Are You Congruent ??

The majority of us work for our lifetime. Seriously. We are in a job of some sort from either our late teens/early twenties until our mid to late 60’s (if not longer). I’m not bemoaning this fact. Having a job is essential for all of us to be able to earn a living, provide for others, give generously and possibly have a family. With so much time invested, why do we hit times where things just feel a bit wonky?

Do you know what I mean? Every person I know hits a patch, or patches, where things seem misaligned. It’s hard to discuss because we’re afraid if we do that our company will think poorly of us and develop doubts about our “loyalty.” This has nothing to do with whether a person is loyal or not. When things aren’t congruent, we’re not sure what to do or where to go. It can affect how we perform because uncertainty causes anxiety. We may even get thoughts in our heads that have no merit, but that doesn’t make them feel any less real.

How do we get things back in line and balanced? This is an area where HR can, and should, step in. However, it will cause you to step into an arena where we tend to skirt by the edge. You need to be very connected to your employees. This goes far beyond just knowing the superficial demographic information about folks. That is very important and should never be overlooked. However, I’m talking about genuinely knowing about where people feel they are in their role/career and where they want to go.

Too often we have conversations about people’s career desires during annual reviews. But, honestly, those are superficial as well. Companies fear that if you have meaningful chats and someone says that they want to grow and/or take over another person’s role, then they’ll actually want to work toward attaining that goal !! Eek !! Since we don’t take the time to pour into others, we end up making decisions to move people ahead who may not be a good fit. They also may never have wanted to take on that next role, but it may result in larger wages, authority and exposure which are hard to look past. Remember – we need our jobs.

Another group of folks who face the challenge of congruency are those in transition already. I’m fortunate that I know a group of people who are in this situation because they regularly attend the HR Roundtable I facilitate. Being in transition is difficult, not challenging, difficult. That may not even accurately capture the emotional strain that you go through when you’re trying to find a new job. People just want to be employed again. I get that and know it’s critical for many reasons.

However, if possible, you need to find a role where things fit for you as much as the company is looking to see if you fit them. Being congruent in existing roles as well as when you take on a new role when you come out of transition is essential.

Managing your career over the entire span of your career is the mindset to have if you haven’t been doing that already. You’re going to hit those patches of uncertainty. It doesn’t mean you’re going to leave your job or organization, but it does mean an adjustment is needed.

This week step back, take a breath and reflect. Are you balanced? Do you need realignment? Take the time to do this and make sure you are doing your best to manage what you do and where you do it. Be congruent !!

Squeals of Joy !!

This past week I got to do something that I haven’t done often over the past few years.  I was interviewing potential candidates to become Team Members for one of our pizzerias.

Typically, our great Managers interview, but I got to help this week because we had a bigger hiring need.  It was energizing to sit across the table to learn about people who are interested in joining us.  One thing I forgot about interviewing was the nerves, anxiety and anticipation of the candidate. Each person I spoke to was eager to give answers and share their experience.  A few of them were worried they’d give the “wrong” answer, and a few were very confident with every response.

At the end of the interview we decide whether to make an offer or not.  That’s when it happened. When I offered a job to some of the candidates, they actually squealed !!  They were so excited that they were going to get a job that they couldn’t help but express their joy.

I guess I’ve been in HR too long because I lost the experience and thrill of what it meant to offer someone a job. I think that’s true for most of us especially when I hear people speak more about metrics and not people.  The majority of how our focus in recruiting and hiring has come down to statistics like “time to hire” or “cost per hire.”  Where is the statistic – changed my life ??

Think about it.  When you make a hiring decision, you trust that the person you just interviewed is someone who will add value to your company.  You have been given the responsibility to identify and meet someone who is going to bring their lives, experience and talent to your organization !!  Isn’t that more important than a report or making sure that your next job requisition comes off the board?

JoyWhen we hire someone, we change their lives.  They are so excited to have this new opportunity.  We miss this squeal of joy because we’re so eager to move onto the next task, interview or project.

It’s time for us to step back and take in the fact that we are adding talent to our company.  If we are doing anything else, then we aren’t doing our job effectively because if the people we hire are just to alleviate pressure or ease some uneasiness in low staffing levels, then we’re missing the mark.

What if you approached hiring and job seekers with the same joy they hope to experience by landing a job?  What if you met each person with excitement, anxiety, nerves and anticipation about who you’re about to meet?  How do you think you’d view the “task” of recruiting and hiring with this type of attitude?

One of the people I hired asked if she could call her dad to tell him she had just landed her first job.  I said, “Of course,” and I listened as she shared the news.  It was a great wake up call for me.  What we do in HR is full of joy everyday in our lives, and potentially in the lives of others.  Let’s see if we can make that happen !!

Remember when ??

Recently, LaRosa’s, opened a new location called Eastgate.  I’m fortunate to be the Executive Director of HR for this iconic Cincinnati company, and we had a pivotal role in this store opening.  HR interviewed every new potential Team Member because we were looking to add 70+ folks to this much larger pizzeria !!

You may think that this isn’t such a unique story.  I mean, EVERY HR person does recruiting !! That’s not always true.  I haven’t had to interview for over five years.  It’s great to be in a role that is highly strategic, but it felt fantastic to be back in the field to meet potential new employees.  We interviewed the candidates on-site and in booths in our restaurant.  Again, not unique, but it was for us because typically the hiring is done by the Manager in his/her pizzeria.

So, why was this experience cool ??  Interviewing is just a “natural” skill in HR.  There’s nothing special about it.  Ahh, that’s where you’re wrong !!

You see, the great new people we were talking to were going to be filling an incredible role !!  They are the front line connection to our guests who eat at our locations.  Getting the best people is key for outstanding guest experience !!  Every hire counts.  Every one.

Hired 2Also, I forgot an incredible experience that I should have never taken for granted.  The cool thing about a store opening is that we interviewed people, and then offered them a job right on the spot if they were going to join our team.  To see a person get a job is a gift.  Not giving them a job, but seeing their reaction.  Often, we are a person’s first job ever.  We also had people who were looking for new opportunities or a chance to work for our great company.  In every case, the joy of their reaction was spectacular !!

This new beginning should never be overlooked or seen as something mundane.  When you hire someone, you change their lives !!  Often in HR, we become numb to the great things we get to do that alter people’s lives and careers.  Don’t overlook it.  It matters.  If you don’t think so, ask a jobseeker.

Take a new approach to what you do HR.  Look at it as how it impacts and affect’s humans.  Trust me, you will never be jaded again !!  It will always give you that new sensation !!

Are you reaching out ??

A few weeks ago, my good friend Dave Ryan was the guest host of the Hire Friday Chat (#HFChat).  It’s a chat on Twitter for both HR folks and job seekers.  Dave’s topic was, “Do you have an HR Buddy?”  It was a fast paced chat that really intrigued me.  I was thinking to myself, “Do HR people see themselves as a resource for others – especially those in transition?”

The economy is still rough.  A telltale sign of this was something that happened to me the day after the chat.  I was asked to present a one-hour session on writing a resume and job search tips for local teachers who were losing their jobs.  Over three sessions, I saw 100+ teachers who were upset, confused, disillusioned and not sure what to do.  Oh, by the way, this is the district where my kids go to school.

The sessions were upbeat and I made sure there was a ton of laughter !!  They needed to just let it out a little more than listen to someone tell them what to do.  I also explained that I understood what they were facing because I had been in transition over my career as well.

At the end of the sessions, I was spent.  I went home and crashed on the couch because I had really gone through the whole roller coaster of emotions with the teachers.

I challenged the teachers to start networking and reach out intentionally.  One way I did this was by not giving them business cards.  I gave them my e-mail address and said that the first step in moving forward is to take action.  So, if you want to connect, then you need to reach out first.  An amazing number of them did and I was jacked up once again !!  I also asked them to Link In with me, start searching my contacts and the companies I might know.  Again, an incredible response !!

As HR professionals, I feel that ALL of us (ALL !!!) need to do more to reach out to those in transition.  Here’s why:

  • We can give sage advice on how to deal with HR people – and not have them want to kill us !!  Remember – the last person most of these people talked to was an HR person.  Soften the blow on dealing with HR and show them that we truly can be “human.”
  • We have skills in recruiting and interviewing.  Let people in transition “behind the curtain” so they can be more successful in their search.
  • There’s incredible talent out there right now.  There are many still available and looking who may be that great fit you’re looking for in your company.  Reaching out to the transition community makes you that first choice !!

I could list many, many more reasons why HR should be reaching out.  I know it takes time and effort on top of already full days/schedules.  However, remember this . . .

One day you may be in transition too.

Wouldn’t you want someone who would reach out to you ??