I stumbled across this article in The Atlantic talking about the number of older workers surpassing younger workers for the first time. It’s really not a surprise. Many baby boomers are having to postpone retirement because they’re still feeling the impact of the Great Recession. While the economy is getting better, let’s not kid ourselves…for many, there’s still a lot of catching up to do.
I’m really surprised that business isn’t talking about this a bit more.
We need young professionals in the workforce. Not just for their fresh thinking and ability to move up the corporate ladder. The economy needs people to do all the stuff that happens when we’re young: buy or rent places to live, decorate homes, take vacations, fall in love, marry or move in with someone. If young professionals are unemployed or underemployed, those options are limited.
Meanwhile, organizations must recognize that older workers will retire someday. Maybe not next week or next month. Maybe not even next year. But at some point, they will retire and companies should be ready. Plans need to be in place to capture the knowledge of this soon-to-be retiree. ...
Recognize This! – Strategy can only be executed by those who intimately understand strategic objectives and their role in it.
Strategy is one of my passions. I’m fortunate that helping clients formulate strategy is also my job. Indeed, my title is Vice President, Client Strategy and Consulting. I greatly enjoy my work helping organizations of all stripes develop a strategy for proactive management of their company culture. Yet, I also believe that everyone is (or should be) strategist in their organization.
Two pieces on strategy I read last week helped me coalesce my thinking. First, from Strategy + Business comes the ideas of Cynthia Montgomery, Timken Professor of Business Administration and former chair of the strategy unit at Harvard Business School. The article describes Montgomery’s approach to strategy this way:
“When you look at strategy as a frame of mind to be cultivated, rather than as a plan to be executed, you are far more likely to succeed over the long run… To Montgomery, a business strategist is not primarily an analyst of position, or of resources; nor is the strategist purely adaptive, responding reactively to the vagaries of ...
Recognize This! – Innovation is not just the big, market-transforming end result, but the little ideas along the way.
What’s the most powerful word in business today? Innovation.
Read any blog, any news source, any prospectus and you will quickly stumble over “innovation.” How the company pursues innovation, how innovative the products are, how “innovation” is a core value of the company. And this is all well and good – innovation truly is what propels industries and markets ever forward.
But the real question smart companies should be encouraging every employee, in every role, to ask is: “What can I do, in what I do every day, to be more innovative? How can I innovate our product, our service approach, to better serve our customers, change the market, or push the company forward?”
Unfortunately, too many people think innovation is too big for them or “not in my job description.” I believe that’s because we as leaders have failed to explain what real innovation actually looks like. David Steinberg, chief executive of XL Marketing, gives a much better definition of innovation in a recent New York Times ...
(Editor’s Note: Today’s post is brought to you by Allied Van Lines, a leader in the moving and storage industry with more than 75 years of experience. For a second year, they are championing a research project, Allied HRIQ, aimed to provide business professionals with data on current workforce trends. I’m honored to be working with Allied again and hope you find the information interesting.)
A few months ago, Yahoo! President and CEO Marissa Mayer banned telecommuting. The response uproar backlash was swift. Experts from everywhere said telecommuting is essential to employee satisfaction and engagement. Some said this was the first sign of the apocalypse. All right – you caught me. No one really said that … but you would have thought the world was coming to an end given all the media attention.
Let me toss an idea out there. Maybe telecommuting isn’t the utopia we think it is. Or that it’s been hyped up to be.
By definition, telecommuting is when employees do not travel to a central place of work. Telecommuting is also referred to as telework or remote work. Typically when a person telecommutes, they’re working from home. So ...
My colleague, Bill Brandon, brought Brian Hall’s post 10 Technology Skills That Will No Longer Help You Get A Job to my attention when I was looking for feedback on what the most relevant and valuable professional development needs are of today’s training and learning technologies practitioners. Hall’s post ends with this:
“To justify any salary, it’s not only about what you know – now – but what you can learn going forward. The key to a long career in Silicon Valley, or anywhere in the tech world, is showing that you can learn and adapt – and master - constant change.”
OK, I’m nodding. It’s easy to agree. But how do you show that you can learn and adapt (and master) constant change? Do you just keep crossing out and adding on like this to show you can adapt to to change?
Adobe Flash Developer/Designer HTML 5 Developer/Designer
Mastering constant change is not illustrated this way. I’m reminded of a JFK quote:
“And our liberty, too, is endangered if we pause for the passing moment, if we rest on our achievements, if we resist the pace of ...
For years, workplace psychology was all about correcting things that were wrong. How can we fix people? How can we improve human capital metrics? How can we just do better? It was a reactive approach, where we focused on things that we thought needed solving, like turnover or poor morale.
Then Professor Martin Seligman was elected president of the American Psychological Association.
Seligman is the founder of ‘positive psychology’, a field of academic study that examines healthy states, such as happiness, strength of character and optimism. He looked at psychology through a different lens; rather than concentrating on pathology, he urged that we proactively identify and build on things that are going right.
In other words, what if we stop focusing so much on unhappy people and what isn’t working, asked Seligman, and instead we amplify happy people and what is working? By figuring out how to replicate that success, we can move the needle on human metrics like happiness, satisfaction, productivity and engagement.
According to Seligman, positive psychology “is about identifying and nurturing [people’s] strongest qualities, what they own and are best ...
There are plenty of ways to get an employee appraisal meeting “right,” all of which leave the employee walking out the door feeling driven and excited to get back to work. Good employee appraisal meetings end with each party feeling a renewed sense of respect and appreciation for the other, and great ones end with the employee racing back to her station, determined to make the upcoming year twice as successful as the last.
On the other hand, terrible employee appraisal meetings have the opposite impact. They leave employees feeling drained, belittled, and disconnected. And in the worst case scenario, the employee races back to her desk…so she can get to work polishing her resume. To avoid this scene, watch out for these damaging moves and do whatever you can to remove them from your appraisal process.
- Focusing only on recent accomplishments, or worse, recent failures and mistakes. It’s natural to do this, since our memories are wired to focus on the short term. But lambasting a strong employee for a minor mistake simply because the mistake happened a week ago won’t do much to keep turnover down.
- Giving feedback that would have really ...
Turn to almost any organization in the country and a familiar thread is going to be heard - What is the ROI (Return on Investment) for this project? Human Resources is no different. Through the works of Bersin & Associates, who in their 2011 report "The Best Practices for the High Impact HR Organization" determined that the top challenge for HR Management was the ability to measure HR programs in financial terms and the work of Jac Fit-Enz and Wayne Cascio who each showed us how to measure HR management we have an idea on how to quantify the ROI of HR. The problem is that this view is concentrated in the metrics of hiring our human capital assets.
However regardless of how defining the ROI measurements are for the above efforts, we seem to be missing a whole other metric of HR ROI. I refer to it as the return of decisions. We complain that our human capital assets are no longer engaged with our organizations but then either knowingly or unknowingly allow our organizations to make very dump mistakes in treating those assets as valuable parts of the organization. Consider these recent enforcement activities:
- On May 1, a federal district court handed down ...
The May issue of the McKinsey and Company newsletter is one I’ll be holding onto for a while, it has at least four articles that I know I am going to read…I do wonder though how we’ll ever read everything we want to, especially now that so much of it just comes to us because we asked for it.
Anyway, as I was saying, good stuff from McKinsey this month and among it all one piece in particular has captured my attention. ‘Givers Take All: The Hidden Dimension of Corporate Culture is by Adam Grant. He is author of the recently published ‘Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success’, a book that seems to be getting a lot of attention from a business community that continues to struggle for answers on how best the attract, develop and retain the millennial generation.
Before I get to far let me ask you this; “It is Better to Give than Receive” … when was the first time you heard this adage? Maybe bible study class, maybe catechism, maybe your grandmother said it first? Of course…when you read ‘All I Need to Know I learned in Kindergarten’ by Robert Fulghum right? I thought so, me too!
OK seriously, the idea of giving being inherently a better way to live than taking isn’t ...
Fortunately or unfortunately, employee engagement is a hot topic.
Don’t get me wrong, engagement is important. There’s a proven link between engagement, productivity and profits. Companies should want to have engaged employees.
It’s virtually impossible to have an engaged employee who isn’t happy. So step one in the engagement formula should be creating happiness at work. This doesn’t mean that everyone will be 100% happy 100% of the time. That’s not realistic. But it’s not unreasonable to strive for more happy days than not happy days.
As an employee, I should be able to tell my employer “With rare exception, I’m happy coming to work.”
The question becomes, what does a company need to do in order to achieve happiness at work? That’s the ultimate philosophical question. You could start by asking people:
Name one thing that makes you happy about working here.
It might sound hokey but think of the list you would have:
- Things your company should keep doing.
- Reasons to tell job applicants and candidates.
- Things to put on your career site, LinkedIn company page or Facebook page.
I also wonder ...