HR HATER WEEK: Why Passive HR People Fail to Deal With The Problem...

Capitalist Note: This week is HR Haters week at the Capitalist. Let's ID the personas out there who don't respect HR and figure out how to deal with them.  See the first two posts in this series here and here.

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THE PASSIVE BEHAVIOR YOU’LL SEE ON YOUR TEAM RELATED TO DEALING WITH HR HATERS

If you’re reading this series, you’re either an alpha or would like to become an alpha. The same is not true for your team. One of the reasons I wanted to do this series on HR Haters is that is our profession is full of behavioral profiles that drive the way we respond to clients. Haters

Tell me if you see yourself or your team in any of the following passive paths taken with people who question (aka, HR Haters the validity of HR:

1--HR is service oriented, therefore we tell ourselves the customer is always right. It’s pure rationalization, of course. The customer of HR is not always right, we’ve just got a cross section of people who would rather not think about the alternatives.

2--HR fails to confront people doing bad things and begging forgiveness. The alternative to the customer always being right, of course, if to first confront the general sense of lawlessness. It doesn’t matter what could come next, if you’re unwilling to confront, the next step never comes. And the craziness continues.

3--HR fails to negotiate a middle ground with HR Haters. HR is great at a lot of things. Negotiation is not one of those things. The solution is often as simple as confronting, then negotiating. More on this fun fact later.

4--HR fails to understand all the tools at their disposal to play offense with those who dare to question the function’s credibility. Some HR leaders are political masters, Machiavellian in their daily craft. But others are unwilling to do what it takes to wrestle control of the organization.

Dealing with HR Haters is - at times - about that political wrestling match. Recognize any of these behaviors on your team? You’ve got great people on your team, but many of them are uncomfortable with activity that at times feels like confrontation.

As luck would have it, willingness to confront is the only consistent factor that converts a HR Hater to a friend/colleague of you/the profession – at least someone who respects the function.

Be careful out there.  But not too careful.


HR HATER WEEK: How the People Who Hate HR Will Stick It You...

Capitalist Note: This week is HR Haters week at the Capitalist. Let's ID the personas out there who don't respect HR and figure out how to deal with them.

HOW THE PEOPLE WHO HATE HR WILL STICK IT TO YOU

The first thing you must realize about the people who hate HR is that it’s never personal. If someone hates HR, those feelings were solidified long before you came on the scene. There’s a chance you’re awesome.

The downside of being awesome in HR is that you’re expecting business leaders/managers of people around you to see your talent. Most of them won’t. That’s why you need to be able to spot how HR haters are running around you to do their bidding, run fast and at times, perform at a lower level than they would have if they would have included you.

Here’s the behaviors to be on the lookout for as the people who hate HR attempt to avoid you and your team.

--Make employment decisions without consulting you. They just do it. Begging forgiveness and thinking you’re so weak you can’t check them. They’re daring you to do something about it.

--Give counsel to their direct reports about people issues without having them check in with you. They’re the expert, not you. You’ll slow them down. They move fast. Rationalization: They run the business, you don’t.

--Use outside resources without giving you the chance to provide service. Whether it’s training, recruiting or another service, when they have a need for service they don’t even think about you – they call an outside expert.

--Talk s**t about you and your team to others not yet in the hating camp. Business conversations happen everywhere in your company. The HR haters are always quick to scoff at your team’s ability to handle things beyond payroll, which impacts your reputation in organization.

--Run their own HR related sessions (think succession planning) without your help. A favorite of the “Reader of Best-Selling Business Books” profile, HR haters with maximum confidence love to run their own HR processes within their departments and functions. They must be stopped.

--Attack HR’s credibility when confronted. After dealing with assorted bullsh**t from these haters, the strongest among you will be compelled to confront them. Don’t expect them to be contrite, the first thing they’ll do is go on the attack.

Life isn't about the haters of HR, but in order to maximize yourself from a career perspective, you have to identify and understand the haters to be able to deal with them. That would be easy if it were just you. But most of you have an HR team, which increases the complexity of the situation to the level of Space X landing a reusable rocket segment on a landing pad in an ocean.

Good luck!


HR HATER WEEK: Identifying People Who Hate HR...

Capitalist Note: This week is HR Haters week at the Capitalist. Let's ID the personas out there who don't respect HR and figure out how to deal with them.

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I’ve been in HR for over 20 years. I’m somewhat of an expert on people who hate HR. Haters

For the youngsters reading this post, I’m sorry. You’re full of hope and energy and you’re going to do great things. But I’m here to tell you there are people who will try to kick you in the groin/slap you in the face simply because you’re an HR pro. Those people suck.

This post and series is about figuring out who they are and how to deal with them.

IDENTIFYING PEOPLE WHO HATE HR

Whether you’re a HR leader of a Fortune 500 HR team or a solo practitioner in a company with 100 employees, you’ve got people in your company who hate HR. Hate might be a strong word. They hold your profession in contempt. They view you as a secretary with a policy manual.

No, on second thought, they hate you. They hate you because they view you as one of several things based on their viewpoint:

--A no talent hack

--A blocker impeding them from doing whatever they want to do

--Someone who doesn’t know as much about people-related issues as they do

--The source of more work for them and 6 new passwords they must remember based on your commitment to “best in breed” HR technology solutions.

Maybe you can solve that last one by running a workshop to show people how Chrome can automatically save passwords for future automated use, right? Wrong. They won’t attend your workshop because they loathe you. Let’s cover the type of people who hate HR via the following list:

1-- The Control Freak – Sally’s a control freak. She’s a really smart person, has 10-20 years of experience in her non-HR functional areas as has a hard time giving up control, which is code for the fact she can’t collaborate beyond allowing her assistant to order lunch from Chipotle. She’ll be damned if she’s going to let you horn in on her hiring process for her next departmental hire.

2-- The Power Broker – The close cousin of the control freak, Rick’s a power broker which means he’s learned multiple times in his career that getting HR involved in his business just slows him down. There’s rules, policies and various other distractions, and Rick just needs to execute. As a result of his experiences, Rick has learned that it’s far better to beg for forgiveness than to ask you for permission. He has a smirk on the rare occasion he thinks of calling you, right before he tells his minions there’s no need to reach out to HR.

3-- The Victim of Bad HR – Jean’s an executive in your company. She grew up in a very conservative organization with a basic HR team that did payroll, fired people and did recruiting via the post and pray model. Every two years, the HR function at her old company attempted to move upstream and it always failed, causing Jean to trust HR as much as her ex-husband who ran around on her.

4-- The Reader of Best Selling Business Books – Bobby is a young Director-level talent in your company. During his rise from the associate level, Bobby experienced two things – he didn’t consider the HR team to be helpful or his peers, and he started reading best-selling business books like The Five Dysfunctions of the Team. He’s all in on the management trends he’s reading about and has asked some members of your team if they’ve read the books. When they say they haven’t, it just solidifies Bobby’s belief that he’s got a better view on how to manage talent than your HR team.

Are the thoughts of any of these people true related to HR? That’s complicated. If you’re reading this post and looking inward at the HR function, it’s likely that you’re part of the solution, not part of the problem. Unfortunately, most of you read the profiles and thought something along the lines of, “yeah, that person has totally worked with Margie.”

Margie is someone you work(ed) with in HR. She’s the person all of the HR haters love to point to.

Dammit, Margie – get your s**t together.


FALLING INTO HR WEEK: Hollywood Examples of People Waking Up in HR...

Note from KD - It's “Falling Into HR” series this week at The HR Capitalist.  Go check out my post on Fistful of Talent from Monday as part of this series.  This is the third post in that series.

LOOK CLOSELY AND HOLLYWOOD SHOWS US HOW PEOPLE FALL INTO HR

There aren’t a lot of great HR characters coming out of Hollywood. But all you have to do is look closely and you can tell how they fell into the world of HR. Here’s five that come to mind and their match related to how they fell into our world of people, process and corporate politics:

1-- Toby Flenderson from The Office – Poor Toby. We smile and cry as HR pros as we watch him fumble through his day. Quick to rely on policy/process and slow to confront anyone directly and aggressively, Toby without question fell into HR by taking a transactional role and finding a place where he could survive. You and I get to the deal with the stereotype. Lucky us.

2-- Mary Winetoss, the rules-obsessed head of human resources hell bent on curtailing the hijinks of office workers planning to throw a wild holiday bash in the 2016 R-rated film "Office Christmas Party." A less known Hollywood HR character, you might be tricked based on her early reliance on policy that she’s like Toby. That’s an incorrect take, as her connection and problem solving with the leaders of her company clearly tells us she fell into the role based on being a “people person”.

3-- Dirty Harry in “The Enforcer” (1976) – The iconic scene in this movie depicts Harry’s boss announcing he’s been demoted to “personnel”, which clearly matches our earlier “don’t fire them, move them to HR” path. Harry doesn’t take the demotion well, pondering the move for two seconds before saying, “Personnel? That’s for assholes!” Thanks, Dirty Harry.

4-- Pam Poovey from Archer (FX) – Many of you don’t know Archer, but your kids probably do. Archer is an adult animated sitcom created by Adam Reed for the basic cable network FX. It follows the exploits of a dysfunctional group of secret agents, with Poovey being the group’s Director of HR. Ridiculed by her client group, but secretly capable of spy work with no training, Poovey clearly fell into HR by being dropped into our function at some point on an interim basis and finding a comfortable home.

5-- Ryan Bingham in Up In The Air (2009) – Partial credit here since Bingham (played by George Clooney) is a specialist who lays people off for a living. Still, as you listen to Bingham wax poetic about travel program points and benefits and remain distant from the people he’s firing, it’s hard to imagine he’s not a HIPO who parachuted into the world of HR, got comfortable with the perks and never left.

My point to all this? Most of us fell into HR. Some of the stories are funny, some are cautionary tales and some reinforce stereotypes. How you got here doesn’t matter. To survive in a world of change, you’re going to have to connect to the world around you and have more self-awareness of how you’re perceived. 

I'm glad I fell into the world of HR, even if I'm not as good looking as Clooney or as cool as Dirty Harry.


FALLING INTO HR WEEK: One Kid's Path Into the Rock and Roll Lifestyle of HR...

Note from KD - It's “Falling Into HR” series this week at The HR Capitalist.  Go check out my post on Fistful of Talent from Monday as part of this series.  This is the second post in that series.

THERE ARE 8 MILLION STORIES IN THE NAKED CITY

Some of you knew you wanted to be in HR in middle school.  It’s rarely that clean for the rest of us.

Consider the story of how I (Kris Dunn, aka “KD”) fell into HR. It’s a doozy:

1--I graduated from Northeast Missouri State (now Truman State) and automatically started a career as a young Division 1 college basketball coach at UAB (University of Alabama-Birmingham), because that’s how great HR is born, right? LOL. 

2--As a coaching staff member at a Division 1 program, I probably witnessed 9,000 conflicts with widely accepted people practices in corporate America, even though I wasn’t familiar with the terms “people practices” or KD head shot“corporate America,”or “HR”.

3-- After 3 years in coaching, I decided I was likely to be poor for a long time and exited the coaching game to go back to get my MBA, then took a job working overnight in a wireless call center to pay the bills.

4-- While working overnight in the call center, a soon to be mentor named Marilyn Brooks (Director of HR) figured out I had some potential in random post-shift interactions in the hallways and parking lot. She decided to seek me out for a project evaluating staffing vendors as part of a RFP process they were going through. I worked on the project overnight and delivered a lot more than was required. Mrs. Brooks was pleased.

5-- After getting my MBA, my wife and I relocated back home to Missouri (St. Louis area) where she became a staff prosecutor and I went to work doing market research for IBM Global.

6-- We went through one winter from hell, looked at each other and said, “what the hell are we doing?” Even though we were from the Midwest, 5 years in the new South had thinned our blood, and we wanted to get back to the Southeast.

7-- With LinkedIn not even a glimmer in venture capitalist’s eye at the time, I started calling people I knew, Marilyn Brooks among them, seeking career opportunities that would get me back to warm winters.

8-- Marilyn’s words: “I don’t have anything in what you’re doing now, but I do have a HR Manager spot. Would you be interested in that? You used to be a coach and there’s a lot of coaching in this role.”

9-- I interviewed and got the job. I was on my way in the world of HR.

Many of you are reading this and shaking your head. Some of you hate me for falling into this opportunity without paying my dues. Bottom line is this – I had a mentor of sorts, did good work to reinforce the mentor’s belief in me, and the mentor ended up plugging in a non-traditional protégé into an opening on her HR team.

Shit like this happens all the time in HR. Film at 11.

THERE ARE 8 MILLION STORIES IN THE NAKED CITY - what's yours?


It's "Falling Into HR" Week at the HR Capitalist...

I've decided that it's "Falling Into HR" Week here at the HR Capitalist.

I'm up over at Fistful of Talent today with a post called, "ABSOLUTELY NO ####### ONE GROWS UP DREAMING OF A CAREER IN HR." to start the series.

I think for the most part, it's true that most people fall into our profession. It doesn't mean you shouldn't be in HR though.  A taste of that post appears below, head over to Fistful of Talent to see the entire missive.

And come back this week, of course, for more insights on falling into HR.

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FALLING INTO HR IS THE NORM, NOT THE EXCEPTION

Here’s a non-comprehensive list of other things people fall into:

–Love

–Heroin addiction

–A bad relationship

–Lucky circumstances in life

–Debt

–Scientology

–A habit of eating a pint of mint chocolate chip ice cream at 9 pm nightly.

That list tells you falling into things can be a blessing and a curse – it’s all relative to the outcome. From my experience talking to the talented high performers who make up the world of HR, here are some common ways people “fall” into HR without a real plan to enter the function that’s loved and hated by so many:

1–I started from the bottom now I’m here. You are a bootstrapper! Right out of college, these people took entry-level roles in our function, usually doing transactions as an HR Coordinator, Payroll Specialist or similar role. They enjoyed the function and in many cases, rose to run the whole damn thing. HR pros who find themselves entering the function in this manner have the greatest opportunity for career path growth in HR with small and medium-sized businesses.

Head over to Fistful of Talent to get the rest of the ways people "fall" into HR.  I bet you'll find yourself in one those profiles.


Your Leadership Team Wants Hires Only From Elite Schools - They're Wrong...

It's a dance as old as time itself. Your leadership team has opinions on talent - which is good.  They're interested.  That's a positive.

But one of the calls a lot of leadership teams make is this:

"In order to be the best, we've got to recruit from the best. We should really focus on elite schools for our key hires - Ivy and maybe a few other schools"

There are a couple of problems with that stance.  Let's list them:

  1. Your company may not be an attractive destination to graduates of elite college and university programs. Back to school
  2. The graduates of those elite programs may not be equipped or motivated to do the jobs you would place them in.
  3. Other talent, just as capable for the positions you have open, is available for reduced cost, lower retention risk and will perform as well - if not outperform the elite group.

If your leadership team has a focus on recruiting from elite schools and you have concerns, here's some help from a name your leadership team will probably recognize - McKinsey. The July 2016 edition of the McKinsey Quarterly has an article entitled "People Analytics Reveals 3 Things HR May Be Getting Wrong".  

It's a good read.  Here's what the article has to say about elite hiring at one of their clients:

"A bank in Asia had a well-worn plan for hiring: recruit the best and the brightest from the highest-regarded universities. The process was one of many put to the test when the company, which employed more than 8,000 people across 30 branches, began a major organizational restructuring. As part of the effort, the bank turned to data analytics to identify high-potential employees, map new roles, and gain greater insight into key indicators of performance.

Thirty data points aligned with five categories—demographics, branch information, performance, professional history, and tenure—were collected for each employee, using existing sources. Analytics were then applied to identify commonalities among high (and low) performers. This information, in turn, helped create profiles for employees with a higher likelihood of succeeding in particular roles.

Whereas the bank had always thought top talent came from top academic programs, for example, hard analysis revealed that the most effective employees came from a wider variety of institutions, including five specific universities and an additional three certification programs. An observable correlation was evident between certain employees who were regarded as “top performers” and those who had worked in previous roles, indicating that specific positions could serve as feeders for future highfliers. Both of these findings have since been applied in how the bank recruits, measures performance, and matches people to roles.

The results: a 26 percent increase in branch productivity (as measured by the number of full-time employees needed to support revenue) and a rate of conversion of new recruits 80 percent higher than before the changes were put in place. During the same period, net income also rose by 14 percent."

That tells you multiple things - that elite programs generally don't outperform what I'll call "the field", feeder groups into key positions are more important than we realize, and by the way, you're always going to do better recruiting the field (conversion rate) than you'll do at elite schools.

I would have loved to see the relative retention rate of the elite schools vs the field as well, but I'll take what they gave us.

Use this article to help calm down any leaders you have who only want to recruit from elite schools.  As it turns out, a lot of gold comes from schools like Kennesaw State or Wisconsin-Milwaukee. 

 


The Art of Timing Submission of Your Best Candidate to Difficult Hiring Managers...

And they ask you about the game you claim you got
Drop science now, why not?
You start to sweat and fret, it gets hot
How'd you get into this spot?
You played yourself...
Yo, yo, you played yourself...
 
--Ice-T

You know where I'm going with this if you clicked through, right?

Difficult hiring managers.  Not to be confused with those who suck.  Or maybe that's the same thing - I'll let you decide that...

There's an art to dealing with difficult hiring managers that pride themselves on only agreeing to interview candidates who are a direct match to the 15 things they gave you in the intake meeting.  You know how this goes, you work hard, have a decent slate of 3-5 candidates that represents what the market is in the first 7 days - then the difficult hiring manager won't talk to any of them.

That's why you might need to change your strategy with any hiring manager who fits this profile.

Instead of giving them the full slate, hold your best candidate back from your first set of submissions.

The hiring manager who rejects everything but the perfect candidate early usually becomes more flexible later.  Once the opening moves in the 30-60 day age range, pressure to get the position filled mounts.  The same candidates that were rejected at face value early suddenly become what I'll call "possibly viable" late (also know as grudgingly viable).

If you know specific hiring managers are going to hate everyone early, don't give them everyone.  Hold your best back.

Let them cycle through the superiority complex, including the following gems:

--"This is a great job - I need a great candidate"

--"This is a unique opportunity"

--"I think we can find someone who has X, Y, K and Z.  But I really need U, N, Q and E also.  Let's keep looking"

--"I need someone in the 60K range who has all those things. These people want 75k?  Let's keep looking"

If this feels nasty, I get that. But you''re working hard as the HR pro/recruiter on the case.  Your work is good. Don't allow it to be thrown in the trashcan if you know someone is going to do that 9 of 10 times with your first round of submissions.

Let the clock tick. Let the pressure mount. Manage the expectations of the candidate you're holding like the card that gives you the full house.

Then at the right moment, put the candidate/card down.

#winning

 

 


Mindfulness and Meditation Might Be Bad For Your Company...

There's a great scene in the movie The Matrix i'll use as the intro to talking about mindfulness.  It goes something like this - one of the machines (Agent Smith) has captured the leader of the human resistance, and he can't help but taunt his prisoner (Morpheus) about how stupid the human race is.  The quote is as follows:

"Did you know that the first Matrix (editors note - this is the software program the human minds are plugged into as prisoners) was designed to be a perfect human world where none suffered, where everyone would be happy? It was a disaster. No one would accept the program, entire crops were lost. Some believed that we lacked the programming language to describe your perfect world, but I believe that as a species that human beings define their reality through misery and suffering. So the perfect world was a dream that your primitive cerebrum kept trying to wake up from. Which is why the Matrix was redesigned to this, the peak of your civilization. I say "your civilization" because as soon as we started thinking for you, it really became our civilization which is, of course what this is all about."

Translation - there can be a lot of unintended consequences to what seems like the right thing to do. Smith

So let's talk about mindfulness and meditation. I haven't been bitten by the bug, but I've actually been at conferences where someone asked the question if they could force people to use the meditation rooms at her company.

I'm not joking. 

Mindfulness and meditation are hot topics/trends in the cutting edge of corporate America.  There are a lot of people experimenting with this.  We accept through research that this is good for our employees (I'm assuming, I don't have research to quote), but we've never really asked if it's good for the company or even the employee's career.  Hmm.

A new study digs into that question. More from the BBC:

"Meditation has long shed its Buddhist roots to become a secular answer to all of our ills in the West, with numerous studies finding benefits like reduced stress and better concentration.

Some of the world’s biggest firms, including Google and Nike, have embraced the practice, using meditation programmes as a way of tackling stress, staff turnover and absenteeism.

Meditation is also used as a tool to motivate workers, partly thanks to research on the relationship between wellbeing and productivity. But a new study suggests that mindfulness meditation, a popular type of meditation that practises being aware in the present, may not be the best way to increase your motivation at work."

That's the level set for the research.  Here's what the study found about mindfulness meditation, which is a flavor you''ll encounter on your journey if you explore the sector of meditation:

“Meditation is about accepting the present, which is the opposite to being motivated to do something, where the present moment isn’t acceptable, so meditation is inconsistent with being motivated to achieving a goal,” argues Kathleen Vohs, professor of marketing at the University of Minnesota and co-author of the study.  

Vohs enlisted hundreds of participants to test her theory across five studies. In the first, 109 participants were given audio instructions in common mindfulness meditation techniques by a meditation coach. A comparison group were asked to simply let their minds wander.

After one 15-minute session, all participants were asked to tackle some simple tasks including doing an anagram puzzle and editing a cover letter. They were then asked how motivated they felt to carry on with the task.

Vohs, and her co-author Andrew Hafenbrack from the Católica Lisbon School of Business and Economics in Portugal, found that the self-reported motivation levels of those who had meditated were lower than the control group, though their performance of the task wasn’t affected. The meditators also had fewer thoughts about the future, which the researchers said could interrupt the behavioural processes that contribute to achieving goals.

“The Western world, Americans in particular, love a panacea,” she says. “If mindfulness meditation came in a pill form, we’d all be on top of it. It’s calorie-free, portable, it doesn’t cost anything, and it’s capitalised onto you sitting down and doing nothing. To think the antidote to what ails you is to ‘just be’ is probably a welcome message, but it’s pure speculation.”

Meditation is a fast-growing industry – in 2018 meditation services are expected to generate $1.15bn for the US economy, according to IBISWorld’s Alternative Healthcare Providers in the US industry report – and Vohs’ message is an unusual one amid a generally positive tide.

Another study from Germany and the Netherlands that looked at mindfulness in the workplace, meanwhile, found participants reported improved wellbeing and lower stress levels, but didn’t look at motivation. 

So, the picture is mixed and, according to Desbordes, compounded by confusion over what mindfulness actually is. Some mindfulness teachers, she says, teach the importance of putting your daily suffering aside to achieve a new level of consciousness, whereas others advocate gaining insight into these challenges and how to improve them; two very conflicting approaches."

Look, I'm just a kid from the Midwest who lived in a blue collar household growing up.  

Am I skeptical of meditation and mindfulness?  Yes.  Am I open to learning more? Yes - and I have an app on my phone as proof I know I should be exploring this more.

But the article referenced above is a cautionary tale to me.  Agent Smith had to make the Matrix less than perfect to get the results the machines wanted.  Mindfulness Meditation might put your employees so much as ease that they're more mellow than you'd like them to be about goals.

The truth and the right solution is out there somewhere - but you're going to have to invest a lot of time to find it - and to ensure you don't get unintended consequences from your meditation program.

(h/t to Jenny Briggs for the article referenced, she's one of the best Human Capital pros I know!!)

 


Check Out My Interview on Jennifer McClure's Impact Maker's Podcast...

Recently I had to the opportunity to appear on Jennifer McClure's Impact Makers Podcast.  Jennifer's doing a great job with this podcast - very high end, go subscribe here - and of course, take a listen to my interview by clicking play on the embedded player below (email subscribers, click through if you don't see the player) or simply click this link to go to the landing page for my conversation with Jennifer.

I've never been called the Oprah of HR - but I'll take it!  Excerpt from Jennifer's write up below:

"Are you ready to meet the Oprah of HR? On today’s episode of Impact Makers, Jennifer sits down with the infamous HR wizard, Kris Dunn. He is the founder of two popular blogs The HR Capitalist and Fistful of Talent and is also the CHRO of Kinetix, an Atlanta-based recruiting, RPO and HR consulting firm.

As one of the first well-known HR bloggers, Kris is known for his conversation tone, fun references, and an impressive 5-day-a-week schedule. Jennifer asks him how this consistency has played into the success of his blogging and writing endeavors.

If you can manage to build and maintain a following of readers like Kris has, the potential for meeting new people and finding new opportunities skyrockets. Jennifer and Kris talk about the various relationships – both personal and professional – that have come about through blogging, as well opportunities for career advancement. Kris talks about how his blogging fit into his career at different points in his life."

Take a listen via the player below or through the links above.  Make sure to subscribe to Jennifer's podcast by clicking here as she's doing great things with this podcast.