Archives for February 2019

We Need More Better Bosses

 

The Twitterverse: where I’m never really sure if someone is being complimentary or sarcastic. I err on sarcastic.

When I proposed to an HR consultant on Twitter that leadership coaching and skill/career development would prevent disengaging the employees who tend to get overlooked, the middle 80%, he called it “such a simple solution.”

 

Was he being sarcastic?

Conceptually, it certainly is, and data proves that it is effective. Logic also says that if 50% of employees have left jobs because of bad bosses, then the way to retain talent is to have better bosses. Retention does not equal engagement, however.

Now that engagement is on everyone’s radar and it’s all the rage at human resources and human capital conferences galore, why haven’t we gotten past the fact that this works and getting on to executing?

Ah, executing. That’s what has proven to be NOT simple. Or is it?

I recently saw the advice on LinkedIn to choose your boss, not your job. It was advice that was highly lauded by other career professionals and corporate professionals alike. Choose your boss – that’s good advice, but NOT choosing your job is like determining that you can’t have both. You can! The problem is that good bosses don’t seem to be plentiful enough for people to believe they can have both, so they better grab a good boss when they find one, regardless of what they will be doing for them. We need more better bosses, and there’s ALWAYS room for improvement.

I noticed that many articles refer to this kind of leadership development as “executive” coaching. There certainly are particular challenges that executives face for which coaching would help them. And, when executives are conscious leaders who make conscious decisions, it does tend to influence a positive work culture and benefit everyone, but executives are not the only leaders who would benefit from skill, professional, and personal development. Frankly, too many companies exclude personal development as a focus of coaching, when in reality, this is where development makes the most difference in employee/boss dynamics. Personal development is how individuals expand their self-awareness and sense of accountability for results and effective communication. This type of coaching benefits front-line employees, support teams and leaders alike.

If a company is leveraging the creativity of all of its workforce, its leaders need to create an environment and provide coaching that helps all employees handle creativity-killing stress. It also needs a fair system and conscious leaders to vet ideas.

Aspiring leaders need this kind of coaching to understand how to transition from being a doer to a delegator and all that comes with handling people problems, holding others accountable, keeping others motivated, and reconciling orders from above with their own wisdom.  They need to build confidence in this area in order to continue growing.

Mid-level and experienced managers need this kind of coaching to help them handle increasing pressure and responsibility of making decisions, dealing with the consequences of bad decisions or unpopular decisions, as well as managing other managers. Also, even a great leader can be vulnerable to situational greed, and once you have had the taste of promotion, you might be easily influenced to do unethical things as directed with the promise of future promotion.

Executive leaders need this kind of coaching because the stakes are high, they can easily forget the real challenges that their employees face to be able to effectively support them, and the prestige, power, and prosperity can become a drug, making decisions for them. If their wits don’t stay intact, they can be seduced by what looks like easy money and fail to do their due diligence. They can make decisions purely devoid of consideration of human factors – what actual humans do when subjected to adverse situations, and the costs thereof.

So far disengagement is not exclusive to any one demographic of corporate employees. Any employee can become disengaged, though leaders, I’ve found, tend to be engaged for the sake of their team over the sake of the organization. Each group can also learn to support the other, exponentially fortifying an organization’s ability to perform and profit.

Of course, not all development coaching is created equally.  The Epic Careering development programs leverage current and proven neuroscience and human performance optimization breakthroughs that accelerate and reinforce the process from self-awareness to transformation.  Conventional coaching isn’t ineffective, but it is inefficient considering the increasing pace of technology and the necessary pace of corporate evolution.

Epic Careering is currently offering retained programs to 4 growing organizations for 2019. If you want all the benefits of professional development without the wait, book a consultation to learn more now.

 

Bruce Springsteen – Human Touch

Bruce Springsteen’s official music video for ‘Human Touch’. Click to listen to Bruce Springsteen on Spotify: http://smarturl.it/BSpringSpot?IQid=BSpringHT As featured on The Essential Bruce Springsteen.

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a corporate consulting and career management firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends in hiring and careering. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She is an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and previously was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business  She is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where her students won the 2018 national competition and were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs.

If Your Company is Doing Career Development To Increase Engagement This Way, It Will Fail

 

Career Development as a tactic to increase engagement theoretically works because:

  • We know that the #1 reason people quit is lack of growth opportunity
  • And we know the main reason they leave a job for a new job is better growth opportunity
  • It is an expression of caring on behalf of executive leadership that enhances employment brand and loyalty
  • It increases the value that an employee can offer the organization, and thereby would theoretically increase their compensation

So, it seems logical that by offering your employees career development you would improve retention and engagement by offering them a chance to develop new skills.

However, I have been seeing some “experts” advise companies to go about it in a way that will backfire, sending retention numbers, morale, and employee/leader relations downward while costs increase – at worst, and produce little to no ROI – at best.

Don’t decide what skills you want to develop in your workforce by evaluating which would help them do their job better. Decide by helping employees understand how they can make increasing contributions that are meaningful to them. If an employee is really going to feel as though they are growing, these contributions have to be acknowledged and rewarded by leadership, and their influence has to expand in correlation with their expanded expertise. The means that the organization has to recognize that job satisfaction and engagement are two different things. Also, make sure your organization is keeping abreast of future trends, devising and implementing plans to leverage up and coming skills, and offering employees who want it, a chance to gain exposure and training in these skills. Yes, this will make them more marketable for other jobs and more attractive to your competition. As Richard Branson said…

“Train people well enough so that they can leave, treat them well enough that they don’t want to.”

Don’t decide which employees you will train now or later based on management’s assessment of an employee’s aptitude to perform.  It is a flaw of management theory that if you invest in developing and tending to the top 10% and the lowest 10% of your talent that you are covering your bases. However, theories like that are what contribute to such a prolonged, high rate of disengagement. How can you expect 80% of your workforce to be engaged if leadership is not engaged with them? ALL employees need this type of offer. Some may not take advantage of it, but you can’t have an inclusive workforce if you exclude anyone from growth opportunity.

Don’t decide whether you will use internal or external resources for skill development based on what is most cost-effective. Focus on the option that represents the best chance of the desired outcome, otherwise, you will not get a return on your investment. You have to be able to objectively assess if an internal resource will be credible and trusted.  Maybe using an internal resources is cheaper, but there’s already been evidence that people have suffered for being honest, you will need an external resource who can build rapport and trust. However, if employees expect that their manager is supposed to look out for them, hiring someone from the outside may seem lazy.   Another option is to train managers to be better career developers (we help with that, too.)

The most desired outcome for an employee of true career management is control. Some people may suffice to take their company’s direction and grow in the ways that benefit the organization most. These are the employees who usually wake up sometime in their midlife wondering how they got here, and if they’re where they want to be, where they could be, and if it’s not too late to decide and arrive where they would be happiest. I know because these people are my clients. In fact, career coaches everywhere who niche in senior corporate professionals or executives will likely echo the same thing.  If your company experiences a strange exodus of mid-level to senior-level tenured talent, this is why. You have exerted too much control over their career. Some companies will at this point rely on retirement benefits or accrued vacation to retain this talent, and that might be effective in retaining them, but it won’t engage them.

Don’t only frame career development in terms of what benefits the company most. You will get biased assessment results that fail to address the real aspirations of people, which may not backfire right away, but it will backfire eventually. Let people grow in the way that serves them best, and if the organization can benefit from it, make it work. If not, let them go, and I don’t mean abruptly or without an exit plan that supports them transitioning out while you transition someone else who would be more engaged in.

I can understand why it might seem counterproductive to implement career development plans “my” way; it seems as though you will inadvertently encourage employees to follow career paths that place them outside of your organization. That will happen, and it will present the costs of replacing that talent, but you will also be ridding your organization of people who represent high risks of disengagement.

If your company doesn’t have:

  • Trust and rapport between employees and an internal career development coach, manager or not
  • Confidentiality assurance
  • A culture that honors honesty without executing punitive consequences for it
  • The competency to help employees determine their most ideal career path
  • The resources and budget to train employees into growth roles once a growth role is identified
  • A culture that will give employees a two-way communication channel to assert their influence
  • A way to leverage skills that are increasing in demand
  • The means to compensate employees more overtime for the organizational advancements to which they contribute

… then career development is not going to work as a way to increase engagement. In fact, you can expect that low engagement will persist and that it will continue to cost your organization 35% of your compensation expenses and render your human capital investments, if any, void of ROI.

 

Talking Heads – Once in a Lifetime (Official Video)

Talking Heads’ “Once in a Lifetime,” from the 1980 album Remain in Light

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a corporate consulting and career management firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends in hiring and careering. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She is an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and previously was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business  She is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where her students won the 2018 national competition and were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs.