Month: February 2014

30 Second Video – Networking Takeaways

I started a mentoring program with my local SHRM chapter (SAHRMA) for current students and new HR professionals. This is the second cohort of the program and since I have some folks now to help me conduct the program I decided to take on a mentoring group myself.
Being in the mentoring group with the program creator may not be easy since I use my group as guinea pigs … but I wanted to pilot virtual mentoring sessions so we met using Google Hangouts. We had only a few hiccups but otherwise it was a great session. Our topic for the session was about, “How and Why to Network.”
I made a short video to play around with some animation tools (always testing something new — I tried “GoAnimate“) and record some notes in a fun way. Well… success… kinda… I could only make a 30 second video (which kinda sucks, but hey, its free, so ya get what you get) but I think some good takeaways nonetheless. Next meeting — I think I’m going to record the hangout and continue to find some other software to use to do some video recapping (30 seconds is pretty short, but 60 seconds would be about the right ballpark).
Anyhoo — here after all that buildup — here is the recap video!

In other news, GoAnimate is, meh, okay… at least the free version (time limit and the embed links don’t work — I had to get kinda creative with that image and link above). Have suggestions of other animation software I should try?

Get your network on — and share your tips here or on our Facebook groups!

Making the HR connection, yours,

What is the opposite of depression…

I recently wrote a post on employee depression and its impact on engagement. Well this evening I came across this TedX talk and thought that I’d add a bit more to the conversation. I know its kinda downer thing to talk about and explore, but it could be something that is really impacting your employees — so as HR people, we should explore it and learn more about it… plus I really enjoy Ted Talks :).

“The opposite of depression is not happiness, but vitality, and it was vitality that seemed to seep away from me in that moment.”

A gut-wrenching talk on overcoming depression:

What’s up with your employee … Disengagement or Depression?

I found this article (Depression in the workplace) by chance — I saw a tweet from Dr. Sanjay Gupta on twitter … and it really made me stop and look twice. 1 in 8 US workers… that’s just over 12% .. totally likely that someone that I (or you) work with is depressed.

What if we are mistaking disengagement with depression? Is there a difference or is one impacting the other? What if you take this as a sign that they are being a jerk but its really depression?

Often employees’ signs of depression go unnoticed. “Even if someone is less efficient, feeling less creative or they can’t smile much, which is common, it’s rarely showing as much as it seems,” said Sally Winston, PsyD, a psychologist and co-director of the Anxiety and Stress Disorders Institute of Maryland.  —

Ulitmatately, we can not make assumptions — one way or the other. I have no doubt that being depressed would have a positive correlation to a decrease in employee engagement…but a dip in engagement doesn’t necessarily mean that one is depressed.

I’d recommend that you ensure that you are creating an environment of trust at all times. Create a sincere and genuine relationship with your employees so that if they need to talk to you about what is on their minds or share that they are undergoing treatment that they feel safe to disclose. I have no doubt that as HR professionals that you’d handle it discretely and professionally to work with that employee and manager to make reasonable accommodations.  However, a great relationship built on trust can also help open the door to talk about changes in behavior or things that might be out of the norm for that employee that might suggest that they are disengaged. Imagine the difference if you could openly and honestly talk about why someone might be disengaged before it becomes a larger issue.

A great relationship also shows that you care and that you notice changes that may be going on – and you can point them out as matters of conversation and not a coachable moment. Keep the right line of “friend” to keep it professional, but as of late, I’m starting to think that there is just a lack of genuine compassion for others in the workplace. Life happens outside of the office (and sometimes, in the office) and people carry that with them. It can (and does) impact engagement and maybe even depression.

There is also a need to put in place a good EAP (employee assistance program), provisions for counseling visits, and/or a neutral ombudsman.  You don’t have to do all three, but make sure that if something is going on with your employees, that they have some options to work it out.  Do know that all of these programs, while options, have different purposes — you’ll need to make sure that it is clearly defined and well marketed to your employees. They should be able to access these with little to know effort (without having to draw a whole lot of attention to it if they want to use them.) We’d all like to think that if people have problems that they will go to the source and work it out, but the truth is, that often doesn’t happen. So provide other avenues and don’t be offended if they don’t come to you but choose another means — just be happy that they went somewhere.

IMHO, you don’t need to know the difference — but understand that they are not the same thing. Don’t just jump to “disengaged employee” mode and try to attack the problem from that angle. It could be something way bigger. You do need to know when something is different or out of character — take note, be supportive, and leverage a great relationship to help your employee back get what they need to be happy and productive. And remember… you may not even see the signs of depression … Give them the right tools and the option to make choices to help them get back to where they want to be.

Making the HR connection, yours,

photo credit:

Jobless Claims on the Rise

Doesn’t seem like its a good start to the year off with a rise in the jobless claims — especially when a decrease was forecasted.

Jobless claims increased by 8,000 to 339,000 in the week ended Feb. 8 from 331,000 in the prior period, a Labor Department report showed today in Washington. The median forecast of 52 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a decrease to 330,000.  —

I am not sure that I can say that I am all that surprised — many news reports seem to make connections between the soft retail sales in December — that might have something to do with it — but I don’t think its the whole story. Ultimately I think that this is going to be slow to turn around and that there are not quick fixes or miracles.

I’d like to see more people talking about skills-mismatch vs the jobs that are in demand and how to get those better aligned — for the current workforce as well as the future workers.  I think that is the bigger piece that we should be solving for, not just waiting on things to turn around with the economy.

Just my thoughts — what are yours?

Making the HR connection, yours,




photo credit:

Its Not News, Its a Distration: Your Thoughts on Valentine’s Day

So, this week as you see the flowers, bears, hearts come out on desks and hallways I thought it’d be fun to get folks thoughts on the holiday.

Do you find that your employees (or other loved ones) are a little distracted — or people getting a little down, maybe you get some divas or some drama?  Or is it just, “business as usual.”

Okay — I wouldn’t say that I’m overly girly or romantic — but I really like Valentine’s Day. I’m totally the one cutting out paper hearts, decorating the house, baking stuff for co-workers, putting pink dog collars on my dogs — I just think its fun. Last year I

made handmade crafts for my team. Its less about over

This is one of my pups – pretty in pink… hearts!

the top stuffed animals and dozens and dozens of roses — I just like spreading the message of love.  As a kid, I always loved writing the little cards to classmates — I just thought it was fun (and sweet) – I always wrote a special message on each one and took care match up the cards with each person (Individualization much?!? Yup its in my top 5). Whether I have a boyfriend or not, a date or not, roses or not (tulips are really more my thing) — I dig the day! Its nice to see people smile. 🙂

… and this year, Valentine’s day is on a Friday — even better!!!

Your Thoughts on Valentines Day
Just another day, what’s the big deal
I like to do a little some-something with loved ones and friends
I go all out
I protest it, its a made-up holiday
I don’t really care, but if I don’t do something, I’ll hear about it

Poll Maker

Take the poll here

A few other reads to help with the “distraction” — a lil something for everyone:

Would love to hear your thoughts, stories, articles, and photos!

Making the HR connection, yours,