Hiring? Make Sure Your STARs are Aligned

Learn how to utilize the STAR interview method to create optimal behavioral interview questions and minimize risk when hiring new candidates.

Use the STAR interview method to create optimal behavioral interview questions.

When it comes to hiring, making predictions about candidates is crucial.

Ineffective interviewing techniques lead to poor predictions and can result in high employee turnover and more resources spent searching for new candidates.

To minimize this risk, many human resources professionals rely on the STAR interview method.

STAR is an acronym for Situation, Task, Action, Result. The STAR technique is designed to gather relevant information about job candidates to better predict future performance based on past behavior.

By asking behavioral interview questions, HR professionals and hiring managers can better assess the candidate’s ability and compatibility with a company’s culture. The STAR interview highlights the candidate’s actions and takeaways from his or her professional and/or academic experiences.Read More

Transcending Generational Differences in the Workplace

We’re at a unique moment in history; we now have three generations working side by side in the workforce.
Companies are facing challenges managing different work ethics, communication styles, values, approaches to teamwork, work-life balance expectations and relationships to authority.

In this fast-paced session, Carrie Shearer, eCornell faculty instructor and veteran HR strategist, demonstrates how HR professionals can transcend generational differences in the workplace:

  • Bridge the gaps among employees and help them avoid conflict.
  • Understand why each generation thinks and acts the way it does and then develop strategies to resolve the conflicts between generations.
  • Increase productivity in a generationally diverse workplace.

Carrie Shearer’s career has spanned nearly forty years and covered all areas of HR, with particular focus in compensation and global strategic issues. During her twenty years with Caltex Petroleum Company, she oversaw HR operations in 97 countries, developing HR curricula and course materials for developing HR practitioners.

At her consulting firm, Carrie Shearer & Associates, she offers expertise on strategic HR, international HR and leveraging a cross-cultural workforce. Carrie is a novelist, a frequent contributor to the HR track of Expatica.com, was on the advisory board of Woman Abroad Magazine, and is a sought-after speaker at international HR conferences.

eCornell offers four online certificate programs for human resources professionals, with the Advanced Certificate in Strategic HR being perhaps most relevant to today’s presentation. Whether you are new to HR, an accomplished HR practitioner, or an HR leader or business partner, there is sure to be a Cornell professional certificate that fits your career objectives.

How To Build an HR Strategy That Is Ethical, Mission-Driven and Gets Results

Ethics and workplace culture are at the heart of any successful business strategy. An organization’s ability to execute its mission and vision is directly proportional to the health of its culture and strength of its ethical values in action.

Today, more and more companies are looking to HR to bridge what may seem like an impossible divide: to align the high-level ideals behind mission and vision with tangible business results.

Susan Alevas, President, Alevas Consulting Group and eCornell Faculty Instructor, discusses how HR can bridge the divide and provide a winning strategy for senior leaders, HR professionals and managers at all levels. You’ll also learn:

  • How to develop and preserve a culture that supports the business strategy through ethics in action.
  • Several key steps your organization can take to strengthen its culture and boost its ability to execute its business objectives.
  • How to avoid common mistakes HR professionals make in this arena.

Susan F. Alevas, Esq. is president of the Alevas Consulting Group, an engaging management/training consultant and a principled private attorney licensed to practice law in the states of New York and Florida. Her previous management career included leadership in human resources and labor relations in both the private and public sectors.

Ms. Alevas is also an adjunct instructor at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations, and teaches a variety of in-person and online courses in human resources, law and management-development topics and programs.

Human Resources’ New Role as Leader, Organizational Strategist

In this short, one-minute video, Cornell Professor Chris Collins discusses the kind of training that human resources professionals need to become organizational leaders and growth strategists.

In short, Prof. Collins says that today’s human resources leaders should be prepared to:

  • make high-level, data-driven organizational decisions.
  • play a prominent role in the formation and execution of broader company strategy.
  • foster diversity and inclusion programs to build a competitive talent profile.
  • encourage company growth through talent management, employee engagement and recruitment policy.

If you’re interested in becoming an HR leader and organizational strategist, check out eCornell’s Advanced Certificate in Strategic HR Management.

 

 

HR Technology In the Era of Drones, Robots, and Infinite Data

Amazon.com delivery drones, robotic co-workers, Google’s self-driving cars… How will these new technologies impact workforce and HR functions over the next few years?

Recently, we’ve seen quick adoption of mobile technologies, real-time performance analytics, and automated recruitment/retention platforms that we couldn’t have predicted just a few years ago. So it’s safe to assume we’ll see even bigger advancements in HR tech in the months and years to come.

While it’s tough to predict exactly where we’re headed, failure to embrace new workplace technologies could leave not only you, but your entire organization underperforming and lagging behind your competitors. In this one-hour webinar, Steve Boese (HR Technology Conference Co-Chair, host of the The HR Happy Hour Podcast):

  • reviews and recommends technologies that simplify and automate HR workflows and functions.
  • highlights business technologies that are fundamentally changing the way people work.
  • provides info and resources to help you stay ahead of the curve and at the forefront of modern HR practice.

 

Avoid Disaster With These 6 HR Must-Do’s for Social Media

In today’s hyper-competitive environment, organizations are striving to put in place social media strategies to help them attract and retain employees of all ages. No longer confined to twenty-somethings, an effective social media program is a “must have” for any organization who wishes to stay connected with its global employee base.

However, in their rush to adopt the latest and coolest program, organizations often fail to fully think through the best way to deal with social media’s double-edged sword of access and liability.

Steve Miranda is Managing Director of Cornell University’s Center for Advanced HR Studies. Prof. Miranda as he walks you through six “must do” social media initiatives aimed at mitigating your organization’s strategic, reputational and financial risk.

During this webinar, you’ll learn to:

  • Destroy your policies…before you reissue them
  • Get the troublemakers involved
  • Think inside the box
  • Not everyone gets to play short-stop
  • Be culturally inclusive versus exclusive
  • Avoid “channel fatigue”

UPDATE: Here’s the archived version of the May 14 webinar. You can check out the video and download Prof. Miranda’s slide deck here on Slideshare.

Motivating and Evaluating Performance with Prof. Robert Bloomfield

Incentive compensation is one of the most powerful tools managers have to motivate and direct their employees—but only if they are used properly! On Wednesday, 4/23 from 1 – 2 PM EDT join eCornell for a webinar with Cornell University Prof. Robert Bloomfield entitled “Motivating and Evaluating Performance.”

During the webinar, Prof. Bloomfield will discuss how to:

  • Link performance evaluation and incentives to organizational strategy
  • Revise strategy and operations to accomplish strategic goals at lower cost
  • Help employees collaborate and work together across departments and functional areas, and communicate more effectively with colleagues about the goals and performance of their organization

There will be time for a Q&A session with Prof. Bloomfield so you can ensure that you get information relevant to your area of business.

This webinar is perfect for managers and leaders, including accounting and finance professionals who are responsible for managing costs, margins, revenue, or efficiency and would like to take a more strategic approach to motivating performance.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM EST

Seats are limited, so register soon!

Update: Even if you weren’t able to attend this webinar, you don’t have to miss out on all the great information shared. Go here to get the video recording of the webinar along with the SlideShare presentation. Then come back and let us know what you thought!

 

What is Old HR Tech Costing Your Company?

For decades, HR spreadsheets were really the only option for managing employee data. Only lately have companies (especially smaller companies) had options for managing HR data. Because technology allows you to keep employees states—even countries—away, you should also use the latest technology to manage your employee information accurately and efficiently. If you are still using spreadsheets to track employee data, you need to ask yourself—why?

Why to Get Out of HR Spreadsheets

HR spreadsheets have been holding companies back for years. Because on-premise HR solutions were so bulky and expensive, it left small to medium companies to fend for themselves with only their flimsy spreadsheets. Here are five reasons spreadsheets don’t cut it anymore:

  1. Spreadsheets waste time. HR is stuck spending up to 80 percent of its time trying to update many scattered spreadsheets with the same information.
  2. Spreadsheets are inaccurate. Studies have shown that over 90 percent of company spreadsheets have significant errors! If HR provides inaccurate data, the whole company suffers from non-compliance and possibly costly litigation.
  3. Spreadsheets can’t report. Trying to report using data from many spreadsheets can take hours or even days! By that time, information could already be outdated.
  4. Spreadsheets lack security. HR has to store lots of super sensitive information, like social security numbers, addresses and bank account numbers. Fifty percent of identity theft occurs because employee records weren’t protected.
  5. Spreadsheets aren’t universal. There’s no standard to entering data into spreadsheets. With all the different ways to set up formulas and tabs, it gets complicated fast!

When to Get Out of HR Spreadsheets

Just because HR spreadsheets have done a “good enough” job isn’t reason enough to keep doing HR with inefficient, time-wasting spreadsheets. For true growth and productivity, your HR process needs to reflect that by allowing an innovative and agile solution to manage employee data.

HR software allows you to keep all your employee data in a single, secure database that’s accessible from anywhere you have an Internet connection and is always up-to-date. Reports are created in seconds, rather than hours, because data is right there. It’s protected with layers of encryption and security measures. HR software simplifies most of the day-to-day HR functions, like automating PTO, managing training and tracking benefits. It’s time to throw out that old HR technology and gives HR hours back into their days to focus on improved hiring, training programs and turning employees into tomorrow’s leaders.

Best Practices for Virtual Communication and Meetings

Did you know that almost 10% of the present-day workforce telecommutes from home? The likes of AT&T, Accenture, and P&G have opted for a remote working system by partially eliminating their traditional offices. While there are obvious benefits associated with this system, a big drawback is the lack of communication between remote workers/teleworkers and their organization.

Teleworkers are far removed from the face-to-face interactions occurring in their organization. This automatically makes proactive communication an important facet of a remote working arrangement. And while it is best when initiated from both the remote workers and their supervisors/contact points, the onus fall on the latter.

After all, communication is a key mechanism through which remote managers cultivate relationships with their reports.

Here is a look at five best practices of virtual communication that can be very useful in any remote working arrangement.

1. Communicate frequently with remote workers

When you don’t make a dedicated effort to include remote workers in the office communication loop, you risk isolating them and making them feel less engaged with projects. It is imperative that you communicate frequently with your employees to share information, monitor their performance, and make sure they know you’re available to help them.

2. Leverage the most effective modes of communication

As a remote manager, you need to be flexible about how you communicate with your employees. Employees may prefer different communication tools, and if you can adapt to these preferences, you will be able to connect with them more often. For instance, some may find it more comfortable to connect with you or the in-office team via Skype exclusively, while others may prefer a mix of email and telephone. It is best to understand preferences and align communication accordingly.

3. Focus on communicating clearly

You can devote only so much time towards communicating with teleworkers. To make the most of this time, you must provide clear direction and goals to get your message through to them effectively. In this regard, you should also practice closed-loop communication, which involves following up with employees to ensure that important information is both received and understood. Messages can be easily misinterpreted in virtual settings – clarity and follow-up can eliminate confusions, ensure smooth communications and keep frustrations at bay.

4. Planning a meeting – What you should know

Meetings can be held to communicate updates, make decisions, brainstorm, and more. Each meeting has its own purpose, and for it to be accomplished, you must have a proper structure in place.

The Society for Human Resource Management has provided a list of nine different tips for running effective virtual meetings. Here are some you will definitely find useful:

  • Prepare and distribute agendas in advance, and ensure that they reflect input requested from the participants. You can also initiate meetings with a roll call of all participants and to review the agenda, meeting objectives, and time frame.
  • A meeting is a participatory event, where inputs from attendees must be actively encouraged. You can assign facilitator and scribe roles to one or two members of your team. Their responsibility will be to encourage every attendee to participate and to set follow-up assignments at the end of the meeting. As you can see, these tips focus largely on creating a virtual meeting structure that will enhance participation and lead to more effective communication.

Make it a point to keep track of who is participating or talking, and ensure that all participants are on the pulse of discussions, by asking, listening and polling.

5. Understand the four types of awareness

Your ability to listen and hear what cannot be seen is an important and oft ignored aspect of remote communication. Here are the four different types of awareness you must know about to effectively manage your remote employees or teams.

  • Activity awareness, where you are aware of employees and their work activities.
  • Availability awareness, where you are aware of employees’ schedules.
  • Process awareness, where you understand how individual employees’ tasks need to be sequenced and how they fit into an overall project.
  • Social awareness, where you know about employees and their social environment.

In a nutshell, communication is critical to managing in virtual environments. To be effective, remote leaders need to focus on the frequency, mode, clarity, and structure of communication while also maintaining high levels of situational awareness.

Pay Matters – But Does it Pay Off?

Subtleties matter

Asking “What matters about pay?” is quite different than asking “Does pay matter?”

The former question makes you think. The answer is hard, and is not the same for every culture, company or individual. The latter question is simply answered “Yes.” And if you stop there, you may have successfully answered the question, but the question itself was the wrong thing to ask.

Asking “What matters about pay?” starts from the foundation that pay is not monolithic.

Pay up is made of many components, each with different characteristics that play out differently for different people and in different environments. Pay in the form of wages or salary for example makes up just under 70% of the total compensation costs of the average U.S. employee; and, that doesn’t even count the wide range of immeasurable ways we feel rewarded for working where and how we do, like the reputation our organization may have for “doing good,” or the flexibility to bring a dog to work. These kinds of components of our total compensation might be things we are willing to trade-off some traditional wage or salary pay for.

What does the research say?

Because it is complicated, personal and context-dependent, there is still a lot we don’t know about getting pay right in a specific organization. But, there are many things we do know. Research has shown that pay for performance:

  • Works better for extroverts than introverts.
  • Is less effective if it’s newly implemented immediately following a significant downsizing.
  • Needs to be underpinned by a well-functioning performance review process.

Research has also shown that the motivational impact of money:

  • Is weaker the more money one already has (diminishing returns)
  • Is stronger in recruitment than retention
  • Can be negative if it’s “known” in advance the same superstar gets the big bonus every year
  • Creates a selection mechanism whereby employees who like monetary rewards sort into jobs with a larger variable pay component

Separating Fad from Function

Some fascinating case study research by founder and faculty director of the Institute for Compensation Studies, Kevin F. Hallock, has shown that individual factors, including gender, correlate which components of compensation employees prefer. If your goal is to have your compensation program function similarly across all employees, then adopting the latest “everyone is doing it” component into your pay plan may not give you the desired result. Deeper digging into your unique employee pool, empirical assessment of the form and result of pay incentives, and thoughtful review of how your strategic goals align with your pay practices takes effort. In the end, however, it will pay off.