hr consultants Calgary Alberta

HR’s Favourite Things

As an HR consultant and generalist, I am confronted with many different issues on a weekly basis. I find that I definitely have areas of HR I enjoy working on more than others, and when it comes to solutions, I also have my “favourites” – my go-tos, my tried and trues.

So it got me thinking about my team. We have an incredible and talented team of consultants here at Salopek and I thought it would be great to also share their HR favourites and the topics that inspire them.

So thank you to Janet Salopek, Alannah Turner, Clementine Crooks, Darlene Nyegaard-Enbright, and Jill Sullivan for your insight!

Favorite Interview question:

Alannah: “Tell me about a project or task you were responsible for that went ‘sideways’ or failed. Why did it fail?” In that question I look for understanding around making mistakes, accountability, resilience, communication, self-awareness, and honesty.

Clementine: “What do you believe is your role within this position in helping the organization achieve its strategic goals?” By asking this question in an interview you are letting the candidate know it is important for them to understand the organization’s purpose and how they will contribute to that

Darlene: “What made you apply for this particular role/position?” I want to find out what motivated them initially to apply.

Janet: “What type of work environment allows you to do your best work?” There are so many different types of work environments today, that if it’s not a fit for the candidate, it’s better to know that up front.

Jill: I don’t really have a favourite question, but I like to ask something that allows you to see the real person, what motivates them, and their approach in working with other people.

Leah: “Who was your favourite manager and why?” With this question I am looking for insight into the kind of manager the candidate will thrive under and whether that’s a fit with the person they will be reporting to.

Favorite HR topic:

Alannah: How to tie values into every element of an organization – from the organizational strategy, through the performance measures, to the hiring questions. I have observed great companies struggle when they have great people and structure, strong business direction but when the resources don’t have clear understanding around “how” they are to achieve their objectives. We can communicate what an objective is for a position or team, but when discretion is required or when decisions are made without clear guidelines, individual decisions or values can subvert the organizations’.

Clementine: Leadership! I have my Masters in Leadership and I am passionate about leadership development and continuing my studies in leadership.

Darlene: Employee engagement. All roads lead to engagement in my opinion. A good recruitment experience, can lead to increased engagement; a good onboarding experience can lead to increased engagement; some form of ‘formal’ performance management, lead by someone who has had a bit of guidance on how to do performance management can lead to engagement; conversely, all of the above done poorly can lead to a decrease in engagement.

Janet: I could talk forever about HR’s role at the boardroom table and how we get there. It’s really about the journey – the respect we earn and the value we add. As HR professionals we should never expect to have a seat at the table. It’s more than HR, we need to demonstrate our understanding of the business and how we can add value at a strategic level.

Jill: Employee engagement, leadership, and mentally healthy workplaces.

Leah: The importance of building programs and processes that aim to create positive employee experiences, from beginning to end. These experiences help employees to feel more emotionally engaged, motivated and invested in their jobs, and ensure you create a place where people want to work.

Favourite Method of Reward and Recognition:

Alannah: My all time favorite is when managers/leaders take the time to comment positively on what an employee has done well. One-on-one or in front of a group, genuine and timely – when the manager sees that an employee supports another, tries hard, puts in the extra effort and pays attention and comments on it. It seems simple, but can be very difficult for managers and leaders to focus on in their busy days.

Clementine: Positive detailed feedback. Taking the time to document in a card or letter how much you value the employee and why. Often employers hand out salary increases or bonuses and fail to partner them with words of thanks and appreciation for how the employee has contributed to the success of the company.

Darlene: My hands down favourite is taking a moment to write a handwritten thank you and then walk over and deliver it to the individual/team. This allows me to express my appreciation in person (and possibly colleagues/co-workers will hear it as well – which may lead to further conversation and possibly engagement in the group) while also leaving a physical reminder of my recognition/appreciation. This is really a part of my MBWA philosophy. It doesn’t always need to go downward either, I have sent thank yous to leaders when I can see they have gone above and beyond for me, the team or the company.

Janet: Telling someone they did a good job and saying it in front of their peers. Calling it out when it happens, and being genuine in your feedback at the time.

Jill: Simple wins every time, it doesn’t have to be complicated, as long as it is genuine and timely. A thank you is always appreciated, and in terms of concrete items, gift cards and branded items are also appreciated.

Leah: In addition to informal recognition, I believe service awards are a fantastic way to recognize employee loyalty and commitment. This type of formal recognition can be very motivating and can go a long way in making the employee feel appreciated and valued.

Favourite Team Building Event:

Alannah: The most memorable ones for me have been the events where you learn more about co-workers than you knew in the work place. I’ve been to talent events and heard previously quiet, introverted employees sing beautifully or play music or showcase art that is a part of the whole person that we don’t always see during the workday. When we acknowledge coworkers as Moms, Dads, Artists, Musicians, Athletes…it helps us be more understanding, tolerant and caring about our peers.

Clementine: A Myers Briggs Type Indicator workshop. I am MBTI certified and there is no doubt that conducting a personality type profiling workshop is fun, engaging, informative and an excellent opportunity to build relationships and enhance communication.

Darlene: Volunteering on company time to create/build/service something that shows immediate results, e.g. packing lunches for school children in need, working at the soup kitchen/homeless shelter assisting with a project. After the project is complete – plan for a group de-brief/wrap up that allow the team member to discuss how or why the work they just did was meaningful and then get on to other topics in order to get to know each other better. I dislike ‘team’ volunteering that is rushed and does not allow for the debrief – this is a critical component in my eyes – when team members can discuss how they made a difference as a team.

Janet: Going out into the community and volunteering as a team. It makes you feel good, it’s something you can do together, and then you come back to the workplace with a smile on your face.

Jill: In my experience the actual activity is secondary, what people enjoy most is the opportunity to interact with colleagues, to get to know them as individuals, and as people.

Leah: I like the idea of doing something with a competitive element. Whether it’s a game, sport, trivia, or team challenge, like a “fitbit” challenge. Competition brings people together and gets them working towards a common goal; it challenges and energizes them; and it’s fun! (usually) It’s even better when there is a social element involved as well so you can get to know your teammates in a more casual way, outside of work.

Favourite Quote:

Alannah: “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…” ― Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go

Clementine: “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.” – Sir Richard Branson

Darlene: “Be the change you want to see in the world.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

Janet: “Dream big.”

Jill: “You manage things; you lead people.” – Admiral Grace Murray Hoppe

Leah: “A person who feels appreciated will always do more than what is expected.” – Author Unknown

If any of these Favourite HR Things are practices you would like to implement into your work place, contact us anytime to speak to the consultant who’s idea you loved!

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