Archive for December, 2011

Is it bad HR or bad Management?

Posted on December 12, 2011. Filed under: Leadership and teams, leadership response |

In a recent tweet I posted an article that raised some key things that “if your HR manager does, then you should fire them” and it started me thinking.  Well, it didn’t really START me thinking because I do that all the time, although what it did do is turn my thinking towards the issue of workplace and staffing problems and who is a) usually blamed and b) how these situations get so far out of hand.

I think the article provided some effective tips and evaluation points – yet it was clearly written in a way that was intended to generate interest and attention rather than to really help people.  Honestly how many HR managers would openly admit that  they were doing things like or even close to those listed in an article saying that if you do them you should be fired?

Rather than taking a negative – even if tongue inc heek – perspective, why not examine what factors make up success in the view of HR and the view of line management.  (much as I did some time ago with a short workshop on “How to find and engage the right advisor”).  I realise that the “cheeky” nature of the article may have grabbed attention (well it obviously worked with me) yet I think we need more than attention – we need action.

For instance, recruitment and staff turnover is often positioned as HR failing to do their job.  With many statistics floating around that up to 30% of people fake their resumes then I guess someone needs to work out a way to stop those people getting roles they are just not skilled or suitable for.  Then I ask myself (and you): who defines the criteria for success in a role and how well or clearly is this communicated?  Isn’t this a great opportunity for the line and the HR manager to work together to clarify what on the job criteria a candidate needs to satisfy as well as the tips on what to look out for from the experience of the HR professional?

I know there are times when I have been asked for advice by line managers because I recruit more often than they do – and so have a wider field of candidates to reflect on in terms of the difference between nervous or deceptive behaviour. (By the way I may listen to my instinct but only act on it when I have evidence – otherwise that is unfair and an inappropriate basis for a recruitment decision)  When you interview a lot you have an edge over people who do not interview often.

Just as the line manager has an edge in determining what examples of workplace performance are most relevant to the job and which are just well articulated responses.  The line manager is also potentially best placed to identify the type of person who will fit best into the team and work culture – are we a loud and social team or are we quiet with everyone getting on and doing their own thing?  The work style of a group and a candidate can be one of the most important matches you make – just ask anyone who has a job/employee from hell type of story.  In most cases you’ll find that there was a major mis-match of work styles.

The point I am tyring to make here is that no-one wins when a poor recruitment decision is made: especially not the candidate themselves who might suffer stress and anxiety, or a termination of employment early in their tenure that they cannot explain or a set of hopes dashed because it just isn’t working.

Yes the attention grabbing headline has a place – and an effective one – my request or call to action for you is to read and think a little more deeply.  Go beyond the reasons to fire your HR manager and ask some questions:

– did the HR manager have all the relevant information (did they ask or was it provided are two different sub questions)

– has accountability and responsibility for key decisions been placed in the right hands (sometimes the line manager simply knows more and should have the final say, whilst at other times the HR specialist and their knowledge need to be at the fore)

– can the situation be rectified?  Rather than firing a person, can we give them feedback and coaching – if that has been tried (and document) already and in accordance with your policy then perhaps a termination of employment is the right call.  However it may be a case of having a conversation with the person and getting to the bottom of why they did what they did. (some candidates do lie and falsify their reference checks and will get through almost any recruitment process – that’s where on the job performance assessment during the probation or trial period is effective)

Read the article I shared the link to if you like and please take your thinking one extra step – what would I do if this happened to me and how would I mutually fix it?  The article is a thought provoker – let your thoughts turn into practical analysis and relevant and appropriate action.


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Bad blogger is back

Posted on December 4, 2011. Filed under: culture, Leadership and teams, personal leadership |

Yes I am a bad blogger because it has been some time since my last post.  Blogging is intended to be a regular way to connect with people and on that I have done rather poorly recently.

Because I have been concentrating on connecting with people face to face.  Not leaving time or space for connecting on line.

Connections are critical – yes, we all know that the number of facebook friends you have is important as is the number of LinkedIn connections (I admit to feeling a pang of competitiveness in a meeting last week when a colleague commented on having over 1000 connections because I have around 660)

A tweet today about tibes from @gettribalnow noted that tribes don’t need to do engagement surveys because they connect meaningfully every day.

And it made me wonder – are we over engineering or overcomplicating some things?  Why do we need to survey everything and everyone – what ever happened to just asking people when you see them or speak with them.

What has happened to good old personal contact?

This is something that I have been chatting with people about for some time now- I agree that social media is a great tool and has its place for business people.  It should not be the only avenue by which we build profile and engage people.  People need the human touch.  We need to know that someone is taking an interest.


Think about those phrases we are all familiar with:

– no-one cares how much you know until they know how much you care

– buyers buy from the person not the brand

– charisma and being a people person is a highly sought after skill


My work is focused on helping people work more effectively with each other – and this post gets to the heart of that.  If you are challenged by people, then perhaps you need to ask yourself if you are engaging on their level or yours.

Brad Tonini asks a great question (well he asks more than one actually!) in terms of sles “Are you selling the way your buyers buy?” And I think the principle applies to every human interaction.  Am I dealing with you in the way you interact or the way I prefer to interact?

When we are speaking about friendships and personal relationships sure we need to be comfortable and maybe that inability to connect means that we are not going to make a friendship with this particular person.

In business how does that translate?  Some people seem to be trying to make themselves all things to all people – and that is not a characteristic that many of us want to buy from.  We mistrust the chameleon.

Yet as a manager or leader can you afford to only deal with people that you like and are comfortable with?  Isn’t that the essence of that phenomena called group think?  Where people think and act the same way.  And get the same responses and the same results.  Not so good for innovation.

As leaders and managers of people we need to establish and maintain an environment where there is a range of views – within the scope of the company or business goals and style of course.

My question for today is if you are experiencing challenges in sales or in your team (or with your online following!) you need to ask yourslef: how regularly and how well am I communicating?

Because if I am not clear in my messages to you, how can I expect you to understand what it is that I am trying to say?

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