SOCIAL FOR HR – SOCIAL EMPLOYEES

SOCIAL MEDIA FOR HR – BLOG SERIES

#4: SOCIAL EMPLOYEES

Social Media Polices can be quite daunting for some – but they needn’t be. Depending on your organisation and the nature of it you may be open to a very generic social media policy, whereas others may need to be more stringent. Either way you go – it’s best to have a policy to safe guard both the organisation and the employee.

And that’s what brings me to the Good versus the Down Right Dumb! In my experience 90% of all employee social posting will be positive, with employees wanting to showcase outstanding work they’ve done, the awesome people they work with or cool things their organisation is doing. However there’s the exception to every rule right?! Every now and then you’ll strike one that posts photos of them snowboarding while on sick leave for a “back operation”, or claiming to be distraught over a death in the family to the point of needing extended bereavement leave and instead going on holiday to Thailand and posting photo’s on the beach and doing shots in bars….both true stories, and not surprisingly those people no longer work in those organisations. There were a series of other incidences in both cases, however having a social policy allowed for clear action to be taken.

I think when it comes to social employees, it’s like anything with employees – treat them like adults. Trust them to do the right thing, and on the odd occasion where they don’t ensure you have clear policy to deal with it.

 

GET SOCIAL

I hope you’ve enjoyed the series, and more importantly I hope if you weren’t already using Social for HR that you’re now encouraged to! And if you are using it, I hope you’re encouraged to go further. My advice from here is to quite simply, get social! Start small and comfortable and as you master one platform expand and grow your use from there. Get in touch via social – I’m not hard to find!

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SOCIAL FOR HR – COMMUNICATION

SOCIAL MEDIA FOR HR – BLOG SERIES

#2: COMMUNICATION

How many engagement surveys show communication as poor or needing improvement in organisations? The answer is most! A few do it amazingly well, but many leave a lot to be desired. Using social channels for communication with employees’ works especially well when you use platforms they’re already used to engaging with – and we saw the numbers on the first blog, most people are getting social. Facebook groups are a great option given the 1.55B users every month. There are also specialised chat platforms you can utilise for employees such as slack.

It also gives employees, customers and audiences an opportunity to give you feedback or ask questions on anything and everything from products and services to special offers.

Collaboration is increased with employees – particularly those working from remote or regional locations or when coordinating larger groups. I know of a Brand Engagement team who are a classic example, they utilise slack to communicate and collaborate with their team working and activating for various radio stations all over new Zealand – from Invercargill to Kaitaia they all get the same messages, opportunities to make suggestions, compare notes, give feedback on promotions and ideas, and importantly in real time.

The best advertising for your products, services, employer brand comes via referrals and advocates, so positive user generated content is gold!!! This is content of your social pages linked back to or directly posted on your social platforms by employees and customers alike. It could be anything from an employee posting about an amazing team day out, reward and recognition celebration or a client recommending your brand, product or service.

Referrals are almost always the best source of quality candidates when hiring, so I would really encourage all staff in your organisation to get posting about the awesome work coming out of your company, the culture you’ve built and the way you do things, thereby utilising their content to build your employer brand and talent pools.

 

 

What price {cost} a smile?

How far does a smile go? Ever walked past someone at work, on the street, in a queue who’s absolutely beamed at you…and found yourself genuinely smiling back? Or caught someone’s eye across the room and shared a grin? And have you ever had one of those moments where you’ve been feeling down or similar and had received a smile, a real smile from someone you knew or otherwise that actually made you feel a little better?

So what price a smile? It costs nothing, yet are you distributing them enough? Are you taking those couple of seconds to look people in the eye, acknowledge them and smile? Appropriately! For there are a hundred different types of smiles of course! But really, it’s such a small simple act, but can change a day, a mood, an outlook. And truly make a difference to another person.

I’m not sure there’s enough happiness in the work place anymore. People are heads down, bum up working harder, faster, smarter and more to innovate, challenge, create and service. And in doing so we’re achieving amazing things. But are we happy? And are we taking the odd moment to stop and notice, reflect and connect with those around us?

A smile doesn’t cost a thing; but is there a cost in a lack of smiles? Would people be more productive if they were happier at work? And would they be happier with more smiles – given and received? There are multiple types of people in workplaces, but have a think who are the ones who stand out? For the right reasons? I’d hazard a guess it’s the person quick with a smile, who’s head held high catching peoples eye and acknowledging them be it in the lift, walking the floor or coming into the building.

We should all be caretakers of morale at work as we all have the ability to directly affect it, in how we interact with those around us. Happiness is catchy and so are real and genuine smiles. Throw a few around the place a bit more often and see what comes back to you. It won’t cost a thing and you might even find you feel better in yourself for it. Smile!

What’s the Point? Finding Your Purpose.

I’ve stolen the first half of the title for this blog from Jonathon Hagger, after reading his post “What’s the Point?” directly after I read David Cullen’s #NZLead tweet chat recap “Why do we work? Meaning in the Workplace”. Both struck a chord.

It’s no secret that work’s been pretty busy for me of late (always if I’m honest!), but the coming together of three of NZ’s biggest media players has definitely been a game changer and one that’s been incredibly exciting to be a part of. The values and purpose of the three individual organisations have changed somewhat, but also remain largely intact within the new, larger group company. We have a new shared sense of direction in our vision and mission as a group. But how has this worked for individuals? Sure, there have been changes and therefore the why has changed for some people and in the course of this I’ve had some very frank conversations with numerous talent within our organisations and asking them similar questions to those posed in the posted linked above has yielded some interesting outcomes, situations and realisations.

For some people their drive and their purpose is to affect greater change. They may not align and be in utmost harmony with the wider group at this point, but they see an opportunity to make a difference and are striving towards that – these are the people who think big, the disruptors, those that will change the face of workplaces in the world. Then there are those who do buy in to the company “way we do things round here” and are if not 100% behind the purpose of the company then they’re close to it. This is something of a seamless alignment in thinking and an ideal, most people would be striving to find in life.

The opposite end of the scale from the descriptions above are the actively disengaged, or aligned and those who are indifferent. A complete disharmony between employee and organisation is a dangerous situation to have in play as these people may be actively working against the organisational purpose and/or attempting to persuade others’ away from it. Those who are indifferent will do less damage internally and externally to the employer brand and culture, but from a productivity perspective are equally bad for business. Hopefully there aren’t too many of these in a business, but if so it’s in these instances that organisations should be able and brave enough to have upfront conversations with people to help them find their point, purpose, why – whatever you choose to call it. Help them recognise where their strengths lie, where their skill sets are better suited, where they will feel happier and more fulfilled in their work. It may be that these people were once “on the bus” – but as technology, business, and the world around us changed they may be surprised to find that they no longer “fit” with the organisation they’re in. They may need help in recognising this, and in finding alternatives and seeking out their point or finding a new environment where their point aligns with company purpose.

If done well people will thank you for these difficult conversations. It may not be straight away, and it may take some considerable time before they’re ready to make a move or to try something new. But in the end it benefits both them, the original and the new organisation.

I’ve found through these processes too, that sometimes people may be unsure of their purpose, but realise in having a conversation with another that they do share the vision or direction of the organisation; so managers, HR and the like need to ensure they take the time to have open dialogue with talent within the organisation. Many times I’ve had people walk into my office feeling uncertain, or unclear, worried about change and the like, but having vented and received feedback, or a different perspective on the situation they’ve left feeling happy and clear in their future direction.

And to answer the questions???

My purpose is people. Communities within workplaces. Open conversations with real feedback. Finding meaning in work. Creating thriving workspaces. Showcasing, developing and attracting talent. Working smarter, utilising technology. Successful change. Growth & future. My purpose is people.

BULA! Fiji!

Bula! Can you imagine, less than an hour into a five night Fiji trip as the +1 to my partner (work trip) and I encounter an HR conference! “Make a Difference” was the theme of the FHRI 2015 Convention, now I confess I didn’t receive anything new from what I did glean from the snippets of conference I saw, but what I learnt helping to host 70 clients and watching the staff interact with them one on one was invaluable.

I’m in a role where I believe I really partner with the business. I work within the Commercial team in a major media company in NZ. I have a background in sales, marketing and advertising allowing me to get involved and really understand the nature of the business and the people I work with/for. But here’s my questions – how often does HR:

  • Actually get to see staff in action in front of the client?
  • Have one on ones with staff away from the office environment whereby they’re relaxed and brutally honest with you?
  • Get direct access to clients who are more than willing to discuss the finer details of staff performance with you?

My answer?  Never – but all this information is gold from an HR perspective. What I learnt about the staff and the business in five nights in Fiji far outweighs any performance and development review or employee engagement survey information I could gather. And the best part is it’s useful and could directly affect positive change as a result. And I can’t help but thinking I got a much better lesson in L&D and more personal development from my time than those sitting in the conference I stumbled across.

Seven staff and seventy clients. It was a busy trip. Staff were able to bring their partners, but were expected to work, and partners were expected to help in the hosting of the clients. Activities planned for each day were optional for clients, and every evening the group came together for dinner and socialising in a range of venues, scenes and scenarios. The organisation was exceptional and detailed, and thankfully two travel agents were on board to manage the finer details leaving the staff to really focus on their clients – a fantastic lesson in customer service in itself.

But watching the staff in action with their different styles, personalities and ways of going about their job of hosting was such an eye opener. In some cases clients were better aligned to work with staff other than their account manager, in others there was a clear disconnect in the relationship, and thankfully the vast majority handled the situation and clients with aplomb. Any creases will be ironed out and managed appropriately going forward. The client feedback I received was exceptionally detailed – it’s amazing how people will open up on a small pacific island post a couple of cocktails! And invaluable to the managers and staff alike in terms of feedback. The staff too were equally open and candid about their current roles, managers, fellow employees and aspirations for the future – again, all valuable information.

I’m not suggesting you all send your staff and clients on an island getaway (though I’m sure they’d both appreciate it!), but do think about creating the sorts of circumstances and environments on a regular basis whereby you are able to achieve the same level of open communication and feedback, you’ll find it goes a long way.

I like to Move It, Move It

I came across a fantastic infographic on exercise and improved productivity in the workplace developed for Wellness Week. It includes some very interesting stats, such as physically inactive people having a 50% higher chance of developing a coronary heart disease as regularly active people. Given my partners father passed away last week after a long history of minor heart attacks and his brother in law was rushed to hospital two days ago with such high blood pressure Doctor’s couldn’t believe he wasn’t having a heart attack – this struck a chord!

We all know that exercise releases endorphins and serotonin that eases the mind and creates feelings of positivity – helping to increase productivity and decrease the mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. Exercise also increases mental alertness and energy levels, and, regular exercise has been proven to increase your overall wellness and boost the immune system, resulting in fewer sick days and therefore greater productivity.

I’ve been a runner, I’m currently a walker (hope to get running again!) and fitting my walk into my day be it at 10:30am, 12noon or 3pm dependant on work demands, meetings etc is a priority for me. On particularly busy or stressful days I find the time out to move away from what I’m doing and clear my head often ends in improved results. I’d go along with the infographic stats and be a part of the 60% that claim greater mental performance post lunch time exercise.

In our organisation we have a gym onsite, admittedly it’s not the flashiest gym in the world, but it has one of everything and costs next to nothing at $3 a week (which includes social club membership). We offer onsite Yoga and Pilates classes (at the expense of the attendees), we have fruit baskets on some floors (company provided) – and these are the obvious things I can find. But digging a little deeper I discovered company touch teams, inter-organisation cricket matches, walking and running groups and weight loss support groups. There were also groups supporting each other in marathons, stair climbs and tough-mudder competitions. But I had to ask around to find them.

So does exercise and improved productivity in the workplace also come down to communication? Are we not showcasing, promoting and advocating the importance of exercise enough?

Secondly, I wonder if workplaces are supportive enough of exercise? Or is it treated somewhat like the companies where if you’re not seen in the office you’re deemed not to be working? Do we allow staff the time in their days, lunch breaks etc to make time for exercise and to fit that into their own daily schedules?

It’s in companies’ interests to ensure staff have every opportunity to be heathy and fit and participating regularly in exercise. So why aren’t more of us putting more effort into this? Not only will exercise increase productivity, but culture and engagement would increase along with it. There’s some really simple ways companies could instigate more exercise in their employees’ days and here’s some ideas to get you started:

  • Communicate! Let staff know what your company currently has on offer
  • Advocate; make sure staff know you’re supportive of their physical and mental wellbeing
  • Walking meetings
  • Encourage staff to take the stairs (create a stair challenge!)
  • Support company sports teams
  • Provide showers and space for staff to keep fitness gear at work
  • Standing desks (standing burns more calories than sitting!)
  • Organise lunch time walking groups; the easiest way to exercise and will have the added benefits of staff keeping each other accountable and building camaraderie amongst employees

And here are some great ideas for at your desk / in the office exercise (some you can do discreetly at your desk, other you may want to find a meeting room for!):

http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifehack/29-exercises-you-can-do-at-or-near-your-desk.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/health/workout-at-work/

Get moving!

#IT18NZ – Opening my eyes…blowing my mind

Phillip Tusing (@PhillipTusing) invited me along to the #IT18NZ conference on 21 April and as a result I have much to thank him for. I’ve come away with my eyes opened, mind blown and a host of new ideas for implementation and further investigation.

The day kicked off with a Key Note address from Candace Kinser on Building and Growing High-Growth Tech Companies; key takeaways for me included:

  • Start-up cultures are very real to people now; need to get this on table from get go and agree remuneration, perks etc from outset
  • High growth firms often attract people who are risk takers, competitive, creative, identify with the brand/product/culture, are well travelled and worldly, and intelligent but not always ‘people’ people

Candace was followed by Andrew Milestone from Red Hat who discussed recruiting the ‘open source’ way (opensource.com) being: open exchange, collaborative participation, rapid prototyping, meritocracy and community development. He also shared lessons for recruiters such as following the company’s mission and helping to build it if they haven’t got one, offering new products and services to customers and supporting charities. I particularly liked his final messages: Aim High, Fail Fast, Measure, Repeat, Win.

Laura Stocker from ADP, Airs was next on the agenda blowing my mind as much as last time I saw her speak with some incredible imaging insights to sourcing tactics covering Google image searches, Instagram, Xraying sites for images, Video searches, Vine.co, lanyrd and the likes of Trip Advisor and AirBnb.

Using alternatives to LinkedIn such at Stackoverflow.com, Meetup.com, GitHub and Behance.net with some amazing insights into finding candidates, their email addresses and links to their networks were the eye openers for a non-tech recruiter such as myself, and really highlighted just how much you can find on candidates if you know where and how to look from Chis South (@findsouth), of Prominence’s session.

Richard Westney (@HRmanNZ) of HR Shop had five lessons for us:

  • Don’t confuse perks with culture (employees want appropriate salary, challenging work and training/development)
  • Don’t F up the culture!
  • Culture creates the foundation for all future innovation (avoid group think)
  • Hire the right people, ask the right questions
  • Lead & manage in a different way (ensure company positioned for future)

Other valuable messages from Richard were to be aware of culture impact early on, creating small trams with laser sharp focus, leadership via trust and autonomy and encouraging responsibility and ownership (developed in conjunction with Try Hammond (@TroyHammo) of Vend.

Patrick Wagner of Game Loft gave us some incredible insights and advice for hiring and retaining millennial’s from offering workplace flexibility, listening to employees, communicating vision & values and making them grow.  He suggested being prepared for shorter term employees by shortening inductions, streamlining processes & tools, cutting long projects to shorter phases (agile), emphasizing strongest employees and not relying on oral tradition – document everything!

Troy Hammond (@TroyHammo) & Vanessa Payne (@vanessapaynenz) of Vend were on board with three tips for successfully engaging candidates; being story-telling, strategic timing of emails and sending follow up emails with real life and useable examples of each. They also discussed their partnership with the likes of Weirdly for assessing the cultural fit of candidate and Ask Nicely for assessing their NPS. Of particular note is their personalised rejection emails to every candidate.

John Clegg (@johnclegg) from Summer of Tech followed with the benefits of internships, from accessing raw talent through training staff in the right way, improving diversity and accelerating student development. To ensure success in the internship he recommends spending time finding the right intern, selling the organisation to the students, balancing hard and soft skill development and properly on boarding them.

The conference was closed by Mark Pascall of 3Months who started out with API and Google Prediction, moving through the Internet of Things, connecting the online and offline worlds with the likes of Shopkick, Estimote Stickers and wearable technology. He discussed Myo, augmented & virtual reality, and then moved on to Bitcoin and the disruption of money leading to innovations in smart contracts. All completely blowing my mind! I think it’s safe to say most of us could have listened to and questioned him for much longer than his allocated time slot!

#IT18NZ is one of the best conferences I’ve been to in terms of takeaways, learning’s and a lengthy list for further research and implementation – surprising considering I’m not a tech recruiter, but not given Phillips involvement. Further adding to the benefits of the day was the opportunity to put more ‘in real life’ faces to names I know from social media and the like, and catching up with others I don’t get to see often enough. A fantastic day, one I hope to repeat next year – and am slightly jealous of the crew in Wellington who have yet to experience it in 2015!

#NZLead – Twitter Chat Preview

Career mapping for HR, Recruitment, OD, L&D & ER

As you may or may not be aware #NZLead has some pretty big things planned for 2015 and into the future, all aimed at the professional and personal development of our community. You can check out the planned calendar of events here.

To help folk navigate through the various twitter chats, google+ hangouts, events, unconference and resourses available and to aid in each persons’ professional development in the ‘people sphere’ we’re creating a career mapping / planning tool to categorise the #NZLead offerings.

Starting with the basics as per the table (link here), we’re aiming to develop this into a useable graphic based tool aligned with everything #NZLead does – more on how it will work later!

For now we’re asking for your help in terms of experience, career path and insight.

1.      Can you see any obvious gaps, ommissions or irregularities in the table below? And / or do you have any suggestions for alteration?
2.      What path has your career taken to date?
3.      Have you jumped between, skipped past or across HR specialisations?
4.      What other areas of business do you most frequently collaborate with and why? Eg: Marketing
5.      Are there instances where roles would work above or below current experience levels?
6.      How do you see these career paths evolving in the future?

>>> #NZLead Twitter Chat Thursday 12 March, 2015 @ 7pm NZT <<<

***Thanks to Angela Atkins and her best-selling book Employment Bites (http://www.elephanttraining.co.nz/EmpBites.html) which was a useful start to putting together the table.

Thinking on Engagement

This really is thinking on engagement and something of a brain dump – I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments on the subject.

Much has been written on the topic of Employee Engagement and rather than being a fad of sorts or the thing to do of the moment it appears this facet of “HR” is here to stay. I put marks around “HR” as I think engagement is so much bigger than a facet of HR and something the business as a whole should be concerned with and should be top of mind for organisational leaders.

According to Gallup’s 2014 research only 13% of all employees are “highly engaged” and a staggering 26% are “actively disengaged” (http://www.gallup.com/services/176735/state-global-workplace.aspx). From this research we also know the following to be true:
·        Engagement makes a difference to the bottom line; Work units in the top 25% of Gallup’s Q12 Client Database have significantly higher productivity, profitability, and customer ratings, less turnover and absenteeism, and fewer safety incidents than those in the bottom 25%
·        Poor hiring and management practices hinder companies’ growth and engagement levels
·        Worldwide, engaged employees regard their lives more highly and experience more positive emotions

So with all we know about engagement and the countless suggestions for improving it from “The 10 C’s of Employment Engagement” (http://iveybusinessjournal.com/topics/the-workplace/what-engages-employees-the-most-or-the-ten-cs-of-employee-engagement#.VNLRd2jLe3A) to the “Four Enablers of Engagement” (http://www.engageforsuccess.org/about/the-four-enablers-of-engagement/) and thereby resolving the disengagement issues in organisations – why are we still seeing such poor results?

I think the solution may be somewhat simpler than the likes of above and other similar other methodologies may suggest.

How about simply? 
·        Hire for role and fit
·        Invest in people
·        Communicate
·        Inspire, include, recognise
·        Be flexible

After putting together the above I found this article (http://www.tlnt.com/2015/02/03/5-ways-to-embed-your-organization-with-a-culture-of-happiness/) “5 Ways to Embed your Organisation with a Culture of Happiness”, these were: Connect, Be Fair, Empower, Challenge & Inspire, and I like this also.

Or perhaps it could get even simpler: People Matter. There’s been a lot of talk lately in HR circles that I follow through blogs and social media about simplifying many facets of HR, largely centred around archaic policies, position descriptions and the use of jargon or “HR speak” in documentation. But how about simplifying something less tangible such as Employee Engagement. How about simply treating all employees as you yourself would wish to be treated? Should we really need an employee engagement strategy – maybe I’m thinking too ‘ideal world’?!

Like I say this is a brain dump and a work in progress – would love your thoughts and comments.

To the Friend, the Colleague and the Mentor…

As with many of us in drawing closer to the end of the year I begin to reflect. 2014 has been a big year; achievements, weddings, promotions, recognition, trials, tribulations, moving house, restructures, new management, to name a few and the list goes on. And in this time of reflection I’m continuously brought back to two things, relationships and communication. Largely the two fit very nicely together, and in this instance it’s the positive in the two I’m focusing on.

In my workplace every December for the past five years we’ve completed the Gallup Q12 Survey. One of the statements “I have a best friend at work” always strikes a chord with staff. Often I wonder what it is about this they find amusing, challenging and/or at times silly? For me it’s very simple – do you have someone at work you can talk to? It’s someone to bounce ideas off, talk through problems or issues; share in wins and the like. I’m sure for most of us there may be more than one person who fits the bill depending on the situation and for others they may have a set ‘go-to’ person. For me there are many; but for the purpose of this piece there’s one in particular I have in mind. She’s a rock, a super star and never ceases to amaze me in her ability to go out of her way to ensure the growth, development and support of others. This person has become a true friend, and in many ways a mentor.

My friend/s. I’m an extrovert so yes there are many, but some that are true treasures that I hold very dear and these are the ones who truly know me. They too have filled all three roles at times – friend, mentor and colleague. Their unquestioning support and at times unasked for opinions are what makes the relationship beautiful and gives me an added confidence in myself and the roads I choose to travel. I back myself 100%, but I wouldn’t be who I am today without these wonderful people to sharing in my life’s journey.

Some years back I had a wonderful mentor, who became a collegue and is now a friend. And similarly a new mentor relationship has evolved through a social media friendship with a like-minded sole who was/is always available for support and conversation, and I’m looking forward to where this road takes us.

And this is my point in many ways. These roles can interchange over the course of time, colleague, mentor, friend. Relationships evolve. To each of these people and these roles thank you. Thank you for the support, for the guidance, for being there and for the lack of judgement. Thank you for seeing me on my own path, nudging me back if I stray over the centre line, for still being there when I’ve taken a wrong turn or veered way off path and had to make a u-turn. Value your relationships. Make time for them and put effort into them. Communicate. Ensure people know how much you appreciate them. Give back…tis the season after all.

With nods to the following for inspiration:
http://www.kingfishercoaching.com/diversity-valuing-people-for-what-they-are/
https://hrmannz.wordpress.com/2014/12/10/the-12-blogs-of-christmas-2014-7/