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What does great HR look like?

04 Jun

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      We recently asked the question on LinkedIn: ‘What is great HR?’. It was one of those topics that really gets people talking, generating over 110 responses, a lot of likes and a wide range of opinion.

      A client had asked me to start the discussion as a context setter to an HR team workshop. The problem was, with such a variation in the responses, we couldn’t really determine any clear benchmark. What became apparent was that there are hierarchical differences, as well as differences in geographic and organisational culture, that drive what great HR really is. Read the rest of this entry »

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      Appraising your appraisals

      02 Dec

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          AppraiseAppraisals200x233Take a look at your performance management processes.

          Now, take a look at how they actually work in reality.

          Ask people in your business what they think about them.

          Check the impact they have on your teams. Have a look at the effect they are having on your bottom line. Can you spot the differences?

          We’ve done this in a number of organisations, and we typically find that there are significant differences – particularly when talking about ‘appraisals’ as part of an ongoing performance management process. The appraisal is often well documented – it has a process or policy, there is a well-crafted form, often there is an IT system that drives and records the process, and usually managers have been trained on how to conduct appraisals. Read the rest of this entry »

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          Make conscious choices

          01 Nov

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              head-and-question-mark200x233It’s two years since I left the comfort of my corporate role and moved into the unknown world of ‘self-employment’.

              And looking back, I realise how lucky I was that my ex-boss was there giving me outplacement support.

              When my first consulting assignment landed almost immediately – scuppering my plans to take out a few months to figure things out first – I was able to fall, panicking, into his care.

              Ask yourself why

              Malcolm offered me lots of practical tips – how to find the accountant, what the website needed to contain and how to develop a proposal. But the best piece of advice he gave me was this: Make conscious choices. Read the rest of this entry »

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              TakeTheJump200x233My favourite quote about change isn’t by Obama, Ghandi or Oprah – the usual suspects. It’s this: “It’s not so much that we’re afraid of change, or so in love with the old days, but it’s that place in between we fear. It’s like being in between trapezes.” – Marilyn Ferguson, an American futurist.

              It’s a simple and pragmatic mantra. The quote demonstrates a number of things – a willingness to try something new; an open mindedness; a freedom. But it also recognises the fear – and for anyone with a fear of heights, being between trapezes sounds terrifying. But what you’ll see when you watch a trapeze artist perform is that when they swing, they gain momentum until they feel ready to take the jump and let go into that space between trapezes. There’s a huge amount of trust that their fellow trapeze artist is going to be there, ready, waiting, and safe.

              What does this mean for us in business?

              Should we just let people swing until they are ready? Or should we push them off and force them to make the leap? As leaders in business, our role is to make people feel comfortable enough to let go. We need to paint a clear picture of what the next trapeze looks like, and why it’s a better option to jump than to stay. Read the rest of this entry »

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              The career bucket list

              30 Jan

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                  Don’t wait until retirement is imminent to think about the things you wish you’d done in your career. While you still have time, whatever stage of your career you’re at and whatever level of ambition you have, make time to draw up your ‘bucket list’ – what you want to achieve before you retire. Here’s our list of 20 suggestions based on the ideas of those we know at the start, middle and end of their career paths.

                  1. Take the opportunity to work overseas. Experience a different culture, a new working environment, learn the language and immerse yourself in a whole new challenge.

                  2. Have a bash at being your own boss. Run your own company, charity, club or event – see what it feels like to have all the responsibility, and to be able to set the direction for yourself.

                  3. Say what you really think. Don’t hold back, be honest, but be constructive with your comments. Make sure you’re adding value to the debate. Read the rest of this entry »

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                  Why do your employees suddenly lose trust when you’re going through organisational changes? They’ve watched time and time again as you go through the same old redundancy process, following the letter of the law, accommodating personal circumstances when possible, and treating people well in difficult times.

                  But when their time comes, there are inevitable feelings of cynicism, doubt and suspicion. Suddenly they want detailed explanations of every minor point in writing, and they want to know the comparison of what you said and what the law says.

                  Accommodating an employee’s changing priorities

                  I’ve been on both sides of the table. As a manager, I’ve been frustrated  when people suddenly lose faith in me.  But I’ve also been through it – I became that suspicious cynic, and going through it gave me some insight. It enabled me to figure out what I would want to do differently as a manager or HR support. Read the rest of this entry »

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                  As a line manager, you face a heavyweight challenge – the performance of the whole company rests on you and how you manage your people. Get it right, and you could be going for gold. Get it wrong and you won’t even qualify.

                  Have the conversation

                  Actually, it’s rarely about right or wrong. The biggest challenge many companies face is simply making performance discussions happen. There is a lot of focus on the system, the training, the documentation and the annual review.

                  However if the conversation isn’t taking place, those things just don’t matter. In looking at performance management across different organisations, we see a few common factors. There is usually a policy and a procedure. There has nearly always been training (internally or externally). There is always a form, and it usually appears reasonably fit for purpose. But preparation, engagement, sponsorship, role modelling and action are often lacking.
                  Read the rest of this entry »

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