HR: What’s On Your Cup Today?

This post was originally posted as a LinkedIn article on February, 5, 2018.

To be honest, I don’t own any of these cups. If I have a cup for everything about HR, I’ll have a shelf-full of HR cups.

Let Me Drop Everything and Work on Your Problem Cup…

This may be a sarcasm for some, but when you work in management, especially HR, there will be plenty of times where we have to drop everything and work on people’s problems. Because, that is what we do! The #MeToo problems were the result of not dropping anything to work on their people’s problems.

HR Manager Because Freakin’ Miracle Worker Isn’t an Official Job Title Cup…

You don’t need to be a miracle worker to be an effective HR professional. You just need to learn to be efficient to allow for more time to deal with people. The organization is made up of people who deal with people internally and externally. That’s a lot of people! As HR Pro, it is our job to make sure that we help all these people throughout their employment life cycle.

HR Technologies

Leverage technologies to help you! HR technologies are great tools to help streamline processes, remove redundancy, gather data that we can crunch and analyze for whatever reports we want to create.

In my opinion, we are having issues with employee engagement and experience because we are allowing technology to remove the “people equation”. HR Technologies were never meant to replace people interactions. They were created to lessen the administrative tasks that were keeping us away from people, be it more time assessing candidates or assisting employees.

You can be Tech Savvy and People Savvy

I chose to work in HR because I get to help people and I get to help the organization grow. Somewhere along the way, I also found myself working on the many HR technologies we work on these days. I saw first-hand why they were needed and having learned HR from the ground up (I started as HR Assistant/Recruiting Coordinator), I knew how essential they were for my efficiency as well as productivity. It gave me time to help employees with their benefits, allowed me time to provide informational interview for students, and helped me tracked our candidates. This also allowed me to grow in HR as I had more time to attend seminars as well as finish my college education since I am not stuck in the office trying to complete tasks from one system to another. As I climbed up in ranks from one organization to another, working for various industries and sizes, I got the opportunity to implement and customized many of these technologies (ATS, HRIS, Payroll, HCM) from mainframe to now cloud based. Everything I know about these technologies were hands-on. The only thing I needed is my HR expertise to help me work side-by-side with the techies. Many of the Project Managers and Software Developers that I worked with had no understanding of HR Compliance. They have no understanding of benefits, payroll, etc. That wasn’t their expertise. What helped me be an effective Project Manager/Client Service Manager was I was able to communicate their needs and frustrations to our techies and helped our techies how to resolve the problems plaguing our clients.

Keep Calm and Focus on Artificial Intelligence (AI) Cup…

We are now getting into the whole AI realm. Depending on who you listen to, it’s targeting HR jobs. I’m not worried, not because I don’t believe in AI, but because I don’t believe AI can truly replace HR.

AI should be treated as another tool. I do believe that AI will help most of the problems we have in executing our job like Talent Management, Workplace Safety, and Total Rewards offering.  However, that will only be possible with the help of HR at the helm.

Like many of the HR technologies in many organizations these days, if HR is not involved in the implementation process, it will fail! AI will only be effective in Talent Management if we’re honest about removing any bias assessment in our processes.

AI will not replace the genuine and authentic human interactions. It’s called artificial for a reason. AI will not solve your employee engagement or experience if you continue to treat them less than people. Organizations will still employ people to build, maintain, and fix these machines. Therefore, organizations will continue to hire HR pros to deal with the human aspects of things as intended.

#SHRM #HRTribe #AI #HR

 

HR: Stop the Word Games

It’s interesting how people plays with words these days. If you want to know the traditional definition of a word, you go to the tried and true, merriam-webster dictionary. In this information age, you don’t need to grab a dictionary, you can simply google a word and it gives you alternate places to find a definition: dictionary.com, urban dictionary, or simply type the word on google for definition.

How would you know which definition to use? That depends on which audience you are targeting. If you’re looking for slang, the urban dictionary might be your bet. Although, I don’t recommend it for anything that relates to the workplace. Case in point, if you look up the word Human Resources, the definition just seems to come from someone who hates HR to the core of their being. Depending on where they work, that may be true. However, not every HR Department is as described on urbandictionary.com.

The purpose of this blog is to explore the Word Game in the world of HR.

According to dictionary.com:

Personnel – people employed in the organization

Human Resources – the personnel of a business or organization, especially when regarded as a significant asset.

Human Capital – the skills, knowledge, and experience possessed by an individual or population, viewed in terms of their value or cost to an organization or country.

Based on these definitions, I don’t understand why there are people who have problems with these words. To blame the word for poorly executed purpose and the lack of value of the HR department is just ignorant. It doesn’t matter what you want to call it, be it People Resources, or whatever name you want to cook up, it wouldn’t change if the value and purpose of the department doesn’t reflect the intended meaning.

Even the word asset is seen as a negative word. Asset means a useful or valuable thing, person, or quality. However, some people like to focus on a particular word that makes it seem negative. Based on the definition, when we consider our employees as assets, it means that we are considering them as valuable people. What is wrong with that?

Job Titles are also subject to word games. Changing your title to People Manager, People Happiness Officer or whatever “cool name” you can think of, it doesn’t change the fact that you still work in Human Resources. Besides, aren’t people, human?

We need to be cognizant of the work that we do as HR Professionals. Until we can show the value and the purpose of the work that we do, changing the name of our department or our job title just seems foolish and simply playing a game.

As Human Resources professionals, let’s show and treat our people (personnel) like a true asset (valuable people) in our organization. Rather than playing the word game, let’s find ways to truly engage them, let them understand the value of compliance, and show them our true purpose of having a memorable employee experience – be a true HR advocate. This means taking care of people. The organization cannot succeed without its human capital.

If you feel uneasy about the word advocate, you may want to read my fellow #HRTribe, Tamara Rasberry’s blog post: “When Did ‘Advocate’ Become a Dirty Word”.

Photo Credit: http://www.wordgames.com

#HR

HR Pros: Emotional First Responders?

On January 4, 2018, well known author, speaker, and HR professor Dave Ulrich tweeted: “In a world of increased uncertainty and change, aspiring #HR professionals are emotional first responders who help organizations and people not only survive, but thrive.”

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According to Merriam-Webster the definition of a first responder is a person (such as a police officer or an EMT) who is among those responsible for going immediately to the scene of an accident or emergency to provide assistance.

So, an emotional first responder is a person who is responsible for assisting a person’s emotional well-being.

 

As an HR Pro for decades, I related to what he said because I often found myself in this role. It’s not an exaggeration to say that many of us in HR often feel like we’re also serving as psychologists and social workers. I am a firm believer in Human Resources assuming a place in the organization that enables its practitioners to relate to employees as people rather than disposable assets. Employees endure a wide range of emotionally charged situations that may or not may not be related to work. Either way, it is our responsibility as leaders and HR professionals to help them navigate through these emotions. We must cultivate both a sense of fundamental compassion and decency, and the ability to minimize the impact of difficult individual stressors on others in the workplace.

I was the emotional first responder in my workplace during the 9/11 event. I was with an aviation company at the time, so the sense of shock and dismay was particularly palpable. I gave my staff time off and I went to work to contact our employees and

I was the emotional first responder when one our staff called in to our receptionist threatening suicide.

I was the emotional first responder when a harassment claim/discrimination claims hit my desk, and when I was tasked to fire a single mother on Christmas Eve (a separate blog on draft for this)

The #MeToo movement taught us that sexual harassment and other discrimination affected many workplaces. At the very least, HR should be the emotional first responder. If only courageous practitioners had provided emotional support instead of financial payoffs to the victims of perpetrators like Harvey Weinstein and Matt Lauer, there would have been less victims and perhaps criminal investigations could have been filed in a timely manner for those who were sexually assaulted. If they were worried about public relations, the damage to the organization’s brand will be less severe than they are now.

During the hurricanes of 2017, HR pros served as emotional first responders – helping and reassuring employees of their jobs, providing timely paychecks, and helping employees access resources within their communities.

HR is already the procedural first responder when it comes to worker’s compensation claim, disability claim, leave of absence, or bereavement. Serving as the emotional first responder in the face of such events should come naturally to us, given the potential effects on employees’ mental and emotional health.

Psychologist Guy Winch identified society’s expectation that we should “get over” psychological wounds, despite that fact that emotional injuries can be just as crippling as physical ones. We need to learn how to practice emotional first aid. Here are 7 ways to do so: https://ideas.ted.com/7-ways-to-practice-emotional-first-aid/.

What I have learned from HR Leaders like Dave Ulrich, Mark Crowley (author of “Lead from the Heart”, and Steven Browne (author of “HR on Purpose”), when we care about the emotional well-being of our employees and not just maximizing profits, we can help prevent burn out, minimize job stress, and create an organizational culture that cares about people. When employees feel that the company cares about them, they will reciprocate with hard work and loyalty. What makes best employers is not who pays the most, but who cares the most. If you look at who made best employers year in and year out, it’s about who provided the best benefits and perks like flexibility, healthcare, paid time off, professional/personal development, etc. To learn more about these HR Gurus follow them on Twitter:

https://twitter.com/dave_ulrich

https://twitter.com/MarkCCrowley

https://twitter.com/sbrownehr

JhukariPS. This blog is dedicated to my first HR Mentor, Joan A. Hukari, SPHR (picture on the left). Sadly, she passed on January 13, 2007. She was my emotional first responder when I was a HR novice. She mentored me, sent me to HR workshops and very forgiving when I made mistakes and had my back when upper management tried to throw me under the bus. She inspired me to get my college education and gave me flexibility (before it was even a thing when I had difficulty with my first pregnancy. The benefits she put together for our organization were the richest I know, even in this day and age. I am forever thankful for her guidance and her big heart for the employees she worked with. It wasn’t a surprise to me that at her memorial, there were several HR practitioners who credited her for being their mentor. She was the one who encouraged me to be part of #SHRM.

HR Is Not For Lazy People

 

HR is not for lazy people.  Working in HR involves a lot of work and that includes working with PEOPLE!

HR is trending again in the news, but not in a positive way. With all the harassment and discrimination that has recently come to light, the common denominator is this: HR didn’t do a thing! HR personnel either proved to be ignorant concerning their duties in this area, or just plain lazy! Either way, it’s not acceptable, and the fear of losing one’s job is no excuse.

If fear for one’s livelihood is prompted by a desire to do the right thing, it means that our work culture is even more toxic than one might think. Don’t be part of the rot that is slowly killing your organization. No HR Pro should ever tolerate such behavior, even if our jobs are at risk.

We can’t be lazy when it comes to harassment complaints (or any employee issues)!

  1. Deal with it. Don’t excuse it.
  2. Listen, don’t judge, don’t retaliate
  3. Investigate and document every conversation you have with everyone involved
  4. Make the necessary recommendations.

NO EXCEPTIONS!

First and foremost, an HR pro must protect employees, and must make this a priority that supersedes selfish concerns.

  1. Remember: protecting the employees is ultimately protecting the organization
  2. Remember: protecting a person in power or leadership is NOT protecting the organization.
  3. If threatened by management, turn to the EEOC.

Yes! We can blow the whistle on those who protect the harasser. We can call to account those who throw the victims under the bus.

When misdeeds are allowed to snowball, this inevitably makes things worse. They eventually come to light, affecting the organization’s reputation and profitability in a way that cannot be readily remedied. It could cost the company millions of dollars in judgements and court fees! Being the founder or the CEO is no longer a shield of protection. The founder for Uber, Travis Kalanik, Harvey Weinstein, and Kevin Spacey, have all been axed for inappropriate behavior and illegal activities in the workplace. As far as I’m concerned, the ax should also fall on the cowardly and irresponsible HR pros who tacitly enabled their behavior.

As HR Pros, we must be courageous, fighting for what is fair, what is right, and what is ethical.  If we can’t do that, who will?  Organizations need to recognize that in order for HR to be effective, it’s practitioners must to be supported and empowered—a beacon of light for everyone in the organization.  For HR to be truly be business partners, our mission to keep the organization in compliance and be competitive in the job market has to be welcomed instead of threatened.

Corporate leaders: Invest in HR and invest in your people. Your leaders and superstars may bring you robust profits in the short term, but if their performance is marred by toxic behavior the long-term costs may be extraordinary.

Litigation.

Penalties and fines.

Court awarded damages.

Tainted reputations.

Don’t commit career suicide by covering up the misdeeds of callous and entitled individuals.

HR is not for lazy people.  It’s a complex field that calls upon us to wear many hats—sometimes two or three at once.  As HR pros, we are mentors, teachers, therapists, mediators, legal wranglers, safety experts, marketing mavens, and techies. Most of us do it all.

We not only help write policies, we teach them and reinforces them. We do this across the board, at every level in the organization. As Steve Browne (@sbrownehr) said, “We are responsible for every employment’s life cycle – from talent acquisition through termination or retirement”. We provide services to every single employee, and even former employees.  This includes broadcasting an unequivocal message:

  • Harassment will not be tolerated
  • Harassment will be reported and investigated using well-defined processes
  • Harassment training will be completed on an annual basis, at the very least.
  • Prevention is key!

We are constantly learning, and not just because we need CE for our recertification. We keep learning in order to become more effective in the workplace. It is how we can protect our organizations and employees in the face of constant change. From legal compliance to best practices, the sand is always shifting under our feet. That learning process has taught us how to deal with toxic employees within a well-understood legal framework. We have the skills, we have the knowledge, but we must, in addition, have the confidence and courage and will.

Being lazy or complacent jeopardizes our organization, employees, and ultimately, our job!

#HRCourage #TogetherForward #SHRM18 #MeToo

Is it a Skills Gap or Pay Gap?

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My husband and I were recently discussing the skills gap issue that seems be the latest excuse for recruiting failures.

He mentioned reading one article after another that complained of a mythic skills gap, with no one providing any specifics! I agree! We never hear about concrete details, it’s all vague hand-waving without any investigative journalism to question the basic premise and drill down into meaningful answers. We’re not saying that the gap doesn’t exist, as it almost certainly does for certain industries.

What are these companies complaining about skills gap doing about it?  Are they willing to provide on the job training, or are they just going to keep their positions open and unfilled?

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My brother & his wife received a paid OJT to be dialysis technicians almost 20 years ago when there was a shortage of skilled techs. He didn’t have to go to a tech school and drown in debt. They were shown the way and excelled at it for almost 20 years!

I was also trained in HR! My education came later. I learned how to use HR systems and learned how to use Microsoft software without the benefit of a formal education. It boggles my mind when certain companies ask for certifications pertaining to skills that are readily picked up on the job. How can we expect our recent grads to step up if we’re not willing to provide training? Exposure to a wide variety of HR scenarios grants us the ability to get past a one-size-fits-all mentality that often afflicts those with knowledge of practices and procedures, but little else. This is particularly important for those working in states with complex and nuanced regulatory regimes, such as California and Oregon.

Find other solutions on skills gap here: https://bloom.bg/2oXX0sW

The Purple Squirrel Syndrome

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The Purple Squirrel is someone willing to accept unconscionably low wages. Click here to read Urban’s dictionary humorous definition: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Purple%20Squirrel

In this job market, no one wants to be a Purple Squirrel. They want to be the “Unicorn” – rare, hard to catch, and very valuable. They want to be richly compensated (who can blame them?).

If you want to bridge the skills gap, pay up! Economic principles tell us that the job market abhors a void, and the bigger the salary, the bigger the void. Sufficient wages will inevitably motivate candidates to pick up whatever skills are required.  If you can’t afford to pay up, then train up. Your new employees will probably be more loyal to you in the long run.

#SHRM #HR #TalentAqcuisition #SkillsGap #OJT

 

 

9/11/2001: How Can I Forget?

9/11/2017 – I can’t believe it’s been 16 years since the tragic events on 9/11/2001american-airline-flight-11-crashes-north-tower, yet it still so fresh in my memories what happened that day. I’m sure I am not alone. For many, that was an unforgettable tragic event. For some, they were too young to remember, and the rest haven’t been born yet. I remember being awaken by a phone call from my sister, frantically and emotionally asking if I have seen the news.  My husband and I got up and immediately turned on the TV to CNN.  My husband and I were both horrified to see the devastation and seconds later saw the second plane crashed! Both our hearts sunk as we embraced each other. We were both emotional. We were both angry at what we were seeing on the screen.

What made this day even more memorable for me was, I started working for an aviation company just 6 months prior. I was their first HR Manager. I was also their Administrative Services Manager. I oversaw at least 40 satellite offices nationwide. Majority of our staff are pilots, flight attendants, and mechanics. Many of them are current/former commercial airline pilots.

Once I regained my composure, I told my husband to stay home with the children, called my mother and told her not to take the subway home. As the HR Manager, I felt the obligation to report to work. This was before smart phones or the ability to work from home as possible options.  Everything I needed to work were only accessible in my office. On my way to work, I called my staff from my cell phone to give them the option to stay home or report to work.

I went to work for moral support and helped in our call center. I met with the executives and reviewed our safety plans, ensured that our staff who were away from home due to work can call in to let us know that they are ok in case they can’t get a hold of their families.  We have employees in NY and the other affected areas.

I was a Girl Scout growing up. I also went through ROTC. I was also a HR Pro in an earthquake prone zone. I grew up learning about the importance of safety, preparedness, & survival. We go through drills, we have a checklist of necessities, emergency contact, etc. I implemented those same concepts at home. Once I knew it was safe to drive to work, I got ready to go.  My husband understood why I needed to be at work. He knew that is where I was needed the most. We knew that he and the kids will be safe at home. We had enough food and water to last us a month so we didn’t need to run to the store for any food, emergency kits, etc.

As I drove to work, it was weird to see all the planes grounded, the freeways empty. It was one of those days you wished for the typical SF Bay Area commute.  For someone who lived and worked next to the San Francisco International Airport, the next few days were just as eerie. I cried every time I passed by it. I cried every time I read or watched the news. I cried tears of joy with a sigh of relief every time we heard from staff across the globe and be able to share it with their loved ones.

I remember to be awaken at midnight to hear the sound of a plane passing by…and all I could say to my husband…YES! We’re flying again! It was a joyful day to drive to work, back to the traffic, noise, and flying planes.

After 9/11, many cancelled their flights. We didn’t! We had a planned family trip to Hawaii two months thereafter. Many told us that we were brave to continue with our plan when there was so much uncertainty. We said, so much of life is full of uncertainty. Why succumb to fear of what we don’t know? Why let the unknown keep us from enjoying ourselves? Yes, the airport experience was horrible because of all the changes and having to rechecked our luggage every step of the way. Other than that, our vacation in Hawaii was all worth it!

The horrific event on 9/11 is forever engrained in my mind and in my heart. Two years after the 9/11 event, I worked as the HR Generalist at San Francisco International Airport, one of the busiest airport in the world. I worked for a contractor with Homeland Security and we hired TSA passenger screeners and baggage handlers. After OJT, part of their graduation ceremony, they watched the footage from 9/11. The faces and names of the first responders who lost their lives were shown. I don’t know how many times we have shown this montage of videos with every new hire we had. I cried every time it played. It tugged my heart each time.

However grim that day was, I never lost faith in humanity, I never condemned any religion, especially Muslim. They too were victims on that day. 9/11 victims vary in religion, race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation. Many signed up to serve our country regardless of ethnicity, gender, religion, or sexual orientation after 9/11.  Why is it 16 years later, it seemed our country is more divided.

To remember those who lost their lives on 9/11, we must remain vigilant at the same time to never lose our heads. Courage is not just about killing, it is also about helping with whatever it takes, to keep the civility and not incite riots or civil unrest.  For me, we stand a better chance of survival and be able to move forward as a better and stronger nation if we work together in unity, cooperation, patience, use our collective strengths, skills, and intelligence to help one another. I think, if anything, the 9/11 event taught us to be there for each other, and together we can continue to overcome adversaries!

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To Be an Effective HR Pro, You Have to Be Tech Savvy

 

HR Tech

When I started in HR, everythingwas paper driven, from employment application, personnel action notices, benefits enrollment, etc.

I was fortunate to learn every competency in HR, including payroll, and my experience has revealed the myriad ways in which administrative functions evolved with technology.

I can honestly say that my HR expertise evolved alongside the supporting technology…from the birth of electronic forms, to HRIS, Applicant Tracking Systems, online benefits enrollment, and automated billing reports from insurance carriers.  I am both a self-taught HR Pro and a self-taught HR techie. I learned HR systems hands-on in one organization after another. In some cases, I took part in the design and customization of those systems.

Many young HR Pros, especially those working with integrated systems won’t have the same experience. As a consequence, they may not have a chance to learn the technical underpinning of the applications upon which they depend. In addition, they may be saddled with products that were configured without tech-savvy HR input.

As we gear up for AI’s increasingly prevalent role, it becomes increasingly important for HR professionals to become technical conversant in the decisions that govern the way HR systems function. There is simply no other way of ensuring that they’ll work well enough to enable rather than hinder.

I am hopeful that AI will enhance our ability to deliver value as HR practitioners, but this is by no means assured. To see why this is the case, let’s think about the way the typical HR task load breaks down. About 80% of what it takes to excel in HR involves the inherently human aspects of our role, from recruiting to exit interviews. Most of AI’s value lies in that other 20%, the aspects of our jobs that are more dependent on organizing facts or crunching numbers, rather than composing strategy or judgement calls. The HR systems created in the 90s helped eliminate redundancy in data entry—a function clearly lying in that computational 20%. The next generation of products focused on eliminating paperwork and streamlining administrative processes. This left practitioners with more time and energy to provide work at a strategic level and provide face-to-face customer service.

In more recent years, the focus of HR software changed. Instead of a tight focus on the 20%, they began to include features that encouraged HR professionals to depend on them for the 80%, the aspects of the role requiring carefully considered judgement calls and nuanced interpersonal interactions. This includes functions like recruiting and onboarding—even exit interviews. This creates a new and fundamental challenge—we must avoid the temptation to depend on software for the activities most urgently in need of wisdom, humanity, and a personal touch. I fear that a lack tech-savviness on the part of those newer to the profession may make it difficult to meet this challenge. Mastering Snapchat requires a technical acumen much different from what is needed in an AI-driven enterprise. We must be prepared to deal with the impulses of automated systems that are prepared do our job for us, and not do it badly.

It is critical that we seek ways to change the equation. Training and education has to be provided that will prepare HR professionals to face these challenges. We as a profession need to protect organizations from purchasing systems that promise to “solve” the 80% of HR for which automation has little to offer. You don’t have to be a programmer to achieve this, but you do need to be able to look behind the curtain instead of buying into a slick sales rep’s unsubstantiated claims.

In additionto the challenges posed by the escalating role of AI, there are other critical technical issues that HR practitioners should understand. For instance:

  • Understand the cost gap separating “off the shelf” and “build to suit” systems. All-in-One systems may not be the best fit for your organization.
  • When you buy a-la-carte systems, make sure they can integrate with each other, and with existing systems of records in the organization. Failure to do so may lead to disastrous data integrity issues.
  • Understand data security issues and assess risks of data breaches. Don’t collect certain data before you need them. HR collects so much valuable employment and personal data from pre-hire to exit.

 

 

 

 

We Know Sexism Exists! How do we fix it?

Exploiting Sexism is not the answer!

Kate Bischoff (@k8bischHRLaw) a fellow HR Pro, who is also an attorney, tweeted an article about female entrepreneurs who created a fake male co-founder to dodge sexism (here’s the link to the article: https://www.fastcompany.com/40456604/these-women-entrepreneurs-created-a-fake-male-cofounder-to-dodge-startup-sexism?platform=hootsuite.  Kate acknowledged that this was a gutsy move, but believes that it carries a fair amount of risk. She and I also agree that the entrepreneurs’ actions don’t pass ethical muster.

Wendy Dailey (@wyndall93) a fellow HR Professional mentioned that that there was a similar article recently where a male and a female employee switched names for emails and received similar outcome. https://medium.com/@nickyknacks/working-while-female-59a5de3ad266

Above all, these approaches improve nothing. Yes, we exposed sexism (again), but are we headed in a productive direction?

Hardly.

If anything, this move only serves to perpetuate the idea that we need a male to get things done. It even creates a scenario in which it becomes easier to sweep sexist attitudes and outcomes under the rug. How would we feel if a male entrepreneur faked a female co-founder in order to pose as a champion of diversity, or appeal to those seeking role models in male-dominated fields?

(This is already happening, by the way and it is not ok.)

If the people you hired are sexists, fire them and make the reason for their dismissal clear. Call them out on it. If they represent an organization, report them to their employer. Anti-Harassment applies to vendor’s action toward their clients and vice versa. Stop tolerating it. It’s your business.

Pretending to be a man is not the solution. If you can’t get respect from male web designers, hire a woman. There are female web designers, DB/software developers, and graphic designers. As a matter of fact, my daughter is a web & graphic designer who has helped female & male entrepreneurs in the past. They’re out there, seek them out.

Sexism exists, and will continue to exist if we treat the threat it poses as a game. Women need to stand up and resist the temptation to perpetuate old patterns by engaging in sloppy workarounds rather than direct confrontation.

That said, it’s also important to resist the temptation to exclusively hire women, when faced with such challenges.  An eye for an eye leaves everybody blind. Be an equal opportunity employer, not because it sounds good, but because it’s the right thing to do. You can’t change the rules to an unfair game by playing along.

Move on and be better.

There are decent male professionals in the start-up game. If you need a VC and you can’t get funding because you don’t have a male co-founder, either you partner with one, or keep looking for a VC who will fund you anyway. Creating a fake co-founder is a blatant misrepresentation, fraudulent and unethical. False pretense is a lousy foundation for a fledgling business.

Women finding success in business is not new.  Find them here: http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/2156-women-owned-businesses.html

For an example of the pitfalls of exclusively hiring one gender, take a look at this: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1168182/Catfights-handbags-tears-toilets-When-producer-launched-women-TV-company-thought-shed-kissed-goodbye-conflict-.html

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I Call Bull on Culture Fit

“Culture Fit” seems to be the key to hiring the right candidate, guided by the shopworn premise that you can train for skills but not attitude. Despite the prevalence of this notion, many hiring managers are complaining about a skills gap rather than an attitude gap.  We often hear complaints about lack of training, no time for training, or budget for training. In the end, you end up with workforce full of attitudes but no skills.  In this tight job market, why are we playing with words instead of focusing on substantive challenges?

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When the recruiting world starts talking about culture fit, what the heck does that really mean? It’s almost a pass for possible discrimination. When I read about culture fit, they’re talking about culture fit within the entire org.  How do you check culture fit in a one hour interview? If your process for culture fit is truly working, why is turnover still a problem?  Why is the tenure for employees a lot shorter than those in the past?

Besides, how do you conduct culture fit when ATS automatically rejects applicants? I don’t know of any ATS that can actually detect culture fit either.  Many of the ATS I’ve used have been problematic when it came to the rudimentary process of qualifying candidates, forget about anything more complex or nuanced. Many of those ATS were configured incorrectly. So if you’re a recruiter and relying on an ATS, do you understand its configuration? If not, how do you know that it’s working correctly?

ChemIt wasn’t that long ago that the keyword we used for finding the right talent was “chemistry” between the hiring manager and the candidates. As with any relationships, we can work together despite our differences. We weren’t focused on culture fit, we were focused on job fit.  Our job as recruiters was finding the candidates who met the job requirements (skills, education, experience, salary expectation, etc.) It was up to the hiring manager to determine whether or not the candidate had the workstyle and personality that mesh with his management style and his team’s dynamics. Sometimes, when the candidate seemed/sounded too good to be true, we would check our gut, employing instinct to identify sketchy individuals who contrived a positive image for an interview.

Chemistry involves various elements that mix to form a bond, allowing the creation of something bigger and/or better than constituent building blocks. If you put in the same element(s), nothing changes. If you put in the wrong element, it can create a negative reaction, and ignoring the possible for such reactions can be devastating. When it comes to hiring, the same principles apply. Sometimes, when we don’t know for sure, we experiment. We take the risk. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t.

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There is a wide variety of behavioral and/or EQ questionnaires that have been used to test for culture fit.  You can find them on blogs, on Glassdoor, etc. This means that anyone can be coached for these questionnaires and deliver the “correct” questions with a smile.  There’s rational reason to believe they’re actually are a fit.  If you’ve been in recruiting long enough, and have made hiring decisions in the past, you have come across a fraud.

Dr. Sullivan just published a post on “When Hiring for Attitude – ‘Catch Attitude Fraud’ Because Candidates Fake It” (dr.johnsullivan.com).  He stated that attitude fraud is a major problem and few in recruiting make any attempt to detect or avoid it. He estimated that as many 40% percent of candidates use some combination of acting or lying.corevaluesSome claim that culture fit consists of sharing a set of common core values.  Most organizations, regardless of size and industrial affiliation, share the same core values, with slight variations. Any respectable person can attest that they expect these core values from their employers as well.  But, how many times have we found some of these employers under investigations by EEOC, SEC, BBB, FTC, etc.?

Seriously, how do you expect candidates to truly embrace your core values when recruiters and organizational leaders don’t? There’s plenty of complaints from candidates who, based on their experiences, know that these core values are not exercised by the recruiters and/or hiring managers who often sometimes blame one onother for lack of communication, team work, and trust.

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@Lars wrote about ‘The End of Culture Fit” in March 2017A hiring process built around an undefined notion of “culture fit” is fraught with bias.  In some organizations “culture fit” has become a weaponized phrase that interviewers use as a blanket term to reject candidates that don’t match the hiring manager’s view of the ideal candidate; and as such, it has become the embodiment of unconscious bias. Most interviewers are more likely to hire people like themselves and discount those who are different. This type of thinking hinders diversity and leads to homogenous cultures. The notion of hiring for culture fit was established as a foundation of many corporate recruiting processes. The term was embedded in career sites, integrated into interview processes, and touted as a competitive advantage for many organizations in the tech community. Over the years, the term has taken on more of a tribal meaning. People who think like us. People who work like us. People who live like us. People who look like us. Companies are beginning to drop the idea of culture fit altogether. As more companies shift their recruiting focus towards intentional diversity and inclusion efforts, they’re reframing their thinking to how diverse candidates can add to their culture – not fit into it.  http://www.forbes.com/sites/larsschmidt/2017/03/21/the-end-of-culture-fit/).

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So, if you’re still hung up on “Culture Fit”, it’s time to drop it!  If you want to achieve diversity and inclusion in the workplace, it’s time to change the focus! Get back to hiring candidates who meet your job requirements.  You can still check for attitude, but do so with trepidation.  Make sure you know how to spot attitude fraud. We won’t really know about culture fit.  That will take some time. It depends on many levels of transformation that can take place (organizational, technological, economic, personal, etc.).  What may fit now, may not fit later.  If you want your employees to embrace your corporate core values, you must engage, communicate, train, and develop your workers to be productive members of your organizations. Don’t rely too much on your ATS to find your talent. Most successful recruiters will tell you that they review resumes and connect with candidates in real life. Keep that communications/feedback going – start building trust and showcasing your organizational core values to your candidates and keep them interested. You may need those candidates later or they may know someone that they can refer for one of your openings.  Stop ghosting them! Your lack of communication/feedback may result in negative social media backlash!

 

 

 

#HR #Culture #Leadership #SHRM #Recruiting