Tag Archives: Human Resources

Twitter in the classroom to assist not distract?

Happy Monday everybody!

I’m actually preparing to fly to Melbourne this afternoon for a group HR planning day tomorrow. I’m pretty excited because I have managed to snag 30 mins on the agenda to talk about opportunities for HR in Social Media.

It is a rapidly growing area- and one that can’t be ignored.

Once I’ve finalised the presentation I’m happy to share it so stay tuned.

In the meantime though, I came across this video this morning and thought it may be worth sharing.

I studied my Masters by distance and whilst I really enjoyed it- I just wonder how much better it could have been had they embraced some social media tools. Have a look and see what you think.


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Filed under Social Media/Technology

HR departments: I’ve never really understood the point of them

Oh my goodness. I’m sitting there yesterday, on the NSW public holiday watching Dr Phil (episode on obsession and yes I’m a huge Dr Phil fan lol!) when I see this article on twitter (care of @aarondodd).

Yep- it’s called ‘Human resources departments: I’ve never understood the point of them’ and it’s written by Sathnam Sanghera from The Times.

First he says that he knows what HR people do and describes HR as people “who ensure that companies adhere to minimum wage requirements, rules relating to diversity, gender, sexual orientation and so on and generally try to prevent businesses being sued to death”.

Er… so making sure people get paid what they are entitled to, and that they get to work in a safe environment which is free from discrimination is pointless? And trying to protect the company from massive financial loss and damage to brand and reputation isn’t worthwhile?

Sathnam- you are right. By your own admissions you haven’t actually dealt with HR so I guess that’s why you have no idea what you are talking about. Whilst the basic provisions you mentioned above, are some of the things that HR does, much of the strategic work HR undertakes is behind closed doors or not privy to all employees. I’m unsure as to why you would make these comments about what HR does, if you don’t actually know.

head in sand

The reason why we need to track business metrics to prove our value in a similar way to finance, sales and marketing is because we have to work with numb skulls like yourself who are too self-righteous to make the connection that people are people at work- and if you don’t manage them in an effective way and ensure maximum employee engagement- then this will most certainly have an impact on your bottom line. There are truckloads of research which connect the strategic initiatives of Human Resources to improvements in overall business effectiveness and profits. Perhaps you should read some?

With regards to the various names for HR that you mentioned- it’s clear you don’t understand what these terms mean or refer to. Many of the terms you mentioned would be specialist teams that fall under the broader divisional name of human resources. For instance you may have a team/section that just looks after organisational development. HR is a multi-faceted field of work that requires both generalists and specialists in particular fields to make a great organisation what it is. Again, this is HR being strategic for the good of the organisation as a whole. Yep- that’s our way of looking at the bigger picture and planning ahead.

It’s funny you mention the amount of flack that HR attracts. I know this to be true from my own personal experience and a good friend said to me the other day; “Jess, what does HR actually do strategically? And I promise I’m not being smart”.

I explained that in my role as an advisor, I work on strategic projects for example that help to ensure that we attract and retain talented women in an industry which is dominated by men, and that we plan for successors in our business critical roles in the instance that someone leaves us or retires. Obviously there is a lot more than this but its one of the first things I think when someone asks me that question.

The conversation we then had continued on as to why HR has a bad name as Sathnam suggests. I think that HR at times has a bad name, because admittedly there are some horror HR stories getting around. At the same time I don’t think our clients know what we are there to do and the expectation levels are wrong.

Recently I was told by a client that I was incompetent because I didn’t know that his manager was away sick. He then proceeded to tell me that as a personnel manager- I looked after everything to do with people. Now this is a perspective held by very few of my clients but at the same time, it made me realise he had no idea what I actually did.

So with the idea of working with things within our control and not stressing about things that aren’t- could HR be promoting what it does in a more effective manner? Or are we trying to promote ourselves or our value too much and that’s why we are being met with negative attitudes?

Keen to hear your thoughts on this.


Filed under General HR

Employee engagement- can you do it on your own or should you get help?

Happy Monday everybody! I can hear the groans already. Mondays are a bit of a pain but then again, you have to start somewhere.

Aside from being a morning person, I opened my mail this morning to find this little gem inside!


A few months ago at the Twitter Beach Meet, I met Elinor Green and Lucie Snape from ‘the face’. We chatted about twitter, its uses in organisations and spoke about why we were there. I was so interested in what they did, we swapped cards. Again, disclosure- I haven’t been paid for these comments and I’ve only spoken with Lucie and Elinor on twitter since we met. I just wanted to share a great idea with the rest of you.

So I open up the card and inside it reads:

Dear Boss,

This is your star employee speaking. I don’t mind working for you, but I don’t love it either, When you talk about the future, all I hear are just words. And my colleagues feel the same. Wouldn’t you want us totally engaged and working at peak efficiency?

Of course you would. So, here’s a tip. If you want to get inside our hearts and minds, check out www.stoptalkingatme.com.au They really know their chit (and chat).

Now obviously it’s a clever ploy to get you to check out their website listing their services (which might I add is very cool), but it stopped me dead this morning and again I wondered what I could do in my workplace to improve both internal communication and employee engagement.

We know given the current environment that people are less likely to leave their current jobs, and given everything that is happening- they aren’t happy either.

Corporate Leadership Council Research (2008) tells us that disengaged employees are staying and they were 24% less likely to quit their jobs in 2008 than in 2006.

So given that we know that many employees are not engaged (some disengaged)- is it possible to turn this around internally or is it always necessary to engage an external provider to get things started?

Lots of companies use various tools like the Hewitt Engagement Survey, an organisational LSI or a company like ‘the face’ to turn things around. So if you’ve identified a problem in your organisation is it possible to go it alone or must we engage an expert? What are your experiences?

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Filed under Communication, Employee Engagement

Jack Welch Says HR Managers Have the Most Important Job in America

Earlier this week I wrote a post “Banking on People”, which outlined David Morgan’s speach at the AHRI National Convention. He made a number of genuine statements about how important people are to your business and how important it was for him as a CEO to work extremely closely with the HR Director.

Additionally, Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric, was the opening keynote speaker at the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) 61 st Annual Conference and Exposition in New Orleans this week. He says that HR managers have the most important job in America and that CEOs should value their HR managers as much as their chief financial officers.


I think the fact that highly succesful CEO’s in America and Australia are openly coming out and making these statements is so powerful and is necessary in order to drive a change in the way that leaders in the business view Human Resources.

Read more on Jack’s speech here


Filed under AHRI National Convention

Future Files: a history of the next 50 years. Richard Watson speaks at the AHRI National Convention

Richard Watson
Check out his blog.

Richard Watson

Prediction is a dangerous game – the future is never a straight, linear extrapolation from the present. Unexpected innovations and events conspire to trip up the best-laid plans, but predicting is better than not thinking about the future at all.

Widely acclaimed author and futurist Richard Watson makes provocative forecasts about how the world and the world of work might change in the next half-century as he examines emerging patterns and developments in society, the economy and business.

Richard Watson is a futurist- and what exactly is a futurist you ask? Richard said it is essentially someone who thinks about the future. Pretty simple explanation, but don’t we all think about the future in one way or other?

More specifically Futurists, or futurologists, are those who speculate about the future. He says that we can’t predict individual events, but as a futurist he looks at broad waves and patterns to predict what may happen.

In his presentation, Richard argued that there were four key drivers of change in the next 15 years; namely globalisation, demographics, technology and the environment and these are explained briefly below.

Growth of outsourcing
Rising job mobility
High skill jobs under increasing pressure

Ageing workforce
Declining birth rates
Skills shortages- more leaving Australia than those entering
Gen Y impacts- (Gen X and Boomers struggle if they can’t physically see their workers so workplace needs to get more flexible)
Gen i- millennials etc will expect a much more flexible workplace
Immigration- we’ll need to increase people that come in to compete
Baby Boomers retiring


The internet will be more sensory
Pace of change will increase
Increased automation i.e. smart machines
Growth of virtual worlds
Rising IT enabling distance working and collaboration
Rise of robotics
Web 3.0

Demand for natural resources rising
People more aware of sustainability issues
Procurement taking on strategic significance
Tightening regulation
Rising transparency expectations
People are beginning to make decisions on social, ethical and environmental decisions

So what does the future of work look like?

It is faster… more global… more polarised (with technology and incomes)… there will be more part-time work…there’ll be more specialists….more machines…more stressful!

Finally I’ll leave you with Richard’s tongue-in-cheek “Extinction Timeline”.

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Filed under AHRI National Convention

Your Manager is a greater predictor of your life satisfaction than your partner; Work Life Conflict in Australia

Linda Duxbury

We all play many roles: employee, boss, subordinate, spouse, parent, child, sibling and friend. Each of these roles imposes demands on us which require time, energy and commitment. Work-family or work-life conflict occurs when the cumulative demands of these many work and non-work roles are incompatible in some respect.

Dr Duxbury is a leading workplace demographic expert and health researcher. She will explore the issue of work-life balance in Australia through her recent research on Australian managers. The research has assisted both employees and employers to identify what is needed to combat the issue and how it is affecting Australian workers and workplaces.

I really enjoyed hearing Linda speak because her material had a solid foundation based in significant research of Australian workplaces. She articulated that Australians have a bit of a way to go in this space because we haven’t equated work life balance to the bottom line yet.

Work life balance is important in Australia because there are huge changes in family types; we have an ageing workforce and declining birth rates- and this all impacts business. We also have the highest reliance on female part-time labour in the world.

Dr Linda Duxbury

Its not just about mothers with young children to care for anymore- it’s also about people who have both young children or teenagers AND elderly parents that need care. This is known as the “sandwich generation” and Linda predicts that the situation is to worsen as the population ages and more employees transition out of the workforce and then require care. This is a serious issue for Australia, particularly for Gen X and Gen Y individuals.

So what is Work life Conflict?

Linda defines it as when someone experiences role overload (too much to do) and when work interferes with family (needing to be in two places at once). We’ve all been at a family event such as watching someone play a sport or a BBQ and seen people working away on their blackberries answering emails or taking business calls. Managers and Professionals in Australia are 5 times more likely to prioritise work over family.

This example was particularly poignant when she mentioned a study on blackberry use. The group worked on average 47 hours a week and were given blackberries for 7 months. After 7 months, the average hours per week that they were working exploded to a massive 71 hours a week! Incredible but plausible.

This all however comes down to your Manager, who according to research is a bigger predictor of your life satisfaction than your partner. An organisation can have the best policies and practices in the world, but the managers must talk the talk and also walk the walk. People must have access to work life balance solutions- not just have them in policies.

The key message is that work life conflict is imperative for employers to consider. Gen Y’ers don’t want to be their workaholic parents and many are opting not to endure the overload or stress. This means companies will have huge succession planning problems. It is not a moral issue, nor is it about feeling good. It is a serious issue linked to health care, the labour force, employee engagement, absenteeism and turnover.

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Filed under AHRI National Convention

North Ryde Human Resources Network

Last week, a colleague of mine introduced me to the North Ryde Human Resources Network which is a regional group of HR Managers and Professionals who work in the Northern Suburbs Business Hub.

It’s all about local networking and the network currently includes 60 companies and over 100 people who work in HR.

The North Ryde HR Network is sponsored by Value Edge and the events are supported by the Australian Human Resource Institute (AHRI). This means that if you’re an AHRI member, attending these events will attract professional development points.

I’m yet to attend my first event, but I’m very keen to check it out.

If you’d like some more info or to join the network, contact Carolyn Balnaves via email carolyn@valuedge.com.au.


Filed under Events