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It's Not My Fault! Creating Accountability in Business

Accountability, both in business and in personal life, is defined as taking personal ownership to ensure responsibilities are achieved as expected. It is a mindset that a leader must possess and then foster throughout their organization. To fully grasp accountability in business, it might help to first understand the opposite of accountability.

Consider the typical teenager and how they’d likely respond when asked to explain why they received a failing grade or were issued a speeding ticket. Refusing to accept accountability, they’d claim, “It’s not my fault!” They’d then go on to explain, “the teacher hates us and asked questions on topics that we never learned” or “the officer let everyone else go but stopped me because he is after teenagers.”

Every adult was once a teenager and likely went through this phase of refusing to assume accountability. Unfortunately, some never completely snap out of it and live their entire lives believing that their shortcomings, to a certain extent, are the fault of someone else. In contrast, those who do understand and embrace the concept of accountability never take a victim mentality but rather accept personal ownership of the areas for which they have accepted responsibility. They then guarantee a result and focus all of their energy to ensure that it happens. If you manage a business, such a high level of accountability can be a huge asset to your company.

Does this ring true for you? If I were your boss and demanded a “guarantee” from you on all of your goals for this year, would you give it to me?

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The Real ROI of Leadership Activites

Calculating ROI is one of the biggest hurdles decision-makers face when determining which leadership activities to include in organizational development and training initiatives. Although some metrics are more difficult to quantify than others, approaching leadership development with measurement in mind can help you identify the activities that will offer the best return on investment. When evaluating which leadership activities are the best fit for your organization, consider how each option contributes to the following.

Increasing Engagement

One of the first steps in any type of training is engaging participants. How does the leadership training you are considering compare to your current approach? You can measure and compare engagement by conducting feedback surveys both during and after training events. This is an important metric for training because when participants are not fully engaged, they are less likely to retain new information.

Learning for the Long Term

When you invest in leadership development or any other type of training, you want the new knowledge and skills they’ve acquired to last. This is challenging with all types of individuals because the forgetting curve indicates that people forget most of what they have learned in about a week. However, the rate of learning decay depends heavily on how the information was presented in the first place. For example, an individual might remember only 5 percent of the information delivered at a lecture, compared to 75 percent if they learn by doing, otherwise known as experiential learning. When selecting specific activities, make sure you have a mix of delivery types to promote engagement and therefore, longer-term learning.

Connecting to Real-life Application

Leadership activities that successfully convey the theories behind improving performance provide value, but the best ROI will happen only when those theories are applied in real life. Look for a training approach that includes on-the-job application as a key component. This might come in the form of hands-on training, role-playing, or a debrief of experiential learning activities. Tracking behavior change on the job will help you evaluate whether your organization’s leadership activities are producing the desired results.

Retaining Knowledge

In addition to selecting an information delivery method that promotes better retention, it’s important to reinforce new knowledge in order to combat learning decay. After participating in activities and connecting them to the workplace, implement a measurement and reinforcement plan to encourage participants to retain information and apply their new skills. When individuals know that their performance is being measured, they are more likely to strive to meet clear benchmarks, especially if they have recently learned new skills that will help them achieve those goals.

Impacting the Business

Perhaps the most important metric when determining the ROI of leadership activities is how the business is impacted. The specific objectives you choose to monitor will depend on your organizational goals, but might include:

  • Decreasing the number of customer service complaints
  • Increasing the productivity of teams
  • Improving the efficiency of a specific process
  • Decreasing the employee turnover rate
  • Improving employee satisfaction


The methods used to calculate ROI will vary depending on the metrics you are measuring and they won’t always appear in terms of dollars and cents. For example, increasing engagement in these activities won’t directly translate to a financial return, but it is a key component of reaching your overall business goals. Regardless of your organizational development goals and the development initiatives you implement to support them, you won’t know whether you have achieved them unless you have a measurement system in place.

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Personal Development in Healthcare

Just as you approach the overall health of individual patients, you must also address the health of your entire healthcare organization. This includes building a strong backbone for your institute by developing mid-level managers. Providing personal development tools that will help them grow and thrive as supervisors and maintaining a robust leadership pipeline are essential for creating an environment that enables you to deliver superior patient outcomes. In this video you’ll learn why patient outcomes depend on personal development in healthcare.

Video Transcript

In 2008 the Institute for Healthcare Improvement came up with what was called Triple Aim. Improving the health of the general population, enhancing patient care, and then also producing per capita costs of healthcare focusing on that. Does anyone other than myself see
something huge that’s missing from that?

Which is why Triple Aim has now turned into Quadruple Aim, because the fourth element now is the staff itself, and the health of the staff. Do we just simply say congratulations you’re now a nursing supervisor, here’s 12 people, try not to mess it up. Or do we provide them with tools for success? Is there succession planning? Are there thoughts around this? Do we develop our leaders?

I will tell you without question, those mid-level managers are your most critical function, both on the clinical and non-clinical side.Think of the human body. You could have the most brilliant brain, which is your strategic plan. You could have the most brilliant rank-and-file,which is your legs. But if your spine is weak you are done, and your spine are your mid-level managers.

Personal development at all levels of the organization is critical, but if it doesn’t start, and live, and thrive in that core of your mid-level managers, those nursing supervisors on the clinical side, those supervisors on your non-clinical side, you have very little chance of getting to that ultimate goal of superior outcomes for your patients, and creating a superior reputation for your institute.


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The 12-Step Process That HR Needs for Unleashing the Full Potential of Their Workforce

The key to unleashing employee potential lies in establishing the right processes and programs to support leaders and employees at various stages of the HR cycle. The HR cycle is a 12-step process that individuals go through throughout their employment journey from hiring to promotion or role change. In our guide, Using the HR Cycle to Unlock the Potential Within the Organization, we present the strategies and initiatives that HR can pursue to leverage the HR cycle for long-term organizational success.

Recruitment, Orientation, and Onboarding

The recruiting and onboarding steps of the HR cycle present an opportunity for HR to ensure that new hires align to the goals and culture of their organization. The beginning of the HR cycle is the time to examine recruiting activities and ensure they position your organization for future success. During these stages, you can:

  • Showcase your culture. Ensure that recruiting activities and tools highlight your culture as much as the details of the position you’re trying to fill. Use your company career page and social media to express to candidates the personality of your organization and aspects of the culture.
  • Think about orientation partnerships. When a new hire joins, they need to know where the copier is, but they also need to become acquainted with the leaders on their new team that can help them adjust to cultural and work norms. HR can connect new hires with the leaders who will support their success.
  • Train managers to be master communicators. There are many stakeholders in a new hire’s orientation, but people managers have a special role to play in communicating performance objectives and expectations. HR can provide the tools and training support to ensure managers communicate expectations with ease.

Development Plan and Performance Review

The start of a new role, whether the individual is a new hire or a recent transfer, is an ideal time to establish a development plan that will define performance excellence, as well as the skills and experiences needed to get there. You recognize the importance of talent development, but what are some specific actions you can undertake to leverage the HR cycle at this critical stage?

  • Develop a three-year plan. Identify individual development needs and establish a three-year development plan to address them. Specify training program options and work experiences needed for long-term performance excellence.
  • Establish two-way feedback mechanisms. Development planning should also include employee input on their development needs, as well as the experiences they believe will sharpen their leadership skills.
  • Institute quarterly reviews. Quarterly reviews provide real-time opportunities to deliver feedback and address any performance concerns before they become a larger problem.

Succession Planning, Annual Review, and Rewards

The next steps in the HR cycle should work together to motivate individuals to perform to their full potential. Performance results and the rewards tied to them will determine an individual’s opportunities for growth and promotion.

Keep an eye on these activities to ensure you have the right programs in place for organizational success:

  • Create succession plans. Design your succession management program so that high-potentials get priority for key leadership roles and dominate your leadership pipeline.
  • Utilize annual reviews. When quarterly reviews come together into an annual appraisal, identify training and development needs and incorporate them into next year’s budget so that they remain a priority.
  • Rewards and recognition. Link rewards and recognition to a cultural transformation, thereby rewarding the behaviors you want to encourage most.

Career Management and Development

The career management discussion should be a two-way discussion that allows individuals to express their career aspirations to their managers and then discuss options and avenues they can explore to achieve their career goals. HR has an opportunity to support this last step of the HR cycle by ensuring managers are prepared for these discussions and have the necessary skills to communicate career development opportunities with clarity. Role-plays and experiential training opportunities can expand a manager’s toolkit, preparing them to answer the tough questions and engage with their direct reports in meaningful ways.

Leverage Every Step of the HR Cycle

In our extensive guide, we explain how each of the 12 steps of the HR cycle represents an opportunity for HR to deepen leadership talent and capability within the organization. The steps to unleash full workforce potential start at the candidate selection process and repeat each time an individual is promoted or moves into a new role.

HR can be the catalyst for ensuring business leaders have the required skills to support and develop employees as they move along the HR cycle, building organizational and leadership capability along the way.


The HR Cycle.png

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The Four Secrets to Sustaining a High Performance Culture

high performance culture is at the top of many companies’ wish lists, with good reason — when colleagues contribute fully to the best of their abilities (and even stretch those abilities to become better), the company benefits. Unfortunately, leaders are facing an uphill battle in implementing a high performance culture since, according to one survey, just 10 percent of employees define success at work through high performance.

Successfully implementing a high performance culture is most certainly a reason to rejoice, given the obstacles that are in the way when creating it. However, developing the culture isn’t a “set it and forget it” exercise; to continually reap the benefits of a high performance culture, you must find ways to sustain this culture through all of your company’s ups and downs. Here are four keys to sustaining the high performance culture you’ve worked hard to put in place:

1. Leaders Must Model High Performance Behaviors

Sustaining a high performance culture starts with leaders. A company’s leaders should be the living embodiment of the company’s values, and how leaders act — and how often they show their faces outside the boardroom — has a tremendous impact on the behavior of their teams.  Researchers have even found that nonverbal cues from leaders (how they stand, how often they smile, whether they cross their arms, etc.) dictate whether their team members open up or shut down when approached.

While the leadership team may say they value honest feedback, their body language itself may tell employees something completely different. For a high performance culture that lasts, leaders must consciously embody the values and behaviors they hope to see in their own employees.

2. High Performance Culture Requires High Performance Training

A high performance culture supports the development of skills and knowledge through engaging, impactful training programs. Unfortunately, after we learn something, we all experience “learning decay” — we remember less and less of the lesson over time.

To ensure you’re fostering a high performance culture, invest in high performance training strategies that improve the likelihood that the training will stick. For example, experiential learning, where training participants take an active role in a training experience (instead of listening to a lecturer or reading a manual) greatly minimizes learning decay in comparison to more traditional training programs, like “show and tell” presentations which require minimal engagement. High performance training exercises that simulate the real-world workplace scenarios that participants often encounter make it far easier for participants to remember and apply the training lessons in their day-to-day work lives.

3. Confidence, Not Perfection is the Goal

In a culture of high performance, teams still make mistakes — the difference is how quickly they bounce back from those mistakes and continue to move forward. Colleagues in a high-performance culture will analyze what went wrong and make adjustments, rather than abandoning a plan completely in a fit of passion (or embarrassment). Plus, a hallmark of a high performance culture is a focus on collaboration: if one colleague makes a mistake, another is there to pick up the slack and keep a project moving. Empower your colleagues to collaborate, not compete, and to tackle problems (even problems of their own making) with confidence, not a sense a failure.

4. High Performers Focus on Building Strengths, Not Eliminating Weaknesses

Continually focusing on what colleagues are doing wrong results in a culture of demoralization — it’s hard to keep your head up and perform to your fullest potential when you’re constantly being berated! Instead, the focus should be on identifying and further developing strengths. In fact, a study found that when individuals are able to use their strengths on the job every day, they’re six times as likely to be engaged in their work than those who do not — and you cannot sustain a high performance culture without sustained engagement as well.

Inevitably, over time a pillar of your high performance culture may show signs of cracking. What strategies have you implemented to avoid crumbling and continue to sustain an engaged, high performance culture at your company?



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Innovation Killers vs. Innovation Enhancers

In 2013, media firm Thomson Reuters took a big risk; they decided to stop driving growth through acquisition and start driving growth through innovation. While acquisitions had been the company’s main source of growth for years, they were proving to be too costly. Instead, Thomson Reuters decided to tap into a huge source of growth potential: its own employees.


The firm developed something called the Catalyst Fund, which gave employees a platform to present their ideas in front of a panel of company executives (and secure funding to explore them), including the CEO himself. The results from their Shark Tank-esq program was the ability to tap into a bank of creativity that was at their fingertips the whole time. Employees began creating new products and innovating in the realm of organization, saving the company time and money with innovative process improvements. This wasn’t just good news for the company; employees became more engaged, as their voices were heard, helping lead the company to new heights.

Thomson Reuters transformed their company culture to enhance innovation. Unfortunately, not many organizations see the same benefit of transforming their culture to embrace innovation.

According to a report from the National Science Foundation, just 14 percent of U.S. companies are considered product or process innovators. While this low number isn’t exactly inspiring, it’s not surprising either, achieving true innovation takes hard work. There are plenty of hurdles that companies face when they try to innovate, time constraints and budget issues among them.

One of the biggest hurdles to innovation, however, the organization’s attitude toward innovation; the tendency to kill ideas before they even get the chance to develop into something worth pursuing. And it’s a more pervasive issue than most companies even realize.

But before we dive into what’s flatlining your organization’s ability to innovate, let’s take a closer look at what we mean when we say “innovation.”


What Is Innovation?

There’s a common misconception about innovation: Innovation is not just about coming up with new ideas, that’s called ideation; and while it’s an important part of innovation, it’s just that: one part. Think of innovation as a process, where you start by identifying the issue and then move on to coming up with ideas, creating and implementing an action plan, and finally achieving, and measuring results. In sum, the process of innovation involves:

  • Defining the issue
  • Ideation
  • Action
  • Results

Innovation is all about making something better by doing it in a new or different way. The first step is ideation, or coming up with new ideas’ you’ll never see the results stage if you don’t start at ideation. getting new or different results.

There are two sides to supporting innovation, and it is important to evaluate which side your team falls on. There are innovation killers: they name everything that’s wrong with an idea, without acknowledging an idea’s benefits or offering alternatives.  And there are innovation enhancers: who will acknowledge the merit of the idea and then encourage the team to brainstorm ways to make it work. Which side does your team fall on? Check out the common tactics of innovation killers and innovation enhancers and see which sounds like the more familiar refrain in your company.

Stifling Ideation: Common Innovation Killers

“It’s too expensive”

The team has been brainstorming new ideas that give some team members sticker shock. An innovation killer will dismiss the idea based on the price tag alone.


“You don’t know all the facts”

Sharing ideas with a team puts the idea sharer in a vulnerable place—at a company full of innovation killers, it’s an invitation for scrutiny and judgment. An innovation killer creates an atmosphere in which team members feel uncomfortable sharing, out of fear of ridicule. An innovation killer is all around negative about any new idea or change, even when it comes down to body language and tone of voice. The result: Ideation halts altogether. What’s more, the innovation killer doesn’t just object to new ideas—they make their objections personal, focusing on what’s wrong with the idea sharer, rather than the idea itself. That’s destructive for true innovation.


“I like it in theory, but it’s not very practical”

An innovation killer expects an idea to be fully formed when shared with the group. This, of course, is an unrealistic expectation—and a dangerous one at that. When colleagues feel that they can’t share their ideas until they’ve addressed every angle (like practicality), the ideation process will move at a snail’s pace.


“That’ll rock the boat”

An innovation killer, essentially, is scared. Scared to make a splash, take a risk, and possibly face criticism for it. An innovation killer doesn’t want to rock the boat—not realizing that that’s exactly what leads to real, life-changing innovation. They are chained to old ways, unsure of how to (or unwilling to) break free.


“Just to play devil’s advocate…”

Playing devil’s advocate may seem like a way to examine an idea from another perspective. But if someone on the team is playing devil’s advocate “just because,” it’s a diversion tactic, not an authentic effort to improve upon an idea. An innovation killer only looks at the negatives of an idea, doing so to the point that playing devil’s advocate becomes a game of wasting time.


Fostering Creativity: Innovation Enhancers

“How do we make it work?”

Every new idea can and will be met with some type of objection. To move forward in the innovation process, though, you must turn an objection into exploration. Saying that an idea is “too expensive,” for example, shouldn’t be the end of the idea but rather the beginning. Either finesse the idea until it overcomes objections or set aside the idea only after your team has determined there’s no way around the objection (and that the objection is a deal breaker).


“Building on that idea…”

An innovation enhancer is encouraging while still acknowledging—respectfully—that an idea needs work. For example, it’s very possible that someone may share an idea without knowing all the facts (that’s why working in teams is a smart approach in the first place). Rather than attack the team member for “daring” to speak up, an innovation enhancer will add their knowledge to the idea, positively steering the ideation session in the right direction while sharing vital information in the process.


“What about reshaping it?”

An innovation enhancer knows that truly great ideas hardly ever start out that way—they undergo lots of massaging, revisions, and input from the group to finally become great. That’s precisely why brainstorming sessions and team meetings exist: to help move good ideas from the realm of “theory” to practical, action-oriented ideas that get results. To get there, an innovation enhancer will encourage the team to look at a seed of an idea with fresh eyes and different perspectives to determine if that seed can truly grow into something more.

Keep in mind, though, that someone who encourages and validates every single idea shared in the group may seem like an innovation enhancer—but that’s really not the case. It’s crucial that ideas are examined carefully before being pursued further. But even “bad” ideas can inspire new ones, which is why an innovation enhancer shifts the ideation conversation, rather than just shutting it down altogether.


“How can we get senior management on board?”

An innovation enhancer knows taking risks when it comes to dreaming up big ideas is necessary—but they are also realistic about the pushback that a risky idea may attract. That’s when an innovation enhancer switches to “strategy” mode. For example, if an idea doesn’t seem like it will pass muster with senior management, an innovation enhancer will work with the team to figure out how to frame the idea so that it’s appealing from management’s perspective, like illustrating how the idea is linked to business goals. Not to mention, senior management at a company with a high-performing, innovative culture won’t be afraid of a little “boat rocking” from time to time. Innovative leaders know that taking risks is a part of the innovation game—as long as their teams fail early and learn from their unsuccessful risks.


“Let’s come up with more good ideas like this one”

An innovation enhancer understands that good ideas tend to snowball—once a team gets on an idea streak, the good ideas can keep flowing. Creativity begets creativity. Going through the process of coming up with an idea activates your brain; the more you work on ideation, the more active your brain becomes. Pointing out every little thing that’s wrong with an idea just for the sake of playing devil’s advocate can throw off the whole group’s ideation groove, halting the creative process. If a group seems like it’s on a roll, an innovation enhancer will encourage the team members to keep on rolling, aware that they can submit their best ideas to greater scrutiny at a later time.

Innovation killers may be more subtle—and more pervasive—than just a single team member who’s resistant to innovation. Seemingly high-performing employees may have a block when it comes to innovation. Often, innovation killers even come from the top, particularly in workplace cultures that unwittingly discourage innovation. Luckily, innovation can be taught, and organizational cultures can be transformed when innovation is linked directly to results.


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5 Benefits of Experiential Training in the Workplace

Employee development is a high priority for many organizations because it helps increase engagement, build loyalty, and achieve organizational goals. The types of training available to companies as part of an employee development strategy are countless, from self-directed online courses to immersive multi-day experiences. Using multiple training approaches helps ensure that you reach all types of learners and allows you to maximize your training budget.

Including experiential learning in your development program offers several important benefits, such as:

  • Driving conviction to change behaviors
  • Connecting conceptual ideas to actual situations in the workplace
  • Delivering a fun and engaging training experience for employees
  • Producing measurable results and the ability to track progress
  • Providing a training framework that can be used in multiple areas

Let’s dig deeper into each of these benefits so you can see how experiential training can support your professional development strategy.

Drives Conviction

The main objective of any training initiative is to change behaviors in order to achieve a specific outcome. If participants are not aware of that outcome or not invested in accomplishing it, they are less likely to change their behaviors.

Experiential learning starts by building conviction so that participants learn not only how to do something in a new way, but also why it matters. They see the positive effects of using their new skills in the training environment and become motivated to test them in the real world because they have both the confidence that it will make a difference and the conviction to make the effort that will lead to change.

Connects Concepts to the Workplace

Many training formats effectively teach new concepts, but do not provide a safe environment to practice applying those concepts. For example, a classroom-based lecture about leadership skills can enhance the knowledge of participants, but that doesn’t mean they will know how to apply new skills in the real world.

Experiential learning is different because participants not only learn new concepts and skills, they also have the opportunity to try them in a scenario that indirectly mimics their reality. Because the scenarios are metaphors, many people don’t realize they are learning new work skills until the debrief at the end of the training. At this point, a facilitator guides a discussion that prompts participants to make strong connections between the lessons they learned in the activity and similar scenarios on the job.

Participants Have Fun

Employee development is serious business, but that doesn’t mean training has to be dry or boring. The importance of engaging participants during training cannot be understated. If they are not paying attention, they simply will not learn what you need them to.

Experiential learning fully immerses participants, making the full length of training fun and engaging. They aren’t interested in checking their phones because they want to solve the next challenge or see if they can improve their team’s results in the next round. Being fully engaged means that participants are more likely to absorb the information being presented to them, and because they are doing something that has immediate consequences, the experience is much more meaningful.

Provides Measurable Results

Training ROI is a high priority for anybody working with an employee development budget. Collecting feedback surveys or testing participants after a seminar is one way to gauge training results, but these methods do not guarantee long-term behavior change.

Experiential learning provides some of the best results of any type of training program because participants retain more information when they learn by doing. The learning decay curve shows that most people forget up to 70 percent of what they learned within the first week of learning it. Experiential learning, especially when combined with a retention strategy, helps overcome learning decay by instilling conviction, connecting the training concepts to actual behaviors in the workplace, and giving participants a common experience to reference.

Can Be Applied across a Wide Variety of Topics

Some training methods are better than others for certain topics or types of learners. For example, learning new software should include hands-on training. Similarly, digital training platforms are not always effective for people who are not comfortable using new technology without assistance.

Experiential learning can be used to teach to a broad spectrum of skills and competencies. Whether you want to teach time management to every employee or leadership skills to rising stars, experiential learning will produce results. Participants of every age and experience level benefit from this type of training. Programs can be customized to your organization, and even specific teams, so that they incorporate the company culture and internal language that will resonate with participants.

Next Steps: Adding Experiential Training to Your Development Initiatives

Experiential training has quickly become a favorite among HR and training professionals, as well as employees, because it creates conviction, connects the training experience to the real world, and delivers measurable results. Not to mention it’s fun and engaging, and can used to train a variety of topics, including leadership, customer centricity, and sales effectiveness. As you design your employee development initiatives, incorporate multiple types of learning methodologies, and be sure to include experiential training.


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The Top 10 HR Network Groups to Join Today

All types of industries and professions have trade networks and peer groups, and human resources is no exception. Joining HR network groups is an excellent way to share ideas, learn about new tools and methods, and meet people who have similar experience. By interacting with people in similar roles outside your own organization, you can gain insights about common challenges and learn from the successes and failures of others. Read on to learn more about the types of networks you can join, the benefits of joining them, and some specific groups to consider.

Types of HR Network Groups

There is a wide variety of peer groups and trade networks for HR professionals, including those that require membership fees or dues and free options. Some groups have a narrow focus such as healthcare, training, or compensation, while others cover a broader range of topics. Some of the types of HR networks you might join include:

  • Professional accreditation organizations
  • Local chapters of national networks
  • Social networks for HR professionals
  • LinkedIn, Facebook, or other online groups

You can join as many networks as your budget allows to gain access to the many resources and benefits they offer.

Benefits of Joining HR Network Groups

The main purpose of joining a human resources network is to gain benefits such as learning something new, tapping into the crowd for more information, and networking.

Learn New Ideas

HR professionals are involved in many aspects of the business, including skills training, benefit administration, software selection, vendor selection, and much more. Participating in a network gives you the opportunity to learn about new ways to improve processes, training approaches that are more effective, and software solutions that can help you be more efficient.

Crowdsource Knowledge

Although internet searches are useful for learning some new information, the best way to get answers to important HR questions is to ask people with experience. Having a group of knowledgeable professionals at your fingertips allows you to hear different perspectives about the challenges you face every day and to find tested solutions that could work for you.

Network with Peers

The only people who truly understand what you do are the others who do the same jobs. You might have access to only a few people in similar roles at your own organization, but an HR group gives you countless opportunities to network with your peers both in person and digitally. Whether you are trying to solve a problem or just venting about your day, being able to do it with like-minded individuals can make your job easier.

10 HR Network Groups to Consider

If you are exploring HR networks to join, start with this list:

  1. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) – As the world’s largest HR professional society with 285,000 members in more than 165 countries, this organization offers learning opportunities, professional certification, events, and resources.
  2. Professionals in Human Resources Association (PIHRA) – With more than 4,000 individual members in Southern California, this organization is the largest affiliate of the SHRM.
  3. HR Training & Development (LinkedIn) – With almost 35,000 members, this subgroup of HR.com has been developed specifically for HR training and development specialists to network and share information.
  4. Human Resources (HR) Professionals (LinkedIn) – This informal networking group of more than 200,000 HR professionals discusses trends and issues such as talent management, employee development, and compensation and benefits.
  5. Human Resources Management & Executive Network (LinkedIn) – More than 70,000 HR leaders in management-level roles connect with peers to discuss HR trends and initiatives that can help foster or inspire your own career growth in your organization.
  6. HR Jobs and Ideas (LinkedIn) – This human resources, talent management, and hiring networking group with more than 200,000 members is dedicated to sharing the latest information about HR ideas, jobs, and technology.
  7. National Association of African Americans in HR (NAAAHR) – This association has over 25 chapters and a social media community of over 15,000 members who benefit from shared learning, professional development, and personal growth opportunities.
  8. Human Resources Management Association of Chicago (HRMAC) – A group that began with seven people in 1915 has blossomed into a network of nearly 750 Chicago-area organizations and over 7,000 professionals focused on the HR strategies that support business success.
  9. HR Professionals – CANADA Chapter (LinkedIn) – This group of over 4,000 professionals discusses recruitment, training and development, performance evaluation, competence assessment, and succession management.
  10. HealthCare HR (LinkedIn) – Over 10,000 HR professionals in the healthcare industry participate in discussions aimed at solving common challenges.

No matter what type of industry you are in or what challenges you face, chances are there is an HR network group that is a good fit. Choose one (or more) of these 10, or do some research to find and join networks in your area and take professional development into your own hands.



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3 HiPo Program Best Practices to Follow

High potential employees can shape and lead an organization into the future, but identifying and retaining high potentials goes beyond assigning a label or offering frequent promotions. Rather, it requires careful examination of who your high potentials are, what they are motivated by, and the optimal development path that unleashes their full potential. As you set out to develop your high potential employees or build a comprehensive HiPo program, it will be beneficial to adhere to the following best practices.


Cultivate an Understanding of What Motivates a High Potential

High potentials are often looking for their next big achievement and want to exceed expectations. To retain them, you will need to provide the tools, resources, opportunities, and knowledge that will keep them challenged and enable their continued high performance. Without addressing those needs, you run the risk of your high potentials becoming disengaged and leaving your company for one that will meet them. In fact, one study found that nearly 60 percent of highly engaged high potentials planned to stay with their company, but only 23 percent of low-engaged high potentials intended to stay.

Some of the important motivators that can help to retain high potentials include:

  • Providing frequent challenges that keep them engaged in their job and with the work your organization is doing
  • Freedom to act without feeling micromanaged
  • Resources that are readily available, which include tools, technology, and even other people
  • Mentorship opportunities with other successful high potentials or company leaders
  • Cross-functional opportunities that allow them to learn more about how the greater organization works

Experiential training that is interactive is an ideal way to learn new skills, practice them, and then confidently apply them back on the job, as it is a methodology that can be used both in-class and virtually.

Recognize Those Identified as High Potentials

Many organizations are unsure of whether to tell high potentials that they’ve been identified as such. They should be told, but recognize that doing so requires that the company be prepared for the questions and expectations that are likely to follow. Those who have been identified as high potential employees will have expectations of training and increased opportunities. Those who have not been identified as high potentials may feel left out and undervalued, which will have to be addressed, usually with a robust career development program. Despite these concerns, telling individuals they are considered high potentials brings transparency to the organization’s commitment to developing talent, and can also go a long way in retaining them long-term.

Create a HiPo Program That Caters to Their Unique Development Needs

Every individual in the organization must be valued for their potential and developed so that they can perform to their best. However, high potentials have unique development needs because they’ve already shown their potential for breakthrough performance, but may not have yet shown their full potential to lead. Therefore, they will need to be taught how to see the world through the eyes of those who possess a different range of talents and needs.

High potentials also possess a unique motivation and capability to succeed that others might not have to the same degree, which can sometimes lead them to become frustrated or dissatisfied with their progress. High potentials do not need to be led as much as they need a line of sight to the end goal, which is not true of all people. Therefore, the HiPo program you create should show them how to provide the motivation, coaching, reinforcement, and recognition that they will require throughout their entire career to be successful.


Cultivating and developing high potential employees is a long-term investment. It is worthwhile, though, as it ensures organizational success down the road, aids in the retention of top talent, and builds the skills employees and leaders will need to navigate the world of tomorrow. By following the three listed best practices you will be well on your way to creating a HiPo program that is experiential, practical, utilizes virtual learning, and aids in retention and attraction of top talent.


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8 Strategies for Running an Effective Team Meeting

Attending team meetings are an everyday occurrence for many of us. Gathering people together to discuss a topic or decide a course of action can help to maintain and improve workflow. However, not all meetings make good use of employees’ time.

A team of researchers surveyed senior managers across a range of industries, and 71 percent of them said meetings were unproductive and inefficient. One key reason meetings can be unproductive is because only an estimated 20 percent of leaders receive training on how to run them effectively, according to research by Steven Rogelberg, author of “The Surprising Science of Meetings.”

Meetings don’t have to waste anyone’s time. With targeted training, leaders can learn to take the following eight steps to ensure every team meeting is effective and relevant.



Know the Meeting Objective

Team meetings can have all sorts of objectives, from informing to providing an update to getting input from others to solve problems. Unfortunately, many meetings don’t have a stated objective. They may simply be called based on an assumption that participants understand and agree on the purpose of the meeting. To ensure that everyone involved understands the objective of the meeting and the intended outcome, it’s necessary to establish what the meeting will accomplish before or at the beginning of every meeting. Before the meeting, send out an agenda that outlines the goal of the meeting, along with any items you want people to prepare or provide updates on. Once everyone understands the meeting objective, you can start the meeting off on the right foot.

Get Input from Everyone

A meeting is not effective if only a handful of participants are actively involved in the discussion. All participants in a meeting should be contributing, whether by offering new ideas, asking questions of others, or volunteering to take responsibility for follow-up action. Some ways to get input from meeting participants include:

  • Regularly asking for input during the meeting, including from those who have not yet spoken up
  • Having the team engage in brainstorming or brainwriting exercises that encourage idea generation
  • Asking a select number of individuals to perform follow-up work and present their findings at the next meeting

Ensure Clarity Between Fact and Opinion

Although an effective meeting benefits from participant viewpoints and opinions, it must also include facts and data that help the team make progress. After all, a team project is not likely to find success if activities are guided by individual guesses or conjecture. Instead, reports, trend analyses, and other data will be more effective guides for team discussion and action. One good way to ensure clarity between fact and opinion in a meeting is to include a presentation of key data, and then offer each person the chance to weigh in on their interpretation of the data.

Recap Periodically

It’s not uncommon for a meeting discussion to stray from the agenda. Team leaders can ensure agenda items aren’t overlooked by adding periodic recaps of what’s been discussed and agreed upon. Periodic recaps ensure that each agenda item gets its necessary attention and discussion. Recaps also help to focus the team and keep off-topic discussion to a minimum.

Make Decisions

An effective meeting doesn’t dance around issues but brings them to closure through definitive decision-making. A decision outcome can be as small as an agreement to revisit a specific topic once more information has been gathered. It can also be as large as a decision to change some part of the team strategy. Making a decision ensures the team doesn’t stagnate and keeps the agenda moving forward to action.

Assign Tasks to Individuals

An effective meeting specifies deliverables and who will be accountable for achieving them. As one Inc. article describes, “Great meetings result in decisions, but a decision isn’t really a decision if it’s never carried out.” When you carefully assign follow-up tasks along with deadlines, there’s a greater likelihood of ensuring that nothing is forgotten and that team members aren’t duplicating efforts. Producing meeting minutes and using project management software are examples of ways you can ensure efficient task assignment and keep track of deliverables.

Keep the Meeting Engaging

Meetings shouldn’t be tedious or boring. Instead, they should be designed to hold participants’ attention and use everyone’s time efficiently. Some ideas for keeping meetings engaging include:

  • Limiting the duration of the meeting
  • Adding an experiential activity that encourages participants to interact and communicate on a deeper level
  • Using video conference tools to involve remote employees

Commit to Follow Up

An effective meeting requires follow-up so that each member of the team knows what to expect and what they need to do after each meeting. Following up after a meeting also ensures that important information isn’t lost and helps to memorialize what was discussed and agreed upon. Whether the meeting follow-up is in the form of an email to the team or a discussion in a subsequent meeting, it keeps the meeting agenda and deliverables top of mind for meeting participants.


Conclusion: Start Running Effective Team Meetings Today

Running an effective team meeting is a critical skill for leaders to master because it helps to move projects forward in an efficient manner. Because leading meetings effectively doesn’t come naturally for many individuals, it makes sense to include opportunities to learn and master that skill as part of a robust leadership development program. From there, individuals will be equipped to get broad participation, regular follow-up, and clear decision-making in each of the meetings they lead.


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