Bringing together the top minds in business and HR to help you create a more human workplace.
Humanizing the Work Experience with Elena Valentine
Elena Valentine is the CEO and co-founder of Skill Scout, an organization that specializes in talent acquisition and employer branding. She is also the co-founder and Board President of Mezcla Media Collective, whose goal is to elevate women of color and non-binary filmmakers in Chicago. She joins Mike Wood to discuss Skill Scout’s mission and how they have been carrying it out.
Elena and her colleague realized that many youths lacked access and exposure to job opportunities, and were hindered from achieving success by their lack of knowledge. They founded Skill Scout to provide youths and the wider community with the opportunity to understand which jobs would be the right fit for them. Skill Scout captures and shares the stories of employees from various industries and brings their jobs to life on video.
Humans at Work
Elena describes Skill Scout’s latest project: a series called Humans at Work. It tells the raw, authentic and emotional stories of employees who have found their purpose as people first, workers second. This series stemmed from a need to increase the number of positive stories in the workplace, as they have the power to shift bias and counterbalance and form our brains in new ways. One of the major objectives for filming was to recognize and celebrate employees, she adds. When employees feel appreciated, they are more engaged and loyal to their companies.
We are not working from home; we are working at home during a crisis. In previous generations it was the social norm to have a different persona for the workplace than you do at home, but because of the virtual and mostly remote nature of the global workforce, it is almost impossible to separate your work life from your home life. It is important to have empathy during these uncertain times.
Elena Valentine on LinkedIn
Managerial Empathy with Christine Assaf
Christine Assaf is a content specialist for Peridus Group, a boutique human capital consulting firm dedicated to assisting HR professionals and business leaders during crucial periods of growth and change. She is also the author and owner of HR Tact, a personal blog where Christine shares tips and insights about HR. She joins Mike Wood today to discuss the importance of practicing empathy as leaders.
Christine mentions getting laid off in the beginning of the year, not due to the pandemic, but as a result of bad timing. Mike asks her if she has observed an increase in empathy among hiring managers while searching for a new job. She has received more feedback from companies about the status of her applications recently than in the past, she replies, but empathy is something that should always be practiced in the hiring phase. Too often do people send out applications only to never hear back from the organizations they applied to. Job seekers deserve to know their status, even if they don’t succeed.
More and more companies have been acknowledging the shared experience that the world is going through, and are subsequently more understanding and considerate with their employees. People are not just losing jobs; they are witnessing their loved ones dying at a high rate. There is a global sense of anxiety even as people work and communicate, and these create a cognitive overload. People respond to cognitive overloads in various ways. Though it usually manifests as the fight-flight-freeze response, it can also show up in other deviant behaviors. The shift to the virtual workplace has brought with it a loss of physical proximity, with which it was easier to be more open and check up on people.
HR tends to abdicate the responsibility of mental health to EAP programs. However, the best thing an organization can do right now, Christine says, is to be transparent in their uncertainty and offer support.
Christine Assaf on LinkedIn | Twitter
Starting a New Job During a Pandemic with Dr. Patti Fletcher
Dr. Patti Fletcher is a writer and the Vice President of Brand Marketing for Workhuman. She is also a Forbes contributor, a contributing writer for Green Entrepreneur, the producer and creator of Disrupter Productions, and a Workplace Equity and Disruption Futurist for HR.com. Patti is the co-founder and CEO of PSDNetwork. She joins Mike Wood to talk about starting a new job in a pandemic.
Patti shares how she got into HR. While branching off into business, she realized that the only true competitive differentiator between organizations is their people. Patents run out, Patti says, but the intersection of people, including human capital and employee contacts, is where the magic happens. As industrialization evolved, everyone focused on processes, but forgot the people.
Marketing and Brand
She defines marketing as helping people with how to think by supplying them with information in ways they would be open to receiving. She describes “brand” as what people say about you when you’re not in the room.
Patti talks about becoming the new VP of Brand Marketing in the middle of a worldwide health and economic crisis. Fortunately, Patti says, she is no stranger to remote working, as she has never worked in a traditional office space before. She and Mike chat about the difficulties of working from home, and the change it has brought on.
Dr. Patti Fletcher on LinkedIn | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
Disrupters: Success Strategies from Women Who Break the Mold by Dr. Patti Fletcher
Creating Career Agility with Anne Fulton
Anne Fulton is the co-founder and CEO of Fuel50, a career path software that improves employee engagement and supports diversity and inclusion initiatives. She joins Mike Wood today to discuss her company and the emerging trends in the virtual workplace.
Years ago, Anne and her co-founder wrote The Career Engagement Game, about the importance of career agility for the future workforce. She says that even they were shocked by how much the need for career agility would surpass their predictions. Fuel50’s mission is to deliver career path transparency and growth opportunities for employees to connect them to their full potential. They work with 60 of the world’s leading organizations and a team of 65 “fuelees.” Mike adds that Fuel50 is effective in providing different pathways for people and helping them identify their strengths and skills, so that they do not feel pigeonholed into a singular career.
Mike asks Anne how the business has changed since the dawn of the COVID-19 pandemic. Six months in, the unemployment rate has skyrocketed to 13%. Prior to the pandemic there was a skills shortage, but currently there is an abundant talent supply. Organizations need to approach their talent pools with a new attitude, Anne urges, and reskill their workers for the future. As hiring is stalled globally, organizations are now looking within themselves for their next talent wave.
Remote workforce management, supply chain reengineering, and cultural competence are among the skills that are currently trending and in demand. Mike believes it will all trend towards the betterment of the global workforce. He asks Anne what her predictions are for HR going forward. Anne talks about emerging roles that weren’t present before.
Employee recognition has increased during the pandemic, Mike says. Companies understand that current times are stressful for everyone in their daily lives outside of work, and should seek to recognize and appreciate their employees for their effort.
Anne Fulton on LinkedIn | Twitter
The Career Engagement Game
Parenting in a Pandemic with Holly Hazelton and Sarah Payne
Holly Hazelton is the Senior Digital Media Specialist at Workhuman and the founder of their first working-parent employee resource group, Parenthuman. Sarah Payne is the Managing Editor at Workhuman and a member of Parenthuman. They join Mike Wood this week to discuss the challenges the pandemic has brought to parenting.
Working from home is easier in some aspects, but as a parent of two young children, Holly says, it leaves you with even less time for yourself. Sarah adds that she is taking extra precautions due to her pregnancy. They share how they have been juggling working and parenting, as well as the compromises they have negotiated with their spouses and the help they have been receiving.
What COVID-19 Has Done
Mike hopes that the pandemic has revealed a fundamental flaw in the system of the working world: parents need more support if they are to be efficient and productive. They have time to get tactical work done, but not work that requires thinking and extensive mental energy as their minds are occupied with parenting their children. Additionally, Holly claims, COVID-19 has highlighted the inequities within the system with regard to women. Women drop out of the workforce because it usually falls on them to be the primary caretaker and bear the majority of domestic duties, due to a lack of resources available to them.
COVID-19 has also revealed which companies are the most empathetic and understanding in light of the challenges everyone is currently facing with regards to working from home, Sarah says. Mike believes that seeing coworkers in their homes with their children will give everyone a better sense of what people are going through when they return to the office.
COVID-19 is almost forcing companies to work more humanly, Holly says. The types of organizations and companies that will come out on top post-COVID-19 are the ones who will adapt to the new ways of working. She shares the origins of Workhuman’s first ever working-parent employee resource group, Parenthuman, as well as what they have been up to.
Holly Hazelton on LinkedIn
Sarah Payne on LinkedIn
The Black Worker’s Experience with Tamara Fields
Tamara Fields is the Office Managing Director for Accenture in Austin, Texas. She is on the board of numerous nonprofit organizations, including the Texas Conference for Women. A business veteran with over two decades of experience in management, she joins Steve Pemberton to discuss the working African-American’s experience, and the power of allies.
Don’t Be Silent
Tamara shares how Accenture is navigating the conversation around diversity, equity and inclusion. African-Americans have been taught generationally to not bring up taboo topics in the workplace such as racism, keep their heads down, and not make people uncomfortable. One of her biggest mistakes, she laments, is not sharing her own professional and personal experiences with regards to racial injustice. Remaining silent makes it harder for unconscious biases and microaggressions to be addressed.
We Are Not Immune
The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, Steve quotes. People often assume that because Black employees don’t speak about the injustices they occur in the workplace, that they don’t experience them. Multigenerational educated African-Americans are assumed to be immune from racial injustices due to their presentation and articulation, but it is their excellence that becomes a threat and makes them a target, he adds.
Isolation Led to Connection
Tamara talks about her experiences of feeling like the odd one out. She was left out of lunches and gatherings, which isolated her from the rest of her colleagues. This led to her developing strong relationships with her clients out of a personal need for human connection, and it worked out in her favor as her business was successful because of it.
What Happens Next
It is good that conversations are happening, but what is important is what is done with the information shared. Don’t confuse conversation with accomplishment, Steve says. The purpose of conversation is to study direction and then follow that direction with accountability and transparency. He and Tamara share recommended material for discovering more about the Black experience.
Tamara Fields on LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook
He hates people with mental health issues and what’s them to die.
His public comments are well documented - stay away. Easy to find what he said.
He likes talk crap about things he doesn’t know anything about.
Don’t listen EVER