New eCornell program offers wellness counseling skills

Wellness – defined by the World Health Organization as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being” – is essential not only in the health care industry but in every profession and everyday life. However, creating a culture or achieving an optimal state of well-being can be challenging.

To better equip helping professionals, the Cornell Institute for Healthy Futures (CIHF) has developed a Wellness Counseling certificate program, offered through eCornell. Ideal for any human resource or wellness professional, this program offers best-in-practice, demonstrated counseling techniques and steps for achieving and creating a culture of wellness.

“Whatever industry a helping professional is in, the ability to effectively lead and curate a culture of wellness is integral,” said program author Beth McKinney, lecturer in nutritional sciences in the College of Human Ecology and CIHF faculty fellow. “This program develops those skills, enabling professionals with the tools to create rapport, elicit behavior change, have open and empathetic communication and enhance their overall effectiveness.”

This program consists of four two-week classes:

  • Understanding the Person;
  • Understanding the Deeper Need;
  • Eliciting New Behaviors; and
  • Promoting Organizational Wellness.

Upon completion, participants will receive a certificate from the College of Human Ecology and 40 professional development hours.

For more information, visit the eCornell website.

Careers, Family, and Gender: Managing Effectively in Today’s Shifting Workplace

Over the past fifty years, America has seen steady shifts in the makeup of its workplace. Managing these changes in career, family, and gender have needed to be addressed by both HR and workers themselves. Pamela Tolbert, professor from Cornell’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations, has been studying how social changes affect organizations and vice versa. She sat down with eCornell’s Chris Wofford to discuss how organizational leadership can address challenges for workers in today’s workplace and what they can do to create a more progressive environment that leaves everyone at the table more fulfilled.

What follows is an abridged version of that conversation.

Wofford: I think one of the through lines to today’s conversation, the thing we’re going to be talking about is work-life balance. Why is that an issue today? What’s the landscape look like? Give us some perspective.

Tolbert: So this gets into how organizations affect social life in part. And I think there are a couple of things that have led to this becoming a really big issue today particularly. I mean people have always worked, people have always had families. But there’ve been changes in both families and the workplace that have kind of lead to a perfect storm in how these two spheres relate to each other. We moved from the kind of traditional family where you have the husband is the bread winner, and the wife stays at home and takes care of things, to a place where you have dual earner couples are common place. And that change occurred pretty quickly actually. About 50% of all families, the husband worked, the wife stayed at home. By the 2000s, it was somewhere between 60% to 75% of the workforce were dual earners.

And then the workplace really didn’t change that much. You know, you have this big social change going on outside the workplace that affects it, not so much adaptation.

Wofford: I’m curious what companies are doing.

Tolbert: So there are a couple of major experiments in particular that I think are really promising. And part of the thing that makes them I think work, is that they’re really focused on rethinking how we work. Not just trying to help people manage work family relations, but the basic premise, these are a couple of experiments. One was done at Best Buy.

Wofford: What happened at Best Buy?

Tolbert: In the case of Best Buy, it was called Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE). So in that case it was started by their HR, but they were very conscious of the fact that part of what had gone wrong in the accommodations arrangements, where you have to ask your supervisor if you’re going to take a leave, or you have to make a deal to have flexible work arrangements. So it’s clear that it’s very important to get the supervisors involved in this. That it’s not something that’s just imposed upon them. So what they did was to bring together teams of employees and their supervisors, and the supervisor was responsible for helping the team come up with the ideas and to think the processes through essentially- everything is fair game. Let’s think about the meetings that we have. Let’s think about whether we could use technology more effectively to do things, rather than having all these meetings. If we made some kind of scheduling arrangements, could we then allow people to have more time off, so that they’re not having to be there constantly? Just to be more effective in thinking about the arrangements for coordinating and controlling.

Wofford: They would close the loop on a lot of their initiatives.

Tolbert: Yeah, yeah. So they could readjust. And it turned out it was a very effective program. I mean the employees were incredibly enthusiastic about it. It spread to a large number of others- it started at headquarters, and then it spread throughout the company, and actually a number of other organizations adopted it. They had data, it reduced turnover by almost half.

And the employees reported that they were getting more sleep, they had more energy, they could focus better, because of being able to control their work. So I think part of what’s important here is that because people were motivated to try and think, how can I work better? Because they have the carrot at the end, that your life would actually be improved. It’s not like, think how to work more efficiently so you can work more often.

With a national policy you could kind of provide incentives for employers to spread the work out a little bit more. Everybody would benefit. Including families. And all kinds of things. So that’s one direction that things could go. We also have model organizations to provide pathways. I mentioned the SAS corporation. There is a case study from … I think it’s in the Harvard. But anyway, it’s about this big data analytics company which has been around since, I don’t know, 1976 maybe. It’s a successful company. Always done well. This is the one where they have a 35 hour work week policy. Although people are also expected that if you’re needed you will be there. But the norm, you have a norm that work is not supposed to wake up every day of your life. They provide childcare policies. It’s a very employee centered company.

And the case makes it sound like Shangri-La. But the thing is is that it’s a private company and I think it’s easier to do that than in a public company because in a public company you start getting pressures from stockholders to cut out the fat and make it run more effectively. It is a private company but it’s had like a 10% sales growth on average every year since it was founded. Clearly it’s succeeding. It’s not like the “fat” is being wasted. You can’t make it an HR sort of project. You’ve got to get it spread throughout the company. But HR’s historically been sort of the champion of these kinds of initiatives.

So I think that the thinking about work and family as kind of integrated whole is an important thing for policy. For national policy but also for company policy.

Want to hear more? Watch the recorded live eCornell WebSeries event, Careers, Family, and Gender: Managing Effectively in Today’s Shifting Workplace, and subscribe to future events.

Workplace Harassment: Making Sense of Rapid Developments in the #MeToo Era

Workplace harassment is a complex and multi-faceted issue that affects every industry. Susan Brecher and Katrina Nobles from the Scheinman Institute at Cornell University are faculty experts in the fields of conflict resolution, employment law, and employee relations. They sat down with eCornell’s Chris Wofford to discuss the various ways in which organizations can respond to workplace harassment.

What follows is an abridged version of their conversation.

Brecher: Katrina and I worked for the Scheinman Institute, which is the institute for conflict resolution at Cornell University. I am the Director of Employee Relations, Employment Law, and Diversity and Inclusion, all of which directly relate to today’s topic. Katrina is the Director of Conflict Programs for the Scheinman Institute. She works on many projects related to conflict both on and off campus. Harassment is a topic that often brings up conflict.

Nobles: In addition to our work with Scheinman Institute, we host a public workshop series. Organizations then ask us to bring the topics covered in the workshops to their offices. These training topics include employee relations, conducting investigations, and employment laws, as well as programs on cross-cultural communications and conflict. We also help build organizational structure around what was learned.

Wofford: What does harassment in the workplace look like?

Brecher: Federal law does not define workplace harassment, and therefore it is open to interpretation. The working definition of sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and physical contact. The other definition relates to all forms of harassment in the protected classes: race, gender, national origin, and age. Here, the focus is on verbal or physical areas of conduct, and how they denigrate or show hostility. The two areas of focus are power-based harassment, and environmental, or the existence of a hostile work environment. These all relate to federal law, but there are state and local laws with even greater protections.

Wofford: How do the workplace policies relate to the legal definitions?

Brecher: Policies contain the minimum legal standard, but many go beyond that. Companies are looking for a higher expectation of respect and dignity to bring them in line with their mission and value statements.

Nobles: For many, their mission and value statements represent the ideal. They want to represent these strong values. However, the actions and behaviors that would support this don’t often occur. Missions and values are hard to define and are perceived through multiple lenses.

Brecher: In our trainings, we encourage leaders to find out what the terms mean to the people they work with, instead of assuming they know the answers.

Nobles: We often talk about what respect and dignity looks like. For example, if you show up to a meeting late, is that disrespectful? Opinions differed.

Nobles: How do you account for differences in working style, or generational differences?

Brecher: Workplace styles don’t necessarily break down by generation. And while I know there are generalizations or stereotypes, and it gives us insights into individuals, that’s where we begin to have problems and misunderstandings. One of our goals is to really help people understand their reaction to behaviors.

Nobles: We approach each person as an individual. We try to understand employees’ working and conflict styles to determine how we work best together. We focus on individual culture, social identities, and upbringing. For example, what part of the country did we grow up in? The answers make a huge difference.

Brecher: There’s often a great “A-Ha!” moment when individuals can see you’re not attacking them, but instead recognizing that they come in with a different lens. Some of those lenses negatively impact behaviors.

Wofford: Are companies today concerned about liability?

Brecher: Most organizations are less concerned about liability and more concerned about media exposure, in particular social media. When I train managers I ask them, “Would you like to see yourself on the news engaging in these behaviors? Or on social media?” And all of a sudden another “A-Ha!” moment arrives. Managers need to know what to say because we tell managers they have to report. Some managers think, “If I don’t see it, I don’t have to report.” We now teach them that yes, they do have to do something. But we want them to feel comfortable speaking, so we teach them the words to say.

Nobles: Speaking up is powerful. We need to empower employees to speak up themselves if they’re put into an uncomfortable situation. If they’re not comfortable doing that, they need access to the appropriate channels where someone else can speak up for them.

Brecher: Too often, we’re reacting to the person that comes to us and says, “This person has been doing this for the last six months,” as opposed to supporting the culture in which that person may have said after the first time something happened, “I’d like to give you some respectful feedback.” Having those support points earlier on makes it a completely different organizational culture.

Nobles: Everybody has a different perception of what should be permissible, based on experience and culture. At work, our cultures are meeting everybody else’s culture, and we may have differences. Conversations help the shared understanding around actions and behaviors.

Wofford: Some HR managers are expected to have an enormous degree of responsibility. Is this fair?

Brecher: HR must partner with the experts in the organization to build relationships so that as a team, managers better understand their operations. Partnering opportunities are vital. You have to approach it as a group from an organizational perspective.

Wofford: Should managers learn to investigate instances of alleged harassment?

Brecher: Managers should not conduct investigations unless they know how. Sometimes this can be guided by people who have that expertise.

Nobles: The best tool is to have somebody from your organization attend a full training on how to conduct investigations, because it is complex.

Want to hear more? Watch the recorded live eCornell WebSeries event, Workplace Harassment: Making Sense of Rapid Developments in the #MeToo Era, and subscribe to future events.

Adding It Up: Hidden Lifetime Costs of Sexual Assault and Misconduct

Victims of sexual assault, violence, and misconduct suffer in multiple ways following the crimes committed against them. Liz Karns, professor from Cornell’s ILR School, has been following the lifetime costs for victims of these sexual crimes. As both a lawyer and an epidemiologist, she is tackling the data from an interesting perspective and sat down with eCornell’s Chris Wofford to discuss the lasting effects for survivors both on campus and in the workplace.

What follows is an abridged version of their conversation.

Wofford: You are an epidemiologist and also a lawyer, so you’re coming at this from two very interesting angles that together make for a really compelling story, so tell me a little bit about when you started looking at this and your experience.

Karns: As an epidemiologist, I started thinking about it just in terms of the types of data we would have, right? But it wasn’t until I went to law school like 13 years after being an epidemiologist that I started applying it to sexual assault, and in that context, I treated, and I continue to treat those cases just as I would any type of medical malpractice case or environmental harm case. They are the exact same set of ways that we assess damage. We need the studies, we need the research, we need the experts, and, it’s been a while coming that we got all of those things together. But at this point, we have so much research, so much information that makes it quite clear that the cost is a lifetime cost, and that currently it is usually the person, the victim, who pays for that – and that’s my interest, is to shift that.

In 2015 we had like a banner year of doing lots of different studies, and these studies were all essentially asking the same, which was ‘Have you been sexually assaulted while in college?’ And, there was some slight difference in terms of the phrasing. This was a study that was done by Kaiser and the Washington Post, and we have 25% of people who were assaulted since starting college, 20% for women, 5% for men. We see pretty similar pattern across all the different places, right? It never varies in a big way. The one that says 27 AAU, this was a study that Cornell was part of. We had 27 different colleges that did the same survey, and it’s important to have this information because it’s consistent across studies. There’s so many people who will say, ‘Oh, but people just make that up or it was dependent on the respondents.’ There’s been a lot of reliability and validity testing on this and this is solid data. The sad thing is that this the exact same data that we had in 1987. The numbers are the same since 1987 – roughly 20% is a consistent thing and it has not changed with anything.

Part of the reason that we add this up is that money matters. Somehow when we start attaching a price tag, people become more accountable, and the different systems that we look at are the legal systems. We’ve got the criminal and the civil system, and the financial obligation that arises out of that. Let’s imagine that a perpetrator is found guilty, and under the criminal system, ordered to pay restitution. That means they have to pay the victim money, and that is a contract now. That cannot be discharged, under a personal bankruptcy, so it is something that will stay with that perpetrator forever until they’ve paid it off.

Wofford: Wow.

Karns: That would change the world.

Wofford: I would imagine.

Karns: This is the standard approach to all injuries. This is exactly what’s used in your car accidents, your slip and falls, medical malpractice, everything else, so it’s interesting that people don’t think of it when it comes to sexual assault. So it’s part of my job, to articulate it, and make people think about that. If we assign dollars, we’ll get societal change. I’m quite sure about this one. The person initially talks to the psychiatrist, and then talks about different situations that this arises in, to figure out how invasive it is in their life. I have had people who could not go to covered parking lots ever again in their lives, and that meant that they would drive 50 miles out of the way to go to a different train station because they didn’t wanna use that one that had the covered parking lot. That meant that she couldn’t take certain jobs, so it’s got this sort of ripple effect.

Wofford: Yes, exactly. So what I’m getting at, or where I was going with that was, linking this particular diagnosis to these behaviors, and I wonder often how that plays out legally.

Karns: Yeah, well, I mean it’s absolutely part of the case because you’ve got, first the initial injury, which is the assault itself, and that doesn’t have a huge amount of value, obviously, like in terms of money, but the ways that it impairs one’s life after that are what get documented. That is the job of the lawyer to go through and describe the day and the life – you bring in different experts to say, this person will have a very predictable set of problems when they have their own children, so that’s a cost that you should be thinking about.

So the expert is who ties this person’s diagnosis and situation and then projects it forward, and when I’ve worked on medical malpractice cases where we had something happening to an infant, we would do the same thing. We’d say this is what their life looks like in the future.

Wofford: Yeah. Okay, behavioral health, again, this is not a big surprise, that they are more likely to be using alcohol or hard drugs, and they’re aware that they need to cut down, so they are aware that they’re using it as a substitute for treatment, if you will. And then this is the one that the insurance company knows is that they continually use more healthcare than non-victims, so whenever somebody discusses, gosh, maybe we should decide this is a preexisting condition, you can see why the insurance company is interested in that ’cause these are very costly, they have higher costs, 20% higher.

Karns: So, when people start acknowledging that the assault occurred, and that’s a process in itself, and realizing that they need counseling, it’s not unusual to have a diagnosis come up from that. They don’t have to go and seek a diagnosis to say, ‘mmm, boom, I have it.’ It’s going to evolve, and you have this statute of limitations, so you have so many years afterwards, that depends on your state, to file this case, and so, you don’t have to seek it right away. If you’re gonna build a case, and you’re talking to your lawyer, right, a lawyer, then they will very much ask you, ‘Are you in counseling? Do you have a diagnosis?’ Most of us have health insurance that would cover some aspect of that so there’s some record of that as well.

Wofford: So you’re recommending that the damages are then directed to the perpetrator, legally. What is the state of the law, what’s happening out there, as far as cases like this? Is this line of thinking adapted?

Karns: Yeah.

Wofford: Okay, so this is nothing new.

Karns: This is not, nothing I’m doing is new. All I’m doing is calling attention to it in a different way, and the way that I check myself, if you will, is that I look at what are called default cases – these are cases where the perpetrator, who then became a defendant in civil court, never showed up and the plaintiff, the person who experienced the assault, has the right to make the argument of, ‘What are the costs?’ And then the judge assesses those costs and decides whether or not they’re warranted.

This is all about true economic loss.

But, compensation funds will actually pay for things like therapy, so you could get that immediate counseling that you need, it’s just onerous to get there. Second one is – I mentioned this before – criminal restitution. This is part of any court process, that the criminal court can order the perpetrator to pay the victim. And then finally, civil damages, and this is the one I think most of us are familiar with, where we undertake legal action. The plaintiff, the person who is the victim, brings the case against that defendant, and everything I’ve talked to today goes into that damages number, and then that number gets used all the way through the civil court process, so demand letter, complaint, arguments.

So shifting the burden is what we need to do. That is absolutely what we’ll have to do. So things we can change. One, sexual assault happens in schools quite a lot, and we need to address the fact that it interrupts their education, and we need to think about a student loan deferral on this. It’s absolutely mandatory. The legal ones, holding the perpetrators responsible. And then finally, support, engaging survivors in discussions about the economic impact.

Want to hear more? Watch an excerpt of the live eCornell WebSeries event, Adding It Up: Hidden Lifetime Costs of Sexual Assault and Misconduct, and subscribe to future events.

Cornell’s New Programs Equip Managers and HR Leaders to Build an Aware Organizational Culture

Participants learn critical strategies for creating a supportive and engaging workplace

As today’s headlines prove, an inclusive work environment is not just a nice-to-have, it can make or break a company. Engaged employees, a diverse workforce, and an inclusive climate provide organizations with a competitive advantage. Recognizing the need for companies to understand the complex dynamics underlying diversity challenges and opportunities within their organizations, Cornell has now announced the launch of two new online Diversity and Inclusion certificate programs.

Available 100% online through eCornell, learners can choose from a program designed expressly for HR professionals and a track for managers in any part of the organization. The programs teach learners critical strategies to help their teams increase employee engagement, counter unconscious bias, and build a more inclusive work environment.

“An organization is only as good as its culture—and every manager and HR leader is responsible for culture,” said Cornell ILR professor Lisa H. Nishii, who authored the program. “It goes without saying that organizations today must move beyond mere compliance and focus on constructing a work culture that promotes inclusion. The problem is, despite the ubiquity of the term inclusion, its definition and implementation often remain murky. This set of courses is designed to train workplace professionals to decode unconscious bias and how it affects employees, and to design work practices and norms that more effectively leverage the potential among all employees.”

Learners enrolled in the certificate programs can help make their organization a more inclusive and engaging place to work by understanding the perceptual, institutional, and psychological processes that impact the ways people interact with each other. Courses include:

  • Improving Engagement
  • Counteracting Unconscious Bias
  • Diversity and Inclusion in Practice
  • Fostering an Inclusive Climate

Upon successful completion of all four courses, learners earn a Diversity and Inclusion Certificate from Cornell University’s ILR School.

Want to Build High-Performing Relationships at Work? Try This.

Building collaborative work relationships with colleagues and avoiding threats to project collaboration are issues that every employee today must deal with.

To address the real-life challenges that people face in today’s diverse and often global – or even virtual – workplaces, eCornell’s Chris Wofford was joined by Dr. Michele Williams, a scholar at Cornell University’s Scheinman Institute on Conflict Resolution as well as a Faculty Fellow at the Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Research Network. Their wide-ranging discussion is part of our ongoing Women in Leadership WebCast series.

Wofford: Michelle, thanks for joining us. I’d like to start with the results of some poll questions we posed to our audience. Here’s the first one: “Do fear, stress, or anger play a part in the erosion of trust at your organization?” The overwhelming response was ‘yes’, which is probably not much of a surprise.

Williams: No, it’s not. But what I think is really important in today’s society is that there’s so much economic pressure, a lot of mergers and acquisitions, restructuring and so on, so fear, stress, and anger have become almost a daily part of work. Figuring out how we build and maintain trust when emotions are starting to be just a common part of our work experience is a real challenge.

Wofford: I’ve got another one here I think will be interesting to look at, which is, “Do you believe that lack of trust in your organization is an issue that needs to be addressed?” Again, probably no surprise that 100 percent of the responses say “yes”.

Williams: This is a widespread issue. If we look more broadly, the erosion of trust in our institutions and politicians and government parallels what’s going on within organizations.

I would argue that trust is really the key to collaborative relationships because it really increases things that are essential to collaboration, like information sharing, helping behavior, responsiveness,and flexibility.

If something goes wrong every time you work with a contractor, for instance, you have to renegotiate the contract. That’s extremely costly. If you trust them, you can respond in a more responsible way that allows you to work around whatever problems arise.

Trust also decreases the need to monitor everyone. If you have to watch everything your team member does, it’s going to really slow down the project.

Wofford: Ok, trust is important. I think that’s something we would all agree on. But what is trust, really?

Williams: Everyone has almost their own definition, including academics, economists and
organizational people, and all of them tend to vary a little bit. But what we’re going to talk about here is psychological trust.

Whenever you collaborate with someone, if they don’t do their part, it can really harm you. When you rely on someone there really is a risk of opportunism or revenge. But you take this risk, not as a huge leap of faith but based on the expectation that others will be helpful or at least not harmful.

This belief that others have benevolent integrity and confidence is really the basis of trust; the trustworthiness you perceive in your colleagues. Do they have the ability to carry out the tasks or write the report or analyze the numbers? Do they follow through on what they say? That’s really what we’re talking about when we’re talking about building trust.

Wofford: Going back to our opening question, how does trust deteriorate?

Williams: Fear and stress can undermine rational cooperation. Time and time again, research studies show that people will punish others even at a cost to themselves if they believe they’ve been treated unfairly.

Tough economic times and layoffs make people fear that others are not going to be able to cooperate and are just trying to protect themselves. Fear can also cause employees to avoid one another and it’s very hard to get work done when people are avoiding you.

When it comes to anger, it can really cause vengeful behavior and override understanding and forgiveness. Everybody makes mistakes, but if people aren’t given a second chance, it often ends up undermining your project without giving them the chance to either explain what happened or to rebuild the trust.

Wofford: How do our different personalities and personal assumptions play into issues of workplace trust? I mean, we’re all individuals right?

Williams: I teach a course in intergroup dialogue and part of the foundation of that course is trust and how you give people the benefit of the doubt when talking about issues that are controversial. Can we have a discussion with people who have different assumptions and can we do it in a way that moves things forward rather than placing blame?

Wofford: Isn’t a lot of that just making people feel comfortable?

Williams: Exactly, and honesty is what brings about those high-quality connections that really facilitate work.

I want to talk a little bit about emotional work. Everyone’s probably had a colleague who’s had a bad day and you’ve tried to cheer them up. That’s what emotional work is. It’s when you try to change your own emotion or someone else’s emotion. Emotional work is really key to building trust in settings where there may be high emotions.

If you are all working really hard to get something done, there’s a lot of stress and tension. If team members are able to help each other manage that, they’re able to maintain that trust at a higher level.

Wofford: So we have to manage emotions in addition to doing our work? How does this play out in a real-world setting?

Williams: Emotional work has two fundamental foundations. One is emotional influence. Can you make the other person feel differently than they’re feeling now in a way that will help them work and continue their relationship with you and with a project? Can you see the situation from the other person’s point of view so that you can figure out the best strategy for interacting?

So how do you do that? There are several different things you can do. One is to alter the situation. Managers often do this if they have a negative feedback report to give to an employee. Instead of calling them into the conference room or the manager’s office, they might instead take them out to lunch and make it a more informal situation.

Another way is to alter the other person’s interpretation of events. You know, projects often fail and that can be crushing. But being able to reframe that into a message of “failures only lead to success” is very effective. Get them to think about it in a different way. Those types of interpretations help people go forward and build and maintain trust.

You can also change the environment. Go play racquetball, go out for a drink – that’s probably not a long-term solution but it works in the short term.

Another approach is that sometimes people say, “Suck it up, just keep going and move on.”

Wofford: Is this emotional work the responsibility of HR, of leadership, or of all of us?

Williams: This is definitely something that leaders do and something that people expect of their leaders. But it’s also something that people do within a team. You need to support each other.

If you don’t notice how other people are feeling, there’s not as much the manager can do about it. Team members have a huge impact because they’re with that person every day, so they’re in the position of being able to reframe a failure or a challenge in a way that makes people go forward.

I think that this is important at all levels of the organization. HR certainly has a critical role to play, including in what type of training they can provide so that people start to understand these behaviors.

Wofford: I want to turn back to our audience for a moment and ask them to weigh in on this poll question: When you feel anxious, stressed or angry, what would you like your team members and managers to do? We have some options: one, use humor to distract you; two, listen to your story; three, help you think more positively; and four, give you advice.

The answers are now in and I don’t know if you’ll be surprised by this, Michele, but the most popular answer was two, to simply listen.

Williams: Listening is critical. I think that a lot of times people jump in with advice when they haven’t understood the situation because they haven’t taken the time to really listen to the person. They’re only half listening and then they start offering solutions. So listening is extremely powerful and it shows that you care and are trustworthy.

Wofford: Not everyone is willing to share their feelings though. How do you find out that your team members are angry or stressed if they don’t come out and say it? How do you anticipate it?

Williams: You’re right that people won’t always tell you, so you might have to look for clues. It may be that you have a team member who used to always go to lunch. If they stop going out to lunch with you, that’s a clue that something’s probably up.

A lot of this is about the proactive process of imagining other people’s thoughts or feelings from their point of view. This is important not only in terms of emotional influence but also just in terms of communication. Communication scholars have looked at perspective-taking and it turns out that when you take someone else’s perspective, you adjust what you say to their knowledge level and to their experience. You frame things in a way so that they actually understand what you’re saying better. It also helps you feel closer to people once you’ve taken their perspective and this in turn makes you care more about their outcomes. It’s a very powerful process if people engage in it.

You know, there is this myth that people are simply trustworthy or not and all you have to do is watch your colleagues and see how they behave and you can figure out if they’re trustworthy or not. But in reality, trustworthiness is something that’s negotiated. Both sides have expectations for trustworthiness and you have to talk about them to figure out where to meet in the middle.

Wofford: So we know that perspective-taking and managing other people’s emotions and emotional influence are important, but how do we get there? How do we get to a place where we’re doing that regularly?

Williams: I would just say practice, practice, practice. Perspective-taking is critical because perspective-taking decreases when people are under stress, under time pressures or when they’re trying to multitask. And of course, this is exactly when it’s most needed.

On a personal level, get feedback. Solicit feedback from individuals about how well they think you understand their perspective. Ask people, what are the situations in which I’m at my best?
Think about those types of situations so that you can build on those strengths.

And finally, practice generative listening. Generative listening goes beyond active listening. So you are listening – you’re not texting while they’re talking to you – but more than that, you’re also affirming their perspective.

You don’t have to agree with someone to affirm that you’ve heard, what they’re saying, and what assumptions they are moving forward from.

Wofford: What are the takeaways you hope people get from our talk here today?

Williams: Building high-performing, collaborative work relationships requires effort, perspective-taking, emotional work, and threat reduction. It’s an interpersonal process that’s ongoing. You don’t do it once and stop.

In today’s global workplace, effective work relationships are key to promotions, project success, and a company’s profitability. Some of the concepts we’ve talked about today can help you build and maintain the trust you’ll need within your team or organization.

Wofford: Michelle, this has been fantastic. Thank you for joining me.

 

Want to hear more? This interview is based on Michele Williams’ live eCornell WebSeries event, Building High-Performing Relationships at Work: What Leaders, Followers and Team Members Need to KnowSubscribe now to gain access to a recording of this event and other Human Resources topics. 

Cornell University Brings Strategic Perspective to Pay, Rewards with New Compensation Studies Certificate

— New ILR program at eCornell goes beyond tactics to design unique plans that drive results —

A surprising number of today’s organizations still struggle to get compensation plans right. Pay-based performance incentives are used in 90 percent of U.S. companies, yet recent reports find that most plans don’t deliver, or deliver the wrong results. Now, through eCornell, Cornell University’s globally renowned ILR School is offering an online Compensation Studies certificate that provides professionals and organizations with the strategic framework needed to rethink total compensation plans, motivate employees, and drive performance.

The Compensation Studies certificate builds on the ILR School’s more than 70 years of leadership in delivering research-based professional education. Since 2010, ILR has worked with eCornell to rapidly expand into online learning, offering five online Human Resources certificates, and launching Cornell University’s first blended master’s degree program—an Executive Master of Human Resources Management that combines innovative online coursework with rigorous on-campus sessions.

“Our new Compensation Studies certificate program is a strong addition to ILR’s growing portfolio of online education offerings. It expands access to the school’s deep expertise in human resources management,” said Linda Barrington, Executive Director of the Institute for Compensation Studies at Cornell’s ILR School and co-author of the new certificate program, along with instructing faculty member Stephanie Thomas, Ph.D. and Kevin Hallock, Ph.D., the Kenneth F. Kahn ’69 Dean and Joseph R. Rich ’80 Professor of Economics and Human Resource Studies.

The Compensation Studies certificate is comprised of four courses that can be completed over two months. Students undertake a comprehensive, performance-based approach to compensation—aligning compensation to organizational goals, creating fair and profitable employee incentives, and probing the impact of plans on performance, profits, and people. Courses draw upon authoritative research shaping global pay-for-performance strategies, and include interactive tools and guidance on using a research-based compensation model, addressing cultural considerations, and defining employee populations by talent and role to optimize return on performance pay.

Cornell’s new certificate program is especially relevant for entry- to intermediate-level HR or compensation professionals, and for small business leaders seeking to structure and realign compensation with business strategy.

 

About Cornell University’s ILR School

Cornell University’s ILR School is the leading college of applied social sciences focusing on work, employment, and labor policy issues and practices of national and international significance. Offering undergraduate and graduate education as well as career-long learning for professionals, the ILR School advances the world of work through teaching, research and outreach, disseminating leading-edge knowledge to solve human problems, manage and resolve conflict, establish best practices in the workplace, and inform government policy.

About eCornell
As Cornell University’s online learning platform, eCornell delivers online professional certificate courses to individuals and organizations around the world. Courses are personally developed by Cornell faculty with expertise in a wide range of topics, including hospitality, management, marketing, human resources and leadership. Students learn in an interactive, small cohort format to gain skills they can immediately apply in their organizations, ultimately earning a professional certificate from Cornell University. eCornell has offered online learning courses and certificate programs for 15 years to over 130,000 students at more than 2,000 companies.

Cornell University Launches New Online Human Resources Certificate for Working Professionals

Cornell University has launched a new online Human Resources Certificate. The nine-course online program covers the foundational core competencies of human resources and features engaging content and interaction with expert instructors and peers.  Designed for working professionals, it is 100% online with a flexible asynchronous format that can be completed in as little as five months.

The program was developed by faculty at Cornell University’s ILR School and is available online through eCornell.  The courses cover fundamental topics crucial for a career in HR, including managing employee performance, total rewards compensation, labor relations, staffing decisions, engagement, training, development, coaching, countering bias, and internal consulting. Students who successfully complete the online program will receive a Human Resources Certificate from Cornell University.

“Whether you’re a generalist, specialist or new to the world of human resources, this Human Resources Certificate gives you the foundation needed for a successful career by providing ways for you to align your HR department to your organization’s goals,” said Associate Professor John Hausknecht. “We’re proud to make this online certificate program available to professionals around the world.”

This certificate launch is the latest addition to an extensive portfolio from the ILR School, including a recently launched fully blended Executive Master of HR Management program. Together since 2010, the ILR School and eCornell have worked with over 20,000 online students in over 180 countries throughout the world.

“The new Human Resources Certificate is based on the leading research, teaching, and outreach that are the hallmarks of our school’s mission of advancing the world of work,” states Kevin Hallock, the Kenneth F. Kahn Dean and the Joseph R. Rich Professor of Economics and Human Resources Studies at the ILR School.

The new Human Resources Certificate program includes lectures from 10 faculty members, input from numerous practitioners in the field, and a range of activities designed to translate concepts and best practices to application on the job.

“With the addition of the new Human Resources Certificate, Cornell continues to build on nearly 15 years of experience with online certificate programs,” said eCornell’s CEO and Associate Vice Provost of Online Learning for Cornell, Paul Krause. “We’re excited to offer such an engaging and high-quality online learning experience that combines instruction from Cornell’s world-renowned faculty and deep interaction with peers and experts.”

For more details on how to enroll, visit eCornell.com/NewHR.

 

About Cornell University ILR School 

The ILR School at Cornell University offers the most comprehensive portfolio of professional and academic programs focused on work and the workplace, conducting research and delivering instruction in labor studies, human resources, compensation, employment law, conflict resolution and disability studies (www.ilr.cornell.edu/professional-programs.) ILR prepares leaders who are at the forefront of advancing the world of work, informing policy and improving working lives in New York state, the nation and across the globe.

About eCornell | Cornell University

As Cornell University’s online learning subsidiary, eCornell provides many of the world’s leading organizations with online professional development in the areas of finance, healthcare, hospitality, human resources, leadership, management, and marketing. eCornell has delivered flexible, engaging, and immediately applicable learning experiences crafted by Cornell University faculty to over 90,000 students in more than 200 countries.

For more information, visit www.eCornell.com.

Driving Organizational Success Through Workforce Analytics

The use of analytics is changing the way HR professionals assess performance and position their organizations to succeed. Interest has grown considerably in recent years, as workforce analytics can reveal deep insights that help improve retention, efficiency, and productivity.

Cornell University’s John Hausknecht, HR Studies Professor at the ILR School, discusses the latest developments in this space, highlighting what leading companies are doing to strengthen the impact and reach of workforce analytics, including how “big data” will shape the field in years to come. The Q&A section is especially informative in this webinar.

In this webinar, you’ll learn:

  • How organizations are using HR data and measurement systems to influence overall strategy.
  • Which HR metrics are helping companies achieve strategic goals.
  • How to take results of data collection to develop a data-driven action plan.

Learn to think strategically about workforce analytics and capture the attention of senior leadership by making more informed, evidence-based decisions—decisions that have lasting impact beyond the HR department and throughout your organization.

Introducing our new HR Certificate

We are pleased to announced the launch of a new online Human Resources Management Certificate, developed by faculty at Cornell University’s ILR School. The nine-course program covers the foundational core competencies of human resources and features engaging content and interaction with expert instructors and peers. Like all eCornell certificates, it was designed with working professionals in mind as it is taken 100% online.

“The new Human Resources Management Certificate is based on the leading research, teaching, and outreach that are the hallmarks of our school’s mission of advancing the world of work,” states Kevin Hallock, the Kenneth F. Kahn Dean and the Joseph R. Rich Professor of Economics and Human Resource Studies at the ILR School.

The online HR courses cover topics crucial for a career in human resources, including employee performance management, total rewards compensation, labor relations, staffing decisions, employee engagement, training and development, coaching, countering bias, and internal consulting. Students who successfully complete the online program will receive a Human Resources Certificate from Cornell University.

“Whether you’re an HR generalist, specialist or new to the world of human resources, this Human Resources Management Certificate gives you the foundation needed for a successful career by providing ways for you to align your HR department to your organization’s goals,” said Associate Professor John Hausknecht. “We’re proud to make this online certificate program available to professionals around the world.”

The new Human Resources Management Certificate program includes lectures from 10 faculty members, input from numerous practitioners in the field, and a range of activities designed to translate concepts and best practices to application on the job.

Want to learn more? Go here or download our printable information sheet.