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The Best Way to Innovate Today

I’ve been hanging onto this article from The Wall Street Journal titled “Think Inside the Box”. The article talks about how people are at their most innovative when they work within the constraints they already know. It’s a very interesting piece and you can check it out here.

I’ve always been a believer that, in order for organizational change to really stick, it needs to come from existing culture. Yes, there are times when you have to “shake things up” or “disrupt” in order to make something happen. But that can’t be all the time. Most of the time, we must work within existing culture and processes. It allows us to be the most effective.

innovation, innovate, white paper, SHRM, organization, organizational, culture, KPMG

KPMG takes the innovative culture conversation one step further in their whitepaper “HR as a driver for organizational innovation”. Their take is that innovation is unique to each company’s culture. No one can innovate exactly like Apple – except Apple. And the role of human resources is to help their business innovate in a way that is authentic and aligns with their organizational culture. You can download a copy of the white paper here.

Innovation ...

The Lost Art of Walking Around

Years ago, people were told the key to being a successful manager was to “walk around”. The idea was managers should get out of their offices, wander around, chat with employees, and make their presence known. In fact, the idea was so popular it was given the catchy title of “management by walking around” and nicknamed MBWA.

Fast forward to today’s business environment. We have virtual teams, telecommuting and flextime. Work involves new technologies. Recently, I was having breakfast with one of my former bosses. She said something that really stuck with me. “I spend all my time in my office. I’m so busy working on spreadsheets. There’s no time to walk around anymore.”

management, manager, technology, office, walking, MBWA, walking around, employees, virtual teams

Spreadsheets and reports are important. Businesses aren’t going to ditch them. But somehow, managers have to find time to connect with their teams. If they don’t, that disconnect will impact the bottom-line. Those kinds of disconnects manifest themselves in poor communications, sacrifices in quality, decreased morale and sloppy customer service.

How can managers “wander around” in today’s competitive work environment?

Take the ...

How New Immigration Reform Measures Impact Your Workplace

Late in June, the U.S. Senate passed an immigration reform bill. President Obama has urged the House of Representatives to pass the bill quickly. What will happen? Well, that’s anyone’s guess.

But one thing is certain…immigration reform measures are already taking place. And they are impacting employees, businesses and human resources. The most recent changes are to the Form I-9 (PDF). This is the document everyone completes on their first day of employment. It does two things:

Establishes identity – You are who you say you are.

Confirms work status – You’re eligible to work in the United States.

During the SHRM Annual Conference in Chicago, several hundred people got up at zero dark forty to hear Dave Fowler, vice president of product strategy for Equifax Workforce Solutions, talk about the recent changes to the Form I-9. Dave graciously sat with me for a chat after his presentation.

Dave, let’s start at the beginning. What’s the purpose of the Form I-9?

I-9, Form I-9, immigration, reform, immigration reform, legal, law, E-verify, paperwork, Dave Fowler[Dave] In 1986, the federal government decided to address the issue of illegal immigration. Roughly 3 million illegal immigrants were allowed to remain in the country and ...

Corporate Training Can’t Ignore Mobile

We can no longer ignore how pervasive mobile is in today’s world. According to the International Telecommunication Union, “there are almost as many mobile-cellular subscriptions as people in the world.” It only makes smart business sense to embrace mobile as part of daily business.

Yes, embrace mobile. And not just when customers want to buy your product or service using their phone. Organizations need to think about embracing mobile as part of their corporate culture. This includes within the recruiting and training functions.

training, mobile, mLearning, BYOD, smartphones, corporate training, mobile learning

ASTD’s latest research, titled “Going Mobile: Creating Practices that Transform Learning“, offers some insight to the direct drivers of greater market performance and learning effectiveness. Two of them are things we’ve talked about before: 1) Mobile Learning and 2) Bring Your Own Device (aka BYOD) programs.

Bringing mobile into organizations takes time and a well-thought out plan. During this year’s SilkRoad Connections conference, Cindy Riddle, one of SilkRoad’s instructional designers, shared their journey to embracing mobile learning as a company. She used a 4-phase model to outline how mobile ...

Employee Respect Is an Unfair Labor Practice – Ask HR Bartender

Couple weeks ago, I answered a reader question about profanity in the workplace. You can check it out here. In the comments, someone mentioned that profanity could create a hostile work environment. Another person mentioned company guidelines asking for employees to respect one another was a unfair labor practice according to the National Labor Relations Board.

These comments totally caught my interest. So I decided to reach out to one of my labor attorney friends to get some additional insight. Jon Hyman is a partner at the Cleveland-based firm of Kohrman Jackson & Krantz. He focuses his practice on the representation of companies in employment disputes. Workforce Magazine recently named Jon to its editorial advisory board.

NLRB, labor, law, labor law, employee, work, unfair labor practice, policy, Kohrman

So first things first, has the NLRB ruled that “respect for coworkers” is an unfair labor practice?

[Jon] Sadly, it has. First, a little background is necessary. The National Labor Relations Act makes illegal employer rules and policies that employees could reasonably interpret as infringing on their rights to engage in protected concerted activity. To that end, the NLRB has been closely scrutinizing many boilerplate employment policies ...

The War For Talent Returns – Include Technology In Your Strategy

(Editor’s Note: Today’s post is sponsored by ZipRecruiter, a distribution service that places job postings on over 40 leading job boards and social networks. They offer a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee because customer service is their first priority. I enjoyed learning about the benefits of working with ZipRecruiter and hope you do too.)

Some people groan when the phrase “war for talent” is mentioned. I’ll admit, the term has been around for a while. It was first coined in 1997 by McKinsey & Company to describe a competitive landscape for recruiting and retaining talented employees.

Truth is, that’s exactly what we’re facing right now – a competition (aka “war”) for talent. I’ve been out at a few conferences lately. Every person I’ve spoken to is hiring. But I’m also hearing about the challenges companies are having finding qualified candidates. One person I spoke to recently said she couldn’t find someone who could pass a 5th grade math assessment.  There has to be an efficient and effective way to sift through the recruiting noise and find good candidates.

hiring, recruiting, talent, war, war for talent, job, posting, job posting, Bright Score, ZipRecruiter

Good news. The ...

How I Work – HR Bartender Edition

I love hearing how people work. Especially people who work from home. I think it’s interesting to see the workspaces of famous people.

Lifehacker created a series called “How I Work”. It asks heroes, experts, brilliant, and flat-out productive people to share their shortcuts, workspaces, routines, and more. They have profiled best-selling author Daniel Pink, Birchbox founders Katia Beauchamp and Hayley Barna, and Food Network Chef Aaron Sanchez.

Then David Kelly, author of one of my fave training blogs, Misadventures in Learning, decided to do his own “How I Work”. And he encouraged others to follow suit. So I decided I would. It’s not as easy as it looks – to write about how you work. But I hope you find it interesting…enjoy!

work, office, workspace, training, work space, eLearning, Office Space

Location: South Florida (Specifically, Fort Lauderdale)

Current Gig: I’m a consultant, focusing primarily on management training. And of course, author of HR Bartender.

Current mobile device: iPhone 5, iPad

Current computer: Old DELL Studio XPS with dual monitors and a recently replaced hard drive

One word that describes how you work: Constantly

What apps/software/tools can’t you live ...

Using Employee Opinion Surveys to Drive Engagement

(Editor’s Note: Today’s post is brought to you by our friends at SilkRoad, whose passion is creating a world-class employee experience. I just returned from their annual users’ conference – three days of networking, education and fun. I wrote a post about their great event over on the SilkRoad blog. Hope you’ll check it out here!)

According to SilkRoad’s TalentTalk Research Program, the most popular way companies measure employee engagement is via their annual employee survey (59%). Since employee surveys should never be done haphazardly, this puts the development, implementation and communication of an employee survey front and center.

employee, opinion, survey, employee opinion survey, satisfaction, engagement, SilkRoad, HR, Software

Employee opinion surveys are used for a variety of reasons. I’ve always looked at them as a way to converse with employees about the workplace. They provide a tremendous amount of data. But I believe it’s short-sighted to view them as a report card about how things are going. Because while there’s a lot of data that is gleaned from surveys, it’s never the whole story.

Surveys offer the ability to receive feedback at every level:

Organizationally, a survey can identify company ...

Implications Of An Older Workforce

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.

older, workforce, professionals, retirement, older workers, knowledge, aging

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. ...

Telecommuting Doesn’t Have a Major Impact With Employees

(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.

Allied, Allied Van Lines, Allied HRIQ, telecommuting, flextime, employees, balance, logo

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 ...