Thursday December 5, 2013
Are you just starting out in Human Resources (or a seasoned pro who'd like current reminders)? Key areas of strategy and support for the business and your career are recommended by Bob Calamai (pictured) who is currently the Interim Director of the New York University / School of Continuing and Professional Studies Human Resource Management and Development Graduate Program.
He offers five tips for the HR professional based on his career in HR at IBM. Knowing your business and understanding how to strategically apply HR to the business is just a start. Social networking, continuous learning, and becoming, not just a valued contributor, but a game changer follows.
This aligns perfectly with advice from Dr. Dave Ulrich, a noted HR guru, who identifies a key HR role of change agent. Heed the advice of these tribal elders to get off to a terrific start in HR.
Image Copyright Robert T. Calamai
More About Careers in HR
Wednesday December 4, 2013
I am a real proponent of the management philosophy that you help people continue to develop their strengths rather than trying to help them develop their weaknesses. This theory was proposed by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman in First, Break All The Rules: What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently (compare prices) as a result of the Gallup organization's interviews with 80,000 managers. On top of trying to get the daily work completed and the annual goals achieved, I don't see how anyone has time for both.
In my case, I'm good with people, not very good with mathematical story problems. No matter what, I will never be good at solving complex mathematical problems. Could I get better? Probably. But, why not spend my time honing my strengths? I'll bet you have a parallel in your life. Why not share it in comments?
In a more middle of the road personal story, I have always been a good writer. But, strengthening that skill over the past 12 years, writing online and for publications, has made me a better writer and a faster writer. Writing is definitely a skill, once I started doing it every single day, with hours of practice and a deliberate commitment to growth, that I continued to develop.
And, sure enough, Stephen J. Dubner and Steven D. Levitt, authors of Freakonomics (compare prices), weigh in at the Freakonomics blog with these thoughts:
"A while ago, we wrote a New York Times Magazine column about talent -- what it is, how it's acquired, etc. The gist of the column was that 'raw talent,' as it's often called, is vastly overrated, and that people who become very good at something, whether it's sports, music, or medicine, generally do so through a great deal of 'deliberate practice,' a phrase used by the Florida State psychologist Anders Ericsson and his merry band of fellow scholars who study expert performers in many fields."
In the column cited in the quote above, Dubner and Levitt conclude that:
"...the trait we commonly call talent is highly overrated. Or, put another way, expert performers -- whether in memory or surgery, ballet or computer programming -- are nearly always made, not born. And yes, practice does make perfect. These may be the sort of clichés that parents are fond of whispering to their children. But these particular clichés just happen to be true.
"Ericsson's research suggests a third cliché as well: when it comes to choosing a life path, you should do what you love -- because if you don't love it, you are unlikely to work hard enough to get very good. Most people naturally don't like to do things they aren't 'good' at. So they often give up, telling themselves they simply don't possess the talent for math or skiing or the violin. But what they really lack is the desire to be good and to undertake the deliberate practice that would make them better."
So, it seems there is truth in the power of developing your strengths and deliberately practicing the areas you want to improve. This never comes home to me with such power as when I watch the athletes compete in the Olympics. Sure, many of these athletes have physical characteristics that assist them to excel in their chosen sport - think Michael Phelps, the winner of a record eight gold medals in a single Olympics. But, every athlete competing in the Olympics spent years in deliberate practice to develop both their physical characteristics, their mental focus, and their skill in their chosen sport.
I also liked the plug for love your work in the article, a concept you hear me talking about frequently. Do you agree - about the deliberate practice or the love?
Image Copyright Barbara Henry
More About Goal Setting and Development
Wednesday December 4, 2013
Dr. Barbara Brown says that if you want to improve employee performance, think about your daily conversations with employees. No better opportunity exists to reinforce and help refine excellent employee performance. You discuss new projects, talk about overdue assignments, give updates about completed tasks, and more.
Use these conversations to reinforce the importance of doing a great job. How? Link the employee performance to a workplace result.
Her thoughts have a lot in common with my often repeated thoughts about employee recognition. Provide recognition because you genuinely want to reward and recognize employee contributions. But, at the same time, understand the power of recognition in shaping positive employee performance.
If you want to see a particular performance from an employee, nothing is as powerful as recognition. Daily conversations and your effective performance development process help, too.
Image Copyright Pando Hall / Getty Images
Tuesday December 3, 2013
A reader asks an interesting question and many readers responded. Is it wise to rehire a fired employee? Do any of you have a different point of view, knowledge of trends, or the experience of rehiring an employee you fired?
"I am looking for your point of view on trends from the employers' perspective to rehire someone whom they fired. Do you have any posts or details on this subject?
"Specifically, are employers concerned that there would be resentment on the employees' part, the psychological aspect of it? The internal politics
with employees and how the employer would be 'viewed' rehiring a fired employee? Is this a problem? I am based in Shanghai, China and finding HR experts is tough."
I would not rehire someone I have fired. This is because I follow all of my recommended steps before I would fire someone. That means that the former employee had every chance to improve. They did not and they are not suitable for my organization, for whatever reason.
People don't change that much. If you are prepared to overlook the reasons you fired the individual in the first place, the same reasons won't go away but, possibly, the firing was not totally justified.
I'd rather train and mentor someone new. And, yes, there will be anger and resentment and the other employees will question management's judgment if you rehire someone you fired. But, mostly, the reasons for which you fired the person have usually not gone away. I recognize that laws and other considerations in your region may be different.
This is what I believe. I am not aware of trends or research. I have not written on this topic as I don't believe it should happen, except under a rare circumstance. I can't really think of any that would qualify. Let's give other readers the opportunity to chime in.
I'm curious about what other readers think? Many of you have taken the time to share your thoughts.
Image Copyright Diego Cervo
More About How to Fire an Employee