Browsing the archives for the hr tag.

What are HR folks doing with social media?


I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited to sit down with folks from the human resources industry later this week and discuss social media.

This event is coordinated through HCC’s Institute for Corporate & Continuing Education, an impressive part of the college that offers a variety of cost-effective and applicable business-related training courses for professionals and self-improvement novices alike.  The shameless promotion here also extends to the fact that there will be several ASQ and general quality-related courses offered in August that I can’t wait for. 

So, in wanting to learn some interesting facts and figures about social media and the human resource industry in specific, I did stumble across a fun infographic that had some interesting insight here via a survey of HR trends recently conducted using over 300+ HR practitioners.  I clicked through and signed up for the full report, and here’s what I discovered:


Observation: An underrepresented number of professionals in HR are using social media, but most surveyed are planning on increasing their activities over the next year (60.3%).  If this is true, significant opportunities exist for professionals to engage now and benefit as early adopters.

When the survey asked about what other ways HR professionals were using social media in HR activities, the responses varied, of which several I was surprised to see the marketing cross-over functions:

  • Recognition
  • Branding
  • Research
  • Background Checks
  • Communication (Training & Promotion)
  • Benefits Communication
  • Recruitment
  • Arranging Events
  • Employee Actions
  • Emergency Notifications
  • Weekly HR blog – Weekly HR tip to keep managers engaged

Another good read on the topic is this Forbes article… 2014: The Year Social HR Matters  Key trends noted include:

  • 47 percent of Millennials now say a prospective employer’s online reputation matters as much as the job it offers, according to a survey by Spherion Staffing. 
  • Employees are requesting to view new job postings on their tablets, learn and collaborate with peers on their smartphones, and provide feedback on a team member’s performance with the click of a button. According to a Microsoft survey of 9,000 workers across 32 countries, 31 percent would be willing to spend their own money on a new social tool if it made them more efficient at work. This last finding is quite interesting as it shows the extent to which Millennial employees, who will make up 50% of the 2020 workplace, see the business value of using technology on the job.
  • The year will also see a new phase of what I call “the consumerization of HR,” wherein employees not only demand to bring their own devices to work, but also want to use these mobile devices to change the way they work with peers, communicate with their manager and even interact with the HR department.
  • According to a study of Fortune 500 companies conducted by CareerBuilder, 39% of the US population uses tablet devices. A recent survey conducted by even found that 43 percent of job candidates’ research their prospective employer and read the job description on their mobile device just 15 minutes prior to their interviews.  And yet, only 20 percent of Fortune 500 companies have a mobile-optimized career site.

Additional invaluable resources: The legal stuff w/ HR & social media and just about everything else.


Catch more flies… Improve your “soft skills”


Even if you’re extraordinary at the technical aspects of your job, it is still without a doubt necessary to distinguish oneself… “Soft skills” count for quite a bit.

Both Sally Hogshead and James Melton recently spoke at the ASQ World Conference on Quality and Improvement about “making oneself likable, fascinating, and charming.” Julia McIntosh sums up the common themes discussed at the event and asks if it’s necessary to distinguish ourselves and how do we do it?

Think about the type of person you would rather work with…  Think about what’s common among the people that get things done.

Broaden the definition of “soft skills” and you can see why…

“Soft skills are personal attributes that enhance an individual’s interactions, job performance and career prospects. Unlike hard skills, which are about a person’s skill set and ability to perform a certain type of task or activity, soft skills relate to a person’s ability to interact effectively with coworkers and customers and are broadly applicable both in and outside the workplace.”

“Soft Skills are behavioral competencies. Also known as Interpersonal Skills, or people skills, they include proficiencies such as communication skills, conflict resolution and negotiation, personal effectiveness, creative problem solving, strategic thinking, team building, influencing skills and selling skills, to name a few.”

How do you improve “soft skills”?

  1. Do a SWOT analysis on yourself.  Brainstorm your personal Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats and assess what you need to focus improvement efforts on.  Mind Tools tells you how and even has a template you can use.
  2. Create a S.M.A.R.T. goal for yourself to make sure you’re specific about what you’re wanting to improve.  Instead of trying to improve too much at one time, set it up in phases or smaller segments that are more manageable.  (Specific – Measurable – Attainable – Realistic – Timely) 
  3. Create an Elevator Pitch that establishes a personal brand that you’re comfortable with.  Distinguish yourself and be able to effectively communicate this to others. Practice until you don’t sound rehearsed.  Friends and family should hear it several times before it gets tried elsewhere.
  4. Get out there and network.  Look for local events that provide an opportunity to practice specific skills.  Start small and gradually increase your exposure.
  5. Write it down for continuous improvement.  After each opportunity to network and/or otherwise practice “soft skills,” journal what worked, what didn’t and why.  In addition to continuous improvement, the journal is motivating in that you can track your progress.

At the end of the day, “you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar.”


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What are you worth?


I obtained my first ASQ certification this year and am quite proud to add that “CMQ/OE” to my name.  But, I’ll have to say I was even more delighted to see the premium on certifications in the latest Quality Progress salary survey!  Paul Borawski even discusses the state of pay in quality in his latest View from the Q post.

Paul is asking about stating a case for a raise, and I’m thinking Equity Theory here. Brainstorm the variables…

Inputs – 

  • What do you bring to the table? Special skills, education, certification(s), experience, etc.?
  • What attributes contribute to your success? (What makes you so special?)


  • What is your current salary?
  • What about benefits, like retirement, health insurance, flexible scheduling?
  • What are you getting out of the job, aside from pay? (Think Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs here)

Referents – 

  • Look at some comparative data.  For quality, use the ASQ salary survey information in addition to a site like or  What are others with your experience and knowledge making, all things considered?
  • Consider the subjective value of the intangibles, such as flexible scheduling.

After careful review of this information, organize it in a way that guides a productive discussion of a salary increase.  The assumption is that we all seek to maximize our outcomes.  When all is in balance, motivation (AKA productivity) thrives. Win-win.

Ratio Comparison Perception
O/I a < O/I b Under-rewarded (Equity Tension)
O/I a = O/I b Equity
O/I a > O/I b Over-rewarded (Equity Tension)

Basic negotiation tips I’ve kept with me since graduate school:

  • Never get emotional.
  • Know your stuff.
  • Always be prepared to walk away.
  • Respect the others involved and listen to their perspective.
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Guest blogger: High quality psychology translates to high quality management


I recently received an email from someone conducting research on industrial organization that noted my blog content was “very engaging.”  Alexa Thompson is a contributor to an online resource looking at the intersections between psychology theory and management.  According to Alexa, the South Carolina’s Lieutenant Governor’s Office of Aging and the Queensland Government’s Health Information Services have listed the project as a resource for others.  I looked over the content and found it to be “very engaging” as well.

While Alexa’s post, as noted below, gives an interesting and appreciated perspective on how high quality psychology translates to high quality management, I also came across an article in Forbes this week discussing specific suggestions for bringing positive psychology to the workplace.

In our increasingly interconnected global economy, competition has never been more fierce. Companies of various sizes and industries often find themselves obsessively cutting costs and focusing on the bottom line profit margin simply in order to survive. While cutting employee benefits in difficult economic times may seem like a quick and obvious way to increase net profits, the complex nature of human psychology often proves this practice can have noticeably damaging effects on employee productivity that can ripple throughout an entire organization.

For decades, psychologists and organizational behaviorists have found that self-reported job satisfaction reflects the feelings workers experience while actually on the job and a judgment about their employment situation as it relates to their overall goals and aspirations. Studies show that worker dissatisfaction from daily factors like environment, pressure from supervision and feelings of social isolation can have an even greater effect on worker mindset than feelings of job security, pay or benefits. “Worker satisfaction, as ordinarily measured, depends at least as much on social aspects of work, and having a sense of meaning an interest in work, as it does on material rewards,” says Alan Krueger, an economics professor at Princeton University.

For employers, investment in psychological satisfaction for workers can pay off dramatically. A 2010 study for the Association of Psychological Science found that lower job satisfaction is an excellent indicator of poorer bottom-line performance. In America, Gallup polling indicates that the cost of employee disengagement stands around $300 billion in lost productivity each year. Despite these numbers, managers at many companies remain oblivious to the importance of psychological factors in increasing employee efficiency and satisfaction. In a survey of 669 managers from companies around the globe, “supporting progress” ranked last among employee motivators, even while employees ranked support from their superiors as their chief motivator.

Employee psychological satisfaction often comes from feeling connected to the mission of a company and its ideals. If an employee genuinely believes in the goals of the company, the likelihood of committing to focused, high quality work increases dramatically. For employers, communicating the goals of the company to even the lowest workers in the corporate hierarchy and acknowledging the importance of every individual’s role can have a dramatic effect on employee productivity and retention. When those with more experience train and mentor newer employees, camaraderie and respect is built among employees at different levels. These relationships can have the added benefit of easing anxiety.

Employees who feel that they are recognized for their individual talent and skills are far more likely to work with a healthy psychological mindset. By allowing employees a degree of control over their own schedules and work methods, management can illustrate that they recognize the individuality and potential for innovation brought about by each employee. And by including every employee in the conversation regarding the direction of their company, managers can ensure that their employees remain satisfied and engaged, maximizing their investment in human resources and influencing long-term company growth and productivity.


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