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For the term "Human Resources".

On Your Mark… The Agile Launch

Without proper management and planning, major product launches can become derailed quickly and lose money as soon as they hit the market. Add to that a fire-drill mentality where project managers pull financial and human resources from other initiatives within an organization, and the ripple effect becomes easy to predict. The solution, some experts say, is enterprise project management based on agile methodology.

Agree to Disagree

The first rule of business and all successful relationships is to choose your battles carefully. In professional relationships, there is yet another dynamic to that sage advice, and that is to know how long to fight those battles! I’ll give you a hint: You won’t win all of those battles. In Human Resources, we get requests for training and mentoring on one skill more than any other: Communication in Professional Relationships. Let’s review how to approach a situation where you disagree with a peer, need to present your ideas or concerns to that person in a constructive manner and, most importantly, when you need to realize that it may be time simply to stand behind your decision and rally the troops.

Three Strategies to Mitigate Project Team Attrition Risk

What happens when a project manager faces team attrition? This article covers three strategies that can be applied during project planning, executing and controlling within the project human resources management and project risk management knowledge areas.

Topic Teasers Vol. 71: Better Estimates

Question: I have a person on my team who is constantly late with his activities. We’ve spoken, with me using my best managerial techniques, to try to help him understand the impact to the project when he does not finish work as planned. Where do I go from here?

A. When a person consistently does not finish as planned, there is a problem with team estimates. Hold a full team meeting to see what can be done to create more realistic estimates in the future by all team members.

B. You have an employee who obviously has no regard for the other members of the team. Put him on report, and if he misses even one additional deadline, either fire him or ask to have him removed from your team, depending on your power.

C. This person must be doing an acceptable job when he finishes; the issue is just with his estimating skills. Track his work and find a multiplying factor to use when adding his activities to the Work Breakdown Structure.

D. This employee seems to have a communication issue. He cannot clearly state how long it will take him to finish an activity he estimated himself, and he is not communicating to you when he will be late. See if Human Resources has a training class to help him become more articulate.

Pick your answer then Test Your Knowledge!

Topic Teasers Vol. 25: Wooing Functional Managers

Question: My team is made up of people who work for several different functional departments. When not working on my project work, they also produce for other project teams. How can I estimate how long my project will take when I never know if people are available when I need them?

A. Add a +15% pad to the project estimate, then meet with functional managers to set up an on-demand workflow system.

B. Ask each potential team member to vow to put aside what is on their desk if your project work needs to be done.

C. Ask Human Resources to institute a 10% bonus for the workers if your project meets the original project estimate deadline.

D. Demand a dedicated team from upper management, as this is the only efficient way to do a project.

Pick your answer then Test Your Knowledge!

Topic Teasers Vol. 43: Benefits Management Is Hard!

Question: How much more can they heap on a project manager? Now I’m being asked to handle the benefits management for this project. There was nothing about this in my PMP prep course, or on the exam. Is the latest trend that anything no one wants to do becomes the responsibility of the PM? How do I proceed when I don’t even understand what this is?

A. Benefits management is now often asked of the project manager, but you should position yourself as the process facilitator, not the “responsible party”. Otherwise, they’ll blame you if the project benefits aren’t realized.

B. Benefits management has to do with salary, union contracts, insurance, 401K plans, sexual harassment concerns and training classes. It is rightly positioned in the human resources department, not in a project environment.

C. Since the outcome of your project is the sole indicator of whether or not the business objective will produce revenue, tracking benefits realization logically fits into the responsibility of the project manager.

D. Tracking benefits management is a time inhibitor in a project plan. For that reason, if your project is to finish as estimated, benefits management should be outsourced to a third-party organization.

Pick your answer then Test Your Knowledge!

Topic Teasers Vol. 79: 21st Century Training

Question: My project team needs a substantial amount of training to tackle its latest project challenge. However, my organization just doesn’t have the time and money to fund the traditional classroom approach we have used in the past. Sitting through endless hours of online instructor droning won’t really engage and inspire me and my colleagues. Are there any other options available to us?

A. Ask human resources to reassign you to a different project where the team members are appropriate for the upcoming challenges. It is beyond the scope of your position to manage the project and also be asked to assume responsibility for their qualifications to complete the assigned work.

B. On the weekends, work to create your own training lectures. Ask your colleagues to donate one evening a week to work offsite with you in the interest of building a team better prepared to deliver the project objectives within the estimated metrics.

C. Suggest to your manager that the current team isn’t trained on the skill sets they need for your upcoming project. Propose retaining 50% of them, but replace the other 50% with others who already have mastered the needed expertise. The people you have kept can now be paired with the newcomers to learn the needed information.

D. Consider some of the blended learning options—which could be internal, external or a combination—for a more customized option that is likely to be more easily understood and adopted in daily use by your team. Focus on opportunities that use more hands-on exercises and methodologies to keep participants engaged.

Pick your answer then Test Your Knowledge!

Topic Teasers Vol. 95: Talking to Teams

Question: I like being a project manager because I’m comfortable with the orderliness of schedules, details and calculating data. There’s not so much comfort for me around dealing with teams and individual team members. Working with them is so different for each person. Are there any quick tips for at least being a little better dealing with this important part of my projects, where I admit I’m weak?

A. The reality is that managing projects is all about the people. Despite training or certification, if you do not have exemplary people skills you should not be in this field. Working well with others is something you either learn as a child or will never learn. It’s too late now.

B. Why do you want to waste valuable time coddling team members? Make sure they know that you are the authority for the team, and that your word goes. If they do not do what they should in the timeframe you have allocated, ask your human resources department the procedure for putting them on notice that without corrections to their behavior, they will be terminated.

C. Look at the way you talk to children, or at least read articles about what you should and shouldn’t say to them. This can give you an easy and familiar framework to think through what to avoid and what to say to the people on your team who, in theory at least, are adults.

D. Consult the human resources department to see if you can take college courses with the financial support of the company. If you can, work toward a psychology or marketing degree. People in marketing tend to know how to bend people to do what they want them to do. In three or four years, you will have some information you can apply at work.

Pick your answer then Test Your Knowledge!

Transition Management

The transfer of knowledge from existing human resources to their successors must be managed effectively to ensure business continuity and successful project execution. This article explains the different approaches to permanent and temporary transitions and highlights best practices that enable efficient transition management.

The Successor Problem…and Solution

Human resources are the most valuable asset for any organization. But for small- and medium-sized companies, a lack of competent successors can be an easy trap. Business owners should set a number of key performance indicators for their organization–and for key personnel.

Topic Teasers Vol. 41: Mindful Mentoring

Question: I think I’m a pretty decent project manager and now I’ve been asked to mentor three new hires that are also going to be in our department. They are CAPMs, but this is their first job out of college so management wants me to prepare them for our environment. I don’t want to scare them or discourage them, so how honest can I be about the project manager’s role?

A. Working with CAPMs will take precious time away from your own project. Ask someone from human resources if they can step in and do this organizational orientation for the new people. That’s what they get paid to do.

B. CAPMs, or even some PMPs, will know the processes and the formulas of the job, but not the peripheral tasks that often determine success or failure on a project in your organization. Find a straightforward way to make them aware of the additional responsibilities they will encounter, but don’t make it list of horror stories from your own past.

C. In order to keep this training positive, you may be too close to the negative parts of the company process surrounding projects to be effective. Ask your lead team member to work with these three and have him/her recount objectively what you do on a daily basis.

D. Despite management’s concerns regarding the new hires, anyone with a CAPM is prepared to hit the ground running. It will sap time from their projects and your own for the four of you to meet. Let them know that if they need you, they can e-mail you and you will send a quick response.

Pick your answer then Test Your Knowledge!

Topic Teasers Vol. 20: QA, QC and Testers

Question: I’m so confused. I was a Quality Tester at my last job, but here the employees seem to use the titles Quality Assurance, Quality Control and Testing interchangeably. I started out in a more traditional organization, but now I’m a tried and true agile believer. Since I have no job description, what are my responsibilities?

A. The three concepts are often used interchangeably. Ask what it means in your new organization and accept that as your role in your workplace reality despite the real definition.

B. Find the specific meanings for each term from a university professor in the town where you work. Use that information to correct the organization so that they use proper terminology.

C. Once you learn your job description from Human Resources, create a new title for yourself so that others can understand what you do. Perhaps Defect Engineer would be apt.

D. Since agile teams work without formal processes or documentation, there is no need to answer to a particular title. Everyone on the team is merely a team member.

New PMI Book: Impact of Allied Disciplines on PM

New research publication from the Project Management Institute focuses on the impact of related disciplines such as human resources and supply chain management on trends in the project management field.

Dress Codes for Work – Best Skills

How you dress is important for work. Use these human resources tips to compare the differences between formal, business casual and casual dress codes, and decide which is best for your workplace.

Discrimination in the Workplace – Best Skills

Discrimination by gender, age, disability, orientation, ethnicity, religion and any other form is forbidden in the workplace. Follow these human resources tips to manage and avoid workplace discrimination.

Change Management Tips – Best Skills

As the speed of change increases, change management is a fundamental competency needed by Human Resources staff and organization leaders. Here are tips.

Employee Wellness in the Workplace – Best Skills

Your workplace should promote a healthy, responsible lifestyle for employees and their families. Use these human resources tips to learn what employers and employees can do to support workplace morale, motivation and wellness.

Staffing With Diverse Work Schedules – Best Skills

Flexible work schedules attract talented employees from different backgrounds and create a friendly work environment. Use these human resources tips to staff your workplace effectively, and motivate and retain employees.

Three Trends Affect Social Media Adoption in Your Agency

While social learning is gaining in momentum among chief learning officers, chief talent officers, and heads of human resources, there are a number of barriers to adopting social learning for an organization. To implement social learning, one has to understand the larger trends affecting the changing workplace, as well as key barriers that prevent the adoption of social learning inside the organization. Three mega trends are having a huge impact on organizations: the increased use of social…

Retaining Troop Talent

As thousands of deployed military service members return to the United States from Iraq and Afghanistan, many will seek employment in the civilian job market. Some veterans leave the military by choice, others are at the conclusion of their tour of duty, and still others leave the service prematurely due to injuries sustained in the line of duty. Whatever the reason for leaving military service, the troops are a diverse and valuable talent pool for the public sector. There is much that learning and human resources professionals, as well as line managers, can and should do to contribute to veteran employment.

Recognizing Meaningful Progress

The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work by Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer. Passion and Purpose: Stories from the Best and Brightest Young Business Leaders by John Coleman, Daniel Gulati, and W. Oliver Segovia The e-HR Advantage: The Complete Handbook for Technology-Enabled Human Resources by Deborah Waddill and Michael Marquardt The Perfect Hire: A Tactical Guide to Hiring, Developing, and Retaining Top Sales Talent by Katherine Graham-Leviss  

Memorial Hermann Employs Web-Based Training to Remain Financially Viable

The human resources organization development & training (OD&T) department uses a variety of training delivery methods to offer educational opportunities to 20,000 employees across the greater Houston metropolitan area. Memorial Hermann Healthcare System emphasizes the use of technology to reduce costs associated…

Knowledge Walks Out the Door

For many organizations, the only planning being contemplated for retiring baby boomers is determining how many pizzas to order for the farewell party. A surprisingly low 4 percent of organizations reported having a formal knowledge-transfer process, according to a survey of 2,046 senior human resources and tr…

Employment and Benefits Outlook

In a recent survey of human resources professionals and managers conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management, the majority of respondents agreed that turnover will rise significantly once the job market improves, which they predict will occur within the next year.

Banner Health: Keeping the Promise in Challenging Times

Banner’s mission states, “We exist to make a difference in people’s lives through excellent patient care,” and Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Chief Talent Officer Ed Oxford explains that “Journey of a Lifetime” is the natural extension of that mission. “We promise to help make a difference in our em…

UAE consortium formed for INSEAD Executive Leadership Programme

(From AMEinfo.com) — Translating the UAE’s leadership vision of establishing the country to be the centre of leadership excellence in the region, Du, Dubai Holding, DUBAL and First Gulf Bank have formed a UAE-based consortium of principal companies in the country, and launched an Executive Leadership Programme in collaboration with INSEAD, one of the world’s largest and leading graduate business schools. The INSEAD Executive Leadership Programme (ELP) was conceived and designed to bring a higher level of training to executives at the Vice President and above levels in the UAE. “INSEAD’s Executive Education Programmes create an environment where individual, group and organisation-wide learning is achieved simultaneously. We are honoured to partner with the consortium made up of leading UAE companies, in order to bring comprehensive leadership training to future leaders,” said Dipak C. Jain, Dean of INSEAD. With an aim to expound upon the skill set already demonstrated by those in senior executive managerial levels, the ELP, which will be delivered by INSEAD, will hone the attributes necessary to becoming a company leader, focusing on Strategy and Planning; Customer Centricity; Financial Management; Strategic Human Resources and Supply Chain Management. In addition, the course develops team building leadership and incorporates personalised executive coaching, with participants taking part in live case studies and CEO panels.

Talent Mgmt Strategies in Recession and Recovery

Providence, RI ( PRWEB) March 17, 2009 — HR Technology Solutions, the developer of the HRToolbench online suite of HR applications designed specifically for small and mid-sized organizations, has announced the release of a white paper titled, “The Day After Tomorrow: What steps should you take to prepare your company and its talent management practices for the inevitable economic upturn?” This white paper provides guidance and direction for business owners, executives and human resource professionals who are seeking talent management solutions suitable both for a difficult economy today and improved prospects tomorrow. “Many business leaders are wondering what initiatives they should work on today to guarantee future success,” said Robert Levy, president of HR Technology Solutions. “This paper shows them how to develop an effective talent management strategy that meets their workforce needs during a recession and gives them a competitive edge when tomorrow’s recovery comes.” With insight from leading human resources practitioners and consultants, this paper discusses how development of competencies should be the basis for any talent management initiative, and drafting comprehensive job descriptions based on competencies will prepare a business to meet its current and future talent needs, among other advantages. This paper discusses how to build that strategy, including: ( Read the entire release on PRWeb.)

Survey: How Small Companies Respond to Recession

SAN LEANDRO, Calif.–( BUSINESS WIRE)–As the U.S. recession deepens and monthly job losses reach historic highs, a recent survey of more than 400 white-collar small businesses is shining a light on how small employers are evolving their human capital management practices in a down economy, and how employer practices are directly influenced by whether the small business owner is considered an “economic optimist” or an “economic pessimist.” Conducted by TriNet, a leading provider of human resources outsourcing and consulting services to small businesses, the TriNet Recession Practices Survey polled businesses in the technology, financial and professional services fields. The survey found that nearly half of the respondents fall in the category of being “economic optimists” and saw market conditions as least as good as in 2008. Of the economic pessimists, 34 percent viewed the economy as worse and 18 percent viewed it as much worse than 2008. When it comes to hiring and talent acquisition practices for white-collar small businesses, the survey found that hiring plans are still on the table, but are being scaled back overall, with more than half of respondents saying they will hire fewer employees in 2009. Just as consumer confidence influences the performance of the market, employer confidence influences their business’s response to it . Specifically, 28 percent of economic optimists are planning to hire more employees in 2009 than the previous year and only 4 percent of economic pessimists are planning to hire more in 2009. ( Read the entire release.)

Study: Long-held view of ‘bell curve’ in performance measurement proven flawed

(From Indiana University) — The dreaded bell curve that has haunted generations of students with seemingly pre-ordained grades has also migrated into business as the standard for assessing employee performance. But it now turns out — revealed in an expansive, first-of-its-kind study — that individual performance unfolds not on a bell curve, but on a “power-law” distribution, with a few elite performers driving most output and an equally small group tied to damaging, unethical or criminal activity. This turns on its head nearly a half-century of plotting performance evaluations on a bell curve, or “normal distribution,” in which equal numbers of people fall on either side of the mean. Researchers from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business predict that the findings could force a wholesale re-evaluation of every facet related to recruitment, retention and performance of individual workers, from pre-employment testing to leadership development. “How organizations hire, maintain and assess their workforce has been built on the idea of normality in performance, which we now know is, in many cases, a complete myth,” said author Herman Aguinis, professor of organizational behavior and human resources at Kelley. “If, as our results suggest, a small, elite group is responsible for most of a company’s output and success, then it’s critical to identify its members early and manage, train and compensate them differently from colleagues. This will require a fundamental shift in mindset and entirely new management tools.” Read more.

Strategic Workplace Learning in the Public Sector – Part II

My last post on this blog highlighted two recent public sector training efforts that demonstrated strategic alignment with priority agency outcomes – both in the US Department of Defense ( http://community.thepublicmanager.org/cs/blogs/agile_bureaucracy/archive/2010/03/29/strategic-workplace-learning-in-the-public-sector.aspx): enabling success in Afghanistan by building cultural expertise at the US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) creating a collaborative culture at DIA through an effective onboarding program in which employees learn that knowledge sharing is their own personal responsibility Other Public Sector Case Illustrations Here are brief highlights from other government training efforts that tackle a wider array of challenges – many of which will be featured as articles in the summer 2010 issue of The Public Manager and presented at the American Society for Training and Development’s (ASTD’s) 2010 International Conference & Exposition to be held in Chicago, Illinois, May 16-19 ( http://www.astdconference.org/): Business Analysis Center of Excellence: NY State Office of the State Comptroller This case illustration explores the New York State Office of the State Comptroller’s intensive, cross-agency learning experience aimed at more effectively aligning business analysis with management initiatives. With the assistance of an outside management consulting group (ESI International – www.esi-intl.com), the state organization developed key strategies – including coaching and mentoring programs complemented by skills assessments and other learning programs that continue to refine business analysis (BA) best practices. Education Transformation for Results: Sandia National Laboratories This case study at Sandia, one of the US Department of Energy’s prestigious national labs, demonstrates an approach to begin the process of transforming corporate education into an effective education partnership between an organization’s executive and line management and its HR organization. Sandia Labs’ focus on fostering a learning culture drove its transformation of the Labs’ education process to enhance individual capabilities and behaviors that produce tangible results. It offers a blueprint of how a line management and human resources team, commissioned by the organization’s leader, can create a charter, establish a plan, gather and analyze data, prepare and present recommendations to executive management for action. Practical concepts, checklists, and tools are explained as application opportunities, and innovative approaches to obtain and sustain executive engagement and partnering early in the transformational education process are identified as essential success factors. Pushing Management’s Buttons to Improve Performance at the US Coast Guard This case study highlights several of the most powerful, but under-utilized, approaches to improve workplace performance. The old maxim: “If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail” rings true in the workforce performance field. If all you have is a training solution, then everything is a skills-and-knowledge problem. Yet, research and common sense have demonstrated that oftentimes the performance problem isn’t with the people in the organization, but with the organization itself. This experience brings focus to many of the areas the organization’s leadership should examine before assuming a problem will be solved through training. It includes real-world examples and case studies from the US Coast Guard on how a true performance perspective results in quantifiable and cost-effective returns in individual and organizational performance. Share Your Observations I’ll continue sharing examples of how government organizations at all levels are aligning training efforts with strategic agency goals. If you know of others that align workplace learning efforts with priority mission and management challenges, please let me hear from you.

StepStone Solutions named “Best Talent Management Software Provider in Greater China”

(From marketwire) — The China operation of StepStone Solutions, a global leader in talent management solutions, has been named “Best Talent Management Software Provider in Greater China” by HRoot, the leading management media company in Human Resources in China. Approaching its 6th year, the awards are recognised as a key indicator of the leading providers in different HR service categories in China. StepStone Solutions China was named this year as “Best Talent Management Software Provider in Greater China 2010-2011” for its track record in providing local language talent management solutions, excellent implementation support, and seamless, Internet-based access for HR and employee users from anywhere in the country. The award category is a new entry in 2011, reflecting the evolution in HR management in the emerging China market. StepStone Solutions is the first winner in the category. Since commencing in business in March 2009, StepStone Solutions China has developed a highly localised operation for the region that provides direct project implementation for Talent Acquisition and Talent Management across Beijing, Shanghai, Fujian, Shenzhen and Sichuan. Successful localisation in China of StepStone Solutions’ powerful global technology is also demonstrated by the wide spectrum of customer categories supported, ranging from government agencies and local companies to multinational and medium-sized enterprises. Read more.

Sales Quota Anyone?

The Myths of Salesperson Competency If you stop any sales person on the street and ask them if they are good at what they do, chances are, they will all say “yes!” But ask their manager, marketing department, customer service area, human resources department (or any other function of the firm), and chances are the answer is “no.” The difference in defining sales competence is a matter of perspective. Compounding the problem are two myths regarding measures of competency in sales. Myth#1: Quota performance does not equate to sales competency – A salesperson’s quota is usually determined by management. More often than not, the quota is set as a way to attain a goal of an increased share price or its just pulled out of the air as a “nice-to-have-number” that is bigger than last year. It’s a rare organization that can articulate how a quota was set. It’s even rarer to find an organization that sits down to do the sales math and determine the realistic quota and stretch quota for their salespeople. Without this understanding, how do you know if the quota is too high? How do you know if it is too low? You don’t! Therefore the salesperson that hits quota in an organization that doesn’t know how to set one is not proving his or her competence. Myth#2: Activity level does not equate to sales competency – Many organizations set sales activity goals. They will ask their salespeople to accomplish X sales calls, X phone calls, and X proposals a day. These types of measurements, and constantly hitting them, do not mean the person can sell. Sure, there is a positive correlation between activity and selling, but if I play the lottery every single day I probably won’t win. If I play X lottery games, in X states, and with X amount of money, it doesn’t mean I’m driving towards a win. It simply means I’m increasing my chances. I’d rather have someone that knows exactly what they are doing and not playing the lottery with their sales territory. So what exactly is sales competency? Competence is defined as someone’s knowledge, skill and internal motivation. Knowledge is the building block of competence. Effective sales professionals are continuously learning and they have developed a framework and process for accessing their knowledge. They have a solid knowledge foundation and they understand their strengths and weaknesses. Skill is determined by the knowledge a salesperson has gained plus their experience level. The most skilled sales professionals have stayed in one vertical market or industry for a longer period of time. They have also stayed in the same sales role for a longer length of time (such as outside sales). They have also followed a defined career path with increasing levels of responsibility and complexity of sale. Internal motivation is someone’s self talk, drive, and purpose. Their passion for the product, zeal for the organization where they work, and their positive attitude form the cornerstone for the ability to overcome objections, handle rejection, or deal with poorly set sales quotas. A competent sales person has the ability to move into any organization and gain the trust of the decision-makers. They work to create a situation where buying can occur within an ethical environment at a fair price. They have the knowledge to speak to a CEO, the front-line manager, or the newest employee about what issues and challenges they face. Most of all they strive to increase their knowledge, skill, and motivation so they can be the best at what they do.

Salary Increases Decline in Asia Pacific after one year of economic turmoil

Employers throughout Asia Pacific continue to keep a tight rein on the purse strings in 2009, as salary increases remain at low levels, according to an Asia Pacific Salary Increase Survey conducted by Hewitt Associates (NYSE:HEW), a global human resources consulting and outsourcing firm. This trend looks likely to continue in 2010 as base salaries are projected to rise only slightly in most Asia Pacific markets. The Hewitt 2009/2010 salary increase survey sees a dramatic decline in salary increase in the two prominent markets of China & India for the first time over the last five years. The 2009 actual salary increase rate went down by 4 percent and 8 percent respectively, which is also the lowest salary increases recorded since 2005. This year, there is no Asian market which experienced a double digit salary increase. India had the highest percentage pay rise in the region with the average overall salary increase at 6.3 percent. Indonesia ranks second, with the average overall salary increase at 6 percent, followed by China (4.5 percent) and the Philippines (4.3 percent). Read the full release.

Rewards of ‘Gen-Blending’

Human resources consultant Bette Price has developed the term “gen-blending” to describe the mixing of people from various generations at workplaces. These employees work together as equals to address company issues. “The goal is to collectively brainstorm in order to identify problems and get a broader vision of the company,” says Price, who is publishing a book on the topic. Gen-blending typically involves three generations–Baby Boomers born in the 1940s and 1950s, Generation Xers born in the 1960s and 1970s, and Millennials or Generation Yers born in the 1980s and 1990s. In 2008, media firm Time Warner started a program called digital reverse mentoring where university students tutor senior executives about using such tools as Facebook and Twitter. Similar efforts are emerging in sectors like finance and commercial services, but are mostly concentrated in energy, engineering, and technology companies, says Price. This is because there is a greeter need for knowledge transfer at those firms. where there is greater need for technical knowledge transfer. Many firms continue to offer traditional programs where senior employees mentor junior employees, which experts say lets senior employees feel engaged. Click Here to read the entire Financial Times article by Rebecca Knight. Happy Learning!

OPM Announces Plans to Provide On-Line Training to Hiring Officials Who Will Help Level the Playing Field for Those With Disabilities

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) joined President Barack Obama today in underscoring the administration’s commitment to ensuring that every American worker has access to opportunity, including the 54 million people across the nation living with disabilities. To “level the playing field” for those with disabilities, OPM announced it will launch on-line training opportunities for Federal hiring officials. “I believe strongly that the Federal government should be the model of diversity for all of America,” said OPM Director John Berry. “And that America includes an amazing untapped talent pool of people with disabilities who are eager and ready to join the Federal government. We must do more than just enact inclusive policies, we must actively recruit, develop, retain and promote a workforce that is drawn from and represents the diverse faces of this nation.” The training OPM will be offering, and which will be available to Federal agencies in November, is designed to educate managers, supervisors and human resources managers on ways to use the Schedule A Hiring Authority to recruit and hire talented individuals with disabilities. In addition to the training, OPM, in coordination with the Department of Labor (DOL), will hold a hiring fair in the spring for those with disabilities. The fair will bring together a number of Federal agencies that have immediate hiring needs and that will hire “on-the-spot.” For complete article, click here. Happy Learning!

One from the Vault: Sales Quotas and Competency Myths

As we wrap up the year here at Sales Training Drivers, we decided to take a look back at some of our previous posts. This one stuck out, because even though it was written over a year ago, the principles still apply today. So we ask: what are some ways to dispel these myths? What can companies do to create effective and meaningful quotas? Is cold calling the best use of a salesperson’s time? Let us know in the comments! If you stop any salesperson on the street and ask them if they are good at what they do, chances are, they will all say “yes!” But ask their manager, marketing department, customer service area, human resources department (or any other function of the firm), and chances are the answer is “no.” The difference in defining sales competence is a matter of perspective. Compounding the problem are two myths regarding measures of competency in sales. Myth#1: Quota performance does not equate to sales competency – A salesperson’s quota is usually determined by management. More often than not, the quota is set as a way to attain a goal of an increased share price or it’s just pulled out of the air as a “nice-to-have-number” that is bigger than last year. It’s a rare organization that can articulate how a quota was set. It’s even rarer to find an organization that sits down to do the sales math and determine the realistic quota and stretch quota for their salespeople. Without this understanding, how do you know if the quota is too high? How do you know if it’s too low? You don’t! Therefore the salesperson that hits quota in an organization that doesn’t know how to set one is not proving his or her competence. Myth#2: Activity level does not equate to sales competency – Many organizations set sales activity goals. They will ask their salespeople to accomplish X sales calls, X phone calls, and X proposals a day. These types of measurements, and constantly hitting them, do not mean the person can sell. Sure, there is a positive correlation between activity and selling, but if I play the lottery every single day I probably won’t win. If I play X lottery games, in X states, and with X amount of money, it doesn’t mean I’m driving towards a win. It simply means I’m increasing my chances. I’d rather have someone that knows exactly what they are doing and not playing the lottery with their sales territory. So what exactly is sales competency? Competence is defined as someone’s knowledge, skill and internal motivation. Knowledge is the building block of competence. Effective sales professionals are continuously learning and they have developed a framework and process for accessing their knowledge. They have a solid knowledge foundation and they understand their strengths and weaknesses. Skill is determined by the knowledge a salesperson has gained plus their experience level. The most skilled sales professionals have stayed in one vertical market or industry for a longer period of time. They have also stayed in the same sales role for a longer length of time (such as outside sales). They have also followed a defined career path with increasing levels of responsibility and complexity of sale. Internal motivation is someone’s self talk, drive, and purpose. Their passion for the product, zeal for the organization where they work, and their positive attitude form the cornerstone for the ability to overcome objections, handle rejection, or deal with poorly set sales quotas. A competent sales person has the ability to move into any organization and gain the trust of the decision-makers. They work to create a situation where buying can occur within an ethical environment at a fair price. They have the knowledge to speak to a CEO, the front-line manager, or the newest employee about what issues and challenges they face. Most of all, they strive to increase their knowledge, skill, and motivation so they can be the best at what they do.

New Research Reveals That Candidates Seek More Employment-Related Content On Companies’ Social Media Sites

(From PRWEB) — Bernard Hodes Group, a leading provider of integrated talent solutions, released the results of a new research study focused on the utilization of social media networks by companies interested in sourcing and recruiting new talent. The study, entitled “The Employment Conversation: How Employers & Talent are Meeting on the Social Web,” additionally reveals how the online population utilizes social media for seeking career-related information. Among the most interesting findings is that only one-third (32%) of those surveyed and searching social media sites found an employer presence containing helpful job-related information. “Our research supports the importance of a social media presence from a recruiting and branding standpoint,” said Alan Schwartz, president and CEO, Bernard Hodes Group. “Companies must be committed to nurturing their social web presence and ensure that they are connecting with potential candidates in an honest and authentic manner.” According to human resources professionals who participated in the Hodes study, the biggest challenges to deploying social strategies for recruiting purposes are managing internal training and resources needed for implementation, convincing co-workers or superiors that it is a worthwhile endeavor, funding, and organizational reluctance to change. Read more.

New Deloitte Research Finds Increasing CEO Involvement in Talent Management

The fast growing talent gap is prompting even CEOs to add leadership development and recruitment to their busy daily schedules, according to a new report by Deloitte and Forbes. The Threading the Talent Needle report, which features several different takes on talent management revealed through one-on-one interviews with senior leaders at global organizations, described several companies that believe the shortage of qualified people is becoming severe enough to get the CEO’s direct attention. [more]Two-thirds of the organizations in the study cited a critical need for the CEO to meet face to face with high-potential employees. These findings underscore the severity of the human capital shortage, considering that CEOs must add talent management to their daily tasks of directing business strategy, managing finances and working directly with the board. “Our CEO is very much involved in selecting people at higher levels, and he is directly involved in the talent review process in our organization,” said Juergen Brokatzky-Geiger, head of Human Resources at Novartis. In addition to interacting with employees to aid retention and develop skills useful to the organization, some CEOs are even spending time on attracting new talent at all levels. “I personally get involved with recruitment days and sessions that we organize around the world, so I can speak to young people and see what they really have on their minds,” said Peter Bakker, CEO of TNT, a Netherlands-based delivery services company. The effort CEOs are placing on talent management emphasizes the importance building a competitive workforce plays in the future of the organization. For more information on this study, please visit Deloitte’s Talent Management website at www.deloitte.com/us/talent.

Multiple choice or Multiple strategies

This week in a delightful discussion group called Business Creativity (an international but essentially Indian Yahoo group focused on Human Resources), the moderator challenged the list with a multiple choice question in the form of a human resource case study problem (essentially, whether or not to grant paid leave to Don, an employee seeking to further his education on company time). This provoked some interesting feedback, but most of the contributors stayed strictly within the implicit reasoning of the initial choices. I saw this discussion as an opportunity to review some of our classic pedagogic strategies and made the following reply, highlighting some points about formal and informal learning as well as CoPs: I see this exercise as a first phase of creative thinking, and this for three reasons. In other words, questions like this can be a springboard for creativity so long as we accept to think outside of the box and even aim precisely for that by pushing the cases further and, if need be, to their breaking point. Two of the techniques we use in training where an activity starts with a multiple choice are: 1. to use it to brainstorm on ANY and ALL kinds of similar cases within the experience of the group of learners, who then must account for as many elements of context as possible (including, for example, personality issues, social networks, etc.), all of which allows us to discover the importance of these “social reality” issues. In other words, the learners fill in the missing context from the initial case by relating it to real, known contexts. This actually helps, on another level, to build group and individual confidence and to create the reflex of relating what would otherwise be considered as “canned wisdom” to their own very real human context. 2. to go back through a deconstruction phase and find out why each of the initial choices was proposed (i.e. what kind of reasoning lies behind them — including the good reasons that lie behind faulty choices — but also, what was the didactic strategy of the author of the question! – a process which often makes people think on a different and highly stimulating level). These are processes that work well within a group of learners in a seminar but aren’t easy to apply in an online discussion group, where the level of mutual knowledge and personal trust is impossible to assess. They also work well in CoPs (Communities of Practice), which is the major theme I’m now working on, in conjunction with informal learning. As a case in point of the deep compatibility between formal and informal learning, multiple choice questions — the simplest of teaching tools — are highly formal but can provide occasions for lively informal learning. We maintain, of course, that in all configurations people learn mostly from informal exchange, but — as Jay Cross, the leading light on the subject, insists — that formal learning can be structured in such a way as to encourage it. Unfortunately, that still rarely happens. At the end of the day, my answer to Don (in my own context, not the abstract one proposed in the question) would be to throw two questions back to him: what do you need to learn and what are you expecting to learn from the course you want to enrol in? I wouldn’t try to dissuade him from taking the course (and discussing how that fits in to his work schedule), but I would try to better understand what his goals are and how they correlate with mine (i.e. the organization’s). I would use the knowledge gained from this exchange to understand in what form what he needs to know professionally exists (or fails to exist) in our real work context. I would then look at ways in which three separate things can happen: This would probably lead to the definition of one or more CoPs, as well as the integration of Don into one of them. Of course, everything I’ve said above focuses only on the learning side of the problem, which certainly wasn’t the initial intent of the question. But I hope this serves as a demonstration of how something as formal as a Multiple Choice Question built around a specific learning point (in this case, how to manage work time in relation to personal and organizational goals) can stimulate creative contributions. That works, of course, only if the trainer’s attitude is also creative. Unfortunately, many trainers are still thinking in terms of pre-established “teaching points” and fail to recognize what I would call “lateral wisdom”. There’s increasing reason, however, to believe the old school is losing ground and new approaches to learning — first as a complex personal, social and professional goal, then as a process — are truly emerging. The process has always been put first, but the priority of goals is finally being recognized, at least in some quarters. And that should lead to some unexpected new conclusions.

Most HR Execs Give Mixed Grades to Leadership Pipelines

(From PRWEB) — Human resources and talent management executives give mixed grades for the quality of their own organizations’ leadership pipelines, according to a survey by Right Management. Right Management is the talent and career management expert within ManpowerGroup, the world leader in innovative workforce solutions. Right Management surveyed the 1,262 executives via an online poll and found that there are gaps in the leadership cadres at most companies in North America. In fact, only 6% of organizations were reported to have future leaders identified for all critical roles. Do you have future leaders identified for critical roles in your organization? Yes, for all critical roles 6% Yes, for most but not all critical roles17% Yes, for some critical roles55% No, not for any critical roles22% Read more.

Listen to the Voices of Measuring and Evaluating Training: Roger Kaufman

The ASTD Handbook of Measuring and Evaluating Training, edited by Patti Phillips, has just released. This book serves as a comprehensive go-to reference and a roadmap to developing effective processes. Each chapter is written by an expert in the field, chosen for their experience and actual results in specific areas. From evaluation planning and data collection, to data analysis and measurement, you’ll gain insights and practical advice from individuals who have applied their tools and methods in organizations worldwide. At the end of the book, a special section called “Voices” hosted by Rebecca Ray features summarized interviews with eight world-renowned gurus. These complete interviews are available as podcasts online! Our next highlighted legend is Roger Kaufman, PhD, professor emeritus of Educational Psychology Learning Systems at Florida State University and a recipient of the Professional Excellence Award. He is also a distinguished research professor at the Institute of Technology in Mexico. A Certified Performance Technologist, he spent years in human resources, training, and engineering positions and served two terms for the U.S. Secretary of the Navy’s Advisory Board on Education and Training. He is past president and member for life of the International Society for Performance Improvement and was the recipient of the society’s Thomas S. Gilbert Professional Achievement Award. Recognized by ASTD for distinguished contribution to workplace learning and development, he is the creator of the Organizational Elements Model and consults worldwide. He has written more than 265 articles and 39 books on strategic planning, management, performance improvement, needs assessment, and evaluation.

LinkedIn Talent Advantage Launched

Companies Respond to Market Conditions and Hire Top Talent Faster MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.–( BUSINESS WIRE)– LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network with more than 35 million members, today announced LinkedIn Talent Advantage, an exclusive suite of solutions for recruiters. The newest feature of Talent Advantage is a “viewer-aware” hiring technology called LinkedIn Custom Company Profiles, designed to help companies present information that is relevant based on a job-seeker’s function, industry, location, etc. LinkedIn saw responses to job postings on the professional network double over the last six months, resulting in more resumes for recruiters to sift through and more candidates to qualify. Yet, the best employee for the job may not be actively looking. LinkedIn Talent Advantage helps HR teams efficiently find the best talent to fill open positions, a growing challenge given HR resource constraints and the cost of making a bad hire. “LinkedIn Talent Advantage lets recruiters unlock the power of LinkedIn’s extensive professional network so they can uncover quality passive candidates who are unlikely to be on traditional job boards,” said Francois Dufour, LinkedIn’s Senior Director of Enterprise Marketing. “Over 900 leading companies already depend on LinkedIn’s recruiting solutions. The hiring market has changed, and the new LinkedIn Talent Advantage is a game-changer for the human resources community.” LinkedIn Talent Advantage now includes: Company Profiles have been available on LinkedIn since early 2008. Now LinkedIn Custom Company Profiles allow companies and recruiters to develop their employer brand and uniquely inform and engage high value candidates with content specifically designed for particular profiles. For example, viewers of a LinkedIn Custom Company Profile have the opportunity to discover: In addition to adding LinkedIn Custom Company Profiles to the LinkedIn Talent Advantage suite of solutions, LinkedIn has also improved LinkedIn Recruiter and LinkedIn Jobs Network, which now includes LinkedIn Talent Match, a proprietary technology that automatically recommends talent matches for job postings. It also includes “Super Viral” forwarding that makes it easier (just two clicks) to forward jobs to people who would be interested or would know a good fit for the open position. Visit LinkedIn Talent Advantage.

Latest Research Finds Onboarding Improves New-Employee Engagement and Productivity

(From Online PR News) — According to a recent Aberdeen Group study sponsored in part by SilkRoad technology, inc., the leading provider of Talent Management solutions, 63 percent of organizations with a formal Onboarding process experienced employee performance improvements within the first year. Aberdeen interviewed 466 human resources professionals for the study, “Onboarding: The First Line of Engagement,” and concluded companies with a formal onboarding process (with a dedicated strategy and objectives) had a 60 percent greater year-over-year improvement in revenue and a 63 percent greater year-over-year improvement in customer satisfaction than those with an informal or ad-hoc onboarding process. The 466 executives identified the most important goal of onboarding as ensuring employees are engaged and assimilated into the company’s culture and to make them productive as quickly as possible. Out of the companies Aberdeen found to have “Best-in-Class” performance, 85 percent have a formal onboarding process in place. Of those top companies, 67 percent also supported onboarding processes with formal learning and development, and 66 percent evaluated its onboarding impact at least annually. Read the full release. For more information on onboarding, consider attending the session From Knowledge Hoarding to Collaboration: New Employees Lead the Wayat the ASTD 2010 International Conference and Exposition!

Korn/Ferry International Named HR Consulting Firm of the Year at China Staff Awards 2010

(From PRNewswire) — Korn/Ferry International, a premier global provider of talent management solutions, has won the HR Consulting Firm of the Year award in the category of Talent Management at the recent China Staff Awards 2010. Organized by CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business, the China Staff Awards, established in 1998, recognizes individuals and companies whose dedication to the HR profession is acknowledged by their peers. “We are thrilled to win the award for HR Consulting Firm of the Year under the Talent Management category,” said Jack Lim, managing director of Korn/Ferry’s Leadership and Talent Consulting business in Greater China. “The award is a testament and recognition of the work we do with our clients to help them continually build their capabilities and talent pipeline, in order to remain agile in a fast changing environment.” In recognizing Korn/Ferry, the panel of judges noted that “Korn/Ferry’s research-based talent management solutions have come at a critical time in the China market and worldwide. We recognize them for their quality services in the areas of identifying best fit talent, leadership assessment, and customized development programs. Korn/Ferry leverages unique methodologies to attract, identify and develop high-potential leaders who learn quickly, navigate change and drive the changes needed in the market.” The HR Consulting Firm of the Year award recognizes the firm that offers cohesive and effective HR management solutions in areas such as HR Strategy, cost & budget, organizational development, leadership development, succession planning, HR technology and workforce planning. These solutions must not have only helped clients create a high-performance work environment, but also proved to result in measurable benefits to the client company. Previous winners of this award include Hewitt Associates Consulting and Mercer Human Resources Consulting. Read more.

Hackett: The Economist, “Managing in the Downturn: Desperately Seeking a Cash Cure”

(ATLANTA & LONDON, BUSINESS WIRE) From Citigroup to British building product maker Wolseley and beyond, the recent global economic turmoil has driven firms to cut hundreds of thousands of jobs. Companies globally have been hammered by the fallout from the subprime-mortgage debacle and its repercussions in financial markets. Many are desperately seeking a cure. And the most attractive medicine on offer looks like cash. But preserving cash in such formidable times presents managers with an unprecedented test of their skills. The Hackett Group President Wayne Mincey is one of the experts cited in this trend story. He discusses Hackett’s new research showing that a typical multinational with revenues of about $23 billion can save up to $400 million a year by taking a hard look at how it runs areas such as finance, human resources and technology. Hackett’s research also estimates that the same $23 billion company could save as much as $1 billion a year by improving the lines of communication between executives responsible for sales, procurement and production ( Read the original story from The Economist.)

Government Workforce Adds Kathryn Medina, Executive Director, CHCO Council

ASTD (American Society for Training & Development) and The Public Manager are pleased to add Kathryn Medina, Executive Director, CHCO Council, to our outstanding line up of government officials, including John Berry and Scott Gould, and subject matter experts like Tom Fox from Partnership for Public Service and Gustavo Crosetto from the U.S Government Accountability Office. Kathryn Medina serves as the Executive Director of the Chief Human Capital Officers Council at OPM. The Council is responsible for the modernization of human resources systems, improved quality of human resources information, and legislation affecting human resources operations and organizations. As Executive Director, Ms. Medina oversees the activities of the Council and works with its members and other stakeholders throughout government, to support its mission and implementation of its objectives. Ms. Medina has over fourteen years of experience in human resources and legal administration, with a focus on Organizational and Human Resource Development. She joins OPM from the global law firm of Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker, where she managed the human resources department in the Washington, DC office. Her work at Paul Hastings focused on the strategic development and implementation of HR and administrative best practices, and the day to day oversight of human resources functions for the DC office of over 230 employees. Join Kathryn Medina and other government professionals on November 2, 2011, at the Newseum, where you can learn all you need to know about how to develop collaboration and innovation throughout the government workforce. Click here to learn more.

Gen Y’s green demands for the workplace

The 18- to 25-year-olds just entering, or poised to enter, the workforce aren’t likely to be satisfied with shared “hotel-style” desk assignments, drab cubicles or windowless spaces that have characterised offices in the past, according to new research that could strongly influence space and energy efficiency strategies in the corporate world. The highly educated, mobile and tech-savvy age group that falls within the demographic band known as Generation Y wants a workplace that’s like them: urban, flexible, collaborative, environmentally sensitive and unconventional. For them, work isn’t just a place they go to from nine to five, then go home. They want an office and a work culture that’s an extension of themselves and their home life – a place that supports what they value – and it better be green, according to a new study by Johnson Controls Inc. that has implications for employers, facility managers, human resources departments and building and office space designers. Johnson Controls released the results of its research project OXYGENZ at the WORKTECH10 Conference in New York. The study is aimed at providing the first look at the workplace expectations of Gen Y – a group often considered as transformers or invaders depending on one’s viewpoint. With the Baby Boomers retiring and millions fewer in the younger generations to replace them in the workforce in the US, UK and Western Europe, employers are trying hard to understand what makes Gen Y tick. Read more.

Defining talent management

I’m reviewing Larry Israelite’s manuscript for his forthcoming book Talent Management: Best Practices and Strategies for Success from Six Leading Companies, and “at the risk of biting the hand that feeds” him says that he feels that ASTD’s definition of talent management is too complex: ASTD’s definition (as published in the “ASTD Talent Management Practices and Opportunities” research report): “A holistic approach to optimizing human capital, which enables an organization to drive short- and long-term results by building culture, engagement, capability, and capacity through integrated talent acquisition, development, and deployment processes that are aligned to business goals.” Larry’s definition: “The collection of things companies do that help employees do the best they can each and every day in support of their own and the company’s goals and objectives.” Now these are very different definitions. One has 38 words, the other has 29. One uses terms like “holistic approach,” “optimizing human capital,” and “integrated talent acquisition”; while the other talks about helping people “do the best they can.” They obviously have different audiences: The ASTD definition is geared toward specialized professionals who use specialized language, while Larry’s definition is geared toward anyone who works. And that last difference is part of Larry’s point: talent management is not the sole domain of human resources professionals, but really belongs to everyone. So what is talent management? Does it belong to everyone, or should it mainly concern human resources professionals? What other definitions are out there? When people talk about talent management, are they talking about the same things? It’s a hot topic these days, but why does it matter? Does it matter more or less now given the difficult state of the economy? Any thoughts?

Cornerstone OnDemand White Paper Examines Why Employee Empowerment is Crucial to Business Success

(From Business Wire) — Workforce empowerment should be a priority for businesses if they want to retain top talent and stay competitive as the market recovers, according to a new white paper from talent management software provider Cornerstone OnDemand. “The Empowered Workforce: Crucial to Success in the New Economy” explores the notion of empowerment – what it means for employees, why it matters for the bottom line, and how organizations can leverage learning and HR strategies to foster employee empowerment. “Closing the empowerment gap is about providing employees with the tools they need to learn and grow, encouraging them to make their own decisions and enabling them to contribute to the success of the business,” said Charles Coy, Director of Product Marketing for Cornerstone OnDemand. “Empowerment also is a key driver of engagement, which can result in higher customer satisfaction, increased productivity, improved retention and a boosted bottom line.” Research from the Gallup Organization shows that companies that had higher-than-average employee engagement also had 27 percent higher profits, 50 percent higher sales and 50 percent higher customer loyalty.1 “Ultimately, every company wants employees who are engaged in their work and empowered to succeed in their roles,” said Nina Ramsey, Senior Vice President of Global Human Resources for Kelly Services, a leading provider of global workforce management services. “Our customers want to work with front-line people who are fully capable of meeting their needs and are committed to delivering excellent service. It’s Kelly’s job to prepare our employees and ensure they are equipped to make key decisions that will help create loyal customers and, in turn, impact the success and profitability of our company.” Read more.

Companies Utilizing Virtual Teams to Reduce Costs, Manage Productivity in Economic Downturn

(From PRNewswire) — A research survey conducted by consulting firm Chronos Consulting has found that more companies in the U.S. and worldwide are utilizing virtual teams to reduce costs, enhance productivity and attract wider talent pools in today’s volatile economic and political environment. Companies headquartered in the United States and Canada, and from industries such as financial services, oil & gas, telecom, cable, call center operations, consulting and transportation, responded to the survey. This cross-industry research survey identifies the top 8 benefits to organizations by using virtual teams as well as the challenges in utilizing them and provides compelling insight and practical recommendations to senior managers tasked with managing human resources and organizational change. It focused primarily on the HR function, but also included the operations and information technology functions at their points of intersection with HR, particularly when utilizing virtual teams. “Our survey was designed to identify the challenges, trends and opportunities provided by virtual teams for cross-industry organizations in North America, especially when dealing with organizational and human resource restructuring,” said Imaad Mahfooz, Managing Principal of Chronos Consulting. “Our goal is to use these results to answer questions like how the virtual team model should be applied to business and what are the top benefits of deploying these teams.”

Chrysler Group Names New Head of Talent Acquisition and Global Diversity

(From www.sacbee.com) Georgette Borrego Dulworth has been appointed Director of Talent Acquisition and Global Diversity, Chrysler Group LLC. Dulworth joins Chrysler Group with twenty years of cross-functional experience in human resources, legal, finance, and corporate administration. She joins Chrysler Group from Cobasys LLC, where she served as General Counsel, managing all legal matters for the company. Dulworth is also the former owner and CEO of Tech-Line Automation, Inc., a certified Michigan minority-owned engineering firm and a Tier 1 supplier to the automotive industry, including the former DaimlerChrysler.

Canada: Workplace loyalty a two-way street

(From The Globe and Mail) Throughout his 14-year career at Hudson’s Bay Co., John Kolliopoulos was the quintessential loyal employee: hard-working, tightly connected with other people in his department, and proud to be part of the oldest company in the country. Then one day last fall, Mr. Kolliopoulos and his co-workers in the IT department were called into a meeting and told their jobs were being outsourced. “Up until that time, I could say that I was a loyal employee,” Mr. Kolliopoulos says. “But all those feelings of loyalty went away when we were shown the door… and now I no longer have any sense of faith or trust in any employer.” It’s a harsh feeling, but if it’s any consolation to Mr. Kolliopoulos, human resources and loyalty experts say that many other Canadian workers today are suffering from a similar crisis of faith in their employers. Nearly a quarter – 22 per cent – of 1,128 Canadian employees recently surveyed by Ipsos Reid said they felt less loyal to their employer. Read the entire article.

Canada: Gov’t Invests in Skills Development and Workplace Safety

MISSISSAUGA, ONTARIO–(Marketwire – June 28, 2010) – Canadian manufacturing workers and businesses will benefit from a Government of Canada investment in a literacy and essential skills development project. The Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Labour, together with Mr. Bob Dechert, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Member of Parliament for Mississauga-Erindale, made the announcement today on behalf of the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development. “Our government believes that working with partners to improve literacy and essential skills is a great way to help Canadians build better futures,” said Minister Raitt. “By identifying best practices and creating tools to help businesses incorporate these critical skills in their training programs, this project will ultimately help workers get the skills upgrading they need to stay safe and productive on the job.” Read more.

Canada: Feuding and Failure vs. Performance and Innovation

(From PRWEB) — Psychometrics Canada, a leading assessment publisher and consultant for the development and selection of people in business, government and education, today announced the results of its study of leadership in the Canadian workplace. In many cases strong leadership has resulted in dramatic effects on work engagement, team performance and innovation. However, the report also shows that poor leadership has negative effects on employee morale, project success and working relationships. The study, which involved a poll of 517 human resources (HR) professionals across Canada, confirms that leadership is seen as an important area of organizational functioning and development. The majority (63.2%) see leaders as having a lot of influence over their organizations’ success, with only 2.5% reporting that leaders have very little influence. The most common effects of good leadership are increased motivation (85.5%), improved working relationships (85.1%), higher team performance (80.7%), better solutions to problems (68.9%), and major innovations (41.6%). Read the full release.

Blogs: Why Doesn’t HR Lead Change?

(From blogs.hbr.org) It’s hard to find leaders of the human resources (HR) function who are active in helping their organization improve the way it works. I asked dozens of people who are in HR or in process improvement to share examples of HR change leaders, and I only found a few. Though it’s rare, here’s an indicator of what is possible. In 2009 Tony Scibelli, Vice President of Human Resources and Operations at Faxton-St. Luke’s Healthcare learned that the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Nursing Officer were going to launch “relationship-based care,” a comprehensive cultural change program to focus doctors’ and nurses’ attention on patients and their families. He offered to have HR involved to address the people aspects. He showed them how HR could weave relationship-based care and continuous improvement into the fabric of this community hospital in central New York, for example by hiring and promoting the right people. He was at the table with them as they planned training and communications, and as they decided how to reward people who took on improvement projects. Read more.

Benefit costs, employee engagement are top challenges as businesses recover from the recession

(From Business Wire) — As they recruit and rebuild after the economic crisis, what concerns top the priority list for human resources leaders? Managing benefit costs followed by improving employee engagement, according to a new survey commissioned by employee benefits provider Unum in partnership with Harvard Business Review Analytic Services. Next on the list are improving recruitment of quality employees and dealing with the impact of health care reform. “Human resources leaders are walking a tightrope in balancing these demands, and they’re telling us that the pressure is only going to increase,” said Mike Simonds, senior vice president for Unum. “Employee benefits providers need to take an active role in helping them balance costs and build a culture that contributes to an engaged workforce.” Among the findings of the survey of nearly 400 human resources decision-makers: Read more.

Awareness Rises, but Women Still Lag in Pay

Companies in the United States, Spain, Canada and Finland lead the world in employing the largest numbers of women from entry level to senior management, according to a report published Monday by the World Economic Forum. Yet the report also found that, despite increasing awareness of gender disparities in the workplace, women at many of the world’s top companies continued to lag behind their male peers in many areas, including pay and opportunities for professional advancement, Nicola Clark writes in The International Herald Tribune. Moreover, many of these companies have yet to implement policies to address these gaps, despite pressure from many of their governments to do so. The forum, based in Switzerland, surveyed 600 heads of human resources offices at the largest employers in 20 countries representing 16 different industries. The poll assessed companies according to a range of criteria, including rates of female representation, whether the companies measured or set targets for gender balance in pay or promotion, and whether they offered benefits, like paid family leave, to promote work-life balance for their employees. Read more.

ASTD Presents its Lifetime Achievement in Workplace Learning and Performance Award to Jack Zenger

The American Society for Training & Development (ASTD) presented John H. (“Jack”) Zenger, co-founder and CEO of Zenger Folkman, with its Lifetime Achievement in Workplace Learning and Performance Award on May 23 at a ceremony during the ASTD 2011 International Conference & Exposition held here. This ASTD award recognizes an individual for a body of work that has had significant impact on the field of workplace learning and performance. Zenger is recognized for his expertise in leadership development and a career that spans more than five decades across corporate, academic, and entrepreneurial functions. His career includes roles as vice president of human resources for Syntex Corporation, group vice president for the Times-Mirror Corporation, CEO of Provant, faculty member at the University of Southern California and the Stanford University School of Business, and founder of Zenger-Miller and Zenger Folkman. “Working in these three areas has given me a unique appreciation for the role of leaders in organizations,” says Zenger. “Working internally in corporations helps me understand client needs now, and academia gave me the opportunity to see the big picture. Plus, it is an enormous reward when students say that I have helped them. I really enjoy giving people new skills that can help them on the job and in their private lives.” Zenger’s seminal works on leadership development include Results-Based Leadership, with co-authors Dave Ulrich and Norm Smallwood (1999); The Extraordinary Leader: Turning Good Managers into Great Leaders, with co-author Joe Folkman (2003); and The Inspiring Leader: Unlocking the Secrets of How Extraordinary Leaders Motivate, with co-authors Folkman and Scott Edinger (2009). In 2002, Zenger teamed up with Dr. Joseph Folkman to form Zenger Folkman, a professional services firm that provides consulting, leadership development programs, and implementation software for organizational effectiveness initiatives, all grounded in data backed by practical ideas. Zenger says his lifelong interest in leadership development can be traced to his childhood observations about how new leaders influenced the functions of the hospital where his father worked as an administrator.

ASTD 2011 International Conference Welcomes Students

Students enrolled in programs and courses that focus on human resources and workplace learning and development have the opportunity to attend the ASTD 2011 international conference at a steeply discounted rate and enjoy special programming on May 24 – Student Day. The ASTD 2011 International Conference & Exposition is the premier event for thousands of workplace learning and development professionals who come from more than 70 countries. It will be held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, from May 22-25. For the second year the American Society for Training & Development is hosting Student Day and offering students an affordable way to network with learning and development professionals, attend educations sessions, and interact with more than 300 leading vendors. There are several registration options from which to choose. Student Day activities include a networking coffee and welcome; attendance at the General Session featuring Campbell Soup Company CEO Doug Conant; a student-focused information session; tour of the EXPO; and a networking lunch with keynote speaker and strategic leadership expert Mette Norgaard. Full-day attendees will have access to educational sessions in the afternoon. To qualify for a student registration, one must maintain an active ASTD chapter student membership or be taking a minimum of 12 hours per year at an accredited college or university. More details can be found at www.astd.org/students. –

April T+D: Budgets on the Chopping Block

(By Aparna Nancherla) The economic crisis is now common knowledge, even to those who avoid the media in an effort to escape hearing the latest bad news. The latest question on the table is how companies are handling the current situation, and across the globe, the answer is the same-organizations are hastily slashing budgets across a variety of areas. Sixty-seven percent of European companies are planning to make changes to their budgets, according to Hewitt Associates, a global human resources and outsourcing consulting company. The rest of the world is not far behind, with Latin American companies at 63 percent, the Asia-Pacific region at 58 percent, and U.S. companies at 50 percent. “What I find the most surprising is how rapidly companies are reacting to the economic downturn,” says Peter Acker, North American leader of global rewards at Hewitt Associates. “Every region around the world is taking action given the economic situation.” To collect the data, Hewitt conducted surveys across 40 countries between October and December of 2008, covering more than 2,000 companies and 25 million employees. Results showed that the Asia-Pacific region plans to make the most severe cuts in pay, with reductions to pay raises averaging between 1.7 and 5.2 percent, as compared to projections made earlier in 2008. In Latin America, companies are reducing pay raises by an average of 1 percent, and in Europe and the United States, the figures average, respectively, 0.9 percent and 0.7 percent.

Anne Schwartz of UPS Joins ASTD Board of Directors

The American Society for Training & Development announces that Anne M. Schwartz, SPHR, Vice President of Global Leadership Development for UPS, is joining the Society’s Board of Directors for a three-year term, 2011-2013. In her role, Ms. Schwartz is responsible for global training and leadership development, training strategy and governance, the analysis and development of learning technologies, and talent management for the enterprise. During her 24-year UPS career, Ms. Schwartz has held a variety of positions in Small Package Operations and Human Resources, as well as in non-package sectors of the business, both domestically and abroad, including UPS Supply Chain Solutions, mergers and acquisitions, and corporate strategy. Ms. Schwartz holds the SPHR certification from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and is a member of the Atlanta Human Resources Leadership Forum, ASTD.