BattleBots: Attraction, Retention and Employee Benefits

Yesterday, as is often the case, there was a good discussion in the HR Open Source Facebook Group. A group member posed a question stating she was looking for creative ideas as her company wants to offer additional benefits/perks beyond the basics (medical/dental/vision). Members of the community chimed in with all sorts of ideas including:

  • Pet insurance
  • Commuter benefits (i.e. train or bus pass)
  • Time off to volunteer
  • Birthday off
  • Wellness Days off (i.e. go and take care of preventative wellness appointments)
  • A book benefit (company pays for book on a professional development topic; the readers writes a review to share with co-workers)
  • Discount movie tickets, amusement park tickets, etc.
  • Onsite massages, oil changes, car washes, and teeth whitening
  • Student loan repayments
  • Milk Stork (ships milk home for breastfeeding moms who are traveling)

Nice.  Real nice.

Interestingly enough I recently had several conversations with business owners and HR leaders posing the exact opposite question:

“We need to save some money and are wondering which of our existing benefits we can eliminate without too much fuss from employees.”

Items potentially on their chopping blocks included:

  • Paid Time Off (PTO)
  • Holiday Pay
  • Employer provided Short Term and Long Term Disability coverage
  • Sick Days
  • Free coffee

Ah yes; the great divide.

Alpha Companies are taking the approach that we all like to think we can take; crafting a total rewards program that is designed to not only recruit and retain but also to delight, excite and energize. Does cost factor in to the equation? Of course it does; but there’s analysis (and sometimes just sheer gut-feel) that stuff like this is worth it.

Omega Companies, on the other hand, have decided to approach the design of their benefit offerings in the same manner in which they decide to purchase 2-ply vs. 1-ply toilet paper. Supply their staff with generic ball points or fancy liquid roller ball pens. Determine whether their pay will match or lag the market. (No leading the market with this group).

The Omega Companies simply want to push the limit by asking:

  • “How much can we take away before our current employees either stop performing or leave?”
  • “How little can we offer before our applicant pool dries up?”
  • “How much are we willing to risk that we won’t be able to innovate or grow revenue because we can’t even attract the people who will make that happen?”

And that’s …. OK. It’s the real world. Oh sure, in some cases there are business owners being assholes and treating people as disposable widgets in the great scheme of keeping the ginormous corporation humming along. In other instances there are challenges being faced in order to keep a business running in the first place; although, come to think of it, how is it that newly-minted start-ups and/or small businesses with, one would assume, less cash flow, seem to offer the best benefits around? Maybe it IS more about the a-hole factor….?

Alpha vs. Omega.

There’s an attraction/retention battle for you.

 

*****

Head on over to the HR Open Source site to check out the case studies, Sparks and other great content. And join us in the Facebook group referenced above; you’ll love it.

 

Image: Battlebots

Share

The Precariousness of a #WorkHuman Journey

It’s just after 2 PM on Day 2 (and a-half) of Globoforce’s WorkHuman event in Austin and I just walked back over to the Convention Center from my hotel.

This hotel, which officially opened within the last several weeks, has a connecting skywalk that takes one from floor 2 of the hotel to floor 2 of the Convention Center. Very convenient.

This skywalk is a twisting, serpentine slab of concrete, perhaps 10 feet wide, that is suspended over a fairly bustling city street. There are no walls on this walkway; not even the illusion of a semi-comforting half-wall. Nope; this walkway is encased in what appears to be chicken wire. (OK; we all know it’s not actual chicken wire – it looks much sturdier and is actually bolted down but I have been much too afraid to actually get close enough to touch it and confirm this).

So every time I walk across this walkway I stay the straight and narrow right in the middle so as not to tempt the fates and end up having a strong gust of wind push me through the chicken wire. Yesterday as my friend Katee Van Horn and I made the journey we walked single file, lock-step behind each other, and didn’t even speak until we got safely to the other side.

And now, just a few short minutes ago, I stepped onto the walkway with a lady who was facing the seemingly benign treachery for the first time. She took one look, said “Oh hell no,” and reversed back into the hotel to find a safer land-based approach to the convention center.

I totally understood.

And then I got to wondering…was this event venue chosen for this one design element alone? Was the master plan to make ALL WorkHuman attendees take numerous uncomfortable, sweat-inducing, heart-palpitating journeys in unfamiliar terrain?

In numerous sessions we’ve been talking about being brave. We’re chatting about having difficult conversations at work with our leaders and team members and co-workers.

I think this march across the spiraling-death-bridge/walkway has been one giant metaphor for the organizational journey to being a more human-centered workplace. And a testing platform for HR leaders to see if they’re up to the challenge.

Well played Globoforce events team.  Well played.

**********

photo courtesy of Curbed Austin

Share

March Madness Circa 2018 – #HRCarnival

Brackets? Meh. A few years ago I participated in a March Madness pool with not much interest in basketball and nary a clue about college hoops. It was a travesty of epic proportion and, as I recall, I ended up in last place.

Based upon the enthusiasm of others though, I must be missing something. John Hudson likes this time of year; he wrote about “March Madness in the Workplace” just a few weeks ago. Tim Sackett recently offered up “3 Ways Employers Should Be Encouraging March Madness!”

Bet then, much to the consternation of HR killjoys professionals everywhere, Fortune Magazine let us know that “The Average Worker Will Spend Six Hours Watching March Madness at Work.”

Huh.

So let me offer up a much more productive way to waste spend time at work (while secretly streaming the games) — reading of some HR blogs!

Ladies and gentlemen, I present the sweet, elite submissions from the far corners of the HR blogging world for March….

 

Fast Break

Laurie Ruettimann – Online Learning Series: How to Be Better in Human Resources

Mary Faulkner – When tech and HR combine: What I saw at #UltiConnect

Tamara Rasberry – Looking for a Job – The Full-Time Job from Hell

Judith Lindenberger – 5 Workplace Habits of Successful HR Professionals

 

One on One

Sharlyn Lauby – How to Find Budget Dollars for Employee Recognition

Julie Winkle Giulioni – Attenuating Attrition: How Leaders Can Create a Sticky Situation

Prassad Kurian – The OD Quest: Part 6 – In the wonderland of HR Business Partners!

Yvonne LaRose – Because of Their Endurance, We Can

Helo Tamme – Elderly people, your key to happier employees

 

Rebound

Jennifer Juo –  Is Workplace Distraction Hurting Your Bottom Line?

Jesse Lynn Stoner – Manage Polarities . . . or Step off the Seesaw

Cecilia Clark – 2 Questions to Ask to Increase Motivation

Mark Fogel – It’s Nice to Be a Best Place to Work, But Most Recruiters Toil for the Other 90%

Keith Enochs – Context is King

 

Zone Defense

Wally Bock –  Personal Development: Secrets of Getting Better at Almost Anything

Mark Stelzner – 6 Consumer Trends HR Can’t Ignore

Mark Miller – Tell the Story

Sabrina Baker – Dealing with the Reactionary Leader

Anne Tomkinson – When You’re the Disengaged Employee

 

********

Want to get in on the monthly Carnival of HR blogging action? Send me an email at carnivalofhr@gmail.com and make sure to like our Facebook page and follow @CarnivalofHR on Twitter. 

 

HR Meme action courtesy of Nexxt 

Share

Dispatches from Oz – #HRTechFest

Today (I think….I’ve totally lost track of the days and time zones), I’m heading back to the states after 5 stupendous days in Sydney, Australia. I made the trip (my first time down under) in order to attend the HR Innovation and Tech Fest where I spoke at two sessions (including one with my friend Amy Cropper from Amazon), did a podcast with the folks from Future Knowledge, provided a bit of assistance to the event organizers as a Chairperson, and just generally got to talk about HR and HR Tech for 2 1/2 days. I also got to spend some quality time with my friends at HROnboard; I serve on their Advisory Board and it was great to hang out in person.

Although I didn’t take the time to write any blog posts as the conference was occurring, I did jot down some random thoughts on my iPhone as events unfolded:

  • The weather is glorious; I think around 80 degrees Farenheit but I’m not quite sure because everything is quoted in Celsius and, of course, we never learned that system in school
  • Australia has really cool currency/bills. With women on the bills too; and not just the Queen which, of course, they sort of have too.  There’s a lesson or something in here for the US….#HarrietTubman
  • These Aussies love their coffee. This java is so damn good I haven’t even missed Community Coffee (with chicory) like I usually do when I take a trip away from home
  • In Australia and New Zealand, HR professionals have responsibility for payroll. They call it “Remuneration” which makes it sound simultaneously a hell of a lot sexier and much less painful
  • The liberal use of curse words and profanity by speakers seems to not only be OK but somewhat expected. (HR folks in the US would be clutching their pearls and writing scathing comments on the session review feedback sheets…)
  • Numerous partner/vendor booths Expo Hall served coffee with a private barista on hand to whip up one’s favorite. My request for a plain black coffee (“Americano”) was met with much skepticism
  • Each concurrent session rooms not only has water (with proper glasses) but also giant bowls with gummi candies/lollies
  • Had a conversation on Day 1 with a young HR professional who recently started with his organization. His office mates are middle-aged complacent HR ladies who (a) tell him he’s working too hard (b) dissuade him from proposing new ideas because “that just won’t work.”  He loves human resources but is, already, feeling beaten down by the naysayers….in his own office/profession! (Hmmmmm…I had this precise conversation with a young HR pro in New Orleans not that long ago too….)
  • Taxi Cabs in Sydney have a sign prominently displayed that states “You WILL be photographed; conversations may be recorded.”
  • This is a very sensibly run conference; Day 2 sessions start at the civilized hour of 8:45 AM (with ‘Arrival Tea and Coffee’ at 8 AM); none of this 7 AM ‘sunrise session’ crap like so many HR events in the US
  • Had a conversation on Day 2 with an HR leader about their continuing evolution of user adoption; they implemented a new HCM solution a few years ago and are still struggling with (1) ensuring employees access self-service (instead of walking into HR and expecting to drop off paper forms or asking to get a print out of their pay stub (sounds familiar; am I right?!?), and (2) finding ways to keep their managers involved and completing workflow tasks.  We had a good chat about finding ways to promote what I like to call “forced adoption.”
  • Break time refreshments mean tea, coffee (yes!!) and bite-sized yummy things; today we had custard tarts with currants (heavenly). Conference break-time refreshments in the US, on the other hand, means Cokes, giant chocolate chip cookies, and ginormous pretzels with mustard and cheez sauce
  • Interesting to see familiar vendors with different signage and options; I also love seeing vendors with offerings totally unique to this market
  • Mid-way through day two and I finally figured out how to make my own flat white at one of the espresso/coffee machine stations in the Expo Hall!! Excited!
  • The delegates at this conference are incredibly focused, eager to learn, and incredibly ready to move HR forward. Such incredible passion for moving past the status quo and embracing the ‘way we work’ today.
  • Yes; I did dance in the Expo Hall while some guy who was on “The Voice” played a Rolling Stones tune. I just hope there was no camera footage

Fin.

********

Well…not really The End.  More like The Beginning.

There was talk about innovation in practices; finding new ways to work and optimizing our work. And yes, while there was lots of chatter about AI and robots (and a few jokes about HR + blockchain), for the most part the focus rested upon the use of automation to increase efficiency and ….. here’s the key part ….. keeping humanity in HR.

I find it interesting, over these last 12-18 months, how many more conversations we’re having about re-engineering (reverse engineering?) our processes, workflows and interactions with candidates, applicants and employees to bring back the human touch. This conference? We talked about it a lot. 

And a few final thoughts:

  • There is a lack of A/C in Sydney. Oh sure, the ocean breeze feels wonderful and everything but some of these shops could use a bit of cooling air
  • Food, in general, is less sweetened than the garbage we eat in the US. I especially noticed this in breakfast jam, sour cream, muffins and bread
  • I tried vegemite for breakfast one day and it was loathsome
  • Brothels are legal in NSW. I discovered this when I was perusing a newspaper and read the job adverts
  • I had to search quite a bit to find a carbonated beverage a.k.a. Diet Coke
  • My day trip to Manly Beach with my pals Amy Cropper and David D’Souza was amazing! We took the ferry, ate prawns for lunch, climbed up a cliff to look out over the ocean, and got up close and personal with water dragons and an Echidna
  • I managed, quite successfully, to sample as many wines from Australia and New Zealand as I could manage. There are many more to go however … so I guess I’ll have to come back to wrap things up!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share

Lookin’ for HR Love in All the Wrong Places

Just a few short weeks ago the SHRM Annual Conference & Exposition rolled into New Orleans; with the volunteers and vendors and attendees there were 20,000’ish folks at this HR love fest.

I enjoyed the big show; I always do. And, excepting the usual number of Debbie Downers and Negative Nancys who have since felt the need to weigh in on various SHRM hosted message boards and communities about the “cold session rooms” and “the vastness of the convention center” and “the awful box lunches” (hey – you try to feed 15,000+ people lunch), so did the vast majority of the attendees.

As is usually the case the HR themed swag was flying off the shelves in the SHRM store. Frankly, I don’t get it; I just can’t see myself walking around town wearing an “I Love HR” shirt or displaying an “I Love HR” lamp on my desk (note: this lamp is so popular, the store has it on back order. I’m not kidding). Apparently though I’m in the minority as the SHRM store has been carrying this stuff for many years now and the desires of Linda, Betty, and Bob to buy these professional-themed career-loving-masturbatory tchotkes remains high.

Now, I would certainly hope that if one is working in human resources one loves it. Or, at the very least, doesn’t hate it.  However I’ve yet to see anyone wearing an “I love Internal Audit” tshirt. I have never walked into the office of a marketing professional to come face-to-face with a stuffed teddy bear emblazoned with “I <3 Marketing.” No IT guy/gal I’ve worked with has ever twirled an “IT 4ever” keychain on their fingers as we’ve walked out to a parking lot together at the end of the work day.

It’s a nice thing, as Whitney Houston once sang, to remember that “Learning to love yourself, It is the greatest love of all,” but is this need to continually espouse professional self-love due to the fact that we are still (STILL!) recovering from the “I Hate HR” diatribes that began well over a decade ago? Are we collectively so insecure that we’re doing the professional equivalent of reminding each other that “You is Kind. You is Smart. You is important?”

Because, once those tens of thousands of human resources practitioners walked out the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center they probably got reminded that there’s not a whole lot of lovin’ coming from people outside of our little enclave. Here are some comments from a recent article on Yahoo entitled “A Woman Who’s Spent over a Decade in HR Shares the No. 1 Sign it’s Time to Quit Your Job,” that includes insight/interview with Toni Thompson, Head of HR and Talent for The Muse.  (note: at the time I’m writing this, there were 370 comments on the article. Not a single comment was positive about human resources).

  •  HR is a dinosaur concept that needs to go away. I laugh when an HR person calls themselves a professional
  •  HR departments are a joke ow that they are filled with SJW stooges. People become HR because they fail at math and accounting.
  • When will people realize that 99.9% of HR “professionals” exhibit sociopathic behaviors mainly due to the fact that it is the easiest profession to step into and you have to lie and create fantasies in order to give the appearance you are contributing. You don’t need a high IQ, you can hide behind others and find someone to blame just so you can keep your job. Most companies are better off with HR administrators only to take care of paperwork, benefits, etc. The minute an HR wannabe shows up the dynamics change and their goal becomes how do I find controversy in order to prove I bring value. Absolutely useless profession.
  •  Most HR people are totally incompetent. They cannot think outside the box and rarely fact check anything.
  •  People in HR are imbeciles trying justify there jobs as truly the most important. News flash, not so much.
  •  NEVER let HR run your company- They are called Human Resources- NOTHING more! They will run a company into the ground if you let them- They are little more than social workers.
  • One time I told a boss something the HR lady said, my boss’s reply, “She’s Human Resources, she’s paid to lie!”
  •  HR is there only to protect upper management, not an employee. Policy interpretations will always go in favor of management, and If employees think that HR is on their side, they are in for a very rude awakening at some point.
  •  Hate it when some HR person is in on the interview process asking dumb questions. They know nothing beyond a couple of buzzwords.
  •  HR people are either sociopaths or psychopaths for the most part. No empathy. Stay away from them, don’t trust them. They are under no requirement to be confidential no matter what they say. They are there to keep management out of legal trouble, not to help employees .
  •  HR departments are the worst thing that has happened to big companies ever. There is NO PERSONAL contact most of the time. You submit an application and you may or may not get a response either way. COLD COLD COLD. I know some very good people who have not even gotten an interview or response. A damn computer decides if the person is worth pursuing. TERRIBLE. If I owned a big or medium company, HR would be gone. Assuming you wanted good people and bright employees. No one can really tell anything about someone without a face to face. PERIOD
  •  HR is a blood-sucking parasite to employees and they will do anything to anyone to make the owners or boss happy
  •  This article is useless because HR is useless.
  •  Rule No 1 don’t trust HR.

Wow. This sort of stuff makes me sad. And I know…comments on any article show the seamy underbelly of humanity, but I still think it’s worthwhile to read them and see what people are saying.

It begs the question of course…is there anything wrong with wanting to feel valued, worthy and loved? Of course not.  But you know how we’ll know when LOVE for HR is a real thing?

When our employees, leaders and applicants wear those “I Love HR” t-shirts.

Share
1 3 4 5 6 7 17
error

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word.