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    Entries in work (186)

    Monday
    Sep122011

    If you must have a dress code policy...

    I know, workplace dress code policies have (mostly), gone the way of the IBM Selectric and the Inter-office mail envelope as relics of a bygone age. In our more modern, progressive, and enlightened workplaces, most organizations have come to understand that with all the many thousands of things to worry about, that articulating specific dress code standards and policies is a colossal waste of time.Love the 70s

    The vast majority or workplace dress code discussions have been distilled into short phrases - 'business casual ', seemingly the dominant one these days. What exactly does business casual entail? Who knows for sure, just walk around the office for a day or two and generally you can sort it out. Mostly, dress code standards are arrived at organically and are largely self-policing. Wear something inappropriate to the office some time and chances are someone will tell you about it, if not to your face, in a snarky comment on Facebook.  

    Dress code policies are boring, and writing about dress code policies as I am right now, possibly represents the nadir of my adventure in blogging. But I had to come up with a hook to feature some fantastic workplace dress code policy imagery I came across recently. Fantastic workplace dress code imagery? That does not even make sense.

    Well, take a look at the image on the right that accompanies this post, as well as the rest of the collection of dress code policy images from the British Postal Museum Archive described on the How to be a Retronaut blog

    These dress code policy posters are, quite frankly, awesome. And not only do they look cool, but they also serve the purpose of transforming what would be a typical, boring written policy (that no one ever reads, except as a preface in an employee disciplinary hearing), into a vibrant and effective tool for educating the target workers as to the desired workplace behavior.

    Additionally, the dress code posters attempt to connect the policy to real-world examples, demonstrate the potential negative ramifications of violations of the policy, and even have a little fun at the same time. Are these vintage posters really that groundbreaking and meaningful in the overall canon of workplace thought and theory? 

    Not really. 

    But they do remind us that even the most mundane and tedious parts of the job of Human Resources, the parts that still sometimes include writing and enforcing workplace dress code policies, can still be creative, can still be personal, and can (for shame), still be even a little fun.

    No one reads your policies. Maybe it's time to get a little more imaginative in their presentation and communication.

    Have a fantastic week!

    Thursday
    Sep012011

    HR Happy Hour Show Tonight: Work and what it means to you

    Tonight on the HR Happy Hour Show (8PM ET/5PM PT), we are going to change it up a bit from the more formal, guest-driven interview style shows we have been doing, and open up the phones (and the Twitter backchannel on #HRHappyHour), to simply talk about work.

    Yep, it is that simple. Just an hour of open and loosely structured conversation, in honor of the upcoming Labor Day holiday in the USA, to share observations, stories, critiques, and congratulations about our experiences with work and in our careers.

    What was your first 'real' job? 

    What was the best job you ever had? The worst one?

    What were some of the early experiences in your career that have shaped and helped determine what you are today? 

    Who was influential to you as you got your start and deserves a thank you? Who influences you now?

    And finally, if you are currently looking for work, or are just looking for a change - what is it you'd really like to do? What's your dream job?

    We hope many of the loyal HR Happy Hour Show listeners will call in tonight to share their stories, experiences, and insights about work.

    But wait - there's more!

    As an added bonus longtime HR Happy Hour Show co-host Shauna Moerke, the HR Minion will make a special guest appearance on the show to climb back in the co-pilot seat tonight. And you know she will have some great stories.

    Here's how to listen and participate tonight:

    The show starts at 8:00PM ET tonight, Sept. 1, 2011.

    Listen live from the show page here - HR Happy Hour - Episode 116- 'The Labor Day Show'

    Or using the widget player embedded here:

    Listen to internet radio with Steve Boese on Blog Talk Radio

     

    Call in to get on the air using - 646-378-1086 and Press '1' once you are connected and you will be on!

    And finally, follow the backchannel conversation on Twitter - hashtag #HRHappyHour

    It should be a really fun show and I hope you can join us!

    Thursday
    Jan132011

    Re: Meeting Agenda (Revised)

    Here is the meeting agenda you received:

    Project Status Review Meeting

    1. Current Status of Project ABCHorrible stock image. They do look happy though.

    2. Sub-committee reports

    A. Operations

    B. Communications

    C. Marketing

    D. IT

    E. Finance

    F. Anyone else we forgot (HR?)

    3. Review of high-level Project plans

    4. Open Issues

    5. Discuss next meeting

     

    Based on what actually happens at most of these kinds of meetings, here's a take on the revised agenda:

    Project Status Review Meeting

    1. Current Status - and yes, we will continue to meet about this project until the last bit of light and hope has been extinguished from your soul

    2. Sub-committee Reports

    A. Operations - Oh yeah, nothing says 'efficiency' like bullet points with cool animations!

    B. Communications - what do they do again? They never seem to make any sense.

    C. You have likely faded out already, but it will be your turn soon.

    D. Strange guy from Purchasing that wears suspenders. Or is it Shipping? Same thing I guess.

    E. They really need to supply donuts at these meetings.

    F. Guy from Finance who keeps talking to himself under his breath. That is weird.

    G. Dude that works from home, who always has a dodgy phone connection, and no one has ever seen

    H. WAKE UP!  It's your turn!!!!

    I. Relax you gave your 2 minute update, the other 58 minutes of your life, well, just let them go.

    J. Couldn't we have just posted all this on the Project Management system ? What's that? Oh right, we don't have one.

    3. Time to break out the iPhone. The rest of the attendees will think you are a jerk, but it's worth it. You are multi-tasking darn it! Once the MS Project handouts get passed around the table, your eyes will glaze over anyway and you need something to keep alert.

    4. Open Issues?  Yes, I have one.  Why are there no donuts at these meetings? I guess I have another one, what does 'work at home' guy really do?  Are you sure he even works here?

    5. Next meeting - No, please don't make me go through this again.  Unless there are donuts.

     

    I know what you are thinking, another hack post about time wasted in meetings, offering no solutions, not a shred of insight, and perhaps wasting your time just as much as the badly run meetings that it attempts to (lamely) lampoon.

    So now I am forced to offer this suggestion - at your next 'Project Status Review Meeting' or close approximation in your organization, take the 'official' agenda and during the meeting mark it up with what truly happens, with what you are actually thinking, and what the true agenda should have been.

    Then let me know how far off the mark I was.

    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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