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How HR can communicate effectively within a global organization

Posted By Laurie A. Pehar Borsh, Wednesday, June 24, 2015

When can “yes” mean “no” or even “maybe?”

When speaking to an international workforce audience, a human resources executive who doesn’t understand the cross-cultural variances in how audiences receive their message can be in a heap of trouble.

Advances in technology mean companies have employees doing business all over the world. HR managers who have impeccable communication skills in their country of origin must now be prepared to communicate effectively anywhere. When researching and developing content it is important to find out how people in different countries are most comfortable receiving information.

Tailor your message to your audience.

Considerations for different communication styles across the globe:

American audiences tend to thrive in fast paced presentations, are impatient, and bottom-line oriented. Typically, they wish to be both informed and entertained. Speakers may be interrupted often with questions and there can be a lot of audience-speaker interaction.

South American audiences are usually energetic and passionate. They like presenters who speak at a fast clip. People in Latin-American countries may have no problem with touching and standing. When designing your visual materials, be thoughtful of color choices – yellow has negative connotations.

Asian audiences are often unimpressed with lots of gestures and may find them distracting. They are most comfortable with presentations delivered in a visually neutral way. It’s common that the most powerful decision makers will not be present at formal presentations; Connect equally with all members of the audience and don’t expect quick decisions. When selecting visuals, be aware that in Japan white symbolizes death. And know that “yes,” if said immediately, probably means “no.”

European audiences generally like details with lots of supporting documentation. They prefer to listen to an entire presentation before posing questions. Formal British audiences would be appalled if the speaker addressed them with impromptu questions. And know that “yes” among the British typically means “maybe.”

Successful global human resources managers are able to adapt to the specific cultural and business needs of his or her particular audience. What works in one country doesn’t necessarily translate directly to the rest of the world.

About the Author

Karen Rodriguez joined Exec.Comm in 1999, and entered the partnership in 2009.  As the manager of the Exec|Comm brand, marketing and design efforts, Karen oversees the firm’s identity, touching all aspects of the brand (online presence and web site, web-based learning center, advertising, PR, classroom materials, and live special events). She recently introduced the firm’s blog, The Chat, and launched their quarterly lunch and learn series, The Learning Exchange. She manages their open-enrollment seminars in New York and San Francisco. Karen holds a B.F.A. from Parsons The New School for Design in New York City. She lives in Aberdeen, NJ, with her husband and three sons.

Tags:  Bay Area  blog  Communication  executives  Global Delivery  HR  human resources  Leadership  managers  Meetings  NCHRA  northern california  Presentations  Public Speaking  Sales Training  San Francisco 

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Calculating the High Cost of Employee Turnover

Posted By Laurie A. Pehar Borsh, Wednesday, May 13, 2015

By Matthew Coleman - Marketing Manager, MyEmployees


 

There’s a disease silently infecting the modern American business world today. It lurks in the background, silently eating away at the bottom line of your company. This silent destroyer of business profits is known as your “employee turnover equation,” and it affects small businesses and corporations alike.


I’ll not bore you with stats detailing the billions of dollars lost annually to this problem. In reality, when the numbers get that large, people tend to accept them as the norm. What you need is a simple employee turnover calculator to understand exactly how it is affecting YOUR business. Once you’ve got an idea what you’re losing, there are a few simple steps you can implement to regain some of that lost profitability.

Most businesses know, on some level, that the cost of employee turnover is a problem. They view it as a mere inconvenience that must be dealt with, a cost of doing business. That’s until you put a dollar amount on its effect. Even seeing an “estimate” of what you’re losing will shock you!


See for yourself! Here’s an employee turnover calculator to help you understand just how much money employee turnover truly costs YOUR business each year. Once business owners, HR managers, CFOs, and CEOs get a look at the real numbers lost each year, quarter or even a single month... they need to take a hard look at what needs to be done to slow that tide.

Example: Let’s say you have 100 employees. Each year, you have 15% turnover. When those employees leave for whatever reason, you have to train new employees to fill the open positions. If it takes 2 weeks to train each new employee, at 40 hours per week, on a $8 hourly salary for the new employee, and a $25 hourly salary for the trainer, you’re looking at $42,768 per year! And that doesn’t even cover recruiting!

Those are just blind estimates.  Take a minute to input your data into the employee turnover calculator to get a true number for your own business. Prepare to be shocked!

While you can’t stop employee turnover completely, you can take steps to diminish it. Examine your company culture for ways to improve employee engagement. Find ways to inspire employees to take more pride in their job by asking them for input on how to do their tasks more efficiently. Survey employees and ask their thoughts on how the workplace can be improved (and then implement do some of the suggestions!). Create an employee recognition platform that recognizes people for their effort, and awards them regularly and consistently.

It’s a proven fact! When employees are engaged, they work harder, are more efficient, and take pride in what they do. A “World Class” atmosphere of teamwork develops. A cooperative, competitive spirit blossoms, encouraging everyone to be a better employee and a better person. People stop coming to work because they have to, and start coming because they want to. They are more productive and happier. That means fewer performance-based layoffs and fewer top producers leaving your company for greener pastures.

Engaged employees have significantly lower levels of absenteeism, on the job accidents, and fewer HR issues. What is that doing to your bottom line every year? According to Gallup Research, companies with high levels of employee engagement are 400% more profitable. Yes, 400%!! Pair that increase in productivity and profitability with the savings from reduced turnover, and your business can expect exponential growth in sales and profits.

Many of the factors affecting true employee engagement need to be customized for each business. A great place to start is an employee survey. Find out what employees think about the business and work environment. You may uncover hidden systemic issues that contribute to your high rate of employee turnover.

 

Another excellent place to start is a consistent recognition platform. One of the most basic human needs is to feel appreciated. From a business perspective, a recognition program can reward and inspire employees while at the same time achieving company goals and objectives. It’s not magic; it's all about criteria. Check out this video for more about that: How can an Employee Recognition program increase profitability.

Employee turnover is an infection, but it doesn’t have to be a killer. The first step is using a simple employee turnover calculator to put a dollar amount on just how much it costs your business. Once you understand that, you can easily justify any investment in employee engagement and employee recognition to shrink your turnover rate drastically. Not only will you be saving the headache of replacing many of your employees, but you’ll be investing in the massive growth potential and profitability of your business.


About the Author

Matthew Coleman is the Marketing Manager for 
MyEmployees. The mission of MyEmployees is to engage America’s workforce, one manager, one employee at a time… forging stronger companies in the process. Twitter: @matthewjcoleman
 


Tags:  Bay Area  behavior  California  cost  cultural  culture  diversity  engagement  harassment in the workplace  HR  human resources  leadership  management  my  NCHRA  San Francisco  turnover  workforce  workplace 

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HR West 2015 was a huge success!

Posted By Amy S. Powers, Monday, March 9, 2015

Thank you to all who came out to the 31st annual HR West conference. What a fantastic time we had! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. To our members, to the HR community, to our sponsors, presenters, and keynotes - for your dedication to human resources. Without you there would be no us!

 

It is an honor to serve the country’s most vibrant HR community. Whether you came for the connections, the coffee, the next practice techniques, or to fall in love with your job all over again, a good time was had by all.

 

Stay tuned for photos, but in the meantime we thought we'd share a few of the "Twitter pic" highlights (#NCHRA #HRWest)!


 

Mark your calendar for March 7-9, 2016 and be on the lookout for registration announcements. If you register by 7/30/15, you can get the full 2016 conference for just $693! 


Tags:  Annual  Bay Area  California  HR  NCHRA  Oakland  San Francisco  SHRM  West 

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5 Priorities HR Can’t Ignore in 2015

Posted By CEB HR, Thursday, February 26, 2015

How employees get their work done has changed remarkably quickly; unsurprisingly HR needs to change too.

 

Anyone who works in a global company doesn’t need to be told that their job has changed enormously in the past few years. Even if their job title – and sometimes their job description – remains unscathed, the number of people they work with, the amount of information they use to make decisions, their day-to-day tasks, and the technology they use have all changed quicker than at any time in their careers.

 

The changing nature of work is one of five trends CEB’s research shows will shape global business in 2015. And, given the function’s role, this shift in how work is accomplished means a lot of change for HR professionals. Heads of HR and their teams should take five steps in particular to help their firm make the most of the new work environment.

 

FIVE PRIORITIES FOR THE HR FUNCTION

  1. Attract and retain “enterprise contributors”: Data from surveys of HR and line managers show that the average company needs to improve employee performance by 27% just to hit the revenue and profitability targets senior managers have set. HR teams should look beyond conventional performance management based on improving individual performance and develop a cadre of “enterprise contributors.”  These are employees who perform well individually and who accomplish tasks by working effectively with and through others.

    In fact, firms with enterprise contributors outperform their peers by 5% and 11% on year-over-year revenue and profit growth, respectively. This means that the average Fortune 500 organization can increase profit by $144 million and revenue by $924 million. HR should not make the mistake of thinking that most employees aren’t ready or willing to be enterprise contributors. They are, but they’re stymied by structure and culture of their firms. Instead of trying to motivate employees to be enterprise contributors, HR should help their firms reconcile four paradoxes at the heart of performance management.

  2. Don’t make yourself appealing to all job candidates, just the good ones: The volume of people applying for jobs has risen by 33% in the past three years but the quality of applicants has not improved at all. In response, many firms launched employment branding campaigns to establish their company as “a great place to work,” and attract higher quality candidates.

    But this strategy – called “branding for appeal” – produces pools of applicants of whom only 28% could be classed as high quality. This is because firms just add yet more to the mass of accessible corporate information. And all these conflicting messages – some of which are false – means that 61% of applicants say they are more skeptical of what employers say about themselves than they were three years ago. Instead, HR teams should take a “branding for influence” approach to attract the best candidates.

    Instead of releasing a(nother) YouTube video full of smiling faces and an uplifting theme tune, savvy firms spend time and money on messages that are relevant to the most important talent segments, and that challenge applicants’ thinking rather than highlight anything good about the company. Those firms that brand for influence almost double the proportion of the applicant pool that can be classed as high quality.

  3. Teach employees how to learn, not just what to learn: Given all of the above, firms must keep improving their learning and development activities. Most employees are now well aware that constant development is essential and think that the learning and development provided at their firm is sufficient: 84% say their “L&D solutions” are satisfying. But despite this, and the estimated $145 billion spent annually on training, fewer than half those investments result in tangible returns. In response to these poor figures, many firms provide more opportunities for development, across more channels, and advocate that employees take responsibility for their development. But it doesn’t work. Nearly three in four line managers report employees with high learning participation lack the right skills, and the extra learning activity creates a lot of waste. Every day, employees waste approximately 11% of their time on unproductive learning.

    Leading firms increase employee awareness of how to learn (not just what to learn) and use technology that helps employees develop learning behaviors, and not just consume content. This approach doubles the number of employees with high learning capabilities, and makes it more likely that employees will be equipped or the new work environment.

  4. Make the HR team more valuable: Even though most senior executives are keen to stress how important their “people are to the business,” HR teams still struggle to provide the necessary support. Less than one-fifth of line managers rate HR as an effective partner.

    Many heads of HR have invested heavily in developing their HR teams to improve this sad statistic but most over invest in improving individuals and don’t do enough to change the organizational culture in which their teams must work. In particular, there are four organizational barriers that prevent HR business partners – those that support the line – from doing their jobs effectively. Remove these and firms can nearly double the number of effective HR business partners they employ.

  5. Don’t mistake high-performing employees for high-potential employees: CEB data show that firms with stronger leaders enjoy twice the revenue and twice the profit growth. Yet a high-potential employee (HiPo) program, which is many firms’ main investment to develop their future leaders, is statistically more likely to fail than succeed.

    Data shows that 50% of HR managers lack confidence in their programs, and a staggering five in six HR managers are dissatisfied with the results. Despite evidence to the contrary, many firms still wrongly assume that a high performer is also a HiPo. In fact, only one-in-seven high performers are HiPos. The reason mistakes are so often made is that there is rarely an objective selection process in place; decisions are rarely backed by any science. Those involved in the HiPo selection process should assess employees based on their ability, aspiration, and engagement with the firm.

CEB is the world’s leading member-based advisory company with a unique view into what matters — and what works — when capitalizing on drivers of business performance. With 30 years of experience working with top companies to share, analyze, and apply proven practices, CEB begins with great outcomes and reverse engineer to help you unlock your full potential. For further information visit: http://www.executiveboard.com/.   Originally reprinted with permission in HRWest Magazine January 2015.

Tags:  2015  CEB  HR  HR West  NCHRA  San Francisco  SHRM 

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Turn That SOUL-CRUSHING Conference into a WIN - How to Get More Out of a Conference

Posted By Administration, Thursday, February 12, 2015

By Sue Shellenbarger

 

You’ve spent days wandering the cavernous halls of a convention center, trapped in windowless rooms, drinking too much coffee and talking yourself hoarse. Does anyone ever emerge from a conference as the organizers intended, feeling recharged with new ideas, contacts and energy?

 

New York City marketing executive Stefany Stanley does. Among conference organizers she is known as a savvy convention-goer, someone with a strategy for rising above the dreary rounds of networking and breakout sessions. Ms. Stanley says she has gained valuable contacts, ideas and insights from the 15 conferences she has attended in the past five years.

 

Avoiding time-wasting traps takes planning, self-discipline, skill—and for many, a lot of caffeine. The biggest mistake most conference attendees make is failing to plan ahead, set a personal agenda and report back to colleagues on their results, says David DuBois, president of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events, a Dallas trade group.

 

Ms. Stanley, 26, admits to some apprehension as she prepares for 21/2 days at Content Marketing World. This is a conference in Cleveland focused on using content such as blogs and videos to replace traditional advertising. Her employer, Sandra Arnold Inc., or SAI, a creator and producer of corporate events and exhibits, is spending $3,000 on her trip, including a $2,000 pass to the meeting. Ms. Stanley, SAI’s business development director, hopes to return with new digital-marketing ideas and relationships with potential clients and helpful contacts.

 

A record 70 million people will attend conferences in the U.S. and Canada this year, with attendance expected to peak next month, industry research shows. The experience can be overwhelming.  Conferences usually last one to four days. Content Marketing World offers 80 breakout sessions, with time to attend only 11. It sprawls over 270,000 square feet of the Cleveland Convention Center. Sessions include “Breakthrough Moments in Content Marketing.” Eight networking sessions are scheduled to allow the 2,600 attendees time to meet.

 

Along with the usual speeches by celebrities and exhibits, Content Marketing World provides social activities such as “our own music festival” with a Beatles tribute band and “Shooters on the Water,” an after party starting at 10:30 p.m.

 

No matter what session conference attendees pick, they worry they’re missing a better one. The best networking may be in one session while the best speakers are elsewhere, Ms. Stanley says. She comes in with her schedule highlighted in neon yellow for “must attend” sessions and amber for “maybe.”

“You really have to be on your A game,” she says. “You’re networking and getting all that information, plus giving your pitch and telling people about your company. It’s exhausting.”

 

She works out to build energy, rising by 6 a.m. to lift weights and run 3 to 5 miles. On the treadmill, she mentally rehearses different versions of her opening pitch to suit different people. To help her resist the free candy and junk food that abound in most exhibit halls, she stuffs granola bars into her shoulder bag.

Ms. Stanley resists the temptation to befriend other new arrivals and travel with one group. “I have to stay focused on my goals, getting new ideas and new contacts,” she says.

 

She positions herself by the coffee pot for the first networking session; talking about the coffee can be a good icebreaker. She considers introducing herself to another attendee standing alone nearby, but she hesitates, and the opportunity is lost when another attendee approaches the man. Ms. Stanley tells herself. “You’re here to network. One, two, three, go!”

 

Meeting conference speakers, who tend to be high-level executives, is a key networking opportunity for Ms. Stanley in her search for corporate clients. She is nervous as she waits in line with a dozen others to introduce herself to Katrina Craigwell, global manager of digital marketing at General Electric Co., after Ms. Craigwell’s presentation on a successful digital-marketing campaign. Ms. Stanley plans to take Ms. Craigwell’s ideas, such as promoting GE research with videos on social media, back to her SAI team. She also hopes Ms. Craigwell will put her in touch with colleagues at GE who might be interested in SAI’s services.

 

Brazilian by birth, Ms. Stanley values Latin cultures’ emphasis on warmth and spontaneity. When her turn finally comes to speak with Ms. Craigwell, she says, “You were wonderful. I felt as if I knew you.” The executive responds with equal warmth and promptly emails Ms. Stanley’s contact information to a colleague.

 

Later, as she prepares to introduce herself to another speaker, Ms. Stanley gives herself a pep talk: “What’s the worst that can happen? He’ll say no. What’s so awful about that?” Her friendly approach sparks a conversation about how SAI might help his company, and they part with plans for another meeting. Ms. Stanley notes on each business card the follow-up steps she promised to take.

 

By late afternoon, her energy wanes. She downs her third coffee of the day. Hungry after having only a salad for lunch, she allows herself a bag of Doritos, then heads for the last breakout session of the day. Blocked at the door by a security guard and a sign, “Session Full,” Ms. Stanley talks her way in with a joke. The guard laughs and opens the door.

 

Ms. Stanley passes up an opening-night pub crawl. Networking with strangers over drinks “has never proven effective for me,” she says. The music festival on the second evening is unusual enough to lure her. She leaves after 45 minutes. “I prefer to go to bed early and be focused on the next day,” she says. Ms. Stanley once slept through a meeting because her cellphone died, she says.

 

She now arranges a wake-up call from her hotel, in addition to setting the alarm on her smartphone. At a breakout session on the last day, she finds a seat near the front, only to realize that she already knows the information being presented. Usually, she avoids sitting too close to the front so she can see who else is present, and also so she can slip out quietly if necessary. “I picked the wrong seat” this time, she says. On the last day, more than an hour before a closing keynote speech by actor Kevin Spacey, hundreds line up for seats. Ms. Stanley strides past them on her way to a panel discussion. “I’m not going to not network so I can be in the front row for Kevin Spacey,” she says. “You have to keep in mind your goal.”

 

Later, Ms. Stanley takes stock: She has reaped several good ideas and a grasp of emerging trends such as using journalistic techniques to attract customers on social media and the Web. She collected 20 business cards, initiated promising relationships with four potential clients, and made five “fair-to-good” new contacts. She isn’t done. Many people only took her card or gave her a colleague’s name. But she will follow up with them all.

 

 

Sue Shellenbarger is the creator and writer of the The Wall Street Journal's "Work & Family" column. The former chief of the Journal's Chicago news bureau, Ms. Shellenbarger started the column in 1991 to provide the nation's first regular coverage of the growing conflict between work and family and its implications for the workplace and society. Read more about Sue here

This article was originally reprinted in HR West Magazine November 2014 issue by permission of Wall Street Journal, Copyright © 2014 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.  All Rights Reserved Worldwide. License number 3484300144322.

 

Register for HR West today - March 2-4, 2015 at the Oakland Convention Center, Oakland, California.
For more information contact, Amy Powers, NCHRA.

Tags:  Annual  Bay Area  California  Coast  Conference  HR  HR West  NCHRA  Oakland  San Francisco  SHRM 

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