Human Capital Newsreel

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Saturday, January 24, 2015

A New Way to Work: When Your Office Space Reflects Your Core Values

Landmark Hospitality
As I left a recent presentation at one of our clients, I noticed the design of the hallway leading into the area. My comment was “wow.”
It stopped me in my tracks. The walls were adorned with a blow up of their core values. The other side of the wall were positive thoughts from famous people. I called it a Hallway of Positivity.
With all the talk about culture in organizations today, it makes me proud when I see organizations go all out in trying to create this atmosphere. I sure there are some that will say something like, “yes, but do they live it?
A visual focus on what your culture is about
Landmark Hospitality
Good question, but my take is that during this design process, they could have just agonized over the color of paint and let that be it. But as I walk through their hallways, there are subtle signs throughout that hone in on the same message. That message is, “this is what we are about.”
Today your organization must use every opportunity to talk about what they are about. It is kind of like the soft sell in advertising — keep it front and center at all times.
As I thought more about this, I realized that this type design enables and has the ability to stimulate human flourishing. Walking down a bland hallway, entranceway or walking down that same space with a stimulating color and quotes creates the atmosphere.
If you have ever traveled to Hong Kong, you will realize that no space is wasted. Every available inch of outdoor space is used in some way [whether you agree or not].
But think about all the space within organizations, from the bland conference room to the beige walls in the hallway, that just screams normality. Then, take that same space and try to spice it up in a way that reinforces what you are about, because in a more ways that you can imagine, your employees are your customers.
Designing for positivity
In U.S.-based HR, we tend to think that the sun rises and sets on what we do and our environment. But, take it from someone who has traveled the world of HR; we are, in a lot of cases, just catching up.
In my travels, I have seen some of the most incredible workplaces ever. I have spent time with HR executives who have their CEO in the room.
Yes, that is correct. At our HR meetings, lots of times, the CEO will join the discussion.
I’ve found myself going into a discussion on engagement when someone mentions that we have 41 nationalities within our company. There is no one size fits all. What is important to one does not always translate. However one CEO mentioned that, “everyone wants to be treated with respect and valued regardless of their nationality.
I visited one workspace where the company had taken over a huge villa as the corporate office. From the moment you walked in you got the “wow” factor.
It felt like a home and it created that soothing environment. I could just imagine what it would be like to work in that every day. From the entry way to the outdoor barbecue area, it felt relaxed and positive.
Core values can translate
The wall painting I mentioned earlier listed these core values: passion, integrity, empowerment and adapting. Those values are discussed at their HR meeting and decisions are filtered through that lens. This is the only way to get traction and maintain a level of “zen “throughout the office.
Stimulating workplaces are the next frontier in this ongoing quest to build the type of environment that stimulates and invigorates your workforce. In order to come up with innovative ideas, creativity is essential. Therefore, companies should focus on stimulating creativity in your workplace.
When I enter workspaces throughout the world, I look for what I call the “edge.” Do I feel “it” when I get off the elevator? As I glance around the waiting area what is it telling me?
Think of entry spaces as the induction not only for new employees, but also customers, investors and potential clients. Is your space sending a message?
I worked for a company in my past which had the executive team spread throughout the building. The leadership team was all over;there was no leadership row. When the new CEO arrived, she immediately created an executive floor complete with mahogany walls, etc. The unwritten rule was that if you did not have business on the floor, do not venture there. It was the beginning of the end.
Is your office welcoming?
I arrived for a meeting at one company and the waiting area screamed creativity, but what took my breath away was a marquee that literally welcomed every visitor. That was a first, but throughout this space, from the conference room to the break room, there was a distinct feeling that this was not your normal office.
The days of a coffee machine and a refrigerator in a break room is wasted creative space. The lounge concept that a lots of companies are using creates a relaxed environment and a place of respite away from the hub-bub of doing business.
When people are less stressed and don’t feel pressured, creativity is stimulated, and great ideas are more likely to be born.
Good vibe or blank message?
So walk your halls, take a look around from the waiting area to the conference room and think about
what you are seeing. Is it a good vibe or it is sending a blank message?
If it is just a bland and run of the mill entryway and workspace, you will not be the only one that notices it, everybody else already has.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Are You Ready For Your HR Career to Finally Go Global?

My name is xxxxx — where are u headed?
I replied that I was heading to Dubai and the conversation started (which was eased by the champagne served in business class).
My seatmate was from Russia. As the conversation continued, our other seat mate chimed in, she was from India. The couple sitting across from us was from Cape Town, South Africa. As I looked around the plane, it seems that we had a mini-UN of travel aboard.
Where is Dubai, anyway?
I was headed back from holiday in the U.S. Our first stop was London, and then we all separated as I was headed back home to Dubai.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

HR Advice to Start 2015: Resolve to Listen More to Your People This Year

“But, it is the General Manager who so sets the tone and culture in an organization.
That statement, by a local reporter, followed the recent firing of New York Jets football coach Rex Ryan. As I watched the news over the holidays, I saw that there were a lot of sports people who lost their jobs.
As another famous football executive, Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells, explained years ago, “you are what your record says you are.”
How did you do?
As one year ends and another begins, it is always a good time to reflect on our work and accomplishments for the past year.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Becoming a Talent Specialist: You Just Need to Find Your HR Sweet Spot

We have had approximately 22 speakers over the past few day. Our focus was on Employee Engagement. We have sliced/diced it every way possible.
We have heard theory, metrics, branding, and plain old common sense — all in the guise of getting our employees more engaged. But in order for each of us as HR professionals to get our organizations back on track, we must be engaged with what we do.
Those were my closing words at the recent Employee Engagement Forum held in Dubai Dec. 7-8. I speak at a lot of conferences in the Middle East, and in close to two years working in this region, I have participated either as conference chair or keynote speaker at approximately 18 various conferences from Istanbul to Nigeria and throughout the Middle East.
Finding your HR “sweet spot”

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Breathe Deep ...........

My father mentioned to me that the police was following us. 

The year was the early 80’s and he had just picked up his new Cadillac Fleetwood and we were driving back to my home in New Jersey.  My parents were in the back seat and my son who was a little boy at that time was sitting in the front with me.

Yes, I did notice that as soon as we passed he pulled out.  Minutes later we were pulled over.  He walked slowly to the car eyeing everyone in the car.  He pulled me over not because I was speeding but as he said “there were reports of stolen cars”.  I am like really “stolen cars with senior citizens sitting in the back seat”.  He wanted all documentation on this “nice car” as he put it.  I literally had to show him that yes my parents just bought this car with all the accompanying documentation.

After checking everything over numerous times, I knew, not to respond, make any “quick moves” etc. because in the blink of an eye, I could have become a statistic like these issues that are going on in the US today

A new generation but same effect

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Are You Taking Care of Your Own Scheduled Maintenance?

“The scheduled maintenance light came on; what do I do?”
As we enter December, which is the end of our calendar year, I thought of my wife’s comments above. She freaks out every time a light flashes. My reply was that it is simply time for thescheduled maintenance.
I went online and with a few clicks arranged to drop it off, get her a loaner car, and it was all done. Every auto manual lays out a timeline for maintenance based on mileage and what needs to be done in order for your car to work optimally.
Design your owner’s manual
It struck me that this is the perfect metaphor for careers and life. However, we do not get an owner’s manual for our lives.

Monday, November 24, 2014

A Few Things to Consider If You Want My Help in Finding a Job

Thank you for accepting my request. l am currently looking for a job and l was wondering if you could help me? l am in Dubai on a tourist visa. Please find below my CV.
Can you kindly review my CV and help me find a job?
My husband needs a new job. He is a hard worker; please help him find a job.
I am a mechanical engineer; can you get me job in your firm?
All in a week’s work.
The art of approaching someone properly
Requests like the ones above come into me periodically and I am sometimes stunned by the lack of clarity and focus of them. I joked to a colleague the other day that maybe I should just set up a career guidance business to handle so many of these requests.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

In Case You’ve Forgotten, Here’s How Real Leadership Looks

“This holiday season, you’ve probably seen or read about all the retailers opening their doors as early as 6 pm on Thanksgiving Day. We have decided not to follow that trend. Instead, we believe family comes first and you should be at home celebrating with them on this special holiday. This means none of our stores will be open on Thanksgiving Day. In addition, none of our stores will be open before 7 am on Black Friday. ” -- Michael R. MacDonald, CEO, DSW Shoes

I came across this on Facebook the other day. It rang so true to me since my wife and a lot of her friends work in retail from the management end.

A visible expression of company culture

One of the great features of the Internet, for me, is to read through the comments of others and get a sense of other people’s concerns.

The comments read:

“I like this company even more! I’ll buy all my shoes and sneakers there from now on.”

“I’ll be shopping at DSW.”

“I wish other stores would follow their lead! Of course if we, as consumers, refused to shop on Thanksgiving the stores would quit opening on family holidays.”

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Someone Is Always Watching or Listening, So Make Your Message Clear

Do I know you?

Someone commented on a picture that I posted on Facebook, saying to me that  “you look more and more like your daddy.”
When the person responded to that question, I was in for the surprise of my life. The woman grew up a few blocks from me, and yes, our families knew each other.
However, she proceeded to tell me a story of how she idolized my brother, who was a saxophone player. She is now a doctorate in music and known the world over for her music prowess.
Refocused and reinvigorated
She told me that from the 4th grade on she would just marvel at my brother’s ability to play the instrument. I was incredulous.  How did that made such a formidable impression on her to the point that it caused her life’s calling? She said she knew then what her career trajectory would be. Talk about a life’s calling!