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Author Archive for Daneal Charney

Is Your Organization “With It”?

Your company is bent on developing its next generation of leaders.  You want to select the best and the brightest young grads.  But are you ready for the expectations that these best and brightest walk in the door with.  This new generation of graduates (or Generation Y) are used to operating from a very different playbook. What do I mean by that?

  1. All ideas are heard. Gen Y are used to putting out an idea out on the web and getting quick feedback on it, both good and bad. But most organizations follow a formal process to submit ideas or have a lot of “yes butting…” which will frustrate this instant generation.  Recommendation: Grad onboarding should include an in-depth understanding of both formal and informal cultural norms so that Gen Y can more easily navigate and be successful.
  2. Contribution counts more than credentials. Gen Y are used to choosing what they are going to participate in based on their interests and perceived strengths.  However in most organizations people’s title and credentials (and the managers perception of an employee’s capabilities) will determine the tasks they get to be part of. Recommendation: Keep grads engaged by flexing their role and leaving space for volunteering and cross-functional projects.
  3. Power comes from sharing not hoarding. Most Gen Y believe  in the benefits of open and transparent information sharing. However in most organizations (build around hierarchy and job boxes), people are incented to hoard rather than share information.  Recommendation: Always give the context and “why” of new work and projects.  Share as much as you possibly can and get the grads fresh perspective on organizational issues.  Their unique perspectives may help break old thinking.

If organizations want to retain a new generation of workers, they need to re-think their work practices and create more engaging ways to motivate people.

Tips for Problem Solving

As an HR professional I have dealt with employees who have no boundaries with their issues or emotions and try to get me to solve their problems.  I have learned not to fall into this trap because it creates dependent and disempowered people.  Instead, HR professionals need to use a coaching approach by ‘throwing the monkey back’ and keeping the accountability where it belongs.  This requires learning to guide a client to a solution by asking the right questions, giving constructive feedback and getting their commitment to take action.

If you find yourself in a conversation with an overly-emotional employee, help them work through their emotions without getting triggered yourself. You do this by giving the person the space to clear his or her emotions.

Here’s how it works:

First, give the other person full permission to vent for a limited time. For example, “You’ve got 5 minutes to tell me what you’re pissed off about…and then we can talk about what to do about it.” As he or she vents, provide encouragement to put it all on the table with responses like “yes,” “say more,” “what else,” etc. At the end of 5 minutes, signal that time is up and get permission to move onto the next agenda item.

Second, emotions are bound to show in our fast-paced, intense business environment. People are pressing each other’s hot buttons all the time. But to be ‘professional’ we need to self-manage our own triggers and not displace them on someone else. Yes, HR professionals can have emotions too and need to learn to manage them as much as anyone else.  If you find something triggering your emotions, try to take a time-out from the conversation and avoid resuming it until you figure out why you’re emotional, how you’re going to deal with it, and a strategy to keep your emotions in check in that situation. If you don’t deal with your own emotions, the conversation can get ugly.