Monday, June 13, 2011

A Behind-the-Scenes Look at HR & Employee Motivation


Please welcome Cyndy Trivella to my Blog. Cyndy is a human resources (HR) communications and employment branding specialist as well as a recruitment and retention strategist. With over 15 years of HR experience as a practitioner, media representative, and consultant, she has worked in the high-tech, engineering, retail, healthcare, pharmaceutical, transportation, hospitality, manufacturing, and financial industries. Since 2009, Cyndy has been a Committee Member of the Society for Human Resources Management’s (SHRM) HR Standards Workforce Planning Taskforce. Her employee and HR-related tweets can be found on Twitter.

According to Margo Rose, Founder & CEO of HireFriday, an online HR blog, “When it comes to using new media technology, few people rise to Cyndy’s level of expertise. She is moving our industry forward by leading the path to organization effectiveness methods, talent acquisition strategy and management, and human resource excellence.”

I had the honor of interviewing Cyndy recently, and I would like to share the highlights.

What is the secret in attracting the right talent for a position?
CYNDY TRIVELLA: First and foremost, companies need to explain why someone would want to work for their organization. This is best done through the creation and maintenance of a strong employer brand. The employer brand reveals what is key to the culture of the organization and establishes the messages and conversations about the organization from the perspective of the current employee base, customers, board of directors, vendors, and other stakeholders.

What are the five key items that job seekers must include in their resumes?
CYNDY TRIVELLA: There are five plus one:
[1] Contact information
[2] Details for being found on the social channels – if no links, create a digital footprint
[3] A well-defined and concise summary of experience
[4] How the job seeker best solves a company’s problem or problems
[5] Complete work history
[6] Also, a well-written cover letter should be included that ties up all loose ends (for example, employment gaps), clearly states why the job seeker wants the job, what value he/she will bring to the organization, and what problems he/she can solve

What are the three best ways to motivate employees?
CYNDY TRIVELLA: There are actually four:
[1] Challenging and gratifying work
[2] Opportunity to contribute and have an opinion
[3] Opportunity for learning and potential advancement
[4] Consistent and defined messaging from the leadership of the organization regarding the mission, vision, and values

What is the proper way to onboard a new employee?
CYNDY TRIVELLA: Onboarding starts with the job candidate experience. How did the job seeker find the position? Was the application process laborious and tedious, or was it easy and intuitive? What was communication like after the application process was completed? Later on in the process, was the representation by the company friendly and inviting, or was it intimidating and unproductive? Onboarding can also begin by having current employees speak favorably about their organization in non-work related situations. Employees should be trained to be brand ambassadors for their organizations – at all times. And lastly, the most productive and successful method for finding and hiring qualified candidates continues to be the employee referral process. 

Other than quit, what can an employee do if he/she has a “jerk” boss?
CYNDY TRIVELLA: First, we need to determine if the boss is a tyrant by nature or if the exhibited behavior is unmanageable due to circumstances for which the employee is unaware – because there is a difference. Behaviors can be modified and temporary, but attitude usually has staying power. It’s like the saying “You can train skills, but you can’t train attitude.” As research has shown, people do not leave a company – they leave their immediate supervisor. Since most employees spend most of their waking hours at work or doing work (if a remote employee), a high degree of importance is placed on relationships. Some employees can move past all of this and remain focused on the job-at-hand while others seek options that result in leaving their present employer. This is where proper management training comes into play and can become an opportunity for organizations to take control of their cultures.

It seems that, everyday, we hear comments that HR isn’t respected or that there is no seat for the HR leader at the C-level table, so what can HR leaders do differently to earn the respect that they desire?
CYNDY TRIVELLA: Don’t fall into the “we’ve always done it that way” mindset. Sometimes it takes blowing something up and starting over again before seeing the true value in something that will manifest. Don’t be ignored and never accept being considered the complaint department. I think it’s also important to never forget the “human” in human resources. Most HR professionals I know are part of the HR equation because they can do something better than other people within an organization – they can balance business contributions with an understanding and respect for the capital investment of the employee population. Without the right employees in place, a company cannot function to its potential. HR is the department tasked with ensuring that the best people are in place – which means that HR is the department that can positively impact the overall performance of the organization.

Why is there tension between the HR and Marketing Departments?
CYNDY TRIVELLA: I have personally seen the tension that can exist between HR and Marketing, and I think this comes from years of HR’s not getting appropriate recognition for its contributions to the overall success of an organization. Also, since many organizations spend a great deal of time discussing which departments are profit centers and which are cost centers, HR can often get lost in the discussion. I also think that the economy has turned many companies upside down and forced organizations to reevaluate the functions and contributions made by each department.

It is true that HR as a department does not create a product, but the HR department does provide services that are necessary for the proper management of a company’s greatest asset, its employees. For years, business has forced people to become linear in skills and myopic in their job function (I am not referring to those professions which must be specialized like a doctor or dentist, for example.) With the economic downturn, companies have had to reevaluate everyone’s role within an organization, and as a result, many people have been called upon to wear multiple hats. In the case of Human Resources, many have turned to their internal Marketing departments to provide marketing services and direction. The one negative I have seen with this is that Marketing does not always understand the positioning of HR within the organization. When this lack of understanding exists, Marketing can attempt to brand and represent HR and its function in the same way they support a department like product development and research. I’ve seen this approach by Marketing create resentment and a breakdown of cross-departmental relationships with HR. This said, I have also seen HR and Marketing work harmoniously and in these instances, it had all the makings of a well-oiled machine where both departments were well represented and both department viewpoints were taken into consideration.

If a person wanted to enter the HR field, what would you recommend?
CYNDY TRIVELLA: Hone your craft! Earn your right to sit at the C-level table. Produce high-quality work and understand that HR is a business unit just like any other within the organization. Represent HR like it should be taken seriously and respected for the strong contributor that it is. Possess an ability to be strategic and high-thinking when necessary, and be able to be tactical when necessary. Also, since HR is the department that is expected to have exemplary communications skills, never take the ability to communicate for granted.

1 comment:

  1. Debbie--Thank you for the opportunity to provide my "two cents" on your blog. I enjoyed the interview!


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