Family Violence; a Workplace Obligation?

Last week I was lucky enough to be invited along to The Warehouse Group’s (TWG) talk on the inroads and steps they have made within their doors in terms of addressing family violence. It was shocking, thought provoking, inspiring, shameful and heart-warming all at the same time.

It’s the stats I found the most disturbing, a few I’ll share with you here;

  • Every 5 mins in NZ there is a domestic violence related call out (Police call out)
  • It’s estimated that only 20% of incidences are reported
  • 1 in 3 NZ woman will be affected
  • At 85% of all cases reported, a child is present

And if those aren’t confronting enough, I’m sure a lot of people out there will be surprised to discover that in Anna Campbell from TWG’s words “violence doesn’t discriminate”. Age, religion, sexual orientation, socio economic factors and the like are all beside the point when it comes to family violence.

Dr Ang Jury from Woman’s Refuge spoke also, and reiterated their support for ALL people, all victims of violence, not just woman & children. Her and her team are on hand to help workplaces and people in workplaces to deal with situations of violence.

Anna, Julie Simpson and Pejman Okhovat from TWG and their team are inspirational in the work they’ve done to date and continue to do into the future. Their critical points for workplaces looking to make similar inroads into the topic in their workplaces are to ensure the strictest of confidentiality at all stages of the process, to ensure staff payments go into bank accounts with their name on it only, to provide training and support for their staff (endorsed from the top down and ensuring they take the conversation wider.

All speakers repeated the need to ensure all victims receive the right response the first time as they may not be brave enough to come forward again, this includes everything from the language used to the resources they receive being accurate. They need the confidence that everything will be confidential, that they have ongoing support and realistic timeframes going forward. There is no one size fits all approach, but recognising the issue, responding appropriately then referring victims and users to trained professionals for ongoing help and assistance is essential.

The heart-warming part was discovering some of the unexpected positive outcomes TWG have noted as a result of their efforts including staff taking more ownership of issues, having pride in the programme and greater loyalty to the organisation as a result. Issues such as bullying in the workplace have reduced and people are more willing to have brave conversations with each other.

My key takeaway is that we all have a responsibility to do what we can to change these statistics. To change the reality for so many of our society – your friends, family and co-workers are all affected. To start with we can all make this something people are able to talk about. We can all be mindful, understanding and provide support for both victims and their supporters…and the users of violence when they recognise they need help to change.

Given this is happening all around us, and that we spend more time at work and with our colleagues than anywhere else, I think there’s no better place to start than in the workplace. There are the obvious effects on the likes of absenteeism, productivity, engagement and staff retention but also the lesser known or calculable costs to business of employees who are living under these circumstances. And given it’s these people we’re all with day in day out, we’re more likely to notice changes in a person’s demeanour, potentially indicating an issue than with anyone else.

I am now at the beginning of my part in that journey; I am 100% committed to ensuring my organisation joins the movement going forward to change the horrific family violence stats in NZ. I have had conversations both inside and outside my organisation post the event and have meetings in place to discuss with our Culture & Performance and Health & Safety teams on how we take it forward. I’m exceptionally grateful to the team at The Warehouse Group for highlighting the issue and sharing their work, knowledge experiences and findings so far. #StoptheCycle #ItsnotOK

 

Contacts / Resources:

http://areyouok.org.nz/family-violence/

https://womensrefuge.org.nz/

https://whiteribbon.org.nz/  (White Ribbon)

 

 

SOCIAL FOR HR – TALENT ATTRACTION

SOCIAL MEDIA FOR HR – BLOG SERIES

#1: TALENT ATTRACTION

The possibilities when it comes to recruitment are endless and given 84% of professionals in NZ are interested in new positions it’s an important area to note. In my role now every vacancy is advertised on job boards, including our own, but also pushed out to twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and this year we’re expanding those to include Instagram and snapchat. We also utilise online community’s specific to our industry through the likes of StopPress and MA+D Daily. As a result or targeted campaigns we can specifically point to all of these social platforms as the direct source of new hires. It’s important to note here that adding video and eye-catching imagery to posts and specifically targeting content to your audience is key to achieve maximum impact and engagement.

Depending on your industry or type of roles you may need to consider niche social markets for passive talent attraction such as the likes of Github and Angelslist – just make sure you understand the niche platforms before you dive into them!

Talent Pooling is made possible on social through the likes of followers – they are the people actively engaging with your brand online. This can be further honed by creating specific interest groups and managing these effectively, again, through engaging, targeted content.

The Employer Branding opportunities on social are vast – through actively promoting your employer brand, show casing what it’s like to work in your organisation, giving insight to your employee engagement and culture gives potential candidates a wealth of information when considering a role with you. And given 37% of job seekers claim they can’t get enough information on organisations in the job hunting process, this is a golden opportunity for employers.

Candidate quality can be improved through social also – you are given a forum in which you can actively have conversations with them pre, during and post the hiring process, in a way it becomes a key screening tool.

HR blonde on Rugby Tour?

Yep you read it right, this extrovert HR blonde went on tour, rugby tour. This took the form of removing me from my natural habitat in Auckland’s North Shore and my local haunts of the central city, from shoe stores and gossips with the girls over bubbles and dropping me in windy Wellington for a bloke’s weekend of footy.

The All Blacks played South Africa; anticipation built for this game from the other half since he bought the tickets in January. Customised AB’s jerseys, TV and priceless collector’s items; attendance of more than half of the Rugby World Cup matches whilst here in NZ, and reporting on it for the nation’s largest newspaper, season tickets at Eden Park going back three generations…to say he’s fanatical is an understatement. To be fair I’m to be regularly seen by his side at Eden Park and Miss Four has already attended her first All Blacks test – albeit dressed head to toe in pink! It’s not really my thing, but there’s something quite amazing about watching a nation come together to support their team, the atmosphere at the games is incredible.

And how does a nation come together?
·         With a vision so strong it’s become a passion,
·         With backing and advocacy from the top down over years and generations of followers,
·         With a continuously honed and refined strategy
·         And near flawless execution from the team in the spotlight

The players, current, future and past are legends; aspirational characters, icons we all look up to and believe in. The coaches and management team are revered the world over for their skill, knowledge and ability to continually deliver outstanding results.

Now scale this back, scale it down if you like. If organisations’ took a leaf out of the All Black’s book and created a workplace with a unified vision, a clear strategy and the tools to execute that smoothly under leadership providing direction, coaching and development where would they be? Top of their game? None of this is new and none of it is rocket science, simply another metaphor, another reminder of getting the basics right.  

Crouch, pause, set, engage!

Ten Action points from the #hrgcnz

Almost two weeks on from the fantastic HR Game Changer Conference I’ve had more time to reflect and revise on my thoughts during and post conference. What I’ve come up with here are my ten action points. 

Strangely, I’d been thinking about this post over the weekend and prioritising my action points and how to achieve them, then yesterday I received a letter from the team at Elephant Training and HR – asking me to do almost exactly that! Their letter reminded conference attendees of how Jason Judkins, CEO of Yealands, gave all employees a self addressed letter and asked them to fill in their goals at the beginning of the year. These were then sealed and opened at the Christmas party where they were asked to explain how they had gone about achieving their goals and received a $200 bonus. The results were exceptional, both personally and professionally.
So Elephant created a letter to each of us to capture our goals and actions post conference, with the intention that we bring them along to open at next years’ conference and collectively celebrate our successes and achievements. They framed the goals as actions to transform HR in my business, and actions to transform the HR profession. 

I’ve framed mine a little differently here as my focus has been on the ideas, wins, changes and initiatives developed during conference that I could takeaway and use in my business to transform the way we do things and as HR add more value to the business. Some have been instantly actionable and are relatively small changes, others will take some time to implement and require greater effort and dedication, but here are my top ten, in no particular order:

  • Instigate walking meetings and stand ups; movement stimulates.
  • Whilst treadmill working stations may be the dream, a great start would be non-formal and/or moving work stations promoting collaboration and collective / flexible working environments.
  • Use phones to record and share company stories.
  • Boost and promote the use of Yammer for internal communications; utilise more than one platform. Drive staff use of and interaction with 
  • Strategy on a page; simplify all communications, processes and documentation.
  • Use more visuals; in training, communications, recruitment…and so on.
  • Raise the profile of culture and embed into business strategy. Change culture along the way.
  • K.I.S. = In everything ask Keep? Improve? Stop / Start / Simplify?
  • Deliver, deliver, deliver.
  • Keep top of mind “What’s in it for them?”.

changing the hr game

I was fortunate enough to attend the #hrgcnz last week, and I can’t speak highly enough of my experience. I’ve come away excited by the new ideas, concepts and thoughts, so much so that it’s taken me almost a week including two days in an isolated Kaipara Harbour bach to unravel my thoughts and takeaways. I have developed an extended network of like-minded people, some new to me others I’d previously only known via social media; I have validated and benchmarked my own thinking through shared ideas and was more than a little star struck by the calibre of speakers we heard from. The conference itself was exceptionally well run by the team at Elephant HR & Training; providing a range of learning solutions and forums from speakers through facilitation and group work.

It’s thought to be a world first that as we were closing off the NZ conference each day, there was a UK contingent kicking off the beginning of their day. Simultaneous conferences, running concurrently – both with the aim of facing the future of HR, and changing the path as we know it. And both with group members tweeting and sharing the conference content in real time. Sharing so much in fact, that in NZ the hashtag #hrgcnz, was trending in the number two spot, vying for attention against the election and the Joan Rivers tragedy.

The conference concluded with the announcement of a new HR Institute for NZ – CHRI; the Chartered Human Resources Institute. Limited details at this point as to what it means for HR in NZ, but if the conference is anything to go by, I for one am excited to see what comes next.

My main takeaways from the conference are summarised under the three headings below:

 Change the game
To be game changing you must first seek to fully understand the game you’re in, from an industry, company and team perspective. Use technology such as the likes of social media for internal communications, building team culture, development of staff and recruitment; also as an avenue for leaders and CEO’s to connect with those on the shop floor. Create environments for staff to experiment and advocate right practice, forgetting best practice. Stop doing what you don’t need to and instead link up with what the business is trying to achieve and work to add value through collaboration. Hold yourself accountable, constantly ask why of yourself, others and procedures. Stop worrying about minimising risk and instead look to maximising potential. Get rid of anything that doesn’t add value or change the game.

“Celebrate when it changes something, not because you build it” Fiona Michel, NZ Police

Blaze your own trail
Take opportunities, grow, evolve, reinvent yourself and your organisational practices – embrace and drive change. Continuously look forward and focus on developing yourself, challenge and disrupt to create and enable transformation. Lead, don’t serve. Stop worrying about not being at the top table or otherwise, deliver, deliver, deliver and the results will follow. Spend time outside HR, get out of your comfort zone and establish a fundamental knowledge of the business values, goals and strategy. Think like a business leader. Seek innovation, get over yourself and stop naval gazing.

“Become infamous, not irrelevant” – Jan Bibby, Vodafone

Make people smile
Bring in fun; find ways to introduce fun through low and zero cost means to engage employees and create employee champions. Ask staff what rewards matter to them, and similarly in all dealings ask yourself what’s in it for them, and focus on delivering this. Showcase great experiences and results, after all culture drives performance. Encourage diversity and work to break down segmentations. Communication is key, so find new and innovative ways for HR and leaders to stay in touch with the people in the business.

“Make people’s lives better” – Nigel Latta

work; without regret

For a while now I’ve contemplated the cause and effect, or reasons behind employee disengagement to the point of being performance managed out. At what stage and why does an employee go from being engaged and productive, enthusiastically contributing to the workplace to actively working against it?

In my experience very few employees arrive at an organisation with a negative outlook or intention. Admittedly it happens and I have a whole blog post on that to publish at some point. But in the most part employees begin much like we all did when starting school – you remember; full of awe and wonder and anticipation of the things you will achieve there. Usually you’ve beaten out the competition for the role, it’s something you’ve worked and strived towards. Then you start full of promise and all wide eyed as you take it in and work to understand and grasp the new role and organisation.

From there we go through the usual motions, interacting with workmates, growing and learning until comfortable in the role and the organisation, for most the settling in period to feeling really comfortable is anywhere from three months to a year depending on all the elements involved.

From there assuming all staff are treated equal in terms of opportunities from induction, through training and development, reward and recognition, where do things go wrong? From a company perspective as I say, I assume all staff are treated equal; which leads me to two possible reasons for the change in the employee.

First up, the manager. So often I’ve heard “people leave managers, not companies”. And in many cases I think this is undoubtedly what happens. Many people find themselves in management positions because they were the high achievers in their particular jobs, not because they are good people mangers or have experience in these areas. Many companies promote staff into these positions without the proper training and coaching to really be effective in the position. Like I say they may know the role inside out but do they know people? Can they relate to, work with, develop, coach, inspire, discipline and lead others? Some have natural abilities in these areas, others need to be taught, and they’ll need help along the way. Managers have the power, position and influence to make or break their staff, and this should be used wisely. Personalities should not come in to play and staff should be treated fairly and without bias at all times. Managers should actively engage with their staff and ensure they support, develop and progress them where appropriate.  Employees should feel their manager “has their back”; that they can have an open dialogue with their manager, on a regular basis, are encouraged into new opportunities and given chances to grow and work autonomously with support available as required.  All of this is to avoid the situation of a staff member either leaving of their own accord or resulting in a performance management situation. Which could result from any number of reasons or situations from disconnect through, difference of opinion or view, lack of communication and more.

The other major reason I see for this sort of situation is the employee themselves. And this opens up a whole host of possibilities also. In the early stages did they take up the help, advice and learning of the induction? From there have they made the most of the training and development opportunities offered? Have they actively sought to grow in the role? Connect with their manager, other staff and departments? Or are they all talk and little action? So often I see and hear of staff complaining about the lack of training or development opportunities, but it’s these same staff that either don’t put their hand up at all for training offered, or when they do, they don’t turn up – or worse turn up and are disruptive and dismissive resulting in a loss of learning for others. So what is the reason for this? And why are they asking for specific training, then when the opportunity arises not taking it? And from there how do they end up in performance management situations? At what point did they switch from the enthusiastic new starter to a wary, actively disengaged employee? Was the culture fit wrong? The employee / manager relationship not the right fit or properly regarded by either party? Whatever the reason, I’m adamant that employees as much, if not more than managers need to take responsibility for their own development and progression. If you can’t motivate yourself, and be responsible for taking your own opportunities and directing the course of your career, where, how or why would you be entitled to think anyone else should do it for you?

I wonder if in either of these two instances they experience regret? I hope not. Regrets are not something I have a lot of time for, being of the mind-set that you should embrace every opportunity, situation, person or otherwise with open arms. Sure there may be times when this doesn’t work out in your favour – but at least you tried, and don’t live with regret. And in either case – the manager or the employee, I’m adamant you drive the results of your efforts. If you are a manager and aren’t being entirely fair, objective, encouraging or otherwise – change it, don’t regret it. Turn the employee, the relationship or situation around now, before it even has the chance to become a regret. If you’re the employee – same advice. Seize the day, take control of your own future; take every training opportunity offered, network, stay focused, be positive – after all you drive you at the end of the day. And I don’t know who said it first – but don’t live, or work with regret.

employer branding 102

Post my first blog on this topic I’m left wondering…is the grass greener or is it only perceived / portrayed to be that way?

I’m researching all companies who on the outside project this amazing employer brand; a place everyone, myself included half the time aspires to work in. But is this truly the case, or is this clever marketing? For instance is the vision, mission and culture as it is implied, or is this the vision of HR or the marketer in charge of the employer branding? In other words is it real?

I say this as I sit on the cusp of producing an employer branding campaign / marketing plan for a major player in the NZ media world. I know what I want to project – I know the brand I want to portray, the culture I’ve been working for years to put in place and project. However is this only my mind-set? Am I portraying my loyalty to the brand or that of the vast majority in the workplace? And how do others in my position fare?

It seems to me from my research that it’s a mixed bag. I’ve discovered since my last post that looks can be deceiving. In other words some of those shouting the loudest employer branding praises have little to back it up, and others with zero in the market in this realm do an amazing job. Therefore does it once again come back to marketing and how you package a product? Or does word tend to get around re the good, the bad and the ugly in terms of employers?

Either way my take on it is you have to be honest. Project the positives in the workplace, tell the good stories and promote the progressive culture through employer branding. Be very wary of promoting your take on it if it is not the perception of the majority, and take the time to find this out first. Why? Employees are attracted and retained through employer branding, among other things. If it appears to be false, if they don’t realise it before they come on-board, they quickly will afterwards. To avoid disappointment and disillusionment in new employees, and to quickly build a repertoire and engagement with them, keep it honest and keep it real.

Thus you will position them for a better on-boarding experience and introduction to both the team, the organisation, their mission and values.  This should also ensure that they are indoctrinated to the culture sooner, performing faster and feel a much greater sense of identity with the organisation from feelings and perceptions they’ve formed about the organisation pre-employment. Ultimately, all leading to faster and higher levels of productivity.  But what would the case be if they were to come on-board and find the opposite is true?

Inform, Engage, Enable…

I guess the starting point for my blog should be my favourite tag line…featured here and on my twitter account. So here’s my thought’s on why *Inform*Engage*Enable* is my current #hashtag.

I believe the essence of HR begins and ends with these three elements, and that they feed off, support and build on each other. Inform relates to communication; for me the be all and end all of a good relationship working or otherwise. Communication is the key element to ensure both, all or any parties in a relationship are kept up to date and aware at all times. Keeping staff informed is a no-brained in my opinion. The more aware staff are, the more informed staff are the more likely they are to “buy in” to the communication. Be it something as big as the vision or mission of an organisation to proposed changes or something smaller such as system changes or general comms – the more informed staff are the more likely they are to trust the organisation.

With trust and communication comes engagement. There are countless studies and surveys available advocating the importance of employee engagement. Shockingly so many organisations still place so little importance on this facet of HR. Engagement in my view directly relates back to communication. All aspects of employee engagement in some way or another relate back to the level and understanding of communication an employee receives or has with their company.

Enable relates directly to performance and productivity. Both of which will be increased as a result of Information (communication) and Engagement. Enabling staff through trusting and engaging them through communication will ultimately result in enabling them to increase performance and productivity; both of which will increase retention and in turn reduce operating costs.

More on all of this to come in future blogs, but in the meantime… *Inform*Engage*Enable*