Category Archives: Management

Tis the season…

The holidays are here and no matter how or what one celebrates, there are some common themes. One of those themes coincides with one of the (free) ways to help improve an organization, business, morale, and retention: gratitude.

Image from http://jeanniepage.com/tag/gratitude-tree/

Since my last post, it is probably no surprise, that I have a new job with a new company. The environment and atmosphere (so far) feels completely different than my prior employer.

The biggest thing that I’ve seen and felt a change in is respecting employees and their time/effort/skills. There is a culture of gratitude that is refreshing and “real.” I repeatedly hear “thank you” and how people mean it.

So often people say thank you by rote or because it is forced. To feel sincerity in being appreciated really makes a difference.

Next time you say it, pay attention to how you say it. Pay attention to how often it is genuinely meant when you hear it and how it makes you feel.

You might be surprised.

Our biggest asset

… is our people.

Image from Changeyourgamebealeader.com

I’m sure you’ve heard it from hundreds of employers, read it in handbooks, and rolled your eyes as hard as I do.

Sabrina hits a nail fairly square in her latest post about how important it is for a company to know it’s employees.

In my company I’ve noticed a very interesting pattern in the past year. It’s a pattern that isn’t unexpected. We are starting to have a large number of voluntary turnover, especially at higher levels. Why? I theorize that the economy has crossed the tipping point, because these people are choosing to leave rather than it being involuntary.  (I have other theories based on other patterns, but that is another post.)

Frankly, I don’t blame them. My current manager whom I’ve worked under for  over a year doesn’t know I’m where I call home, nor have they communicated to me why I got an unexpected raise three months ago. They don’t know me, nor do they show that they care anything about me or understand the company’s actions/motivations.

To a recruiter, I am ripe for the plucking. And if I do say so, I’m quite the catch. 😉

A very wise leader once told me that employees are the company’s clients. I believe it was hearing those words echo in my head while reading Sabrina’s post led to my nodding head and this earnest post. If your employees are your clients, just as important as those that purchase your goods and services, why aren’t you treating them better and getting to know them?

Another point Sabrina slyly snuck into her post is that I have to wonder, why so many benefits – like tuition reimbursement – are underutilized. A strong suspicion I have based on what I have seen in my own career and in working with thousands of clients, is that it isn’t communicated! Imagine if, in a chat between coworkers or manager/subordinate in getting to know one’s dream that they could match it with an existing program? An employee who loves to volunteer at their local polling location learns that the company gives you a paid day to do that! Imagine the good will built with five minutes and no money (because the program is already in place.)

Sure, everyone is replaceable. But with the costs of replacing employees, do you really want to focus your resources on attracting, rather than retaining? You work to retain your clients/customers, don’t you? Well, your employees are just as important to woo; they are your customers too.

Continuous Improvement and Poker Face

There are days I love my job, today was one of them.

I’m a big believer that nothing is ever set in stone, nor should it. I had the privilege and pleasure to be part of my second experience to review current processes with a cross sectional team to change things for the better. I swear that my employer’s unspoken motto is akin to Big Brother, “expect the unexpected.”

Continuous improvement has many names depending upon the industry. It is a long, painful process. It has proved interesting to see how the “future state” and “pie in the sky” end result actually implements. Luckily, regardless of how close reality is to the envisioned future state, improvements are generally the result.

Even when not leading the team (although it could be done by HR for any company) it shows just how much HR (be it generalist or a specialist) are project managers. Let’s face it, if it is an I-9 Audit; AAP; annual enrollment; updating the on boarding process; reviewing job descriptions, salary structures, and employee alignment – HR is nothing but projects and improving things!

Another very important part of HR is having a poker face. I read in the past year a great article about how to improve yours and been practicing! (Read my admitting to failing at it here.)I felt that I did a fabulous job at using it in the meeting today, only emitting one raised eyebrow over the course of 9 hours (while on 4 hours sleep and being in physical pain.) But I know that I have mastered it due to a recent four day ordeal in my personal life where despite being under tremendous stress and difficult situations I held it together for the 90% of the time.

Do you have any stories or tips to share about continuous improvement or poker faces?

Chief Financial Officer

For the past tw0 years I have had the honor and privilege of being the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of a nonprofit. The organization is a 501(c)7 with annual gross receipts under $50,000.

Image from http://myob.com.au/

I have learned a lot in these years about accounting, forecasting, budgeting, insurance, tax, credit, statistics, and reporting. In the beginning I relied heavily upon resources from preparing for my PHR and World at Works’s Accounting and Finance for the Human Resources Professional. I got to expand my experience in leadership, as the role was an Officer of the organization (reporting to the CEO and on the same level as the COO) as well as management as I had two “minions” that reported to me and assisted me with various items (one was keying data, the other with preparing taxes.)

In my tenure, I accomplished all of the goals I set those 26 months ago. Let me illustrate the situation when I started the role: 5 months before I took the role the former CFO was found to have (and admitted to) stealing funds from the organization. Due to on going investigations I can’t say much, but corporate counsel has stated I can share it was tens of thousands of dollars. The organization, being 100% volunteer run and operations financed 100% by donations this was a huge challenge to take on.

I am very happy to state that through my aforementioned skills (budgeting, etc) and working with a fantastic Executive team, I was able to repay nearly $10,000 in debt; build up a financial cushion of $10,000+; create reporting where previously there was none; documented the heck out of policies and procedures for a layman to understand and is also compliant with FASB standards. Repairing the trust of the organization donors was of paramount importance, to which I went to great lengths to improve transparency surrounding all financial matters. I reduced financial waste with the new procedures/policies saving the organization $1,000+ annually. My biggest accomplishment was playing forensic accountant and going through the previous three years of records to audit, amend taxes, and provide documentation towards the on going actions against the former CFO.

I am very proud of this accomplishment and experience. Like all good things, this is coming to an end. I have submitted my resignation. Being that it was a volunteer position (aka no pay) and it takes a lot of time (30-40 hour a week!) I feel I need to redirect my energy and time into that which pays me and being a more well rounded individual for better balance, grounding, and thus leave me able to offer more in what I do. I look forward to training my successor and ensuring that they are set up for success, so that the organization can also be successful.

SHRM certification

Congratulations on achieving your SHRM-CP.

Today I took advantage of the SHRM-CP tutorial to get the certification for free. I have to say that I actually like and see the validity of the competency based nature of this certification and how it will lend credence to Human Resources as a whole and a business partner.

I have largely staid out of the fray between the HRCI vs SHRM certification war. I’ve chosen to wait it out to see the offerings for comparison and see what the results are to organizations, professionals, and the profession as a whole over time. Without data it is hard to give an educated guess, and everyone has an opinion. 😉 I like my opinions to have weight.

It is early yet, since the certification was just offered for the first time three months ago, but it will be interesting to see when and which roles will require or prefer this certification. It will be interesting to see if it will be placed in relation to the HRCI certifications.

The part I enjoyed the most was the competency check lists. I answered as truthfully as possible, so that it could be a useful tool to me. I was pleasantly surprised that both my professional (paid) and volunteer experience places me predominantly in the Exec category.

Beaushene SHRM-CP competency chart

Beaushene SHRM-CP chart

 

 

 

 

 

 

The process took less than an hour, and was free. Can’t beat that! I really liked the situations and questions offered. Again, in the vein of being honest, I chose the best choice 7 of 9 times, the second best choice once, and one of the “what the heck, totally the wrong choice” once.

For one that does not currently have an HRCI or IPMA-HR to take the test is $300, which is $100 cheaper than the HRCI PHR. Being so new, it may not be eligible for tuition or expense reimbursement from organizations yet. To be fair, it has been five years since I took the PHR, so I cannot legitimately compare the SHRM-CP scenario quesitons to those of the PHR.

If an organization does reimburse you, why not go for both? Until the dust clears – which may be five to ten years from now, it is best to hedge ones bets. 😉 But if one is paying out of pocket, I would go for the HRCI certification simply due to its history and being well known.

Good luck which ever you decide. May the odds be in your favor!