I hope you had a chance to celebrate National Small Business Week this year, held from May 4-8. This is the 52nd annual occurrence of this event. President Obama’s official statement said in part, “America’s small businesses are the backbone of our economy. More than that, our small businesses represent what is best about America — that with hard work and ingenuity, anyone — no matter their background — can build a better future for themselves and their families.”
HR is at an interesting crossroad today. Like most “corporate functions,” if a small/mid-size business is fortunate to have a dedicated “function,” it has come under intense scrutiny as organizations look for ways to cut costs and improve operational efficiencies. Still, the cost of HR administration has increased. And it doesn’t matter if the costs are incurred by an administrative associate or to a small, but effective staff, more so focused on HR activities.
Today, we continue our journey to exploring approaches to accomplish a Positive Leadership culture in your organization. We concluded last month with the positive business results that often occur when we focus on employees’ strengths. Did you go on-line to take the VIA Survey of Character Strengths? What was your reaction to the results? Confirming or surprising? This survey is only one of many tools that HR Professionals use to assess, develop and present solutions to companies who want to improve their employees’ achievement and engagement.
Welcome back from what I hope was a joyous Holiday Season, filled with family, friends, fun, food and festivities. Most of all, I hope your New Year is filled with the authentic happiness felt when we “live in the moment;” a true appreciation for how much we have, and the warm sense of satisfaction felt when we give back to others. I wish you continued positive relationships, a positive view of the future, and a lasting remembrance of your unique ability to make a positive difference in the lives of many.
Welcome to a new column providing information and practical suggestions for practical solutions to Leadership related topics. It is my privilege to receive the opportunity to communicate with our readers and constituents about the multi-faceted and vitally important challenges faced daily (including weekends) by the people, we identify as leaders. Leaders are special individuals. In a “small business,” leaders are even more special.
I have been asked many times, “so what does a HR leader do?” Sometimes, before I begin my response, the questioner will add, “besides hire and fire people?” Hmm… I wonder. “Do they really want to know the many responsibilities and competencies necessary to be an excellent HR leader and the value they add, so their company can be great as well?” If not, I may answer, ”Yep, that’s about it,” saving us both from wasted time.
Too many people limit their happiness and success by assuming that taking time off from work will send a negative message to their manager/co-workers and slow their career advancement. New research, by the U.S. Travel Association, titled “Project: Time Off,” says that the opposite may be true.
Small Business Majority hosted its second annual Small Business Leadership Summit from May 8-11, 2016 in Washington, DC, with a group of 150 small business owners from across the country participating. These small business owners met with policymakers, members of the media, issue experts and senior members of the Obama Administration. This invite-only event featured many opportunities for our nation’s job creators to discuss important issues facing small business today and provide business owners with resources and programs to strengthen their businesses.
It seems like just yesterday we were popping the cork on the bubbly, while welcoming in 2015. In the spirit of the New Year tradition of making resolutions, I thought I would identify the top ten predictions from thought-leaders about what businesses’ HR future for 2016 will hold for them.
2016 Predictions on HR trends for Small Business
1. Engagement, retention, culture and inclusion are all front and center HR issues: Employee engagement is now the number two issue on the minds of HR leaders, preceded only by leadership development.
“Yeah, I was in the Marines. Spent a long tour in Iraq. Was in Ramadi, when it was real bad, not that it was ever real good. Saw some awful stuff. A group of special operations Marines is returning to base. I’m in the fourth of five armored Humvees. They’re like an oven, even though it’s a cool night. Only about 100 degrees.”
Two-thirds of CEOs do not receive any outside advice on their leadership skills, and yet almost all would be receptive to suggestions from a coach. These stats are from a Stanford University/The Miles Group survey, which asked 200 CEOs, board directors, and other senior executives about how they receive and view leadership advice.
I have not been a big fan of the standard annual employee performance review for quite a long time. The thought of those long, uncomfortable meetings (for both the manager and their direct report) to hear the manager’s assessments of your strengths and weaknesses, to justify the assignment of a final rating score, is still bothersome. Some leaders would simply circumvent the entire process of joint information exchange and simply hand the evaluation form to the employee, tell them to read it, sign it and send it back to them.
We probably all know a story about a highly intelligent, highly skilled manager promoted into a leadership position only to fail at the job. As well, we know a story about someone with solid, but not extraordinary, intellectual abilities and technical skills promoted into a similar position who then soared.
Today, I would like to discuss the areas of our life that we generally acknowledge are most important to us, and those around us; particularly those we most deeply care about, care for and love. We will integrate management theory and differing practices into our discussion of the divergent and largely unintentional outcomes they create in the most important areas of our lives.