The nonprofit Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies (TCRS), in collaboration with insurance provider Aegon, has released The Changing Face of Retirement: The Young, Pragmatic, and Penniless Generation, a report evaluating the state of retirement preparedness among workers in their twenties (twenty-somethings) in 12 North American, European and Asian countries.
At this time of year, it’s important to give thanks for all of the people who make our lives better. In the spirit of the holiday, here are some powerful thoughts on gratitude:
- “Silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone.” – Gladys Browyn Stern
- “Gratitude helps you to grow and expand; gratitude brings joy and laughter into your life and into the lives of all those around you.” – Eileen Caddy
- “The greatest humiliation in life is to work hard on something from which you expect great appreciation, and then fail to get it.” – Edgar Watson Howe
- “When someone comes along who genuinely thanks us, we will follow that person a very long way.” – Alan Loy McGinnis
- “Next to excellence is the appreciation of it.” – William Makepeace Thackeray
- “People may take a job for more money, but they often leave it for more recognition and appreciation.” – Bob Nelson
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Many HR managers find that their day is consumed by payroll, benefit management and other administrative activities that otherwise seem to remove the “human” from human resources. However, new tools continue to emerge to allow HR to automate those tasks and, in some cases, delegate that work back to employees
A local newspaper reported that the recent hacking of the Virginia Tech human resources server—which involved employment and education information for thousands of job applicants, in addition to driver’s license data—was the result of an employee who did not follow security protocols.
You may be managing your company’s human resources department, but does your HR style impact the way your company is run? This month Workplace HR examines the need for a company to encourage leadership abilities among its HR professionals. However, little actions often speaks louder than words, so we have two examples that demonstrate how HR’s leadership (or lack thereof) can impact an organization.
Example 1: When HR Isn’t at the Leadership Table
Terri Howard, senior director of FEI Behavioral Health in Milwaukee, provides a valuable example of what happens when an organization does not allow an HR representative a voice at the leadership table.
“During the hurricane season of 2005 I worked for a very large retailer,” she recalls. “At the time we had our business partners around the table, everyone from facility management to the legal department chiming in on preparing the organization for what we knew was going to be a devastating event. As we thought about our employee base that was at that time missing and unaccounted for … we sat around the table talking about these folks coming back to work and having enough managers. It was a feel-good moment, for a moment, until an HR generalist said ‘yes, but how are we going to pay the people?’ We had thought about the fact that we were going to open up stores and the cash registers were going to be running again but that human element, that element of who are we going to get to run the cash registers, how were we going to pay them, and those types of challenges still remained. I think had we had someone from HR who had been sitting around the table, that wouldn’t have been an afterthought,” Howard says.
Example 2: How HR Leadership Can Transform Employee Engagement
Joe Schaffer, managing director of the Rutgers Center for Management Development in New Brunswick, N.J, on the other hand, provides a glimpse of the impact an HR leader can have on employee engagement. Before joining Rutgers he served as vice president of HR for a large global transport and logistics organization.
“We were a very results-oriented organization,” he explains. “However, we also recognized that as a transport and logistic organization we could help the world that we lived in to a greater extent than we were.”
According to Schaffer, “Before all these other organizations came out to talk about how they were helping to make the world more sustainable and corporate responsibility, our organization put in place a joint effort with the World Food Program to deliver food around the world to starving people. The issue isn’t not enough food: it’s how to get it [where it needs to be]. As a logistics company we said we wanted to do this.
“I have never seen a transformation in terms of employee engagement in their work and satisfaction with the organization until we developed this culture around results, yes, but being a good partner with the world,” Schaffer says. He explains, “This helped transform who we were as a company, and it helped recruit and retain people.” Part of the success of this program was that all of the protocols HR put in place around training, recruitment, selection, benefits, etc., reflected the company’s focus on not only getting results but being good world citizens.
For the full story, read “Why It’s Critical for a Corporate Culture to Embrace HR Leadership.”
In a new survey released June 10 by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 53 percent of survey respondents shared that they feel that the class of 2013 is far more likely to be under-qualified for the jobs for which they apply than their fellow applicants. Talk about a reality check after four years of undergrad or graduate work.
It’s tough enough that 62 percent of survey respondents state that there’s more competition for jobs overall due to the tough economic climate, but the survey also indicates that most HR professionals see no competitive edge from many of these new grads fresh on the job market.
Sure there may be drawbacks (49 percent of survey-takers say the single biggest skill these new graduates are lacking is basic grammar, spelling and skill writing in English), but what benefits might these new graduates bring to your organization? Well, most survey respondents (49%) find these applicants to be highly tech savvy, and many have come out of school with a network already in place within their industry of choice. These survey takers (54%) also find that these graduates are willing—perhaps more willing than their peers in recent years, given the length of the hiring slowdown that is just now beginning to pick up—to take entry-level positions to build up their experience, and Generation-Y recruits have a reputation for giving any position their all.
Are you still wary about hiring these brand new recruits? If that is because you’re like one of the 25 percent of survey respondents who say that they currently lack the resources to train these under-qualified graduates, consider letting them learn on the job through a mentorship program. Talk to your existing staff about the benefits of becoming a mentor, such as the opportunity to take a fresh look at their own job, the development of their leadership abilities and the opportunity to learn new skills (for example, picking up some of that technological savvy) from their mentees. This in turn provides the organization with an individual who is, in time, fully trained in the best practices for your company.
Keep in mind, for a mentor program to become a successful part of your organization, the HR department should work closely with these new partners, from finding appropriate pairings to managing expectations and resolving conflicts.
Want to learn more about the SHRM survey? Visit www.shrm.org for the full results.