral human resources is to the health of your organization and can assist you with HR strategy needs. Visit our HR Strategy page to learn how we can assist you with your strategy and preparing for the unexpected.

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Workplace Tragedy – Sandy Hooks Shooting

Question:

Ever since the shootings last week at Sandy Hook Elementary, there has been non-stop coverage of the events on the news. We have some employees that are understandably very upset to the point of not being able to function at work. What can we do as employers to help ease the fears of our employees after a very public crisis occurs such as the one in Newtown, Connecticut?

Answer:

Our hearts go out to the people of Newtown, Connecticut after a very horrific day last week.

Such a tragic event, that is made so public, can affect many people – the victims, the survivors, the community and the public at large. The degree of impact will vary greatly depending on the individual. You may find that some parents want to check in on their children more frequently this week and may even be anxious about having their children at school. For employees with older children, they will be attempting to manage their child’s anxiety and emotions surrounding the event (as well as their own).

As an employer it is important to recognize your employees’ anxiety. Often by acknowledging our fears and having the ability to speak of them openly we can resolve some of the angst. After a national tragedy occurs, it’s a good idea for the employer to openly acknowledge the event and set forth a plan of action regarding how the event will be handled at work.

  • Start by being aware of possible workplace tensions created by the extra stress. Some employees will be overly sensitive to references of the event while others will have no problems discussing their views openly which could create additional tensions, especially if discussions turn political or religious in nature. Remind employees to be sensitive to individual feelings regarding the event.
  • Let employees know where they can turn if they need someone to talk with or would like to do something as a group to cope. Encourage employees to make use of existing resources such as your employee assistance program, exercise rooms, additional community resources, in-house educational programs and human resources staff. Providing links to online resources is a great idea if you do not have anything internal to offer. Employees need to feel that their families are taken care of and are safe – providing these resources can help employees cope as well as educate them with concepts they can use with their family at home.
  • Decide how you will accept requests for schedule changes or additional breaks to make check-in phone calls with family – flexibility will be important in the first few days following the tragedy. Be aware that the emotions surrounding the event are not easily left at home or at the time clock.

With today’s easy access to 24 hour news it can be difficult for people to move throughout their daily lives and not be reminded of events that are disturbing. Since much of our day is spent at work it only makes sense that how we deal with such events will play out at work, and how we as employers respond to such events with our employees will greatly impact their ability to heal and move on.

The victims, families, rescue personnel, and community of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting will forever be in the thoughts and prayers of strategic HR, inc.

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Importance of Diversity

Question:

Why is diversity so important in the workplace?

Answer:

Diversity is important in the workplace for a variety of reasons.  First, let’s take a look at the general definition of diversity in the workplace: having an organization that employs individuals whose ethnicity,  gender, background, experiences, abilities, skills, age, and opinions are varied.

So, why is this so important?  Well, according to UC Berkely in Why Diversity Matters,

There is evidence that managing a diverse work force can contribute to increased staff retention and productivity. It can enhance the organization’s responsiveness to an increasingly diverse world of customers, improve relations with the surrounding community, increase the organization’s ability to cope with change, and expand the creativity of the organization.

In a global marketplace, a company is more likely to be able to meet the needs of its customers and gain access to new markets with a diverse workforce.  Bringing in talent into the workplace whose experience or background pertains to these new markets can be an efficient solution to accessing these markets as different skills, e.g. language or understanding of cultural norms, are often required to break initial barriers to entry.

The Center for American Progress lists the Top 10 Economic Benefits of Diversity in the Workplace as the following:

  1. A diverse workforce drives economic growth.
  2. A diverse workforce can capture a greater share of the consumer market.
  3. Recruiting from a diverse pool of candidates means a more qualified workforce.
  4. A diverse and inclusive workforce helps businesses avoid employee turnover costs.
  5. Diversity fosters a more creative and innovative workforce.
  6. Businesses need to adapt to our changing nation to be competitive in the economic market.
  7. Diversity is a key aspect of entrepreneurialism.
  8. Diversity in business ownership is key to moving our economy forward.
  9. Diversity in the workplace is necessary to create a competitive economy in a globalized world.
  10. Diversity in the boardroom is needed to leverage a company’s full potential.

Finally, diversity in the workplace helps employers comply with legislation that protects individuals from discrimination.  When employers are legally compliant with these laws, the likelihood of employees pursuing legal action due to discriminatory activities by the company decreases (smallbuisness.chron.com, The Importance of Diversity in the Workplace).

 Recruitment is a critical HR function. Strategic HR, inc. knows that finding and keeping talented employees is the key to company survival. That’s why our Talent consultants utilize a variety of resources to help clients source, screen and select the best candidates and employees. Please visit our Recruitment page for more information on how we can help you effectively and efficiently find your next employee.

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Employee Engagement Surveys

 

 

Question:

What is an employee engagement survey and why would our company need one?

Answer:

 

An employee engagement survey is a great tool to have to help a business get their employees involved and actively engaged in operations. Basically, it’s a survey that gives employees the opportunity to share their opinions on the business-related issues of their company to help improve business functionality. Surveys are often administered anonymously and cover topics such as operations, benefits, culture and satisfaction to name a few of the more common ones.

The first step in conducting an employee survey is be sure the company is committed to taking action based on the input of the employees and to define what that action will be. Action may include telling employees their recommendations cannot be implemented because of certain factors (i.e. cost, time, resources). Responses will need to be sincere and honest and might include ways for employees to overcome any obstacles presented.

The next step is to plan and construct the survey. There are many online tools and resources to help you create and administer an employee survey. Decide if you will want to have recipients answer questions anonymously. You’ll likely get a larger number of responses and higher quality input by allowing respondents to provide anonymous responses. Using a third party administrator or a highly trusted staff member can be critical to “selling” the anonymity of the survey. If promising secrecy, but sure the survey is conducted with the utmost of confidentiality and explain that in detail to participants.

Finally determine a plan of action for your line of questioning. What are some trouble-spots in your company that you would like to explore and learn more about? Are you having high turnover? An increase in safety problems? Is productivity down or customer complaints up? Or are you trying to get a read on the pulse of your company and it’s culture? Pick the areas you can tackle and target on questions that will help you get the information you need to move forward. Don’t tackle too much in one survey or you will lose employee interest and patience. Your questions can be canned or customized to your situation, long or short, choice-based or open-ended. If this is your first survey, we find even the basic questions can be helpful:

  • What do you like most about our organization?
  • Why do you come to work every day here rather than for another company?
  • What would you like to see improved at our organization?
  • Would you recommend our organization to a friend as a good place to work? Why or why not?

Once the survey document is complete it’s time to administer the questionnaire. Some great online solutions include SurveyMethods and SurveyMonkey. Both offer various service levels of membership from free to paid access depending on the features you need for your survey. Both allow you to trial these tools to determine what level you need and to see the reporting features provided.

The survey results should help you make improvements and focus on strengths in your organization. You’ll find the feedback from employees will help with developing communications, recruiting techniques, benefits, and more. Employees who operate in the day-to-day of the business tend to have practical suggestions that may not be “huge” or “costly” to implement but can make a big impact. Overall outcomes can include increased safety, productivity, quality, profitability, lower turnover and higher levels of customer satisfaction. Not to mention that by simply asking employees for their opinions it can heighten their engagement and give them a sense of satisfaction and worth. You’ll see even more value as you repeat the employee survey year after year to asses the improvements.

Has your organization become stagnant? Are you experiencing unusual turnover or employee discontent? Often the simple answer is to simply ASK your employees “what’s going on?” Strategic HR, inc. has worked with many organizations, of all sizes and in various industries, to help diagnosis engagement problems and determine the appropriate course of action. Whether it’s an employee survey, focus group, or face-to-face interviews, strategic HR is your neutral third party solution for finding answers to your questions. Contact us today to find out how we can help you with your particular situation.

Multicolored wheel divided into 7 equal sections Recruitment, Training and Development, Benifits and Compensation, Communicating, Employee Relations, Recordkeeping, and Health safety and security with Legal compliance written on the outer edge and company strategy in the center is emphasized

HR’s Strategic Role

Question:

What is HR’s role in helping a company weather an economic downturn?

Answer:

Most of us were impacted in one way or another by the Great Recession in 2008 – 2011. Coming in off the heels of a stellar economy, it forced many of us to re-evaluate ourselves and our businesses. Fortunately, we are slowly but surely emerging from the Great Recession and the economic forecast looks bright for a few more years (experts predict a potential dip in 2014 but no real recession until 2017 or 2018).

So, what strategic role does HR play in the company to help weather the ups and downs of an economy? Since our employees are the most important asset to the company, managing our employees is HR’s most strategic role. What do we need to do develop, engage, and retain our employees when there is either a tough economy or a tight labor market?

As the job market for specific skills gets tighter and tighter, no matter what the economic state, we need to find ways to develop our talent. Is it training for today or development for tomorrow? Where are your gaps? Are they soft skills, technical skills, or unique expertise? Assess your employees and find out. Create a formal development plan with each employee. Then, work together to provide the employee with the on-the-job skills, as well as the training, to be ready for your needs today and tomorrow.

With an average tenure in the US of 24 months, HR must find ways to engage employees and build some employment loyalty. Growth and development is the first component. But, we need to find out from employees what actually motivates them and makes them want to work for us. We can do this through employee surveys, focus groups, or one on one discussions. You will need to find the answers to questions such as:

  • What do you like most about working for us?
  • What do you wish you could change?
  • What makes you come to work here everyday versus someplace else?
  • What might entice you to leave us and go to another employer?

With the answers to these questions, take action! Ensure those things that your employees “like” never go away and only get better. For the items they suggested for workplace improvement or change, it’s time to change. Get employees involved in making the change. For example, during an economic downturn, ask your employees what they company can do to save money and retain employees? Involving the employees in decision making gets them engaged in the outcomes, which might include pay cuts and furloughs to save money, instead of layoffs. Use your employees to get new and innovative ideas. Ask, listen, and do…

Finally, communicate! We’ve seen many businesses struggle, both in prosperous and tough times, because of their failure to communicate with employees. Nobody wants to learn what’s happening in their company from the media or the grapevine. Employees want to hear the good, the bad, and the ugly from the company directly. Find ways to communicate your message and ensure it is heard. It may take multiple messages and multiple media outlets, but the results will help you retain your employees. And that is your strategic role.

In many organizations HR still struggles to find a place at the leadership table. By thinking strategically and relying on proven business practices and tools HR can show value and become a partner with the leadership team. Strategic HR, inc. knows how difficult it can be to integrate practices with the overall business strategy. Let us assist you with your strategic initiatives – visit our HR Strategy page to learn more.

 

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Strategic HR Management

Question:

What should we be doing differently, as a small/medium-sized business, to strategically manage our HR function?

Answer:

No matter what the size of your organization, it is important for the Human Resources function to be strategically aligned with the business goals and strategies of the company.

To start, you need to understand the purpose HR serves to the organization. Regardless of whether an individual handles HR as part of their other duties, you have a one person HR department or a full HR team, the purpose of HR will need to be defined specifically for your organization. Does HR exist to administratively process paperwork and track employees? Is it to enforce rules and manage employee relations? Or maybe it is to be a coach or advisor to the company on employee and management issues. Whether it is a task-based role or a strategic role, it is important to determine this purpose.

Next, evaluate company goals to determine how HR will align with them. If the company doesn’t have a formal plan or set goals, there are likely some key objectives that the organization is striving to reach – i.e. sales, profit, growth. For HR to be more strategic, determine how HR can support these objectives. For example, if a goal is to increase sales by 10% this year, the HR function might want to consider internal goals such as:

  • Reviewing the compensation of sales (and other staff) to ensure compensation provides the right incentive to meet sales goal;
  • Developing the necessary training for the (sales) team to be sure they have the skill set and knowledge to successfully sell the product or service;
  • Evaluating the (sales) team to determine if the right staff exists to meet goals, or, if you happen to be short staffed, based on productivity results;
  • Ensuring clear expectations are set with the (sales) team including measures that will be used to evaluate performance.

This is just an example, but gives an idea of the type of thinking that takes place in order for HR to be a strategic solution for the company.

Working strategically, and formulating a plan to guide the HR function in a more strategic direction, does take time to implement on top of an already full plate. So, how to start:

  • Shuffle priorities – is there something you are doing that could be delegated or outsourced to free up time to work on strategy?
  • Identify subject matter experts – are there others in the organization that have the expertise needed/have an interest in developing by working on a special project?
  • Assemble a team – can the strategic goals be met with a team effort rather than by one person?
  • Use an outside expert – do you need to outsource the project (to someone like strategic HR, inc.) to get the project done in a timely manner with the right expertise?

Once the HR function has its’ goals clearly defined in conjunction with the corporate strategy it will be easier to identify areas in which HR needs to make adjustments to be more strategically aligned with the organization and with the leadership team. As with the organizational strategic plan, the HR strategy will need to be revisited and revised periodically to address changes in the organization and the goals of the company.

Are daily HR issues interfering with your ability to focus on the strategic matters of your company? Do you find yourself at odds with the directives of the leadership team? Strategic HR, inc. knows how integral human resources is to the health of your organization and can assist you with HR strategy needs. Visit our HR Strategy page to learn how we can assist you with your strategy and help align your goals.

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The Balanced Scorecard Approach

Question:

Someone recommended that I take a “balanced scorecard” approach to HR management. What is a “balanced scorecard”?

Answer:

The authors of the book HR Scorecard, Dave Ulrich, Mark A. Huselid, and Brian E. Becker), coined the phrase “balanced scorecard”. It refers to a 7-step model that outlines an approach for HR practitioners who wish to become business partners in their organization. The seven steps are:

  1. Clearly define the business strategy – this involves learning more about the organization’s strategic objectives and goals. The HR Department should be in a position to align its objectives and goals with those of the organization. To do this the HR staff must get to know the management team and their challenges, barriers and constraints. After leaning about the needs of your managers, HR needs to conduct an audit of the HR function to determine if it has the competencies and skills necessary to help the company achieve its Mission, Vision, and Strategic Objectives.
  2. Build a business case for HR as a strategic asset – many managers perceive HR to be an administrative function. HR must make a proative effort to educate the leadership team about the potential HR has as a strategic business partner. It may be help to use a ‘return on investment’ (ROI) approach to HR activities. This entails looking at activities undertaken by HR as necessary to solve a business problem or need, helping to determine the cost of the business problem, recommending and implementing solutions, determining the cost of the solution(s), and calculating the savings to the company (the difference between the cost of the problem after HR interventions and the cost of the solution).
  3. Create a strategy map – HR needs to provide a value proposition for its activities and change the perception that HR is overhead, strictly an expense generating department. HR should take the time to map out each of their processes, such as benefits administration, to ensure that the processes are streamlined, provide a quality product or service, and are targeted to meet specific organizational objectives.
  4. Identify HR deliverables within the strategy map – this requires distinguishing between qualitative and quantitative deliverables.  Tangible deliverables might be saving $485,000 a year in turnover expenses following an HR intervention such as supervisory coaching. The types of deliverables that are more qualitative, and therefore difficult to put a solid number on, are those like time savings for managers who must handle conflict among direct reports. If their direct reports receive training and assistance to handle conflict themselves, this results in less time for that manager, who is then free to engage in other activities that might be more productive for the company.
  5. Align the HR architecture with HR deliverables – often HR’s education and training focuses on HR’s role as “the police”, people who hire and fire, or administrators whose job is simply to keep personnel records. Take steps to recruit and hire HR staff that take a strategic, wholistic approach towards the HR functions. HR competencies are expanding all the time – problem solving, decision making, strategic planning, business acumen, etc. are critical HR competencies.
  6. Design the strategic measurement system – identify appropriate measures for your unique organizational needs by looking at other companies. Don’t make the mistake of benchmarking against companies in an entirely different industry or in a different growth stage.
  7. Implement management by measurement – HR leadership needs to be diligent in first selecting, and then consistently measuring, the appropriate success criteria. It may be helpful to set process checkpoints at three or four times during the year to honestly discuss how HR staff is doing in relationship to their strategic objectives.

Our thanks go out to HR guru Linda Gravett for sharing her insights into the HR Scorecard and strategic planning for Human Resources.

In many organizations HR still struggles to find a place at the leadership table. By thinking strategically and relying on proven business practices and tools HR can show value and become a partner with the leadership team. Strategic HR, inc. knows how difficult it can be to approach integrating HR practices with the overall business strategy. Let us assist you with your strategic initiatives – visit our HR Strategy page to learn more.

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C-Suite Respect For HR

Question:

How can I demonstrate to the executive suite that HR contributes to the bottom line?

Answer:

Getting the respect from the C-suite that HR is a value added partner won’t happen overnight; it takes time, patience, and lots of work. There are some key competencies that you need to develop and demonstrate to gain respect from the leadership team – business knowledge, credibility, strategic planning, and metrics.

For executive management to respect HR, they need to see that you really understand all aspects of the business such as the organization’s products and/or services, competitors, customers, financials, and the strategic goals and objectives. Take time to learn about each of these areas so you can communicate accurately inside and outside the organization. Keep in mind, these things change and you’ll need to make sure you are staying up to date on business developments inside your organization and within the industry.

Understanding the business overall helps, but this needs to be coupled with establishing credibility in the organization as well. You will need to be responsive (answer your phone and return calls in a timely manner), keep commitments (show up and be on time to meetings), share insights on issues being discussed (even if your view is different), demonstrate the value of human resources activities (we can be a cost saver too), interface with management whenever possible (build those personal relationships), and be ethical!

HR also needs to set strategic goals that are directly tied to the business. To do this, you need to use the organization’s strategies and develop a list of the human resources strategies that would support each one. For every activity that human resources performs, you should ask, “Which business strategy does this support?” If you can’t answer the question, ask yourself “Why not?” or “Are we missing a business strategy/goal?” If your organization doesn’t have a strategic plan, HR can take the lead by developing one for HR.

Impacting the bottom-line is about metrics…HR needs to be able to measure activities and show cost savings and benefits to the organization. Numbers speak very loudly to management and being able to share HR’s numbers will speak volumes. Some examples: How much is the new program saving you on turnover or absenteeism?  What is a lack of training costing the company?

Lastly, we recommend that you take additional steps to ensure that you are positioning yourself to be viewed as a strategic partner. Some ways to do this may include:

  • Getting more involved (participating on employee task teams)
  • Participating in the organization’s strategic planning session (invite yourself or offer input)
  • Walking the talk (be a company champion and lead by example)
  • Volunteering to lead a company wide activity (not just the company picnic)

As with any strategy, careful planning and thought need to go into each of these activities. You’ll need to create a plan outlining what you need to do, how you are going to do it, and when it will be accomplished. Putting the plan to paper will help you stay on target and meet your goals. Don’t give up…it can take a lot of time and patience, but eventually the executive team is going to see the value you bring to the bottom-line.

HR Strategy involves thinking ahead to the future and strategizing to meet goals and objectives. It also entails working cohesively with the corporate strategy. Strategic HR, inc. knows how integral human resources is to the success of an organization and can assist you with HR strategy needs. Visit our HR Strategy page to learn more about how we can help you create your strategy and align your HR needs with the corporate strategy.

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Developing an Emergency Preparedness Plan

Question:

In light of the recent horrific events occurring in Japan, I can’t help but think about how our company would survive such an event! Where do I even start to figure out how to prepare for an emergency of any magnitude?

Answer:

It is hard to imagine that in light of horrific human tragedy we as business owners or those with business interests must think about how our business will survive, but it is absolutely essential. It is important to see that keeping our businesses alive in essence helps the organization as well as every single employee in the organization survive – so it is important to plan for the unthinkable. Where to start? Every organization needs to put together an emergency preparedness plan. Depending upon your size it does not need to be terribly elaborate, but it is important to meet all of the essential steps in a proper plan. Essential items include:

  • Knowing the types of emergencies that may affect your organization
  • Identifying how the emergencies will be handled and who will handle them
  • Providing a continuity plan for keeping your organization functioning – inside and out, including communication (internally and externally)
  • Reviewing your human capital – who will do what and what is your succession plan in the event that someone is not available
  • Identifying the essential functions that MUST be completed to continue operations
  • Making sure you have vital records available so that the jobs can be completed
  • Conducting practice, practice, practice – and revising your plan as needed

These are a summary of some of the items necessary to think about for organizational continuity in the event of an emergency. If this activity still seems a bit daunting to accomplish by yourself, visit our HR Store for help. We are offering our Emergency Preparedness Toolkit at a specially discounted price. This toolkit uses a template format to help you assemble the necessary information needed to put together a comprehensive emergency plan for your organization.

HR Strategy often involves thinking ahead to the future and making plans for the unexpected. Strategic HR, inc. knows how integral human resources is to the health of your organization and can assist you with HR strategy needs. Visit our HR Strategy page to learn how we can assist you with your strategy and preparing for the unexpected.

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Doing an HR Audit

Question:

I am working as a Human Resource Manager with a Telecom company. We need to begin an HR Audit for our circles of operation. Since the concept is new to me I would like to understand the methodology of performing an audit.

Answer:

An HR Audit is a great way to determine where your HR function needs improvement or identify where it is functioning well. An audit is a method an organization uses to measure current HR practices and determine what it has to accomplish to improve its function. An HR audit involves systematically reviewing all aspects of human resources, usually in a checklist fashion, ensuring that government regulations and company policies are being followed. The key to an audit is to remember it is a learning or discovery tool, not a test. There will always be room for improvement in every organization.

Most companies choose to do an audit to:

  • Ensure the effective utilization of an organization’s human resources.
  • Review compliance with a myriad of administrative regulations.
  • Instill a sense of confidence in management and the human resources function; that it is well managed and prepared to meet potential challenges.
  • Maintain or enhance the organization’s and the department’s reputation in the community.
  • Perform a “due diligence” review for shareholders or potential investors/owners.

An HR audit typically includes:

  • Legal compliance
  • Compensation / Salary Administration
  • Employment / Recruiting
  • Orientation (Onboarding)
  • Terminations
  • Training and Development
  • Employee Relations
  • Communications
  • Recordkeeping / Technology
  • Policies and procedures (including review of the employee handbook)

In addition to providing a comprehensive HR Audit in our service offerings, strategic HR, inc. also offers a smaller, mini version of our HR audit called an HR Check-Up. The HR Check-Up is a great way to spot check your HR function. Using the same methodologies employed in our more extensive HR Audit, the HR Check-Up consists of a quick online survey and a short in-person conversation to discuss the finer details of the HR function within your organization. Our recommendations are then provided to you in a report card format with a check-list of items that may require additional attention. You can decide when and how to address those needs and will know which ones are critical and which ones can be tackled at a later date.

To learn more or schedule an HR Check-Up for your organization, contact us at info@strategicHRinc.com or 513-697-9855. For more information about an HR Audit, please visit our Legal Compliance page.

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Benefits and Types of “Outside” Recruiting Help

Question:

We recently had a few jobs to fill and decided to go “outside” our company for assistance. I was shocked at the cost and don’t know if I would look for outside help in the future. Was I overcharged?

Answer:

I hear this a lot – how expensive it is to recruit new employees. The bottom line is, it IS expensive and that’s why we encourage employers to do everything possible to make sure they are hiring the RIGHT candidate the first time around and then do what’s necessary to KEEP the employees they have so that they don’t have to replace them.

I think one of the biggest reasons companies believe using outside help to hire is so expensive is because at the end of the process they get an invoice and actually see all the costs that are involved: developing a job description, posting the job, screening the applicants, selecting and interviewing the candidates, performing background and reference checks, and proper follow up with candidates. Many companies don’t track the proper metrics to determine how much that new hire actually cost – so the true cost of a hire using internal resources is somewhat diluted by lack of data. Another factor is that when internal HR hires someone the costs can end up lumped together with other HR activities, which makes it difficult to get an accurate picture of the total cost. It can take between 2-5 minutes to properly screen a resume. Multiply that times the hundreds of resumes one job posting can generate and you have hours of time spent just reading resumes and selecting candidates to interview. This is an important step in the hiring process, but one that costs money.

But to your point, hiring is expensive. You didn’t mention the type of help you employed, but “outside” help can be typically defined three ways:

  • In a Retained Search a hiring agency is retained to fill a specific, usually hard-to-fill, position. In this model the agency gets the same fee regardless of how long it takes to fill a position. In many cases the estimated fee (usually based on the position’s salary) is typically (pre)paid in three 30-day installments. Retained searches are best used for senior-level management positions where there are fewer candidates in the market and/or when the search needs to be very confidential.
  • When using Contingency Placement the recruiter represents various candidates and presents them to the organization for consideration. Under this model the recruiter is only paid if one of their candidates is hired and their placement fee is typically 20-30% of the position’s salary. A contingency recruiter may have relationships with multiple companies, usually in the same industry, and will present their candidates to as many companies as possible.
  • With Outsourced Recruiting you engage a recruiter to work with your staff to fill your specific positions according to your needs on an hourly basis. This recruiter might only source and screen candidates, or they may be involved in interviewing and making the final offer. This model allows for an hourly rate to be paid for all recruitment activities and allows for the most flexibility. You only pay for the time the recruiter works for you.

If you have the time and expertise in-house to do the hiring in an efficient and legal manner, it may be more cost effective to use your own staff. However, if your needs seem to ebb and flow, you don’t have the internal resources, your position(s) are confidential, you have a large volume of open positions needing to be immediately filled or you aren’t sure you have the latest and greatest knowledge (both in terms of hiring expertise and the legalities of hiring), it may make sense to outsource your recruitment to save time, money, and even avoid potential legal risks. No matter what you decide, track your recruitment expenses so you are aware of your costs from one hire to the next and can determine if you are making the best decisions for recruitment AND retention.

And of course, strategic HR, inc. knows that each hiring situation is unique, and offers a variety of hiring options to address hiring needs individually, including the three options above.