Time’s Up! – HR & Training Need to Become Indispensable!


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For way too many companies, the Human Resources (HR) and Training functions have been treated as completely dispensable cogs in the corporate wheel. They are staffed with less than competent people which only adds to their inability to add value so when things get tough, these functions are cut.

And here might be the greatest rub. If in fact these functions have allowed themselves to become dispensable, well they got what they earned! They need to be removed so better talent can be put in place. Sadly, many companies that close or scale down these functions does so because they expected nothing better based on their experience.

 

Explore with me a couple of examples that will lead to disasters in the future that I can pin squarely on the incompetence of these functions.

EXAMPLE #1

We have a company that recently had an unpleasant experience with a manager that was a little too friendly with an employee. The employee reported it; the HR department launched a full scale investigation and discovered the manager had been out of line. The solution was to put ALL managers through a sensitivity training program. No learning outcomes needed, just a CYA training program to mitigate future problems.

You may be asking if this company regularly trains managers in preventing workplace harassment, and/or do they train the entire workforce in what a harassment free work environment is and what to do if it becomes the opposite. The answer would be NO to both. No Training, only HR covering it up after the fact. HR is totally reactive and not proactive and therefore provides little value. How do you retain good employees when this is how HR has your back?

 

EXAMPLE #2

Another company where a manager is openly bullied by her manager has had enough and decides to report him to HR. Another full blown investigation that involves interviewing a dozen employees who witnessed the bullying resulted in an admission that it all happened like it was reported. However, the manager was required to continue working for the bully manager because, “although he did a lot of awful things, none of it violated our employee handbook policies.” However, the bully manager “was encouraged to retake their online harassment training.”

Another inept HR function with a training function standing around buying off the shelf compliance training THAT DID NOT WORK! Yet this is a big organization with over 10,000 employees. Guess what happens when something this stupid happens and HR fails to stand up for the company and protect their employees, they get sued. Oh, and not by just this one manager, this has turned into a class action because the behavior was endorsed by the HR department.

And one other result that I doubt will be expected is that news like this travels quickly. Not only are employees aware of the class action suit, other employees that belong to the Bully Club are feeling empowered. Heck with HR behind bullying behavior, they feel they have a free ticket to abuse their fellow employees. Fun place to work huh?

 

CONSLUSION:

Bottom line if you have a dysfunctional HR and/or Training function it is time to get them help. Or at the very least find better talent to replace them. Your company’s future is at stake, and as long as these functions are viewed to be dispensable, they will continue to meet that expectation.

If you need help, you need only email me at Jim@JKHopkinsConsulting.com

 

 

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Last Week to Plan Your Vacation!


cruisesinc logoI once worked for an employer that at this time of year was requiring all employees to submit the entire year’s vacation requests by the end of January.  My wife and I would scramble each January to plan out what we were going to do with our 4 weeks and when we should take the time off.  It was nerve racking to say the least.

However, one of the reasons this employer had this requirement was to focus everyone on taking their paid vacation each year, and avoid skipping it for one work related reason after another.  To their credit, the world revolved just fine when we were gone and everything got done without anymore crisis than normal.  And everyone took their time off!

As a Vacation Specialist with Cruises Inc., I can tell you that the beginning of the year is a great time to setup your vacations.  The early bird not only gets the worm but a lot of other savings and extra perks.  Cruise Lines especially are handing out all sorts of goodies and incredible rates to fill their ships.

So even if your employer doesn’t require you to plan out your vacations in advance, you should for your own piece of mind grab an annual calendar and pick your days.  Shop now and put down low deposits to guarantee your trip and have events to look forward to.  Then the next time a really tough day hits you, imagine your time off and where you are going.

Drop by and see what a vacation planner can do for you at our Cruises Inc. website –  www.JimLoriTravel.com

Taking a “REAL” Vacation


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How many of you spend your vacation at home doing chores? How many of you regularly skip vacations and work nearly every day of the year without a break? While sometimes bigger projects like painting are worth saving until you have more time off, if your only alternative to skipping vacation to avoid home projects is staying at work you are not doing yourself any favors.

Health wise, and mentally we benefit from checking out of the daily routine to decompress. Spending any vacation away from work is a good beginning. However, if you can step away from home too, and experience something new, you come back refreshed, and that is what vacation is supposed to do.

You don’t have to take your whole two weeks at the same time, but devote at least a week to an away vacation. With time away at a hotel and different food than the home kitchen, you are treating yourself to new experiences. Cruises, Land Tours and Resorts in varying degrees can transport you to new experiences and new places.

But if you are like most of us, you may have experienced a poor vacation. Hotel reservations that got screwed up, or air travel disruptions that caused delays. Maybe that driving vacation was going great until the car decided to die. Don’t let those times mess with you. Stuff happens, and the key is to find vacations that minimize the bad experiences.

Take cruising vacations as an example. We all hear about the ships that hit bad weather, miss ports, or have mechanical problems. The difference is the cruise lines make up for these very rare inconveniences. After 30 some cruises without incident, I found myself on a ship leaving Los Angeles that found the need to be towed back less than 24 hours later due to mechanical problems. It took 2 days to be towed back, and yet it was the healthiest cruise I’d ever been on with mostly fresh fruit and vegetables eat, and lots of sleep. We got a full refund and a free cruise for next time. It was an experience I would never want to repeat, but I ending up on the winning side of a bad stroke of luck.

Many people skip travel insurance, and yet it is inexpensive and covers delays, cancelations, lost baggage and medical costs to name a few, and one more thing that can save your vacation from disaster. How about taking tours on your own that get you lost versus professional tours with guides that don’t get lost and don’t lose you?

Now while I love to cook, I hate trying to decide where to go eat at each meal. I can nickel and dime a vacation into a rather miserable experience for my whole party. This is why I love resorts with meals included, or my favorite vacation on a cruise ship. The only work I have is packing and getting myself on the ship. After that they take care of everything and I get a real vacation.

If you have never had a really good vacation, or you wonder if you have paid too much for ones in the past, you may need a new Travel Agent. I would love to help you, so stop by my website – www.JimLoriTravel.com and you will be routed to my Cruises Inc. website. Call me or send me an email at jhopkins@cruisesinc.com and let’s put together your next “Real Vacation” – One you will remember!

Slamming One Door Closed and Opening a New One


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In one month from now I will be hanging up my Learning Development career, and jumping in with both feet into the travel business with a new franchise business. Some have asked if I’m sad about leaving training, and I respond, no, just disappointed.

The past 12 years I’ve been consulting and the primary reason I left the corporate world for a life of self-employment was so that I could leverage my time better and help more organizations get the most out of their training efforts. I found so many broken training functions that it encouraged me to publish two books on the subject of fixing the training function and I really thought I would have work for life.

Finding clients that actually wanted to fix their training functions has been my life’s obsession for the past decade, and while I have uncovered a lot of good leads, there have been very few organizations that put their money where their mouth is as the popular phrase goes. Often we would agree on the challenges, the solutions and that I was qualified to do the job, but few wanted to fix their problem. Nearly all of the time I found that leaving it broken was not going to hurt their career. No harm, no foul, so why bother?

Making a career change from what has been a deep passion of mine for 27 years turned out to require some help. I lucked out with a great franchise coach that worked with me for several months and she discovered that next to training, I loved to travel. And not just fly around to one hotel after another, but cruise vacations. I know cruising like the back of my hand, have sailed on 40 cruises, and take pride learning all I can about the different cruise lines and ships.

So after looking at a few options for getting into the travel industry, I landed on an old and respected organization called CruiseOne, part of the bigger World Travel Holdings organization. My wife and I purchased a newer brand of CruiseOne called Dream Vacations. Once I understood the value I could bring to people shopping for a dream vacation, I knew I had found my second passion. In some ways it is a lot like performance consulting as the more you understand about what makes a great vacation for your clients the better solutions you can offer.

Probably one of the biggest changes I am looking forward to is not having to convince people of the right path. With a vacation, the right cruise for example is just being honest with expectations. Training options always included cheaper but less effective ways to train so the outcomes differ greatly. With a cruise, you can have a great time no matter how cheap or expensive your choices. You are buying memories, and my job is to make sure you get as many memories out of the available time you are on vacation.

While my training business will remain open, I will not be looking for new clients. I remain available for past clients as a way of thanking them for their support these past 12 years. But for those of you that failed to act after 12 years, the reality is you never wanted to support me or your employees. But you can always buy my two books on Amazon or go to www.thetrainingphysical.com for more information.

Look for updates on our new Dream Vacations business the end of September 2017!

Bon Voyage!

Consequences of Unqualified Hiring


thT8EBKFKNIf you are the type of person that needs to be the smartest one in the room in order to maintain your self-esteem, you likely hire people that are less qualified than you. When everyone around you is less qualified to do their job, they have no other recourse than to fall back on your vast depth of knowledge and experience to survive. You remain the smartest person in the room by default because everyone else around you is incompetent compared to you.

And while everyone else in the organization sees you as indispensable, you have created a domino effect by setting the standard. The people you hire then hire people that are less competent than they are too, and the dumbing down of your part of the organization is well on its way to 100%.

I’m watching the fallout of an organization that normally does not hire like this and looks for people that are smarter and bring new talents to the organization. However, one senior leader is very insecure and staffs her department with people that don’t meet minimum job responsibilities, and must lean on her to solve work challenges. This makes her become indispensable because her team really does need her. Where it shows up most often as a problem is when she is on vacation or out of the office. Everything gets backed up waiting for her return.

I forget who said it first, but I have always agreed with the statement that “if I am the smartest person in the room, I need to add more people to the room.” I have always hired people with more expertise than me so my department not only survives in my absence, but we continually grow. While the direction may change with a new leader that replaces me after I leave, the team still functions because no single person was dependent on me for wisdom.

As a leader, if you hire someone that is totally incompetent for a job, you send a single that no one needs to be qualified to work for you and/or get promoted. Your managers will also mimic you and hire less than qualified people to remain looking indispensable themselves. Before long, the only person that can do their job is the one leader at the top; so what happens when they quit?

Odd Qualifications for TOO Many Managers These Days


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If you have children in their late teens to mid-twenties in the workforce, you may have heard a few dozen horror stories about their managers and thought they were exaggerated. Unfortunately your ears did not deceive you nor did your kid’s experiences get blown out of proportion. The minimum qualifications to become a Shift Lead, Assistant Manager or even the Manager are nonexistent; unless of course you consider the following requirements as standard guidelines these days.

 

“Managers Wanted For Hire”

We are seeking warm bodies with zero previous supervisory or management experience to lead our retail locations, restaurants, and revolving door enterprises. The following requirements are mandatory unless otherwise stated as preferred:

  • You must have zero knowledge of any Human Resources Policies, Federal or State Employment Laws, and be completely unable to identify Workplace Harassment (even if it happens to you).
  • If your staff members should have the audacity to report your management style to senior members of the company or Human Resources as “Hostile” or “Illegal” you have the assurance that these complaints will be fully ignored until such time as you are able to terminate these staff members.
  • In order to make your sales, service and expense goals, it may be necessary to work staff without paying them regular or overtime wages, skipping meals and breaks, and learning how to trick the time clock.
  • You should understand that your role makes you the superior life form in your location and all staff are considered your subjects and/or slaves and should be treated with very little regard.
  • Giving Directions and Feedback should come from your emotional stability at the time and never from your brain. Ripping an employee’s face off is a sign of a strong manager. If you are referred to as a Witch with a B, consider it a badge of honor and that you are doing things correctly.
  • Experience with Performance Improvement and Team Building is not necessary. If any employee doesn’t perform as expected within the first two days on the job, they should just be fired. You can always hire someone else to replace them.
  • You do need to be a proficient recruiter and interviewer with an emphasis on telling each person what they want to hear so they accept the job. You will not be held accountable for any promises you make as we put nothing in writing. We do not have a written list of prohibitive interview questions either and we discriminate in our hiring process based on each manager’s personal biases.
  • It is vital that you have never received any management or leadership training in previous positions and we make the promise to you never to require any such training nonsense as long as you work for us.

 

NOTE: While this blog was meant to be humorous in nature, unfortunately it is the sad truth that many employees are working for managers with these skill sets. Your friends and family are being subjected to poor management because these issues are allowed to exist up the food chain. If you ever wondered why a company only wants the younger employee and not older ones, it is because the older employee knows the rule of law and will not put up with this nonsense. They also are quick to report bad behavior and hire attorneys if needed to resolve issues. Parent need to be vigilant in their efforts to educate their children on proper workplace behaviors and rules.

 

Hypocritical Leaders


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While you may not like the term hypocritical as a label that describes your favorite political party, at least for that party it works for them. They say one thing and hold others accountable and look the other way when their own members spike the ball. Yet at least in politics it is seen as part of the game. Politicians are always seen as playing to an audience they need for votes instead of doing the right thing for their country.

Yet this blog has spent a lot of words over the years talking about leaders in the workplace. And while you may want to point the finger at a politician for being hypocritical, the problem exists in every industry and way too many of our corporate leaders. People seen as walking a different talk are seen as hypocrites too!

I witnessed first-hand again this week a leader saying one thing and allowing the total opposite to happen. In my world of HR & Training it happens on a regular basis because my peer group is afraid to speak the truth to management. Not always mind you, but those rare individuals that see their roles as problem solvers and not everyone’s friend are hard to find. One such associate told me when she interviewed to be the Director of HR, she warned them that if she “sees a problem, she will be a pain in the ass until it is fixed.” Yes she not only got the job, but she is fulfilling her promise daily!

As I said, this past week I met with a CEO who happens to be an advocate of regular Workplace Harassment training, and since this is in California where we have mandates that include 2-hour versions for managers I was intrigued by the enthusiasm. As is my normal practice before recommending any kind of learning solution, I asked to interview several employees about what they knew about workplace harassment law. My findings were somewhat surprising, and difficult to convey back to the CEO.

I interviewed several people in this small company and it was unanimous that they all knew the laws and procedures well. Except for the training being mandatory again this year, none of those I interviewed really needed to go through the training. However, every single one of them had a story to share about the need for the CEO to learn how NOT to harass. Oh my, what fun I will have telling this person that she is the primary problem.

The hypocritical leader emerged in full force with indignant push back that it was not her actions in question. I spent several minutes making a list of every person she could think of that needed help and she was not on that list. Now no one in their right mind will ever tell this person face to face about her challenges because those that have tried and no longer with the company. So I had both the joy and privilege to share some scenarios and interpretations, being careful to disguise the sources. After an hour I broke through and we agreed to talk again after the training was completed.

While this one situation ended up in the win column, the hypocritical gene (if there really is one) is still very much a part of this CEO’s DNA. Until she is able to point to blame in the right direction, I am afraid that working with her will always come with a challenge to those that have that “pleasure.”