What You Want Employees to Say When They Leave

Scrolling through LinkedIn lately I’ve seWhat You Want Employees to Say When They Leaveen a number of posts marking someone’s last day with their current company. The post, often of someone moving on to another opportunity, are appreciative of the opportunity they had, grateful for the relationships they forged and overall very positive. The comments on the post from current co-workers and leaders are more of the same. They share their sadness over the person leaving and congratulations for the new opportunity. And every time I see it, I think the same thing.

That’s really the way you want someone to go.

Before the cynics jump in, I completely realize that for every one of those positive exits there are many more negative ones. I know that employees don’t always leave on good terms, but this post is about how you want employees to leave so I’m going to focus on that.

Employees take on new opportunities for all sorts of reasons. Sure the statement about people leaving their leaders is mostly true, but my time spent every week recruiting tells me that often people aren’t looking to leave. They aren’t dissatisfied in their current role, but something intriguing came along and they jumped on it. Many times throughout my day, a person I reached out to with an opportunity will say, “I’m not really looking now, but this does sound interesting”. They then go down the path of pursuing an opportunity not because they are dissatisfied in their current role, but simply because the timing is right for them and the opportunity allows them to move forward in their career or work on something they wouldn’t get the opportunity to in their current role.

Sometimes it isn’t about a poor working relationship with their manager or dissatisfaction with the business, but simply the right opportunity at the right time. And when it is, that employee leaving a positive note on social media about your company is amazing branding. It also may serve as great advertising that a position is open.

As I think about what I would want employees leaving my company to share, a few things come to mind. I want them to share that…

Their decision to leave had nothing to do with leadership or dissatisfaction, but one of opportunity.

They felt supported, challenged and appreciated while working for my company.

They are sad to be leaving so many great colleagues including leadership behind.

If the door were ever open for them to return and the opportunity made sense, they would do so in a heartbeat.

These are the things that speak to people these days. Pay, benefits, flex work and promotional opportunities are always important, but what people gravitate to now are places that check the boxes above. People are more willing to exchange more money for feeling valued. The highest paying environments, that are also the most toxic, are not as appealing as they once were.

I believe statements like this, when employees leave, are powerful. They are also powerful from current employees and the more you can accumulate the better. Now the question of how to make sure this is what employees say is a whole other blog post -or series – or leadership development program. But knowing what we want them to say is a good start.

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Top 5 Ways HCM Software Supports Your Small Business

Today we have a sponsored post from my friends at Ultimate Software. I mentioned that I joined Ultimate Software at their annual user conference in March. I had the privilege of hearing Adam Rogers, their CTO, introduce new updates, interview Will Smith and share Ultimate’s vision for the future. To say I was impressed with both him and the company would be an understatement. I think you’ll enjoy what he has to say as well.

Guest Post: Adam Rogers, CTO, Ultimate Software

For many small businesses that begin with a small team and a dream, HR responsibilities are managed by a cross-functional manager or sole in-house administrator. This approach suffices for a time, but as your company grows, a more comprehensive and effective strategy is needed. Efficiency is critical for small businesses with limited resources, and the right software streamlines time-intensive tasks while alleviating HR challenges. The result? Your efforts are spent strategically growing your business – not updating spreadsheets.

Affordable solutions are available for companies of every size, and they can make a meaningful difference for you and your employees. How? Here are 5 ways your small business can benefit from HCM technology.

1. Consolidate tactical activities
Time is money, and having key employees completing basic administrative tasks consumes both. Today’s solutions streamline otherwise time-intensive tasks, improving productivity, organizations, and effectiveness. Time and attendance management, payroll, and benefits administration are all easily managed by HCM solutions. Most also utilize direct access for both employees and managers, allowing your people to update their personal data and handle leave balance, leave requests, and approvals without any help or interventions while ensuring your business has accurate real-time information for reporting and compliance.

2. Keep tabs on regulatory compliance
Staying on top of compliance is practically a full-time job. Regulatory requirements vary from county to county, but even small businesses are expected to comply with the unique labor, taxation, insurance and healthcare laws of each. With the rise of “gig economy” and increased popularity of remote workers, it’s never been more critical to have a partner ensuring your legal adherence.

3. Progressive talent management
Acquiring and retaining employees is a crucial aspect of every organization. For many small businesses, this is an unrealized opportunity for improvement with technology. Look for a provider that can manage the complete recruiting experience, onboarding, open enrollment, compensation, performance and succession management, and uses social collaboration tools. Some HCM software even allows you to set specific, measureable goals with your employees, monitoring and reporting progress on an ongoing basis. By capturing various data points and journaling throughout the year, performance reviews become more of an ongoing collaborative process benefiting the employee, manager, and the business.

4. Advanced analytics for strategic development
Data is at the heart of every solid strategy, and compiling, accessing, and understanding actions as a result of that data has never been easier. Advanced reporting and analytics provide rich insight into key workforce metrics such as turnover trends and overtime hours, and predictive analytics can help predict future high performers and flight risks. Some solutions even offer prescriptive analytics, guiding leaders through crucial leadership actions with a variety of fact-based, real-time suggestions. Businesses can also gain invaluable data-based insight into their culture and overall employee experience by employing sophisticated pulse surveys. Using natural language processing (NLP) and sentiment-analysis technology, these innovative additions can decode text-based, open-ended questions and uncover the true voice of employees in real time.

5. Career and personal development
Numerous studies show that people value learning and career development opportunities, and offering ongoing learning stands to benefit employees and businesses alike. In addition to increased satisfaction, performance is likely to improve, as well as the value your employee brings to the role. Look for HCM software with a learning management platform that mirrors how today’s employees prefer to learn – collaboratively and on demand.

HCM technology is an investment, but there are affordable solutions for businesses of all sizes and the result can be truly game-changing. Reduced labor costs, increased efficiencies, and strategic opportunities are perhaps even more important for small businesses than they are for larger ones. I suggest looking for a solution that can grow with you- even if you’re only interested in time and labor management and payroll right now, a centralized HR solution can evolve and adapt as your business, budget, and needs grow.





The Difference Between Orientation and On-Boarding


The Difference Between Orientation and On-boardingTwo words that make me absolutely cringe when I hear them used interchangeably are “orientation” and “on-boarding”. They are not the same thing.

Orientation is a one time event. It usually lasts a day (or less if you do it well) and is an opportunity to share a ton of information that people must know.

Where the bathrooms are.
What time everyone takes lunch.
Where to park so you do not get towed.

Orientation is meant to share the essentials. It is intended to ensure that new hires get the very basics of what they have and usually includes a lot of paperwork filling out time. It is not very interactive and certainly does not help the new hire after it is over.

On-boarding is much longer. It takes place both before and after the hire. It could last weeks or months – the longer the better. It is meant to introduce and ingrain the company culture and way of working. It should reinforce everything the new hire was told in the recruiting phase. It should incentivize new hires to do their best work until they can do better. Then it should incentivize them to do better. It should make them happy with their decision. It should develop, coach and mentor. It should turn a great hire into a great employee.

See the difference?

Is your company putting new hires through an orientation or an on-boarding?

To find out more about creating effective onboarding programs and not just orientation, check out my Onboarding Primer.

This post reviewed  and edited on September 20, 2017

How To Build an HR Department of One


I mentioned in this article that sole HR practitioners do not have an easy job. Being the only one who does all the tactical work and at the same time has to be a part of the senior team and help the company meet strategic goals can be an overwhelming task. It is common in these situations to find sole practitioners who have settled into one role or the other. Their back office work is impeccable and they spend much of their time ensuring the basics of HR are covered but not a ton of time worrying about the bigger picture. Or, they spend all their time with the C-suite helping to set and plan for goals while some of the back office items lack proper execution.

There isn’t necessarily anything wrong with this if it works for the business, but in my last few years working alongside many different types of sole practitioners, I have found a few common traits of those who are good at both. I would like to share those with you.

Chicago_HR_Consultant_HR_Audit_TextThe Back Office Comes First It is hard for HR to build long term credibility and trust if the basics are not covered. Cracks in processes like payroll, benefit administration or new hire orientation can really damage the respect that others have for HR and can keep that sole practitioner from being able to focus on higher level things. Laying these processes out and ensuring they are working properly on an ongoing basis is crucial to a sole practitioner’s success. I’ve created a very simple checklist which covers the very basics of HR. Of course there is more, but ensuring these practices are in place will give any HR team a good foundation.

Understand the Business While this one can be said of any HR practitioner, sole practitioners have a great need to truly understand the ins and outs of the business they serve as well as their operational leaders. Much of this knowledge comes naturally as they work in the business, but extra effort to dig deeper into the financials and sales process can help the HR leader understand how their work fits in and impacts the business. Since many sole practitioners are in smaller organizations, everything they do could impact the bottom line.

Build a Support Team Just because a sole practitioner may not have HR support inside the office, does not mean they can not have a support team. In fact, having an outside support team may be the single biggest factor in a sole practitioner’s success. Having other HR practitioners to bounce ideas off of, learn from and call on when needed can make the sole practitioner feel like they are not alone. This support could come in the form of members of a local SHRM chapter, friends you meet through social media or independent consultants and recruiters. Knowing who these people are and who to call when support is needed can keep a sole practitioner from being completely overwhelmed with all they have going on.

There is a lot that goes into building an HR team whether you have one person or several. The three items above seem simple and probably like common sense, but in the midst of trying to do it all can be lost. Focusing efforts on just these three will help a sole practitioner balance the basics with the strategic.

Oh and as the picture at the top suggest – cupcakes help too:) Are you a sole practitioner? What things do you do to survive being an HR team of one?

Photo: Happiness in a Bite