Human Resource Management
from a Real World Perspective
DBAI Collection of Social Media Interactions
2008-Present
DANIEL B...
Page5
About Daniel Bloom & Associates, Inc.
Daniel Bloom and Associates, Inc. (DBAI) began operations in December of 1980 ...
Page5
Table of Contents
About Daniel Bloom & Associates, Inc. Page 1
Table of Contents Page 2
Introduction Page 6
Business...
Page5
Workforce Planning Page 45
Cultural Fit – That nebulous target
Seen on Church Electronic Sign - Don't be too Open mi...
Page5
Employee Development Page 72
Back to the Future, or why we forgot the meaning of education
Corporate America and the...
Page5
Liability or Asset: The Marissa Mayer Edict
Really, is not my job difficult enough already?
The World is a Better Pl...
Page5
Introduction
The social media realm has been rapidly expanding and Daniel Bloom & Associates, Inc. has been at the f...
Page5
Business Management & Strategy
This section looks at interpreting and applying information related to the organizati...
Page5
Do what you can today; you might not be here tomorrow (Published 6/23/13)
Once gain one of our local churches provid...
Page5
Do you know what your ROI of your decisions are? (Published 5/13/13)
Turn to almost any organization in the country ...
Page5
Is HR a true management system? (Published 4/11/13)
In the LinkedIn groups (TLS-TOC Lean & Six Sigma in particular) ...
Page5
14 steps to HR Excellence (Published 3/26/13)
Based on a presentation by the staff of Danbury Hospital in Connecticu...
Page5
constantly find ways to improve their work output. The manager needs to be there to guide them towards the most
appr...
Page5
What is HR Excellence? (Published 2/28/13)
We had in one of the first posts here asked you to define what you though...
Page5
Let's Play HR (Published 2/10/13)
To my HR purist friends I apologize if you think I believe that HR does not have a...
Page5
The Thrill is Gone!!!! (Published 1/6/13)
Every year my wife and I have a tradition of attending the supposed "final...
Page5
Big is not necessarily better (Published 12/29/12)
I admit it - I have an addiction. Back in 2001 I was introduced t...
Page5
The Diversity Scam: We talk the talk but we don’t walk the walk (Published 11/27/12)
We have just recently undergone...
Page5
Politics, Half-Truths and the Workplace (Published 8/31/12)
Every night and every day between now and November, we w...
Page5
Firefighter, Strategist or Catalyst – What is the proper HR role? (Published 8/14/12)
As I attend various HR related...
Page5
methods, or moves to obtain a better work environment for the workforce. We are charged with sourcing, recruiting
an...
Page5
Where oh where has innovation gone? (Published 8/4/12)
Carefully consider some of the political ads currently runnin...
Page5
Why Does HR Not Get It? (Published 6/25/12)
In the course of my consulting practice I have the opportunity to talk w...
Page5
What is your focus? (Published 3/12/12)
Almost every day you can pick up a copy of the newspaper or turn on the TV N...
Page5
So here is your path in front of you - one fork is to follow the path to short term responses to the demands of the
...
Page5
A New Generation is coming, but are you ready? (Published 1/22/12)
We have all seen the vast number of articles rega...
Page5
What is your brand telling the world? (Published 1/20/12)
Let me set the playing field; this is NOT about marketing ...
Page5
Back to the Future (Published 12/8/11)
I opened the paper today and read where several organizations announced that ...
Page5
HR Strategic Focus Part 5: They are not human capital assets; they are employees (Published 8/2311)
In this final in...
Page5
HR Strategic Focus Part 4: It is not a talent problem, trust me (Published 8/23/11)
Toyota recalls a major part of t...
Page5
HR Strategic Focus Part 3: Voice of the Customer (Published 8/15/11)
Stop your whirlwind lives for a moment and thin...
Page5
HR Strategic Focus Part 2: Are you part of the solution or are you part of the problem? (Published 8/12/11)
In part ...
Page5
HR Strategic Focus Part 1: What is my role? (Published 8/11/11)
You are sitting in your office and a colleague enter...
Page5
Sorry, you can’t have your cake and eat it too! (Published 8/4/11)
Over the past several weeks we have listened to t...
Page5
It is a sad day in Booksville (Published 7/22/11)
If you were not keeping up with the news, today began the end of a...
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
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Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
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Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
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Human resource management from a real world perspective
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Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
Human resource management from a real world perspective
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Human resource management from a real world perspective

  1. 1. Human Resource Management from a Real World Perspective DBAI Collection of Social Media Interactions 2008-Present DANIEL BLOOM & ASSOCIATES, INC. HR STRATEGISTS Guiding Individuals and Organizations on a Journey towards greater productivity May 2013 Authored by: Daniel T. Bloom SPHR, SSBB, SCRP
  2. 2. Page5 About Daniel Bloom & Associates, Inc. Daniel Bloom and Associates, Inc. (DBAI) began operations in December of 1980 as an independent consulting firm following the reduction in force from the human resource function of the ECI Division of E-Systems where the Chief Executive Officer of DBAI was part of the recruitment function. At the time of the reduction in force, the management of the company referred us to a local corporation who was scheduled for a visit from the OFCCP to investigate their equal employment efforts as a government contractor. Over the following six months we created their entire Affirmative Action Plan. At the completion we were referred to an additional local corporation who was need of an update of their current plan. In February of 1988, Daniel Bloom & Associates, Inc. became a registered Florida corporation continuing our assistance to local corporations with a concentration in the corporate mobility arena. This was done working on our own and through several local real estate firms. As the economic times turned down in late 2008, DBAI began to expand its services to include further offerings within the human capital arena. The goal was to provide organizations with the requisite strategic outlook to improve their management of human capital assets. In 2013, the organization to better serve our client base, concentrated our service levels around the areas of HR strategic initiatives; Retained HR; HR process Improvement; Training and Coaching. In the course of delivering services to our target market segment we have affiliated the organization with the • Society for Human Resource Management • Worldwide ERC • HR Tampa • National Speakers Association For further information on these service areas contact us at: Daniel Bloom & Associates, Inc. PO Box 1233 Largo, F 33779 Ph: (727) 581-6216 Fax: (727) 216-8532 E-Mail: dan@dbaiconsulting.com Follow us on
  3. 3. Page5 Table of Contents About Daniel Bloom & Associates, Inc. Page 1 Table of Contents Page 2 Introduction Page 6 Business Strategy Page 7 How you change is the change! Do what you can today; you might not be here tomorrow Do you know what your ROI of your decisions are? Is HR a true management system? 14 steps to HR Excellence It is choice not chance that defines our destiny What is HR Excellence? Let's Play HR The Thrill is Gone!!!! Big is not necessarily better The Diversity Scam: We talk the talk but we don’t walk the walk Politics, Half-Truths and the Workplace Firefighter, Strategist or Catalyst – What is the proper HR role? Where oh where has innovation gone? Why Does HR Not Get It? What is your focus? A New Generation is coming, but are you ready? What is your brand telling the world? Back to the Future HR Strategic Focus Part 5: They are not human capital assets, they are employees HR Strategic Focus Part 4: It is not a talent problem, trust me HR Strategic Focus Part 3: Voice of the Customer HR Strategic Focus Part 2: Are you part of the solution or are you part of the problem? HR Strategic Focus Part 1: What is my role? Productivity Decline: Wake-Up Call for Organizations Sorry, you can’t have your cake and eat it too! It is a sad day in Booksville Hey Houston, we have a problem But, Kris, that’s the way we’ve always done it Do you walk the HR walk and talk the HR talk? Don’t bother me with the details, I don’t care What would the founding fathers think? Is perception reality? What kind of message are we sending? Reflections on Society, Business organizations and the global workplace Have we lost our way? Are we really watching the health of our organization? What are we here for?
  4. 4. Page5 Workforce Planning Page 45 Cultural Fit – That nebulous target Seen on Church Electronic Sign - Don't be too Open minded, Your Brain might fall out Mr. CEO, I understand you think you found cheap labor - not so fast Is it really what We Think it is? HR nowadays is an organizational "warm and fuzzy" atmosphere. No need for business acumen Hello - I am a Recruiter's Worst Nightmare Please do not judge a book by its cover: The Marissa Mayer edict Part II Liability or Asset: The Marissa Mayer Edict Those People Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Who is the Fairest in the World? If you take this assignment...... Really, is not my job difficult enough already? Engagement or Engagement OMG, did we really create that monster? Mirror, Mirror on the Wall who am I? How do you view the world? Back to the Future Communication and Engagement: What message are you sending? Productivity Decline: Wake-Up Call for Organizations I am your life blood revisited: Two sides of the coin I am your life blood revisited Hollywood versus Reality It’s My Way or No way, end of question How much am I really worth to the organization? Are you really serving your clients? What if we gave a party for the most talented and no one showed up? Have we missed the direction? The Nature of our world view Who am I? The role of human capital in a global workplace We do not have a talent problem A disservice to the economy The Talent War Moment of contemplation Where have all the Elders Gone?
  5. 5. Page5 Employee Development Page 72 Back to the Future, or why we forgot the meaning of education Corporate America and the GPS Mentality We are on a journey, but seem to have lost our way Am I Missing something here? Listen to the voice, hear the disconnect I got the message: An educational manifesto Results are in and the picture is not pretty Race to Nowhere In the rush for perfection, have we forgotten what we are supposed be doing? Is the glass half empty or half full? What are we leaving to our business organizations? Can credit checks and criminal background checks have a secondary purpose? What Direction are We Headed In? When Was the Last Time You Really Supported Your Recruiting Efforts? Compensation and Benefits Page 84 Cut them hours. It is survival time I am only worth $.15 to you, really!!! Changing Face of Relocation Employee Relations Page 87 I am a Victim!!! We have fought the war; but just learned we lost I Can’t Grow My Business Politics, Half-Truths and the Workplace Where did we Go Wrong? That is just the way we do things here What is wrong with this picture? I Look, but do I see? Mirror, Mirror on the Wall who am I? Expectations vs. Real World What is my generation’s impact on business? Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street and Your Organization Don’t you understand? We are at war! What is Your Business Environment? Communication and Engagement: What message are you sending? Have you considered…….? The Perfect Storm is coming! Are you complacent or proactive? I am your life blood revisited: Two sides of the coin I am your life blood revisited Rules of Engagement Are we walking the walk and talking the talk? Who Am I Revisited Implications for the workplace A week of contrast Where are our priorities? What happened to Equal Protection? Risk Management Page 107
  6. 6. Page5 Liability or Asset: The Marissa Mayer Edict Really, is not my job difficult enough already? The World is a Better Place Because of Those Who Refuse to Believe they Cannot Fly It’s not what you don’t know that hurts you, it’s what you think is so that isn’t Truth, Justice and our organizations Open letter to the Chief Executive Officer Circle the wagons, the Indians are coming!!! We have met the enemy and they are us!! The Ability to lie is a Liability Reality vs. Reality What kind of environment are we fostering? When was the last time you visited your IP policy? Do You Really Know Your Hiring Practice? Have we not really grown? Where are we headed? Continuous Process Improvement Page 119 How you change is the change! Is HR a true management system? 14 steps to HR Excellence It is choice not chance that defines our destiny What is HR Excellence? Rush to Metricment It is a sad day in Booksville Are we missing the message somewhere? In Plain Sight: Hidden Wastes which affect the viability of your organization Part 5 In Plain Sight: Hidden Wastes which affect the viability of your organization Part 4 In Plain Sight: Hidden Wastes which affect the viability of your organization Part 3 In Plain Sight: Hidden Wastes which affect the viability of your organization Part 2 In Plain Sight: Hidden Wastes which affect the viability of your organization Part 1 Hodgepodge Page 133 Human Resources Blogs (Why We Do It) How do I Add Value to the Relationship? Human Resources Defined: The Architect of Work The global marketplace changed, but did your organization? Are you still looking at the World from a myopic point of view? What is your legacy? Did you set out to be a legacy? We need to take time to stop and smell the roses Are we really getting the message across? Human Resource Challenges-2008
  7. 7. Page5 Introduction The social media realm has been rapidly expanding and Daniel Bloom & Associates, Inc. has been at the forefront of that effort. We entered the blog space in April of 2006 on Blogger (http://hrstrategistatnet-speed.blogspot.com). Nearly 600 posts later our blogging efforts have evolved through Blogger to Posterous to Wordpress. Our initial blogging efforts were centered on letting our readership know about important items that hit the news regarding the corporate mobility and HR markets, with many of the posts reportedly not shared elsewhere with our followers. As we continue our efforts we have moved in the direction of placing a real world perspective on the HR issues we face every day. What do we mean by real world perspective? The founder of the Toyota Manufacturing System had a favorite exercise for new managers. He would ask them to stand in a circle and report what they saw. Much like this exercise our social media presence has been centered on looking at eh world around us and applying what we see to the HR world and our organizations. Whether it is strategic in nature or working our employment processes, there are messages and lessons where ever we choose to look. In the pages that follow, we have divided up the blog posts from the beginning into their appropriate categories based on the Human Resource Certification Institutes Functional areas under their body of knowledge. Additionally we have included the subject areas of Continuous Process Improvement and as with everything in life, not everything can be finely categorized so we have an option for Hodgepodge. We hope that these blog entries will give you some new insight into our HR world and we always welcome comments regarding the content. Our only hope is that you read them with an open mind.
  8. 8. Page5 Business Management & Strategy This section looks at interpreting and applying information related to the organization’s operations from internal sources. It deals with developing, contributing to and supporting the organization’s mission, values, strategic goals and objectives; formulating policies; guiding and leading the change process; and evaluating organizational effectiveness as an organizational leader. How you change is the change! (Published 7/1/13) I recently had the opportunity to read a new book by Lawrence M. Miller entitled Getting to Lean: Transformational Change Management Beyond Problem-solving to Co-Creating the Future. In full transparency I have known Larry for over 40 years as we were classmates at a small liberal arts college in Iowa called Parsons College. A sub title to the book made the statement that how you change is the change. When we consider that more in depth it begs us to ask how do you go about changing the organization? As a vital member of your organization you have really only three courses of action. First you can choose to do nothing at all. Many organization’s choose to talk the talk about improving the processes within the organization while utilizing an undertone which says change won’t work because that just is not the way we do things here. Management is totally complacent with continuing the way the organization operates even though the customers are telling the organization you are not meeting the needs we have. This track usually leads to loss of the client base as your customers take their business elsewhere. Second, the organization can dictate the change from a high. Management tells the organization via edict that this the way we will change. The expectation is that because the ivory tower says change the organization will change. Surprise the result is a totally disengaged organization. Needs of the organization and the customer are never met. The final choice in implementing change is the total involvement of the entire organization within the change process. The change process is centered on the input of the experts within the organization combined with management. The experts are those on the front line of the organization. The front line experts see the problems before they reach the C-Suite. To be successful the change process requires cross-functional teams which review the entire process and the impact on the customers. It requires the same steps as when you were doing the experiments in HS science class. The change process is the scientific method of the business world. We consistently hear management complaining that the organizational human capital assets are not engaged within the organization. The change process provides a view of the way to change that. We need to be willing to change the way we change the corporate culture. Understand we are dealing with a corporate culture which is a constant state of fluidity. This means we change just from meeting the demands of our customers. This means we change because the marketplace changes. This means that we change because our front line assets see processes evolve which in turn create the potential for new problems that need viable solutions. Which change process is your organization following? Are you walking the walk and talking the talk when it comes to organizational change.
  9. 9. Page5 Do what you can today; you might not be here tomorrow (Published 6/23/13) Once gain one of our local churches provided the basis for this blog post. Driving past it the other day their electronic billboard admonished drivers to “Do what you can today; you might not be here tomorrow.” When I stopped and gave it some consideration it reminded me of some business organizations out there. Consider first your own personal situations. I am almost certain that each and every one of you has a “honey-do list.” It contains all those projects that you plan to get to eventually. What is your typical response to the items on the list? Most likely you find some way to postpone getting these projects completed. I get it, procrastination is only human. With summer just beginning you probably say it is too nice to not be at the beach, or it is too hot to be working out in the yard today. The run comes when the hone-do list is from work and not at home. Procrastination in the business world can mean the death of the organization. You know you have issues within the organization. Management tells you sales are down. Customers are threatening to move their business to that other organization down the street or across the globe. We come up with ideas on how to resolve issues confronting the organization to resolve these critical problems. So what is our immediate response? We assign it to a study group to investigate it. We get a management team to completely analyze the idea. We send the concept to finance to do a total financial analysis of the details as compared to the organizational bottom line. Then we send to another committee for review. We rapidly reach a point of decision paralysis. Decision paralysis leads to decision death of the organization. When we keep putting off decisions we have a direct effect on the future of the organization. General Electric understood this when they introduced both the GE Workout Process and the Change Acceleration Process. In either case the impetus was to design a process whereby decisions were made correctly and quickly. The design of the two processes was to have a team to identify a problem and its proposed solutions and have management immediately provide thumbs up or thumbs down on the project. If the decision was thumbs down, the management team member had to explain why. No passing it in for further study. No passing it on for a committee to make a delayed decision. The decision was in the present future. As a viable business organization you have as an ultimate mission to locate, sign on and retain customers (internal and external). We do this by delivering our products or services cheaper, better and faster than the competition. We do this by being first in the market with new innovations. In order to reach that goal we need to be assertive in resolving service issues. Take a moment and look at your organization and tell me are you acting on the process improvement needs today or are you hoping that your organization won’t be gone tomorrow because you delayed making necessary decisions?
  10. 10. Page5 Do you know what your ROI of your decisions are? (Published 5/13/13) 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 are 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 asset are no longer engaged with our organizations but then either knowingly or unknowingly allows our organizations to make very dump mistakes in treating those assets as valuable parts of the organization. Consider these recent enforcement activities: 1. On May 1, a federal district court handed down a judgment in the case of EEOC vs. Hill County Farms a verdict in the case of abuse against human capital assets with intellectual disabilities in the amount of $240 million. 2. May 10 a federal court handed down a verdict in the case of New Breed Logistics on a charge of Sexual Harassment which resulted in a fine of $1.5 million. 3. May 1, a travel agency in Florida was found guilty of sexually harassing and retaliating against eight former employees. They were fined $20 million. 4. Several years ago FedEx tried to convince the State of Massachusetts that their drivers were independent contractors resulting in a $3 million fine form the state. So here is my question. It is my understanding that an organization is in existence reportedly for perpetuity and in doing so they answer to their stockholders. We know that the management of these organizations and others constantly review their products and services in order to determine whether these products and services are worth the effort to continue in their portfolio. We get that. As an organization we do the same thing with our portfolio of deliverables. But when do we reach the point where HR becomes the voice in the desert and tells management that the decision process on how we treat our human capital assets is bringing great harm to the future of our organization. I have had some tell me that organizations plan for these fines in the name of running an organization based on their culture. But at what point does the way we have always run the organization come into conflict with the return on investment into talent management by treating them less than human beings. At what point do our decisions governing behavior within the organization reach the point where we would not tolerate it if it was happening to us? The ROI is a critical success factor within your organization as you need a profit to ensure continued operations. The way we normally determine that ROI leaves out the impact of our decisions of management. We can't operate our organizations without the contributions of our human capital assets and we can't ever expect them to be engaged in our organizations when we tolerate the atmosphere which created these large verdicts. Understand if we continue the decision process as it is, the fines will continue and get larger. Where is your tolerance level when you can tell the stakeholders that you are sorry for the increase drain on the corporate pocketbook because you have either allowed these decisions to continue to exist or tell the stakeholders that as the managers of organizational talent you did not know it was going on. What is the ROI of your employee related decisions? Are you the next one we are going to read about who suffered the consequences of preventable illogical decisions in the name of your organization?
  11. 11. Page5 Is HR a true management system? (Published 4/11/13) In the LinkedIn groups (TLS-TOC Lean & Six Sigma in particular) there has been an ongoing conversation about when you merge the three. In the course of the discussion we posted a comment regarding an output from a seminar we were facilitating which talked about an organization in which the job requisition was reviewed and approved three times by the same person in a hiring effort. One of participants replied that that was an indication of mismanagement not a system problem. He further went on to state that the system represents a bigger picture than the hiring process. It made me wonder whether he was correct. On page 552 of the Theory of Constraints Handbook edited by James Cox III and John Schleier, Jr. they define a system as being made up of inputs, a process of some kind, outputs and the environment in which these components exist. Chip and Dan Heath, in their book Switch ,talk about problems being faced by organizations not being a people problem but rather a "situation" problem. Let me start with the expression of the understanding that most HR executives and in fact many executives do not know how to look at things in a systematic way, but we hope the discussion below will help in that regard. So let's look at the parts of the definition: 1. A system is comprised of inputs - Talk to your peers and you are bound to hear that the feeling is that everyone is trying to tell us how to do our job. These are inputs. But far from that we have inputs from management as we design job requisitions. We get inputs in the form of candidate credentials. We get inputs from outside sources as we benchmark the best practices within the industry. 2. A system is comprised of a process - Accept the fact that everything we do is part of a process. The hiring process is a process. The employee complaints are part of a process. The creation of new benefit components and their introduction is a process. Business would not run half as good as they do as a whole if it was not for internal and external processes. 3. A system is comprised of outputs - If everything we do within HR management is based on a process, then the end results of the process constitute an output. We begin the hiring process then the employment offer is the output. If we begin the process of open enrollment, the employee enrolling in your benefit program is an output. We develop new policies and procedures, the document is the output. 4. A system is comprised of the above factors within an environment - John Donne stated that no man is an island, and in this case the previous components of a system do not operate in a vacuum. The environment that is centered on the environment that we call the workplace. So truly while there may be some arguments HR management meets all the requirements to be called a system. In recognizing this, we need to clearly consider whether our HR management efforts are centered on how to make the system work to its maximum level of productivity. How are you ensuring that your HR Management system is running in a top gun direction? Let us know how you are achieving this goal?
  12. 12. Page5 14 steps to HR Excellence (Published 3/26/13) Based on a presentation by the staff of Danbury Hospital in Connecticut, here are 14 steps to successfully introduce a process improvement effort into your HR department: 1. Do not expect a quick fix; seek a long term picture on how to optimize your services to the organization. The continuous improvement effort is not going to happen overnight. Understand that in order to identify the best route to optimize your organization is going to take a collaborate effort through the entire organization 2. Recognize that there is always a better way. Here is a fact of life. You have found the obstacle that is slowing down your organization. That is great. But when you correct one part of the process, inevitably it opens up another problem. It is called continuous process improvement for a reason 3. Seek out transformational leaders - To be successful your organizational leaders must change their views. The question is no longer here is what we do; it is now how we help implement the strategic initiatives of the organization as a business partner. 4. Make the system mistake proof - By creating a standard of work we establish a process that dictates how we deliver the optimized services. The standard must show the organization how to deliver our HR services the same way each and every time we do so. 5. Educate and train the organization - the change effort happens, based on knowledge. So the easiest path is to initiate a solid program to educate the organization what is in it for me and train them how to implement the new process steps. 6. Change managers into leaders - Toyota have shown us that the most successful leaders in an organization are those who guide their staff through the process. Command and control does not work 7. Drive out fear - Command and control leads to an organization that fear taking chances. Continuous Improvement is based on taking chances with new ways of doing things. Human capital assets have to understand that it is alright to try something even if it proves to be the wrong approach. 8. Break down silos - John Dunne told us that no man is an island. The same goes for our organizations. We are not an entity of one but rather part of a total organization. We need to learn that we are part of an ongoing effort not just an HR effort. 9. Focus on the process not the people - The works in the continuous process improvement space tell us that unless the organization is about to close its doors there is no reason to lay people off to make the changes. The problem is always with the organizational processes. 10. Avoid quotas - When we require management to meet certain productivity levels, the tendency are to move away from making the process better. Forget quotas and allow the process to work as it will tend to do oriented on a total organization basis. 11. Go and see - There is a folklore image of three monkeys who see no evil, hear no evil and say no evil. Managers who sit in the corner office and never visit where the action is are operating like the three monkeys. The only way to effectively see where the problems are within the process is to go and see as the process is being implemented. 12. Gain Knowledge - Are you serious about this whole process improvement effort? Then you need to continually make it a requirement of your professional life to take courses, read books in the field, so that you can keep abreast of new changes in the field. If I had sought out only the required texts for the Black Belt courses my library would consist of 6 books instead of the 55 that are in my continuous process improvement library. 13. Do it now - I totally understand that it is human nature to put off what you could do now. But to be successful in improving the organizational processes we must act in a sense of urgency. We must take the steps towards implementing the standard of work and removing the waste under a sense of urgency. 14. Coach - Just because the human capital assets have completed the prescribed training programs to earn a belt does not mean that the training ends. The manager and the organization must work with the human capital assets to
  13. 13. Page5 constantly find ways to improve their work output. The manager needs to be there to guide them towards the most appropriate solutions, not telling them what to do but giving them guidance on what to do to gain their objectives. It is choice not chance that defines our destiny (Published 3/6/13) Awhile back we posted a blog entry in this space based on the marque of a local church. When I drove by it the other day the announcement of this Sunday's sermon was on the marque and is the title of this post. I hear everyday people telling me that they know things need to change within the organization, but it will take time and they will wait it out until the organization gets around to changing the culture or the policy, usually by managerial edict. The problem is that is not how we bring about determining the greatness of our organizations. The destiny of our organizations is decided by the critical CHOICES we make each and every day in the workplace. We know we have to cut back on waste in the organization in order to meet our corporate sustainability responsibility but do we take the critical steps to achieve that goal? We know that we need to fill our talent management needs with the best and the greatest, but do we forcefully go after the talent or do we think that they will just fall into our laps. The current workplace environment requires us to determine the ultimate outcome of where we want our organizations to be and to make definitive choices on how we are going to get there. The old adage that this won't work because that is not the way we do things around here will not help reach these goals. Management telling us that this is the way we have always been the corporate mantra will not help reach those goals. So what choices do we need to make to reach that goal of meeting our organizational destiny? • Utilize the 5 Why tool from the six sigma toolbox - Look at a process within your organization that appears to be holding you up. Ask why you do it five times. Trust me at the end of the cycle you most likely find that there is not a valid reason why you perform that process in the way you do. Take the steps to improve the process to meet your goals. • Change your focus from silo to organization - Understand that in today' marketplace a silo is self-defeating. The silo mentality is a true characteristic of determining your organizational destiny by chance. You expect that if you perform the responsibilities of the function than greatness will come to your department. However we do not get there by chance. It is determined by specific, concrete actions on part of the total organization. • Get involved - We seem to see the term employee engagement bantered around the social media space quite often. But employee involvement is a better term for the requirements to reach the organizational destiny. We can only bring about the necessary changes if the entire organization from the C-Suite to the mail room is making the choices to improve the organization. There have been many surveys which indicate that the rank and file knows, maybe even more than management, what is wrong with the organization. Get everyone involved on making the choices to bring you to your organizational destiny. Stop what you are doing for a moment and think, are you moving towards your organizational destiny based on chance or are you making the hard choices to take you on the road to organizational success?
  14. 14. Page5 What is HR Excellence? (Published 2/28/13) We had in one of the first posts here asked you to define what you thought HR Excellence was. From the level of responses I am assuming (I know the problems with assumptions) that you are having a hard time coming to some sort of consensus. So let me tell you what I feel the components of the definition of HR excellence are: Achieving HR EXCELLENCE is the result of: CARING more about your organization than others think wise; What are your feelings toward your organization? Are you stuck in that rut of this is what we do as HR professionals? Does that mean there is no room for improvement within the responsibilities of HR? IN order to reach that level of a center of excellence we need to begin to think outside of the box if you were and begin to seriously look at how HR fits into the strategies, initiatives and visions of the total organization. RISKING more than others think safe to change the corporate culture; Achieving HR Excellence means we need to change our organizational culture. Every example of change carries with it a level of risk. The change might not be right for your organization but you will not know until you try. HR needs to be at the forefront of this effort. You have the ears of both management and the work floor human assets. You are the ones who can carry the message that we know the suggested changes are going to make thing unsettled for a time, but here is why we are doing it and what it means to the organization and to them rank and file. You can show them what is in for them. DREAMING more than others think practical about the potential for your organization The late Senator Ted Kennedy in his eulogy for his brother spoke the famous line “Some men see things as they are and say why. I dream of things that never were and say why not.” HR must play that same role in or organizations. Every day we see things that are just not quite right and we ask why we are doing them. The usual answer is that because that is the way we have always had done it. No one remembers why we do it; it is just the way we do things here. HR has the role of seeing new ways of doing things and is willing to take the chance that in the long run we will be a better organization. EXPECTING more than others find possible from your human capital assets. One of the problems with many organizations in the workplace today is that we have tended to stereotype our human capital assets. How often have you heard these comments? • They are just out for the paycheck • They are lazy and just do not want to work • They are spending all day playing video games or using social media Why not change the stereotypes to seek out the full potential of the human capital assets. Why not see the extended potential that engaged employees can bring to a dynamic organization. Reaching a state of HR excellence within you organization is an organization wide effort which comes from CARING more about your organization than others think wise; RISKING more than others think safe to change the corporate culture; DREAMING more than others think practical about the potential for your organization ; EXPECTING more than others find possible from your human capital assets.
  15. 15. Page5 Let's Play HR (Published 2/10/13) To my HR purist friends I apologize if you think I believe that HR does not have a vital role within our organizations. I am in no way equating HR to playing the child game of house. What I am suggesting is that there is a new visitor in the neighborhood. For some time I have had some elementary interest in a new tool to increase employee engagement called gamification. It came to the forefront when I received a LinkedIn Invite from Noreen Poli of Ready, Set, Go Social who asked me how to introduce her platform to the HR community. The purpose of the gamification effort is to take the concepts alive in the online gaming process and apply them to the business arena. In each instance the employee is rewarded if you will with feedback, rewards and badges to show how well they were involved in the process. According to an article by Rob Garcia in the upMover there are three areas of low hanging fruit where this can apply now - Employee referral programs, talent management and collaboration and health and wellness. In a separate article from Forbes magazine entitled Gamification: Three ways to use gaming for recruiting, training and wellness the author talks about Marriott using gaming theory in recruiting kitchen managers. The link takes you to an app on Facebook.where you are given the assignment to act as the kitchen manager. It is fun. It is engaging and it shows what we are talking about. Your assignment is to prepare food for customers and then have it sent out to the restaurant floor. Your feedback is the format when the plate is returned to the kitchen and you are able to see how much of the food was consumed. I tried it four times and the first plate came back half empty the rest came back mostly or not at all consumed. Marriott uses it as a recruiting tool to show candidates the responsibilities of the kitchen manager. Obviously since the platform allows you to save your results the candidate is able to show Marriott whether they can handle the job. If you are interested in learning more there are several good outlets for more information: 1. The online educational site Coursera is offering a free 12 week course on the concepts behind gamification in business conducted by Professor Ken Werbach from the Wharton School of Business. 2. Professor Ken Werbach has written a book about this area called For the Win and it can be found as a Kindle E-Book for under $10.00 We need to keep searching for ways to engage our human capital assets for the betterment of our organizations. With the increasing role of the younger generations in our organizations, gamification allows us to engage them in the world they are comfortable in. Regardless of our generational level, I am sure that many of you out there play the Faceboook and Zynga games. Gamification allows us to bring that feeling to the business marketplace.
  16. 16. Page5 The Thrill is Gone!!!! (Published 1/6/13) Every year my wife and I have a tradition of attending the supposed "final tour" for B.B. King, and as usual last night he sang his hit "The Thrill is Gone." In listening to it last night I began, based on some comments from some of my HR peers, to wonder if that is HR's problem. Have the majority of our peers - deep down inside - lost that thrill about the role HR plays within our organizations? Is the change self-inflicted or the response to a changed view of the function by management? I hear almost every day that some think we need to return to the days when we were called personnel. Our responsibilities were that of handling the administrative aspects of our human capital needs. As the business world evolved so did the nature of what we do. The problem began when we changed the name from personnel to human resource management. We were neither ready for the change nor asking for it. In our attempts to make the change we began to fall far short of the expectations that management now required from their HR departments. We became the organizational fireman or policeman depending on the circumstance, but did not gravitate toward truly managing the human capital assets. This is part of the reason why HR becomes one of the first parts of the organization to be dismissed when times get tough. So has the thrill of being the gatekeeper to the human capital assets gone the way of many other things in our lives? I would suggest that the answer is in the negative. The workplace has changed and we need to change with it. We can still find the thrill within our business lives if we follow some simple steps. 1. Become involved in the understanding of the voice of your customers - Talk with both your internal and exterior customers about the skills, attributes and attitudes they expect from the organizational human capital. Change the job descriptions to reflect these requirements. 2. Change your perspective from that of policeman to that of a coach - Help your management to understand the new roles that human capital plays within the work environment. They have a key role in the innovation of your organization. 3. Coach your management to change their direction - Managers can no longer operate from the command and control attitude. They now need to be the human capital coach. Instead of blaming them for the problems that they occur, they need to sit down and help the employee discover what went wrong and why. To help the manager you need to create new training opportunities which will show them how to make the change. 4. Be an active member of the process improvement efforts organization wide - Become visible throughout the organization. Let the various facets of the organization see you involved outside of your cubbyhole called HR. Your involvement has to be absent of rapid decisions of what the organization can and can't do. Be open to working with the organization to find new and unique resolution to the occurrence of non-value added activities. The thrill might be gone in the careers of many HR professionals but with the right view and the right attitude the thrill can be returned. Are you ready to bring the thrill back?
  17. 17. Page5 Big is not necessarily better (Published 12/29/12) I admit it - I have an addiction. Back in 2001 I was introduced to the writings of Kathleen O'Neal Gear and her husband W. Michael Gear, who have written a series of 23 historical fiction books centered on the lives of the North American Native Americans (http://www.gear-gear.com). They are fast reads but full of twists and turns. Their latest one is called People of the Back Sun in which the Standing Stone village is manned by about 400 warriors and they are up against the opponent with a force of several thousand warriors. Throughout the book there are references to how the matron of the Standing Stone village is looking at things from a strategic perspective as she tries to plan a response to this elephant at her door. Turn your concentration away from the Gear book and think for a moment - how do you respond when the elephant is knocking on the door of your organization? Many organizations take the road of trying to imitate the elephant. The view is that the only way for you to win in this market is for you to become the other elephant in the room. Not only is this not practical, it seldom works. As the high matron did in the Gear book, you have another path which more than likely will succeed more often than trying to match the elephant. In People of the Black Sun, the high matron took stock of the assets she had and reviewed what actions she could take strategically to combat the elephant. She reviewed her assets and what her ultimate strategic goals were. How can she utilize those assets to deliver a win faster, cheaper and better than the elephant? Consider these strategic responses: 1. If you are worth your salt you have benchmarked the elephant - Your benchmark survey has shown that the elephant is trying to reach the point where they have the largest proportion of the market share. You on the other hand have looked at what they are doing and you strategically strive for a larger share of customer. 2. Look at their human capital assets - What skills do they have to bring to the market and how can you utilize your human capital assets to match or bring to the table skills which will allow you to do the same job in a better or unique way which will outflank the elephant? 3. Review their marketing materials - Whether it is their web presence or their social media presence, what message are they bringing to the marketplace? Is your message a copycat or can you show you have a different message to bring to the market? 4. Review their mission statement, values and strategic initiatives - The elephant has this large presence in the marketplace, but do they really walk the walk and talk the talk? Turn the coin over and review how close you come to living your mission, values and initiatives. Large or small, the key to success in this dynamic market we are confronted with is the requirement that we establish strategic initiatives which management has established and inbred throughout the organization. If we make those initiatives part of the corporate culture, it does not matter that the elephant is knocking at the door. We do not have to try and match them for size. Instead we can utilize our assets and skills to the maximum advantage for the organization. If you do you will be on the road to being the employer of choice within your market.
  18. 18. Page5 The Diversity Scam: We talk the talk but we don’t walk the walk (Published 11/27/12) We have just recently undergone a decisive election era in which some very strong views have been expressed. Some of those comments made me take a moment and reflect on the status of diversity within this country and the workplace in particular. One of the facts that became abundantly clear is that there is a dramatic change in the demographics of the society in which we live. Change is tough but when the majority suddenly finds itself in the minority it raises a wide range of responses. And this is where the Diversity Scam arises. Let me lay some ground work before discussing my reasoning. We find ourselves in a rapidly changing business space. An organization only succeeds when it can meet two very interdependent factors. The first is that we only succeed when we are competitive within the market. We constantly need to be aware and cognizant of the needs of our customers. The other side of the coin is we must be innovative with what we offer to the marketplace. With the changing demographic we need to be open to the inclusion of a wide variety of ideas and backgrounds with the hiring of human capital assets. The problem seems to be, from my conversations with fellow HR professionals that many of the members of the changing demographic seem to want to move to their organizations and organizations. Why? The management tiers of our organizations have traditionally been occupied by white male members of our society. With this they have very set ways as to the methods that organizations should operate under. That philosophy is being challenged. The establishment is uncomfortable with what this means for the future of their workplace. The message from our customers and society is that diversity in the workplace is a necessity. So in order to appear as though we are part of the current global environment , the message is that all of our communications pieces from the recruiting brochure to the annual report sate that diversity is a key component of our strategy. But look at the organization as a whole and what do you find? While there are many exceptional examples of organizations which walk the walk and talk the talk, the far greater numbers extend the message through the communication devices but never intend to follow through on it unless they are forced to jump through the hoops of the EEO-1 form. Instead what diversity is found within the organizations is restricted to the low paying lower levels of the organization. Restricted at the lower levels where what diversity does exist can be pushed off into back corner of the organization. These human capital assets are not exposed to the tools to move up the corporate ladder to reach that corner office. The difficulty is that with "those people" now becoming the majority in the workplace, just talking the talk will not make the organization more sustainable. In fact it will make the organization less likely to succeed. Like most scams, the perpetrators eventually get caught and it comes back to haunt. As we reach the Thanksgiving holiday season and the opening of the run to the end of year, we as organizational management need to re-assess our views and our initiatives. We need to understand and accept that the inclusion of the new normal demographics makes the diversity scam totally unacceptable in the marketplace. It is time that organizational management comes to recognize that they need to change their views of the workplace. First, this is not your father's company anymore. The demographics of the global workplace have changed and it will not survive with a less than true message. Second, the new generational workers are much more comfortable in an open society whether it is life or work and they will force you in the direction of full diversity and finally as a member of your organization's management team your goal is to protect the ability of the organization to survive into eternity. We cannot do that if we purposely forget about a large percentage of the society within which we operate. So stop for a moment and really analyze are you both talking the talk and walking the walk in regards to diversity. Tell me whether your organization is part of the scam or really believes in the inclusion of a wide range of views and attitudes represented by the changed demographics within your portals.
  19. 19. Page5 Politics, Half-Truths and the Workplace (Published 8/31/12) Every night and every day between now and November, we will be bombarded with political ads from one source or another regarding the upcoming presidential race. Despite non-aligned groups such as Politico and Fact-Finder stating that the premise is wrong, the campaigns continue to run ads with false data. One campaign pollster even openly stated that in releasing campaign ads we don't care if our facts are wrong. There is a campaign poster running currently which shows grumpy coal miners with the caption "We were told to show up for a candidate appearance without pay or risk being fired." That is not the message that appeared in the main stream media. This makes me turn to our business world and ask - what do we do with the facts? When someone makes a complaint against your organization, is the tendency to truly investigate the issues or do we look to what makes the organization look good? Do we tell an employee that their job is safe and then lays him or her off three days later? We, as organizations, constantly claim that our organizational culture requires us to be the employer of choice and that we have 100% employee engagement. Then we turn around and we are less than honest with all parties. We tell the world how great we are and then we understate the job requirements. I have a friend who took a job with the understanding that it was minimal travel, and he is now traveling 90% of the time. We tell our employees that we want full engagement, but we fail to show the employee that they are a valued part of the organization. The problem is that these half-truths will inevitably come back to haunt your organization. If you stretch the truth, someone is surely going to take you task over it. I am not a lawyer, but from my recruiting days I have heard of candidates who successfully took legal action over half truths. As a human resource strategist, here is my advice to your organization: Determine what your message is and make sure that message is based on creditable, verifiable facts - facts which are not tainted to meet an arbitrary goal. A message that treats everyone involved - employees, customers, stakeholders, management- with the respect that they deserve. You want to be included in the list of the "good-to-great" organizations? Then you need to place yourselves above the morass of tainted messages. Half-truths have no place in a quality business environment - not in the past, not in the future and certainly not in the future. It is not a choice of do or don't. The survival of your organization depends on it.
  20. 20. Page5 Firefighter, Strategist or Catalyst – What is the proper HR role? (Published 8/14/12) As I attend various HR related events and read the posts in social media, there seems to be some discussion as to exactly what HR is supposed to be doing. Having said that, I can find some common threads in the discussions. Some of the individuals believe we are there to be policy cops. Our responsibility is centered on the task of keeping the organization out of trouble. In doing that we tend to gain the "we have an app for that" mentality. If a problem arises we have the solution, or we will create it. Never mind if the solution is aligned with the corporate objectives or the business vision or mission. Management tells you they have a problem and you create the solution, only to be told that now HR is a roadblock to the successful organization as a whole. If you want a clearer picture of what we are suggesting, talk to your peers who have been around and ask them what it was like when we were called "Personnel." For several years now I have been telling anyone who asks that I am an HR strategist. We use that nomenclature on our blog and on our LinkedIn profile. But what does that mean? My interpretation was that my role in the equation is to show organizations how to align HR with the overall business strategy, working to show the organization that HR has a major role to play within that strategy. Dictionary.com defines "strategist" as "one who is an expert in strategy." It defines strategy as a plan, method or a series of moves to obtain a specific goal or end result. That was what I thought I was doing. I was talking to clients about getting their HR department to be seen as a critical part of the organization. I was showing them how by some relatively small moves they could have their department run as an efficient hub within the organization. True some of the moves required dramatic changes in the way they have always done things. We expected our peers to challenge the status quo, because at its roots the system was not producing the results that HR wanted or that management expected. Then the other day, along comes a business partner who tells me "you are not a strategist, you are a catalyst." So I had to stop and think about what the difference is between the two. Dictionary.com tells us that a catalyst is "something that causes activity between two or more persons or forces without itself being affected or a person or thing that precipitates and event or change." After considering this for a bit I am not sure if I can give him a direct answer to his proposition. Let me talk a bit as to why. The global workplace is not going to tolerate us being the corporate fireman for much longer. The world will not move forward with the obstacles we sometimes put in place. We are not helping our organizations and we are not helping ourselves. If all we do is put out fires day in and day out, we have not proven (or more importantly, justified) our existence. The same duties and functions can be performed by an outsourced entity. So if we can't be the fireman, then we are left with being either a strategist or catalyst. I am not sure the answer lies specifically within or outside the organization. The answer rests rather in the consideration of what our function is or should be. As we stated above a strategist is one who is an expert in strategy. As HR professionals, are we not experts in how to advance our human capital assets? Are we not the best persons within the organizational structure to know and implement strategic initiatives to advance the collaboration and innovation of the organization based on the way we source, recruit, and train the talent needed by the organization? We have a vital role to play that no other can perform as proficiently as we can. We understand the dynamics of human interaction and can identify those who best fit within the greater picture. If we are catalysts rather than strategists, then we are given the task of advocating change within our organizations with the understanding that we are operating apart from the rest of the organization. I am unclear how you can advocate change within the organization without it affecting your own position. Remember - one of the tenants of the catalyst above was that we advocate change but we are not affected. I find it difficult to believe that, as HR professionals, that if we improve our organizations we will in turn be affected by the raised stature of both our immediate position but the whole profession as well. Could there be an alternative or a merger of sorts? I would suggest that as HR professionals we are both strategists and catalysts at the same time. We advocate change every day to improve the performance of the organization. We may not always be heard, but we do make the attempt. At the same time, we are experts in the implementation of plans,
  21. 21. Page5 methods, or moves to obtain a better work environment for the workforce. We are charged with sourcing, recruiting and hiring the right person, for the right job at the right location at the right time. We want our place at the table where the decisions are made regarding the objectives and initiatives of the organization are made. We are not going to get there without determining what our role is within the organization. So what are you - Fireman, Strategist or Catalyst? What role do you want in your organization and do you have the evidence based documentation to support your decision?
  22. 22. Page5 Where oh where has innovation gone? (Published 8/4/12) Carefully consider some of the political ads currently running in the media and you would be led to believe that America is going downhill. Part of that is the climate we are in at the current time. Russell Moen of Express Personnel in his presentation "Love them or Leave them" talks about the key to innovation is collaboration. Collaboration indicates the presence of a cross-functional team that brings ideas to the table and looks at all facets of the situation and arrives at a consensus as to the most efficient way to direct the organization in resolving the problems at hand. I grew up in an era when the badge of honor was being a Rockefeller Moderate who did what collaboration means. Now in both governing circles and in many business organizations we see just the opposite. Dictionary.com tells us that the definition of INNOVATION is the act of innovating; introduction of new things or methods. That does not mean being so closed minded that we think that there is only one way to introduce new methods of doing things. Management and elected officials tell us this is the way we do things and if it doesn't fit your picture of the world then go somewhere else. The result is that both scenarios place us in danger of falling off the cliff. We reach stalemates which ends up getting nothing accomplished. Problems go unsolved because no one wants to see both sides of the coin. If we want to be the next great organization then we need to look at the facts and then take the best of all views on the situation and find that middle road which will allow us to arrive at unique resolutions to the problems facing us. Do not waste organizational crucial time by forming a cross-functional team as window dressing. Do not form a cross-functional team whose ideas are summarily dismissed by top management because that just is not the way we do things round here. Our economic times have put us in a unique place. We can decide whether we as an organization have a future as real innovators within our industries based on solid consideration of all ideas in the marketplace or we can continue to believe that management is the only one who knows how to move the organization forward and take the road to disaster. The choice is yours, make it wisely.
  23. 23. Page5 Why Does HR Not Get It? (Published 6/25/12) In the course of my consulting practice I have the opportunity to talk with a number of individuals within the HR and business space on a daily basis. So when twice in a week I get the same question posed to me, it makes you wake up and think twice about how you answer. The first time occurred during the facilitation of our two day seminar on "Achieving HR Excellence through Six Sigma" when one of the participants remarked that she does not understand why HR people shy away from solutions that will improve the effectiveness of their space within the organization. The second one happened within the groups on LinkedIn when Dr. Ed Holton posted a question with the same title as this post. Does HR have a problem with getting it? I suppose it depends on who you talk to. However here is my take on the response. Many contributors to the HR space believe that we need to change our message and I would agree. The problem becomes what do we change the message to? I would suggest that we need to reassess where you want to take your career. If you are happy with being the corporate fireman and spending your days putting out those fires that arise because we are embedded in the stance of being reactive to the environment around us so be it. But at the same time we would suggest that you stop by your local business supply place and purchase a calendar and begin to cross off each day with a large red X. Why? I would suggest that you are counting the days until you don't have a position. This is not because your organization decides to let you go. This is because the position will evolve into another dimension. Dimension in which there will be more demanded of you then you are currently providing your organization. On the other hand if you want to become a vital part of your organization then you need to change your focus to a proactive stance. You need to change your perspective to one of challenging everything the organization does related to human capital. Become proactive in solving the organizational problems. I just finished reading John Bodreau's Beyond HR in which we suggests that we need to look at HR from a talent ship view. While I disagree with some of his points, the basic point is that we need to become more involved in the hiring process from the point of view of delivering metrics which show the benefits of the talent acquisition process. As Dr. Holton so aptly asks, if accounting, finance, C-Suites and marketing get the message why can't HR. It is a critical point in time that HR has to understand that we can no longer tolerate being the organizational punching bag. We can no longer tolerate being the answer that managers use for why the system does not work. As HR professionals, many of you who are in Atlanta at the SHRM conference, we need to stand up and say enough is enough. We get the message. We understand what our new role in the organization is supposed to be. We are not your punching bag, but rather play a vital role in the success of your organization. We are the ones who understand the valuable role our human capital play better than anyone else in the organization. We are the ones who hear and understand what trials and tribulations they are going through. We are the one who know the obstacles the market is putting in front of us when we source out that next best talent. Why does HR not get it? We do not have a choice but to start getting it. It means the success of both your career and the success of the organizations that employ us.
  24. 24. Page5 What is your focus? (Published 3/12/12) Almost every day you can pick up a copy of the newspaper or turn on the TV News and hear about an organization which has announced that it is cutting jobs to lower costs. In this current economic climate I can totally understand wanting to reduce costs. However I ask you what is your goal - to sustain the organization for the long haul or to satisfy the stockholders for a quick response to economic "dire" warnings? Let's consider the two perspectives in place in many organizations. The first one is based in the concept that our human capital is nothing more than an expense item. When the organization is blowing results out of the water, we tend to hire based on the demand. As a result when we find that the economic conditions are headed in the opposite direction the first reaction by many management members is to see how you can cut costs. This includes cutting staff. In order to meet the demands of the board of directors and other stakeholders the strategic direction is cut costs at any cost to the organization. Never mind that as you cut overhead we forget that the workload does not get less. In its place you have added to the stress level within the organization. Typically we find eventually that work does not get done on time alienating the organizational customers. While we may have helped meet the demands of the stakeholders we have not helped the future of the organization Consider the other side of the coin if you will. In this scenario we find a total different view of management. They recognize that our greatest asset is the innovation and thought processes of our human capital. Management fully understands while the short term solution seems to be the logical route, in actuality we have failed to recognize what the knowledge drain will mean to the corporation. Consider this: There was a company about five years ago who decided that the sure fire method to cut costs was to offer early buy out to anyone with 20+ years with the company. Almost all the employees took the corporation up on their offer and they were out of business in 6 months. So let's turn this into a strategic discussion - You are in an industry where sales are dropping due to the economy and its trials and tribulations. So what do you do? The first thing I would tell you that unless you are planning to close your doors, N0 ONE SHOULD BE LAID OFF. Let me repeat that, no one should be laid off. There are other ways to reduce costs and keep the organizations flowing. Review the organizational widgets (We all have them whether we make something or not) and locate the ways we are spending money out the door due to wasteful activities. If you are thinking, we don't do that here; go ask your clients how well you are meeting their needs. Jay Arthur in his book Free, Perfect and Now suggests that for every $100 of corporate spend, you are wasting between 25-40 in wastes. On a continuous basis review how you are doing business to cut these wastes from the operation. Talk with your human capital assets and let them know a true picture of how the organization is functioning. Talk with them about ways to have everyone pitch in to save the organization for the long term. Talk to them about TEMPORARY job sharing. Talk to them about shortening the work week. Each and every one of these strategies is designed to save the organization monies and not hurt the future of the company. Understand that if you have a problem meeting customer needs, cutting staff is not going to meet the customer needs. If you are not meeting the customer needs there is something wrong with the internal processes. So here is your dilemma - we recognize the value of the intellectual properties of our leased, non-owned corporate assets, but we are getting extreme pressure from stakeholders to maximize their return on investment. You need to demonstrate to the stakeholders that the maximum return on investment is not on financial returns for next week or next month. Maximum return on investment is based on what the organization looks like five or ten years down the road. We do not maximize the ROI on the back of our keys to innovation. Take the time to review how you picture the organization in the future. Make the necessary changes to enhance the level of employee engagement within the organization. Think ahead as to what your product or service is going to look like in response to the voice of the customer and start preparing your human capital to be ready for when the time comes. Promise them that unless you are planning to go bankrupt or close your doors, we are going to plan on maintaining all staffing levels. We are going to the very best we can to establish our rightful place within the business community. We are not going to promise the rose garden if we can't deliver it.
  25. 25. Page5 So here is your path in front of you - one fork is to follow the path to short term responses to the demands of the organization. The other fork is to look at how to sustain the brand and the reputation for the long haul. One fork looks at the here and now the other looks at the future. A future which can be bright, vibrant and fully supportive of the path the organization has chosen. You make the decision. By the way let me know are you stuck in the short term quagmire or are you following the yellow brick road to the future, where your bottom line increases because of the steps taken by the entire organization- rank and file and management together in consultation to improve the end result of the organizational voice of the customer requests
  26. 26. Page5 A New Generation is coming, but are you ready? (Published 1/22/12) We have all seen the vast number of articles regarding the interactions between the different generations in the workplace. We all have our personal views regarding the roles of the Baby Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y or the traditionalists. But we are talking about an entirely different generational mix then we are used to hearing about. For the past 15 years, I have religiously read one business magazine cover to cover each and every month. When you book marked it on your PC or Mac it came up as the Handbook for the Revolution. The February issues discussed a new generation called Generation Flux. Based in Chaos Theory it suggests that you as HR professionals need to change your perspectives. The idea of creating precise long term business model or expecting that your human capital assets are going to remain part of your organization is dwindling. So what does this mean for our organizations? The total organization, including HR, must learn to work in small segments. The article contains references from individuals who are part of this new generation which represent all ages. They look at the business world from the view of what is going to happen in the next several hours not five or ten years down the road. This means that HR needs to embrace change and realize that our future as an organization is directly attributable to how well we adapt the organization to this state of flux. Consider these options for your organization: 1. Employees with a constant pressure to learn new things 2. Adaptation to changing environments that can happen in hours not years 3. Short-term careers 4. No guarantee that talent will stay in your industry 5. Human Capital resumes are a collection of roads that have no clear path of direction. Revising the resume opens new paths. What this means is that nostalgia is a thing of the past. The future means we have to be ready at the drop of a dime to change our focus. We need to shift our focus towards hiring as the moment requires and understand when the need drops; the talent is going to move. It will play havoc on our hiring plans. It will have an adverse effort on succession planning. We cannot rely on our HIPE employees being there when the C-Suite retires. We cannot rely on the department staffing needs to be placed on a plateau where we know who is going to fill the needs of the future. The generation flux is going to be the indicator of the strength of our organization short term because that is way we need to look. Command and control and management expecting to have a strong presence in the wave of the future are winding fast. In our presentations on Six Sigma and HR, we focus on an analogy of the fork in the road as the determining factor in the health of the HR function. With the introduction of the generation flux, this is even truer than before. We have a choice of staying the path of "hey this is the way we have always done it, and it works," or taking the path of moving with the flow which will cause us to review where we are, where we are going and how we are going to get there--hourly. It means we need to be able to assist the human capital assets to better prepare for the new world. Forget this attitude that we are not going to train them because they will just leave. They are going to leave anyway. Help them solidify the next skill set that goes in their backpack. These skills may be helpful in the next person you hire. Stop, take a moment to smell the roses and prepare for the turbulent ride as we enter the world of Generation Flux. I highly recommend that you click on the link and read about what Generation Flux could mean to your organization. Contribute to the discussion. Get involved in laying out the future of your organizations.
  27. 27. Page5 What is your brand telling the world? (Published 1/20/12) Let me set the playing field; this is NOT about marketing of an organization. This is about the message you as an organization send to two different stakeholders for your organization. The first is your customer base and the second are your current and potential employees. Consider this scenario. I recently had to send some critical legal documents from my home in Florida to an attorney in NY. I decided the "safest" way was to send them next day early delivery by one of the largest service providers. The letter went from Florida to Philadelphia and then by some fluke it ended up in London. Before they could return it to the US it went to Germany. When I called customer service I was told they were sorry about the delay but mistakes happen. I will give them that. But when asked how this could happen, no one from executive offices to the customer service representative could explain the results. So here is my question to you. What does your brand say, when the organization makes a mistake? Is your response that mistakes happen or do you work to try and a) find the reason for the mistake or b) make changes in your processes so that it does not happen again? Your brand response to these matters of nature, have a vital impact on your brand as an organization. Today's human capital assets seek organizations that care for their stakeholders. I am not suggesting that you need to be in love with them. What we are suggesting is that your organization, as part of your culture, needs to strive to show the world that you at least care about their role in the success of your business. Jim Collins in Good to Great suggests that the way for your organization to thrive is to have the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus and the right people in the right seats. If your management does not see the value in your employees and stakeholders then you do not have the right person on the bus. Management is the face of the brand you and if they are sending a message that these investors inn your organization are just a drag your brand is going to tell the world just that message. Put yourselves for a minute in the role of the employee or stakeholder and you were confronted with a brand which tells you that we want your business but it has to be on our terms and if you don't like it go elsewhere. Would your tendency be to stay with that organization or find one that cared about your needs and issues?
  28. 28. Page5 Back to the Future (Published 12/8/11) I opened the paper today and read where several organizations announced that they were cutting staff in order to control costs. In the same time span I saw several posting in the social media space which stated that C-suite office holders are saying that their greatest challenge in 2012 is going to be centered around talent issues especially talent retention. I must be missing something here. We cannot state that we are concerned with retaining the talent we have and at the same time discharge them in order to maintain costs. Jeff Cox in his book Velocity tells us that unless the organization is on the verge of bankruptcy or closing its doors then there is no excuse for cutting headcount. Part of the dichotomy here is how the organization views its human capital. The majority of American corporations treat their employees a commodity. When you are considered in this track, then the natural assumption is that employees can be cut or hired based on the economics of the time However if you consider your employees to be valuable assets like Toyota does, then the solution to freeing up funds for headcount is not to cut heads but rather to deep dive your operations with the goal to remove as much non-value added activities as is possible. This in turn we will free up revenue that can be used to maintain headcount. Jim Collins tells us in his book, Good to Great, that the key is to get the right people on the bus. I don't argue that point at all. What I do argue is that all too often we get rid of the wrong people in trying to reach where we think we want to be. As a result we either eliminate people or screen candidates out because we are still working off of an ancient formula for assessing talent. Think you have a talent problem going into 2012? Learn to think out of the box. I recently heard of a local car dealer who could not identify quality technicians for his dealership. Reach out to the training institutes in the area that are training mechanics and see what talent you can grow. I also heard of law firm that posted a position for a paralegal and out of 100 applicants could find only three that fit their mold. How about talking to the local Universities that have Communication programs? Get somebody who knows how to write and teach them the legal parts after they come onboard. Talent is what you make of them. If you show them that you care and respect their input you will have a vibrant organization. If you show them that they are just an inconvenience then you get what you paid for. We have been there before when talent was a luxury. It is plainly not prudent to in this knowledge/service age to approach your talent needs by cutting heads when there are better ways to control costs. Look at what you do not have to do to meet client demands. The answers are right in front of you. They are hidden from your perspective because in many cases you have been too hesitant to look.
  29. 29. Page5 HR Strategic Focus Part 5: They are not human capital assets; they are employees (Published 8/2311) In this final installment in this series we want to turn to the need for a new perspective on a critical factor in every organization that is operating today. In this space and others on the web we recently posted a request for assistance in developing the support for the effect of stress and overwork on the productivity within the workplace. One of the respondents returned a rather terse response in which she took us to task in our post by stating "First of all, they are EMPLOYEES, not "human capital assets." They're PEOPLE, not furniture." While we agree that they are people, we also suggest that they are a valuable asset of the organization. Try serving your clients or customers with no employees. They dictate how successful you are in the marketplace. Part of the problem with the above stated comment can be found in the landmark work of Robert Kaplan and David Norton entitled "The Balanced Scorecard." The authors make reference to the Harvard Business Council on Competitiveness project which stated that "the U.S. system favors those forms of investment for which returns are most readily measurable; this leads to underinvestment in intangible assets - products and process innovation, employee skills, customer satisfaction - whose short term returns are more difficult to measure." (The Balanced Scorecard Page 38) In order to reach the stages of innovation that will perpetuate our organizations we have to change the way we look at our EMPLOYEES. The nature of our employees has changed that they are no longer valued on what they make or produce. They are now valued for what is in their heads. They are based on the contribution they make to the organization's ability to create new products or services. Their value is based on how they enhance the organization. So from a strategic perspective organizations need to begin to recognize the value brought to the business. This means they are not truly just expense items on a balance sheet. They are the future of the business. So how do we change the perspective? Consider these strategic directions when dealing with employee issues: Listen to the Rank and File: Instead of necessarily introducing benefits because they are the current fad ask your employees what they need and want. Create benefit package centered on both your corporate culture and the voice of your employees. Flexible Work Arrangements - Many organizations, with great success, have found that being willing to explore new work arrangements have benefits to the organization and to the customers. Best Buy has allowed their corporate employees to switch to a system in which employees are rated on the results they achieve not on what hours they work. This also allows you to assist your employees in achieving an optimal work/life balance. Employee Engagement - Management needs to bring everyone into the planning process. Utilize the creative skills of the employees to change policies or procedures. Use the employees to locate the obstacles in your processes to make the organization run more effectively. Make the employees aware that they are a vital part of the organization. Not in image but in reality.
  30. 30. Page5 HR Strategic Focus Part 4: It is not a talent problem, trust me (Published 8/23/11) Toyota recalls a major part of their road fleet due to mechanical problems. Johnson and Johnson recalls much of the product line due a chemical smell in the pills. For many managers the tendency is to counter these problems with the theory that if they throw out the talent for the replacements will improve the problem. But here is the problem with that perspective. Assuming you have done your selection properly and the talent meet the minimum job requirements (some organizations admittedly do not do a very good job in the selection process), and then replacing the talent will not solve the problem. Eliyahu Goldratt, the author of the book The Goal, in one of his last statements before his recent passing made the comment that "I smile and start to count on my fingers: One, people are good. Two, every conflict can be removed. Three, every situation, no matter how complex it initially looks, is exceedingly simple. Four, every situation can be substantially improved; even the sky is not the limit. Five, every person can reach a full life. Six, there is always a win- win solution. Shall I continue to count?" The point here is that when your organization encounters such events within your organization it is not the people. Every process within the organization has its hiccups. These hiccups tend to cause our processes to operate in less than optimum levels. The other problem is that many of these hiccups exist because we are so used to the organizational speak that we never look for them. The real solution here is part of what we discussed in Part 3 of this series. You want to know where the hiccups are. Ask your front line talent. They know better than anyone where the process hiccups are. If asked they will gladly tell you how to improve the process. Your only challenge is to not only listen; you need to be willing to accept the worth of your human capital assets and their insight. You need to be willing to take that voice of the customer and apply it to improving the processes within HR and the other functions in your organization. Forget you are in this supposed HR Silo that knows the ways of organizational development, open up and look at what is good for the total organization. HR Strategic Focus Part 5: They are not human capital assets, they are Employees!!!
  31. 31. Page5 HR Strategic Focus Part 3: Voice of the Customer (Published 8/15/11) Stop your whirlwind lives for a moment and think about the answers to several very important questions. You may not think they are important, but they are vital to the health of your career. Question 1: Who determines the specific job qualifications for your positions within your organization? Question 2: Who really are HR's customers, both internal and external? Question 3: Do you take things at face value? Question 4: What is the strategic focus of your department and your organization? If you are like most organizations, your job descriptions are written based on templates available in the marketplace or you have run your positions through some system like the Hays method. But have you really looked to see what your customer base wants in those job descriptions? Do not make the mistake of saying we are HR and we know what is supposed to be in the job requirements. One of the best methods for identifying the actual needed skills, knowledge and attributes your candidates will need is to ask your customers. This brings us to the second question. HR has two customer bases and in developing your organizational needs. To be of contribution to the dialogue you need to meet the needs of both groups. The first are the internal customers and they are represented by both management and the line staff. They know what their department requires to be done. But more important to your organization are the external customers. It should be the standard practice of every HR professional to go out in the filed with your top business development people. While there ask your organizational customers what they expect from your employees. It will provide you with a strong picture of the KSA's you will need in acquiring new talent for your organization. They are your eyes and ears as to what is working and what is not. As we have said in the past, all too often we take steps through our processes based on what we have always done them. Never mind if it makes sense or whether the steps deliver a highly ineffective process to the organization. Because we do it this way we always do it this way. Listen to your FTE's who are in the trenches every day. They do understand and know where the problems lay. They know where the skeletons are hidden. In that same vein do you know what the overall business strategy is for the organization and what HR's role is in that strategy? If you do not then you need to begin that road to understanding today. It is our job to drive the strategic initiatives of the organization. We are the ones who know what the human capital assets of the organization are. We know what their needs are and how they affect the organization as a whole. So get a handle on the voice of customer both for the internal messages and the external messages. Learn what the brand is saying to the marketplace in terms of the human capital you are sourcing and recruiting. Learn what the voice of the customer is telling you about the future health of the organization. Become the strategic animal you know you are and look for ways to do things better, faster. HR Strategic Focus Part 4: It really is Not the People, Trust Me
  32. 32. Page5 HR Strategic Focus Part 2: Are you part of the solution or are you part of the problem? (Published 8/12/11) In part 1 of this series, we asked the question about what is the HR role -- is it transactional or transformational in nature. In this second installment we are going to expand on that question. We present a 45-minute program entitled "In Plain Sight: Hidden Wastes that Affect the Viability of Your HR Organization" in which we begin by posing to the audience a scenario to be worked through. The question we pose is that you are sitting at your desk and you receive the latest financials for the HR department, what do you do with the numbers? Our suggestion is that the way you respond to the question will determine whether you are part of problem or are part of the solution. Let me explain more in detail. First of all, the majority of HR professionals tell me they never see these types of reports. That is a problem in itself which I will touch on later. Of those who do see the reports, the most common response is that we review the numbers. Review the numbers for what? Are you checking that the numbers add up? Are you verifying that the computer did not err and assign the wrong numbers to the HR account? We would suggest that if this is all you are doing, then stop looking at the financials. Go down to the local business supply store and purchase a wall calendar and begin to cross off each day with a big red X. Incidentally you are counting off the number of days until you do not have a position. If this is the route you take then I am sorry but you are part of the problem. On the other hand, if you take the time to work through the numbers to see what they are telling you then you are part of the solution. We need to ask ourselves why we are getting the results we are. In example if you see that the numbers are telling you that the cost of payroll has escalated over the previous period. Do we understand why? Are the numbers up due to an increase turnover rate which should drive us to ask why so many FTE’s are choosing to leave our employment? Are the benefit costs escalating because we have allowed too many exceptions to benefit guidelines increasing our costs? In every situation such as these you should make it a priority to challenge every decision with a minimum of 5 why's. Why do we do this? BY the time you get to the last of the five why's you will understand what the problem is. With knowledge and understanding of the problem we can begin to work on the solutions, thus transforming the human resource function. HR Strategic Focus Part 3: Voice of the Customer
  33. 33. Page5 HR Strategic Focus Part 1: What is my role? (Published 8/11/11) You are sitting in your office and a colleague enters the office and asks you to please explain what the role of the Human Resource professional is both inside your organization and in the business marketplace as a whole. How would you respond to the question? There are only two responses that you could provide to your colleague. The first is that your responsibilities are to ensure that the organization stays out of trouble. You assist the organization with benefit questions and handling personnel problems. I would suggest to you that 90 percent of your colleagues would respond in this manner. If they do so they are involved in the transactional role within the HR world. While what you do is important to the organization at the time it is not forward thinking. The second response is that you as human resources professionals work with the line management and upper management to explore the human aspects of their decisions. These decisions can look great on paper but if you do not take into serious consideration the impact of these decisions on the human capital assets of the organization the path down the road is going to be a nightmare. In this response, the human resource professional demonstrates that they are involved in a transformational role within the organization. The decision is clearly yours. You can either be part of the here and now or you can be part of the future projection of the organization. Being in a strictly transactional role places you within a silo who looks at only what the immediate demands are being placed on you. You do not operate from the macro view of the organization. Being in the transformation role places you at the format of the strategic decisions on where the organization is headed as we progress through these economic times. HR Strategic Focus Part 2: Are You Part of the Solution or Are You Part of the Problem? Productivity Decline: Wake-Up Call for Organizations (Published 8/10/11) The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the second quarter productivity rates for the non-farm employment showing a decline in productivity of about 0.3 percent. This should be a wakeup call for business enterprises worldwide. Corporations in these difficult economic times have resorted to trying to save costs by lying off great numbers of employees. They claimed that the result was that they were reporting higher level of productivity in years. This was achieved on the backs of their human capital assets. Heavier workloads. Longer hours. What has happened is that the stress levels have come back to haunt. It is time for business organizations to realize that they have gutted their human capital assets by drastically cutting their staffs in the name of austerity. When they can then return by reporting high profit levels while gutting innovation and collaboration, the only ones they are hurting in the long run is the reputation of the organization
  34. 34. Page5 Sorry, you can’t have your cake and eat it too! (Published 8/4/11) Over the past several weeks we have listened to the rhetoric coming out of Washington, DC about how this action or that would lead to job-killing legislation from the people we elected to represent us at the federal level. We further have over the past several years witnessed an ever-growing level of unemployment in this country and also in countries around the globe. The rhetoric bemused the fact that we have a large number of ready, willing and able individuals who want to work, but corporations are turning their current situation against them, causing individuals to look for work even longer. Congress keeps turning around and stating that despite all the viable evidence, that if we continue to lower taxes, then the unemployment problem will be solved. It has never worked the way they expect it to. Look at the employment picture globally and we find that there are jobs out there, but they are not in the United States. Every organization looks at their operations from four perspectives which become the basis for their budgetary decisions. First, and unfortunately the primary concern, is how much return on investment we are returning to our stakeholders. We will talk later about how this may not be the area that should hold the primary focus. The second factor becomes the cost of sale. How much does it cost us an organization to get to the point where the client or customer says yes, they want to purchase our product or service? The third factor is that of the margin under which we make our sales. We can sell X for so much, and it costs us so much to produce. The difference is critical in our pricing strategies. The fourth and final factor is the profit we earn from our business operations. Based on these four views of the business operations, we rush to judgment as to the best way to meet the goals. Major corporations decide that the best way to achieve these goals is to do the majority of their hiring overseas. There is absolutely no incentive to keep the jobs in the US. Lowering the tax rate is not going to change this. It will change, however, when the corporations understand that there are factors that they do not take into consideration that could meet all their goals. Listen to your customers. You saved money by sending your work overseas, but did the customer service level remain at the same level? From personal experience I would say probably not. From Starbucks to AT&T to Radio Shack, there are corporations who have come to the realization that bringing the work back to the US would resolve several problems. One, it lowers the unemployment levels. Two, it brings back a concern for the reason you are in business: to acquire and maintain customers. Three, it may in the long run lower your costs because of the shorter problem resolution durations. It is time that this government takes the necessary steps to show our business enterprises that in the long run it makes more sense to keep the jobs stateside rather than sending them overseas. I was at a HR conference last year where one of the presenters stated he was working with an IT company who wanted to open a customer service center in Wisconsin because it was cheaper than running it in India. So if you want to at least attempt to eat your cake and have it too, consider ways to revise your internal processes so that they run faster, better and cheaper and hire or maintain your workforce locally. It is possible if you think out of the box of business think that you have always done. New world, new methods, new focus. Employees are assets and you can utilize them to your advantage.
  35. 35. Page5 It is a sad day in Booksville (Published 7/22/11) If you were not keeping up with the news, today began the end of a journey for an organization called Borders Books. By agreement with the Bankruptcy court, the company began the liquidation of its operations. During a period when consulting assignments were on the dry side, I spent some time working for the company, both in the retail end and in its former Corporate Sales Division. While it is sad to see the organization gone, it also provides us with some clear indications on how not to run our organizations. In its efforts to become the premier bookseller, it lost sight of several directions which would have upped its chances to survive. Let’s look at some of those misjudgments: 1. Failure to correctly focus on the customer: The Company failed to live up to its goal, which was to acquire and maintain customers. Picture a client making a special trip to the store to pick up a much-needed order and the store had no idea where the order was. When questioned later, the store's response was that the store operation came before the customer. Wrong answer. 2. Failure to listen to the voice of the customer: Borders was one of the last book stores to sell e-book readers. By the time they got into the market, the I-Pad, Kindle and Nook were far outpacing the space. When you begin to listen to the customer after everyone else has solved the customer concerns, you are doomed. 3. Change of Value Statement: Instead of talking about customer needs, they began to concentrate on providing the best price. They in essence reduced the customer experience to the lowest common denominator - price. I know you are saying that is retail. But let me take these lessons and carry it over to a business organization as a whole. If the organization is to survive in this global marketplace, then there are some clear strategic directions that need to be undertaken. Strategy #1: Create a Value Statement which focuses on the customer. Forget what the CEO says the Board's direction is. Your value statement must be centered on the needs and expectations of your customers. They are the ones that determine whether the doors stay open. Strategy #2: Listen to the voice of the customer. Get out of your corner office. Visit your clients and customers, whether they are inside the organization or external, and learn what their problems are. Learn what they expect from your human capital assets. Learn what they expect from the organization in the way of services, customer service, and employees. Make the necessary changes to your processes in order to meet the customer requests. Strategy #3: Remember who pays the bills. The only way you keep your operations going is to acquire and maintain your customer base. Remember, it is less expensive to keep an existing customer than it is to find a new one. Your customer service levels must be at the top of the field. Your operations are NOT more important than the customer demands. Remember the mission statement of the Wegman Supermarket Chain. • Rule #1: The client is always right. • Rule #2: If you question whether the client is right, refer to rule #1. Make your processes as customer friendly as possible and ensure that anything that holds the process up is removed so that they run as cheaply, fast and better than your competition. Follow this advice and you will have a better chance to not follow the Borders path to oblivion.

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