Forget HR! I’m Going To Work For Starbucks

Is the grass always greener on the other side? Not necessarily. But I can tell you when it comes to employee incentives, benefits and having executive advocates, the coffee may be stronger and sweeter on the other side…at Starbucks.

forget-hr-im-going-to-work-for-starbucks-a3da2Today I’m over at Performance I Create discussing how retention is no longer just about pay…it’s about emotion, support and advocacy. Once you find good employees, they have to be invested in, not just given stuff…as stuff fades away. Here’s a quick sample:

…most employees would be thrilled to even know that a President or CEO took the time to consider doing something for them…even if it couldn’t necessarily happen. Feeling like an employer is going to bat for them makes a huge difference in the way employees view the company. And those considerations and those thoughts go much further than just throwing some empty, non-relevant award someone’s way.

I hope that you enjoy the full post HERE and I asked that you share this post with any decision maker that may be struggling to keep great employees.

Check out my post and those of my fellow contributors for relevant, in-your-face, performance altering insight at Performance I Create!

Workplace Astigmatism

For the last 10 years, I’ve boasted that my vision has not changed. I laugh at optometrists when I walk into their examination rooms because I know that the result is going to be the same…”Well Mr. Harris, everything is fine…no difference…here’s your prescription.” to which I say buttholishly, “I know! Told ya things are the same.”

eye-exam-checkupBecause of this status quo, I take eye exams for granted; only going when I actually need new glasses due to wear and tear…which is like every 5 years. I actually get tired of putting myself (and my money) out there to have my time wasted…until my visit a week ago.

This trip I entered confidently as I usually do, preparing my normal giggle and forming my mouth to say my usual know-it-all words, until Dr. Eyedude says, “Your right eye has changed. We’re going to switch your prescription and it may be a little drastic.”

When you think that nothing has changed, everything has

Not having had to look through “different” lenses for so long, I found myself being uncomfortable on my way home. The change was making my head hurt. Things were blurry. I didn’t like it. Was it because it was unexpected? Was it because something was different? Was it because it was unwelcomed? Maybe it was because I had gotten too comfortable. Too used to knowing what everything looked like and how everything was supposed to feel. The moment a new process was introduced, a new person was brought aboard, a new policy took effect…wait, am I describing your office or my eyes? Hmm? Maybe both.

As we get older, more experienced, more tenured, we must face the inevitable fact that things must and will change. Our vision, our surroundings, and the ways our businesses must operate all change. We can either roll with it, adjust or we can resist and remain in denial. That denial stems from the fact that we think things are fine just the way they are and we think that if we don’t acknowledge it, it’ll just go away.

Resistance to change can be costly

If I had paid regular attention, not been so arrogant and stubborn, maybe a drastic change could have been avoided or eased into. The gradual change would’ve helped me to make better adjustments. Being open to changes in the way our companies must do business will help our employees make better decisions as it relates to the new normals. Maybe they need regular examinations and consultation…I mean evaluations and one-on-ones…so that any issues can be identified early before they become problematic and cost us in the end.

What’s better? One or two? Two or three?

The next day, I could see things better. The headache had gone away. Those moments of temporary discomfort turned into my new, clearer reality. It took me getting broken down and taken out of my cocky comfort zone to realize that acceptance, flexibility and acknowledgement helped the headaches to go away and for things to seem clear again. I had to be humbled by the fact that I don’t know how bad things are until someone shows me something better, different, clearer.

Does your job give you “headaches”? Is it them or is it you refusing to adapt? 

Let’s not wait until it’s too late to let someone check us out. Let’s take some feedback and let it make us better. Let’s understand that us becoming more seasoned is when more changes need to occur…as opposed to things always having to change to our liking. Yielding to necessary adjustments may be blurry at first, but it can ultimately help you to see your vision more clearly in the end.

Rules of Engagement: Nine Minutes On Monday

Since ruHRelevant? was started in July 2012, we have stressed how critical relationships are when it comes to employee performance. I’m not a proponent of managers trying to be buddies with employees, but a certain level of trust and rapport must be established to have a truly productive and engaged workforce.

Leaders cannot manage unless they know what makes their people tick, what motivates them in that specific environment, and what their career goals are. But one step further, they must know how those goals tie into the mission of the organization.

20140124-204413.jpgIn Nine Minutes On Monday, James Robbins draws the perfect road map on how to build these relationships by taking 9 minutes a week for planning and execution to help foster this very trust.

The charge from Robbins is to take a few moments on Mondays to plan out the development of your employees. Not just a blanket “I’m gonna develop folks this week!” but pinpointing who and what kind of attention each individual needs to be successful.

On Monday, most managers (smart managers) are planning out their week;

  • what goals need to be met
  • which deadlines are most critical
  • which review they must deliver

But equally as important is taking time to map out which employees need your attention that week not just based on production or an issue, but determined by

  • Who haven’t I had a chance to speak to?
  • Who do I need to know a little better?
  • Have I asked that employee what they might need specifically from me to make their job easier or more meaningful?
  • Have I uncovered this employee’s workplace or developmental needs based on conversations that we’ve had?

The book begins by helping leaders to understand their role; whether they are meant for management or are they merely someone that was good at doing the job. Once it’s established that you’re meant to lead, the book, that has nine chapters representing the nine drivers of employment engagement, helps you create small actionable goals that will help you to inspire and motivate your staff.

My favorite excerpt of the book sums in up wonderfully…

“While sending your employees off to seminars and and courses will be an integral part of their development, nothing beats the day-in and day-out coaching and mentoring by you, the boss. Most employees do not enjoy the experience of ongoing development because their manager is not sure how to do it or because the manager is just too busy and has not established it as a part of a routine.

Coaching your employees does not have to be complicated as some would have you to believe, nor does it take hours of your time in face-to-face sessions. Great coaching is quick, on the fly and practical.”

It Has To Become A Part Of Who You Are
Aristotle once told me that “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” Managers want excellence and they want it consistently. But managers must come to grips with the fact that just expecting great performance is not enough. It must be shown, taught and then shown some more. And in order to achieve the desired results, managers must carve out the time to individually and collectively show their employees what this looks like, repeatedly!

Because I want you to purchase copies of the book, I won’t share all of the techniques but I’ll give a sample of some of the questions to ask during your weekly planning for engaging your employees without sacrificing all of your time:

Question #4 – Whom will I give a 2nd paycheck to this week? (Connecting purpose to pay)
Question #6 – How can I help someone grow this week?
Question #9 – What model do my people need from me this week?

20140124-204619.jpgTaking these Nine Minutes requires true self-reflection from a management standpoint before going in to engage employees. They cause one to ask, “What can I do to positively impact and affect my people?” Well thought-out action, without committing too much time…resulting in true engagement. Not engagement that tries to trick employees to climb, but engagement that helps them find the motivation within themselves to keep climbing and to stay the course! And helping them to find this motivation is going to take a consistent investment into each individual.

It only takes Nine Minutes On Monday to invest in your people. Make all Nine of them count!

Special thanks to James Robbins and his team for reaching out to me and providing me with this opportunity!

You’re A Leader. Quitting Is Not An Option

Happy New Year!!!

I couldn’t think of a better way to begin the New Year than posting over at Performance I Create!

Over the holiday break, I became overwhelmed by all of the things I had coming up in the 2014 and contemplated quitting a few things. Here is a glimpse into the thought process I used in working my way out of the that stressful state.

Quit“Between juggling all of your tasks, everyone else’s responsibilities and then the occasional bout with self-doubt, leadership is tough! I wish I could tell you how to make it easy, but I can’t. You DO have to deal with all of those things and it IS tough. So how do you keep from running away?”

Please click HERE to view the remainder of the article and please share!

Check out my post and those of my fellow contributors for relevant, in-your-face, performance altering insight at Performance I Create!

Professional Irrigation

According to Justin’s Labor Statistics, a lot of people get unhappy with their jobs during this time of year.  Holiday sadness and stress can make people feel as if they need a change and the cold and blahness outside affects everyone’s moods.

The-Grass-is-Greener-on-the-Other-SideBut the worst thing to do when feeling blah is to make dramatic, life-altering decisions, like leaving a job just because something looks a little greener across the street.

I liken it to the grass in my yard. I know that during this time of year my yard looks like crap. Everything is brown and dead. But as I drive through my neighborhood, there’s this one house where the landscaping is still immaculate, despite the climate. The yard is full of color and all kinds of pretty crap (I’m a yard hater). While I never see the residents actually in the yard, it’s evident that they are doing something that I’m not. But yet I use their end result as a barometer to measure my success, not fully considering their effort and struggle to achieve the results.

If I want my grass to be green like theirs, I have two choices…take over their house or figure out what it takes to improve MY yard. Notice I didn’t say “figure out what they’re doing and replicate it at my place” because my grass might need different care than theirs.

Even if I were to kick them out and move in, I’d soon learn that if my habits and actions do not change, that once green and supple yard will begin to look just as dry and brown as the one I so eagerly ran from. Just wanting it to be a certain way isn’t enough.  It’s about the work we’re willing to put in to something that yields the results we seek.

Hate your job? Are you watering YOUR grass!?!? Are you tilling the soil, researching what it needs and caring for it properly? Are you investing enough time to make it work or are you just doing the bare minimum that just keeps it presentable? Are you spending the time to get to know it, what it reacts to, much like the relationships with co-workers and clients? Are you tackling your issues with a one-size-fits-all solution (like a mower) or are you using a variety of tools and focusing on details.

Man-watering-grass-in-desert-550x550Picking up and moving without a plan doesn’t fix the issue, you fix the issue. And if it’s deemed unmanageable after you’ve tried everything, by all means, call in the experts or relocate.

By watering your own lawn (current situation), it can be just as green and productive as the next person’s. We can’t prosper always worrying about what someone else has and always thinking that you have to find something else to be happy. The reality is that if you do something different or creative where you are, you’ll create something that others will want to emulate…and there will be no reason or time to hate on the plush greenness in someone else’s yard.

Blogaversary | Holy Grail

In May of 2012 I was forced to make many tough professional decisions. While trying to find my way, I did what self-help folks have been preaching for years…make goals, write them down and post them where I can see them everyday.

Holy GrailI accepted the challenge. Because these goals were being drafted at a professionally unfulfilling time, it was difficult planning long-term while short-term hell was all around me. To escape the hell, I had to run toward something, not just from something. I had to make sure that the goals I set were not a destination, but a never-ending journey for sustained success. I needed a “Quest” to prove myself to myself, but I didn’t want to find comfort in achievements as we often times do.

I wrote 20 goals in all, 12 of which I actually accomplished. 4 of the main goals/checkpoints for the year were:

  • Start and maintain a blog
  • Get a twitter account and attract 500 meaningful followers
  • Get more involved with SHRM, locally and nationally
  • Attain HR certification

Checkpoint 1: Blogging
I barely knew what a blog was a year ago. On July 16, 2012, I started ruHRelevant.com because I couldn’t let my thoughts and philosophies be buried in the bureaucracy and routine of “traditional” HR. My first post was Are You Listening To Your Body, addressing the lack of communication I saw coming from management in these traditional environments.

My little blog now has a regular following and I also contribute to a multi-contributor site called Performance I Create with 9 other rock stars. But I’m thirsty for more.

blog picCheckpoint 2: Social Media
This time last year I had a barely active twitter account that I hardly looked at. It was hard for me to get into it and I couldn’t figure out why everyone was using “pound signs”! But I was amazed at the number of practitioners that were willing to teach and share their expertise with me through this medium. When people down and across the hall would hold back info and knowledge, my connections around the world poured into me directly and indirectly. In one year I’ve obtained over 900 meaningful followers and I’m learning from them daily. But I am still thirsty for more!

TNSHRMCheckpoint 3: MTSHRM and SHRM
Having never attended a SHRM conference, I’ve been really looking forward to opportunities to meet many of my fellow practitioners face-to-face and to soak up as much knowledge as possible. Shortly after rejoining my local chapter, I was given the opportunity to join the Social Media team for the TNSHRM13 state conference here in Nashville. I’ll be treating my time there like I’m headlining…and ensuring that everyone there knows how to do the Wobble. It’s still not enough though. I want more.

phrCheckpoint 4: Certification
At the time I had written out my goal list, I had already failed my Professional in Human Resources (PHR) once. So that was my grail of grails. I spent an insane amount of time preparing. Maintaining balance was extremely difficult…family time, work, and my new writing commitments. On June 8, 2013, after 2 years of attempts and exactly 1 year to the date of putting the goal on paper, I attained my HR certification. I learned a lot not only from the books and tests but also from the process itself. Though the PHR has been attained, the desire for more knowledge and understanding cannot end with the letters.

This post serves as a challenge, and a reminder for myself that we cannot get complacent when accomplishments are marked off of our lists. Our goals should merely be checkpoints and rest stops along the way to bigger and better things. Reaching one grail must motivate and propel us to the next.

This has been a great year for us. And I will continue to chase multiple grails, because they can only hold so much at a time…and my thirst for impact and achievement in this world can’t be contained in just one. And while the cup runneth over and I drink, I’m already planning for the next…and I believe that we will all benefit from the overflow.

Stay thirsty my friends!

Photo Credit

Monomenigitalwestnilenucleosis is real. Believe me!

Noun [Mono-meningital-west nile-nucleosis]

Definition – a culmination of all the stuff I felt like I had last week

As I laid in the bed for 4 days not able to move or see straight, I became even more dependent on my iPhone (I could stay abreast of what was going on in the world), its retina display (because it hurt to wear my glasses and I couldn’t stop squinting) and its lightning fast internet speed (because I couldn’t stay awake long enough to wait on slow loading).  The really unfortunate thing is that when I did close my eyes all I saw was backlogged work and that annoying red blinking voicemail light I’d soon return to.  I began thinking, “Are we this bad that even when we feel horrible we’re still thinking about work!?!?” I didn’t know whether to think that this was applaudable or if it were just sad.

While in my generic Tylenol-induced half coma, I Googled several diagnoses for what I could be ailing from. I also drooled over a couple of articles and blogs about “Work-Life Balance” and “Working Hard, Playing Hard”. As I squinted through them, no one ever mentioned rest and sleep.  I took another nap, woke up, then realized that we are all so focused on getting more…more money, more opportunity, more business, more letters behind our names, more respect and adoration, that we have forgotten what true balance is. Work + Life ≠ Balance. Work + Life + Rest = Balance.  We can’t accomplish all of these “mores” if we have no energy. I personally rely on several caffeinated beverages to jumpstart my day as opposed to an adequate amounts of sleep and I know I’m not the only one.  What’s wrong with us people?!?!  We’re nodding off in staff meetings, we’re burnt out and we’re falling ill, not even able to really enjoy the fruits of all of this extra and creative labor because we are sacrificing our bodies and our sanity to get it.

Employees and managers will not listen to me if I look run down. I can’t very well suggest wellness programs to my clients if I’m not well.  I can’t do anything if I’m stuck at home with Monomeningitalwestnilenucleosis.  At some point we have to slow down and just take a frickin’ nap.  My father told me 3 days into my illness (and 3 days after doing nothing but laying bed), “Son, take some advice from me! Get some rest!”  I said, “Yes sir” and hung up the phone.  As much as I hated to admit that he was right…he was right! 3 days late, but right!

It shouldn’t take us being knocked on our butts from weird unpronounceable combinations of plagues to take care of ourselves.  If we don’t make a conscience decision to rest and rebuild our bodies from all of this working, blogging and social media-ing at 3 am, our bodies are just going to make the decision for us.  So as I type this blog left-handed (because the right side of my body is still sore and I can’t turn my neck), I am asking you all and reminding myself to put down the computers, iPads and smartphones…stop planning your next major moves and takeovers…stop scoping and scouting out your next client for just a minute and take a mental health break.  Your bodies and all of your business endeavors will eventually thank you.