Women’s History for Today’s Workplace

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Women's History for Today's Workplace

In March of 2015, the U.S. military’s oldest living female veteran, Lucy Coffey, passed away at age 108. At the time, 1943 to be exact, it took Coffey three attempts to successfully enlist in the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps. She was one of only about 400,000 women who served in uniform during World War II. With its iconic “Rosie the Riveter” image, World War II became a major turning point both in terms of women’s enlistment in the armed services as well as in stateside employment to fill the manufacturing jobs left open by the young men off at war.

As Women’s History Month comes to a close at the end of March, let’s take a quick look at where we’ve been, the progress that has been made, and the barriers that continue to complicate male and female equality in the workplace.
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The Ultimate Guide to Training in 2015

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hr training topics The Ultimate Guide to Training in 2015

If your organization is like most, a guiding question for your 2015 planning will likely be some version of this question: “What kinds of training & development programs should we choose that will help ensure we are able to attract and retain talented employees, as well as prevent regrettable attrition, within our organization in 2015 and beyond?” What follows is a snapshot of some of the most popular training topics for 2014 and into 2015, along with a brief explanation of how they can each be leveraged to the benefit of the organization.

Up & Coming

Leadership Development

Pointing to the need to refocus attention on the longevity of an organization and the generational shift towards Millenials that is occurring in the overall workforce, leadership development is definitely on the list of hot training topics on the rise.
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Common Barriers to Excellent Communication Skills

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We got the chance to sit down with Jackie Mueckenheim, Senior Trainer, Learning & Development Team at ERC, to discuss some communication breakdowns and behaviors that happen within the workplace.

Common reasons communication breaks down in the workplace

When training and working with leadership groups, Mueckenheim often asks her groups if they can tell her the difference between talking to other people and talking with other people.
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Interview with ERC President Pat Perry

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In a 2014 interview, Pat discusses the dynamics of work, family, and the leadership role in today's business world. The following pages include Pat's responses to many of the HR trends he sees emerging, as well as his comments about what the New Year has in store.

If you could snap your fingers & instantly change 3 typical company policies, what would they be?

"That's an easy one! The three I would immediately change in the workplace are...        

  • Eliminate probationary periods
  • Refine bereavement leave policies
  • Refine the traditional use-it-or-lose-it PTO

"These are the first that come to mind.  These types of polices were designed decades ago and really do not play well for today's top performing employees," explains Pat.
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Leader Development: A Growing Concern and Priority for Employers

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Leader Development: A Growing Concern and Priority for Employers

Leadership development is among employer's top priorities and concerns in the workplace today. A 2013 survey conducted by The Conference Board and Right Management concluded that organizations are expected to spend 37% more on leadership development in 2014.

Many employers are concerned over a potential lack of talent to fill future leadership roles, and are putting practices in place such as succession planning and leadership development programs targeted toward young people, high-potentials, and emerging leaders to address those future gaps.

Below is a quick summary of two key areas in which the approach to creating leadership development programs is evolving.
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10 Ways to Be Better in HR in 2014

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10 Ways to Be Better in HR in 2014

As the end of 2013 approaches, it's an ideal time to stop and reflect on your development as an HR professional and how you might be more effective in your HR role in 2014. Here are 10 ways to be better in HR in 2014.

1. Assume the role of a leader.

Even if you aren't one or don't have the authority or title of a leader, act like one each and every day. Use your influence for positive workplace change in your company, because when your actions have an impact on others, they matter and make a difference.

Leadership is less about title and role, and more about impact and influence. Anyone can lead...even from the very bottom. Assume your "seat at the table" and act like you have one.
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The Most Critical Trends Shaping HR

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The Most Critical Trends Shaping HR

There are so many important trends shaping HR right now that will affect employers in years to come. Here's a brief synopsis of the most critical ones that you should know heading into 2014.

1. Social Media & Mobile

Social networking platforms are changing, and will continue to change, how HR departments operate. People's lives are becoming more social networked, and nowadays, social media is no longer simply a marketing or personal tool. It is gradually becoming engrained into many aspects of the workplace.

Although social networking is primarily used for recruiting, employers are beginning to use social networking platforms for learning and development, employee communications, collaboration and innovation, and recognition.

Similarly, mobile continues to become more central to our lives, which poses both challenges and opportunities for our workplaces. Mobile can be leveraged for learning, recruiting, and other HR needs, and provides employees with greater flexibility to do their work, but it also will continue to present difficulties (e.g. productivity).

2. Big Data

Big data, or HR analytics, is increasingly guiding decisions pertaining to talent and the workplace. As technology increasingly is implemented in HR departments, people decisions are becoming more strategic and complex.

More companies will move beyond operational reporting and benchmarking, and leverage data about employees to make their HR departments more data-driven and strategic.

This includes using data to predict outcomes (e.g. hiring, performance, etc.) and conducting strategic analytics to statistically analyze problems and translate data findings into solutions.

Because research is finding that leading organizations are using big data for HR and that it is effective in delivering sound problem solving, this trend will require HR departments to hire and develop staff with big-data related skills in business acumen, consulting, data management, statistics, communication, and executive presence.

3. Generational Issues

Four generations are in many organizations right now, and they all have very different ways of working, forcing companies to put into place practices that help manage generational issues and conflicts.

The younger generation, in particular, is creating challenges for HR departments with their distinct values, forcing organizations to re-tool their talent management practices. For example, the younger generation...

  • Desires flexible work hours and work-life balance
  • Has intolerance for boredom and 'dead-end' jobs
  • Values mentoring, personal learning, and development
  • Expects rapid career progression

Because this generation brings critical skills to the table and are the future leaders of organizations, HR will need to find better ways to manage this group in order to retain them.

4. Rise of Contingent Workforce

Studies are predicting that the workforce will become more contingent in the next five years, and that by 2019, nearly half the workforce will contract their skills to multiple organizations.

There are already signs that this is happening with a rise in temporary workers, contractors, independent consultants, and freelancers. According to a report by Accenture, the most common freelance jobs include sales and marketing, IT and programming, design and multimedia, engineering and manufacturing, and writing.

The dynamics of business are changing so rapidly these days that many employers find they need an agile, "just-in-time" workforce that is more cost-effective. Contingency is attractive because work is becoming more knowledge and project-based, and increasingly reliant on specialized skills and expertise. In addition, economic fluctuations like we've seen the past few years will require more flexible staffing models.

Though contingent workers bring benefits, they will also pose challenges for HR departments in terms of how they are managed, compensated, and treated.

5. Change & Innovation

Because organizations are changing so rapidly, HR will have to take on more significant roles related to managing and communicating change initiatives and disruption within the workplace effectively. HR will need to take on a more consultative and change-management oriented role in their organizations.

Similarly, the need for innovation, risk-taking, and creative solutions is becoming more necessary. HR will be increasingly relied upon to drive this behavior through the development of culture and programs (rewards, empowerment, suggestions and ideas, employee feedback, etc.).

6. Leadership

Traditional theories of leadership are not as relevant to today's challenges, and certainly won't be in the future.

Leaders will need to demonstrate different behaviors and skills than were required in the past. Skills such as empathy, authenticity, influencing, strategic thinking, articulating, flexibility, risk taking, demonstrating integrity, leading diverse teams, collaborating, and bringing out the best in others are all being seen as more important for leaders.

While these aren't necessarily new leadership skills, more emphasis will be placed on them in the future.

7. Total Rewards

More and more, employers are faced with the issue of "there's only so much money in the bucket" and must make harder decisions about the total rewards that they offer.

For one thing, the benefits landscape is changing with the steady rise in health care costs, the uncertainty associated with how the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and the changing nature of wellness in the workplace.

Likewise, modest pay increases and a performance-oriented approach to compensating employees has also been evident. Then, there are other rewards that factor into the equation like perks, recognition and rewards/staff appreciation, voluntary benefits, training and development, and more.

Employers will have to continue to make hard decisions about what total rewards will be provided to the workforce. Business strategy, performance, and the needs and interests of the workforce will all play a role in these difficult decisions.

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10 Things Successful Supervisors Do Differently

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how to be an effective supervisor how to be a supervisor becoming a supervisor 10 Things Successful Supervisors Do Differently

We've all had good supervisors and bad ones, and chances are we remember the characteristics of both pretty vividly. The good ones probably stick out as people who have made a positive impact on our work lives and who made us more successful in our careers. The bad ones probably showed us the type of supervisors that we don't want to be and the mistakes we don't want to make.

Outstanding supervisors can create a profound ripple effect in their organizations. Their behavior, integrity, and treatment rubs off on others for the better. Not only do supervisors directly impact their team members, but they indirectly affect others. The people they supervise and manage frequently move on to lead others, often in a way that emulates how they were supervised.

Here are ten things that successful supervisors do differently.
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5 Reasons Leadership Development Fails

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5 Reasons Leadership Development Fails

Plenty of organizations are developing leaders internally and creating their own leadership development programs. Research, however, shows that investing heavily in leadership seminars, workshops, retreats, books, and so on won't necessarily directly create the leaders you want. While these tactics can greatly aid the leadership development process, in the long run, you may still fail to build true leaders.

Here are some common reasons why leadership development efforts fail and don't create the leaders you want, as well suggestions for how you can increase the likelihood that your leadership development efforts build your employees into the leaders that you need and desire.
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The 4 Vital Leadership Skills

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The 4 Vital Leadership Skills

There are numerous critical skills that leaders need to develop—strategic thinking, business acumen, and technical expertise—to name just a few. But, sometimes organizations overlook the importance of a few very critical leadership skills. Here are four vital leadership skills that all leaders must have in order to lead successfully.

1. Communication Skills

Great communication is the hallmark of an exceptional leader because it's at the core of nearly all other leadership skills. Effective communication is necessary for every facet of leadership including building relationships with others, delegating assignments, defining goals and objectives, coaching and giving feedback, praising and criticizing, managing performance, influencing or persuading others, handling conflicts or problems, managing and guiding others through change, and presenting views and information in an honest and balanced manner.
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