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Settling for the Status Quo: How to Challenge Yourself in HR, Part 2

March 23, 2018 | James C. Owens, President and CEO

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In Part 1 of this post, we discussed going beyond metrics and ROI of HR and the need for change agents in human resource leadership. Now we’ll get to specific ways to overcome the status quo and the neuroscience of change.

Be a Rebel

In a Harvard Business Review article, Lois Kelly and Carmen Medina, the authors of Rebels at Work: A Handbook for Leading Change from Within, offer suggestions for how employees can more effectively advance their good ideas, even in organizations resistant to constructive nonconformists.

Say the authors, “In a recent research study among self-identified rebels at work, we found that among their strengths were — not surprisingly — honesty, creativity, curiosity, and fairness. But self-regulation, perseverance, and prudence were among their weaker points. Setting small goals and appreciating the small wins along the way will help you strengthen those weaker traits and help prevent you from giving up too soon because you’re frustrated that things aren’t happening the way you want them to and you decide not to persevere.”

Some of the pitfalls include failing to prioritize your ideas, which can lead to creative pitch burnout from company decision makers; trying to go it alone, as many successful endeavors require a team approach; and ignoring your personal red flags for creative burnout. Creativity is a renewable source of energy for rebels, but pessimism can be an unintended side effect of swinging and missing a pitch.

Think Like a Marketer

HR pros play a lot of roles: employee liaison, culture keeper, people leader, coach. But the best ones are also marketers. They boost employer brand and improve the overall experience for employees. And when HR adopts marketing techniques, they can better manage talent.

An article in Entrepreneur outlines four marketing principles HR professionals can use to help achieve company buy-in for new ideas, including:

(1) know your target audience. Employees receive hundreds of emails every week — yet 50 percent of those surveyed in theEMPLOYEEapp’s Mobile Trends in the Workplace survey said they still feel out of the loop. Why? Because the messages aren’t tapping into their interests. Learn everything you can about your audience and use the knowledge to target messages to specific groups of employees rather than a company-wide email blast.

(2) One brand voice, every channel. Marketers know that if they want to get the attention of their audience, they need to use more than one method. A campaign cannot be successful through emails and newsletters alone. Marketers use a mix of media to convey their messages. They use video, images, interactive websites, social media and more.

(3) Create an information hub. When HR focuses on a branded employee experience, encouraging program participation becomes easier. Bring all programs, initiatives and information together in one easy-to-use platform. Think of it as a hub that integrates the most important HR benefits, programs and initiatives in one convenient place.

(4) Measure effectiveness. Decide what metrics are most important to the company culture and overall business goals and track them to drive employee engagement. Are employees responding to messages? Are they participating? Are they happy? What can be done better? Some HR systems learn about people and take action so employers don’t even have to.

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James Owens, president and CEO of Cisive, is the author of this article.

The Neuroscience of Change

Dr. Britt Andreatta is the CEO of 7th Mind Inc, a TEDx Speaker and a best-selling author whose work focuses on workplace neuroscience, specifically in the areas of leadership, learning, change and culture. Her newest book, Wired to Resist: The Brain Science of Why Change Fails and a New Model to Drive Success, was just released.This podcast interview on neuroscience covers some good points on how as leaders we should introduce or manage the science of change acceptance or adoption at work. This is critical to going beyond the status quo and standard workplace politics and working to really moving the needle in an organization.

Dr. Andreatta says that it is important for organizations and leaders to understand where each employee is on the change journey. Leaders who are involved in creating and building new organizational strategies have had time to adjust to the new change while employees often have not been given the time to consider, learn about and adjust to those same changes. This is one of the many situations where workplace neuroscience and leadership can help.

According to Dr. Andreatta’s research, there are three categories of people who take part in the workplace change journey. They are 1) expedition designers, 2) guides who are most often managers, and 3) travelers. She says that people throughout the organization will fall into these different categories depending on the change processes taking place and what part of the organization they work in.

In order for organizations to succeed and their employees to embrace change, organizational leaders must focus on their employees and help create new neural pathways for their employees in everything they do, from launching a new training program, workplace process, or employment video.

Finally, driving change and moving from the usual needs to have the support of organizational leaders and a culture of trust. Otherwise, it doesn’t matter how much you’ve researched and planned a new program if it doesn’t have the support and trust of the executive leadership team.

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