The Very Best Of ProjectHR (2020), Part One

The Very Best of ProjectHR

We're turning one! ProjectHR has reached its one-year anniversary, and we are celebrating with a collection of the podcast's best moments of the past year, split into two parts. Here in Part One, we feature the following guests:

Dr. Fiona Jamison, CEO, Spring International

Doug Buce, Founder & Chief Learning Officer of Boing Dynamics, Inc.

Siobhan McHale, EGM People, Culture & Change, DuluxGroup; Author of The Insider’s Guide to Culture Change: Creating a Workplace That Delivers, Grows & Adapts

Jason Greer, Brain Based Employment Expert and Diversity Trainer with Greer Consulting

Chris Tuff, EVO, Director of Marketing & Partnerships for 22squared and author of The Millennial Whisperer

Matt Self, Partner and Chief Revenue Officer, Conklin Media

Karen Loughlin, Talent Sourcing & Diversity Manager at Wegmans Food Markets

Andrea Hoffer, Founder of AHA! Business Consulting

Deb Muller, CEO of HR Acuity

Chris Meroff, Leader, Author and Creator of Align: Four Simple Steps for Leaders to Create Employee Fulfillment through Alignment Leadership

Oliver Bell, CEO, Oliver Bell, Inc.

Dr. Stefanie K. Johnson, author of Inclusify: The Power of Uniqueness and Belonging to Build Innovative Teams

John Eades, CEO of LearnLoft and author of Building theBest: 8 Proven Leadership Principles to Elevate Others To Success

Lisa Nagele-Piazza, Senior Legal Editor at Society for Human Resource Management

Jennifer Orechwa, COO of Projections, Inc.

Nick Kalm, Founder and President of Reputation Partners, LLC

Ted Ma, Leadership speaker and expert

Dr. Ada Luz Gonzalez, Owner of Transformative Conversations and author of Transformative Conversations: The heart of the leadership journey.

Dr. Edie Goldberg, President of E.L. Goldberg & Associates and author of The Inside Gig: How Sharing Untapped Talent Across Boundaries Unleashes Organizational Capacity

Jim Bitterle, Managing Partner, EDSI

Dr. Bradford Cooper, CEO of US Corporate Wellness, Co-Founder of The Catalyst Coaching institute

Sarah Scala, Founder and Principal Consultant of Sarah Scala Consulting

Click here to move on to our fabulous Part Two!

Jennifer Orechwa

ProjectHR

“In this special edition of ProjectHR, you’re going to get only the very best our guests had to offer, as we celebrate our first year."

If you prefer to read along while you listen, we've done all the hard work for you! We listened back to this episode and took notes below, and access is free!

Fiona Jamison (Episode 1.01)

Beth Pilgreen (Host)

Today. I'll be speaking with Dr. Fiona Jamison, the CEO of Spring International, a company that uses advanced analytics to pinpoint and predict workforce issues and outcomes in order to help organizations build stronger connections with their employees, customers, and members.

Fiona Jamison

I think it can provide insights, so the HR managers and leaders know where to focus their time and energy, especially in a large organization where they have limited resources. For example, with employee engagement data, your results may vary widely throughout your organization and you're going to want to focus on those work groups that are really struggling versus trying to identify one size that fits all.

You know, if you've got 300 locations and there's only five of you, you know, where do you spend your time and energy and engagement survey or engagement data is going to allow you to really focus. It's also going help you determine the right solutions for your workgroups. For example, one workgroup might be disengaged due to a poor leader, another group may be disengaged due to a lack of career growth. And so, data and information, and insight, allow you to provide a much more targeted support and solutions that really meet employees' needs. And that's what employees want. They want to feel heard. So, I think that's what analytics and good solid data can bring that can allow you to be more focused in your time and energy; in your HR role.

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Doug Buce (Episode 1.02)

Beth Pilgreen (Host)

And our guest today is someone who is very familiar with innovation, Doug Buce, Doug is the founder and chief learning officer for Boing Dynamics, Inc. Did I get that right, Doug, Boing?

Doug Buce

You got that, right, yeah, it's Boing. It doesn't have an E in there. That's the airplane company. So, you nailed it. Disruptive innovations typically take hold at the bottom of a market, meeting the same needs as, you know, high market solutions, but just in a simpler much cheaper way.

And they're usually underrated at first and actually dismissed, but due to their low cost and advantages, they begin to move quickly up into the market. And eventually they become the appealing things that topple the behemoth competitors, and this disrupts the industry and traumatizes, the established big dogs in the industry, right? One example of disruptive innovation is video streaming. Right? Now, do you have a Netflix account?

Host

I do and Hulu and Amazon Prime, I got all of them.

Doug Buce

And did it start with Netflix?

Host

Yes, it did. Most of it.

Doug Buce

You know, Netflix has actually been around for 22 years. What? And yeah, and again, this is an example. Disruptive innovation, because when it started out, was out in California, and it was very much targeted to a very niche market. And that market was movie buffs who didn't care about new releases and didn't mind waiting a few days for DVDs to arrive in the mail. Compared to the Blockbuster, which you could just hop in your car and then have exactly what you want to see that night, right? And so, they had a different business model. But Netflix kept innovating its business model and distribution strategy again to keep things simple and cheap for their market. So, in 2010 is when it went full-on with video streaming, and it caught Blockbuster course completely by surprise. In fact, it was just two years earlier. I think, in 2008 that the CEO of Blockbuster was being interviewed for an online investment platform company and the CEO of Blockbuster said that they didn't even think about Netflix at all. They're not on the radar screen, in terms of competition, because they're just not that important. By the end of 2010 Blockbuster went bankrupt.

Siobhan McHale (Episode 1.03)

Beth Pilgreen (Host)

And how to introduce change into that culture? It's not an easy task considering the less than enthusiastic way people tend to react to change; not to mention the fact that many people aren't really entirely sure what culture refers to. Because today, we are joined by Siobhan McHale. She is the Executive General Manager of People, Culture and Change at Deluxe Group in Melbourne, Australia. And she is also the author of an upcoming book titled, “The Insider's Guide to Culture Change.” Okay, well, as we understand culture better, we can address change, right? So, what kind of changes air we talking about?

Siobhan McHale

Yeah, that's a great question. And it does connect with one of the big myths abound culture because often When we talk about culture, people automatically said House culture going People often automatically go to the employees’ experience so they will think about how do employees feel? Are they engaged? What's the trust like? People feel included today, have psychological safety. But actually, this type of change can be about any aspect of how your businesses operating from how you're designing your solutions, manufacturing your products to selling and distributing your products. Culture impacts every aspect of how your business operates, not just the employees experience, if that makes sense.

Chris Tuff (Episode 1.05)

Beth Pilgreen (Host)

According to Pew research, by the end of this year, Generation Y also known as millennials will surpass baby boomers in numbers with an anticipated 72 million boomers and 73 million millennials, which will make the millennials America's largest living adult generation is having and will have a tremendous impact on business.

So, to get some clarity and a little guidance on how businesses can get the best out of their multigenerational workforces, we called the “Millennial Whisperer,” himself, Chris Tuff. Welcome to ProjectHR, Chris,

Chris Tuff

Thanks, so much for having me Beth, happy to be here.

Host

What are some of the other things that you debunk in the book regarding what people say about millennials?

Chris Tuff

Actually, if you go to Google and you just type in millennials, it'll auto populate, millennials are “lazy, entitled, needy”. There's an element of truth to each one of those stereotypes. You know, if you look at that whole needy that comes from this constant, - I'll tell all leaders today, especially the boomers and x-ers, and even the older millennials come to me for this more and more -  and they're like, Chris, I just can't keep my people happy. And I say, listen, if by the end of the day, when your head hits the pillow and you haven't, you're not utterly exhausted by rewarding and recognizing your people in that day, you haven't done it enough. And people, when I say that in audiences, people will punch back in the Q and A sessions, and be like ”so you're just saying we got to coddle them more,” and I'm saying, “no, we've got to create an environment where there is this underlying feeling of empathy and caring,” and it all comes down to this deep-rooted need for connection.

Jason Greer (Episode 1.06)

Beth Pilgreen (Host)

And in today's episode, we'll be talking about bias. What it is. What it isn't and how it can deeply impact a company's culture, performance and success. Jason Greer, employment expert, diversity trainer, and President of Greer Consulting, Inc. A company that specializes in brain-based diversity, labor and employee relations, training and consulting.

Jason Greer

Like, so you hired these folks thinking that they're going to bring a considerable amount of talent to the table, and then you end up losing them six months later because they've entered into a hostile workforce.

Host

And they don't feel appreciated or valued.

Jason Greer

Right. Where there's a series of microaggressions. And when I say microaggressions, it gets right back into what you just said earlier. I feel like, instead of talking to me the way you talked to John, you talk to me like I'm less than you.

Host

Wow. Yeah.

Jason Greer

And I can only take this for so long because I have other opportunities elsewhere.

Host

 Right?

Jason Greer

There's another issue that goes into it. Organizations, they're not moving. There's already been this trend toward creating, what we call “affinity groups,” where you might have a group for African American employees; you might have a group for Asian employees; you might have a group for LGBTQ employees. In principle, this is a wonderful, wonderful thing because you're acknowledging our diversity. You're creating an organization where everyone feels as though they're being accepted, and they're being heard.

Host

Yeah, and celebrated

Jason Greer

And celebrated. I think there's a trend that's unfortunately happening, where again, this gets into sort of the be implicit bias, is one group, that is not necessarily being acknowledged, is white males.

Matt Self (Episode 1.07)

Beth Pilgreen (Host)

Attracting quality candidates, separating passive job seekers from active ones and promoting your company as an employer of choice can be a huge undertaking. It is, however, an undertaking that can be made easier with recruitment marketing. That's why we've asked Matt Self to join us today. Matt is currently Partner and Chief Revenue Officer for Conklin Media.

Matt Self

And you know, this is so important. This is not Matt getting all touchy, feely, lovey. Okay. But this is recruitment marketing. That person who you don't hire might know somebody that's perfect for your position. Right? You can't underestimate the power of word of mouth. Right.

Host

Exactly.

Matt Self

I get all these questions Matt, “what should my content, you know, look like, where should I promote it?” Where you know what? Yeah, I got plans for all of that, but word of mouth is still super valuable. And when you're getting face to face with one candidate or two or 10 in a group interview, it's your opportunity. You're not just talking to them; you're talking to their entire network. So, write that down.

Host

In your expertise, how do you go about doing that? Marketing to your prospective candidates?

Matt Self

Okay so, I think it's a combination. It's really marketing to candidates for the purpose of growth and hiring. It has to be a top down type of agreed upon plan, like I really struggle with organizations that lump that strictly into HR’s responsibility bucket, and I also have equal problems with the company that lumps that into, well, because that's involving social media, that's internal marketing's job. I think it really it involves all stakeholders in the company, right?

Karen Loughlin (Episode 1.08)

Beth Pilgreen (Host)

Yes. We're talking about making those end of the year, best companies to work for, lists, but we're also talking about what it takes to become an employer of choice with your current and future employees. That's why we've asked Karen Loughlin to join us today. Karen is the Talent Sourcing Manager at Wegmans Food Markets, which has earned a tremendous reputation for being an exceptional employee.

Karen Loughlin

I think it's something that we always focus on being a great place to work every day. And we also try and live our values. So, we have a set of values. We call them our “who we are values.” Then it's really something we live by. So, those values are caring; having high standards in everything that we do; making a difference in every community; respecting and listening to our people; and empowering our people. We just want to be known as a great place to work. So, it really has grown organically, but by the same token, we really try and focus on living our values every day.

Host

Do you feel that Wegmans values set it apart from other employers? And if so, how does that impact its relationship with employees?

Karen Loughlin

You know, I really do. I think it's something where we really try and live by those values, and I think, again, we're a family company. We talk about ourselves as a family company, that's mission driven in values-based, something that during our interview process, we look for folks that our values fit. And I think it's something that not only do we communicate those from Day One, but we talk about living our values and really, people will hold themselves accountable to modeling those values. And I think one differentiator for us, anyone can have a mission statement; anyone have values; but it's something that to us; they're not just words on the wall.

Andrea Hoffer (Episode 1.09)

Beth Pilgreen (Host)

We've asked Andrea Hoffer, the Founder of A-Ha Business Consulting, as well as an expert consultant, trainer, recruiter, and entrepreneur to join us today, to help us try to anticipate what trends might surface in the coming year. Let me ask you this - remote work has certainly become a staple for the modern workforce. Do you see its use changing in the coming year in any way?

Andrea Hoffer

I see it just growing and growing. And I think one of the reasons for that, of course technology is, you know, a huge driving force. But I think more than that, people want flexibility. You know, we talked so much about work-life-balance. My feeling is when you really drill it down, it just comes down to flexibility. It's not that people want to work less. It's not that they're lazy. They just want to work on their own terms. And they'll still get plenty of work done and be extremely productive. They just want to do it in their way and coworking and remote work plays into that; mind- body connection and being healthy and wellness. And I think remote work really plugs into that.

Host

I do, too. And I think that that's one of the most attractive qualities. I think when a candidate is looking for a new place of work is if that is an option, working from home or working from wherever they choose. 

Andrea Hoffer

Oh, definitely. If we post a job and it says remote on it, write the number of applications. I mean, of course it's going to open up geographic areas, so it's going to increase the candidate depth just by that. But even if you don't take that as a factor, if it just says you can work from home one day a week, it you know, so many more people are going to be interested in that.

Deb Muller (Episode 1.10)

Beth Pilgreen (Host)

And today, we'll be talking about employee relations, what it is and the role it plays in fostering positive, working relationships, minimizing conflict, and increasing productivity. Joining us today to talk about all thing’s employee relations is Deb Mueller.

Deb Mueller

They get it. They can understand that employer relations, professionals, experts, they're the ones that designed this product, and we designed it originally. I mean, we've been we've been in production for over 10 years, but now it's just a such a different tool than it was because we've continued to evolve it. We've continued to evolve it through our expertise. But actually, through the expertise of our clients, we have this amazing group of clients and employee relations leader-community that we're constantly asking information for. What are your challenges? What are you doing in your organization? What's happening in the workplace environment since me too, how do we need to really pivot towards, you know, making a difference in the employee experience with a tool that employees don't even use? How can our tool, which employees don't have their hands on actually impact the employee experience? So, we're continuing to evolve that within our technology, but at its core, we are the only technology out there specifically developed and designed for employee relations and investigations management.

Chris Meroff (Episode 1.11)

Beth Pilgreen (Host)

Alignment leadership, a concept created by our guest today, Chris Meroff. Chris is the Executive Director and Owner of MSB Ventures, as well as the creator of the management consultant company, Alignment Leadership. And as if that weren't enough, he is also the author of the book, “Align -Four Simple Steps for Leaders to Create Employee Fulfillment through Alignment Leadership. Is it fair to say that alignment leadership requires a servant leadership approach?

Chris Meroff

It absolutely does. At the core of alignment leadership is we define leadership as loving and serving people toward fulfillment. And so, this concept of loving people, well, we try to define that for, for everyone to understand that it's really a self-sacrifice. When I say you want to love people toward fulfillment, it's really kind of dying to yourself and really living for those that have been entrusted to your care, to your leadership. And so that's a huge part of it. And then we have the serving part. Well that's, that really is about understanding how to communicate value to your people, really serving them toward their value. And that's where I think fulfillment will come.

Host

I love that you use the word love in that description.

Chris Meroff

Yeah, it's not often talked about at work, in fact, it took me a long time to figure out that that was an okay thing to talk about it at work. There are so many rules that we have that we play by at work that are kind of handed down generation to generation, and it took me a long time to figure out that - that's an acceptable way to communicate - how we treat each other. But once I embraced it, it really did open the door for people that feel that they have intrinsic value that they're not just a cog in a wheel. They're not just valuable because of what they can do, but they're actually valuable for who they are. And that, to me, is the concept of loving.

Oliver Bell (Episode 1.12)

Beth Pilgreen (Host)

And today we'll be discussing learning in the workplace, specifically, continuous learning. We all understand that creating a learning culture within a company helps to grow the work force but investing in learning initiatives is also critical to the growth of the company itself. Here to talk more with us about all of that is today's guest Oliver Bell, the CEO of Oliver Bell, Inc. A human resources and labor relations consultancy that is no stranger to the concept of continuous learning.

Oliver Bell

I remember a time when I was in the Army when I was a young Lieutenant and my boss came to me and he said, Lieutenant, what's your primary job. And I looked around at all this fabulous military equipment I had and all the things that we could do with that and what we could accomplish. And he held up his finger and look me in the eye. And he said, your radio, because if you can't communicate, you're not in charge. Your job is to be in charge. So, I would submit that to all leaders out there. Your job is to be in charge. If you can't communicate, you're not in charge, you're not able to do job one in your role. I mean, we all know that it's great for a leader to make a cameo appearance and so to speak, turn a wrench, so that everybody knows that you really know that, too, and they can trust you to make decisions for them. But your job is to is to make sure that people understand what you're trying to get accomplished, that they feel engaged, that they feel you care and that they know that you've got their back and are supporting them. So as far as, continuous learning goes yes, for everyone, especially for leaders and especially in communications.

Dr. Stefanie K. Johnson (Episode 1.13)

Beth Pilgreen (Host)

There's no more basic element of human nature than our desire to stand out. Unless it's our competing desire to fit in. Here, to talk about these conflicting desires and how leaders can use to mobilize and Inspire their teams is today's guest, Dr. Stephanie Johnson. Stephanie is a Business Professor with the University of Colorado, and she has written a book on this topic called “Inclusive -The Power of Uniqueness and Belonging to Build Innovative Teams.

Dr. Stefanie K. Johnson

I was looking at leaders who are really trying to do a good job when it comes to diversity and inclusion, but they're just slightly missing the Mark. And when I interviewed their employees, I interviewed leaders, executives, CEOs. And then in some cases I interviewed their teams as well, their subordinates, and the leaders who thought they were doing a good job, but their subordinates didn't actually necessarily think they were doing a good job, were usually missing out on one of these two essential elements, either uniqueness or belonging. So, you might be a leader that really focused on trying to make everyone feel like they belong, but in doing so, everyone felt the pressure to kind of fit in and not be their unique selves. Part of the problem with that is you're going to get less innovation of ideas and your decision making actually becomes worse because people are trying to fit in. So, you don't give dissenting opinions, right? Cause that's that doesn't fit in. And if you're all alike and part of this team that you want to agree rather than disagree.

Jana Morrin (Episode 1.14)

Beth Pilgreen (Host)

Until we can eliminate toxic replaces altogether, it's clear that in the meantime, we can all do a better job of supporting employees affected by toxic behaviors. Jana Morin is the CEO and Cofounder at SpeakFully, a new platform that helps employees discreetly navigate through toxic workplace experiences.

Jana  Morrin

It is devastating in the fact that it decreases the productivity of these employees. Mentally, it's hard for them to navigate what their normal tasks are there because they're trying to have to navigate the other things that is making them feel this way. If nothing happens from an organizational level to help these employees who are experiencing this, deal with it, and go through it, they could impact them negatively from a PR perspective; it could impact them negatively legally; eventually down the line, so overall, if they're not having these conversations with employees on a regular basis, to be able to get them to come forward, the productivity costs - that's so expensive. And then ultimately, they're going to lose employees. And that's obviously very expensive as well. a lot of people can relate. You know, when I talk to people about my experience. I've had people come to me that I don't even know and say, “Oh, my Oh, my God, Jana, I read your vlog and I read your story, and I got goosebumps reading it,” because it made me feel like in the situation that I'm in right now. So, I think about it, if it happened to someone like me, as assertive as I am, that I felt that I was, I just think about someone even being slightly less assertive than I am. And so, it could happen to anyone, it does you know and that's why I always talk about it now - is like this could happen to anyone. And I believe that because I didn't think this would happen to me.

John Eades (Episode 1.15)

Beth Pilgreen (Host)

Leadership is a skill that is in constant evolution. The things that made a good leader 20 years ago, 10 years ago, even five years ago are not necessarily the same things that make a good leader today. And the truth is keeping up with these ever-changing dynamics to become better leaders ourselves, as well as to more accurately anticipate the needs of our organizations, is a critical part of HR. Happily, John Eades Is here to help us out. John is the CEO of LearnLoft. He's also the host of the “Follow My Lead” podcast. And most recently the author of “Building the Best - Eight Proven Leadership Principles to Elevate Others to Success!”

John Eades

At its simplest level. It's employee engagement, it's performance. I mean, we, we think of leadership today as like, you know, this soft thing. And at the end of the day, great leaders get great performance and they do that because they're invested in their people and they're helping them improve and get better. And, and they raise the bar of not what good looks like, but they define what great looks like. And they do that leaning on these strong relationships that they've developed and maintain. And so, we like to make it really complicated and at its core, it's not that complicated, but it is hard.

Host

It is hard because you're dealing with people as opposed to just focusing on a bottom line. Like, I hope that everybody listening hears is that you're not going to get better performance through a really well-crafted email or a lecture, a meeting, like it really is in relationships and engagement.

John Eades

Well, you start thinking about why it's so hard because one more dealing with human beings and human beings are tough. One of my mentors always says “John, everybody's going through something, whether you know it or not.”

Lisa Nagele-Piazza (Episode 1.16)

Beth Pilgreen (Host)

While both possession and use of marijuana are still illegal, under federal law, rapid fire legalization on the state level has meant that HR pros practically have to check their morning papers to see what's legal in their state. And when legalization happens, regardless of whether it's recreational or medicinal, what happens to workplace drug policies? Happily, we have Lisa Nagel-Piazza here with us to help sort all of this out. Lisa is the Senior Legal Editor at SHRM, and she's been following these changing laws and how they affect HR for several years now.

Lisa Nagele-Piazza

I think that we are going to continue to see more States, legalize marijuana use both medicinally and for recreational use. And in fact, even the Governor of New York recently said that that is a priority to legalize recreational use in New York. And that he is committed to working with neighboring states to come up with comprehensive plans for legalization. I think more states and cities are going to follow the direction of Nevada and New York city and start putting limitations on the use of a failed marijuana test for preemployment testing.

Host

Well, what advice do you have for HR pros when dealing with the issue of medical or recreational marijuana in the workplace?

Lisa Nagele-Piazza

The most important thing is to think before you react, don't make an off the cuff decision. If someone fails a drug test, take a look at the law, take a look at the company's policies, make sure you're applying them consistently. And also know when it's time to contact your lawyer, either in-house or, or your law firm that you use. Because as you can see here, it can get very challenging to comply. It's complicated and you know, just a consistency is important. And also, you can no longer create a drug testing policy and just kind of push it off to the side, you know, give it to employees during new hire orientation. It has to be constantly reviewed and updated as necessary, both for changes in the law and for changes in corporate culture; for all of those things.

Jennifer Orechwa (Episode 1.17)

Beth Pilgreen (Host)

And today we're talking about how to connect with your employees and support them in times of crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic is certainly something that will be studied and analyzed for years to come. I know companies are communicating with customers right now, but how are they connecting with their employees? With the overwhelming amount of information employees are receiving from every direction it's difficult to know the right approach to your own message. Jennifer Orechwa is here to help guide you to the right ways to connect with your employees. In times of crisis, Jennifer, as you may know, is one of the Owners and is the Chief Operating Officer of Projections. Jennifer has spent nearly three decades helping companies connect with and engage employees to achieve their goals.

Jennifer Orechwa

There are both short-term goals here and long-term goals. So, first in the short term, we want to provide reassurance to our team members, demonstrating to employees that our company's mission and our vision and our values will support us during this time, despite the crisis, this allows employees to feel reassured that the solid foundation they know hasn't changed. But then we also need to think about the long-term goals, building trust between employees and management during, and even after the crisis. Case in point, I live in Charleston, South Carolina, and we love our Stingrays hockey team here. And the Stingrays we're doing really well this season, they had only 10 games left, eight of them at home. They were really poised to take their fourth Kelly Cup and then the virus hit. So now these, these players, these employees have been working toward this moment. I mean, some of them for their entire lives, the Stingrays’ organization chose to tell them that their season was over via wait for it, an email,

Host

No!

Jennifer Orechwa

I mean, you couldn't get on zoom as a team empathize, talk about it. So that's the sort of situation where, you know, clearly there's nothing anyone can do, but you've got to humanize these conversations.

Host

So how can companies do that though? How can they humanize the conversation?

Jennifer Orechwa

You've got to communicate around the things that you know your employees are concerned with. You've got to get personal. So, answer those unasked questions that you might be afraid to, you know, will we lose business? How will the market affect our jobs? You know, things, could things get worse at this point? Scariest of all, what do I do with my kids or we're now home all day?

Nick Kalm (Episode 1.18)

Chris Craddock (Host)

Hello, everybody. Welcome to ProjectHR, a podcast dedicated to building better workplaces. I'm Chris Craddock. And I'll be filling in for Beth Pilgreen. Now, until very recently public relations and human resources operated as strictly standalone entities. PR for externally focused functions and HR for internally focused ones. But like everything else in business today, thanks to digital technologies, that relationship is evolving, growing, and intersecting and in so many new ways. Nick Kalm is the Founder and President of Reputation Partners, an integrated communications firm that provides a full range of in-house PR, marketing and strategic services.

Nick Kalm

Thank you, Chris. It's a pleasure to be here.

Host

Fantastic. Well, let's start off with a question. What role does storytelling play in the building of this company experience?

Nick Kalm

It's huge. I mean, really go off of, and really rely on stories. They want to hear stories about their colleagues. They want to hear stories about the employee experience. So, being able to gather those stories, which again, folks in public relations, many of us started out in journalism. Many of us have worked obviously with journalists, so being able to capture and tell those stories is really important and we can't do it alone. You know, we need to be able to work with not only the people in the various departments, but HR, because HR is one of those functions where a lot of stories get heard and shared, whether it's by employees who have concerns or ideas or managers that are dealing with certain challenges, that partnership really becomes key and finding out who those good stories are and where they are within the organization. That's something that HR is particularly well suited to be able to identify.

Ted Ma (Episode 1.19)

Chris Craddock (Host)

Today, we'll be talking about employee engagement, but I promise this won't be a parade of depressing statistics about an increasingly disengaged workforce, because we already know all about that. We also already know that employee engagement is critical to the ultimate success of any organization, boosting profitability productivity, and a whole host of other things that we all want for our companies. What we need is an action plan. Some concrete steps that we as leaders can take to help employees get engaged and stay engaged. And that's where Ted comes in. Ted Ma is a leadership expert and speaker with over 17 years’ experience in leading teams and developing leaders.

Ted Ma

In terms of engagement is having a development plan for empowering other leaders. Because people, and especially for those in my generation that are millennials, we want a growth plan. We want to see how we're going to improve in life and in our careers and not just collect a paycheck or just go to work. So many times, we hear that, well, people want to have purpose in their work. They want to have meaning; they want to have development. Well, that only happens because those in the leadership role decide to be a mentor. Those in a leadership role say, okay, here's a plan over the next 12 months of what you can expect to learn. Here's the skill you will acquire by fulfilling your job responsibilities or by meeting these benchmarks. So, having the development plan and the last idea around engagement, Chris, I'll share with you for the sake of this podcast would be around feedback, making sure that we're giving feedback out to those that we lead. Because once again, going back to my generation of millennials, we thrive on feedback and people continuing to give us that coaching type of advice and guidance along the way, not once a quarter once a year, but on an ongoing basis. So, giving feedback where it's needed and then also being receptive to feedback.

Dr. Ada Luz Gonzalez (Episode 1.20)

Beth Pilgreen (Host)

Everyone knows that positive two-way communication is a must for any workplace, hoping to create or maintain a progressive and productive work culture. But, have you ever stopped to wonder what exactly it is that we mean when we say communication? Is it simply about passing along information? Or is it about something bigger? Does a quick conversation in the hallway count as communicating? Emails and Slack posts certainly pass along information as do large group meetings, but is it enough? Can we be doing more to connect with our workforce? Dr. Ada Luz Gonzalez believes we can. She's an expert conversation strategist and the Owner of Transformative Conversations. A consultancy committed to helping organizations facilitate change, development, and growth through dialogue.

Dr. Ada Luz Gonzalez

Helping leaders open up spaces that feel safe for real communication to happen is to be vital. You know, you have been unsure – like I had been in meetings where a leader is having a monologue explaining for on and on and on something. And then he stops and says, “any questions, any comments?” And there is dead silence.

Host

Dead silence. Nobody wants to be the one to speak up or, you know, we're all, most of us at least are usually thinking the same question, but nobody wants to be the one. And I don't know why that is.

Dr. Ada Luz Gonzalez

Well, that’s because of fear. And the only way that a leader can change that is by to start with not start with a monologue, start with questions that can open up that space, instead of first saying everything that is in their minds and let people feel there is no space to say anything.

Dr. Edie Goldberg (Episode 1.21)

Beth Pilgreen (Host)

What would you do if I told you that the talent you're looking to hire may already be on your payroll? That's the idea behind a recently released book by Dr. Edie Goldberg and Kelly Stephen Wastes called “The Inside Gig - How Sharing Untapped Talent Across Boundaries, Unleashes Organizational Capacity.” At a time when recruitment is increasingly more challenging, the idea that there's hidden talent within your current workforce, just waiting to be engaged. Well, that seems almost too good to be true, But, believe it, because joining us today on ProjectHR is Dr. Edie Goldberg. Dr. Goldberg is the President of E. L. Goldberg and Associates. And she is a nationally recognized expert in HR and talent management strategy and organizational effectiveness

Dr. Edie Goldberg

Business priorities shift suddenly, so, when your key customer requests an immediate change to a product or a process, it's all-hands on deck to solve that issue. But by leveraging the skills that you have within the company; you can find out where you have the talent that you need and have them contribute their expertise to the solution for a short period of time. So that results and work getting completed faster and with reduced cost because you're not bringing in contractors to do the work your employees could do.

Jim Bitterle (Episode 1.22)

Beth Pilgreen (Host)

And today we'll be talking about the future, your company's future. And one of the most critical ways HR ensures a company's future success. I'm talking about succession planning and never has there been a more important time to have a solid succession plan in place. Today, we stand on the edge of a major generational shift within our workplaces. Baby boomers have already begun their collective transition into retirement. And once it hits its stride companies that don't have a plan in place will struggle. If that statement makes you feel a little concerned, never fear, because today we are joined by Jim Bitterly, Managing Partner from EDSI. EDSI is a national workforce development, talent solutions and consulting company that specializes in helping organizations attract, train, and retain top talent, all the critical elements in any company succession plan.

Jim Bitterle

Thank you, Beth. Glad to be here.

Host

Well, are there any other misconceptions about succession plan?

Jim Bitterle

Well, I think you hit on the biggest, right? And that is that it's just for the top level, because there are so many critical roles. Imagine in a lot of organizations, you might have one or two salespeople that carry 80% of your sales and own critical relationships. It's really important throughout the organization to identify what are those critical roles in those positions and those people, right? Because without them, it can devastate an organization. So that's a critical misconception that it's only at the top level that we need to prepare our succession plans. I think the bigger issue that we see is too many organizations look at it and say, yeah, we kind of know who's going to take over these roles. And they just simply don't do it thoroughly. The problem is then when they really truly need it, they might know who's going to jump into that role, but that person’s not prepared. And when that persons not prepared; usually bad things happen.

Dr. Bradford Cooper (Episode 1.23)

Beth Pilgreen (Host)

And by now we all know that employee health and wellness is vital to the success of any organization. Workplace wellness efforts can improve employee productivity, increase morale, lower employee stress, lower absenteeism, increase retention, and they might even ultimately reduce healthcare costs for employers - someday. The trick has been implementing effective long-term wellness strategies that work for both the organizations and their individual employees. Our guest today has made employee wellness, his life's work. And he's here to talk with us a little about how to make workplace wellness stick. Joining us today is Dr. Bradford Cooper, the CEO of U.S. Corporate Wellness and Co-founder of The Catalyst Coaching Institute. Okay. Question for you. Do you think the presence of a workplace wellness initiative tells an employee something deeper about their employer, and if so, what?

Dr. Bradford Cooper

The style, the approach of a workplace wellness program absolutely tells you what, what is happening behind the scenes with the employer? If it's a program that says, okay everybody line up, get tested, fill in your numbers and then we're going to tell you all you sinners and make you wear Scarlet letters on your name tags, because XYZ is inappropriate and until you fix it, then you're going to be penalized. Yeah, that tells me a lot about the employer. If on the other hand, the employer says we all got issues, like every single one of us have issues and every single one of us has opportunities to make tomorrow. We like to use this little term hashtag better than yesterday. And so, every single one was, has this opportunity to be better than yesterday to pursue better than yesterday, to take an opportunity to move toward better than yesterday. If we do that, if my employer is helping me do that in a way that's meaningful to me and not just the employer, that tells me a lot about that employer.

Sarah Scala (Episode 1.24)

Beth Pilgreen (Host)

As a certified executive coach and authorized practitioner of emotional intelligence tools and assessments, Sarah Scala certainly knows what it's all about. She is the Founder and Principal Consultant of Sarah Scala Consulting. She's also taught emotional intelligence for Harvard University. And today she'll be joining us to talk about emotional intelligence and how we can encourage its growth within our leadership, as well as within our teams. Sarah, it's so great to have you with us today.

Sarah Scala

Thanks. It's wonderful to be here.

Host

I've also seen the benefits of E.I. specifically relating to leaders. Why is E.I. so critical to leadership in particular? Could you expand on that?

Sarah Scala

Looking at the research, 90% of high performers also have a high level of emotional intelligence and people with high emotional intelligence on average, earn more per year. People who understand and manage their own and others' emotions make better leaders. They're able to deal with stress, overcome obstacles, inspire others to work towards collective goals, and they manage conflict with less fallout and build stronger teams. And they are generally are happier at work. They're also noted to have better decision-making and problem-solving. They're cool under pressure, greater empathy, and better at again, resolving those, those conflicts that come up in the workplace. Those with low emotional intelligence typically have more of a victim mentality, show, more sign of passive aggression. They often lack teamwork and they're more critical of other people. So, when we look at team effectiveness in the workplace and the leader's role in that, emotional intelligence has a pretty clear tie to a leader's to be effective.

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About the Author Jacqueline Gregory

As a creative, persuasive communications professional with extensive experience guiding projects from concept through completion Jacqui has produced custom communications for some of the world's best known brands. Producing ProjectHR has been one of her favorite ways to engage and delight HR and Labor Relations professionals!

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