Employee Engagement with Technology

Improving the Employee Experience with Today's Tech

Employees looking at phone

HR experts with 20+ years of HR and training experience, Barbara Mitchell and Cornelia Gamlem, answered live attendees' questions on handling typical situations that leadership encounter. The authors also discussed a few ways to improve employee experience and share anecdotes from their recently released book The Decisive Manager. Find the transcript below.

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[00:00:00] Dave Asheim: Everything we're going to talk about today has to do with HR. There'll be a little bit of a weaving of technology in. Engage by Cell is a technology company, so we'll weave some of that in, but it's really an HR dominated discussion. Barbara, since you're first next to me, maybe just a little background on yourself, and then Cornelia can.

[00:00:28] Barbara Mitchell: Sure. I'm Barbara Mitchell and my background is in HR. Most of my HR experience was with Marriott International. I also did a couple of tech companies before starting a consulting practice, and now continuing to consult with clients. With lots of small businesses and also my real passion right now is working on books with my co-author Cornelia. We have written several books together and continue to talk about subjects relating to HR, but also just on the challenges of managing people 

[00:01:05] Dave Asheim: Cornelia. 

[00:01:06] Cornelia Gamlem: Okay. Yeah. My name is Cornelia Gamlem and like Barbara, I spent quite a number of years with large organizations, Fortune 500 companies in the area of HR. I was focused a little bit more on the employee relations side of things. Although I did have my fingers in everything during my career with them. And then like Barbara, decided to go off and begin consulting with other organizations. Although we didn't have the same company, but we often worked together during my years when I was still in Washington, D.C. and I am now living in Albuquerque, New Mexico and do a lot of writing like Barbara does. We do a lot of writing together and really have a good time with it. 

[00:01:52] Dave Asheim: And you help a lot of HR people. I know that based on the success of your books. All right. Just a little bit about us. I'm the founder of this company called Engage by Cell. We started out about 15, 16 years ago, really providing mobile solutions for museums that kind of morphed into development and fundraising. And then as iPhones and Androids became more popular, it's morphed into safety applications and workforce development and text messaging and just everything you can imagine on your phone.

[00:02:30] Our fastest growing segment, believe it or not, are people that run HR and training. And you'll see why that is as we go through here. But I think just the idea that an HR manager can log into a system and send a text message about a benefit, a change or a leadership thing or training or onboarding or recruiting.

[00:02:56] It just makes communicating with your employees a lot easier. So I think we're experts on the technology side. As I said early on, this discussion will be much more about the wisdom that our ladies have and then at the very end, if you want to ask questions, great. Some of the companies that we work with are very large companies like Tufts Medicine in the Boston area and Banner Health and University of Miami, all the way down to much smaller organizations.

[00:03:25] So it kind of runs the gamut. It's like Barbara and Cornelia. They have experience. At large companies all the way down to little tiny companies. All right. I'll kick this off, but I think we are lucky to have these ladies as speakers today. They are wise, and a great, great word. Yeah, I think so. Very wise at HR and they will be talking about, in particular, some of the new things that have come out in this book. And if you want to show the slide of all the books that they have written, the latest one is the one I'm holding. My suggestion, everybody go on Amazon and buy this book. It's extremely digestible. If it sounds like I'm plugging the book, it is because I think it's just fabulous. I've read it and I've written all my little notes in here, my little yellow highlightings. It is so timely all about technology, as well as all the changes that are going on with HR, especially with COVID.

[00:04:32] So another one of my favorites. And in fact, I think we did a little session on it, “The Big Book of HR”. So if you're an HR professional and you don't have “The Big Book of HR”. I think you should put that in your shopping cart. What was the inspiration, Barbara, for this new book? What is it that changed in the market or that you and Cornelia said, we have got to get this information out?

[00:04:59] Barbara Mitchell: Can I just say everything changed Dave in the last couple of years. Yeah, it's our workplace has become so amazingly different. We wrote this during the pandemic. We had to do some as We talk about putting our crystal ball in place to say what was going to happen afterwards, but we tried to give as many examples and we do this in a question and answer format.

[00:05:28] So, it's very digestible to help people just deal with all the challenges relating to managing people, especially in our very, very different as we put it in our book, navigating the changing workplace. So that our hope for all of our books is to be as helpful and as easy for people to get information as possible 

[00:05:56] Dave Asheim: and Cornelia was this hard to write, because you were trying to predict with the bend of COVID, or did it just come to you?

[00:06:07] Cornelia Gamlem: It, I mean, there were parts of it that I think were difficult because we were still wrestling with what's changing, you know, we were already about a year into COVID when we started writing the book. So we were seeing some of the changes but it was still like, you know, what's out there on the horizon.

[00:06:27] What will never go back to the way it once was and you know what may go back and then. What influences how you, how you deal with some of these changes as a manager and as HR who's trying to guide their managers. So it was you know, from that perspective, it was a little difficult, but I think from the other perspective of it being not quite as difficult, we were able to draw on a lot of the challenges that we'd seen, you know, with our own companies you know, when we were both HR professionals for large organizations, as well as the, the challenges that a lot of our clients have seen over time. 

[00:07:05] Cornelia Gamlem: So you know, we were able to address a lot of those and in some cases address them, not only of how it was, perhaps when we encountered them, but what's happening now and, and what you're encountering today.

[00:07:19] Dave Asheim: Yep. And in the chat everybody. If you have questions for our speakers, type them in, or I would love to also see what are some of the things that have changed for you in the HR profession that have really made your job tough. So let's see what some of those challenges are and then we can move on to the next.

[00:07:42] The next slide we have is going to be on participation. So we're going to grade you afterwards to see if you all participated. And if you would all take out your phones. And scan that QR code. Imagine you are maybe an employee or a new employee. It's going to ask you to send a text. So go ahead and click “send message” and imagine that we are all new employees.

[00:08:13] This company and the HR team have said, hey, we put a lot of our benefits and a lot of our HR tools on a mobile portal. And in fact, that's what we've done here. So we built just an example of a little HR hub, of course, this is using our technology, but the idea is people are not working in the office like they used to.

[00:08:40] You can't just call everybody in the conference room. So there needs to be more communication instead of less. And we're just finding that tools like this tool can help during the presentation. My team will send out a few text messages, just some fun ones that correspond with what Barbara and Cornelia are going to talk about. Let us know in the chat if you folks were able to get that.

[00:09:07] And Barbara, why don't I turn this over to you? There's so many challenges, like you said today. Maybe you could tell us about this little poll, the survey that we've got up and we'll have everybody take it. 

[00:09:23] Barbara Mitchell: Yes, we would love to know what challenges you're facing, and I will not be surprised if you all check every single box, but we would love to just get maybe your top two or top three, whatever you feel like, just so we kind of get a sense of.

[00:09:41] Of who's on the call and we can perhaps target some of our responses. 

[00:09:47] Barbara Mitchell: So go ahead and check what multiple choice as we've said here. What's challenging you these days? 

[00:09:55] Dave Asheim: No, wrong answers Barbara? 

[00:09:57] Barbara Mitchell: No, wrong answer.

[00:10:00] Dave Asheim: Okay. All right, everybody. All right. And let's see, let's see what, let's see what the community has told us in the answers. Cornelia, that's pretty interesting. We don't have anybody in the graceful endings category, which I think that's a good thing, actually. Yes, but every other category got a lot of votes. 

[00:10:27] Cornelia Gamlem: They did and I'm not surprised to see finding and hiring talent being number one, getting the most votes because every HR person that I'm speaking to today is saying the same thing.

[00:10:40] It is just so hard to find people. And you know, we are in a tight labor market, but you know, we hear a lot of horror stories about people. You know, showing up for an interview and an offer being extended, and then they just don't show up at work or just not showing up for an interview. So I'm not surprised at all to see or hear that Barbara may have some tips for you on that and how perhaps you can meet that challenge a little bit more. But yeah, none of these are a big surprise to me. 

[00:11:16] Dave Asheim: Well, what we're going to do on this webinar is in this wonderful book, they really broke it into sections. And what we thought we would do is just take one each, each big chapter and theme is one of our sections today. So maybe we'll start with the people management side.

[00:11:36] I'm guessing that's not very easy these days, even with a recession Barbara looming and tech companies laying off. It's not so easy getting people to come under, come to the, to join your company and then stay. 

[00:11:51] Barbara Mitchell: For sure, David, I think the big, the thing I'd like to stress most of all is the phrase the best finding the best talent.[00:12:00]

[00:12:00] You just don't want employees to fill positions. I remember working with someone who said that they had a. Foggy mirror theory of hiring and that was if you put a mirror underneath somebody's nose and it fogged up the mirror that you hired them because they were alive. Those days hopefully are over that we're trying to get the best match.

[00:12:24] Who's the best from my organization for my culture? Or what it is that I need. And that's one of the things that we think is so critical about the whole experience of hiring people and bringing them on board. And that is how you communicate with them, how you keep them informed about what's going on.

[00:12:46] The title of our webinar today is about the employee experience, how you bring somebody on to the organization can make all the difference in the world. There's research that says people make a very quick decision, even when they're offered a job, maybe on day 1 or day 2, they decide if they're going to stay with you or not.

[00:13:07] So, how you communicate with them beforehand, how you get them to come into your organization to get a, to get a, have an interview. You treat them during the interview process. All of these things are so critical about finding and hiring the best people. You want to make sure that you're competing with the people that you organizations you compete with.

[00:13:30] So you get the best and you keep the best and you do that. We're going to talk about some other ways around how you keep people motivated at work, but you want to link job secrets to your relevant openings. How do you get the word out that you've got job openings? Best way I can think of, I will say this over and over, is to use your own website.

[00:13:53] Share your culture, let people know what it is. What do people do at your company or your [00:14:00] organization? And then once you hire them a wonderful use of mobile that Dave's already mentioned, and that is how you onboard them. Great way to get information out to them quickly is by using mobile technology.

[00:14:16] Making sure that people are just up to date on everything that's going on within the organization as quickly as possible, so they feel connected to you. That's such a key word connection. So using it, using technology to hire people also to use the phrase glue them to your organization. You want them to right away feel.

[00:14:40] Oh, I made a great decision. I want to work here for as long as I can. And you can do that in so many ways by by very, very positive communication with them, 

[00:14:52] Dave Asheim: Barbara. I was talking with an HR manager of a large, large manufacturing company and they told me before COVID only 3 percent of people that said they were going to start would not show up or quit within a few days.

[00:15:07] It's now 15%. And that's not just the factory person, that's all the way up. And they're just pulling their hair out because they spend so much time getting these people in and then, you know, one out of seven or eight don't even show up on day one. 

[00:15:27] Barbara Mitchell: Well, I could speak for the rest of our time about this topic, David.

[00:15:31] One of the things that I think that organizations miss out on is that wonderful golden time between when somebody accepts the job and when they start the job. There are so many things that organizations can do to communicate with your new person who hasn't even started yet. Let them know what's going on about your organization, invite them to events and send them information about your press releases.

[00:15:57] There's so many things you can do to keep them [00:16:00] excited and wanting to show up. It's never going to stop. I think we've got this, this every, everybody is looking for the best possible opportunity. Maybe it happens after they've accepted your offer. But give yourself a chance by putting a strategy together between the time that they accept the job and when they start the job.

[00:16:24] Dave Asheim: Yeah, you never, you never worried about it before, but now it's a very delicate period. 

[00:16:30] Barbara Mitchell: Oh, can I just tell you, this is, this is not new. Although it certainly is much more, but I remember back in the day when I was an HR person, having somebody start all excited and go through the morning of onboarding and orientation and at the lunch break.

[00:16:51] Took his uniform off, put it on in the locker room and never came back in the afternoon. So it's not something that's new. It's just happening a great deal more. Yeah, 

[00:17:04] Dave Asheim: Cornelia, anything to add to what Barbara's been talking about? 

[00:17:07] Cornelia Gamlem: No, I, I think, you know, to kind of move it forward into looking at that.

[00:17:13] Positive employee experience, you know, it starts with the experience that you make for your candidates. And when you are lucky enough to find that right person, because you've been doing all of the right things, then you can bring them into the organization. And your work doesn't stop there, though. I think a lot of times it was that mindset of, okay, now we've got them on board.

[00:17:38] Okay, you know, just get to work and there's nothing else we need to do, but it's really important that you keep employees engaged in today's workplace, because there is so much competition out there. It's so easy for them to pick up and leave. And you don't want that happening. Very quickly, because you've invested time and energy into getting them on board.

[00:18:03] So there's a lot of things that really come into play here. It's how do you keep them engaged? What do you do around employee retention? Because as Barbara said, it's, you know, it's kind of how you are gluing them to your organization and making them feel a part of it? What are you doing around motivating your employees and giving them appropriate recognition, because that is so important today? And people, I think, managers sometimes think, gee, that takes a lot of work and effort, and it really doesn't. It starts out with those simple thank yous. Thank you for doing a great job or thank you for picking up some of the slack and those are some ways that you can also use technology, you know, especially in this virtual world that we're in today.

[00:18:55] It's, you know, it's not easy to just, you know, Walk into somebody's office or cubicle and say, Hey, great job that you did there, but it's easy to pick up a phone and just send a text message to them. And in some cases, you can even automate some of these messages to recognize, you know, certain events that might be going on.

[00:19:17] So, Keep those lines of communication open. Keep your employees involved. You know, you, you can use mobile to do surveys, but then make sure you act on those employee surveys if you do them. I mean, and even if they're, they're short surveys, you know, where you ask one or two questions, give the employees some feedback around you know, what their ideas were and, and what's feasible to put into place in your organization.

[00:19:43] And perhaps what's not. Feasible, but it's just so important that employees feel a part of the organization today and communication is so key to that process. 

[00:19:57] Dave Asheim: I wonder how many people in the [00:20:00] webinar if you could put in the chat, have a workforce that is still working from home, because it's got to be really tough, Barbara to create a positive employee experience.

[00:20:11] If you're in Santa Fe, I'm in LA and Cornelia is in Albuquerque. I mean, you know, it used to be, we'd go to lunch together. We'd go in the conference room. We would talk about the Oscars. We'd talk about March Madness. That's not easy to do on a zoom conversation. So how do you create the positive play experience for people that are coming into the organization and are not anywhere near where the office is?

[00:20:40] Barbara Mitchell: You do it intentionally Dave. It really does take intentionality that it's not organic anymore. We have to find ways, whether it's the beginning of every staff meeting that you do on, on Zoom or however, however you have your in communication, find a way to make it personal, have people tell what they did over the weekend.

[00:21:04] I know this sounds Really, maybe to some people like you are just wasting time. You're not, you're building those connections that are huge. I thought before Cornelia and I wrote “The Big Book of HR”. I had an idea to write a book. It was just called connections. And I realized that I only had four, four points, and it probably wasn't going to sell nobody would buy a book that four words in it or whatever, but connection is the word, because you can connect your employees to the organization to to a manager to the actual organism, the organization values the work that they're doing, but you can also connect them to their co workers.

[00:21:51] And you do that by forming relationships, and you do it by getting to know people. I have a client that does a weekly staff meeting online. They are, they have been virtual long before we had the pandemic. So they're very, very good at it, and they're all over the country. At their weekly staff meeting, the CEO comes up with something every week where a question is asked, and they're wonderful questions like, This is my favorite. I'll just share it with you. You all can steal this. If you had all the money in the world and you could start your own non profit on any topic, any challenge, any disease, whatever, what, what would be your non profit? And they just go around the zoom screen and everybody shares their story and it is so incredibly motivating, powerful, you laugh together. You go, oh, I would never have thought of that or not for you anyway.

[00:22:57] It's one of those things, talk about a great icebreaker and the CEO comes up with these every week, which is mind boggling, but there are things you can do to bring people together, even if you're not physically together. And I noticed some of the people on the chat have said that you, you have come back to the office full time.

[00:23:17] That's great. If that works for you. I think, however, as a world. And I'll go beyond the United States. I think as a world, I don't think we're ever going to go back to where everybody works in the same place. I think we have got to find ways to make this work and find good ways to bring people together.

[00:23:39] And it all starts with your culture, with your recognition program, Cornelia's statement about, you know, the, the best two words any manager can ever say to an employee is thank you. That's all they're looking for is a genuine thank you. And boy, does that build connection? Boy, does that build morale? [00:24:00] All kinds of wonderful things can happen.

[00:24:03] So we don't have enough time, Dave, for this topic, as you can tell, I could talk about this forever. 

[00:24:11] Dave Asheim: Well, then we'll move on to the third, third topic, which is the whole idea of rewarding. And, you know, once again, that has changed so much because. Salaries have increased benefits. People expect more benefits, expect more vacation, expect, you know, just, just more things than they used to expect.

[00:24:33] Cornelia Gamlem: Right. Yeah, it really has changed a lot. And, you know, when we talk a lot about paying and rewarding employees, often the focus ends up on, you know, what, what's my base pay? What's my base salary? You know, how much money am I going to get? But, it extends so far beyond just pay. Just your salary and just that, that, that compensation, that monetary compensation.

[00:25:00] You know, we talk a lot about total rewards, which encompasses, you know, all, all of the benefits that people receive. And, and as you mentioned, Dave, you know, that is expanding so much. Cause people have different expectations than what they did, you know, many years ago when organizations started to offer Benefits, you know, it started with health insurance and, you know, then some time off and, and sort of morphed into, you know, bigger benefits, but, but things have changed a lot recently.

[00:25:32] You know, employees are expecting information around financial stability. You know, they want to understand how they can be prepared for the future. And it's not so much that they just expect the organization to take care of them, but, you know, they want tips and they want guidance around financial planning.

[00:25:53] And that's such a. An easy thing to be able to provide people, particularly in days, you know, in the virtual world we live in, because you can, you can align with, with different organizations that provide that kind of advice. And the same thing around, you know, wellness information, wellness is so important.

[00:26:11] And I think in today's world, when we have so many people working from home, And they may not be thinking about taking you know, taking that formal lunch out, I'm just going to go grab something and and eat while I'm, I continue to work, or if they're trying to, you know, combine, perhaps, taking care of a child who's home sick from school with.

[00:26:37] With getting their work done. So giving, giving people access to more information about wellness, good exercise practices are again, something else that's so vital to, to the individual, to the person, because you want your employees to be healthy. You don't want them getting sick. And, you know, we used to be.

[00:26:59] Concerned about too many sick people coming into the office. Well, people can wear themselves down just as easily if they're working from home and then productivity gets lost. But the more important thing is, you know, the overall employee is not, it's not going to be as engaged, you know, it all gets back to that, that employee experience we were talking about.

[00:27:21] So there's a lot of things that companies can be doing and probably should be doing, you know, every year we go through an annual enrollment process and this is the time to get communications out to your employees. And it's. such a good way to get, you know, to use text messaging, to remind them about important events and the process and, and, and, and to get them to the right information that they need.

[00:27:49] It's also, employees find themselves in situations sometimes where they need a benefit, but they don't have enough information about the benefit. And sharing that information and making it easily accessible to them through, you know, through different portals. But what I find is that people often used to get hung up with a lot of the terminology around their benefit programs, you know, especially health insurance, co-pays, and deductibles.

[00:28:21] You know, their eyes tend to roll to the back of their head when you started And so if organizations can make more of that information available to the employees and, and then it frees up HR's time so you're not having to sit down and go over these things, step by step. What we've seen some organizations do is have, you know, have links to advisory companies that will explain benefits.

[00:28:47] To the people and you know, and it's often, you know, it may be a benefits broker or a provider of services outside of the organization, but it gets the employee that firsthand information directly from, from, from the people that are well versed in, in these different subjects. So, yeah, I, you know, I think there's a lot that we can be doing to help our employees around that.

[00:29:09] Dave Asheim: Barbara, one of the benefits that I think is an unseen, but expected benefit. That wasn't that big of a deal years ago is flexibility. When I talk with folks about coming on board, they want to work from home. They want the ability to take 2 hours off to do this with their pet, their child. And it's just kind of expected that the company is going to be much more flexible.

[00:29:43] In fact, I think they may be willing to give up some of the wellness benefits for flexibility. What do you think about the whole flexibility? You, you need to be flexible as an employer. 

[00:29:56] Barbara Mitchell: I think it is the absolute number one thing that you have to be. Maybe it's number two. First of all, you have to be able to care about your employees, but you certainly have to offer flexibility, that's what people want.

[00:30:11] And one of the things that it's just been startling to me is a lot of the work that we do. And I'm probably thinking that probably a lot of people on today are people who are working with knowledge workers in office sort of settings, whether it's at home or whether it's in an office specifically.

[00:30:33] But what we're finding is that everybody wants flexibility. If you have the kind of job, let's say that you are working at a grocery store or you're in health care. And Dave I know a lot of your clients are in the health care world. Yeah, you have to work if you're going to work in the hospital you work in the hospital you don't work at home, doing work for the hospital.

[00:30:57] But, what about the idea…, you can't be flexible on where you work, but you can be flexible with your employees on when they work.

[00:31:08] Barbara Mitchell: We find it is just so important for people to know ahead of time. What their schedule is. I am just startled having worked in the hospitality world for many, many years, how difficult it seems to be for people to schedule.

[00:31:25] They're employees. So if I don't know what I'm going to be working this week, how on earth can I arrange my childcare, right? Or how on earth can I figure out my transportation or what, whatever the variables are for me. So, if you can give people a schedule for two weeks or whatever, whatever you can come up with, that flexibility will make a huge difference.

[00:31:51] With your people that work on site and but then just the word flexibility, Dave, I, I hear people, some people just fighting and saying, you know, I want people to be in the office and I want them to do this. I think that people that are managers that are in that kind of mode are going to be the losers.

[00:32:14] They're not going to be the ones who get the best people because they're certainly not offering the best employee experience. 

[00:32:21] Dave Asheim: Yeah. And that's what it's about. What is the best employee experience and flexibility is right up there. Like you said, underneath pay underneath the salary. For 

[00:32:32] Dave Asheim: Yeah. The next topic is about growing and developing.

[00:32:36] You talked a lot about that in your book, Cornelia, you want to talk a little bit about Gamification and micro learning and some of those and it's 

[00:32:45] Cornelia Gamlem: funny when we talk about flexibility. These are areas where you can provide a lot of flexibility for your employees and still meet their needs. You know.

[00:32:57] Employees today in organizations, you know, and I don't want to say just especially knowledge workers, because I think in any organization, people, people want that, that ability to grow. They want new opportunities. They want to learn and grow. And, you know, many of us remember when the only way you could do that would be to send somebody off to some kind of a training program or, or to bring that training program in house.

[00:33:22] And, and that, you know, that took a lot of time and a lot of effort. And with the new technology that we have today, you can bring gamification, you can bring micro learning, you can bring all of these skills developments right to the employee, either on air. tablet on their phone, you know, they can take advantage of these things at any time.

[00:33:45] It doesn't even have to be, you know, in that, that nine to five type of a, of a workday. And this is where you can do so much with your folks and give [00:34:00] them Information in ways that they're going to retain it because if you sit through a four or a 10 hour training program, half of what you learn ends up going out the door.

[00:34:11] But if you're getting these, these little bits and drips of information. Or access to relevant information. So it's like, Oh gee, that was a great infographic. I can just go and look at that again when I need it. And now I know where to go find it. But you know, the beauty of gamification is that it makes learning fun.

[00:34:34] It's not just sitting there or how do I get people involved? They're automatically involved if they're, if they're working through a process where they're looking for the right answer. Or you've got scavenger hunts or contests that you've created through, through gamification. So it's really going to go a long way to help your employees to gain those skills that they need to learn something new.

[00:34:59] And in today's environment, it is so important to give people the opportunity to, to do something new within your own organization. And we had this conversation with somebody not, not too long ago, And he was saying, well, I don't quite understand it. And I said, well, you know, you've invested in people.

[00:35:20] You've brought them on board. You know, they know your company now rather than go out and find somebody new who may or may not be a good fit for the organization. If you have an employee who shows that, Hey, they're willing to learn and they follow through and they're valued to the organization. Why not give them a chance to do something different?

[00:35:42] Why not invest in some training for them? And, give them the opportunity to learn new skills.

[00:35:49] Dave Asheim: I think that relates a little bit to Brittany's question, Barbara, where you've got, maybe you have some of these gamifications and you're using microlearning, but maybe not everybody even knows that these things exist.

[00:36:01] It's almost like we keep them under wraps and we just dole them out. To maybe our special people. And then, like Brittany said, then people say, well, I'm not growing in this job. Job market is very flexible. I'm gonna go find a new job. 

[00:36:15] Barbara Mitchell: And they will, you know, I I, I see it all the time with especially generation Z employees who, boy, if I'm not learning anything, I'll, I'm, I'll maybe give it a few months, but I'm, I'm outta here.

[00:36:28] So organizations are really, I'll use the word foolish. If they are not looking at how can we develop our employees to the absolute best of our ability and their ability. How many opportunities can we offer and why would we keep it secret if we have these little programs like micro learning should be just out there all the time.

[00:36:53] And I'm almost in your face kind of thing where. You know, we're going to give you this and, and it's up to you, the employee, maybe you don't want to take advantage of it, but we're going to make it all available to you. And that's good management. 

[00:37:07] Dave Asheim: I've heard from a few HR managers that they're starting to send some of their employees back to conferences.

[00:37:14] You know, learn about, you know, if you're a web designer, go to the web designer. If you're an HR manager, go to Shermer, ATD things that people have been cutting back, cutting back, cutting back. But instead, you ladies know this because you have gone to so many conferences. You come back from a couple day conference and you are so excited about your job, and you've made new professional connections.

[00:37:43] Barbara Mitchell: So, another suggestion I heard from an HR professional recently is don't forget when you send people away to these conferences or whatever. When they come back, have them share their knowledge. Yeah. That does so many things. First of all, it's motivating to the employee who gets to share who's learned something new, but everybody can learn from each other and you, those connections get even stronger.

[00:38:03] Dave Asheim: Well, that's like SHRM has how many, 400 chapters? Maybe you have a new payroll clerk, have them go to the luncheon, you know, downtown at the Hyatt and network with their folks. And then like you said, Barbara, come back and make a little presentation about what the speaker said. How great is that? Easy. All right, Anna, the next chapter.

[00:38:27] This is a tough one. Cornelia, you want to start and then we'll pass it over to Barbara. 

[00:38:31] Cornelia Gamlem: Sure. Yeah, you know, when you start talking about policies and practices, I, I personally always think they get a bad rap because people think, oh, those are the rules and regulations that we have to follow. And I, you know, I, I worked in a large company and we always had the position that the policies that we would, that we developed were there to guide the managers. They were really management tools. They were also there to help the employee because it really gave them a sense of how, how the organization embraced their needs with things like different types of leave. And People, I think, sometimes forget that, you know, or they don't, you know, yeah, yeah, we went through orientation, we went through onboarding, you know, they usually tell you about the policies that you have to comply with, because there's some legal regulations around it.

[00:39:24] But we're not real good about telling them about the positive side of the policies. You know, that we've, we've put policies in place that give you that talk to your time off that, you know, when you have the need to take a leave of absence for a specific reason this is where you can find information about that because it's important to you.

[00:39:46] And, you know, you may not think about it until you are there. And, and you have the need for it so if you make it easy for people to find the information. Initially, it's easier than to sit down and have a conversation with them about their own needs [00:40:00] and desires you have the same thing around, like educational benefits you know if you have a tuition reimbursement program.

[00:40:06] Somebody wants to go back to school, they don't think much about it until it's time for them. To take advantage of a policy like that. So, you know, keeping employees involved in keeping them advised about some of these key relevant policies that are there for their benefit and that will help them, I think goes a long way in making them understand what the policies are all about. And then for your managers. You know, a lot of times you put in tools in here that this kind of marries with what we were just talking about with training manager may find themselves in a situation where they've got to write up an employee for poor performance or for conduct.

[00:40:48] They're not quite sure how to do that if you've got some guidance for them that you know and they're. There are some references for them, they can get that information and you know start the process, and then go and talk to HR or or the next level of management around some of these issues. And then we've got a lot of processes in place that talk about things like inclement weather.

[00:41:13] What do you do if you live in an area where, you know, there is a lot of inclement weather? How, how do you respond? You know, how are employees supposed to respond to something like that? Or, you know, they're an emergency response plan, you know, and I think we saw a lot of that during the pandemic and, you know, we're caught a lot of companies off guard because people just didn't know what they were supposed to be doing.

[00:41:35] So here, here's an area that I think we can, we can make, we can make it a lot easier for the employee. We can make it a lot easier for the managers and HR. If we learn how to get this information out there and how to let people know where to find the information. 

[00:41:55] Dave Asheim: Barbara, what would you like to add to that?

[00:41:57] Because it's just so important. [00:42:00]

[00:42:00] Barbara Mitchell: I think most importantly is making policies and procedures. I think we know we need them. We've got to have them and not just because lawyers tell us that we have to, but they really can be guidelines and a guide. What's that phrase? Well, you're between two things, and you don't quite know what to do. And so having a policy that tells you, okay, step 4, make it as easy as possible. And then I think using the mobile technology that your organization Dave really can come into play here when making it the first place they go rather than the last place they go for information.

[00:42:49] Dave Asheim: Yeah, because it can sit on their phone. I mean, all of these policies and books and books can all be beyond.

[00:42:59] Dave Asheim: All right. This is an interesting one. Barbara, why don't you start and we'll then hand it over to Cornelia about graceful endings. 

[00:43:09] Barbara Mitchell: Unfortunate fact of life that organizations go through times when either have to do a layoff or have to terminate someone for performance.

[00:43:19] And so what we tried to do is, is, to demystify this process? Say that. Of course, what you wanna do is keep this to a minimum. I think we've seen in the last couple of months horrendous examples of how not. Layoffs in the tech world and the fallout that can happen most importantly is keeping in touch with.

[00:43:44] You're the current workforce thinking about what, what can we do to make the process of we have to do a layoff doing it right and not having as much of an impact on the people who are left. We love collecting information, collecting exit interview information. We also do a lot of work with our clients on things like stay interviews, finding out why people stay with you and building on that.

[00:44:11] Rather than waiting until they get unhappy and leave you. So using technology, for example, on the output. Processing process. Whether it's just details that you have to get their keys back or their, their pass or whatever. And then 1 of the great things that we see that we really want to encourage is keeping in touch with former employees, the whole boomerang idea of where maybe someone leaves you that you really worked hard to train.

[00:44:41] And they get a great opportunity to go someplace else. Well, if you would take them back, why not keep in touch with them. And so that's a great way to just maintain those relationships and maybe a great hire for you down the road. 

[00:44:58] Dave Asheim: Yep. Cornelia, we've got a question about text messaging from Jackson.

[00:45:06] I guess the idea there is employees, are they going to get upset that they're getting text messages? I guess if you, if you do what many of our clients do and let employees choose to receive text and to choose to receive this mobile information, benefit books or policy books on their phone, then probably they're going to be happy as a clam getting it because maybe they're not reading it on the lunch room bulletin board or maybe through their email. 

[00:45:36] Cornelia Gamlem: Yeah, I think you've got to be careful with it. Yeah, like with anything else. You've got to pace it. So, you know, it's great to send out text messages. Say like around annual enrollment for reminders, because that's something that's so important for the employee.

[00:45:53] And, and, and to remind them why it's important that they pay attention to this. But I think like anything else, if you start inundating people with a text message every other day, or every, you know, several a day. Yeah, then it gets like too many emails. They're just not going to open them. They're just not going to read them.

[00:46:10] So you've got to figure out what works best in your culture. You know, a larger organization that's very distributed may find the need to have to send out more text messages, because they have to have a larger reach but if you're a relatively smaller organization, you want to be careful that you don't overdo it.

[00:46:30] Dave Asheim: Right. 

[00:46:31] Cornelia Gamlem: And I also see another question from Brittany about, it a bad idea to skip exit surveys altogether? You know, I always feel kind of hot and cold about that. If you're going to use the information from an exit interview, then no, don't skip it. If this is something that the employee is going to take the time to give you some feedback.

[00:46:54] I mean, it's just like any employee survey, and it just sort of goes into a black hole or into the virtual filing cabinet. Why waste your time. One of the things to keep in mind is that depending on the circumstances of the termination it may not always be the best time to get information from people.

[00:47:14] You know, Barbara mentioned stay interviews, you know, asking people after they've been with you a while, why do you stay? But sometimes to do the exit surveys, better time to do it is before the person has left or to be asking questions like, why did you start looking for a job? Not why did you leave, but why didn't you start looking?

[00:47:35] And, you know, sometimes for very legitimate reasons, maybe they weren't looking, they were recruited away and, and it was too good of an opportunity to pass and you can't do anything about that. But if they've been looking around for a while there, that may be an indication that perhaps they weren't as happy with your organization as you thought they might have been.

[00:47:57] Dave Asheim: Yeah, that's a great question, Brittany. Thanks. Those are all great points. This is just a little bit about us. I think Cornelia and Barbara have talked about some of the ways mobile has helped in the HR world. I think some of you got some text messages throughout the session, which was kind of interesting, about turning in your open enrollment forms.

[00:48:21] I see one for, it's Women's History Month. That's kind of a fun one. We've got lots of clients that use texting for diversity and reminders. And like you said, Cornelia, for Open Enrollment. Who doesn't want to know that Open Enrollment forms are due on Friday at 4. So, lots of lots of ways to incorporate what the ladies are talking about, as well using tech.

[00:48:47] Any more questions from our audience, we would love to answer them. And we'll also provide you with their contact info Barbara and Cornelius contact info. When we send you this material. Later today or tomorrow, but before we go any more, any more questions any any wrap up thoughts here and then I'll, I just want to share 

[00:49:11] Barbara Mitchell: Dave that’s one of the reasons, one of the things that we love about doing all of this kind of communication is we'd love to connect with any of you and we make this offer every time we do a webinar or any kind of a chat like this.

[00:49:26] And it's amazing to me how few people take advantage of the fact that both Cornelia and I [have a] pretty wide LinkedIn presence and we would love to hear from everybody on this call today. And we promise that we will connect with you and we don't inundate people with information but we want you to have what we have, so we're happy to have you connect with us at any time.

[00:49:56] Dave Asheim: That's great. Well, I think we learned a tremendous amount. I'll repeat it. Go order this on Amazon. It's fantastic. I think Cornelia mentioned it's a Q& A format. Which I just love. So here's a question. I've got a real quandary. It's kind of like, it's like the Dear Abby of post COVID running an HR department here, Barbara. But no, it's just a fantastic book. All of your books are great. And you folks are very highly regarded in the human resource world. So thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. Brittany's asking, are the books on audio or is it a paper or is it Kindle? What's the various formats? 

[00:50:37] Cornelia Gamlem: They, to my knowledge, most of them are on audio. We know that “The Decisive Manager” is, and I'm pretty sure that the publisher put “The Big Book of HR” on audio as well, and they are all available in Kindle format. Although the one thing I always like to remind people, with the Kindle, it's harder to, sometimes it's harder to just pull the book down and look things up if you're looking for a specific topic, but they are available if that's your pleasure.

[00:51:09] Dave Asheim: Right. Yeah. I highly recommend it. 

[00:51:11] Barbara Mitchell: They’re also available in other languages too, if anyone is interested. 

[00:51:17] Dave Asheim: Excellent. All right. Well, thank you everybody. And thank you, Barbara and Cornelia and Anna for putting this together. And if you want any info, I think we're going to send you a text at the very end where you can just reply if you want to talk to one of the ladies or want to talk to me. All you've got to do is just reply to the text that we just sent. And we'll see you on the next webinar. And thank you so much, Barbara and Cornelia.

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