How many of you can find significant differences in the employee benefits posted in a newspaper job ad? How about online? How about in employee handbooks?
Okay, maybe you don't have access to multiple employee handbooks; but when was the last time you reconsidered enhancing your company's offerings? When was the last time you asked for employee input on what's best for them?
A few weeks ago, Lauren Bell of KSV posted this great piece on exceeding expectations. A lot of what she states about customers also applies to any company or organization when it comes to their employees' expectations.
Lauren first posed these very similar questions "what do you do for your employees?" and, "what do you provide?" In the context of her post, I think she meant them as different phrasings of the same question - "how are you helping your customer?"
For employers, these must be two very different questions.
You likely provide for time-off, health/dental/vision coverage, and maybe a retirement contribution or savings plan I'd like to assume these are on top of reasonable pay and a safe working environment. Good start, but these are pieces of the employment that people already expect. It's the bare minimum.
Employees likely don't value these benefits in and of themselves. They value what those benefits allow them to do --- feed/cloth/house themselves, take a vacation, spend time with family, and stay healthy. To paraphrase Laura again..."If we work for it, it’s an expectation."
The rub comes when you start considering, "what are you doing for your employees?"
How are you...
Your employees will value things that exceed their expectations.
In a world of overwhelming choice, and a workforce keenly aware that companies like Google are re-writing the book on hiring, motivating, and developing talent, how can you exceed the expectations of your employees?
How are you exceeding your employees' expectations?
Help us all learn what we can do better by posting a comment below.
Last week I wrote about how the donor relations profession might help inform human resources' metamorphosis into a more holistic "talent management" approach.
To further understand the parallels, I should point out that success in donor relations is based on four pillars (well laid out by Lynne Wester). These same four pillars should guide at talent management approach. They are: Acknowledgements, Impact Reporting, Recognition and Engagement.
This week I'd like to address the first pillar - Acknowledgments.
For Donor Relations
Ever since colleges, universities, and non-profits have existed, it has been common place (and now legally required) to send a gift receipt. No surprises there. So many of us depend on these to claim charitable tax deductions every April. For the longest time, these gift receipts were a staple of "stewardship" programs as it was a reactive practice. What has become a little more common is for development staffs to generate separate notes of gratitude that are sent shortly after the gift receipt. Who sends a "thank you" is often dictated by the size of the gift or the longevity of the donor. What is probably more important is that the thank you is personalized to the donor and the gift. It should be an expression of how the donor, through their gift, will help the organization move forward.
These may seem basic, but I can attest that if you get these wrong there isn't going to be much need for the other areas of impact reporting, recognition and engagement.
For Talent Management
The gift receipt is not unlike a paycheck stub. Any company, for legal and accounting purposes, must provide each employee a record of what the company owes them in response for their efforts to show up to work each day. This may seem basic, but if you get this wrong your employees aren't likely to stay around very long.
What would be new for human resources is to include a deeper acknowledgement of the impact each employee brings to the company. So what could this look like? Here are three options..
Remember, everyone loves to be appreciated, even if what they are accomplishing is what's expected of their position. Human resources shouldn't just be about using people as cogs (or a resource) in a larger machine. We should aim to recognize the unique talents of our teams and captivate those who decide to share their talents with us.
What have you done to acknowledge the efforts of your team members?
As the Donor Relations Officer at Saint Michael's College for the past five years I've been able to watch a gradual but profound change in the way fundraising/development teams treat their donors. In the past, the term "stewardship" was used to describe the activities after the "ask" (never before asking a donor...that's "cultivation"). More recently, colleges, universities, and other non-profits are embracing a more donor-centric approach that seeks to drastically increase the scope of involvement with donors; encompassing not only the role of stewarding gifts but now looking to acknowledge, recognize, and engage donors. This is the new world of Donor Relations.
It wasn't until I happen to recently re-read Lynne Wester's gem "The 4 Pillars of Donor Relations", that I realized the human resources profession is primed for, or already starting, a similar switch in both terminology and approach to Talent Management.
Traditional HR is not too dissimilar from "Stewardship". HR has typically concerned itself with managing benefits, ensuring everyone is paid on time, and coordinating the organization/company's compliance with the right federal and state regulations. Sure they've managed the job postings and provided some advice to hiring managers, but I think most would agree that a bulk of HR's work is done after the hiring of employee.. This is what Stewardship did for philanthropic gifts. We made sure the gift was designated/allocated correctly, the donor got a gift receipt, and ensured the Finance Office correctly spent the money. This all worked when employees left at the 5 o'clock whistle, or didn't care much about what happened to their philanthropic gifts.
Yet, times are changing. Just as donors are becoming more discerning about their philanthropic gifts, so too are employees becoming more discerning about where they work. Work is no longer 9-to-5 as employees blur their personal and professional lives. Employees are also seeking more meaning from, and interaction with, their employers. Professional development opportunities are now a deciding factor for prospective employees. Frequent recognition, feedback, and mentoring are now the call of the day. Add to this, the growing challenge of finding and keeping a high-quality, talented workforce and now HR can't just be content with making sure checks go out on time. They now must make time to develop the right set of programs to acknowledge, recognize, and engage a discerning work force. Enter Talent Management.
In my next four posts over the next few weeks, I'm going to show how Lynne's ideas not only apply to donors, but can also help "human resources" transition to "talent management".
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