Things You Might Not Learn In College

Well, at least about HR.

College is all about the years you have fun and learn just enough to land a job. The problem is, just enough, isn’t the best information. There a lot of Young Professionals in every profession who have to learn as they go, about way too many basic functions of our field. For the amount of student debt we collect, we should definitely be learning a lot more.

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I’ve had a few people reach out and ask me my opinion of going back to school for HR versus getting a certification or getting experience in the field. A few years ago, I would have told everyone to go the school route, but now that I’m currently going through an HR Master’s Degree program and getting real-life work experience in HR, my position has changed.

All colleges and universities are not the same, different programs, different classes, but here are a few things I wish I would have been taught about HR in college.

Drafting Policies – SHRM has a lot of great resources to help you draft almost any piece of material your company might need. Policies are the handbook lifeline, sometimes we have too many, sometimes a situation arises, and we realize we don’t have enough. A policy doesn’t have to be more than one page, depending on the information your company is trying to relay. Like anything else in a written document form, make sure to get it looked over multiple times for wording, punctuation, and legalities.

Crafting a Job Description – When informing employees about their job, how detailed do we need to be? Do we need to list out every single job function they will be responsible for? A job description isn’t just for your employee, it’s also the document that you can refer back to when a team member pulls the “I didn’t know that was my job” line. It is also helpful in unemployment claims, showing they signed the document with the job functions they are responsible for can help the company win a claim.

Creating Ads – I’m not saying we needed an entire course on how to create an ad, but as HR we perform this function a lot, and it’s important that we know how to structure ads. When you’re trying to hire new employees, you have to know what will grab their attention. Check out my blog post Creating and Posting Your Job Ads from earlier this year on a little more information.

The Art of Conversations – In the first month on my HR position, I was in my boss office while she was having a meeting with a team member, and I remember thinking I had no real experience talking to someone that was coming to me to fix their problems. As an assistant manager, I had my fair share of serious conversations with my team members, but it’s completely different when you’re in the HR chair and someone might be having a harassment problem or health problem. How do you have this conversation with a person? I had no idea because out of all the papers I had written, we had never actually done things like role-playing situations in my class. Some of the most important advice I can offer to people to listen and if you can’t successfully answer a question, let the team member know you’re going to do some research and get back to them. Don’t give them false information or hope when you have no idea. Thankfully my boss allowed me to experience situations with her before letting me loose on the team *inserts evil laugh*

Federal Documents – There certain forms you know about because you’ve had to fill out a job application, an I9 form, tax papers, a background check or MVR,  but that doesn’t mean you know how to explain the form to others. It also doesn’t mean that you know how long your company is legally required to keep these materials. Find out about your state required forms, does your company hire minors? These things can be considered the “basic” HR information, but are expected to be learned from on the job experience.

College isn’t the answer to everything, sometimes you need to go out and learn on your own and that’s okay. I don’t think you can ever be fully prepared to enter any field because you should always be learning something, and not just the new thing coming out. If you’re entering the field of HR, I hope you continue to reach out, I love talking about all things HR. I don’t have all the answers by any stretch of the imagination, but maybe I know of the right person you should reach out to.

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Is there something in HR you wish you would have learned while in school? Or something you think was best learned while on the job?

Until Next Time …

 

Convincing Your Boss .. Conference Season

Well, let’s be upfront, this isn’t how to get your boss to give you a raise.

The end of the year is coming faster than I can even believe. Certain plans are getting wrapped up and budgets for next year are being created. Now is the time to get your goals into the company for the next year! Be warned, they might not all be approved, but at least the company knows what you’re trying to do to better yourself and essentially the company as well.

I don’t like being stagnant, especially in my career and personal goals. Discussing HR and everything it has to offer with other HR pros always gets me pumped. I’m attempting to make the goal of attending at least three or four HR conferences next year, that’ll be at least one more than this year. The biggest being the SHRM18 Conference in Chicago, but that one is looking a little iffy. Along with a few different state conferences and at least two DISRUPTHR talks.

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So, you have your plans, you’re ready to present everything to your boss, or are you?

  1. Find the Value for the Company – At the end of the day, you’ll be using company money, so it’s important that you’re bringing information back they can also benefit from. My company services two states, but I’d like to attend a state conference that we do not service, it’s going to be my job to find out the agendas as early as possible, and see if they have at least 2 sessions a day that my boss would find of interest for our company.
  2. Find the Value for Self – I’ve decide that next year I’m going to focus on being a true HR Young Professional and HR blogger. I want to be able to provide all the blogs I write for, including my own, with the very best information, not just what’s popular, but what really matters. I want to help more young professionals in their career, and I want to learn HR functions that I may not be using right now. With all of that being decided, I must also align the conferences I’m looking to attend with goals I have for myself. There is already one state conference that I’m really looking forward to because they’re really trying to figure out how to attract young professionals, and I absolutely love that!
  3. Finances – When you’re presenting this information to your boss, make sure you know everything point on. Know when the prices are cheaper and when they go up, research hotels around the area, figure out your travel information. This way your boss has an exact idea of how much this will cost. Also, some companies might make you pay and then reimburse you after the trip, are you prepared financially for this toll?
  4. Schedule – It isn’t just your session schedule that needs to be planned out, but also your work schedule. With you being gone for so many days, make sure it doesn’t overlap anything else that can cause a conflict in the office. Even though you might want to attend a conference, it might not be the best time. Also, be prepared to present the sessions you want to attend to your boss, this goes back to the first point, find the value for your company.

Conferences are great, I’ve attended two official conferences and can’t wait to go back. This is the time to really start deciding which conferences you think would benefit your company and yourself. No matter if you’re a young professional, just starting out, or an HR Pro that’s been in the game for a while, having the correct information will only help your case. It can be nerve wrecking asking a company to help you finance these conferences, because they can cost A LOT of money, but you’re not just doing it to help you.

Almost every conference website I’ve seen has a “Convince Your Boss” tab that has print outs for you to help bring everything home. So, get out there, decide which conference is going to be that one for you, and I hope to see you soon!

A little sucking up never hurt boss

Until Next Time …

 

 

 

 

#HR, Will You Take the Challenge?

Hi HR friends, this one might be a little rambled.

We find out a lot about our employees … a lot. We give advice, we hand out solutions left and right. Our employees come to us with very real problems and they’re depending on us. We have to keep up with the paperwork. We need to answer that phone call.

Image result for human resource memesOne of my biggest goals is to be able to look back and know I made a difference in someone’s life, it’s one of the reasons I decided to become an HR Professional. We have the ability to make a persons day by taking a chance and hiring them. We guide our employees’ growth, helping them complete their own goals. There is so much that we do, but when they come to us, are we able to have empathy for them when they’re in need? Are we apologizing when we’re wrong? Are we doing what’s best for our employees or what’s easiest for us?

It’s not only because of everything going on in the world today but because we are human too.  No one is perfect, we all have our own faults, and sometimes as an HR professional, our fault is not admitting our wrong, when everything is said and done.

 

HR professionals are not all the same, for this we should be thankful. It’s up to us to change the perception of who HR is and what we do. Employees don’t need (or deserve) a fake apology because we’re trying to cover our own butts. Employees don’t deserve us talking about diversity online, but never willing to discuss it going on in our company.

Step out and be the change, no matter how long you’ve been in this field. There are so many stories out about how HR didn’t speak up, how we didn’t go the extra mile, or how we turned our back on an employee when they needed us the most. Every story won’t go away, unfortunately, we can’t fix it overnight. It’s not just about papers, not about just answering those phone calls. And for the love of everything, it’s not just about discussing changes in technology. We can’t make a difference by just talking about what is going in the world. We can’t stop talking, but we also need to start doing.

Image result for human resource memesMy goal is to get people excited about HR, primarily the people that work in HR. It’s not just a job, it should never be thought of in this way. Our employees are counting on us, our profession is counting on us. It’s time to get loud for HR, excited for HR, passionate about HR. It takes discussing the good and the bad. We can never ignore the bad.  Are you willing to step up and take the challenge?

Until Next Time …

HR Blacklist – Lessons from A Show

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Ok, first question, are HRPros actually willing to throw coffee at someone if there is no possible way to make another cup?

I’ve been binge watching Blacklist lately, great show you should check it out, so of course, I had to write a blog about HR and the show!

I’m sure there are a lot of lessons to be learned, like have a complete background check done on your partner before marrying them. But, I think the biggest lesson Elizabeth Keen learned from her partnership with Red is also a lesson that HRNewbies need to understand … work hard to find your own answer, don’t just settle for the basics.

On every resume or cover letter, there is the “Hard Working” line. What exactly are you hard working at doing? Red refused to give Elizabeth the direct answer and I enjoy this about the show because I can relate to it. Anyone, not just an HRNewbie, can appreciate the effort it takes to figure something out on your own. If it’s not in school, or a life problem, it can be with work.

Image result for laws memeAs a newbie of the company, there is bucket loads of information being given to you, but there are somethings you have to take the initiative on and figure out for yourself. Elizabeth took it upon herself to (finally) accept who her husband really was, in your case, it could be taking the step to figuring out the state laws that impact your company the most. Maybe my school curriculum didn’t focus on that for a reason, but I’ve found it to be much more important and difficult than they led on!

Much like my Workology blog post Starting From the Bottom says, always try to bring a solution to the room, never walk in empty-handed. Elizabeth refused to believe certain facts about her life and the people she was involved with until it hit her in the face. HR can have its’ ups and downs. This is why so many HR Pros encourage you to find at least one other person to connect with, maybe it’s to ask a question, or just to vent. If you let everything pile up on you mentally and emotionally, you’re putting yourself at risk. HR Pros have to pay attention to their needs as well as company needs. Having a situation hit you in the face, is the reason why more HR Pros need to get out of the office. Life isn’t predictable, but being open with your employees and having a trusting relationship with them, can hopefully help you correct situations before they occur.

Do you have an HR Blacklist?

**Spoiler Alert**

If you had any doubt that Red is Elizabeth’s father … I worry about you.

Until Next Time …

Bear with me on this journey of taking 2 graduate classes at once and thank you for your continued support of HRJazzy 🙂

 

Holding Management Accountable … At least for Paperwork

Wow, this is the 50th Blog Post for HRJazzy … Dance!

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In HR we talk a lot about getting the “buy in” from leadership, it’s in almost every discussion, just like getting a seat at the table. I’ve been talking to one of my HR friends and he’s been discussing the problem of holding management accountable, more specifically, having leadership hold management accountable. I could understand where he came from a little bit, because while we hold our managers accountable, there are also times where their supervisors protect them from the wrath of paperwork.

We ask for a paper to be signed and faxed over (yes, we still use the fax machine) and it doesn’t come! Even when we give them months to get something done, it never fails that we’re chasing them down at the end of the final month to get it all squared away.

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If you’re an assistant or have someone you report to in the HR world, how can you make sure you’re doing everything possible to hold management accountable:

  1. Documentation – it’s the word everyone knows and loves in HR, but it is critical. When I first started, I did a lot of phone calls to the managers when I needed something, that ended very quickly! I started sending emails and faxing documentation over. This way I had a record of the information being sent out. If a manager tried to say they didn’t get the information in a certain time frame, I was able to show proof that it had been sent on my part.
  2. Communication – another favorite word in HR, communicate to the leadership team the problems you’re having. Explain how it’s not just causing issues in your day, but also how it causes problems with having paperwork turned in and submitted on time. What if you’ve been asking for a termination slip for a week and an unemployment claim comes in needing that documentation? Put the information in front of the leadership team very clearly and break it down. Have proof when you go to the leadership that you’ve sent the emails, you’ve called, you’ve faxed, and still nothing has happened.
  3. Understand that Not All Management Care – this one can be a tad harsh, but true. Managers have a lot of in-house situations to deal with and paperwork isn’t something they focus on (at least for my company type) unless it’s dealing with an order or new hire they’re trying to get started. It is also important as HR that you explain the why. HR isn’t enjoyable for everyone, but if you give more than a “Because I said so” you will receive a better response from them.

Image result for accountable memeIf you’re having problems with management turning in things or not responding in a timely manner, the first step is to always discuss it with them. Maybe they’re not sure of the process, or maybe the store was extremely busy and they couldn’t get it back within the five-minute window you requested. Find out how you can help them and in return you will get a manager who respects the process, even if they’re not fond of it. We aren’t HR just to write-up someone, take the time to go step by step with them. Jumping down their backs does nothing to improve the situation. There times we need to be stern and times where a lesson is to be learned, and sometimes the two will combine.

How have you helped hold your management team accountable?

Until Next Time …

 

 

All Those Questions …

Kids ask a lot of questions, you can’t blame them, they’re trying to get through this thing called life … my sister would be so proud of this Prince reference lol.

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While some find those questions to be annoying or unimportant to the time, questions are how we all learn. Like mistakes, sometimes we don’t listen to the warning signs that could have prevented us from making them in the first place.

When you’re joining a new career or company, every question is valid and should be treated as such. I had no real HR experience when I walked into my interview with my current company. Sure, I had been to school and paid some attention in class, but I have never been put in an HR position and told to make a decision for someone else. I had a lot of questions and still to this day, I still ask questions to seek clarity on situations.Image result for asking questions gif

Asking questions can be hard for some people, asking for help can be an even bigger challenge. Being new to a position, you may feel things should be plain and shouldn’t need an explanation, but that isn’t true. When you’re gaining experience and knowledge there aren’t enough questions in the world you should ask. Don’t be afraid or nervous to get answers that you need to do your job. In the same time, you need to understand what the right questions are in certain situations.

Questions can also get you in a lot of trouble. Companies give their managers policies, manuals, and documentation, they layout exact questions that should be asked when conducting an interview. We tell you, do not break away from these questions, listen more than you speak when in this situation. There are reasons for these policies, even after training, it never fails that a manager wants to know why they can’t ask someone if they have kids that would take away from them being called in or how old they are. They listen and hear that the person had a previous alcohol problem and want to know if they can ask if them if they still drink. Word of advice, just please, don’t!

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There are times I’ll walk into my bosses office and turn around to walk right back out. I didn’t take the time to ask myself the question before I approached her with it. If I’m telling her she should trust my decision-making skills, I believe I should at least walk into her office with one solution. My boss also likes to answer my question with a question to get me thinking. She’s allowing me the chance to answer the question without her … I talk to myself more often in my office now because of this technique, but I appreciate it. Now, before I walk into her office with a background report, I have all of the questions answered that she will ask, I just need her final approval or denial.

Image result for asking questions gifSo ask all of the questions you need, the right question just might save one of your employees in a difficult situation. Asking that one question you’re holding back on might give you better clarity on something. Those questions will help you learn how to become better at your job. Ask all of the questions and then apply the answers to your work and become better.

Until Next Time …

Company Updates: Introducing #HRTech

Figuring out all of the great HR Technology Systems coming into play can be very difficult, at least for me is. My company doesn’t use outside sources (and please, don’t mysteriously contact me about this, it’s creepy) I have a harder time wrapping my head around all of the HR Technology available. ATS software, different systems they have in place to take an applicant from the application all the way through onboarding program. Payroll systems, allowing you the ability to complete these steps out of house and reduce a certain amount of risk. That is only the beginning, there is so much more these systems are able to provide. Systems can be amazing for your company, but hold on one second. What if you’re hired into a company that does not currently have any of the great systems you’ve heard of in school or through previous experiences and they’re a small company that handles everything in-house? The best advice … get comfortable with paper.

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Your company might not be on the technology bandwagon yet, but once you understand why they haven’t made the change to join the world of HR Technology, you can be the liaison between the two. Just because your company hasn’t made the jump, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep up to date with the advances in technology. You can read all of my personal thoughts regarding HR Technology on the SHRM Blog Q & A  written by SHRM Blog managing editor and #Nextchat creator Mary Kaylor @SHRMKaylor.

When you think a change in systems would be beneficial to the entire company, start taking the steps to introduce the idea, here are 2 tips that helped me start the conversation

Image result for options memeGive them options – One thing I’ve learned, at least about my company, is the leadership team loves options when they need to make a decision. They want to see what is out there and if you give them options, you might have a better chance at the answer you’re searching for. This means you will need to know everything about the options you’re presenting because they will have questions. A lot of questions!

Image result for research memeResearch – It’s going to be on you to complete quality research and match the skills your company needs, with those of the different systems in place. It would also be best to ask for a round about number if one is not provided, this way you’re not wasting time going far out of the budget. Look at your current systems, where are you failing, are you missing out on candidates because of the turnaround time? Maybe the online application is too long or the Mobile online application doesn’t generate quickly.  Does payroll take 2 days to complete? You have to know where the current downfalls are and find solutions to all of those problems first in this search. Don’t just Google information, look into reviews, ask colleagues, friends that have ATS or Payroll systems.

Every company doesn’t want an ATS software service, they enjoy doing things in-house, they manage the risk, have top people audit them. HR Technology is here and it’s going to stay, it’s time that HR as a whole accepts those changes. You may not convince your company that right now is the time to join this software program, but you have given them the information they need to start the thought process, and with you, they have someone they trust to guide them through.

What are you doing to keep updated on HR Technology?