putting it all together

We Should Applaud NY Mets’ Daniel Murphy for taking Paternity Leave

So many of you know, I’m not a “big” sports fan (Horns, tennis, boxing, and MMA is about all I follow .. and poorly at that), but we’ve got a big story with some HR implications coming out of sports news.

photo credit: Yahoo! Sports

Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy put fatherhood ahead of baseball, and now, some outraged New York Sports radio hosts are outraged.

Since 2011, Major League Baseball has allowed players up to three days paternity leave, but some outraged New York Sports radio hosts say that when you’re making millions, “one day off is plenty.”

“All right, one day, I understand,” said WFAN morning host Mike Francesa. “In the old days they didn’t do that. One day, go see the baby be born, and then come back. You’re a Major League Baseball player — you can hire a nurse!”

“You get your a** back to your team and you play baseball,” added WFAN’s Craig Carton. “That’s my take on it. There’s nothing you can do anyway. You’re not breastfeeding the kid.

Read more: http://www.wjla.com/articles/2014/04/mets-player-daniel-murphy-s-paternity-leave-causes-controversy-101816.html#ixzz2xv5D3JLk

You know me. I’m going to have to throw out my typical “girl in HR” catch-phrase, “seriously?!?” Three days is hardly extraneous… and I find the other comments just offensive. Just because a man doesn’t birth the baby doesn’t mean that he has any less right to have bonding time with the child. These radio hosts views are just off, imho. Do they think its ludicrous for the man to be in the delivery room, to go to parenting class — I border that their comments might lead someone who doesn’t know them better that they think that birth and raising children is “woman work.” We’ve moved SO far past that.

photo credit: bavia.com

So stepping off the soap-box and let’s make the HR connection. Paternity leave. In the US, women AND men can take up to 12 weeks off to care for a newborn if they qualify for FMLA leave. Some companies go beyond that and have added additional maternity and paternity benefits to help encourage employees to take that time off by helping to eliminate some of the financial burdens of staying home to care and bond for a child. I wish I could put my hands on some updated data, but the trend is that many men don’t take full advantage of benefits that may be available to them — now the reasons for that can be anything from financial to thoughts on their place on raising children — and every combination in between.  I think that one thing that we can do in HR is to help put programs in place that will help facilitate and encourage expecting parents, regardless of gender, to take the time off that they need… if they want to. We should also applaud and speak positively about examples, such as Daniel Murphy, of men who are taking the time off and using their benefits. Parental leave is not a “working woman’s issue” anymore… its an issue of work-life balance and that is bigger than either gender alone.  We don’t need to force the choice, but provide options for people to use and make their own decisions — and don’t talk crap or be negative when people take advantage of benefits afforded to them.

As an aside, on this story Daniel Murphy takes high road while Terry Collins fires back after Mike Francesa and Boomer Esiasion question Mets’ paternity leave from NY Daily News there is a poll for readers to partipate in that asks: Do you think Mike Francesa is over the line questioning Daniel Murphy’s paternity leave? When I took it the results showed 86% YES and 14% NO.

I’m interested to see where the story develops — from a work-life, parental leave, and HR perspective — I’m sure that the story will continue to be popular over the next few days or week — but let’s try to keep the underlying point of the story developing and out front.

Making the HR connection, yours,

 

 

 

Want to see more of the story — here’s a few more links and a videos:

 

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Hey Girl in HR, Whatcha Reading March 31, 2014

I thought that I might try something new here and share with you some of the great articles that I read this week that I want to share with you.

  • Simplifying life has nothing to do with all your stuff from Penelope Trunk — what a fun site, she’s honest and straightforward and has a lot to say. “Simplifying” was one of my New Year “words” so I’m very interested in anything that I come across on the topic — plus, I the thought that I can simplify AND keep all my junk… I know, I know … not the point of the blog, but still a good read
  • College Players Granted Right to Form Union from the NY Times —  I can’t express how big this is — its actually pretty big news, not only from an HR perspective and labor unions, but business in general — even if you don’t know much about unions or care about college sports

  • 10 Life Lessons to Excel in your 30s from Mark Manson — I’m still in my 30s, so hoping I didn’t “screw up” too bad — but seriously, I LOVED this .. .wish I saw this when I was in my 20s — but its never to late to take in these life lessons.

  • Why millennials love apartments from CNN.money — This one really caught my eye — I think that this is meant for the “younger” millennial, but still find it fascinating. Its not just about apartments and convenient living… there is more to this …  — check out the video. Economy, employers, and business are driving some of this, but that’s not all.

What was on your list of reads this week — and if you are curious to know about all the articles and news that piqued my interest over the week check out the Facebook page or the Girl in HR board on Pinterest (or other boards).

‘cuz you’ve got to know what people are talking about in order to make the HR connections,

Yours,

Wanna Sell to HR people… Don’t be a Bug a Boo

I’ve been going through some “old school” pop in my Spotify (shout out to all my #HRMusicShare peeps) playlist and Destiny Child’s Bug A Boo has been on my mind— because I feel like I’ve been feeling a bit nostalgic, its a catchy song. This time of year an HR person can get pretty popular 🙂 — your phone, LinkedIn, and email may start blowing up from people wanting to sell something to you.

It can make you want to hide a little bit… but don’t sweat it.  Let me walk though some realizations that I had several years ago and a list of some of my “suggestions.”

When it comes to sales, you probably totally get that one has to make sales and cold calls. You get that you attend conferences, webinars, meetings and that by filling out the forms or putting my business card in a large fish bowl, you’re likely going to get a sales call about services that you might be interested in. I bt you also get the concept of  warm leads and follow up. You get sales — you buy stuff (or sell things) all the time.

However, what many of us don’t get is some of the aggressive tactics that some organizations take.

In general, for me,  I like to know what is out in the industry and in the market — so I’m generally pretty happy to do a demo and see what one has to offer. After all, I may not be looking for something now, but maybe in the future — or I may know of a colleague who is looking (… hmmm, this concept is sounding a lot like good networking practices in general).

In all likelihood I may actually be interested in the product or service, but the timing is all wrong. It doesn’t mean “not interested ever” but “not right now.”

Things like calling several times a day, asking to connect only to follow up immediately with a sales lead, asking me lots of leading and probing questions — well it kinda puts me in an awkward position and… could make you want to run and hide.

You know, I sold Mary Kay for a while (long story), but I used to get slammed all the time from the people in my unit that I wasn’t aggressive enough with closing the sale or massing a huge stack of “leads”… but its not how I like to sell things and its not how I like to be sold to. My style is more it to establish a rapport and then throw in, oh by the way, I sell Mary Kay, and then continue on. Its a plant. I generally wouldn’t sell anything that day, but I’d get follow up at a later time and generally had great repeat customers.  It was stress-free — they knew I had product that they were interested in and when they followed up, I knew that they had a genuine interest in learning more (and for me, that was where some of the real work came in).  My way, was just trying to meet and talk to people, put a bug in your ear, and then see who might be really interested. Some people would (and did) say that I was lazy .. but I thought it to be strategic. But then again, what do I know about selling anything… pink Cadillac never I had. Maybe I was doing it wrong. I’m just a girl in HR.  😉

My point, people should be running towards you and not away from you and you should be working with them at THEIR pace. It should be sincere and genuine. Not pushy or forced. We all  get quotas…. and commissions…  but I think you’ve also got to get people and how to be effective so that you’re spending time in the right place.

Okay.. .so enough about what we get and don’t get… here are some of my suggestions:

  • Do send a quick follow up email after a meeting, webinar, event, etc and say a bit about yourself, HOW WE MET (important) and some of your services – strike while the iron is hot.
  • If sending a LinkedIn connection be transparent about WHY you want to connect, especially if we don’t know each other. If we met at an event for sure throw that in there — helps make a human connection. If we don’t know each other, the first message shouldn’t be about what you want to sell me. Don’t use “connections” for that, that is more appropriate for the inmails or offers feature of LinkedIn.
  • Call once, but that’s it (maybe twice). I may be in meetings, out of the office, in training, busy, or not interested. All valid reasons. I’ll find you if I want to know more.
  • Do follow up with other information that I may find helpful, but don’t spam me and sign me up for all your email lists so that I’m getting one a day (or multiple) — that’s just going to annoy me and send all your stuff to the junk folder.  Back to my example, I might send out a quarterly letter of helpful skin care tips (often not even calling out my products) — just a reminder that I’m helpful and “still there.”
  • D0 ask for a good time to follow up or when might this be a more relevant time to talk.
  • Don’t take it personally, sometimes the answer is “no” .. that’s okay.
  • Take a hint… if not getting a response, its likely not the right time or the right contact, or it could be your style/approach– consider backing off a bit or trying to re-engage if you’ve started on the wrong foot
  • Show sincere interest in me as a person- its not just about selling me something, its about starting a relationship.
  • Don’t be pushy, rude, aggressive — meet people at where they are in the process. There is no wrong place to be.
  • Don’t try to call my colleagues and ask them to send a message to me or get them to call you back — in the ballpark of being too pushy and aggressive.
  • Be memorable, but for the right reasons.

Remember, people talk and share — so even if the answer is “no” or “not now” from me, if I have a good experience, I’m likely to pass you on — and even more likely to tell colleagues to of a bad experience if you’ve been to pushy.

So these are some of my thoughts and suggestions.. what are yours?

Making the HR connection, yours,

Still don’t know what a “bug a boo” is… check it out for yourself, consider it a bit of “its not news, its a distraction” treat for you.  Be forewarned, its a *catchy* song (and great to work out to).

Listen Better: Change How You Listen

Sometimes I find myself listening to respond or rebuttal and not really listening to understand or comprehend. I hate to admit it, but its true. 😦

However, knowing your weakness or areas that need attention is half the battle — so I’m always interested in articles and resources that are aimed at making me a better listening. Tonight during my regular look of articles on the net, I found this gem from Ted — and you KNOW how I love me some TedTalks. In his talk, Julian Treasure says that we spend about 60% of our unconscious time listening, but we’re not good at it — and only retain about 25% of what we hear.  WOW… only 25%… but what is it that you’re actually hearing?

What’s cool about this video, is that he is literally talking about listening better. I’ve never really admitted it before, but I’ve always had trouble with my hearing (maybe one reason why I don’t listen better, but just of course, “one” of the reasons 😉 ) so the thought of actually retraining the way that I hear things is fascinating.

If you heard things differently, would it make you a different kind of person? Manager? HR professional? Wife? Son? Neighbor? Friend?

Its a short video and totally engaging (you need to watch!) — but just in case you don’t get all the way through it, here are his 5 tips:

  1. Silence – have 3 minutes of silence a day
  2. The Mixer — how many channels of sound can you hear
  3. Savoring – enjoying mundane sounds (the “hidden choir”)
  4. Listening positions — move your listening position to make it appropriate to what you are listening to
  5. An acronym — RASA (which is Sanskrit for “juice” or “essence”—. Receive, Appreciate, Summarize, Ask

How good is your listening? Do you think you’re a good listener? Should listening be taught in schools like other skill sets?

I think this is huge.. and important to you as leaders, managers, HR pros… and as people in general. How many times have you felt that someone wasn’t *really* listening to you? Maybe people don’t really know how to do it….

Making the HR connection, yours

 

 

 

PS.. this Julian Treasure is pretty cool — check out some of his other stuff!

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.  —http://www.everydayhealth.com/health-report/major-depression-resource-center/sanjay-gupta-depression-in-the-workplace.aspx?xid=tw_dsg

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: http://curitibainenglish.com.br

More Money = Meaner and Greedier

I came across this article and video this weekend and just had to share it. Take Two ‘Normal’ People, Add Money To Just One Of Them, And Watch What Happens Next.  We should be interested in this for a number of reasons — but I was actually doing some research related back to the debates on the rise of minimum wage when I discovered this.

The research that they discover is so interesting — you should watch it and come to your own conclusions, but suffice to say, money (even fake money) can change you .. but I wonder why :(.

I’m still trying to make sense of this from and HR perspective. What would the research suggest about a company’s senior leadership and board members? Specialized or hard to obtain talent? Would this, or could it, have an impact on corporate and core values? Is this driving engagement and trust. Way more questions that I have answers for at the time. Hope to circle back around on it though.

See more: A special Upworthy series about work and the economy, made possible by the AFL-CIO. Read more, then check out more in Workonomics.

Wanting to find out more, so that I can better understand, the HR connection, yours