It’s Time for HR to Embrace Data Analytics

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My time at the #SHRM18 conference in June included a quick demo on Microsoft’s Data Analytics platform.  The timing was perfect as I am starting an online class on HR data analytics next week. At Adelphi University, where I teach graduate HR classes, we are diving into the Data Analytics world heavily. Especially in our HR area of the MBA program.

We have done some research with our recent graduates and discerned this is an area needing coursework and expertise. The problem is that all of us teaching in HR did not grow up with analytics in our vocabulary. So this is truly a learning experience for the professors as well.

The Microsoft Data Analytics platform is truly interesting. My concern was scaling software to meet small business needs. This has been a void in the HR software space in the past. Well pleasant surprise. Microsoft does cater to large scale data warehousing and ERP environments, however they also cater to small business too.

For those not in the know:

There software enables you to make informed decisions quickly with an easy to use front end. It also allows you to connect and explore your data with visual reports that you can collaborate, publish, and share. There software integrates with other tools, including Microsoft Excel, so you can get up to speed quickly and work seamlessly with your existing data files.

There is even a free version to get started with and a low cost solution for small businesses on a monthly subscription based. I’m talking a few dollars a month.

Of course it has a dashboard and it can be accessed on your phone or tablet. Most of us use Microsoft programs (Excel and Access) for simple data collection and manipulation. This software enables you to manipulate the information to a whole different level and allows you to make fact based decisions within your business.

As a novice I am going to troll around on the free software when I am done with taking my class.

I’m a fan of Microsoft, and have stayed with their products over the years (PC, Phone, Software) as I am most comfortable with the way they sync with each other and allow for ease of use for the non-techie…

I’ll be back to revisit this conversation in the fall and let you know how the class went. In the mean time if you are in HR you need to get on the analytics band wagon…

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Failing at Work: Overcoming the Stink of Bad Leadership

Originally posted over at Workology: (click here)

In my last HR leadership role, I was introduced to the concept of “stink” being attached to individuals who had fallen from grace with the CEO or certain members of Senior Management. Unlike in real life, getting the stink off your body can be an arduous task in a business setting. Think a skunk spraying you.

It was eye-opening for me the first time I heard the term. Within a few weeks of working at this organization, it became apparent that it was a common and often used analogy. In some cases, this stink became permanent, like a tattoo. Some of these folks worked very hard to remove the stink. A few had no idea they stunk until they became isolated or even worse lost their job. And the last group became aware, resentful and rebelled in angry or disruptive ways as a defense.

Failing at Work

So of course, the first question many of you would like to ask is “how does one get stink of failing or aligning with failure at work”? Well in this work environment it wasn’t all that difficult. The CEO liked to test folks and look for cracks in the consistency of response or work product. Failure was expected of most at some point and how you responded to failure was the key to whether you became smelly. The organization had an apologetic culture where publicly accepting blame and responsibility was expected (can you say toxic?). Folks who did not own their mistakes and go to the business confessional were instead sent to the penalty box for short periods of time, like a 2-minute penalty in a hockey game. Too many penalties and the stink would be applied. Of course, this is metaphorical but real in the sense that you had it and it was difficult to remove. Sometimes stink first gets noticed on a review or coaching session. A supervisor informs you that you need to improve or change your approach to business situations. Or you’re told that you need to take responsibility or apologize for actions even when you may not have run a fowl. Then it would advance to poor reviews, being passed over for assignments, being ignored by leadership, or having a glass is half empty response to your work product (“it’s never good enough”). Think of it as a corporate scarlet letter that all could see.

Many workplaces have this stigma or stink that gets attached to individuals too. Although most refrain from labeling it as stink. It manifests differently in every organization but trust me stink from failing at work does happen.

How to Move Forward From Bad Leadership and the Stink of Failure

On a personal level, I have for many years believed that when dealing with acerbic executive management, you keep to the facts and use data to back up your actions or statements. Kind of interesting that data is the hot topic these days. For behavior issues, it has been a tool for better than two decades. Just utilized in a different way. In this case defensive cover or CYA. It’s hard to take someone down that is always coming from a position of data and facts.

From an HR leaders’ perspective, the issue is complex. With no easy answers. I have struggled in two different organizations dealing with management applying stink to individuals. When I worked as the CHRO for a major accounting firm, the stink was less noticeable. It usually started with folks not being assigned to top clients or the individual’s utilization (how much billable time they had each month) being lower than others in their peer group. This was usually explained by Partners as capability or lack thereof. Upon digging, or should I say sniffing, many of the individuals had been sprayed for personality clashes, style differences, or just not being part of the gang.

How to Start with a Clean Slate

Starting over and bouncing back in your organization or work from failure is never easy. While there is no essential formula for success, in my experience I found my organizations were able to move forward doing one, all or a combination of the following

Scheduling Employee Interactions

One of the ways we helped the organization and leadership start over fresh was by dealing with fairness at the organization was to have HR schedule all work or at least manage the final scheduling each week with senior managers. This allowed for an impartial individual to even out some inequities or have conversations with senior managers when someone was struggling or starting to “smell.” An early intervention of sorts and it avoided some individuals from getting sprayed and others to get a shower before the stink became too difficult to remove.

How you schedule employee interactions is up to you. I’ve personally found success in skip-level interviews or meetings where leadership takes a more direct approaching talking with employees.

Earlier in my HR career, we had monthly micro-coaching sessions with our corporate staff. This was a preventative measure. We coupled this with frequent 360 assessments of our senior management team to look for behaviors that lent themselves to be a corporate skunk. Now the trend is weekly or bi-weekly check-ins at many organizations. There are certainly many ways to prevent or curtail stink and even more to reverse it.

Openly Discussing Challenges with Managers and Leadership

I mentioned this earlier but it bears repeating again. In order to create a fair workplace that is fresh and clean means having open conversations about challenges and things that are surfaced through surveys, these micro-coaching sessions, or directly from employees. Talk to your managers and leaders about the issues being discussed by employees so that the individuals and the organization can take planned as well as personal steps to try and move forward making progress.

Is this happening in your organization? How are you dealing with it? We would love to hear and continue this conversation. Feel free to comment or connect. In the mean-time lots of soap and shampoo!

It’s the Allstar Break, Catching Up with HC3

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It’s been a while since I have posted here. And it’s the half way mark in the baseball season too. So, lets catch you all up on happenings at Human Capital 3.0.

First the major portion of the Last HR Jedi Tour is complete. Successful presentations at SHRM conferences in DC, Vegas and most recently Chicago went well. I know I made the SHRM top speaker list at Talent and am waiting on Legislative and Annual. I had 1400 plus at my Decisions breakout at the Annual too!!! About 3k practitioners saw me at the 3 events, that’s a lot of HR folks.

I continue to write for Fistfuloftalent.com and am contemplating a podcast channel with a partner…Stay tuned for updates.

I am teaching a graduate HR class at Adelphi this summer and taking a data analytics class online to get savior on the topic…teaching and being taught…

I made a lot of new friends with the blog squad at #SHRM18. There all prolific in their own right! Love you all…!!!

I have been tweeting more recently too. I made the top 44 list for tweeting at the annual conference…that’s a big deal given my limited tweet reach!

So, what is ahead for the summer and early fall?

Well I will be doing 2 presentations at the NY State conference on September 23 and 24th

I am doing a few Sexual harassment trainings over the next couple of the months as well! Please contact me if you are a NYS business that needs compliance training, we are set to go on this!!!

My golf handicap is getting close to being under 30 on the links…. a few weeks more to stay under 100 consistently….

I am doing DisruptHR on LI in October…can you say, “Lets make HR sexy”?

I am doing a social media vacation till 7/24 as my pc is going in for some maintenance…ok I will still tweet and comment using my phone in the interim!

I’ll be back soon…

Paying It Forward, Paying It Back at #SHRM18

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You know the 2000 Movie with Haley Joel Osment and an All Star cast. A student takes his teacher up on paying it forward in real life….

Well I loved this tear jerker. I truely believe we all need to pay it forward and we also need to pay back the “ecosystem”  of work and life for our successes too.

I’m back from #SHRM18 in Chicago with a successful 4 days presenting twice, tweeting for SHRM (did you hear I made the top 44 tweet list?), blogging, and taking in this massive event…

I met some very cool up and comers in the HR social media space. Claire Petrie, Janelle Rodriguez, Jazmine Wilkes, Ivette Dupuis, and Cecilia Clarke to name a few…there the future of HR and it is incumbent on me and a few other veterans to make sure the baton gets past properly.

Janelle covered my last HR Jedi tour on twitter and did a pre-conference interview. She even took photos of me on the Smart Stage at the conference.  These rising HR stars along with about 2 dozen other new and rising HR folks, many on the SHRM blog squad, are the future of the HR profession…

They all are paying it forward…while I am spending my twilight yrs. paying it back. 

It seems natural, like the movie the lion king and proverbial “circle of life”

My role in the future is to be more responsive to the next generation…I need to focus on this….along with a handful of veterans….I was a little self-centered this year at conferences…that needs to change…consider it a work in process.

I’ll be back to talk about this in coming weeks!!!

What was Hot and Not — Musings from #SHRM18

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For those who attended and those who wanted to (we hope you do next year!). Here is my quick recap of SHRM18.

First what and who was Hot:

Adam Grant, the keynoter on Tuesday and guest host with Sheryl Sandberg on Wednesday. He rocked it with great insights and humbling commentary…and he earned a new fan with yours truly.

Johnny C. Taylor, Jr. our new CEO brought energy, insight and inspiration to the 20,000 attendees. And having a Grammy winning singer do a personal Happy Birthday on stage on Wednesday was “icing on the cake”.

The SHRM18 Store. Kudos to the SHRM staff for changing it up this year. It was accessible, well-stocked and well-staffed. It also had new releases from my friends Tim Sackett and Sharlyn Lauby, HR professionals with great insider insights and tools!

Early morning Mega Sessions. This year the 7:00am sessions were standing room only. The speakers were engaging and enlightening. I had more than 1,200 at my presentation on Monday and had close to 50 stay after to ask questions and look for advice. A speaker’s dream!

Wellness goes personal. Two of the biggest lines in the expo hall were for hand cream massages and facials. My puffy eyes disappeared with some eye cream…enough said on this.

Social media and the SHRM18 Blog Squad. With a blogging team as large as a college football roster, the social media reach blew away any previous conference with live tweeting, timely blog posts, podcasts, and Facebook live video casting. Can you say “Hashtag SHRM18?”  

Bus transportation to and from the hotel.  This year went off with very few hiccups. Waiting times at most hotels was almost non-existent, making for happy attendees arriving each day.

Dogs and a few exotic animals. Tuesday brought us therapy dogs and some interesting animals to the exhibit floor. Who doesn’t like to spend a few minutes with a happy pet?

Pentatonix, I have seen some great concerts at SHRM including Hall and Oates, and the rock band Train, but this was one of the best shows ever (as a rock and roller that’s saying something). And I almost forgot to mention the lip sync contest hosted by my man Trip Crosby before-hand was a hoot!

What was not (hot)?

The Convention Center.  The A/C was great at McCormick. With temps pushing 95 thru Monday morning, a cool expo floor was a perfect place to be.

Obnoxious marketing, was all but absent from this year’s vendor floor. It was all business at the booths (except for a rumored Darth Vader sighting – and no it was not me).

Late night parties. Chicago had plenty to offer, from art museums to Jazz clubs and deep-dish pizza. Of course, there was a smattering of cocktail receptions and dinners, with most winding down by 9:30 p.m.  Attendees were able to get a respectable night sleep (this certainly helped attendance at the early Mega Sessions, too). Let’s just say aspirin sales were down this year at the conference.

Swag, this year the giveaways were minimal and packable for the journey home. We all like a little conference swag and this year the vendors obliged.

What to look for next year:

Well I don’t have a crystal ball; however, I am betting on an even bigger crowd, great learning, and new friendships. Hope to see you in Las Vegas at SHRM19!

Writing for an Audience of One

 

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This past week I had a blog post rejected for publication. It is not the first time this has happened. I write for 3 sites (SHRM, Fistful of Talent, and Recruiting Daily), plus my own site right here at Human Capital 3.0. It does not happen that often, however in fairness it was the right thing to do. And more often then not having a post rejected is for a good reason (at least on the sites I contribute to).

Here is the back story: I had written a snarky but true post for the SHRM blog relating to the upcoming conference and put 2 controversial statements into the dialogue. First, I referenced a sexual apparatus from the movie Austin Powers (see picture above*) and second I stated “leave the Kids home” and really think about leaving the spouse home too.

When I wrote it, I was writing as if I was the audience, not the audience that hits the site daily. Now if this had been FOT or Recruiting Daily, they would have said…Let it rip!, but this was SHRM…and they spend a lot of money on their annual conference. They also make it accessible for folks to bring the family along and do side trips. So regardless of my opinion, they have a large and diverse population to serve. Leaving children or a spouse home may not be an easy option. Plus it is in Chicago. Now I have been to the windy city maybe 30 times on business over the yrs., but if your from South Dakota or Montana that may not be the case (or any of the other 47 states less Illinois). It is surprising how many professionals have rarely or never ventured more then 100 miles from their home…

It was a valuable lesson as a writer and blogger. Don’t forget who your audience is. And except for this site, it is not me.

For your reading pleasure here is the original post (enjoy!):

10 Things NOT to Bring to #SHRM18

Ok, a little reverse thinking is not a bad idea. So here are 10 things to leave home or avoid at #SHRM18. We already know what we should bring and do. Now here is an insider’s perspective on editing out some things.

But before we begin, this may be an ‘R’ rated post so please do not read in a public area!

  1. Anything that Homeland Security will ponder over as you go thru security. Think Austin Powers waking up from cryogenic sleep. Ok, if you don’t know what I am talking about, watch the movie. If you do…then just don’t. Enough said…and you don’t want to start the conference off with an embarrassing moment.
  2. Leave the little and big one’s home. I am talking about your kids. It is a business event and changing diapers or dealing with adolescent meltdowns do not lead to fruitful conference experiences. If you must, find things to keep them busy without you…
  3. Leave the spouse or significant other home too. This one is optional. Last yr. our local chapter president’s husband tagged along, and we got 18 holes in on the second day of the conference. It was 94 (not just the temp but the humidity too, but it was a PGA course!). Ok, Chicago isn’t geared to golfers…so you will have to flip a coin on this one. By the way I broke a 100 (a 98) so it was worth it…he shot 84 and said it was worth it too…
  4. Your weekly staff meeting. Take a flyer on this at all costs. You know if you take part it will only lead to follow up work and your trying to hit as many sessions as possible will be compromised. Cancel or have a proxy to take notes.
  5. A full schedule. The best conference experiences are in part who you meet and the side bars. We will talk about the other kinds of “bars” in a couple of minutes.
  6. Pre-conceived notions. Many speakers will push the boundaries of conventional wisdom. Yours truly included. This is a great opportunity to change or augment your view points.
  7. Uncomfortable shoes, oh the other list’s talked at nauseum about this…so I will leave it there.
  8. Too many outfits, oh see # 7
  9. Sleeping in each morning. The best speakers are early. Whether it be the Mega sessions at 7am or the key notes right after. You can sleep on the plane going home.
  10. Your Diet. There are a lot of opportunities to eat and drink. Even if your strict, this is one time to figure out where you can give a little. Plus, there is a fund raiser with the SHRM foundation for most Steps. So, bring your Fitbit, sneakers, and an appetite to burn some extra calories. SHOOSH, don’t tell anyone I mentioned this…last yr. I lost a couple of pounds and we were in New Orleans. I hope I can do the same this yr. too. Well I may need to stay on the diet for most of the conference…we will see…

Any way hope this helped. As I like to say “Less is More” …see you all in Chicago!

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Any way, well intention’d but poorly executed….

How HR Should respond to a Scandal, and Other Musings…

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I had a few articles that I was quoted and featured in recently. One was by Lisa Nagele-Piazza on the SHRM On-line magazine. I am re-posting it below for those who have not seen it. Or you could click on this to go straight to the article. It was conducted at the SHRM Legislative Conference last Month in Washington DC and was the kick off to my Last HR Jedi Tour. Hope you enjoy it:

HR professionals are typically responsible both for supporting the executive team and for advocating on behalf of employees. So what should HR do when a senior manager oversteps legal boundaries and the ramifications of his or her behavior affect the entire workforce?

Inappropriate and unlawful behavior happens. A company leader may be involved in a sexual harassment scandal, engage in discriminatory conduct or even take part in criminal activities, such as fraud or embezzlement.

Figuring out how to respond to the situation can be a dilemma for HR professionals, said Mark Fogel, SHRM-SCP, chief executive officer and co-founder of Human Capital 3.0, an organizational leadership advisory firm. Should HR:

  • Act as defense and protect the executive?
  • Settle certain situations with money?
  • Take action against all wrongdoers?

What if the wrongdoer owns the company? What if the behavior is unethical but not illegal? “Doing the right thing” isn’t always easy or clear, Fogel said at the 2018 Society for Human Resource Management Employment Law & Legislative Conference on March 13 in Washington, D.C.

HR professionals need to weigh their options. They could expose the company and stand on moral and ethical high ground, but they may face losing their job and damaging their reputation. Despite government efforts to help regulate the private sector and prevent retaliation for whistle-blowers, you must carefully consider the possible outcomes, Fogel said.

Don’t Brave It Alone

At a minimum, HR professionals need to do what the law requires, Fogel noted. “If someone actually breaks the law, you have to bring it forward.”

It may help to discuss the situation with someone in the company and examine the possible strategies.

Who can HR turn to for partnership? Fogel suggested first consulting an immediate manager. If that’s not possible, consider talking to internal legal counsel or a member of the board of directors. Depending on the situation, it may also be appropriate to speak with a government agency.

“This is an uncomfortable conversation,” Fogel said, especially for those who have never talked to legal counsel or the board of directors. “Take into consideration that once you push the button, you have to be willing to follow up and have those conversations.”

[SHRM members-only how-to guide: How to Conduct an Investigation]

Additionally, HR professionals need to ensure workers feel empowered to come forward and report legal or ethical issues in the workplace.

Note that conversations might not be confidential. Follow-up investigations and interviews may need to be conducted.

Document Each Step

When wrongdoing is suspected, HR should investigate the situation and document the findings. “It’s hard to remember what you said yesterday at breakfast,” Fogel said, so document everything in real time. “If you document things a week later, you are more likely to fill in the gaps” with dialogue or actions that didn’t actually happen.

Not all documentation has to be shared, but it’s a good idea to keep track of the steps taken. Consider following up with a brief e-mail after phone or in-person conversations, too, he added.

Have a Uniform Public Message

Some company scandals are more public than others. “What do you say to the press if a camera is in your face and your CEO has just been arrested?” Fogel asked. “It’s not so easy.”

That’s why organizations should have a policy designating who can speak to the press. All employees should be aware of the policy and should know who is responsible for handling media requests. If HR is responsible for speaking to the media, Fogel suggests having one point of contact. The spokesperson should:

  • Hold media conversations at certain time intervals. It’s fine to say, “We are still looking into this matter and will get back to you when we have more information.”
  • Resist overstating the situation. Provide simple statements with just a few words or sentences. Answer the questions asked and don’t supply additional information.
  • Refrain from guessing, predicting or assuming. Stick to the known facts.

Recognize HR’s Hard Work

As sexual harassment accusations against politicians, celebrities and executives flood the news, many people have asked, “Where was HR?

HR has gotten a raw deal in terms of the public response to sexual harassment claims, said Jonathan A. Segal, an attorney with Duane Morris in Philadelphia and New York City.

There may be cases where HR could have done more—and that needs to be evaluated—but it doesn’t make headlines when HR does things right, Segal said during a general session on March 13. When HR promptly investigates and helps resolve the situation, no one complains. And that’s a good thing.

It’s also important to remember that HR isn’t solely responsible for civility and compliance in the workplace. Leadership must own those issues, too.

“I see a lot of HR people struggling with the hardest issues and most doing a really good job,” Segal said.

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Want to learn more on this topic? Catch me on the Smart Stage at #SHRM18 in Chicago this June!