The HR West Blog
Blog Home All Blogs
Get the latest news and views on the NCHRA HR West Blog. Our goal, as always, is to connect Bay Area HR professionals with valuable practice resources and best practices information, news and views in an effort to support training, legal and legislative developments, quality service providers, and HR professionals--helping them to form career-long networks and partnerships.


Search all posts for:   


Top tags: hr  NCHRA  Human Resources  HR Management  leadership  employee  management  HR Leadership  employee engagement  HR West 2017  WORKPLACE  Employee retention  HR West 2016  recruiting  blog  HR West  employee wellness  HR Tech  company culture  Engagement  human resources management  hiring  Karen Rodriguez  Workforce  communication  culture  conference  San Francisco  SHRM  Bay Area 

The Ever-Evolving Employee Experience

Posted By Editor, Laurie, Monday, December 11, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, December 19, 2017
By David Kovacovich, HR West 2018 Speaker

The Ever-Evolving Employee Experience By David KovacovichI’ve been in the Human Capital Management industry for 10 years. We started with logoed lamps for milestone achievements. The concept of Employee Recognition made the process of rewarding behavior change more immediate and systematic. Employee Engagement introduced employee learning, performance management, live events and leadership development into a broadened view of employee development.

Read on the HR West Blog.

Tags:  culture  Employee Engagement  employee experience  Employee Recognition  Transparent Leadership 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

Could the Law of Polarity Make Us More Compassionate?

Posted By Editor, Laurie, Monday, November 6, 2017
Updated: Friday, November 3, 2017

By Ann Tardy – HR West 2018 Keynote

The Law of Polarity states that everything has a polar opposite. In physics, polarity is a basic feature of the universe. Positive and negative forces are foundational to the structure of every atom.

If everything has a polar opposite, then perhaps…

Continue reading on the HR West Blog.


Tags:  Ann Tardy  Culture  effective leadership  HR West 2018  Keynote  Law of Polarity  Moxie. 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

Deliberately Developmental Organizations (DDOs) – Helping Employees Become Better Versions of Themselves

Posted By Editor, Laurie, Wednesday, May 24, 2017
Updated: Thursday, June 1, 2017

HR West Blog: Contributed by Mike NormantContributed by Mike Normant - HR West Blog

I wanted to share a few thoughts on a book I’ve recently read called “An Everyone Culture – Becoming a Deliberately Developmental Organization” by Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey. This book is exciting for organizations that want to create a culture where people can become better versions of themselves while doing great work and driving highly successful business results. Deliberately Developmental Organizations (DDOs) place a strong emphasis on raising self-awareness across all employees.

Continue reading this article on the new HR West Blog!




Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

What Being Kidnapped as a Child Taught Me about Culture

Posted By Editor, Laurie, Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Contributed by Kevin Sheridan, Author, Speaker, Consultant, Chief Engagement Officer, Kevin Sheridan, LLC

Building a Magnetic Culture March 6th - 1:30p

A few years ago, the famous dictionary producer Merriam-Webster named culture as the “Word of the Year.” I am sure most experts on Employee Engagement were not surprised by Merriam-Webster’s choice. Indeed, legendary management expert Peter Drucker was one of the first to get it right years ago when he coined the phrase, “Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast.” While Drucker first said this decades ago, the words still ring very true in today’s business environment and workplace landscape. His seminal point in making this statement was that all of a company’s efforts on strategy will fall flat if the company culture is not sound and in alignment with its purpose and people. Likewise, if job candidates aren’t as careful about assessing the culture of their potential new employer, they will mistakenly choose the wrong new employer and quickly find themselves in job search “transition” mode again.

I learned a difficult lesson on culture when I was just a child. At age 10 and living with my mother and three sisters, I was illegally kidnapped by my father and brought from a lily-white Chicago suburb to an American Indian reservation in Northern Wisconsin. Neither my Father nor any of my new family members were American Indian; they simply lived on the reservation’s land. Since state laws differ about how to handle child custody cases and additional laws exist to protect Indian reservations and their inhabitants, the pending criminal charges against my Dad were soon dropped and my sisters and I found ourselves stuck in a cultural environment that felt like another planet. I was sent to a nearly-all Chippewa Indian grade school, where I quickly learned that my skin color had become my own cultural “baggage.”

As one of the only Caucasian students enrolled in the elementary tribal school, I was regularly beaten up solely because of my skin color. Recess was guaranteed torture.

I used to spend this playtime hiding under a truck in a tucked-away garage at the end of my elementary school’s property. I started intentionally failing my math class so I was “forced” to stay inside with a tutor instead of playing outside with the other kids.

So I made a conscious effort to assimilate to my new culture, learning and adapting as best I could. I found ways to diffuse the bullies, effective only some of the time.

I learned some of the Chippewa language. I danced in the Pow Wow for the white tourists who would come to “see the Indians,” with many of them believing I was a little Indian boy. Most of all, I persevered.

I share this story because, sadly, it’s similar to what many employees experience when they start a new job.

Culture can either make people feel included or feel like the odd one out.

A major difference with my story and the search for a new job is that candidates have a choice in their new culture, whereas I did not. Most organizations strive to uphold a positive, welcoming culture (or at least a culture that isn’t abusive), but not all are successful. That’s why it’s smart to get a great understanding of an organization’s culture before accepting a new job.

Before interviewing for a new job, people should think about what company culture means to them. What’s most important? There are a range of things to consider: values, ethics, ambitions, workplace environment or “feel,” diversity and inclusion, encouragement of fun and levity, dress code, workplace flexibility stances, trust, and much more.

All of these cultural elements put together become an amalgam that I call the Invisible Corporate DNA of an organization. You cannot easily see it, but it is there.

London School of Economics Professor Sumantra Ghosal, coined it “The Smell of the Place” in his brilliant speech at the World Economic Forum.

He describes “The Smell of the Place” as the context (culture) with which leaders choose to surround their employees that will drive the behaviors and success of the organization. Ghosal uses the wonderful metaphor of choosing either the smell of Calcutta India in July where he grew up (not so good), versus the wonderful aroma of the Forest of Fontainebleau where he lived later in life. Its message especially resonated with me because of the moldy and dank smell of our tribal school, which I’ll never forget.

Smart interview candidates can also take additional steps to make an organization’s invisible culture visible.

You can start by finding former employees on LinkedIn and asking them to describe the culture of their old employer. Furthermore, you should make it a point to ask very pointed questions of the interviewers about the culture of the company, such as:

  • Please give me three words that best define the culture here.
  • Does the company have stated values and a code of ethics?
    Tell me more about them with specific examples of how they helped guide and guard the organization and its employees.
  • What is the company’s attitude toward workplace flexibility, more specifically, flexible work hours, dress code, etc?
  • What Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) efforts does your organization have in place? Specifically, how does it “give back” to the communities in which it operates?
  • What efforts are in place to encourage fun and levity in your work place?
  • What programs do you have that support the importance of diversity and inclusion here?
  • Please share with me specifically how and when employees are recognized for doing great work.
  • How often are managers expected to meet with their direct reports to discuss their career development and next career steps?
  • How does your organization handle conflicts? Is there a specific problem-solving procedure in place and if so, does it encourage or discourage going above “the chain of command” or to the Human Resources department?

Also, make sure you look for signs during the interview process that clearly show that the company’s stated culture is not a reality (e.g., the company says it cares about environmental greenness, yet its facilities are littered with plastic water bottles, which take up landfill space for an eternity.) In short, be a keen observer.

After the interviews, ask yourself questions like:

  • Were there any phrases or words used that would give a true peek into the organization’s real culture?
  • Was there an implicit unspoken “tone” to the questions asked?
  • How did the workplace environment feel?
  • Was I treated and welcomed like a possible new team member or as a foreigner under suspicion?
  • Was “The Golden Rule” exhibited by my interviewers (i.e., Did they treat me the way they would want to be treated, showing mutual respect and professional courtesy?

What my siblings and I went through on that Indian reservation was certainly tough. But it was also immensely invaluable. When faced with the choice of “woe is me” and victim-hood, I chose to embrace the positive and the learning opportunities. I chose to recognize that, as a white male, I was blessed with having the unique experience of knowing what it is like to be a minority. (I also realized that what bullying and persecution we had gone through paled in comparison to what the Native American Nation experienced at the hands of the Europeans who invaded and took over their land and country.)

I chose to share my unique experience in my application to Harvard Business School (HBS).

Of the roughly 12,000 applications sent to HBS that year, mine was one of the less than 1% accepted. I’ve always expected this result was tied to my unusual upbringing.

In the end, for many reasons, being kidnapped and working through an entirely different culture on the reservation, was one of the best things that ever happened to me. I cherish the loving relationship I now have with both my 81-year-old mother and father. Despite an occasional and normal familial challenge, our families have cherished a culture of love, understanding, and accomplishment.

As a new employee, becoming immersed in a dysfunctional company culture can certainly build character, but that’s not what people are usually seeking in a new job.

If you want to feel happy, comfortable, secure, valued, and avoid unnecessary stress, taking a hard look at culture is your smartest option.

If you currently find yourself in a culture that’s not up to your standards, don’t despair.

One of my favorite sayings of all time comes from the movie The Exotic Marigold Hotel: “In India, we have a saying: 'Everything will be alright in the end.' So if it’s not alright, it is not yet the end.”


Kevin Sheridan has spent thirty years as a high-level Human Capital Management consultant. He has helped some of the world’s largest corporations break down detrimental processes and rebuild a culture that fosters productive engagement, earning him several distinctive awards and honors in the process. Kevin’s premier creation, PEER®, is consistently recognized as a long overdue, industry-changing innovation in the field of Employee Engagement, and his most recent book, “Building a Magnetic Culture,” made the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today best-seller lists.



using code SPKRHRWEST to receive a $100 discount.

Meet up with Kevin, at his session: Building a Magnetic Culture March 6th - 1:30p

Tags:  company culture  culture  employee engagement  Employee retention 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

The Next Big Wave of Culture is Right Now

Posted By Editor, Laurie, Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Contributed by Dianna Wilusz, SHRM-SCP, SPHR, CEO, The Pendolino Group
Presenting: Leveraging Core Values to Accelerate Your Business Strategy
Wednesday, March 8th 9a.m.

Register today

The Next Big Wave of Culture is Right Now: 
Look to Your Vision When Making Your Next HireLeadership_Training_Interim HR_Recruiting_Interview_Selection_Barbara Ekstein.jpg

Did you know that first time employees, those hired fresh out of college, and those returning to the workforce from either a stint of entrepreneurialism or from taking time-off, mid-career to volunteer, “retire”, or to reassess their career objectives - are often the best employees that your company will ever hire according to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal.

Why is that? The reason is actually quite simple: experience, innovation, and core motivation.

In the WSJ article, Mr. Giandrea shared that many people [returning to work] are interested in the “non-monetary benefits of continued employment,” including “mental stimulation and continued social networks.”  He added, “I think it’s the case that many people like their jobs. We think people are revealing what they prefer through their actions.”  

Note that these are the same hallmarks of people who are entering the job market for the first time as well - they too are seeking: “mental stimulation, continued social 
networks, and revealing what they prefer through their actions.”

This opens up an excellent opportunity to realign your recruiting practice with your Vision and break away from the reasonableness of the status quo. An opportunity to intentionally target hiring the unemployed, experienced and older worker, and new college graduates - intentionally avoiding the most heavily recruited group of “25-40 somethings.”

Concentrating your hiring practices toward the unemployed, experienced and older worker, and the new college graduate/intern, is counter to what most recruiters will tell us. Rather they often suggest that hiring direct from your competitors and concentrating your recruiting search on those people who are currently employed, mid-careered, and
with little/no gaps in their employment history, is the way to go. But, that stands to reason since recruiting from a candidate pool of actively employed is the
life-blood of the recruiting profession… and let’s be honest… it’s much easier to source candidates that are actively employed.

While there is nothing wrong with that approach per se, intentionally (or unintentionally) practicing a hiring bias toward those already “actively employed” can have a direct negative impact on the quality of your culture and therefore the ultimate success of your business to achieve your Vision.

In addition, by throwing your hiring process into the frenzy with your competitors, you inadvertently set yourself, and your company, up for what we call the “scarcity bias."

This is the same bias that marketeers count on through the use of last minute, end-of-season sales. You are led to believe that the talent simply doesn’t exist… or is scarce. Hence, you are biased to make the hire fast - rather than patiently plan and wait for the right hire.

How is it that managers and HR have been led so far astray by the conventional wisdom so as to put their business and their teams at risk?  More importantly, now that you
know otherwise, how can you apply your refreshed knowledge about the advantages to hiring the unemployed, the older worker, and the new college graduate/intern?

And, what is the first step that you should take to succeed in applying a methodical Contrarian Recruiting Practice (CRP)?

“Harvard Business Review (HBR) suggested that 85 percent of hiring managers and human resource managers
are more understanding of employment gaps now than they were pre-recession.”

Here are the top four non-technical skills [SOURCE: Vanto Group] to look for when practicing the contrarian hiring philosophy to positively shape your company culture, and
align your team to achieve your Vision and deliver rapid and inspiring results.

 The top four skills of the successful (and powerful) people that you’ll want on your team:

They Understand (and Live) Integrity

  • Integrity at its most fundamental level, is doing what you said you would do, when you said you would do it. But, that is just where it starts...

  • Integrity also includes cleaning up the messes you have made by not doing what you said, by breaking your promises, and by not being 
    responsible for your actions.

  • Successful people know that to maintain integrity requires discipline. And, discipline is a condition of self control, rigor and maintaining order.

They Thrive on the Power of Relationships

  • Successful people in business (and in life), know that people become resources for your life.

  • You know that people may be the coaches for your success… and, relationships are the vehicle to make this happen.

  • Powerful people create powerful alliances with others; powerful people (those who live up to their word) have powerful resources, and

  • They allow other people to contribute to creating a shared Vision.

They Breath the Essence and Sustainability of Existence

  • By existence we not only mean that the Vision exists but, how the Vision exists.

  • Successful people have a Vision, they realize that their Vision lives in the conversations that they have.

  • And, successful people manage their conversations wisely and to ensure that their Vision continues to exist - it never goes out of existence.

  • Keeping your Vision (a possibility) in existence requires having a structure - and this is where you can quickly shape the positive effect of your recruiting practice.

  • Seek candidates that thrive on milestones, a visual display of their work and passion, use tracking tools, timelines, and monitor their progress.
    These are people who know how to keep the game alive in distance, time and form - they have the tools and the commitment to keep the Vision alive in reality.

  • Successful people know that you need to keep the existence of the Vision (the progress of the game to achieve that Vision) up to date with accurate information.

Lastly, They Leverage the Multiplicative Nature of Enrollment:

  • Powerful people, new grads and experienced older workers, are often at the peak of understanding the multiplicative nature of enrollment.

  • Enrollment is causing new possibilities (a Vision) to become present for another, and understood by the other, such that they are touched moved
    and inspired by that possibility.

  • This is at the heart of engagement and engagement is at the heart of your culture. This is what moves others into action.

  • Seek candidates that are at the peak of understanding the nature of engagement. They are energized by their own Vision… and see the integrative
    nature of their personal Vision with your company Vision.

Remember you can have any business result you want for your company that you invent as a possibility when you enroll others in your having achieved that Vision.

Acting intentionally to shift your hiring practice can accelerate the achievement of your Vision. “Hire slow and fire fast” - Commit to your Vision and know that to accomplish
your Vision may require you to act in unreasonable ways, buck the conventional trends, and have the courage to act in contrarian ways.

When you seek candidates that are at the peak of these four pillars (Integrity, Relationship, Existence, and Enrollment) you can enjoy the ride as you select powerful people to join you in achieving your business goals!

For guidance regarding Interim HR, Candidate Selection and Manager Training, or to conduct a thorough review of your HR practices to ensure cultural engagement and strategic alignment, the Pendolino Group is here to support you and your team. Reach out to us at: 1-(888) 726-1414 or to explore more.

Be sure to catch up with Dianna Wilusz at HR West 2017!


Tags:  candidate selection  culture  Dianna Wilusz  HR Communication  HR management training  HR West 2017  Pendolino Group 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
Page 1 of 2
1  |  2