Appreciate Your Colleagues

A few weeks ago I attended ASTD’s International Conference and Expo #ASTD2014. After spending a couple of days with other T&D professionals, it reminded me why I’m passionate about T&D. As with any conference, you leave rejuvenated and excited ready to go back and apply what you learned. However, this year’s conference gave me another level of appreciation for my T&D colleagues. Listening to some of the difficulties other T&D professionals are having with management or clients made me feel normal. It was comforting to know that other people are having similar problems.

Some of their stories were so intense I wanted to hug some of my colleagues. The issues they were dealing with weighed on them so heavily they almost burst into tears. I also wanted to hug my colleagues (weather presenters or attendees) that provided solutions to the problems others were having. Watching people sympathize, empathize and provide solutions to other professionals was heart-warming.

As HR professionals (regardless of discipline), we are always talking about management providing recognition to employees. Why not look across the aisle at the person who is doing the same thing you’re doing and say, “Thank You”? Thank you for being so passionate about our profession. Thank you for sharing your experiences, I learned a lot from you. Thank you for the taking time to encourage me. Thank you for sharing your wealth of knowledge with me

We blog and tweet because we’re passionate about our profession. Every Friday, Christopher Demers does his weekly Best Blogs. Christopher highlights other bloggers because he appreciates the good information they provide other HR professionals. In the vein of appreciating other professionals there are several people I’d to thank; Halelly Azulay @HalellyAzulay, Dan Steer @dan_steer, Rory C. Trotter @SomethingDifferentHR, and Christopher Demers @ChristopherinHR. Thank you for spending time with me! Thank you for putting out good content for your colleagues.

I appreciate what you do for our profession. Keep up the good work and keep putting good information out there for the rest of us! Your labor for our profession is not in vain!

If you want to know other ways you can demonstrate appreciation for your colleagues, you can contact me at and


Christopher talks about work-life balance from a different perspective. For many in the business world the term work-life balance is just a buzzword. When you talk about work-life balance in reference to yourself are you using it as a buzzword or do you really mean it? When I have work-life balance it means I have time to myself (i.e. me time, family time, and time to spend with friends). Having a work-life balance isn’t solely for running errands. What does work-life balance look like in your life?

If you want to discuss work-life balance in further detail you can contact me at and


How do you tip the scales?

Like many other things in American business the discussion around worklife balance has now fully migrated from curiosity to debate to fad to branding bullshit to old news. We don’t talk about it anymore. Like employer of choice its an antiquated phrase that connotes the speaker (or, ahem, writer) is not current.

Too bad: the concept deserves a place in our day to day business considerations.

What is Balance

Thinking of balance like a set of scales probably isn’t the most helpful notion. This view implies that things should be relatively equal (e.g., balanced) and also connotes only two parts to our being: “work” and “other” on either side.

Life is more complex than that.

What if we thought of balance like a river with ebbs and flows, eddies and currents sometimes rushing headlong and sometimes pausing just to feel the sunshine?

Thinking of…

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Store Openings On Thanksgiving: A New Low for Employee Disengagement

It’s Thanksgiving, but our doors open at 8 p.m.!

The public’s recoil at major retailer’s decisions to open on Thanksgiving Day is a perfect example of how employee disengagement has hit a new low. Infringing on people’s time with family and friends is a fast track to creating animosity between employer and employee.

To me, opening on Thanksgiving Day is a clear indication of a new level of greed stemming from Corporate America. It tells me that companies weren’t satisfied with their profit margins by opening their doors at midnight. They had to up the ante on the competition somehow. So they decided that, the earlier they open, the larger their profit margins will be.

Employers know, in our current economic climate, jobs are hard to come by. So, if they tell us to come to work on Thanksgiving Day, they know we’ll be there and on time. Companies forcing their employees to work on a national holiday should be called exactly what it is — forced labor.

Disengaged employees are disloyal employees. In a previous post, I provided Three Reasons Why Employees Aren’t Loyal . Now, we can add “forced labor” to that list.

Were any of the executives that made the decision to open on Thanksgiving Day actually at work on Thanksgiving Day with their rank and file employees? I’m willing to bet they weren’t. So, if forced labor is okay, then why didn’t they hold themselves to that same standard? Just something to think about.

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The NBA, the NFL and Employee Engagement

One of the reasons employee engagement is a broad topic is that what engages one person won’t engage another person. Let’s take a look at a couple of instances in the NBA and NFL where employee engagement efforts actually resulted in positive ROI.

Kevin Garnett (KG) of the Brooklyn Nets, formerly of the Boston Celtics and Minnesota Timberwolves, was engaged during his rookie season. KG was 19 years old when he was drafted by the Timberwolves in 1995. Kevin McHale (McHale) was the General Manager of the Timberwolves at the time. McHale knew adjusting to the NBA would be difficult for a 19 year old, so he took KG under his wing and treated him like a son.

Because KG was under 21 years old, when the Timberwolves were on road trips, he wasn’t able to do a lot of the things his teammates did. In an effort to make KG feel like he was part of the team, some of his teammates stayed in the hotel playing video games with him. When McHale caught wind of this he suggested the entire team stay in the hotel to make KG feel welcomed.

Before his rookie contract ended KG re-signed with the Timberwolves for six more years. He said one of the major reasons he re-signed with the Timberwolves was because of the concern they demonstrated for him.

Pete Carroll is the Executive Vice President of Football Operations and head coach of the Seattle Seahawks (Seahawks). Before Pete arrived in Seattle, he was the head football coach at The University of Southern California (USC) from 2000-2009.

Prior to becoming a college football coach, Pete coached in the NFL. Being a college coach changed Pete’s perspective of football players. In order to coach college students, you have to be concerned about the mental and emotional health of your players. Pete’s experience at USC has translated into a holistic approach towards professional football players. The holistic approach Pete has brought to the Seahawks not only applies to the players but the entire Seahawks organization.

In the NFL, demonstrating concern for the mental and emotional health of your employees is not business as usual. Having grown men that are over six feet tall and weigh over 300 pounds, do yoga, and mediate is very different. Having a holistic approach to professional football players is a paradigm shift for most owners/coaches in the NFL.

The players in Seattle willingly talk to the media and other players around the league about the good things that are going on with their team. They appreciate having a boss that cares about their mental and emotional health.

Kevin McHale was the General Manager with the Timberwolves and Pete Carroll is the Executive Vice President of Football Operations for Seattle. In both instances, upper management took the lead in creating a healthy work environment for their employees.

If you want to engage your employees, treat them like human beings. Demonstrate a genuine concern for the mental and emotional health of your employees. It has a proven ROI. Like KG and the Seahawks, your employees will stay longer and willingly recruit for you.

If you have a question or comment leave it below.

I can also be reached at and

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