Welcome to Donna Rogers, MEd., SPHR Blog Site!

I share insights into the field of Human Resources Management from my perspective and experience, information upcoming conferences and seminars I participate in, as well as a bit about my personal life from time to time as it relates to my profession. I hope you enjoy and encourage you to connect with me on other social media platforms.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Blast the DAMN Email!

Seriously! I have been trying to find time to write this post for some time now. Over the years I have been hearing time after time about companies who have serious communication issues. I have worked for and consulted for companies like this. As hard as one works to improve the problem, the reality is bad communication in organizations is like smoking, overeating, & cussing. Sometimes its just a hard habit to break.

Communication problems are not new but what seems to be a commonality in companies in more recent years is they seem to rely too heavily on EMail rather than picking up the phone or walking 10 feet across the hall to talk "in person" to their coworker, supervisor, or owner. Personally I think hours of employee labor could be saved if folks would consider the good old fashion way of communicating.

Don't get me wrong, I too have been known to rely on it too heavily at times as well. I'm not perfect by any means but I can recognize that at some point a little personal contact can do the organization and people involved a great deal of good. I had a situation like this just yesterday and could tell when one individual who threw out the ball (opinions overhead) they started feeling bad that they did. I picked up the phone as soon as I could and I think the result is that we are both more clear about what was going on and are better equipped that we were before to handle the situation proactively as we move forward. Had I let the problem continue via email we may not have been able to move on and get it behind us as quickly as we did.

I am not sure where and when this overuse of email problem starts. I do know that I have to remind my students often to use the phone when they don't hear from group members. What I have noticed is that it seems to be a cultural acceptance issue. I have one client who use to send "written notes" before email became a popular means of communication. That same client now uses email to demand information from each other, blame others for the job not getting done, and drag the problem on for much longer than necessary. Imagine how much more productive they would be if they put people first and blast the DAMN email in their business. Until someone steps up and says STOP it the shit will continue to stir. Employees and Managers alike need to recognize when the email is driving communication down and do something about it.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Linking Up With LinkedIn

While the concept of “networking” has existed for some time, “social networking” is still quite new. We all know what “social networking” is, right - Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, 4Square, Tumbler, and on and on. The growth of social media is on the rise and firms are eagerly participating or looking to participate in the craze. Human Resource “HR” professionals are finding many uses for social networking websites, including recruiting, screening, as well as branding (Society for Human Resource Management, 2008).

Of all the social networking sites today, one particular site has over eight years of experience in professional networking, LinkedIn (Linked In Corp, 2011). In 2005 LinkedIn was already recognized as “one of the more popular professional online networking sites” (Berkshire, 2005). Today LinkedIn has over 120 million members and a valuation of close to $8 billion (Raice, 2011).

Aside from LinkedIn’s prominence in the social networking marketplace, it plays a huge part in recruiting. According to a 2010/11 Jobvite survey, “LinkedIn has led in recruiting usage each year and now almost all of those surveyed (87%) use the professional network, up from 78% last year” (Jobvite, 2011). In the same survey, 64% of firms used two or more social media sites for recruiting and 95% of firms reporting, hired from LinkedIn. Clearly, LinkedIn is a powerhouse in online professional social networking. Just as well, LinkedIn is known for having a comprehensive resume database (Light, 2011).

LinkedIn’s demographics matter too. About 55% of LinkedIn users are male, about 61% are between the ages of 35-54, about 57% have at least a bachelor’s degree, and somewhat interesting is that about 27% earn between $50,000 and $75,000 annually (Chappell, 2011). LinkedIn users also average about 60 connections (Ramirez, 2011). Most often, LinkedIn users are recognized as “white collar professionals” (SHRM Foundation, 2011, p. 13). These demographics play a pivotal role in how firms use LinkedIn as well as what distinguishes LinkedIn from Facebook with regards to how it is used as a recruiting tool.

Firms entirely cannot ignore social media; they must find a practical and effective use, if they do not their competition will (SHRM Foundation, 2011, p. 13). Social media’s influence on recruiting is self-evident; it is far more interactive than job postings on corporate websites or on national job boards. Moreover, networking plays a vital role in recruiting as well as employee relationships. This is where the distinction in the social media offerings of today appears. For example, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner said, “users prefer to keep personal and professional social networks separate” (Light, 2011). Twitter and Facebook all have areas that set them apart from each other as well as LinkedIn.

Nevertheless, the power of LinkedIn shines in relationships. LinkedIn allows users to join groups of shared interests, or firms can find ways to promote opportunities in unique ways on LinkedIn. For example, PricewaterhouseCoopers developed an application on LinkedIn that allows college students to track career paths of graduate trainees currently at PwC, to allow them to see the development of their careers (Espinoza, 2011). Fascinating to note in Mr. Espinoza’s interview with the PWC Chairman, Mr. Dennis Nally, is that Mr. Nally feels the “human capital agenda is driven by the CEO” but yet, is “so strategic today that you want to have great support coming from the HR organization.” Mr. Nally also goes on in the interview to describe why his firm has to have more dynamic polices to suit newer generations of workers, specifically the Millennium generation, who tend to be more technological (Espinoza, 2011).

The relationship building goes beyond the millennium generation. One of the best pools of potential candidates for employment are the “passive candidates.” LinkedIn allows users to share the word of their “latest accomplishments, ambitions, and employment changes” and this information is valuable to recruiters in finding passive candidates (Adams, 2011). While recruiting passive candidates is still recruiting, it is also about building that relationship to ultimately attract or convince the candidate to make the job or career change, as if there were actively seeking opportunities the recruitment process would be more re-active.

LinkedIn is not Facebook. Facebook has more national and global users and users of Facebook spend more time on Facebook than most other social media (SHRM Foundation, 2011, p. 13). LinkedIn continues to grow and is developing additional user specific applications to assist businesses; LinkedIn will continue to distinguish itself from Facebook and Twitter (Morrison, 2009). LinkedIn is a valuable tool for recruiting, but is also a valuable tool for networking among professionals, including HR professionals.

LinkedIn, nor Twitter or Facebook, will replace the face-to-face connection. LinkedIn strives to provide the online networking arena for job seekers of all sorts to connect with firms. It also provides an online venue for like-minded professions to establish as well as maintain connections, connections made either online or in person.

References
  • Adams, S. (2011, April 27). Make LinkedIn Help You Find A Job. Forbes.Com , p. 37.
  • Berkshire, J. C. (2005, April 1). 'Social Network' Recruiting. HR Magazine , 50 (4).
  • Chappell, B. (2011, April 6). 2011 Social Network Analysis Report – Geographic – Demographic and Traffic Data Revealed. Retrieved October 22, 2011, from Ignite Social Media: http://www.ignitesocialmedia.com/social-media-stats/2011-social-network-analysis-report/
  • Espinoza, J. (2011, July 11). PwC Chairman Aims to Keep Millennials Happy. Wall Street Journal .
  • Jobvite. (2011). Jobvite Social Recruiting Survey 2011. Burlingame: Jobvite.
  • Light, J. (2011, August 8). Recruiters Troll Facebook For Candidates They Like. Wall Street Journal , p. B.1.
  • Linked In Corp. (2011, October). About Us. Retrieved October 16, 2011, from Linked In: http://press.linkedin.com/about
  • Morrison, S. (2009, December 30). LinkedIn Wants Users to Connect More --- Amid Threat From Rivals, Business-Networking Web Site Takes a Page from Facebook's Play Book. Wall Street Journal , p. B.6.
  • Raice, S. (2011, September 19). LinkedIn CEO Tries to Look Past Valuation, Take Long View. Wall Street Journal Online .
  • Ramirez, K. (2011, August). Recruiting via Social Media. Smart Business Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky , p. 6.
  • SHRM Foundation. (2011). The SHRM Foundation Thought Leadership Retreat; HR's Role in Managing Business Risk. Executive Summaries (pp. 12-13,19). Chicago: SHRM Foundation.
  • Society for Human Resource Management. (2008, October 24). SHRM Poll – Social Networking Websites and Recruiting During Financially Challenging Times. Retrieved September 12, 2011, from Society for Human Resource Management: http://www.shrm.org/Research/SurveyFindings/Articles/Pages/SocialNetworkingWebsitesandRecruitingDuringFinanciallyChallengingTimes-SHRMPoll.aspx

Posted with permission from a UIS HR student who wishes to remain anonymous.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Accommodating Employees Who Serve as Senior Caregivers

Aging population impacts business operations and its bottom line due to the effects of senor care-giving on staff. The average worker will spend more years caring for a senior than they will care for children. Care-giving falls on women more often than it does on men. How does this issue impact your business and what can you do to ameliorate its effects?

The senior population is large enough that it is statistically improbable that any employee could avoid care-giving issues. These events most often occur for employees in their 40’s 50’s and 60’s. To date, there are no “Senior Lamaze” classes to prepare adult children for this role and its management. While couples have nine months to prepare for a baby, the role of senior care-giver usually begins with an emergency telephone call. The surprise leads to an adrenaline rush as our bodies prepare for fight or flight. Prolonged exposure to stress causes deleterious health effects. Thus, your bottom line health care costs can be improved by preparing and supporting staff who are senior care-givers.

One worker stated that his mother was still able to drive and care for herself. He recalled that, last February, he had taken her to the ER four times. He commented that these previous emergencies could lead to his future care-giving role. Most employees have not had a conversation with a senior professional. Does your human resources department have information available? Do you know about the “Lunch & Learn” program for care-givers run by the Area Agency on Aging for Lincolnland and its Caregiver’s Conference on August 16th? Did you know about the care-giver support programs through Third Age Living at ST. John’s Hospital?

When discussing care plans after the telephone call, many adult children recall events that were actually indicators but not recognized. When emergency calls come to your employees, they must take time off to handle the crisis. The parent who lives out of state requires even longer periods away from the job. Is your business prepared for that? If the emergency comes during your busy season, have you cross-trained others to keep things going if an employee is out? What would happen to your business if you were out? We have tornado shelters in this area Does your business have a senior caregiver support shelter system?

The effect on the employee goes beyond the time away from the office. Other care-giving related calls will happen during the day. Doctors, medical labs and nursing services operate during business hours. Staff who have been up all night may be more likely to have accidents or become ill themselves. What policies for family leave does your company have and are these shaped for the special needs of senior care-giving?

Every work place has celebrations of baby showers or funeral gatherings. Aside from social functions, these events herald a new status for the employee. They can become forums for advice, support or information-sharing. Our culture has not yet evolved a social forum for the new senior care-giver. It is helpful for a new care-giver to know of others in the same situation. Who is the ‘social leader’ in your organization? Does she know the current senior care-givers? Could she be assigned to put staff in touch with the new care-giver?

Part of the stress adult children experience comes from the aging process. Parents will often tell out-of-town children that they are “fine”. Parents may not ask for help before a crisis occurs. Simultaneously, adult children, aged 40-to-65, are in the most responsible portions of their careers. Thus, care-giving crises collide with the rising duties on the job. One adult child, a business owner, received a call from the police department. Her father had forgotten to pay the telephone bill and service was cut. He fell crossing an icy street to reach the neighbors. Her parents lived out of town. Employees who expect their parents to ask them for help will rarely receive such a request. In fact, as the capacities of the parent begin to diminish, they may be even more insistent on their autonomy. Insight is the mind’s most fragile flower, and it’s first to wither with age.

This is the first time in human history people are living to ages of Biblical length. Information geriatric professionals are learning has not filtered down to the average employee. One way to improve your bottom line and keep your employees in good health is to create a conduit for information by offering lunch time sessions, to discuss care-giving. An adult child said that his mother lived out in the country. She called him one night, fearfully, because a strange car was driving up the road to her house. He did not know which authority was responsible for her safety, nor did he have that telephone number. Sometimes a stress-reliever for the employee is as simple as acquiring basic information ahead of events.

Employee stress can also come from the interpersonal dynamics of adult siblings facing the parent care issue. Whether you notice an employee distracted after a sibling’s call or an employee quits and moves to care for a parent; you are not getting the help you hired them to provide. To keep good staff, help them to keep good relations as they deal with these parent-related issues: another good lunch-time forum topic. Remember Dicky Smuther’s classic line; ”Mom always liked you best!” It’s funny on television; it isn’t so funny when siblings deal with their parent’s care.

Another adult child asked, “When are they going to offer a course called, “Becoming a Parent to Your Parent”? She explained the emotions involved in the role reversal as well as her efforts to recognize that her parent as an adult. There are a number of books on this subject or this topic could be a lunch-time discussion. Would the capital expense of putting together a small lending library be less expensive than paying for the health care and operations costs incurred from senior care?

This is a Guest Post by Sara Lieber, Senior Sidekicks, Medical Visit Companion Services
seniorsidekicks@gmail.com; (217) 787-5866; www.seniorsidekicks.com

Saturday, December 3, 2011