#NZLEAD RECAP: Disabled HR Professionals = An Enabled Human Resources Profession

Anne T

Discussion this week was based on my recent blog with the same title – see http://annetynan.wordpress.com/ , which highlighted three issues:

  • There appears to be little or no publicly available information about the issue of      disabled people working as HR professionals
  • Google search results invariably highlighted a division, with ‘disabled people’ on one side and ‘HR professionals’ on the other – i.e. it’s a ‘them and us’ scenario
  • HR has clearly done a great job helping other professions to open up to disabled   people but appears to have forgotten to do the same for itself

We asked four questions, all aimed at gathering information from the #NZLEAD community. As everyone who has been involved in tweet chats knows, they are a bit like trying to put together a meal with people throwing ingredients at you from every side. It was not until I went back through the tweets that I realised exactly who had said what, made slightly more complicated when we had forgotten to use the hashtag. The other fun aspect is that we often answer different questions or reply to earlier tweets all at the same time – it is a real Twitter Tower of Babel and I salute Tash and Amanda for their weekly dedication to this.

What follows is a brief summary that you should therefore take with a pinch of salt. I could not include all tweets so this is a sample – feel free to comment subsequently if you think I missed something crucial. I will follow up some of the issues myself in subsequent blogs but for the moment, this is what I think happened this week. This may be a longer recap than usual but it would be a pity not to share information when there is so little of it at present.

Experience:   What is your experience of disabled people working in HR?

The consensus seemed to be that most people had little or in most cases no conscious experience of working with disabled HR colleagues.

It was accepted that colleagues may have/have had hidden disabilities but it had to be assumed that these were undisclosed and with no obvious external signs.

However, we were fortunate to be joined in the chat by colleagues who themselves have either disabilities or other relevant experience. Have a look below but if anything seems incoherent, go back to the original #nzlead source. The tweets below are not consecutive.

https://twitter.com/RoyalToots/statuses/375519216612679680

Data:  

What are the benefits of knowing the numbers and characteristics of                         disabled people who work in HR and their impact on others?

Opinions were divided about the need for data and published case studies but it was established that information is needed to fill the current gap.

Impact:          

Do you think that employees find HR more approachable if they can see                   that disabled people are well integrated into the department?

Most people felt that HR should always be approachable but that seeing people with disabilities working in HR could be beneficial.

Future:

What could/should organisations such as HRINZ and CIPD do to                                encourage disabled people to consider a career in HR?

Although there were a few suggestions relating to HRINZ and CIPD, people also looked beyond the HR profession itself for support.

Before we close…..

An unexpected but great finishing touch to this week’s #nzlead involved the sudden intervention of Vaughan Smith, Radio Announcer at The Edge Radio Station, wanting to know what #nzlead was all about. After Tash neatly informed him that:

And so we leave you to it! Thanks for joining the session.

Get in contact with Anne via @AnneTynan her blog http://annetynan.wordpress.com

or look her up on LinkedIn or her website https://sites.google.com/site/tynanequality/

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#NZLEAD PREVIEW: Attracting and retaining talent through engagement

ScottandAndy

People work not just for money, but also for a greater sense of meaning in their lives.  Engaged environments are more energetic, more rewarding and much more enjoyable to be part of.  We seek to build engagement because we have a belief that it has a positive impact on business performance.

We decided to team up on this blog, as we thought we may be able to present two slightly different perspectives on how engagement impacts the broader talent agenda. We’re interested to hear your thoughts on how engagement impacts the attraction and retention of talent, and how this is managed and communicated to an external audience.

The External Perspective

In the time I’ve worked in recruitment, I have had the pleasure of supporting a whole range of clients across a broad spectrum of industries and functions.  Not being “part” of my client organisations, I am somewhat reliant on what they tell me about their levels of engagement, that and, of course, what I hear from other sources.  I’m confident, however, that engagement is a component either consciously or unconsciously considered when individuals consider a new employment destination.    You may be able to relate, but I tend to find an almost palpable difference between engaged and unengaged workforces just by “walking the floor”.  The middle ground is certainly harder to ascertain, but the extremes are obvious.  Here are some thoughts (happy for debate) regarding engagement and the attraction of talent:

  • Engaged organisations have better employment brands.  As such, there will be greater levels of demand / interest from potential hires.
  • An increase in candidate supply should provide greater choice; you would think improve the ultimate outcome.
  • Engagement and the perception of the employment brand will determine the sourcing strategies; contribute to the shape of the recruitment infrastructure; and, determine the reliance on external providers.
  • Trade-offs may be required when recruiting for unengaged (unattractive) organisations, i.e. compensating through higher remuneration.
  • The candidate experience is typically more enjoyable (authentically so) when interviewing with a highly engaged organisation.
  • Ultimately all these will have impacts on cost and quality of hire.

Scott Duncan 

The Internal Perspective

I am sure you’ll agree that employee engagement is key to attracting and retaining the best talent. At Chorus we are firmly committed to making the employment experience sticky so we can retain our best people. Our overall HR plan is to ensure our people’s experience of Chorus is exceptional; a fundamental part of this plan is to focus on employee engagement. Having a highly engaged workplace makes it easy to attract and retain the right people and makes it a difficult choice for our people to leave.

Aside from (selfishly!) wanting to work in a great environment ourselves, the HR team are focused on this goal because we know that people don’t just tend to stick to great workplaces, they tell others about it which enhances our reputation even further. Our ultimate aim is to have all out people say: “Chorus is the best place I have ever worked”.

I am confident this strategy is working because over the past two years I have lost count of how many times I’ve been told that one of the main reasons people want to work at Chorus is because they’ve heard about out workplace reputation. When I say I have lost count, I don’t exaggerate – we have doubled our workforce in this time!   We have made significant numbers of these hires by referral as we have found that engaged employees take greater accountability for the organisational success.

Another key part of our strategy is to ensure our people know that engagement is not just something HR does, but something every employee owns. HR plays a critical part in coaching leaders on how to grow and sustain engagement in their teams, and I have noticed that people soon become advocates of the great environment in which we work.

Having ‘Aon Hewitt Best Employer’ status certainly supports our employment branding. And although it is a great achievement, we believe the real test is it what people hear and experience when they talk to our employees, ex-employees, customers and suppliers.  I love it when people say they’ve heard that Chorus is a great place to work – I feel very proud of this because I know it is rare to truly love being at work, supporting our goal of making Chorus a hard place to leave.

Andrew Burner

This week’s questions:

Q1)      Accepting that not all organisations are highly engaged, how have you mitigated candidate perceptions of low levels of engagement through the recruitment and on-boarding process?

Q2)      Why do organisations enter “Best Employer” surveys / competitions?

Q3)      How do you use engagement as an employment branding tool?

Q4)      How do you get every employee to own engagement, take responsibility for sustaining it?

Q5)      What are the levers /tools that you have used to boost engagement in your workplace?