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I dropped HR class.

I dropped HR class. And I’m proud of myself.

In the past year, I’ve learned so much about Human Resources. I’ve learned how technology can improve the industry, I’ve learned symptoms of engaged and disengaged employees and how to prevent high performers from leaving, and I’ve also learned how to determine good HR practices from bad HR practices. (I detail some of them in a post I wrote “Do you trust me?”)

My initial reaction to the class began before I even started – hmmm… this sounds a lot like the candidate experience, doesn’t it? The syllabus was 25 pages long. I started to read the syllabus. The course materials were over $500 for this one class alone. Between the text book and online access code, this simulation technology, the case studies and more, it was a lot. In addition to the massive initial expense, before class 1, we had to prepare chapters 1 and 2 of the textbook, interview an HR director at our companies, and read/ prepare questions for two different cases.

Now, every respected HR professional I know, and when I say “respected” I mean “respected by their CFOs or other departments within your organization as business leaders,” knows that HR has to prove the value of their work and proposals before they can just ask the CFOs to spend a ton of money on their initiatives. So, why, on earth, if you’re a great HR professional, would you require students to spend over 500 dollars in materials and a butt load of hours reading 2 chapters, 2 cases, and writing a report based on an interview, all before you’ve proven your value in the first? (Might I add, this class is an elective, not required, and it does not offer any certifications at the end at all. In my mind, this is already 2 strikes against you…)

In the first class, the professor talked about “putting people first,” something I hear every day and something that I see being done, not just talked about every day at work. I thought for a minute “maybe there is hope.”

But, then I went to complete the post 1st week of class homework assignments and realized that the professor assigned homework deadlines three times a week. Now, this program is specifically designed for working professionals. Everyone in the program has a full time job, most of the students even are married with kids. And, almost everyone in the program is taking at least 2 classes, some 3, and fewer 4. But, how can one professor expect working professionals with families and other classes to have time to make 3 deadlines a week? This doesn’t seem like a very sensitive action that will lead to 15 weeks of engaged students….

I decided I should bring the issues to his attention. I approached him privately before class and said how difficult meeting 3 deadlines a week would be for students in this program and thought “maybe he just doesn’t know?” I asked if he could consolidate some of the deadlines.

He smirked and shook his head “no.”

I said, “Okay, then I have to drop your class. These expectations aren’t reasonable or realistic for this program.”

He said, “leave.”

I picked up my backpack and walked straight into Managerial Accounting (a required class that all my friends were in and that is taught by the nicest professor who asks after every section if we are following.)

How can the human resource professor of all people teach us to put our people first when he’s not even putting his own student’s first? How can someone learn good HR from something who doesn’t listen to the concerns of employees/students when they bring them up nicely to his attention? How can someone learn good HR from someone who sets the students/employees up to fail?

I dropped the HR class. And I feel good about it.

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Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

I started Human Resource Management class this week as part of my MBA program. The case studies we’ve read for Week 2 (tomorrow’s class) focus on Sexual Harassment in the Workplace – a huge problem for employers. The case studies and reading materials focused on India’s 2013 Sexual Harassment Handbook, which lays out the Anti-Sexual Harassment laws they passed to protect women in their workforce.

I live-tweeted my reading of the case study, which focused on a real-life situation in which an employee sexually harassed a female at an organization with which his company shared an office space, as well as India’s 2013 Handbook and wanted to share some of my thoughts.

In the case study, the male mentioned above asks a woman out on a date, she says no, but then he tries to add her (and add her and add her and add her) as she continuously rejects his friend requests on social media. She complains to HR and then the HR department of her company reaches out to the owners of his.  The owners of the offender’s company aren’t sure who to proceed. They contemplate retaining him, firing him, banning social media, and other options. My thoughts on the matter?

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An awesome HR friend of mine, Jonathan Segal, agrees. Jonathan is an employment lawyer; check out his blog here.

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In regards to the case study, I noticed some areas where India should be praised and others where they may have missed the mark. Check some of these areas out here. Screen Shot 2016-08-28 at 9.26.12 PM.pngScreen Shot 2016-08-28 at 9.24.56 PM.pngScreen Shot 2016-08-28 at 9.26.05 PM.png

 

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Anyway, sexual harassment is never okay, it’s never acceptable, and there are clear and serious implications to the workplace. Cultures that allow this type of behavior stifle worker productivity and are walking lawsuits waiting to happen. Maybe your organization could benefit from some of the regulations and practices India has recently adopted.

 

 

 

REBLOG from #PICHR: Do you trust me?

This is a reblog of a post I wrote that Performance I Create featured. Check out Performance I Create on Twitter here.

 

Today we have guest post from Micole Kaye, Social Media Strategist with Ultimate Software, she is a new voice in the HR social scene who has made a positive and immediate impact with her online interactions and presence at SHRM National in 2016.  In the article, she explains the importance of TRUST. You will find her contact information at the bottom of the article.

“Do you trust me?”

I met my boyfriend at summer camp when we were seven. Our camp groups were playing soccer. He kicked the ball and it hit me in the chest, knocking the wind out of me. It’s safe to say our relationship started out rocky.

Since then, we attended each other’s birthday parties. When he misbehaved, my parents yelled at him like he was their own. True story. By the time we started dating, I already knew his sense of humor, his study habits, that he’d never miss a birthday party, and that he’d always text me that he got places safe so I didn’t worry. To this day, that predictability, reliability, unsaid agreement that we both have each other’s’ backs – that trust – still exists.

These qualities don’t just exist between couples; they exist in every healthy relationship – including the employee, employer relationship.

We’ve all worked for a company or a boss that doesn’t trust employees. My former employer wasn’t doing well financially, and blamed everyone but the leadership who was unwilling to innovate. I can’t tell you how many times I heard “but things have always been done this way” – one of the biggest red flags. I also heard, “we are reorganizing but not laying off staff.” Then half a department would disappear. Then, “we’re financially stable.” But, they’ll no longer cover certain reimbursements.

Quite a few times, I called my managers with ideas on how to improve. By them not trusting me and the rest of the staff, they lost out on the innovative ideas we all had come up with to increase sales and brand awareness. Because they refused to trust or listen, they lost the respect of trustworthy employees (who started looking for other jobs because they, too, noticed blazing red flags). And, they lost any chance of us trying to fight for them because why trust someone who doesn’t trust you? And, why waste your time if they won’t listen?

Soon after leaving this organization, I started working at Ultimate Software. I didn’t trust anyone. I was afraid to share my ideas because who would listen? Who would try to claim the idea as their own? Who would shut me down? It didn’t take long for me to realize that I was projecting insecurities from the other organization onto Ultimate – big mistake.

I soon learned what happens when companies do trust employees.

  1. Innovation – At Ultimate, we know managers will listen to ideas that may improve the organization, the product, the customer service, and the culture. The greatest part of working in this environment is everyone has the same opportunity to provide input and everyone credits the person who came up with each idea.
  2. Loyal “brand ambassadors” – When employees feel heard, that they are trusted to do their jobs and do them well, and that they can own their ideas, they will share positive work experiences with the world and their friends.
  3. Talent improvements – When people are happy and engaged with their jobs, they will want to work harder and smarter for the organization. This not only improves the current level of talent but future talent as well. We’ve all heard ‘top talent attracts top talent.’ It sounds cliché, but it’s true! When top performers tell their friends about their amazing company, friends will want to join your organization. I see this at Ultimate all the time and have even personally tried to recruit many of my friends.
  4. Financial stability – When organizations constantly innovate, have employees promoting the organization, products, customer service, and culture, and are constantly improving their biggest asset – their employees – they make money.

The difference is amazing.

So, if you’re reading this and have employees you don’t trust because they have acted untrustworthy more than a few times, replace them. Please do not take these feelings out on your team.

If you’re reading this and don’t know if your employees can handle the “we’re not doing financially well and are no longer covering reimbursements” (or a similar) conversation, I encourage you to be honest and then listen. Loyal and trustworthy employees may give you some great ideas on how to make money. The un-loyal employees will leave. Isn’t that what you’d want anyway? Replace them with someone willing to put in the hours to improve your organization’s situation.

If you’re reading this and debating whether to admit you’re laying off your staff, do them a favor and let them know they may want to start sending out resumes.

Finally, if you’re reading this and don’t currently trust your employees but don’t have a good reason why, put aside your ego and your insecurities (yes, I said it) and give them room to thrive.

 

Connect with Micole Kaye on Twitter @socialmicole and LinkedIn Micole Kaye

I did a thing… a Podcast on Internships… Check it out!

So, a while back, my friend and HR Influencer, Paul Hebert, interviewed me for a podcast on interviews. He finally edited and loaded the podcast episode and this little bio. With that said, I reposted his post and the podcast episode below. Check out his blog and more episodes on Paul’s blog “What is Paul Thinking.”

Reblog: Normally I start these “Paul”Casts with the tag line “what I wished I had been told…” but my interview partner in this discussion is fresh out of school and really hasn’t had the opportunity to experience a ton of life yet and be burdened by the weight of “woulda, shoulda, coulda.” But even without years of hindsight to reflect on Micole Kaye from Ultimate Software was a wonderful and fun guest to have on the call. She and I talked about her experience as a political intern and a business intern. I tried to find some political dirt to throw around during this “boring” election cycle but alas she was tight-lipped about her experience.

However, she did spend some time talking about the process of getting an internship (hint: it’s who you know…) and what she really learned during her internship. Another hint – a lot of things!

Take a few minutes (21 to be exact) and listen to Micole and I chat it up. Simply hit the play icon in the embedded player below. Those who receive these posts in an email – click here to go to the site and listen in there.

Thanks to all of you for listening in and if you ever want to be on the “Paul”Cast and talk about what you wished you’d been told early in your career click here and let’s get going!

8 Bad Management Mistakes Made in Pop Culture

This season on Bravo’s Below Deck Mediterranean, I’ve seen some of the worst leadership and management I’ve seen… ever. It’s so bad that I don’t even like the show but I did watch the entire thing so that I could finish writing this post. Oh, the life of a writer. (I wanted to make a “jump-ship” pun, but it’s just not happening today.)

Here are 7 Mistakes that Bad Managers Made on the show (and that you should avoid in your everyday management):

  1. Only Following Through With Rules When It’s Convenient, Not When the Rule Matters Most: Captain Mark says in one episode his tip policy is “all for one and one for all” to justify dividing Daniel’s “VIP” tip money among the rest of the crew. However, when Daniel gets sick and is unable to work, the Captain accepts Daniels request to give his tip to the rest of the crew. If I were an employee on the ship, I’d immediately recognize that Captain Mark’s “all for one, one for all” rule is merely a rule of convenience, not one of integrity.
  2. Letting Department Managers Bully Inferiors: When the main leader doesn’t abide by his own rules, it’s no wonder that managers like Brian are running loose without oversight. Brian bullies Jules and Hannah into cleaning the interior at midnight. He literally stands over the girls, gets in their face, makes passive aggressive comments, and follows them around the boat when they try to diffuse the situation by walking away.
  3. Don’t Make Sexist Remarks. or be sexist at all. Period: Brian constantly makes sexist and demeaning remarks all season to every woman on board – whether in his department or not – constantly throughout the season.
  4. Know When to Let Things Go: Brian doesn’t know when to let it go. He literally tries everything within his power to get Danny fired – even with only one charter left. How ridiculous and immature does he look while doing this?
  5. Make Sure Managers Don’t Choose Favorites Among Inferiors (that includes no sh*t talking): Brian speaks badly of his inferiors to other inferiors. Last time I checked, manager-led gossip is not appropriate workplace behavior.
  6. Be a Servant Leader, Not a Terrible Person: When the guests ask for Brian, Bobby, and Danny to go party with them off the boat but Captain Mark says only two of the three can go, Brian believes he should go, even though he should actually be managing the boat. This indicates that he’s a self-serving leader, not a servant leader. Don’t do that!
  7. Don’t Promote Bad Managers: After all that, the fact that Captain Mark promotes Brian after all that continues to show the lack of professionalism that exists on the boat and in the show.
  8. Don’t Let Customers Mistreat Employees: I understand that these people pay a lot of money for “5 star service.” But, no employee should have to be publicly insulted the way the crew was with the ever-so-hated customers. Captain Mark should really be more plugged in, or give authority to Hannah to tell the customers it’s not okay to treat people poorly.

In conclusion, by putting #PeopleFirst, by actually wanting to make a difference for others, by sticking up for each other, by treating people equally, and being professional, you can make a better management impression.

Have a great night!

 

 

SHRM16 Annual Conference

I recently returned from my first ever HR trade show and my first ever Annual SHRM Conference. Five whirlwind days of meeting Ultimate Software customers, HR practitioners, and HR bloggers/ social influencers. It was awesome.

I spoke with the Human Resources community about things that trouble them, advice for younger professionals and new college grads, and how to get “in” with different crowds. Here are some things I learned:

  1. Everybody loves Steve Browne. If you don’t know who Steve is, start by reading his blog. It’s called “Everyday People.” But, if you meet Steve, you’ll know he’s anything but ordinary.
  2. Heather Kinzie knows how to kill it in the HR consulting business. If you’re looking for a consultant, she’s your girl. In another blog post, I wrote about a friend who asked me for new-college-grad career advice (Read it here.) While I was at SHRM, I asked for some advice on how to get a job and how to get the pay you’re worth. Heather said “know your worth,” “know the industry,” “know the problems they have” and “be damn resourceful” to solve them, and discuss those issues and solutions to prove your worth. Thanks, Heather!
  3. Make friends, not followers. I’ve spent the last year creating a social media presence and meeting new HR friends on Twitter. (Notice I said “friends” not “followers.”) At SHRM, I made sure to find time to meet the new friends I had made on Twitter. Because of that, I got invited to some parties.
  4. Getting invited to the party is more than half the battle. Side Story – a long time ago I worked in Tallahassee in the Florida State Capital. I worked with a Legislative Assistant who gave me one piece of advice “if you’re invited out by an important work person – go. No matter what.” So I went. When I got there, I met even more friends, got and gave business cards, and was told, “You know, the fact that you even got here means you’re doing the right thing.”
  5. Follow up. By the time I had gotten home, my new friends had already emailed regarding new business opportunities. I followed up on Twitter and via email, depending on the person, and the response was amazing.

Anyway, I’ve now how the time to decompress from SHRM and reflect on my time and I’m so excited for the future. With that said, who’s going to HR Tech?

 

Bad Resume Writers

As a new college grad with an English degree and a full-time job at a great company, friends approach me time to time to help them find a job, fix up resumes, or spruce up LinkedIn accounts. (I should start charging for this. LOL!)

One of my close friends graduated in May and just started her job search. She has management experience in retail, is a great communicator and problem solver, and wants a job for which she can be creative. If you’re looking for a great hire – she’d be an amazing employee.

Anyway, she visited a family-friend who is a career coach and resume writer. When they finished writing her resume, she sent me a copy. It was the worst resume I had ever seen. It made these rookie mistakes:

  1. It was too long. Recruiters spend on average less than 7 seconds reading a given resume. If you don’t believe me, ask Forbes. When a resume is too long, the chance a recruiter sees what you want them to see significantly decreases. Which leads me to # 2…
  2. It included non-essential words. Because you only have a few seconds to make a great first impression, eliminate all non-essential words and really focus on your strengths and experiences.
  3. It included irrelevant information. Art side-projects you did to make a couple bucks in high school should not be on your post-grad resume (unless maybe you’re applying for an art job.) Hopefully by the time you graduate form college, you’ll have enough ‘stuff’ to put on your resume that you can just leave off any high-school related details.
  4. It excluded any form of soft skills. My friend is an amazing communicator, writer, problem solver, and a compassionate manager. Non of that was communicated by her resume.
  5. Her only skills were Microsoft Office and Social Media. WHAT? Oh hell no. How does that differentiate her from every single other college student in America? It doesn’t.

To a recruiter, your resume is a first impression. First impressions in real life matter, and they matter via resumes, as well. Make sure that your resume reflects you, and in a light that puts your best work-boot forward.

Recruiting Practices Fit for a Queen

Social media has become such a big part of society that even the Queen of England realizes its importance. Queen Elizabeth II has three Twitter accounts, a Facebook Page, and a Youtube account, and is looking for a Head of Digital Engagement to help manage her presence.

When I saw Huffington Post’s Facebook post about the job, I immediately become giddy. To be honest, I had no intention of applying. But, my stomach still felt the same butterflies when I got into the University of Florida or when I fell in love.

I mean, I already have a really great job, but I’m also not legally allowed to work in the UK, and I’d have to quit school, and…well let’s just say there were a lot of ands and buts on this list.

In case you didn’t already know, I work in Social Media for an HR tech company. So, even though I am a social media expert who is insanely happy with her job, I decided to apply last minute (and immediately before I wrote this post) to write this blog post about Recruiting Practices Fit for a Queen (All Hail!)

Alright – so although I can’t share the entire experience because of the whole ‘I can’t legally work in the UK’ thing cutting my application process off short, I love MANY things about the Queen’s candidate experience.

For one – the position was easily findable. Every major and minor online news publication (I haven’t checked paper publications) around the world posted about the position. Huff post posted on Facebook, People Magazine, NowThisRefinery29, MSN shared this – I think you get the point. Anyway, with only a Google search, and a few short clicks, from 1/2 way around the world, I was able to find and apply for this position. Now, I know that’s not realistic for most companies, but the point is ‘make your positions available and easily accessible to all.’

Second, and I’ve ALWAYS said this – I love the fact that the Queen included a salary range in the job posting. Everyone who applies knows exactly what they are in for when they submit an application. She even lists the benefits they offer like 33 paid vacation days (nice BTW) the # of hours required each week, and more!

Finally, I loved the fact that I could sign in to submit an application with my LinkedIn account. Way to stay up-to-date! You go girl!

Anyway, that’s pretty much as far as I got until they asked whether I legally could accept this position and work in the UK. But, until then, #AllHailTheQueen.

 

5 Ways Virtual Employees Can Increase Visibility in the Workplace

As a virtual employee, it’s easy to get passed over for the best projects, promotions, and even help with those projects. People really tend to forget virtual employees exist and their work often gets pushed down on the totem poll. Fortunately, there are ways to improve your chances of getting noticed around the office, even if you aren’t exactly around the office. Read how now:

  1. Send daily updates about what you’ve done. Every day, I take notes
    Staying noticed as a virtual employee can be rough. Read these 5 ways to stay top of mind!
    Staying noticed as a virtual employee can be rough. Read these 5 ways to stay top of mind!

    about everything I’ve done. By the end of the day, I usually have a long  list. I send this list to my boss before I sign off. What this does is it keeps me on the top of her mind, ease her mind that work is actually getting done, and updates her on things I may still be waiting on or may need some assistance on.

  2. Celebrate accomplishments loudly. The great think about working in an office is that when you do something great, people can talk about it. It’s hard for people to think about you if you’re not around and participating in the office “water cooler” talk everyday. Don’t be afraid to share your accomplishments. If you’ve done something great, feel free to let your boss know! (Daily recaps can certainly help with this because you can easily write your accomplishments there.)
  3. When you are around the office, go above and beyond to help everyone you can – even if it’s “not your job.” Of course, don’t disobey your boss or help others at the expense of your own work. But, 5 minutes helping a coworker may not kill you. And, sometimes just offering to help is enough.
  4. Talk to everyone in the office, and really care about what they say. Learn about their families, hobbies, and ask them about their interests every time you see them (or regularly.) This will allow you to make friends in many departments and give you something to talk about consistently.
  5. Follow up often. Since you’re far away, when you need to collaborate with coworkers, the chance of your work being “less important” to them increases substantially. To bump yourself up as a priority, follow up on your projects often.

Let me know what you think in the comments below and follow me on Twitter for other HR and career advice topics. Have a great day!

 

Related HR/ Career Advice blogs:

Ask a Manager

Forbes on Virtual Employees

Blogging4Jobs – 8 Tips for Success as a Virtual Employee

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