What You Can Learn from Your Employee Networks

Employee Resource Group network in a meeting
Employee Resource Groups provide ways for employees to connect with people like them. But do they produce results?

Employee resource groups (ERGs) provide a place for women, veterans, LGBT employees, people of color, people with disabilities, working parents, and others to connect and help ensure the workplace welcomes and supports their productivity. Yet even though the number of ERGs has taken off, companies seldom assess these groups’ success.

We know that the activities associated with ERGs have general value. Networking, for example, is linked (pdf) to an increase in promotions and in compensation, to greater career satisfaction, and to salary growth. Mentoring also yields demonstrated benefits: People with mentors are more likely to receive promotions and salary increases (pdf).

Can You Trust HR?

When trouble is brewing, it is important to have a safe place to turn for support, advice, and counsel. The trouble might be your own, or you might have trouble with one of your direct reports. Sometimes, it’s not possible to turn to your own manager for such support, or you might just want to talk your thoughts and ideas through with someone before involving your manager. Your first stop is often HR—but can you trust HR?

In this new post, recently published on the American Management Association’s Playbook, Keli Trejo and I give you the 101 on working with HR.

3 Ways to Supercharge Your Onboarding Process

They were hired with good intentions, but they never really fit in. Their fault? Think again. If your company is like most, your onboarding process is a big part of the problem. Too often, people’s onboarding experience leaves them feeling bored, frustrated, or confused. Instead, design a process that sends powerful messages about the company and employees’ roles in it. Here are three ways to supercharge your onboarding process. To read the rest of this post, which just went live on Inc.com, click here: 3 Ways to Supercharge Your Onboarding Process.

Three Things HR Should Not Do

Strategic HR is a mindset and a philosophy. But it also depends on action. I spoke with several HR leaders to get their advice on how to move HR departments in a strategic direction. They have three powerful recommendations for what HR should not do.

To read what they had to say, check out 3 Things HR Should Stop Doing Today, which just went live on the American Management Association Playbook.

Becoming a Strategic HR Professional

~~ One in an intermittent series about strategic HR. If you have a fantastic story of strategic HR you’d like to see featured here, let me know! ~~

I’ve talked with many people about what strategic HR means. Most people seem confused.

“It’s having a seat at the table,” say some. What the HR professional does once in that seat isn’t clear. Others say it’s about making HR decisions from a financial perspective. In other words, cut long-term employees whose salaries have increased, but who are no longer innovating (while the root causes of lack of innovation go unexamined). Neither of these approaches leads to strategic HR.

Bringing Innovation to HR Strategy: Highlights of the 2013 SHRM Strategy Conference


We’re living in a VUCA world, said Dr. Tom Hogan at the 2013 SHRM Strategy conference. And, indeed, that was the talk of the conference.

VUCA stands for volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous. Each of the speakers I heard shared thoughts, models, tools, and stories about how companies can succeed in a VUCA world.

Thinking Has Become a Daring Act

“Thinking has become a daring act,” keynote speaker Lisa Bodell (@LisaBodell) proclaimed. After all, she explained, what happens when we walk into an office to see someone staring out the window? We wonder why they’re not working. The act of thinking is seen as something frivolous, time-wasting, and counter-productive.

Maya Townsend Presents “Understanding Business Ecosystems” at the SHRM Strategy Conference

SHRM Strategy Conference Logo

Today’s customer landscape is not tomorrow’s. Yesterday’s star employees are not today’s. And who knows what the economy will do? Yet companies need to continue performing amidst these changes. It’s hard to see the forest-the ecosystem-when you’re stuck in the weeds.

Partnering Resources founder Maya Townsend presents a simple, yet robust, methodology for mapping business ecosystems and explore how HR professionals can use this strategic tool to benefit their companies at the 2013 SHRM Strategy conference. Participants will learn:

  • What ecosystems are and why they matter HR professionals
  • How two organizations–eCopy and the Austin Health Adolescent Initiative–used business ecosystem mapping to understand their environment
  • The process for conducting a business ecosystem assessment

Join Partnering Resources founder Maya Townsend at the SHRM Strategy Conference in San Diego!

Getting Ahead of the Curve: Workforce Planning to Anticipate Talent Gaps

Mind the Talent Gaps. Image by limaoscarjuliet on flickr.

People have been predicting boomer brain drain for years. In 2008, a SHRM / AARP study warned about the impending brain drain. Yet, companies haven’t been too worried, partially because the economy has made it impossible for people to leave.

It might be time for that relaxed attitude to change.

Recently, one of my clients was surprised to learn that 28% of their workforce would be eligible to walk out the door with full benefits within the next two years. That’s a lot of people and a lot of institutional knowledge. With the market in recovery, they decided it was time to act.

I Can’t Fill This Job!: Filling IT Talent Gaps

CIOs are having a hard time finding good candidates for open positions. They’re not alone.

According to ManpowerGroup’s annual survey, 52 percent of employers in the US are struggling to fill mission-critical positions. The number of employers experiencing difficulties is at an all-time high, despite a high unemployment rate.

So, what should a CIO do? Keep searching as current employees become more frustrated because they’re overloaded trying to cover extra work? There’s another way.

Get the Kinks Out of the Acquisition Cycle

The first thing to do is to sharpen the acquisition process. Talent acquisition is a notoriously leaky process. Companies lose money through slow screening, ineffective matching, and incorrect selection processes.

IT Talent: Technology Leaders with People Problems

Squirrels are great at foraging for nuts, building nests, and finding ways into my “squirrel-proof” birdfeeder (that’s not a picture of my personal birdfeeder, but it gives you the idea). But they’re never going to be great swimmers. Similarly, some leaders are never going to be great at managing people. So what do we do?

Goodbye Manager, Hello Individual Contributor

The most obvious answer is to shift poor people managers into individual contributor roles. With this solution, people aren’t forced to do something they can’t do well. At the same time, the company doesn’t lose their knowledge and experience.

There are two problems, however.

Is your strategy stuck in the 20th century?

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