The 1-Year Anniversary Edition of the Carnival of Human Resources is posted over at The HR Thoughts Blog. In addition to great information on business planning and leadership development, you'll note that Lisa's banner has a sassy new look to get us ready for spring!
Wally Bock at Three-Star Leadership has posted the 26th Edition of the Carnival of Human Resources. There are posts on engagement, predatory employees, how to get a job you're not qualified for, legal issues related to workplace bullying, and how to be culturally aware when planning a meeting. These are quality posts with something to delight and amaze every one!
Deb over at 8 Hours and a Lunch has posted the latest Carnival of HR. You can check it out here. There are great postings to help you understand what HR people think about all day long (which is good to know if you are looking for a job and plan to be interviewing with someone from HR!).
The newest edition of the Carnival of HR is up over at Ask a Manager. Lot's of good info on general management, and a great posting on what to do if you make a mistake at work!
Ronald Bosrock writes that respect for others (be they employees or customers) often seems like a lost commodity in the business world today. He gives several salient examples and states:
"Communication etiquette, both internal and external, reflects the organization's core values and also is a reflection of the leadership. That starts at the top and is projected to the rest of the organization and the marketplace by example. Whether the encounters involve clients, customers, job candidates, vendors or employees, people will long remember how they were treated by an organization...
...While there are good and sufficient business reasons for treating people with respect -- namely, because it's good business -- the fundamental reason for doing so should be because it's the right thing to do. Many organizations say their customers and employees are their most important assets. While that may be true in theory, oftentimes it is not backed up by example.
At a time when the world seems bent on destroying any semblance of civility, it seems worth the effort to create an atmosphere in the workplace that shows respect and appreciation for all employees, customers and outside business associates."
Bob is someone who uses terrific people skills with everyone he encounters - it makes him effective in both his business and his personal life. Interestingly enough, he told me that he liked this article so much that he forwarded it to several others. He noted wryly that "The folks who responded that the article really spoke to them were the ones who really didn't even need to see it - they are already doing what it says." So this leads me to the question: what was your reaction to the article?
"The best response to a racist joke should accomplish 3 things:
1) Communicate that you find this behavior unacceptable.
2) Demonstrate that the joke is racist.
3) Inflict as little damage as possible to your working relationship with the joker."
I like Carmen's advice because she does not advocate walking away, or running to your supervisor. Instead she suggests taking responsibility on the spot to address the situation. Read on to learn how to accomplish these three objectives in a professional and kind way that still gets the point across.
Note - If you are an employee whose boss (or other individual in a position of power) is telling racist jokes that create a harassing, demeaning or otherwise unwelcome working environment for you and/or is damaging your professional reputation and opportunities, speak to your HR Rep about making a formal complaint. However, if it is a peer or direct report that is making the offensive statements, it is important to speak up in the moment to address it - walking away is not enough.
Ann Bares asked a great question on her blog a couple of days ago: should companies have universal employee retention programs, or should they be more selective when they think about retaining employees? She says:
"Is it appropriate for the organization to approach employee retention as a universal, absolute good, putting all efforts into programs and benefits intended to make it difficult (and, in some cases, even humiliating) for anyone to leave? Or is there clear recognition of the fact that sometimes all parties are better served if an employee pursues opportunities elsewhere, with practices that allow the decision and subsequent departure to happen with dignity and good faith?"
I love this posting! In my work as an HR consultant, I often find myself gently reminding managers that universal retention may not be universally good for people. Companies owe it to their employees to help them be ready to be in work that matches their skills, interests and talents. Retaining chronic underperformers (or employees who are no longer a match) does not serve anyone well.
Often I get looked at as if I am a "hatchet lady" bent on ruining lives when I suggest that an appropriate layoff, handled professionally can actually benefit people. Yet the realty is that by handling layoffs proactively and professionally, companies can avoid being overstaffed and then doing a major workforce reduction every time the stock market hiccups. These reductions typically arise from short-sighted thinking and are poorly executed. It's far better to have a performance-oriented culture all along. Ann says it best:
"If the purpose of performance management is to create an environment in which successful performance is a high probability occurrence, can performance management truly be effective without creating a positive, helpful and humane path of departure for those employees who will find a better chance of success somewhere else?"
As an employee, this type of thinking may bother you because it sets aside former notions of seniority and "lifetime employment" puts pressure on your to be continually evaluating your career and how you can grow and contribute. But the fact is that the workforce of this millennium is a bit of a roller coaster ride. If we ignore this fact because we desire stability and think that companies owe us something, then we keep our blinders on and remain at the mercy of poor unemployment planning by companies. On the other hand, if we accept that the workforce is much more flexible these days, then we can insist that companies own up to this reality and do their part to better plan for it and support workers (think portable health insurance, or guaranteed re-training and job search support). This way employees are not shocked and economically short-changed when a job shift occurs.
When looked at through this lens, you can see how a layoff can actually help your career by helping you stay current and flexible to changing market needs. It's a shift in thinking that may take some time to get used to. What do you think?
I've posted before about the importance of being clear about what you want/need from a job (see here too), but I just can't emphasize this point enough. There are a number of factors that go into making a particular job a "match" for a particular person at a given time, and a successful match can only be arrived at when the individual and the organization are both clear on what is needed.
From the individual perspective, an employee is responsible for knowing:
From an organizational perspective, companies and bosses owe it to their employees to provide:
I find that if I am working with an individual who is unhappy in her career, or if I am working with an organization that is thinking of terminating an employee, usually one of these "match factors" is completely missing or has been poorly communicated. It continually fascinates me that this notion of a clear statement about what is needed/wanted is often so difficult for both individuals and organizations to come to. Whether you are looking for a new job, or want to grow in your current role, thinking through what is needed on both sides can sometimes help you come up with the questions you need to be asking to start a productive dialogue.