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"What's Up with the Kids These Days?" Keys to Managing Your Millenial Employees

Posted By Brad Karsh, President, JB Training Solutions, Tuesday, April 03, 2012

"What’s up with the kids these days?” Let’s face it: this expression is as old as time itself. You can imagine caveman dad saying to caveman son, "We didn’t have the wheel when I was growing up! You have it easy!” Yet now, more than ever, this timeless expression is infiltrating the workplace in response to millennial employees.

For the first time in history, four generations are present in the workplace. Each has their own skill set, communication styles, work habits, and values which inevitably clash and create a challenging dynamic for traditionalists, boomers, generation X-ers, and millennials alike.

Perhaps the biggest clash is that of millennials and other generations. Employees struggle in dealing with this group calling them, "tech-savvy, entitled, high maintenance, silver spoon-fed brats.” The fact is, millennials are not better or worse than any other generation – they are just different. They have an enormous skill set, and they will shape the landscape of business in years to come – if we learn to work with them.

Here are five tips for managing and engaging your millennial employees:

  1. Provide feedback – early, and often. Millennials may give the air that they are confident,but this doesn’t mean they don’t want to improve. Millennials want to learn, grow, and develop.Unlike boomers, they will not benefit from only an annual review. They expect to be given constructive feedback on a daily basis. Be open, honest and direct and meet face-to-face. Share your management philosophy and style.

  2. Give them structure. Unlike boomers and Xers, millennials want to be told exactly what todo. Their entire lives, their days have been structured while parents, teachers, tutors, nannies,and coaches have told them exactly what to do. In the workplace, they struggle with taking initiative and prioritizing. Now, don’t give them a step-by-step action plan for each of their tasks, but do schedule "check points” for their assignments, and make time to answer their questions.

  3. Tell them why. Millennials have been taught to ask why. Growing up, when they asked their parents and teachers "why?, they got answers other than "because I said so.” As a result, they genuinely want to know the reasoning behind why things are the way they are at work. When they ask why, they expect an answer. Never give them a project without explaining the big picture. Tell them why it’s important, even if it seems obvious to you. Give definitive reasons for policies and procedures.

  4. Offer career advice. Not all millennials are job hoppers. It is important that you offer opportunities for growth and development according to their individual needs. Show them away that will allow them to change paths within the same company. Encourage them to join industry and professional organizations.

  5. Offer flexibility. Millennials value a parallel life, and work-life balance is incredibly important.They are digital natives who believe that technology allows work to be done anytime,anywhere. Consider flexible work hours and trust them to work from home on a case-by-case basis.

Remember: millennials are not better or worse, they are just different. Take advantage of their positive attitude, ability to multitask, technical skills, and multicultural awareness. Don’t be afraid to defy the golden rule and treat them the way they want to be treated, as opposed to the way you want to be treated.


Brad Karsh is President and lead trainer at JB Training Solutions. An accomplished public speaker and author, Brad has been featured on CNN, CNBC, and Dr. Phil and has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, New York Times, USA Today, and many others. Brad is an advice columnist for Yahoo! and he is author of Confessions of a Recruiting Director (Prentice Hall Press, 2006). Prior to starting JB Training Solutions, Brad spent 15 years at advertising giant Leo Burnett in Chicago. He began his career in Account Management, working on clients including McDonald's, Procter & Gamble, and Pillsbury. He then moved into HR where he was responsible for hiring and training hundreds of employees.

Tags:  HR challenges  HRM  HRPS  human capital management  human resources management  human resources planning  talent management 

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Making HR Analytics a Reality: 5 Proven Paths to Success

Posted By HRPS Headquarters, Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Using analytics in HR to show business impact and predict future performance is the next trend in our profession. Many organizations want to achieve success using this approach, but are unsure how to get there. Unfortunately, HR analytics has gotten off to rough start because it hasn’t been well-defined. In our 2011 article for People and Strategy, we articulated what analytics are and what they are not. True analytics that drive the business and show a real return-on-investment is about linking HR data, using cause-effect statistics, to actual business outcomes.

We often hear from organizations that a key challenge in adopting an analytics-based approach to HR is "getting all of our systems (i.e. HRIS) in one place so that they can talk to each other.”  

Although system integration is important, it is not the key to successfully implementing analytics as part of your HR strategy.

Here are five practical paths that organizations can take to achieve the goal of creating an HR strategy based on analytics.

  1. Big Analytics Behind-the-Scenes
    Data collected at organizations are typically housed in different places (i.e., on different servers/platforms). When data are housed in this manner, analytics can be conducted behind-the-scenes by gathering the relevant data – including business outcome data - from the disparate platforms. The process is not sexy, but executives don’t need to know how the sausage gets made. 

  2. Big Analytics and Big Integration
    The integration of multiple HR platforms can be a huge undertaking for big companies. Organizations in this position can put together a comprehensive approach in which the analytics (and impact!) begin immediately while an IT transition plan is executed in tandem. The key here is to do the real cause-effect analytics work behind the scenes and expose the leaders to the outputs of the analytics – make them want more.  This is an approach that is quite effective because getting executives excited about analytics now, but spending multiple months/years to integrate data will reduce that excitement very quickly.

  3. Start Small—Generate Interest
    Many organizations think that they have to examine all of their HR data at the same time to conduct rigorous analyses and have a meaningful impact. Not true. Start with one HR process or piece of talent management data and show how it impacts an important business outcome. A great one to start with is your employee opinion survey. Using cause-effect analytics, you can show which specific attitudes have a direct impact on important business outcomes (e.g. profit, productivity, safety, turnover). Use this initial analysis to get leaders bought into the process of HR analytics.

  4. For Small Business—Start Strong
    Small businesses often have a distinct advantage when it comes to integrating their HR data and conducting analytics—they don’t have old legacy technology platforms or vast quantities of data….yet. Strong analytics can be done within small businesses in much the same way as in large businesses. The focus is typically on individual performance, so having a strong performance-based culture and performance management tools are keys to analytics success.

  5. Have Integration, Need Strong Analytics
    It is scary to think that putting all of this data in one place and paying a company to house it all will actually increase costs for your organization. Warehousing your HR data in one place is a good thing, but the critical next step is to pull together the business outcomes from other functions to show how HR has a cause-effect relationship with those business outcomes and calculate an ROI.

The good news is that any of these paths can be taken quickly and effectively, and all will lead you to being a business partner by showing the impact of HR on real business outcomes.


Scott Mondore, Ph.D., is currently a managing partner of Strategic Management Decisions (SMD) and is the co-author of "Investing in What Matters: Linking Employees to Business Outcomes” and the upcoming book:"Business-focused HR: 11 Processes to Drive Results” both published by SHRM. Mondore has significant experience in the areas of strategy, talent management, measurement, customer experience and organizational development across numerous industries. Mondore holds a master’s degree and doctorate in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from the University of Georgia. He can be reached at

Shane Douthitt, Ph.D., is currently a managing partner of Strategic Management Decisions (SMD) and is the co-author of "Investing in What Matters: Linking Employees to Business Outcomes” and "Business-focused HR: 11 Processes to Drive Results.”Douthitt has significant experience in the areas of measurement, training, talent management, executive assessment and coaching, and organizational development across a variety of industries. Douthitt holds a master’s degree and doctorate in Industrial/Organizational psychology from the University of Georgia. He can be reached at

Tags:  HR analytics  HR challenges  HR planning.  HRM  HRPS  human resources management  human resources planning  People & Strategy  talent management 

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How the Best Leaders Motivate their Teams through Emotions

Posted By Annie McKee, Founder, Teleos Leadership Institute, Tuesday, March 20, 2012

In the aftermath of the economic downturn, we’ve seen a groundswell of attention being paid to "motivating people to be at their best.” In our conversations with leaders, we hear them trying to counteract the reality of fatigue in a world where organizations have scaled back on their workforce due to layoffs or attrition, and have yet to invest in rehires. The impact on current employees is real: more responsibility, expanded scope of accountability, with smaller teams to actually implement.

Research on motivation and the role of the brain points to many important insights for leaders and managers trying to respond proactively to burn out on their teams. Most importantly, leaders must understand that all motivation—whether at work or at play—shares the same neural pathway. Tapping into that pathway is the job of the leader—and understanding the brain can help. Here’s more about the brain and motivating your team as written in my book, Primal Leadership:

In a technical sense, our guiding values are represented in the brain as a hierarchy of emotionally toned thoughts, with what we "like” and find compelling at the top, and what we loathe at the bottom. The strength and direction of those emotions determine whether a goal appeals to us or repels us. If the thought of helping disadvantaged children, for example, or of working with people at the top of their game, thrills us, it will be highly motivating.

All of this occurs in the brain’s prefrontal areas—the seat of attention and hence of self-awareness—which monitor feelings about preferences. Circuits in that part of the brain, then, harbor our positive feelings, quietly bringing them to mind over and over as we struggle toward a goal. Pleasant thoughts thereby operate as a sort of cheering section, urging us on over the long haul. From a neurological standpoint, what keeps us moving toward our goals in life comes down to the mind’s ability to remind us of how satisfied we’ll feel when we accomplish those things—a capacity residing in the circuitry between the amygdala and the left prefrontal lobe.

No matter what drives our passion to do our best work—whether it be the pure excitement it brings, the satisfaction of learning to do something better, or the joy of collaborating with highly talented colleagues (or simply the money we earn)—all the motivators share a common neural pathway. Passion for work, at the brain level, means that circuits linked to the left prefrontal cortex pump out a fairly steady stream of good feelings as we do our work.

At the same time, left prefrontal-based brain circuits perform another motivational favor: They quiet the feelings of frustration or worry that might discourage us from continuing. This means we can take in stride the inevitable setbacks, frustrations, and failures that any worthy goal brings us. We can see the hidden opportunity or the useful lesson in a reversal and keep going.

How well those prefrontal circuits prime motivating feelings and control the discouraging ones makes the difference between a pessimist, who dwells too much on what’s wrong and so loses hope, and an optimist, who keeps going despite difficulties by holding in mind the satisfaction to come when the goal is met.

How does all of this apply to leaders and organizations? Motivation on the job too often is taken for granted; we assume people care about what they do. But the truth is more nuanced: Wherever people gravitate within their work role indicates where their real pleasure lies—and that pleasure is itself motivating. Although traditional incentives such as bonuses or recognition can prod people to better performance, no external motivators can get people to perform at their absolute best.

The implications for leaders and managers are clear: get to know your people. Understand what in their work is most "naturally” exciting to them, because that is where they will get the energy (through the pumping of critical brain chemicals) and motivation to do the full range of their work. By orchestrating a means for them to do the work they like most—which feeds them on a primal and neurological basis—you can leverage their energy and excitement into the rest of their work. By making a concerted effort to give your people more work that motivates them, you will be well on your way to counteracting the damaging effects of burnout, and moving your team and organization toward resilience and long-term sustainability.

Read more about Annie McKee and her HRPS Global Conference session, Revitalizing Leadership: It Starts with You.

Tags:  HRM  HRPS  HRPS Global Conference  human resources management  leadership development 

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Human Resources a Whole New Game with Virtual Environments - Part 1

Posted By Eric Vidal, Tuesday, March 13, 2012
While technology and nearly ubiquitous broadband Internet connections have greatly widened the talent pool for organizations of all sizes, it has also created new challenges within those organizations. Nowhere does that show up more than in HR.    

Human resources professionals work with every employee in the organization, and every potential employee, in multiple ways, handling hundreds of details and tasks designed to keep them happy and productive. Yet engaging with a widespread, digital workforce is far more difficult than calling everyone in the building together in a room to explain the latest benefits package or setting up face-to-face meetings with job candidates. The technology makes the electronic connection – but it doesn’t really make the human connection so key to an effective HR strategy.    

That’s what makes virtual environments a game-changer. They solve issues related to distance by creating a place where prospective and/or current employees can meet, get information, and communicate no matter where they are in the world.   More importantly, they allow HR to create a human connection that makes employees feel like they’re right there at headquarters surrounded by co-workers rather than toiling by themselves in a remote location.   

Virtual environments can help HR deliver more value than ever before. In some cases, that value is already being realized.  HR has been using virtual environments to relay information about employee benefits and for direct deposit payments for years now, but these are just the tip of the iceberg. Giant leaps in the effectiveness and efficiency of recruiting and employee training and education are made possible because of virtual environments.   

Employee training and education can also be changed through virtual learning environments, which have shown potential for far greater levels of interaction than traditional classroom settings. The possibility for an ever-educated workforce now exists.   

Be sure to check back next time as we examine the impact of virtual environments on recruiting more closely, including comments from’s very own James Gilliam.

Eric Vidal is the Director of Product Marketing for the Event Services Business Segment at InterCall, the world’s largest conferencing and collaboration services provider. He can be reached at

Tags:  HR planning  HRM  HRPS  human resources management  human resources planning  virtual environments 

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Top 10 Reasons to Attend the HRPS Global Conference

Posted By HRPS Headquarters, Monday, March 12, 2012
Updated: Monday, March 12, 2012
10. Feel the energy of NYC, the epicenter of action, excitement and street vendors.  

9.   Learn what keeps the "C-suite” awake at night – and what you can do about it. 

8.   Take a quiet stroll in Times Square – just follow the honking horns.  

7.   Rediscover your passion for HR. 

6.   Connect with top-level HR leaders who understand your issues (unlike some of your friends and family).  

5.   Make a difference: You can shape the future workplace.  

4.   Network till the cows come home (although there probably aren’t many cows in NYC).  

3.   See into the future without a crystal ball (our world-class keynotes and thought-provoking presentations will open your  

2.  Savor that special "aha” moment when you feel that next great idea taking shape.  

And the #1 reason for attending the 2012 HRPS Global Conference…

...Re-examine your organization through the lens of Global Conference learnings to develop and implement strategies geared for success.

Prepare your organization for the future of business.
Join HRPS in The Big Apple, May 6-9, 2012.

Tags:  HRM  HRPS  HRPS Global Conference  human resources management  human resources planning 

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