Posts Tagged ‘Doug Blizzard’

The Key to Aligning HR to Your Business? Understanding Your Corporate Strategy

Thursday, February 11th, 2016
Doug Blizzard, VP of Membership

Doug Blizzard, VP of Membership

In today’s post, CAI’s Vice President of Membership Doug Blizzard discusses the importance of setting a corporate strategy to begin the process of aligning HR to the business.

I’ve talked with several senior HR executives recently about a conundrum they face.  They want to align HR to their business, however there doesn’t appear to be a business strategy in place to align HR to.  When they inquire about said strategy they hear things like “we are pursuing a growth strategy” or “our primary strategy is reflected in the budget” or even better “the world is changing too fast to really have a formal strategy.”

I’m not here to make the case for aligning HR to the business.  That case has been made a hundred times over and there are thousands of companies that have figured that out and they lead their industries every year.  I’m also not going to talk about how you can align HR to the business.  That’s a much broader subject.  Click here for more on that or see the reading list I prepared for you below.

I do want to talk about the first step in aligning HR to the business and that is setting a corporate strategy.While more enlightened companies have given HR a seat in the boardroom and the opportunity to help shape their corporate plans, the vast majority will expect HR and other departments to fall into line once a business strategy has been mapped out.  And some number of those companies don’t have a formal corporate strategy, particularly smaller companies in growth mode.

Here are three steps you can follow to help you understand your corporate strategy:

First, just because you haven’t seen a corporate strategy doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.  Unfortunately many companies don’t involve HR and some don’t trust or value HR’s contribution to the strategy.  Other companies hold corporate strategy very close to the vest.  It’s easy to go negative and second guess executives when you feel uncertain about how and why decisions are being made.  Check your own negative attitude and pursue further.

Second, the most straightforward and perhaps logical path to understanding corporate strategy is to just ask the CEO.  If you can talk to the CEO by all means do so.  Be prepared however to explain why you need to know.  The simplest explanation: I need to understand where we are going so I can make sure our workforce has the skills and competencies necessary to both get us there and keep us there.  Also I need to make sure we have the necessary leadership, culture, work systems, performance capabilities, rewards and incentives and governance to achieve our goals.    Now of course if your company doesn’t look to you to do any of the things I just mentioned then your bigger issue is building credibility for the HR function.  Click here for ideas on how to do that.

Now the CEO may not give you a formal plan so be prepared to ask questions to help you shape the HR implications of the ideas he/she has in their head.  Which brings me to an important point, asking the CEO about strategy isn’t a hallway conversation.  You should schedule a meeting.  If you don’t report to the CEO, by all means talk to your boss first.  They may have all the answers you need, or they may block you.

Third, if you’re unable or unwilling to talk to the CEO, or your boss doesn’t like the idea and can’t provide any insight, what can you do?  Well if you’re a publicly traded company you can find information in annual reports, investor statements, etc. Here are some other ways you can uncover your corporate strategy complements of CAI friend and world renowned HR thought leader Dr. David Ulrich:

  • Read positive and negative analyst reports
  • Read magazines, newspapers and articles about your company
  • Read magazines, newspapers and articles about your industry
  • Attend industry trade shows
  • Master internal market reports
  • Learn how internal market reports are generated
  • Visit customers in their buying context
  • Visit customers in their product or service utilization context
  • Study competitors in detail
  • Be personally involved in market research
  • Track financial analysis of market segments
  • Attend marketing meetings
  • Attached product development meetings
  • Attend sales meetings
  • Invite customers, analysts and shareholders to address training programs
  • Invite customers, analysts and shareholders to attend training programs
  • Invite customers, analysts and shareholders to address management meetings
  • Invite customers, analysts and shareholders to address HR meetings
  • Invite customers, analysts and shareholders to address meetings of line operators
  • Know what you don’t know

Your company desperately needs to have HR strategies woven into every fabric of the business.  Your path to do that may be difficult but it’s worth it.  Don’t hesitate to reach out to myself, or Rick Washburn orTom Sheehan for help in aligning your HR practices to your business.

For additional guidance about how to craft your business strategy, please contact our Advice & Resolution at at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746. If you have any suggestions about ways to align HR to business strategy, let us know in the comments!

Study Finds Workplace Rudeness is Highly Contagious

Tuesday, October 27th, 2015

Sick woman at work drinking coffee

In today’s post, CAI’s Vice President of Membership Doug Blizzard shares the uncomfortable truth regarding the spread of negativity in the office. 

Peak flu season is still a few months away, but there’s another type of bug flying around the office that is just as contagious—and perhaps more harmful  – workplace rudeness.

Remember the old adage that if you give a smile chances are you’ll get one back?  Well, according to a new study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, rudeness is just as contagious – and in it can be more harmful because it won’t just run its course and go away on its own. The damage it does is longer lasting, even permanent if you do not do something about it.

Researchers from the University of Florida did a study of behaviors among graduate business students about behaviors that came out as they practiced their negotiating skills with classmates.  Each student practiced with several other students over a period of weeks and then the students rated each others’ behaviors. A key finding was that those who judged their partners as rude were more likely to be judged as rude themselves. In other words, rudeness was contagious.

The study showed that rudeness activates a network of closely-related concepts in individuals’ minds. This activation influences individual’s hostile behaviors.  Another interesting finding of the study is that you don’t need to be the victim of a rude act to catch the bug. Employees who simply witness a rude act are likely to be rude to other employees.

“What we found in this study is that the contagious effect is based on an automatic cognitive mechanism — automatic means it happens somewhere in the subconscious part of your brain, so you don’t know its happening and can’t do much to stop it,” explained the study’s lead author, Trevor Foulk.  “Anything from simple insults to ignoring a co-worker, to purposely dis-including someone or withholding information,” can create the toxic environment, he added.  “It doesn’t just hurt your feelings,” says Mr. Foulk. “Experiencing or witnessing rudeness hurts your performance.”

A whopping 98% of workers say they have experienced workplace rudeness, with 50% percent of people experiencing these behaviors at least weekly, according to the study.  Any and all kinds of rudeness, from simple insults, to ignoring a co-worker, to purposely dis-including or withholding information from someone, can create the toxic environment.

Not only does rudeness negatively affect the workplace; it has also been linked to more stress at home.

Organizations’ cultures, like those of entire societies and nationalities, are the sum total of learned behaviors and the social and business values they reflect. People in the organization observe these behaviors in its key leaders and each other. Intuitively they associate the behaviors with success, they adopt them themselves and they pass them on to new members. It is an intuitive process that nurtures and sustains itself unless and until the key leaders change the key behaviors to new ones that reflect different values.  Rudeness is a behavior. As such it can be changed, and the toxic culture it creates will change along with it. But the leaders are the ones who have to start the process and sustain it.

Keep smiling and be respectful to one another. That is not just a happy-face platitude; it is a real-world strategy that helps build a winning culture and improve performance in organizations.  For more information about how you can build a more positive environment at your workplace, please call our Advice and Resolution team today at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

The Talent War Revisited

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015

In today’s video blog, CAI’s Vice President of Membership, Doug Blizzard, shares the many ways in which small companies can stay competitive in the all-important Talent War. Though many small businesses feel their larger counterparts have an advantage in attracting and retaining top talent, Doug feels there are certain strategies that will work well for any company, regardless of size.

By examining and tweaking the steps taken to attract top candidates, Doug believes small businesses can stay ahead of the competition for talent. In order to thrive in the Talent War, Doug says small businesses must:

  • Make the talent want to work for you: Offer competitive pay and benefits, make the workplace as flexible as possible
  • Freshen up your recruiting process: Look for new, dynamic ways to uncover passive candidates
  • Build a strong work culture: Set out a clear vision, work toward it with powerful leadership

While there is no sure-fire plan to attracting top talent, taking some of Doug’s advice will likely lead to positive results. For more advice on finding talent for your company, take a look at some of Doug’s 24 previous video blogs, where he spends a lot of his time expanding upon this issue. For more specific questions or assistance, please call our Advice and Resolution team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746 with any related questions.

Is Turnover Draining your Company?

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

In today’s video blog, CAI’s Vice President of Membership, Doug Blizzard, discusses turnover and offers ways to help you improve it at your company. Doug begins by sharing that CAI has heard from member organizations that turnover has been rising substantially, doubling and tripling at some companies.

Doug believes that the major issue concerning turnover is that some companies are not addressing it appropriately as a company priority, and he shares his detailed opinion on why during the video. Below is a quick review:

  • Underestimating the true cost of turnover and therefore not allocating appropriate resources
  • Partnering HR with the CFO prior to any executive discussions on fixing turnover is critical
  • Spending time in areas in the company where turnover isn’t a problem to see what you can learn and apply in other areas

CAI has recently added two more HR experts on our Advice and Resolution team who specialize in helping companies think through operational and strategic HR issues like turnover, mergers & acquisitions, talent management, and more. Please reach out to Tom Sheehan or Rick Washburn at 919-878-9222 if you need help thinking through those types of issues.

10 HR Practices that Destroy Small Business Productivity – Letting Poor Performance Slide

Thursday, May 21st, 2015

In today’s video blog, CAI’s VP of Membership, Doug Blizzard, continues his series on the ten HR practices that destroy productivity. This month Doug focuses on poor performers and how letting them slide drains company productivity, profit and growth.

Doug asks employers to think about poor performers in their lives and how the consequences of their actions can cause frustration for others. He then shares how poor performers can negatively impact top performers.

Offering insights from management thought-leader Bruce Tulgan, Doug says that “undermanagement” is one of the most detrimental phenomenon affecting businesses today.  Doug shares that poor performers come in three categories:

  • They don’t know what do
  • They can’t do what you’re asking
  • They won’t do what you’re asking

He continues the conversation with a mention of hiring practices. Many performance problems are really hiring problems in disguise.  To prevent problems, Doug advises employers to take more time assessing candidates.

If you’d like help managing your poor performers, please call CAI’s Advice and Resolution Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

 

10 HR Practices that Destroy Small Business Productivity – Misguided Meetings

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

In today’s video blog, CAI’s VP of Membership, Doug Blizzard, continues his series on HR practices that destroy productivity.  This month’s focus is misguided meetings, and he starts the video by giving examples of what misguided meetings might look like.

Doug then shares that Salary.com for Business recently surveyed over 3,200 employees, asking them to rank their biggest time wasters at work. The number one reason, with 47 percent of participants agreeing, was attending too many meetings.

Running bad meetings isn’t due to a lack of available resources, Doug says in the video.   There are several books and other learning tools that offer predictable meeting advice. However, meetings with good elements, such as a detailed agenda or clear purpose to solve an issue, can also go south and waste valuable time.

Doug offers insight from business expert Pat Lencioni who argues that most meetings lack drama. The expert suggests putting the more controversial issues at the beginning of the meeting and seeking solutions before moving on to the next topic.

Another reason why meetings are often time consuming is that they lack context and purpose. Doug suggests getting into a rhythm by scheduling reoccurring, tightly-run meetings with your employees. The meetings should happen as scheduled and with specific agendas.  This will help you focus on what’s important and solve problems faster.

So stop letting bad meetings kill productivity at your office.  If you need help around your company’s meeting or communication strategy, please reach out to our Advice and Resolution Team  at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

10 HR Practices that Destroy Small Business Productivity – Over-Limiting Sick and PTO Policies

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

In today’s blog, Doug Blizzard, CAI’s Vice President of Membership, shares his first practice that destroys productivity for small businesses. He highlights over-limiting sick and PTO policies in this video session.

There is no perfect solution for sick time according to Doug. However, poorly designed policies encourage staff members to come to work sick or risk losing pay. Sick employees are likely not at the top of their game and are more likely to commit costly mistakes and infect their coworkers.

Instead over-limiting sick and PTO time, Doug suggests some alternatives. He says as a leader, model the behavior you want. If you don’t want people to come in when they’re sick, you shouldn’t come in sick.

He also encourages offering unlimited sick leave, which empowers workers to use their judgment and also serves as a valuable recruiting tool. Additional suggestions he gives include allowing employees to carry over unused time off from year to year and creating a trained pool of Per Diem workers.

If you would like help thinking through your sick and PTO policies, please give a member of CAI’s Advice and Resolution team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

 

Delivering Great New Employees – Part 3

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

In today’s video blog, CAI’s Vice President of Membership, Doug Blizzard, shares his last installment of advice for hiring great new employees. Doug starts the video by describing a triangle that represents a pool of job candidates. He says the 80 percent of candidates that are at the bottom of the triangle are aggressively searching for a new job. The five percent of candidates at the top of the triangle are not open to new opportunities. However, Doug says the actual challenge is to attract the 15 percent in the middle who aren’t looking but might be open to a better opportunity.

To uncover those 15 percent, Doug offers several tips in the video. His first tip is to engage employees. He suggests telling your employees about current openings at the company and asking them to tell their friends, as well as post about the jobs on Facebook and LinkedIn. His second tip is to encourage employees to brag about the cool things your company is doing, such as blood drives or food drives. His last tip is to ask employees questions like “why do you enjoy working for our company” or “what makes our company different from our competition.” Doug says to use their answers in campaigns and ads to target and attract new employees.

Doug’s overall message is to train your employees to be good talent scouts for your organization. Please call our Advice and Resolution Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746 for additional ways to attract new talent.

 

Delivering Great New Employees – Part 2

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

In today’s video blog, CAI’s Vice President of Membership, Doug Blizzard, continues the conversation from his last video blog in which he discussed employer recruiting efforts. His tip to employers is to stay out in front of top talent long before you have an opening.

Doug mentions that there are many factors that can attract a job candidate to your company, such as career advancement or working with industry thought leaders. You may offer enticing employee benefits, but Doug asks, “Does anyone know about them?”

He offers up action items employers can take to make top job candidates aware of their company and the benefits offered. One of the many items he shared in the video included having your team members present at events or activities where top candidates in the specific industry you’re looking in hang out, such as associations or industry-related conferences.

Doug encourages employers to try the tips he shared in the video and see how they attract interest from quality job seekers. Make sure to look out for the third installment of this video series next month.

For additional recruiting tips, please call a member of our Advice and Resolution team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746. The team is now available 24 hours each day throughout the week! Please give us a call!

Delivering Great New Employees – Part 1

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

Doug Blizzard, CAI’s Vice President of Membership, kicks off his next series of blogs focused on recruiting great employees in today’s post. He begins by sharing a survey that found that delivering on recruiting had the biggest single impact of any HR activity on revenue and profit.

 

In the video, Doug challenges HR professionals by asking them how they are delivering on recruiting. He encourages them to ask their supervisors specific questions that will reveal how strong their company’s recruiting process is. Review the video for the specific questions to ask your team members.

 

Doug says at many companies the recruiting process is more like an administrative task designed for compliance than a process designed to recruit top candidates. He then lists several helpful tips to make everyone’s recruiting process better.

 

Look out for Part 2 of the series. Doug says he’ll be sharing more tips—some that are a little out of the box. If you’re interested in improving your recruiting process, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Resolution team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746. The team in now available 24 hours each day throughout the week! Please give us a call!