HR Management: Week 9

Student Blog for MGMT 453- Human Resources Management

Silent But Deadly: Stress in The Workplace


Stress in the workplace has a big impact on productivity, company culture, and employee experience. How do you manage it?


For this week’s learning materials, I took a few tests that measure my stress coping ability and impatience. It’s no secret that stress is a household experience in corporate America, if you’re not stressed you must not be doing enough. Right? My results were not what I had hoped for, I struggled to cope with high amounts of stress and unwinding, and my levels of patience (or in my case, lack thereof). Stress is a condition that can affect people chronically, and impacts not only the mid, but the body, too. Companies who make it a priority to help their employees manage stress usually see their investment return in the form of better productivity, higher employee morale, and much more.

In an article for Harvard Business Review, Natalie Peart discusses some ways companies can help buffer stress and create an inviting work environment. Here are five that I thought were the most important:


1. Build regular break times into the schedule

2. Set boundaries around time (working) outside of the office

3. Make sure the right people are in the right places

4. Look into flexible work policies

5. Deepen engagement further by instilling a sense of purpose.


Peart, Natalie. “Making Work Less Stressful and More Engaging for Your Employees.” Harvard Business Review, 5 Nov. 2019, https://hbr.org/2019/11/making-work-less-stressful-and-more-engaging-for-your-employees.

The takeaways here are that there are ways to combat stress, and it has been shown to lead to better outcomes in the office. Don’t believe me? An article from COSE states it well here, saying:  By providing stress management resources, organizations can help employees be healthier and control healthcare costs. ‘Healthy employees are often happier and more productive employees,’ says Ballog. ‘In many cases, turnover and absenteeism can also go down'” (Kevany, 2015).

For me personally, working on managing stress is a daily battle as I juggle school, leadership commitments, and working part time. However, I’ve found that creating time to be active, making a schedule, and spending quality time with friends are great for coping with stress. It will be an ever-changing process as I transition to full time jobs or have new experiences, but for now these things seem to work best for me.

How do you handle stress? Here’s the links to the tests I took for this post:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/tests/career/coping-stress-management-skills-test

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/tests/personality/type-personality-test

Citations:

Kevany, Terry. “Increase Productivity by Reducing Stress.” COSE, https://www.cose.org/en/News/Press-Releases/General/Increase-Productivity-by-Reducing-Stress.

Peart, Natalie. “Making Work Less Stressful and More Engaging for Your Employees.” Harvard Business Review, 5 Nov. 2019, https://hbr.org/2019/11/making-work-less-stressful-and-more-engaging-for-your-employees.

HR Management: Week 8

Student blog for MGMT 453- Human Resources Management

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished (or Unpaid).



When I think of times where I was motivated by compensation, it wasn’t ever the only factor. In comparing my work in food service versus now a social services position, I was actually getting paid more at my food service job but I absolutely hated it.

In my food service job, I struggled to feel supported by management, I wasn’t passionate about the work I was doing, and they were always asking me to come in early and stay late. I kept willing myself to go because I needed to support myself financially, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a mental battle every time I had to go in for a shift. On days I was working I was constantly plagued by anxiety and spent the time counting down until I could leave. At this job, I was really only extrinsically motivated for finances, and not much else. When I got the opportunity to do something that I loved, working with kids, I put in my 2 weeks for food service almost immediately.

In this new role, I was under immense emotional stress due to the nature of social work, I worked 9 sometimes 10 hour shifts and did most all of it with a smile on my face because I felt passionate about the work I was doing. In this job, monetary compensation was a cool side effect of getting to make a positive impact on children’s lives, and it made all the hard stuff worth it.

Its these experiences I’ve had that have made me a firm believer that there are other more impactful ways to motivate people to get work done, either by inspiring purpose, creating a safe and welcoming workspace, or making work not feel like work. Of course, in the real world pay is incredibly important when you’re fully responsible for your own rent, bills, student loans, and so on… but in today’s day and age, there are jobs that pay in every direction you look. So, it’s up to companies to further incentivize with factors beside money.


What do you think?

HR Management: Week 6

Student blog for MGMT 453- Human Resources Management

The Importance of Comprehensive Training

Why Training is Crucial to Employee Enrichment and Decreased Turnover



I have had multiple training opportunities through my current job as a social worker over the past six months. Some have gone really well, others.. not so much. In my opinion, comprehensive training always consists of the same factors, the amount of material covered in a length of time, multiple opportunities for the participants to practice or role play situations, and the trainers ability to keep the participants engaged.

One very beneficial training I attended for work was the Life Space Crisis Intervention training for professionals working in social services and special education. This training was especially beneficial because it was a cumulative 16 hours worth of information, review, and practice. The trainer provided written materials for us to study and take notes with, fidget toys so we could pay attention, and gave us multiple breaks with snacks. The information was hard to absorb but the trainer pushed us outside of our comfort zone and expanded out ways of thinking. I left the training feeling empowered, better prepared for my work, and most importantly: excited.

A not-so-great training I attended was for a seasonal job at a large retailer. The training did not teach me much about my position, or who to go to with questions. It was very short, around an 1 hour, and was a basic overview for all positions, not specific to mine. I left feeling more confused than confident, and in the end only stayed with the company for two weeks

In an article from Harvard Business Review, the author mentions that on average companies lose 17% of their new employees within the first 3 months (Ellis, 2017). While the amount of training needed varies by position, a cashier and a brain surgeon don’t need the same amount of hours in training before starting the job. However, regardless of the amount of time spent in training, the quality of the training is what’s most important. Training should be an opportunity for the company to set the expectations with new employees, empower them to be confident in their new positions, and gage their response to things like meetings and serious topics of discussion. Training is also not a one-and -done situation, it should be continuous and can be effective in a mentor setting, too. Harvard’s Business Review cites that in a study following recent college graduates in newly professional jobs, the ones that had more frequent support from their managers correlated with better role clarity, higher job satisfaction, and potentially higher wages (Ellis, 2017). Training should encompass a mindset of continuous growth and improvement to get the results you want to see from your new hires.

Citations

ELLIS, A. M. et al. Your New Hires Won’t Succeed Unless You Onboard Them Properly. Harvard Business Review Digital Articles[s. l.], p. 2–4, 2017. Disponível em: https://search-ebscohost-com.ezproxy.proxy.library.oregonstate.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=buh&AN=123809484&site=ehost-live. Acesso em: 3 nov. 2021.

HR Management: Week 5 XC

Student blog for MGMT 453- Human Resource Management

Understanding Implicit Bias in the Workplace

How Can Knowing Our Own Bias Help Us Be Better Professionals?



When considering implicit bias, people tend to choose one of two schools of thought; either they don’t believe that they have any bias against anyone, or they’re aware but maybe not sure what to do about it. What do you do about implicit bias? While society cannot undo its past wrongs, we as a whole can relearn how to think about others. That process starts with acknowledging that every single person has some type of implicit bias towards someone else. I recently took Harvard’s Implicit Association Test (or IAT for short) on my personal associations between career and family. My results were somewhat inconclusive, and stated, “Your data suggest little or no automatic association between Female and Male with Career and Family..” (implicit.harvard.edu). While I didn’t show measurable bias on this test, I don’t know if my results were to be the same in other categories. With that being said, I feel like it’s important to note that regardless of your specific results, the point is that you are made aware of your bias, which is the first step in dismantling it.

In an article from Scientific American, the authors suggest that individual results are not fortune tellers of predestined actions, nor do they predict behavior of any kind. Tests like the IAT merely bring to light the way our brain forms patterns and categories, some of which can be harmful if not counteracted (How to Think About Implicit Bias, 2018). In the workplace, IAT tests won’t tell an employer if a potential new hire will make racially insensitive comments, but may indicate how a company or department as a whole tends to think about people not in the cis, white (and usually male) majority.

That leads us to the second step of handling implicit bias. Once an individual has recognized that they do have bias towards certain groups of people, it’s important that they consider it when making decisions. For example, if a hiring manager is deciding between two resumes that have relatively equal credentials, will they pick they white sounding name over the more “ethnic” name because it sounds more “professional” or easy to pronounce? Or will a supervisor give a promotion to a male employee over his female coworker because she just back from maternity leave and is now less available than a young bachelor? Even in situations where one may not immediately tie race, gender, sexuality, etc. to a decision, the implicit association is frequently there.

For changes like these to happen in professional settings, it will require a baseline of integrity by employees and a supportive, proactive human resources team. Many cases of discrimination fly under the radar, going unnoticed and unaddressed until the dam finally breaks. Holding coworkers to high standards and creating a corporate culture of accountability and open mindsets are good places to start to being unlearning behaviors that have been going unchecked. There is a difference between calling our peers out, and calling them up to high standards. Though it may seem scary or hard to achieve, the only way to reduce implicit bias in the workplace to to acknowledge it and consciously work to avoid it.


If it were you, what would you do?

Citations:

https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/takeatest.html

Payne, Keith. “How to Think about ‘Implicit Bias’.” Scientific American, Scientific American, 27 Mar. 2018, https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-to-think-about-implicit-bias/.

HR Management: Week 5

Student Blog for MGMT 453- Human Resources Management

Now Hiring!

How the Quality of the Interview Process Impacts the Recruiter and Recruited



Does a company’s interview process make a difference in what types of people they hire?

If I asked you to describe to me what an interview looks like in 30 seconds, you would probably describe a scene of a man in a suit sitting at his desk asking a nervous younger man, “So why do you want to work here?”. While this method isn’t intrinsically wrong, research has shown that many companies are missing more important factors in potential employees by only using the traditional methods like skimming resumes, hosting interviews, and selecting a candidate. In the article, The Perfect Hire, the author argues that current interview techniques are neglecting industrial and organizational psychology on how to screen individuals for jobs, and suggests that personality and IQ tests would be appropriate for more in-depth knowledge on who the recruiters are hiring (The Perfect Hire, Chamorro-Premuzic). The article goes on to acknowledge that tests like IQ tests are rarely utilized in hiring processes due to inconvenience, but occasionally standardized tests like the SAT or GRE can also indicate IQ levels.

How does a company structure an effective interview process then? For starters, research suggests building the process of the principles of validity, reliability, and utility. For sit down interviews, this could mean creating a list of standardized questions that allows for the hiring manager to eliminate inconsistencies between interviewers, as well as minimizing any reactions other than neutral to keep the space fair and professional for all individuals being interviewed. Recruiters are also not limited in getting creative. The Perfect Hire includes games, video submissions, or other non-traditional ways of capturing a person’s qualities that are just as effective as their predecessors.

Regardless of the specific tools used, interviews in total are getting a makeover with the invention of recruiting software that collects data from applicants via social media usage or content, interview virtual simulations, and often more extensive screening process. As the interview process adapts, we can only assume that companies will adapt with it as different types of individuals enter careers they may have otherwise never been exposed to.


In my own experience….

I’ve had the opportunity to interview for multiple different types of jobs; for food service, basic childcare, and for a residential social work position. All three were different, naturally, but the hardest one for me interviewing for the social work position, because in addition to asking me the basic questions, they also gave me multiple very realistic situations and asked how I would handle them. This technique is similar to the gamification idea in The Perfect Hire, because they are put through simulations to see what their honest reactions would be. This seemed to have given my interviewers a more tangible look into how I could perform as a professional rather than just my experiences on paper or short responses. However, I exited the interview with a very murky idea of what the work entailed, which was a stumbling block in my choice of whether or not to accept the position. All three interviews had strengths and areas for improvement given their respected fields.

In reference to the core principles of reliability, utility, and validity, all three interviews accomplished what was most important, which was determining if I was qualified enough to be worth hiring. In my food service interview, I was asked many questions about how quickly I can think on my feet, if I was comfortable giving others tasks and upholding the quality of product produced. In my childcare interview, the recruiter was more focused on if I knew first-aid, was a safe driver, if I could act responsible and be a role model for children. Finally, in my social work job, I was asked many questions around my emotional capacity, how I would handle high-stress situations in a trauma informed way, and keep all the residents safe. All three successfully were able to gage what skills I needed for that specific role, even if I wasn’t proficient in others. However, if I had taken an IQ test before all three would that have changed their decision? In my own personal experience, a large portion of someones ability to succeed in their work is grasping the social connections and norms, and being aware of one’s interpersonal skills, things that an IQ test may not capture. But who knows?


How would you conduct an interview?

Citations:

Chamorro-Premuzic, Tomas. The Perfect Hire. Scientific American Mind, http://web.b.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.library.cabrini.edu/ehost/detail?vid=3&hid=126&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d%23db=aph&AN=93265511.

HR Management: Week 4

Student blog for MGMT 453- Human Resources Management

Instructions unclear… Why Job Descriptions Matter.



Why do job descriptions matter? And what are the consequences of not having accurate ones? The director of HR at Insperity says not keeping up-to-date job descriptions could result in negative employment claims and increased grievance reports.

While job descriptions seem trivial after the hiring process is over, they hold much more weight than they’re given credit for. Job descriptions empower future and current employees, as well as leadership teams to set clear expectations and measurable goals for individuals to accomplish. Job descriptions also give potential employees a sneak peak into the culture of the company. Is the work fast-paced? is there a strong emphasis on teamwork and collaboration or is it expected to work individually? The way that companies phrases the tasks and expectations of their staff offers insight into their values and structure, if they encourage quality over quantity, and how they expect their staff to interact with one another.


Here are a few examples of job descriptions that don’t make the cut:

But what IS customer service? It doesn’t say…

This job posting lacks a clear summary of what’s expected of this position, leaving potential hires unclear on what exactly they’re applying for.

I’m sorry, what?

This job posting is lengthy and difficult to read, possibly losing potential hires due to not being able to understand the actual duties of the job.

Aside from deterring potential employees, having inaccurate or outdated job descriptions can have legal implications, too. In an interview for SHRM’s HR magazine, Michael Kannisto states, “With the compliance environment and legal implications, the stakes are a lot higher for job descriptions to be crystal clear with essential responsibilities. If you have a measure of performance that doesn’t appear on the job description and you have a case brought against you, depending on the agency [involved], there could be punishment” . See the full article here, https://www.shrm.org/hr-today/news/hr-magazine/Pages/0113-job-descriptions.aspx.


So if we know what doesn’t work, was does?

Keeping job descriptions true to the positions they represent is a good way to start. Transparency is always beneficial in attracting employees and creates a culture of authenticity that will be transferred into the quality of work produced. In addition, HR departments should consider annually revising job descriptions to ensure they are still accurate, even asking current employees in those positions to give feedback on what the job truly entails. Bottom line, the description should match the job so that internally and externally, the company expectations for those roles are consistent and enforced.


Citations:

O’Neill, H. (2017, July 6). 6 appalling job postings and what you can learn from them. MightyRecruiter. Retrieved October 22, 2021, from https://www.mightyrecruiter.com/blog/6-appalling-job-postings-and-what-you-can-learn-from-them/.

Tyler, K. (2018, April 11). Job worth doing: Update descriptions. SHRM. Retrieved October 22, 2021, from https://www.shrm.org/hr-today/news/hr-magazine/Pages/0113-job-descriptions.aspx.

HR Management: Week 1

Student blog for MGMT 453- Human Resources Management

What about a company makes people want to work there … and stay?

“How can you manage people if you don’t know them?”

“Michael”, Buckingham, Marcus, and Curt W Coffman. First, Break All the Rules : What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently

What employees at top-rated companies are saying:

At Ultimate Software: “Ultimate Software takes care of its people and genuinely believes that putting people first is the only way to succeed”

At Cisco: “I am given complete autonomy to do what’s best and if I need help, I have a strong support system…I also love the diversity in the executive leadership, which is unique”

At American Express: “Incredible work life balance and respect for family


So, what’s the common theme? Putting people first.

A common theme among the above companies, as well as all the companies listed on the Great Place to Work was that the employees reported feeling valued, being accurately well represented, and given benefits to improve their quality of life inside and outside of the workplace. Companies with high staff retention and limited turnover typically tend to invest significantly more time and resources to cater to employee’s needs and wants compared to those who tend to cycle through staff more frequently. In the era of understaffing, supply chain shortages, and new challenges arising daily, more and more companies are learning the value in employee accommodations and benefits. At the end of the day, every individual wants to feel valued and respected in the place they work.

See https://www.greatplacetowork.com/best-workplaces/100-best/2020 for a comprehensive list of best companies to work at.


IMO (In my opinion):

I personally would like to be the type of manager that inspires people to be the best versions of themselves. Not perfect, not always cheerful, but the most authentic and genuine version. It’s unrealistic to think that having a strong HR strategy means you will avoid issues, because we are all human and make mistake. However, a HR team that focuses more on authenticity and compassion is bound to have a positive effect on employees and more likely that they will stick around for longer. Addressing issues with empathy and from an inclusive and informed perspective, humanizing the work that employees do, and creating a space for feedback are all vital to creating a culture of transparency and integrity within a company.

This is no easy task though; what happens when expectations are not met? Or when mistakes are made that have a serious impact on others? How can an HR team hold its employees accountable while still inspiring them to perform well? These are all questions I ask myself and possible challenges I can for-see. However, building the foundations of an HR department on integrity and compassion are a good place to start.


What type of manager will you be?