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    Entries in work (183)

    Thursday
    Jul082010

    Re-thinking Talent

    Tonight on the HR Happy Hour show the topic is 'Re-thinking Talent'. 

    Set for Thursday July 8, 2010 - 8PM EDT - Call in 646-378-1086

    It seems like the long economic malaise in the US and many other countries has altered almost everything that was previously known (or at least assumed) about the nature of work, the social contract between employers and employees, and the ways that individuals and organizations have to operate in order to succeed (or even survive).

    In response to these changing and perhaps forever changed conditions, a slew of books, blogs, and articles have been written advising the individual in how to adapt to this new world.  Go out there and work harder/smarter/better etc.  Go do the work you love since the work you have to do may not be there tomorrow.

    The recession in particular is forcing a new generation of workers to think differently about work and nature of their future relationship with an employer, or more likely the many employers they are going to have in their working careers. Workers and candidates have been forced to adapt, but what about organizations?

    Are the organizations that need to have access to and support from ever more capable collections of talented staff doing enough to adapt themselves to this new environment? What approaches and strategies for talent acquisition make the most sense in a world where compensation, benefits, and long-term security can no longer be promised? Does traditional internal career pathing even make an impact on the modern employee that fully expects a short tenure at an organization?

    Lots of questions, and hopefully some answers tonight on the show. Joining us to talk about these issues will be Susan Burns from Talent Synchronicity and Jennifer McClure from Unbridled Talent.

    If nothing else, we will keep you entertained up until the big LeBron James announcement.

    Thursday
    May202010

    Too many choices?

    Tonight on the HR Happy Hour show we will be talking about Work/Life 'Fit', and how organizations, specifically the HR professionals in organizations can better understand how to design, implement, and measure the success of workplace flexibility programs. Our guest will be Cali Yost, of the FlexStrategy Group and WorkLife Fit, Inc., writer at Fast Company, and an expert on workplace flexibility

    In preparation for the show, I thought to write a 'Technology for Flexibility' kind of post, digging in to some of the many available technologies that organizations have and can bring to bear to better support more flexible, and in many cases more virtual work. Technologies like Google Apps for e-mail and office-type productivity, DimDim for fast and cheap screen sharing and web conferencing, and Socialtext for content creation and collaboration, internal microblogging, etc.  There are scores of solutions ranging from crazy expensive, to 100% free, and everything in between.

    But then I thought, the problem for (most) organizations and HR professionals that may be wrestling with the decision of how, or even why to implement more flexible working arrangements (that often have an element of remote working to them), has almost nothing to do with the technology.  Even I, as a technology person, have to admit this. Most large organizations have already embraced the kinds of technology solutions necessary (VPN, company-issued smartphones, web conferencing, collaborative online workspaces) to encourage more workplace flexibility.  In fact, some would argue that these solutions have indeed created the kind of flexibility that the organization desires, employees are 'working' when they are at work in the office, and they can continue to be tethered to 'work' when they are not in the office.

    That is the ultimate in flexibility is it not?  No matter where you are, work is right there too.  Sort of like that nagging bug you pick up after you get stuck next to 'Mr. Coughing the Entire Flight Guy' on your last business trip.

    To better underscore the point that technology is only a (small) part of better and more evolved workplace flexibility strategy and execution, consider this quote from author and speaker Gil Gordon in a speech given at a Telework conference:

     

    The technology for telework is very good and continues to get better. This does not mean it is perfect, or that it is always the right price. But the best news is that we have plenty of technology - hardware, software, and telecommunications - to allow telework to be effective.

    I have seen many of my US clients having a difficult time trying to select from among this big list of technology. There are too many laptops, too many kinds of remote-access solutions, and too many kinds of applications software. What is needed is a way to create packages of tested solutions for various kinds of telework situations.

    Gordon goes on to note later in the speech that 'culture', not technology is the true barrier to increased adoption of telework in organizations:

    In many cases we have failed to recognize this kind of integrated, connected aspect of telework, and we have also failed to recognize that the very culture of an organization changes when we start to change some of its parts. The very best telework programs I have seen are the ones that involve a lot of planning to consider these cultural changes, and also anticipate what else in the organization must change for telework to succeed in the long term.

    By the way, these quotes was from a speech made by Gordon in 1999! We will figure it out eventually I am sure.

    So if we believe the basic points of Gordon's talk, that increased adoption of flexibility (at least in the form of telework arrangements) as far back as 1999 presented not a technical barrier, but a behavioral one, then drawing up a list of all the myriad technologies that are available that could support increased flexibility adoption seems a bit like a waste of effort.  

    We know these technologies, we have them already, in fact we have too many of them.  Many of you are walking around with 90% of the 'technology' you need for increased workplace flexibility in your back pocket, (or in a belt holster if you are this guy).

    So for once, on a technology blog, I will agree that at least this time, it is not about technology at all.

    I hope you can join in the fun, tonight at 8PM EDT on the HR Happy Hour show.

     

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    Thursday
    Oct082009

    Back on the Chain Gang

    Tonight on the HR Happy Hour show, 8PM ET, we will be talking Work/Life Balance, keeping yourself sane when getting pulled in 100 different directions, and maybe even if the fundamental idea of work is truly changing (or should change).

    Joining Shauna and I will be Leanne Chase from Career Life Connection and Chris Ferdinandi from Renegade HR.

    Does it even make sense to be talking about work/life balance issues with millions of people out of work?  For many of the unemployed, 'life' sucks right about now, and any 'work' would do. So maybe it is foolish to even discuss the topic. 

    But we will.

    My son attends a program for about an hour or so each day after school to bridge the time from school dismissal until I or his Mom are through with our 'official' work days and can take him home. It is just an hour, he generally has a decent enough time there, so it really is not that much of a problem.  But from time to time I have had to stop by the child care center early in the morning, perhaps as early as 6 or 6:30 AM to drop off a check or a note, and almost without fail I will see parents carrying sleepy or even still sleeping small children into the center.

    Parents that are usually well-dressed, driving nice cars, hauling really young kids to daycare in the cold and dark, almost certainly so they can get themselves to an office somewhere by a prescribed time.

    Every time I see that it makes me very, very sad.

    And that is the reason I wanted to do this show.

    I understand work is work and when you have a job working for someone else, you don't get to make the rules.  Sometimes the rules stink.  They are archaic. And they have more to do with maintaining some kind of post-industrial status quo that serves primarily to make managers and owners lives easier.  If they know where everyone is and how long they are meant to be there that is one less variable to actually have to manage.

    Talking about Work/Life issues on the show this week may not really solve anything, or make anyone's situation all that better.  But it will hopefully add just another small piece to the puzzle that maybe one day will result in no more business suit wearing parents dragging sleeping, freezing kids to daycare at 6:30 in the morning.

    But until then, we're Back on the Chain Gang.

     

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