Human Resources: A Vital Link

Not all human resources managers are created equal. In fact, they come from a variety of backgrounds on their way to higher-level HR positions. Still, despite these different paths, many still share basic HR manager responsibilities.

Wondering what a day in the life of an HR manager really entails? Let’s take a closer look at the commonly asked question, “What do HR managers do?”

A Microscope on HR Managers

Whatever the title or specialization, HR managers serve as a vital link between employees and management. A part of doing this well is realizing that 21st Century employees have very different expectations compared to the past.

HR managers who understand, acknowledge, and respond to these expectations help create a culture of respect, trust, and engagement – all keys to reducing turnover and fostering retention.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics defines HR managers as professionals who “plan, direct, and coordinate the administrative functions of an organization.” While this is an adequate description, other skills are required to successfully accomplish what’s needed from a modern human resources department.

  • A modern HR is a place where employees feel comfortable going to with questions and concerns.
  • It’s a place where small issues result in proportionate changes and not over-reaction.
  • A modern HR department knows employees have a lot going on and bend over backwards to make sure explanations of policy and changes are clear.
  • It’s a place that makes it easy to know what’s expected of all employees, rather than just throwing a lot of information out and expecting employees to absorb it without reminders or updates on progress.

To summarize, the modern human resources department shapes everything about employee’s day-to-day life at work and should strive to be a well-regarded part of a company. Work in an HR department these days has evolved into prioritizing inclusion as well as planning what’s best for people, at every level, who work there.

There are still many duties – benefits and payroll for example – that have to get done as a matter of routine. Though they can feel more administrative than developing and executing strategy, these day-to-day functions are obviously quite important.

To get more specific about what an HR manager does, their duties include all or some of the following, depending on the size of the business or organization where they work:

  • Consult with executives on human resource strategies and values
  • Act as an advocate for employees, and a liaison for employers
  • Set up fun internal company events and activities to develop an environment of workplace community
  • Oversee hiring processes, including recruitment, interviewing and selection
  • Handle employee benefits
  • Handle staffing, including conflict resolution and disciplinary procedures

Not only do HR managers work in all industries, but they’re also employed in different capacities. While some human resources managers act in a more general capacity, others have more specialized expertise, such as labor relations directors, payroll managers, and recruiting managers.

Becoming a Human Resources Manager

While there’s no single formula for becoming an HR manager, there are several factors which can enhance marketability with today’s employers. A bachelor’s degree program in human resources or an alternate field such as finance, education, or information technology is a strong start. It’s not necessarily enough in today’s competitive business climate, though. Catching the eye of employers takes something more.

Many management-level jobs require advanced studies in HR or HR-related fields. However, even for positions where a Master of Science in Human Resources Management is not required, an advanced degree can set you apart – and get you in the interview door. That demonstration of commitment can also put you at the front of the queue when promotions come around.

What can you expect to learn in a master’s degree program? Being a people person who is empathetic to different personal circumstances of employees is merely the beginning.

A quality degree program in HR focuses on the human side of business. The University of Scranton’s program is aligned with the HR Curriculum Guidebook created by the Society for Human Resource Management. What this means is that our curriculum stays contemporary with what’s going on in the world and up-to-date with the enhanced and changing role of working HR professionals.

The more informed you are on ethics and organizational behaviors, the greater the contribution you can expect to make. These are covered in Scranton HR courses, along with a focus on rewards and promoting and managing diversity in the workplace

Certifications, also, build on a degree. They demonstrate a continued desire to improve and learn more. They are clear marks that you’ve attained expertise in a certain area such as executive HR leadership or benefits management.

Any HR work experience, even in a supporting role or as an intern, helps as well.

Characteristics of Highly Effective HR Managers

In addition to similar duties and responsibilities, many HR managers also share key competencies, including the following 10 characteristics:

  • Organization
  • Decision making
  • Critical thinking
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Leadership
  • Communication
  • Multitasking
  • Ethics
  • Conflict management
  • Change management

The last two, in particular, can be the differentiating factors between a good HR manager and a great one. Contemporary organizations are anything but static and HR managers are charged with helping organizations manage change to remain competitive. HR professionals who are prepared to cope with change and lead them through a business, offer sought-after added value.

Beyond Human Resources

HR managers don’t exist in a vacuum. Rather, they function as one of many moving parts within the companies they represent.

Bob Brady, founder of BLR, a business compliance firm, says that, “HR is a creature of, and serves, the business strategy. It’s important for HR people to know what that strategy is and what makes the business tick so the approach to HR can be tailored accordingly.”

In other words, it’s not enough for HR managers to simply understand the field of HR. It’s not even enough for them to understand how best to put employee talents to work for their organizations. They must also understand the roles and responsibilities of an HR manager within the overall context of an organization and its objectives.

Ultimately, whether you have years of experience in human resources or want a career change to this increasingly popular field, understanding both the day-to-day responsibilities of an HR manager as well as the strategic “big picture” of the role within the organization is essential.

The truth is that there’s no such thing as “typical” or “average” day when it comes to human resources. The right background, experiences, character traits and education help you stay flexible and open to what works best for the employees and to further company goals and culture.

Learn more about the HR program at The University of Scranton.


Sources

1. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/human-resources-managers.htm.
2. http://hrdailyadvisor.blr.com/2006/07/18/the-9-essential-skills-of-human-resources-management-how-many-do-you-have-2/.

What Should You Look For In New Hires?

Turnover and hiring new employees can be both time consuming and costly for businesses. Not only must businesses work to retain as many hard-working personnel as possible, they also work to make good hiring decisions to avoid a loss when it comes to the training of new hires. There are certain qualities companies look for when hiring new employees, which often can be discovered in the first interview.

Here are ten standout traits to look for in screening new hires:

1. Long Term Potential

Turnover can be expensive given the investment in training new employees, and businesses do not want to hire someone who does not have potential as a long-term hire. Recruiters should look for traits of commitment and longevity in an interviewee’s resume. For instance, a candidate with a graduate degree (such as an MBA) or multiple certifications would indicate a passion for pursuing learning, professional growth and long-term advancement opportunities.

When interviewing candidates, prompt them to speak in detail about their past. Supporting a growth strategy in your organization is much smoother when new hires come in with proven track records of producing solid results. Allow new hires to boast about previous successes, and ask for details into how they reached various career goals. Hiring managers should look for enthusiastic candidates eager to push the envelope and possess personal drive toward future achievements.

3. Enthusiasm and Passion

Look for candidates who are enthusiastic and passionate about what they do. Their successes should shine through during the interview. People who love the work they do often stay at companies longer than people who work for the sake of the paycheck. Enthusiasm is a great trait to possess for a new employee; enthusiastic and outgoing employees are often useful to a business because they are likely proficient when it comes to operations management, enterprise resource planning, and healthcare management.

4. Putting Skills to Action

Some hiring managers may request potential new hires to complete a task or work on a project to better illustrate their skill set. An employer wants to find a candidate who is self-motivated, excited to be an active participant in company efforts, and willing to put in the extra effort to achieve success in the business. Candidates who keep their composure while simultaneously showcasing their problem-solving skills are often better prepared to work well under pressure and responsibility that might come along with the job.

When interviewing a candidate, it is important to measure their “fit” in two distinct ways. First, consider their fit for the position itself based on their knowledge, skill capacity and overall abilities to successfully perform the required functions. Second, measure their fit for the organization as a whole by envisioning how they would personally “fit” into the company culture. Employees who feel successful at their position and have a sense of belonging at the company will often stay longer.

6. Team Player

In many situations, employees will have to function with fellow coworkers on a project. Even if a job requires most tasks to be completed alone, there will be times when employees will have to work together. Recruiters and hiring managers usually ask potential hires about how well they work as a team and what type of work environment they prefer. Some employers may even bring applicants in for a group interview to see how well they interact with a number of people already on staff.

7. Ambition

Businesses want to hire motivated and driven people who will go above and beyond what is asked of them. Ambitious employees work hard to do the best they can in their position and often think of ways to improve their work and be more efficient, making it a great quality for an online HR graduate to have. An employee, who possesses these traits, is sure to have a greater chance of being considered for more challenging positions once the opportunity arises.

Hiring managers will also look for honesty and integrity during the interview. When receiving a compliment, it is commendable for candidates to share the credit with fellow employees that helped them succeed. Appreciating other employees will strengthen both the group and individual morale, which builds and reinforces a trusting environment. Hiring managers should look for self-assured, confident employees who take credit for their work, while also recognizing the efforts from the whole team involved.

9. Responsiveness

Being intently responsive shows respect and courtesy towards the hiring managers; a candidate who thoughtfully responds when being addressed, politely greets others, says “thank you” and “you’re welcome,” will set the applicant apart from others who lack proper social interaction skills. It is also a key indicator of how they will interact with peers and customers once in the position. Treating people respectfully will yield better business results in every aspect of a company, especially when dealing directly with clients.

Candidates who make a good first impression will set the right tone for the interview. Their actions can create lasting impressions during those all-important first encounters. Common sense is key: dress appropriately for the interview and be on time. Similar rules apply for the interviewer. Are you setting a tone that accurately reflects the true nature of the organization? Making a positive first impression is crucial for all concerned!

Learn more about our Human Resources graduate program here!

Use Your Career to Reduce Stress for Others

How Does Therapeutic Behavior Management Relate to Business?

Not only are these tips useful to Human Resources professionals, but they can help us all deal to stress in our work lives.

More than 80% of workers in the United States admit to having job-related stress. This continued stress frequently leads to burnout, which can affect an employee’s ability to remain productive in the workplace. Therapeutic behavior management can be beneficial to any employee experiencing job-related stress.

Job Stress vs. Professional Challenges

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the perception of job stress is frequently confused with professional challenges. These two concepts are not one and the same.

Job stress leads to unhealthy physical and emotional reactions, whereas professional challenges can energize an individual both mentally and physically.

Challenges motivate professionals to master new skills that will improve their job performance. Successfully completing a challenge at work frequently leads to the same feeling of satisfaction an individual experienced following accomplishments during their college career.

A survey conducted by Northwestern National Life finds that 40% of the workers surveyed feel their jobs are very stressful. Additionally, one-fourth of employees consider their jobs to be the number one stressor in their lives.

The Effect of Job Stress on an Individual’s Health

When an individual becomes stressed, the brain begins to prepare the body to take defensive action. This defensive action is frequently referred to as the fight or flight response.

During this response:

  • The nervous system arouses and releases hormones to enhance the senses
  • Respiration deepens
  • The pulse quickens
  • Muscles become tense

Although occasional or brief episodes of stress are of little concern, stressful situations that keep the body in a continuous state of activation must be addressed.

A continued state of fight or flight activation increases the amount of wear and tear on the biological systems throughout the body. Eventually, the ability for the body to defend and repair itself becomes compromised. This increases the risk of the individual becoming ill or injured.

Reduce Stress by Changing Your Thoughts About Work

Dr. Frank Ghinassi, who has served on the board of the Academic Behavioral Health Consortium, states that in order to make it through the workday with less stress, we need to alter the way we think about work. Changing our perspective may significantly reduce the apprehension and nervousness we experience in the workplace.

Ghinassi states that it is not necessarily the facts that compel our emotions, but what we think about a particular event. Our cognitive interpretations are responsible for driving how we feel.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Job-Related Stress

The National Institute of Mental Health recognizes CBT as an effective treatment for anxiety disorders and depression.

CBT therapy is unique in that it focuses on the beliefs and thoughts a patient has, rather than a patient’s actions. Because job-related stress is frequently caused by perception, some of the strategies utilized in CBT therapy may help individuals who are dealing with job-related stress.

4 CBT-Inspired Strategies to Reduce Job-Related Stress

1. Prioritize

Stress levels begin to rise as our responsibilities increase throughout the workday. Make a list of the things you need to accomplish. Rate these tasks according to importance. Chances are that several tasks are crucial, while others are not very important. Now you can focus your attention on the crucial tasks; completing the unimportant tasks only after the crucial tasks have been addressed.

By taking the time to prioritize, you can clearly see the tasks that require immediate attention and which tasks can be addressed at your leisure; thus reducing your stress levels.

2. Create an Oasis

Whenever your attention wanders and you begin thinking stressful thoughts, Ghinassi recommends taking a break. Find a quiet place where you can perform calming non-physical exercises. These exercises may include positive imagery, deep breathing, and listening to soothing music.

3. Use Probability to Eliminate Negative Thoughts

Catastrophizing is a type of thought pattern that focuses on every possible mistake or slip up that can lead to a downfall. Besides causing stress, this kind of black-and-white thinking may cause you to have a sense of impending doom. Instead, Ghinassi suggests controlling these thoughts by weighing the likelihood – or probability – of something happening. Once you bring this technique into your regular patterns of thought, it can be a calming influence in eliminating worry about things that aren’t likely to manifest into actual problems.

4. The Cognitive Flip

If you feel as if you have lost control of a situation, you can try to curb stress levels by thinking about the things you can control. That doesn’t mean the things you can’t control won’t happen but by focusing on what you have the power to control, you are reminded that you can shape your own outcomes.

Having these behavior management tools at your disposal and knowing how to use them will help you manage stress, often before it becomes debilitating. If you are a manager, fostering some of these patterns in a general way can help your staff.

By addressing staff mental health issues, performance levels increase and a company or organization becomes a better place to work. A qualified leader in a company’s human resources department will encourage the use of these techniques by everyone in the company, when needed. They can be used to significantly improve the atmosphere and health of the work force.

Knowing methods like this to improve morale and productivity is just one small – but very effective – part of an advanced human resources education, such as a Master of Science in Human Resources Management. If you want to step up and do more for your company, look into the online master’s in human resources management offered by The University of Scranton.

What Exactly Does an HR Manager Do?

It remains true that many entry-level Human Resources Management positions require a bachelor’s degree or less to get your foot in the door. A 2014 study by Gartner’s Software Advice analyzed several hundred HR job listings for people wanting a career change to human resources management. It found that one-third of them strongly preferred candidates with an advanced degree.

That truth starts to answer the primary consideration potential students mull over before enrolling in a Master of Human Resources Management program: what can it do for my career?

The most successful HR professionals of the 21st century are more than just payroll and benefits coordinators. They know how to get a job in human resources. Technology is continually changing all industries, and a new generation of workers has ushered in a different set of standards that truly tests the human side of HR.

A master’s degree in Human Resources Management from a well-regarded, accredited university puts graduates in position to stand out from the rest. Best of all, such a program can be completed online, if desired, and will not interfere with your current position.

What does an HR Manager do?

  • Coordinate all administration- based functions of a company
  • Administer benefits of the company to its employees
  • Recruit and retain employees
  • Consult with company executives on strategic  planning
  • Serve as a link between organizational managers and the company

How to Get Into Human Resources Management

HR has come a long way since the National Cash Register Company established the first known human resources department in U.S. history in 1901. A major employee strike had almost doomed the company the year prior.

History tells us that management responded to that strike positively by creating a department to handle grievances, safety and other concerns. This model was adopted by other companies of the time and is still the norm more than a century later.

The global marketplace, automated recruiting, talent management systems and outsourced payroll have encouraged – almost forced – the HR profession to evolve. Most HR professionals in the 21st century have embraced additional duties as asked; yet, each company seems to offer something slightly different from all others.

One way to expand on your skills in this area is to highlight the fun side of HR. That can include coordinating company parties, theme days and charity events, and drives; a nice break from keeping up on legal updates and handling tough personnel issues.

Stepping up as an employee advocate is now one of the more essential roles of HR, partly due to changing demographics. Millennials surpassed Generation X in 2015 to comprise the largest share of the American workforce, according to the Pew Research Center.

Human Resources and the Millennial Challenge

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says the median tenure of all American workers at one particular job is about 4.6 years. Millennials (those age 18-34) had a median tenure of 2.1 years. Whether it’s a perceived lack of loyalty to a single workplace, an active desire to move around, a “higher expectations” mentality, or another not-quite-accurate label used by analysts, millennials present new challenges for HR.

There are five essential qualities HR leaders must embrace:

  1. Human Resources Knowledge and a commitment to ongoing HR learning
  2. Communication Skills
  3. Critical thinking skills
  4. Ethical Approach to Human Resources
  5. Organizational Skills

The most important quality is to never stop learning. This quality is especially vital when it comes to hiring and retaining millennials. The knowledge you’ll gain from your MS in Human Resources Management studies provides a foundation that not only encourages continued learning, but also teaches methods to stay up-to-date on the latest news.

For instance, studies show that millennials are more entrepreneurial and open to change than Generation X. At the same time, millennials are less likely to be team players. It’s up to HR to provide top talent the tools and accommodations necessary to retain them as employees.

Many students in a MS in Human Resources Management program use the Capstone course to share their experiences with fellow students and learn real-life methods for properly handling issues that arise with a younger workforce. A happy secondary benefit of this type of course is that professional circles also grow, providing career connections who will continue sharing experiences and solutions for years

Human Resource Leaders Plan Company Strategy

The ability to think strategically and act accordingly is an essential characteristic of HR leaders. As touched on earlier, many aspects of human resources have been automated or outsourced, particularly when it comes to talent acquisition and payroll. This enables HR professionals to contribute to their organization’s success in new ways.

Marketing, sales and development managers present CEOs and CFOs with ideas to increase revenues, convert leads, or some other goal. Once approved it’s the responsibility of HR to partner with any involved department in fulfilling the plan — that is, if your company embraces this forward-looking arrangement.

An analysis by Harvard Business School found that only one-third of HR departments craft HR strategic plans in line with the company’s overall strategy. This unusual phenomenon presents an opportunity for HR managers who have obtained the proper training to execute better.

The MS in Human Resources Management program not only has courses covering strategic planning, but also risk management and labor relations. Granted, unions are becoming more of a rarity every year. One-third of American workers were part of unions in the mid-1960s. Today that number is barely 10%, according to researchers.

Having knowledge of collective bargaining and contract negotiations opens doors to new positions at larger companies that employ unionized workers. One way or another, looking after employees remains a central part of the human resources role.

Reward-Based and Technological Solutions

IT departments typically handle a company’s networks and hardware issues. But, there are times when the company is underperforming or simply failing in areas that can be vastly improved by implementing a new software or other tech solution.

This brings us to another important essential characteristic of effective human resource leaders: minding your metrics. The responsibility falls on HR to determine if the cost is worth the potential return.

A 2013 study by the Standish Group found that less than 33% of company projects were completed on-time and within the stated budget. Further, 44% of personnel tasked to lead new projects failed to use any sort of commercially available project management software, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Doing the job right means HR must provide detailed analysis supporting adoption of any project management system for certain departments. Whether its wasted worker-hours or poor communication between collaborators that causes projects to fail, human resources research must convince company executives to get onboard and embrace operational additions such as this.

Of course, there will be some employees who resist change, particularly if the modus operandi was completely different previously. Part of your solution will be a meaningful rewards system that encourages workers to use the new set-up.

Year-end bonus structures and pay raises can be tied directly to completion of projects within a given time and budget. HR’s job is to positively correlate rewards and usage of the new system to motivate employees. These balancing skills are obtained and nurtured through your studies in a Human Resources Management master’s program.

HR Reinforces Company Personality

Shoe retailer Zappos is a well-regarded company, with personality that starts at the top. Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh is often quoted as a person who enjoys highlighting customer service, along with making his employees feel great about what they do.

As is the goal of many companies in this age of social media, Zappos has many customers who are not shy about telling others of their experience. Such internet evangelism for products is actively encouraged by Zappos, which itself has a robust and active social media presence across many platforms.

The company has a unique new employee training program; at the end of the first week everyone is offered $2,000 to quit. The goal is to keep people who want to be there. Meanwhile, Allstate Insurance’s personality is conveyed to the public through the deep, articulate voice, and professional demeanor of Dennis Haysbert.

These companies have two very distinct personalities and it shows in their advertising – or in the case of Zappos, their lack of it. HR plays a crucial role in determining and reinforcing a company’s personality and values, and finding employees that fit a company culture, whether staid or silly.

Pre-hire personality assessments were used by 57% of U.S. companies in 2013, up from 26% in 2001, according to the Wall Street Journal. These tests have proven effective in hiring the right people for a company’s culture and personality. A 2006 study published in the Journal of Brand Management identified three dimensions of a corporate personality: heart, mind, and body. Each of those are defined by two key attributes: passionate and compassionate; creative and disciplined; and agile and collaborative, respectively.

Nobody has a better pulse on the entire company than HR since they come in contact with every employee and department at some point. They also have a seat at the table along with top-level executives when discussing company direction and initiatives.

Once a company develops a cohesive and positive personality, an HR leader encourages everyone to embrace it. Whether its placing a ping-pong table in the break room or holding food drives for the homeless, (most likely both) these activities reflect who the company is and how it wants to be perceived.

HR Has to Walk the Walk and Welcome Feedback

The value in human resources comes from the willingness to listen to all employees. HR is the neutral conflict manager between employees at all levels. They also play a major role in the day-to-day activities of every employee. An open-door policy is important, as is confidentiality.

Employees should have a means to communicate issues (harassment, discrimination, etc.) without it becoming an office distraction. They should also be able to make suggestions for company operations without repercussions. Of course, there is a fine line HR professionals must walk when dealing with certain issues.

An employee may want to lodge a complaint against a co-worker, but request confidentiality in the conversation. But, you have the responsibility to address potential workplace issues before they morph into something detrimental to the company.

Providing employees several ways to communicate compliments, complaints, and suggestions that encourage and reinforce transparency. Some HR managers use hotlines. Others stick to traditional email and walk-in visits. Regardless of the method, make certain employees feel comfortable coming to HR employees for all work-related matters – and have an easy way of doing so.

Master in Human Resources Management Benefits

The value of any master’s degree is partly determined by where it comes from. U.S. News & World Report ranked the University of Scranton in the top 10 for master’s universities in the very competitive North region of the country. The University of Scranton is also regionally accredited and is one of only 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States. As an added bonus, the university’s MS in HR Management is fully outlined by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) curriculum guidelines and templates.

The responsibilities and requirements of HR leaders continually evolve. The HR Certification Institute offers five distinct certifications: Professional in Human Resources (PHR), Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR), Human Resource Management Professional (HRMP), the Human Resource Business Professional (HRBP) and the Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR). Two alternative certifications are offered by the Society for Human Resource: SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP. Some certifications do require graduate work, making them great complements to your master’s degree in HR.

Professor Patrick Wright of Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations, told Workforce in 2011 that a master’s degree always wins out over an SPHR particularly with large companies when all else is equal between two candidates.

Katie Bardaro, vice president of Data Analytics at Payscale, told Forbes in 2012 that a master’s degree provides increased knowledge in ever-evolving fields like HR and sets candidates apart from other applicants.

What’s Best for Getting Hired?

The curriculum for The University of Scranton’s MHR program covers all the basics (OSHA regulations, labor relations, etc.) and all of the policy-making and accountability aspects that come with an SPHR.

Your master’s studies take things a step further to address 21st century workplace issues as laws and regulations change. For example, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled in the 2012 case of Macy v. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives that Title VII of the 1964 Civil Right Act prohibits workplace discrimination against transgendered persons.

Another tough issue is handling the intricacies of concealed carry laws. About 40 states have such laws but they are not all the same. “Can I come to work armed?” is a question you could encounter.

The answer is initially yes, though in some states businesses have different allowed restrictions to ban them. But human resources, with the help of the legal department, needs to know how to write the correct policies.

Each state’s law and restrictions are different in the area of concealed carry. If a company does business in several states, this policy has to be carefully researched across the board.

These subjects, and others will arise during your Human Resources Management studies and employment; something you cannot expect from a certification.

A bachelor’s degree might get your foot in the door for smaller companies. But, large corporations that pay higher salaries expect you to bring both experience and credentials to the table. The decision ultimately lies with you as to career and earnings goals.

The national average salary for human resources personnel is $66,032, according to Glassdoor. Earnings positively correlate with educational level, with MS recipients earning the most. HR professionals at Ford Motor Company and The Clorox Company reported annual salaries $125,000 and up.

Click here for more information on Human Resources programs offered at The University of Scranton.

________________________________

Sources:

  1. http://www.fastcompany.com/3045829/the-new-rules-of-work/welcome-to-the-new-era-of-human-resources
  2. http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/05/11/millennials-surpass-gen-xers-as-the-largest-generation-in-u-s-labor-force/
  3. http://www.bls.gov/news.release/tenure.nr0.htm
  4. http://www.wsj.com/articles/how-employers-wrangle-restless-millennials-1430818203
  5. http://www.elance-odesk.com/millennial-majority-workforce

 

How to Improve Your Organization

If there is one thing that has characterized the business landscape in the new millennium, it’s change. Disruptive new technologies such as 3-D printing, big data analytics and production line robotics are creating successful new businesses almost overnight, while some traditional business models have become obsolete. Many American companies are struggling to adapt.1

“Organizational change” is the new boardroom buzzword. Retailers are using online sales platforms. Factory owners are bringing in robotics. Suppliers are employing new software-driven inventory techniques. Companies must either adopt the new technologies or succumb to the competition.

Business executives are asking themselves how to make changes in the back office or production floor without alienating their staff.

Change by decree?

Many businesses seeking to adapt get off to an unsteady start because they initiate a change-by-decree strategy. There is a right and wrong way to reset a company’s culture, and authoritarian decrees such as, “Do it because I said so,” are rarely effective.

When leaders announce plans for new initiatives with little or no prior groundwork the effort fail before it begins.

“Forgetting that others in the organization haven’t been a part of the discussions and are not as familiar with all of the reasons for the change, leaders are surprised by the amount of resistance the new change generates,” say management consultants Ken and Scott Blanchard.2

The best way to proceed is from the top down, with company leaders showing themselves as prime exemplars of a new approach. From the start, senior leaders should embody the organization’s new approach, showing employees that real change is underway because it’s already happening at the top.

An appropriate way to motivate change in employees is to provide them with authentic communication about how the organization is proceeding and how it will benefit them. “In the absence of clear, factual communication, people tend to create their own information about the change, and rumors become facts,” the Blanchards say. Decision makers who simultaneously embody and demonstrate the benefits of change within the organization are less likely to face opposition and create a readiness for change before it is implemented.

The Importance of Involving Employees

Executives should plan their change initiatives like generals who prepare for a battle. Anticipate the obvious contingencies ─ the many questions about operations that staff members will have, for example ─ and be prepared to coach people through the process.

But don’t confuse endless PowerPoint presentations with actual communication, as one expert puts it. While meetings and processes can be helpful, they can’t replace meaningful face-to-face communication.

And don’t expect it to be easy. “Change is uncomfortable, and adapting to change is messy,” Fenson notes.

 

Click here for more information on Human Resources programs offered at The University of Scranton.

__________________________________________________________

Sources:

1 http://www.mckinsey.com/industries/high-tech/our-insights/digital-america-a-tale-of-the-haves-and-have-mores
2 http://www.fastcompany.com/3015083/leadership-now/6-steps-for-successfully-bringing-change-to-your-company
3 http://www.strategy-business.com/article/00255?gko=9d35b
4 http://www.inc.com/articles/2000/06/19312.html
5 https://www.boundless.com/management/textbooks/boundless-management-textbook/organizational-culture-and-innovation-4/managing-change-for-employees-40/strategies-for-successful-organizational-change-215-7289/