Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Coaching Your Employees - Especially the Young Ones

It's funny how time brings wisdom in some areas of one's life and not so much in others. I guess we all have our teachable moments. Some stick. Some don't. Recently, I've been sought out for many questions related to seasonal work and how to find a summer job. Based on some of the questions, it's clear to me that job seeking skills are probably not taught as much as they need to be in school. Finding a job is tough, and recruiting, as John Sumser so eloquently wrote yesterday, is kaput.

Here is a sampling of some of the questions I get frequently.

  • Where should I apply?
  • To how many places should I apply?
  • I haven't heard anything back. Should I call them?
  • Which national park is the best?
  • What's housing like?
  • I've never worked at a seasonal job. What should I expect?
You know what's interesting is that the wage question is not asked as much as one might think. And really, the reason Cool Works exists, is because there are some pretty spectacular places out there to work and play, and the play always wins that argument.

As Community Manager, I've also had to get in the middle of conversations where feathers have been ruffled, feelings hurt, situations have just plain gone south, and people want to vent. Venting is fine, BUT, on a public network, where employers may lurk, venting should be done with the utmost discretion, and hence we have rules to refer to when things get murky. In my humble opinion, difficult work situations should be between the employer and the employee. They aren't for public consumption and discussion. Granted if something has occurred that is so flagrant where laws have been broken, there are protocols for protecting oneself, and by all means, do what you need to do.

(Notice that is me playing both sides of the equation. The former HR professional / now HR spectator, who still cares about the companies, but also has a soft spot for legitimate complaints from employees. Bottom line: Do unto others as you would have done to yourself. Working relationships should be about mutual respect.)

Anyhow, these questioning and excited "newbies" are on their way to you. Some have already arrived. Treat them well. Teach them how to be good representatives of your company. Help them grow in their skills. As wise Gordon, from many a SHRA conference, once said, these young people may not be working for you forever, but you sure have an opportunity in these three to six months to shape their futures. Take advantage of this time. Share your wisdom. Because ultimately, we, regardless of our generational baggage, have something to teach each other. And finally, make sure that every employee who comes to your great place has fun! You know that's why they're there, right?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Empathic Civilization

Both Eric and Bill from Cool Works shared this video on Facebook and I just watched it. I'm not sure exactly why I feel compelled to share it here, but it seems as good a place as any. And, certainly, I think HR people are aware of the differences out there in perspective, religion, ethnicity, et cetera, and may find this worthwhile to ponder. The narrator is Jeremy Rifkin, bestselling author, political adviser and social and ethical prophet.

A quote I especially like around 9:34:

But the point is we have to begin thinking as an extended family. We have to broaden our sense of identity. We don't lose the old identities of nationhood and our religious identities, and even our blood ties, but we extend our identities so we can think of the human race as our fellow sojourners, and our other creatures here as part of our evolutionary family, and the biosphere is our community. We have to rethink the human narrative.

Anyhow, it's just really interesting information/food for thought, and the fact that it's drawn on an electronic white board just rocks.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

It's New Hire Orientation Time

Are you going to bore them with the same old spiel? Are you going to mix it up? Take a couple of minutes and read Tim Sackett's guest post on Punk Rock HR for some good tips on making it better for all parties.

I love his idea of having non-HR people do the orientation and even better have them not present material from their own area of expertise. It's a win-win for everyone. You, as HR, don't have to do all of the talking. Your hiring managers get to learn new areas. Your new staff get to hear from multiple voices.

Personally I'm a fan of the scene in Tommy Boy where Chris Farley and David Spade do the safety spiel. It's probably the first time many of those passengers ever really watched it. Enjoy the clip and good luck with your new hire orientations.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Benefits - HR Happy Hour

Even though many seasonal employers may not offer health benefits to their employees, most employers do offer some benefits /perks like discounts, workers compensation, reduced cost meals, etc., to everyone. Whether you do or you don't offer benefits, this happy hour is worth a listen. It's good to be reminded of best practices related to benefits and this is the first time that the HR Happy Hour has addressed the subject. Jennifer Benz was the guest and she had some great tips for employers. The most important tip of all? Communicate, communicate, communicate.

Miscellaneous Suggestions:

  • Create a branded benefits summary to reduce confusion and communicate to your employees. Don't just use the plans' documentation.
  • Distribute a list of the hidden components of your benefits program called "The Ten Benefits That You're Missing" to capture their attention.
Thanks to Steve Boese and Shauna Moerke for continuing to host this great program.