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Is 2014 the Year to Unplug?

Posted by Joanne on January 2, 2014 Comments (2)

For part of last year, I unplugged. I unplugged from most of social media for the summer. Earlier in the year, I even stopped blogging. Perhaps it had something to do with my last post and deciding to focus on where magic happens. We have only so many minutes in a day and it seemed like social media was taking a larger percentage of my time than it should. It was getting to be a bit much.

I think social media can be isolating some how, and this seems to be verified by a study about social media and its impact on loneliness. Sure there are connections online but to have deeper relationships people need to spend time in real life. I spent my “found” time reconnecting with my in real life friends (some, ironically, that I’ve met through my online community), colleagues, and former clients; the people, in addition to my family, whom I cherish and who cherish me. Seems like more people are thinking this way.

On January 1 of this year two people I admire greatly because of their love of life and of a each other announced that they were unplugging from social media for all of 2014. Why? Because they said they seemed to be more attached to their social networks than to each other. And they were going to take the year to experience life and moments together, privately, and in real life. I applaud them.

Another online acquaintance regularly posted that he would be purging his Facebook friends and if people hadn’t interacted with him he would “unfriend” them. When I went to comment on his new profile picture I found that I was “unfriended.” Well, I had been warned. I hadn’t interacted or commented or Liked any of his status updates and he hadn’t interacted with me either, so it was valid to be “unfriended.” But it made me think – this guy is on to something. Why gather “friends” who never interact with you directly? Who never reply to your comments or even acknowledge that you’ve spoken to them online? Social media makes it very easy to ignore someone and, at the same time, my in real life friends would never “unfriend” me because I hadn’t spoken to them in a few months. Real life friends can meet up with each other after a prolonged absence and talk a mile in a minute as if there had never been an absence.

Another colleague said she was cutting back on social media because she was sick of the facade that everyone’s life was totally awesome. Life isn’t sugar coated, she said, and social media lets you filter your life to only the good things. I think she has a valid point. Are we airbrushing our lives online like advertisers who make models perfect and flawless? Does social media somehow make us feel like our life and careers are lacking because everyone else seems to be living a life covered in awesome sauce?

I’m not a psychologist but this is where I think social media becomes isolating. We don’t pour our souls out, our challenges, and our hardships to people who are not our in real life friends. We only do that with people who really know us and with whom we have formed deep relationships; we share the whole picture. So if we are spending more time online we aren’t having those deep conversations that help form the type of intimacy that banishes loneliness. In fact, Peggy Drexler, Ph.D., a research psychologist, and Assistant Professor of Psychology at Weill Medical College, Cornell University, wrote in Psychology Today, that “it is important to remember that as far as barometers of friendship go, social media is pretty shallow. It’s unrealistic, and dangerous, to presume you know how someone feels about you based on how they react or respond to you, or don’t, through virtual means, whether that presumption is positive or negative. How people use social media is too new, and too varied. Judging how someone feels about you is what in-the-moment conversations and face-to-face encounters are for. It’s called real life—remember that?”

A good friend of mine many years ago told me that we need to gather more experiences and less things. I think this applies to social media as well. I love my online community, but I should not be spending all my time there. Life is an adventure and life is a choice. Every day we make choices that hopefully enhance relationships and make our life a good one. We need to live more in real life because the most important people in our lives, the ones who know us really well and care about us deeply, are the ones who are right in front of us.

May your 2014 be blessed with happiness, health, meaningful work and deep relationships, Joanne

Do you lead like an DHB (decent human being)?

Posted by Joanne on October 2, 2012 Comments (1)

Lately I’ve been seeing many references to books on how to fix dysfunctional organizational culture and leaders not leading like decent human beings. This proliferation of organizational and leadership self-help books is extremely sad because it infers many organizations do not lead with decency and goodness. It seems that certain leaders forget about being a decent human being.

What’s going on? A recent Towers Watson Survey states that “nearly two-thirds (65%) of the more than 32,000 full-time workers participating in (the) study are not highly engaged.” Key findings of the study include: increased stress and anxiety about the future, keeping employees has more to do with the “quality” of the work experience overall, and employees have doubts about the level of interest and support coming from senior leaders.

It saddened me to read Paul Copcutt’s blog post “Do you really know how to resign?” about an employee’s resignation email. When this particular employee resigned he sent an email to all employees in his organization, and then the email was posted on Twitter and went viral with its own hashtag. The email outlines what transpired and the not so great actions of his boss, from the the view point of the employee. Sending this type of email is never a great resignation idea, but while reading it, I heard a seemingly decent human being destroyed by a leader who wasn’t. (I don’t know the facts other than the information in the email, so I can’t comment on who is the DHB or who isn’t). The email portrays a previously performing employee who is so burnt out that his well-being is at risk along with his decision making ability, hence the poor decision to send the resignation email.

When values are not in sync, eventually performance and well-being suffer.

Is your workplace a cross between a “high school (think Mean Girls … and guys) and the Mafia?” That is actually how I heard someone describe the workplace that they went to every day. Do you want to work for an organization like that, where the values of the organization and your own values are not aligned? When values don’t align it isn’t good. It destroys well-being by causing stress, mental fatigue, anxiety, and feelings of not wanting to go to work. It results in increased absenteeism, and very unproductive presenteeism at work! In fact, a dysfunctional workplace can destroy the well-being and productivity of previously stellar performing employees. And that isn’t good for the employee or the company.

When leaders are not decent human beings, productivity, profit, and company brand suffer.

Think about how this one resignation email impacted the brands of the employee, the boss, and the company they work(ed) for. Would you want to work for the boss? Would you want to work for the company? Would you hire the employee who resigned? Which brand suffered the most? Do we really know what kind of workplace, employee, or leader were involved? No, but unfortunately social media and people’s perception become the new reality.

In real life mean-spirited mafia-like workplaces are not good for anyone.  If you want to create a decent workplace, please contact us. We can help make your business an awesome place to work. I’m not talking about group hugs and fluff; I’m talking about making the world a better place one company at a time, by creating happy, healthy and productive workplaces where individuals are respected for their contributions, held accountable for their actions, and developed to their full potential. (This just happens to be our vision statement!) Oh, yes, and we’ll help train your leaders to be Decent Human Beings!

Related posts from the archives:

The Grandma litmus test for ethical behaviour,

What makes a great leader

Socializing HR – Why HR needs to embrace social media and mobile technology

Posted by Joanne on April 18, 2012 Comments (2)

Sidneyeve Matrix, a Queen’s University professor, professional speaker, blogger, and social media expert, spoke at the HRPA Halton event on April 10, 2012 about “Socializing HR – Why HR should embrace social media and mobile technology.” Even her name sounds futuristic and socializing HR is the future – in fact it is already here.

I first heard about Sidneyeve through my son who took one of her courses at Queen’s University. He suggested that I follow her on Twitter (@sidneyeve) because I would probably find her tweets interesting. Later, when I attended an orientation session at the same university with my daughter, I heard Sidneyeve speak. I actually got choked up thinking – “Wow. I want to go to Queen’s if all the professors are like Ms. Matrix.” As an executive board member of HRPA Halton, I currently fufill the role of Director – Programing and Mentoring, so I was very happy when Sidneyeve Matrix accepted an invitation to speak at our HRPA Halton Chapter event on April 10, 2012. 

Sidneyeve’s presentation was a fast paced tour of trends from companies and organizations successfully socializing recruitment programs, expanding workplace training online, and incentivizing and recognizing staff performance on social channels. It was packed full of examples and was W-O-W.  What made the presentation impactful to me, was that her L-O-V-E of her GenY students and all they have to offer, came shining through.

It was great to look at HR from a social media perspective and to learn more about trends and the needs and expectations of GenY.  She noted that the impact of social media will be felt most by companies in the future with:

  1. employer branding
  2. collaboration & communication
  3. talent recruiting
  4. assessing candidates before hiring
  5. professional development of employees
  6. employee engagement.

She highlighted that if organizations want to attract and retain GenY workers, they need to adapt and build initiatives that respond to GenY preferences, needs, and expectations which she summarized as:

  1. instantaneity -60% of GenY want realtime response 
  2. mobility - mobile technology is a life line, the way GenY connect with the world; 70% of students believe being in an office regularly is unnecessary.
  3. frictionless sharing - (Love this term – frictionless sharing) GenY like to share easily and often (photosharing, RSS Feeds, Twitter, Facebook)
  4. personalization - GenY are creative and embrace technology that allows personalization (Pinterest, infographic resumes, web resumes, blogs)
  5. social recognition – GenY respond to meaningful, frequent, and social recognition. Catch them doing some good and tell them.  (Twitter, visability and a chance to stand out)

Are you interested in learning more about these concepts and Sidneyeve’s presentation?  I used Storify to capture my tweets and those of my colleagues, during the presentation, and added my thoughts preceding each tweet (italicized).  Please please share your thoughts on Socializing HR in the comments section of this blog.

Other related blog posts:

Facebook Follies – The great big experience of living out loud

Building a recognition culture that engages the hearts and minds of employees

Generational Communication Preferences – GenY and Boomers

Generational Networking Preferences

#HRPA2012 Part 1 – UnHuman Resources: Navigating the Social Media Minefield

Posted by Joanne on February 8, 2012 Comments Off

The HRPA2012 Conference was held last week. The Human Resources Professional Association (HRPA2012) Conference is held every year. I thought last year’s conference was fantastic, but this year it was even better.

The theme of the conference was “2012 and Beyond: Inventing the Future” and the keynotes and presenters were awesome. I Tweeted throughout the conference and over the next few blog posts, I’ll share some of the key highlights from the conference through my Tweets.


The early bird session I attended on the first day of the conference was “UnHuman Resources: Navigating the Social Media Minefield” with Scott Stratten (@unmarketing).

The key learning from this session is expressed in my last Tweet of the session.

  • Let your employees be awesome.
  • Let them be seen and heard.
  • Guide (don’t police) them.
  • Help them understand they are the company brand and their actions matter (at work and on social media).

For more about the session, review my Tweets below, compiled through Storify. Please excuse grammar and typos as I was Tweeting on my iphone.

Next blog post: Thoughts about the Opening Keynote: What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, with Marshall Goldsmith.

Inspired, Joanne Royce

Facebook Follies – the great big experiment of living out loud

Posted by Joanne on December 1, 2011 Comments (2)

I watched The Doc Zone a few weeks ago. The topic was “Facebook Follies.” It highlighted the good and not so good about social media, specifically Facebook which appeared on the scene in 2004. I had coffee with a colleague and we talked about recruiting and how different it is for Gen Y, who are growing up with social media with so much of their young lives forever captured in pictures, videos, and comments on-line, compared to how we grew up.  (A teen who started using FB in 2004 is just about ready to start their career.)  

No young person thinks about actions of the moment and how that might impact the future. This is true of most young people, from any generation. They don’t think about the future when they are enjoying the present. But the difference today is that something they did in their youth can come back to haunt them now or later when they want to be a lawyer, politician, charity worker, teacher, police officer, and even a spouse or parent. Most young people are not thinking about how those old FB pictures and Twitter comments might impact future opportunities. Unfortunately, they live on forever on-line.

Sure we oldies (Boomers and GenX) who are doing most of the hiring at this point in time, did things when we were younger too. But we didn’t have mobile phones and social media making it easy for youthful escapades to be immortalized forever on Facebook. If we were lucky, like I was, we had our mother telling us to “Learn from your mistake, hold your head up high, and carry on.” So we have the moment etched in our mind somewhere, not like today when it is out there for the whole world to see, especially if it’s in the hands of “friends” who think it’s something the whole world should see. (No such thing as privacy or control on the Internet). Of course, moms will still say “Learn from your mistake ….” but it sure must be a lot harder to “hold your head up high, and carry on” with the whole world watching.

It seems unfair that those doing the hiring have the knack of forgetting. Somehow we don’t remember some of the silly events of our own youth. We were allowed to make our mistakes in our small circle of friends and family. We don’t have the “social memory” of on-line media to remind us of our youthful mistakes. (Not that mistakes are reserved for the young – i.e. Mr. Weiner). In a recent poll 4 in 10 students worry that FB might hurt their chances in the job market. Will the percentage increase as more and more students venture out for their first jobs and/or career advancements?  I wonder when GenY get to positions where they will be making hiring decisions will they be more understanding?

I enjoy reading David Hall’s blogs on social media and there are two that stand out. One on reputation management, “92% of employers say they will “creep” potential employees’ profiles: Like, manage your reputation already, OMG! :P ” (including a great video by Lee LeFever of Common Craft Protecting Reputations Online in Plain English) and the other “Are you bad at technology well then you are bad at life, there I said it” I especially enjoyed the comments on the latter blog. Jeremy McQuigge commented that looking at technology in our lives from a generational standpoint “… is interesting because Generation Y/Z have grown-up with access to some of the most advanced pieces of technology of our society, yet struggle to use it in productive / meaningful ways. Technology without instruction is nothing more than say… a fancy paperweight.”

“A fancy paperweight” to which I might add that can come back to bean you in the head and knock you out of the running for an opportunity in the future that just might be your heart’s desire. I have Gen Y children; I have had the pleasure of teaching Gen Y students, and I coach and mentor some very focussed and dedicated Gen Y individuals starting out in their HR careers.  They are going to do just fine. The generation growing up and in their formative years when FB first arrived on the scene are like guinea pigs at the start of the great big social experiment of living out loud on-line. And anyone doing the hiring today should remember that.

Best regards, Joanne Royce   
Royce & Associates
A Human Resources and Training Solutions Company
Creating Happy, Healthy, and Productive Workplaces

Related Blogs:  More mom’s flocking to Facebook – A lesson for business

Getting Your Job Search Started

Posted by Joanne on November 24, 2011 Comments Off

People are often stuck in jobs that are not their dream job.  I get my fair share of calls from people I know wanting to make a change. I do what I can to offer some tips and in some cases, have been able to connect them with people in my network who end up hiring them.  Some of the tips come from my coaching program for outplacement and in transition clients.

Getting Your Job Search Started

Look at your LinkedIn (LI) profile. Is it complete? Does it give a clear picture of your work history, education, professional development and volunteer activities?  Do you need to expand it and add to it? Have you described your awesome experience and your accomplishments from past positions? 

Post a professional looking photo. Look at your picture with a critical eye.  What’s in the background? Does it give the right impression? Ask a senior colleague for their opinion.

Ask people who worked with you and know you well, to provide comments or testimonials of your work. Ask for your direct supervisors, colleagues, and co-workers to add testimonials. Don’t ask people who don’t know you well or weren’t directly involved with your work. It will put them in an awkward position of having to say “No,” or worse, ignoring your request. If they haven’t worked directly with you it would be difficult providing the testimonial you require.

Do some research.  Search and look at other LI profiles of people in roles you would like. Sign up for some of the groups that people in the career you aspire to secure, have joined. Search on LI for all those people you know and have worked with and send them an invite to connect.

Look at the job postings and see who you know in the industry and start connecting that way.  If a job is posted at XYZ company, you can do a quick search to see if any of your connections have contact with someone in that company.

If you see someone who might be able to help you and they you aren’t connected with them, look them up and call them. If you send them a LinkedIn request, tell them why you are asking to connect. Do not send them a invitation asking to connect because you are in the same “group” when, in fact, you are looking for help finding a job. People appreciate honesty and they will help you if they can. If they don’t accept your invitation they wouldn’t be much help anyway.  Do not send them an invite that states you are a friend when you haven’t even met. That is just plain irritating.

Many people advocate that you put a catchy statement that you are looking for a position in your “headline.”  Take a look at what others are doing on LI and let people know how they can reach you. 

Make sure that people in your network know that you are looking for work. All your past colleagues, supervisors, favourite customers, suppliers, friends, and relatives will want to help you find a job. I received a lovely message from a former colleague who was looking for a job.  He sent a very well written email to everyone telling us what he’s been up to, the credentials he had added to his professional development, and what type of job he was looking for.  And he ended by asking us to be on the lookout for him. That was very helpful. People can and will assist you with your job search if they know you are looking AND what you are looking for.

Then there is Twitter - but that’s another blog.

I hope these few tips will help you get started. Good luck. 

Best regards, Joanne Royce

P.S. If you are a company and need outplacement services, contact us. We can help your departing employees with our coaching program – Getting your Job Search Started. Here’s what one former outplacement client had to say after completing the program (part of a 2-page thank you letter) . 

“Thank you so very, very much, Joanne. Your course, your genuine friendly helpfulness, and your ability to improve my resume, LinkedIn profile, and interview performance, without a doubt gave me the confidence and self assurance I needed for a successful career search.”

Photo Source:  SXC -  Szorstki

Wish I was (still) @ #Impact99

Posted by Joanne on November 17, 2011 Comments (2)

Hard to believe but it’s been about a week and a half since the Impact99 event – The Social Workplace Leaders’ Conference for HR Trailblazers. I’ve had time to reflect upon the event and there were several aspects of the day that stood out.

There certainly was “nice buzz and energy in the room” as the day started which continued throughout the day and even after the event. In fact, several of the participants, myself included, reported going through Impact99 withdrawal! I’ve had colleagues ask me about it after following my Tweets for the day. And on a phone call today, a colleague commented without prompting, “That seminar you went to last week sounded great.” I guess the Tweets told the story about Impact99.  

I loved that the day was action packed with a variety of sessions and deliver styles, fantastic speakers and presenters who shared their knowledge about social media in the workplace. I enjoyed meeting my Twitter colleagues in real life as well as meeting new people, like my Yellow team members.

The Awesome Yellow Team

It was so refreshing looking at social media as a useful tool in the workplace versus something that needs to be banned to increase productivity. Of course, there needs to be guidelines around social media use at work. But if employees are misusing social media at work, it seems to me to be more a management development or engagement improvement issue. In Cisco’s Connected World Technology Report, a survey of young people under the age of 30, found that it’s not all about the money. The reports states, that young professionals want access to social media and their smartphones in the workplace and that might be even more important than higher compensation.

The day started off with Sidneyeve Matrix, a professor at Queen’s University and social media guru. She shared insights about the GenY students she teaches, and trends in social media and mobile technology.  It was quick paced and full of information.

Lights, Camera, Action

One of the activities was an eye opener for me.  It was lights, camera, action when we became video producers, writers, and actors during one activity. As a team, we were instructed to create a video for a company to help showcase the company as an employer of choice. We had to come up with the idea, plan it, film it and upload the finished video to the Impact99 YouTube Channel – all in 30 minutes. Why? Because Google ranking likes videos (it increases Google search by 53%), and so do the up and coming young workforce, but not very many organizations are using videos to highlight their company as the place to work. It is rather amazing that an effective (and funny) video can be created in 30 minutes, with no budget, and using only a Smart phone! Check out the winner with a tongue-in-cheek homage to the make belief company ”Tickle Your Fancy” with “employees” telling us “I love my job.”  

I won’t go into all the details of the day, as there are already several blog posts about the Impact99 event written by attendees, including “Why Human Resources needs to embrace Social Media with enthusiasm #impact99” by Anja Milenkovic (an HR student and fellow Yellow team member), Impact99 Human Resources goes social- 27 Key Social Media Practices  by Shirley Williams, and ”25 reasons why #impact99 is the coolest HR conference ever.”

At the end of the day, a videographer captured highlights of the day long #impact99 event into this awesome energetic video.

Social media is not going away and those organizations that won’t adapt will find themselves falling behind the competition. So what is stopping you from embracing social media in your workplace?

Wish I was (still) at #impact99,  Joanne Royce

HR Trailblazer
Royce & Associates
A Human Resources & Training Solutions company
Creating Happy, Healthy, & Productive Workplaces

More moms flocking to Facebook – A lesson for business

Posted by Joanne on October 20, 2011 Comments (1)

Stats show that more moms are flocking to Facebook. Is that surprizing? Not when you consider the timeless saying, “Do you know where your kids are?” Well, they are on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, and they are texting instead of phoning home. My kids signed up for Facebook in the early days, so I signed up for an account because I wanted to learn about it. Would my kids be safe? How could I help them realize that there is no such thing as privacy online? Would they know what to share and what not to share with the world? Would they recognize that their online social presence tells a story about who they are as individuals? I needed to understand Facebook before I could do all of that. My son told me point blank:   

“Old people aren’t on Facebook, Mom. So why are you on it?”

I laughed, but I didn’t cancel Facebook. When my son was in Grade 11, I was surprized when he invited me to be his Facebook “friend.” It was nice, but I didn’t realize how special it was until I started speaking to other moms and my Sheridan College students. Apparently it isn’t a common occurence. I was an FB “friend,” but I was still a mom. I bit my tongue about the little things and provided feedback when I thought it was important. During my son’s first year at University, I worried about the big change, but he looked so happy with his shaved head, purple skin, and purple jacket. Kids don’t phone home anymore. Instead they text and they are online. I’m happy to jump in with both feet (or thumbs).

The mind works in mysterious ways because I thought, if more moms are on Facebook then why aren’t more businesses on social networks where customers and top talent choose to be?

Over 17 million Canadians are on social networks, with 50% visiting a social media site about once a week and 35% visiting every day! Facebook has over 750 million users worldwide. LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, have continued to grow. Yet only 1 in 5 Canadian companies post and monitor social media discussions regularly. Posting and monitoring are thought to be the pillars of effective social media use. (Katie Delahaye Paine, CEO, KDPaine & Partners). The reasons for not embracing social media ranged from a lack of resources to the thought that it was a waste of energy and time.

What do you think? Is your organization taking the leap to embrace social media and social networking like moms are flocking to Facebook? Share your comments.

Best regards, Joanne Royce

P.S. If you need help developing social media and social networking strategies, to support your people, find future talent,and build company brand, contact us.

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