HRBoost, LLC. Blog

Elite Suite Series “Driving a Culture of Community Service: Omron leads the way!”

Posted in Booster Shots!, Events, Leadership by HRBoostLLC on October 29, 2013

Before launching into how exceptional and important the work of Omron Automation and Safety has demonstrated for us all; allow me to take a moment to thank the people who make innovative action learning events such our Elite Suite Series possible for the business community. 101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For™ 2013 Winners; Mutual Trust Financial for hosting us on October 25, 2013 as well as Community Resource Partner, HandsOn Suburban for sponsoring the event and most certainly, 2013 Elite Winner for Community Initiatives, Omron Automation and Safety for sharing their practices on how to drive a culture of community service.

This special event allows me to bring some values that we at HRBoost are truly passionate about to the forefront where they belong. When we go to work, we often think of our time in the office as separate from our real lives. Maybe we have a spouse and children and dear friends who we only associate with outside of work, and we view these people as our own personal communities. We consider these people valued members of our lives and are willing to sacrifice money, time and affection to ensure that the needs of inner community members are always being met.

But life at work is by no means disconnected from life in the community. In fact, while our intimate communities may only be ten to twenty-five people in size, our work community encompasses the entire physical area in which we all live. A company has the potential to make a lasting and meaningful imprint on the community with the right attitude and a solid plan.

The key to this, in the wise words of Omron’s Vice President of Human Resources, Cindy Janssen, is to “make it personal!” Suggestions include start a Community Outreach program but don’t let HR lead it. At Omron, a different functional executive takes the seat of Community Outreach Champion in partnership with a team of employees. It comes from the people vs. “another HR Program”. Sure a company can have a donation box and urge employees to return some of their hard earned salary to worthy causes but Ms. Janssen cautions against this as often having employees donate cash funds vs. their time can lead to cynicism. Practices like that prove to be wildly ineffective in trying to build an office culture that truly cares about community outreach with support from their employer. The secret ingredient in the recipe for a culture contribution is to personalize any community outreach initiative. Ms. Janssen further shared that it is pivotal to get leadership involved. At Omron, that meant creating programs within the company that made volunteering in the community an incentive and furthermore a reward. Employees may be rewarded and encouraged with paid time off for volunteering, tactics that have shown to get people out of their homes, away from the desk and into the community where important work needs to be done. Rewards include gifts to the charitable organization of an employee’s choice; even pairing a gift with a charitable donation in the employee’s name.

Programs like this have effects that are far-reaching. The predicament with promoting a program such as this is how to convince executives that community outreach is good for business. The truth is this should never be a hard sell. Often, employers can find the schedules challenging but with help from community resources like HandsOn Suburban, companies can embrace a group initiative that can pair team-building and giving back in one event, even if only for two or four hours. Another 2013 101 Best and Brightest  Companies to Work For™ winner Advanced Resources, representative Kristen Krope shared how their team hosted a group event on the weekend and credited a PTO day back for employees that participated. Omron also treats paid volunteer time similar to PTO time with a framework for request and tracking. Thus, scheduling can be overcome with proper planning and support from leadership.  And to keep it good for business, it is not out of Omron’s scope to invite customers to join in the effort.

Ms. Janssen of Omron talks about how the general morale at her company improves among employees just knowing that the business actively supports organizations that benefit the community. With 16% of Omron’s workforce actively participating in their programs, the quantitative date clearly demonstrates the heart of the programs and culture created goes well beyond the participants themselves. This effect is so far-reaching it even impacts employees who don’t participate in any volunteering opportunities. At Omron the culture shares in the experience of giving back through transparency in reward allocation. The qualitative result measured by the employee’s themselves is Omron’s Elite achievement. Employees who believe in their business are better than ones who see it as a daily eight-hour prison sentence. Ms. Janssen also talked about the opportunity for volunteering employees to wear special company shirts when they are out volunteering, effectively getting the business’s name out in a positive light that will surely attract customers who share similar community values. As Ms. Janssen shared it is amazing how much pride can come from earning a T-shirt that is only provided to those that engage in community outreach.

At Omron the Community Outreach team is the team to belong to. Omron encourages members to have a stake in volunteerism to be a member including evidence of how the prospective member raises efforts and funds for causes despite what Omron does. Omron allocates a budget for the team to award as they deem appropriate under the corporate guidelines and members rotate every two to three years.

The Elite Suite honored 2013 Elite Winner for Community Initiatives Omron Automation and Safety. And truly through the Elite Suite, many  local businesses, each of whom make a positive difference in the community in a unique and important way will be able to develop their own outreach thanks to action learning events where proven leaders share best practices. Make sure to check out other upcoming events at 101bestandbrightest.com to learn more about these amazing programs and find ways to improve your business. And note I will look forward to our next regional action learning event. Thanks again to Ms. Cindy Janssen and those of Omron for leading the way.

A Green Workplace? by Jacob the Intern

Posted in Booster Shots!, Compliance, Legislation by HRBoostLLC on September 9, 2013

If you have come to this blog to read about how your business should reduce it’s carbon footprint and start a recycling program, you have come to the wrong place. This is not a post that concerns fossil fuels, the ozone layer or global warming. Today’s post concerns something else that is green: Medical marijuana.

On August 8, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed a bill that will go into effect on January 1, 2014 that will make the prescription of marijuana for certain ailments legal in the state. Illinois became the 20th state in the US to legalize medical marijuana, and likely is not the last. The opinion on medical marijuana is changing drastically, with more and more people becoming convinced of the plant’s medicinal effectiveness.

This new law creates a lot of tough questions for CEOs and HR professionals. How does this effect our drug free workplace policies? Can employees smoke during work hours? Am I required to make special exemptions for certain people based on a doctor’s recommendation?

It’s a pretty tricky issue. Right now, the federal government considers marijuana to be a Class 1 drug, a distinction that makes the production, transportation, sale and use of marijuana a crime in the United States of America. This is not the first time that state laws have contradicted the laws passed by the US Congress, but starting with the landmark decision of McCulloch v. Maryland, the federal government has the final say in these decisions.

This creates some wiggle room for you as the CEO or HR department of a company committed to maintaining a drug free workplace. As an employer, you can still require all employees to be drug free, even if a doctor has prescribed marijuana as a treatment for the nausea caused by chemotherapy. The key to maintaining a drug free work force is to be consistent in your policies. However, depending on your company size you may find interplay with ADA and FMLA if someone requires chemotherapy, so tread lightly.

Another key thing to remember for employers who wish to keep weed out of the workforce is that insurance companies will charge higher rates to businesses where employees do not pass a drug test. While a company has the final decision on if they want to terminate an employee based on a failed drug test, it is often a financially necessary decision.

But say you decide you want to uphold the state’s decision to allow marijuana to be prescribed to people who suffer from chronic pain or have other conditions that marijuana has been shown to alleviate. What type of a policy should you adopt to ensure your business continues to run smoothly?

The answer is simple. Respect your employees’ rights to have access to treatments that the elected state government deems acceptable, but establish firm guidelines. During work hours, an employee cannot use marijuana. A person under the influence of marijuana is generally unproductive and inattentive to his work. He may cause accidents that result in injury to employees or damage to company property. As a manager, you should closely monitor anyone who is prescribed marijuana to make sure they do not abuse the drug during work hours. If an employee is showing up to work glassy eyed and smelling like a Wiz Khalifa concert, you have the right to terminate that employee.

While the potential side effects of regular marijuana use are hotly debated, I am of the personal opinion that it’s not so bad. If a medical doctor believes that smoking marijuana is the best way to improve my health, I am going to take his advice. I, after all, I am a college student, and not a licensed physician. Excessive alcohol consumption, assuming the consumer is not operating a car at any point in the evening, is not condemned by any government body. Everyone who is 21 years old has that right. But alcohol without a doubt can have a negative effect on a person’s cognitive abilities the next day. While marijuana should never be used during working hours, use during an employee’s free time would not have any interference with their productivity at work.

But to each his own. Just remember that the law is (kind of) always on your side, and it all depends on how you want to enforce those laws. Either way, the key is to have a strategy prepared sooner rather than later, because on January 1, you’re going to want to be ready. Are you ready?

HR is a HUB! The Conduit to Success.

Posted in Booster Shots!, Culture, Leadership by HRBoostLLC on August 28, 2013

Every company is started with a vision. There is always a principal owner or executive who was inspired by an idea, a spark of intuition! And if they are blessed, they in turn evolve that idea into inspiration which evolves into a real life business. And once the business becomes a reality, that is when all the potential problems can begin. Alright, maybe that comes much, much later but honestly, problems do creep up when foundational HR practices are absent. Barriers to progress, to productivity, even drama.  The CEO of a company is constantly being pulled in hundreds of directions at the same time if trusted advisers and leaders are not secured. And from what I have witnessed, even securing and on-boarding the right leaders can be a challenge. The constant stress that comes with running a business requires top executives to spend a lot of their days in meetings, and with the growth, the leaders can be pulled further away from the average employee. Yet, the average employee is the fuel to the engine that sustains the passion that initially was that very spark of intuition.  That separation can have effects that go beyond the physical. An absent executive will be unable to imprint the spark of inspiration into the work force that has been hired to carry out the initial vision. In the worst examples, the employee is never even told the vision because they are working under a leader that is still seeking their own strategic objectives and measures and may be leading reactively vs. proactively.

This is where strategic HR practices become central to organizational success.

The role of Human Resources varies greatly from business to business. In some places, HR is only responsible for payroll, benefits, and the rest of the stereotypical duties once coined “Personnel Practices”. In other companies, the Human Resources department facilitates talent development for both new and long tenured employees, researching new ways to improve efficiency, yet working to resolve conflict and measure effectiveness. Whatever the scope of the responsibilities all HR professionals have one thing in common: employee contact. Direct employee contact – okay maybe not always but ideally, yes! And if HR is truly fortunate, partnerships with financial leaders can be forged to realize returns on practices formerly regarded as the “soft stuff”, the “fluff”.

HR also has the rare opportunity to also have frequent contact with company executives. In my career, I have worked directly with CEO’s and it takes an objective balance to responsibly honor the complicated role of the trusted advisor to the workforce as well as the trusted advisor to the leadership.   In fact, as I have evolved in my own career I found that the more I interfaced with leadership the more I realized how impactful HR can be. As a trusted advisor, a true HR professional can understand  the values and motivations behind the eyes of the president or CEO. This creates a special responsibility that all human resources professionals should strive to carry out. That is to relay the sentiments from the top of the company to all the other levels of employees. Not just the why but the how behind success. The passion behind the work.

Employees come from a diverse range of backgrounds and previous working experiences. They all have individual opinions and attitudes towards the workplace. Some of those attitudes, while totally acceptable, may be incongruent with how the CEO of the company believes success can be realized.  Often, the employee may not see the heart in the work at all. The problem is that the CEO may never really get to know the employee and may have missed the opportunity to introduce themselves.  Often, the communication simply breaks down or is lost in transition or translation. Or, that silly way of doing things may just be the silly way it needs to be done. It just was never explained. Often, there is a method to the madness and when the method is not known, someone needs to ask why?

The great steel tycoon Andrew Carnegie is credited with the idea of vertical integration within an industry. He realized that if one company owned all of the processes that were required in making a product (for Carnegie, this meant owning the mines, the railroads and the factories), money could be saved all along the way, productivity can be increased, and profits can explode. Vertical integration is something that can be used to combine different businesses, but it is also a principle that should be used within a single business. While Carnegie was integrating huge mechanical processes, an individual company must streamline values. An organization can implement different theory principles in organizational design within a single business to optimize performance but communication cannot be sacrificed in the process.

This mandate falls upon the shoulders of HR. Whether it is HR personally or the HR function that trains and supports the leadership to see it through, HR has the ability to streamline a set of values and beliefs to an entire company. How? Well, the values do not come from HR but rather all policy, rewards and corporate communications should be in  harmony to support the value system. And the value system should really tie directly back to strategy.  Solid value added approaches that measure change in knowledge, skills, abilities, behavior and ideally; business impact. All practices that are held within the HR function.

I found myself in a meeting yesterday where the policy read one thing, the CEO stated another and the leaders likely all interpreted it differently. Thus, they hear it differently throughout the organization. This is where HR must be assertive and yet credible enough to step in, clarify, explain the potential impact and facilitate shared understanding and interpretation.  To not assert in witness of such incongruent practices is detrimental to the success of upholding a value system ensuring all employees are provided the opportunity to engage in support of a vision that all understand. Are we doing what we said we do and is it consistently upheld?  Incongruent messaging damages credibility and trust within any organization.

With an entire company working together towards a common goal there is no limit to what may be accomplished. But the goal is not the only focal point, it is the way in which we work toward the goal that becomes pivotal. Furthermore, it is the priority of the goal in the overall framework of the business objectives. If HR fails to act as the conduit for which all is interdependent, the central hub if you will, the central part of a wheel, rotating on or with the axle, and from which the spokes radiate – then honestly, the vision, the mission and the leaders risk running in opposite directions. And for HR to be instrumental in facilitating strategies, processes and practices the infrastructure must be satisfied first. For example, there is no point in putting a learning strategy in place to develop talent as a priority for the leadership team prior to ensuring the leadership is capable to manage the primary work with the resources already present. Being able to prioritize the HR strategy in support of the business agenda is critical and without that commitment to excellence, HR transformations cannot be realized as the conduit. Thus, HR must support efficiency in all departments before striving to develop transformational effectiveness. However, to be the conduit you must understand that in smaller organizations you operate to support both and never lose sight that value is defined by the customer. Knowing who your customer is in any given moment is key.

A Game Plan Will Only Get You So Far, by Jacob The Intern

Posted in Communication, Culture, Leadership by HRBoostLLC on July 25, 2013

It is no secret that in order for a company to be successful  there must be a plan in place to outline the necessary steps that will lead to growth, development and future success. Companies go about formulating these strategic plans in a number of ways: consult with experts, research the plans other successful companies have implemented, brainstorm and work on site in the office, or take a retreat away from the office with the heads of the company to a place where daily distractions will not get in the way of planning for the long-term future. All this planning, while incredibly important, will only take you so far. A great idea will not collect millions of dollars while you sit with your feet up on the desk. In order for the planning phase of your business to yield results, people must be held accountable in the office.

This sounds like a pretty simple and straight forward concept. Of course people have to be held accountable! If people just ignore instructions or fail to reach performance goals and standards, then they will be fired and replaced by more capable people! But the reality is that holding people accountable is much easier said than done. CEOs spend countless hours and exert a great deal of energy to devise strategies that will usher in a successful future. Those same CEOs place a lot of faith and trust in their management team to properly delegate tasks, improve efficiency and motivate workers. Because the mind is a funny thing, it is human nature to put too much trust into a manager that you have appointed. You view the manager as an extension of yourself and trust that you have an excellent ability for finding talent and developing it.

The reality is that often times managers do not carry out the program that the heads of the company worked so hard to develop. This may not be for a lack of effort. It may be that they didn’t understand what their goals were. It could also be they are just not effective at delegating tasks, or simply are not qualified for the position that they hold. As a CEO, its important to make sure that the people charged with overseeing your vision are put in a situation to succeed, and even more important to make sure you are aware when they do not.

Every good company gathers once or twice a year to discuss the future and create a game plan for how the next six months or year will play out. Just as important is a gathering that looks at the progress that has been made towards those goals. Meetings like these should happen just as frequently as initial planning meetings, if not even more regularly. CEO’s should come up with a plan for addressing the shortcomings on the course to satisfying the objective. Whether incentives or bonuses should be offered, or people need to be coached, the leaders of the company need to know what will work best for them and their company to ensure that every employee holds him or herself accountable.

Truly, Would You Want to Work for You?

Posted in Booster Shots!, Coaching, Leadership by HRBoostLLC on July 18, 2013

It is no secret that the key to running a successful business is to maximize the utility of the workforce. A manager can have planned everything perfectly, have an excellent and innovative idea and hired a talented staff to assist in carrying out all the ideas and plans the manager has put together. But unless that staff is motivated, dedicated and excited to get to work, all the careful thinking and planning will have been for nothing. So, how does someone who manages others at work ensure that the staff will work efficiently and carefully all the while whistling while they work?

In answering that question it is important that the leader of the company looks inward at his or her own leadership style before blaming the workforce for being lazy, poorly trained or careless. As a manager, it is often easy to dream big and to have fantasies of greatness. The vision of the manager can cause him or her to alter their normal personality in a variety of ways.

The first thing a manager should consider is if he or she is being too demanding. A manager who asks for an unrealistic amount of work to be accomplished by the staff is bad news for the long-term health of the company. Employees will become overwhelmed with requests and will feel helpless beneath the heaps of tasks that have been thrown at them. While there are certainly times of great importance when productivity needs to be ramped up, very intense working conditions will eventually begin to wear on individuals and will cause a decrease in production, due to fatigue and feeling like the task is impossible to complete. This is especially compounded when training is absent.

If you are someone who manages people, try to think about how you delegate work. Do you have realistic expectations? Honestly, would you want to work for you?

Another important aspect of a manager’s leadership style is approachability. There will always be problems that arise at any job. There may be employees who fail to get along with each other, or feel like they need extra training or assistance on a project, or even experiencing personal problems at home. A manager needs to present themselves as being open and genuine. If an employee is experiencing work related stress but does not have a proper outlet for it, problems will arise in the person’s work. On the contrary,if an employee sees their manager as being a helpful and trustworthy person, they will be able to address and resolve their issues and allow them to function at full capacity on the job. Relationship management is the key to building an engaged employee. Machiavelli would have been a nightmare of a supervisor.

If you are someone who manages people, try to think about how you present yourself. Are you brief, cold, or uninterested in your staff? Would you want to work for you?

A final thing to consider about your own leadership style is the way you show your confidence in your staff. People will rise to the challenge when presented with an opportunity and have some confidence instilled upon them. An employee will always be flattered when their boss shows great faith in their abilities. It will inspire them to challenge themselves and rise to the occasion. If a manager does not outwardly express confidence in an employee, the employee may not feel capable of completing the tasks of work at the highest level.To delegate establishes trust and often employees will go above and beyond to not let the trust placed in them fall to the wayside.

If you are someone who manages people, try to think about how you make employees feel about themselves. Do you let them know that you believe in them? Aim to always ask yourself, would you want to work for you?

 

A Small Delay On PPACA

Posted in Benefits, Compliance by HRBoostLLC on July 4, 2013

The PPACA mandate has been delayed, but does it really matter? I believe it does matter and it reflects how the Obama  administration sees the ripple effects on businesses.

In fact, many feel it may demonstrate the administration has finally listened to those businesses who have been clamoring about the high costs they will have to absorb once the PPACA is fully enacted. But I believe it may have more to do with what needs to happen behind the scenes on a government level to support the law. The government is still woefully unprepared to meet all of the mandates and requirements it has imposed upon itself.

The law has already significantly affected the mindset of many “small to mid size” businesses and I find that many still strive to understand all the administrative intricacies to compliance. Thus, the news came as no surprise given the enforcement of this law is no small undertaking. News of the delayed mandate can be perceived as a disingenuous move. But I believe this delay of the inevitable may delay the attention that many need to really take a closer look. This time allows time for companies to strategize how they will position their workforce to maximize  productivity and comply with their legal obligations under the law.

Truly small businesses (those under 50 employees or the FTE equivalent) will likely gain advantageous benefit options for their workforce via the options that can in fact help them attract talent. The private exchanges are sure to broaden the options currently available for the segment of employers as well as individuals. Mid size employers (50 or more employees) can embrace the wellness initiatives to financially incentivize their benefits utilization to the tune of up to 30% and up to 50% specifically for nicotine or cessation programs in coming years. That is no small percentage and with outcome vs. participation based wellness initiatives, employers and employees can reap rewards. For larger employers, the cadillac tax leaves no business untouched potentially and with a threshold being set on premium, one really must wonder how much control a company truly has on their premium. Makes me even think I need to reread it! Regardless, there are specific industries (e.g. retail, contingent staffing firms, companies with seasonal in fluxes that stretch beyond 120 days) that will need to prepare for significant changes to their benefits platform and in cases where they may have large numbers of people this could require improved time keeping systems, improved policy framework defining classifications and benefit eligibility provisions and in some cases a whole new approach to how a company approaches staffing its workforce.

Businesses should treat this delay from the government as a gift. The extra  time should allow them  to figure out how they are going to address all of the new rules and perhaps implement systems and/or policy to ensure the impact is managed. This should not be treated as a time to relax, but rather as time to do the necessary homework to ensure employers are not only compliant but able to thrive through it all without slowing down.

Great New Resources for Managing Your Health Costs & for Employers to soften the Consumer Model as a Benefit

Posted in Benefits, Booster Shots! by HRBoostLLC on July 3, 2013

With the passage of the ACA in 2010 and the release of CMS data this year,the slow but steady process of implementing new insurance plans that most employers are required to provide and employees are required to make use of, the times are a changing. More transparency to the medical costs allows for businesses to proactively share costs for tests and procedures up front in a way that many consumers would have had to really work to gather until recently. Furthermore, many employees will begin to take a greater interest in where their dollars are spent especially if they have Health Savings or Health Reimbursement account arrangements.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AH8hPRCr72w 

But all the new questions that will obviously arise with the new health care systems are being addressed on different websites that provide great benefits to both the employer and the employee.

The first resource I would like to highlight is a website called Myhealthandmoney.com. I had the pleasure of taking a demo drive through the software and MHAM is an excellent resource for employees to take advantage of when they are looking to undergo any type of medical procedure or trying to calculate the costs associated with a pre-existing medical conditions. Right away on the myhealthandmoney.com homepage there is a large box on the left side of the page that allows a user to create their own unique health profile by quickly listing ailments and calculating the costs of treating those conditions.

There is also a useful section of the site called “Tools,” where users can easily compare the costs of having procedures done at different locations. All a person needs to do is select the test or procedure being done and type in his or her zip code and all the nearest medical facilities, with prices, will be listed. Even comparatively and the variances are surprising.

Another feature that is very helpful about Myhealthandmoney.com is the “Community” section of the site. There is an open forum for people to ask questions related to medical procedures, costs, and insurance benefits. Many of these questions have good suggestions from other members of the MHAM community. While it is always best to conduct your own research rather than rely solely on the suggestion of a stranger, the MHAM community is a valuable resource that users can take advantage of.

Another interesting website employers may want to refer consider for their employees is Castlighthealth.com. Castlight is another good resource for employees to have their health care questions answered, but is different from myhealthandmoney.com. Castlight is primarily concerned with educating people about different and new regulations, as well as breaking news in healthcare. I was able to view the portal at the recent SHRM Conference in Chicago. While myhealthandmoney.com is useful for customizing individual healthcare needs, Castlighthealth.com is better for learning about new things that impact the decisions that a person needs to make. Both are viable benefit offerings regardless.

As employers begin to gravitate to consumer driven models resource tools like these can help employees share the burden of making informed, educated decisions that won’t put too much of a burden on the checkbook. Employers can benefit from a user friendly portal that will highlight their company provided benefits as well as how the schedule of benefits plays out in real application. The cost can range from $2.00/per employee per month to $9.00 per employee per month. Thus, there are many options in how a company can consider these benefit portals. The first mention for myhealthandmoney.com also allows the consumer at large to pay for access, thus it may have farther reach to the population at large. Take a look if you haven’t seen these tools as they are sure to become more common place in the industry.

Playing for the Same Team, by Jacob the Intern

Posted in Booster Shots!, Events by HRBoostLLC on July 1, 2013

The recent weeks were very exciting in the field of HR here in Chicago. The 65th annual SHRM Conference, held at McCormick Place in the city is a great opportunity to network with other businesses and learn about what HR challenges they are facing and the solutions they are finding to overcome these challenges. But, without a doubt, among the many highlights of this years conference was the speech and presentation given by former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, arguably the most influential woman of the last 25 years.

While I was not able to attend the conference, my boss, Nicole Martin was able to transcribe most of Mrs. Clinton’s speech to me in an email. The speech had several main, and far-ranging points. She discussed how to make good decisions, the difference between shouting and whistle blowing, and the importance of showing up to ensure success. But the point that struck me as being the most significant was when she addressed the importance to teamwork.

Before the 2008 presidential election, Mrs. Clinton had her sights set on obtaining the Democratic nomination. After months of campaigning, the two candidates that remained in close contention to represent the Democrats in ’08 were Clinton and Barak Obama. Obviously, President Obama eventually defeated Mrs. Clinton in the primaries, and went on to become the President of the United States. But that is only where the story of teamwork begins.

After spending months, if not years, as bitter political rivals, President Obama took a risk in appointing Mrs. Clinton to the role of Secretary of State. The risk did not lie in whether or not the former First Lady was capable of fulfilling the duties of Secretary of State, as she was more than qualified to take on such an important role. The risk was in regards to whether or not the former foes would be able to set aside their past differences and work towards common goals.

As Mrs. Clinton put it, “leadership is a team sport.” Whenever there are people working in the same company they always share common goals of success. Conflicts may arise when there are discrepancies as how to most effectively and efficiently achieve those goals. The thing to remember is that nothing will ever be accomplished if the conflict becomes a distraction from the goal that both parties obviously want to achieve. A difference in opinion is not a negative, but should be seen as an opportunity for teamwork and collaboration, a chance for open dialogue to lead to even better solutions that yield even more profitable outcomes.

Mrs. Clinton described her relationship with Obama as having gone from being “rivals to an unrivaled team.” This is something that leaders in all companies should strive to achieve. When leaders are able to get on the same page, possibilities for innovative solutions arise. The opinions that once divided two people should not be totally discarded, but rather should be combined to find the ultimate and ideal solution. Leaders within the same organization need to realize that they are not competing against each other, but need to be working together. Mrs. Clinton asserts the importance of putting “the common good ahead of personal competition.”

Creating a cohesive unit is not something that will happen overnight, and it certainly will not be easy. It is something that requires constant effort and maintenance from all the involved parties. But the results of creating a cohesive team are too great to ignore. Imagine if Scottie Pippen was constantly comparing his scoring totals to Michael Jordan. It would have become a divisive issue that would have caused friction and derailed the Chicago Bulls on their quest to bring home as many NBA Championships as possible. For Pippen, the only statistic that he cared about was wins. Arguably the ultimate team player, Scottie constantly placed the organizational goals about his personal ones.

While Mrs. Clinton’s impressive presentation was full of tips that are all crucial to the long-term health and success of a company, her point about the importance of teamwork struck me as being the most important, as well as potentially the most difficult of them all. In the competitive environment of the modern business world, no man is an island. Teamwork will always be a key element to success.

Trust: The Backbone of Organizational Success, by Jacob the Intern

Posted in Benefits, Booster Shots!, Coaching, Communication, Culture, Leadership by HRBoostLLC on June 19, 2013

When considering the factors that are directly related to the success of a business, the words that quickly come to mind are innovation, creativity, hard work and communication. But none of those aims can be reached without the most important aspect in a business, a concept that is often neglected and ignored: trust. Every business or organization should strive to gain the trust of its employees in order to guarantee success by allowing employees to take risks and think in new ways. A recently published article in Executive Edge titled “What Creates a High-Trust Work Environment” highlights key factors in how to establish trust, as well as the importance of trust that employees have in their employer. The article highlights three different aspects of trust – supports one’s priorities, protects one’s self-interests, and ensures respect for one’s values – and goes into extensive detail about the potential benefits a company can see by establishing a strong, trusting relationship along all three of these levels, and how to best go about doing this.

Although I’m relatively young, I have worked in a number of different environments for many different supervisors who have applied a variety of leadership styles, some which have fostered a trusting relationship, and some which have not. I spent several summers working at an overnight camp, where I had the pleasure to work for a supervisor one summer who greatly invested in his staff. Every day, my boss would challenge us, the counselors, to be innovative, think outside the box, and take risks. Yes, we were just planning activities for children and not working in a particularly professional environment. But the effects of his trust in us had a tremendous impact on the quality of the summer we were able to provide to the campers. Instead of being afraid that an idea wouldn’t work out, I felt energized to do my best to ensure that my risk would become a success. I knew that if I failed in an endeavor, my supervisor would encourage me to continue down the same creative path, providing advice that would lead to better success in the future. The article stresses the importance leadership always looking ahead when providing feedback, rather than focusing on the failures of the past. Negativity over things that cannot be changed will cause employees to become defensive and less likely to seek out new ways to solve problems.

The article does a good job of tying the concept of trust to financial success. “When trust goes up in a relationship, on a team, in a company, or in a country, speed goes up and cost goes down.” This is a statement that cannot be ignored. The logic used to arrive at this conclusion is sound and applicable to any and all industries. When there is a lack of trust in a company, “everything takes more time, and miscommunication, redundancy and rework create costly delays.” In 2013, those type of delays separate the companies who make it and those who don’t.

First Impressions, by Jacob Bikshorn The Intern

Posted in Uncategorized by HRBoostLLC on June 17, 2013

As a new intern at a new company working a new field, my first day of work was full of questions and (some) answers. As an undergraduate student and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, I have never had any prior experience working in the Human Resources world. My knowledge of HR was confined to things that were taught in a classroom via slide shows. In the two Industrial/Organizational Psychology courses that I have taken, the scientific concepts were explained, the research was described, and the data was analyzed, but there was little explanation about what it was truly like to work in the field. Having been truly intrigued by the courses I had completed, I decided to pursue a summer internship that would expose me to what being an HR Professional is really like.

At the U of I, I am a psychology major set to begin my senior year in the fall. While I have loved my time in Champaign, and have found the majority of my major classes to be interesting and engaging, I am still unsure of what type of employment opportunities I want to pursue after I graduate. HR was a field that I had interest in but little knowledge about, and figured there would be no better way to figure out if it was something for me unless I gave it a try.

My first day here at HRBoost was last Wednesday, June 12. I would describe the day as being exciting, if not a bit overwhelming. I was shocked to find out how many different responsibilities my coworkers were forced to tackle in order to provide the support that their clients required. When I told my friends I was going to be working at a Human Resources consulting company over the summer, I got a lot of eye rolls. “Sounds like a lot of paper work,” they would say, assuming that HR work did not extend beyond the tactical work that many people associate with Human Resources. For many members of my generation, HR gets a bad reputation due to the sad mistreatment of Toby, the HR rep from The Office. 

But I quickly learned that there is a lot more going on at HRBoost than payroll and benefits. Ms. Martin and her team of HR Professionals help companies tackle a variety of issues. Yes, there is an aspect of the job that requires filling out paperwork at a desk. But the responsibilities of Ms. Martin are so much more than just that. She spends much of her time visiting clients, assessing their needs and inefficiencies. HR Consulting requires extensive knowledge of new trends and strategies that companies across the country (and the world) are employing to maximize employee productivity.

Probably my biggest takeaway from the first day was the realization of how important people are to the success of a company. In an era of unprecedented technological advancement, it’s often easy to think a company’s key success lies in its reliance on  fancy new computer programs and machines. But this is a fallacy that I will learn more and more about during my time here this summer. People make a business go. People are the most important resource a company has. And when people are properly motivated, trained, and challenged, the success of a business knows no boundaries.

And that was just my first day.