HR and Company Culture – Marisa Eckberg Pt 2

Welcome to episode 50 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solution Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode we have part 2 of our discussion with Marisa Eckberg. We discuss how the Human Resources department affects company culture, evaluating company culture from the outside, and when to go to HR with issues.

Original Recording Date: 07-17-2019

Topics – Part 2 with Marisa Eckberg – Human Resources and Company Culture

03:01 – Human Resources and Company Culture

  • Senior leadership has different perceptions of HR. This limits the overall impact.
    • Keeping them out of legal trouble
    • Champions of culture who offer management strategies, help encourage productivity, etc.
    • Help make this "a cool place to work"
    • Kill off the annual performance review
    • Need HR to be the police
  • There is a transition in HR in relation to titles
    • Chief People Officer
    • Human Capital Management
    • People Operations
    • Chief People Strategist
    • Note: Over the years this industry has changed from Personnel to Human Resources to People-centric

08:12 – Detecting How a Company Values Culture

  • Check the company’s social media pages as well as Glassdoor. Are employees posting about what is happening at the company?
    • Marisa does "sleuth work" on new clients in this way.
    • Search for people who currently work for the company or some who have worked there in the past in similar roles.
  • Culture is organic. HR is a facilitator of culture.
    • Maybe they facilitate a costume contest for Halloween or approach management with the idea to do it.
    • Marisa gives the example of Zappos.
      • The company allows employees to do things they want to do to keep the environment fun.
      • Zappos looks for cultural fit in interviews and turns people away who are not a fit.
    • Book recommendation – Built on Value by Ann Rhoades
  • Do companies "culture wash" their speak to attract talent?
    • Company culture is definitely a buzz phrase, but it comes down to employee engagement (connection between the employee and the work they are doing for the company, feeling of contributing to something bigger).
    • Cool amenities are nice but do not promote employee engagement.
      • What do employees doing the work need to stay engaged?
  • Before you start looking for companies and applying for jobs, find out what you value. Likely you want a company with similar values to get a good fit.
  • Who can help an employee change company culture?
    • If you have a good relationship with your manager, start there. Ask if you should talk to HR.
    • You can certainly still talk to HR, but bring ideas (positive suggestions) and not complaints.
      • Come with suggestions to solve problems / improve the culture.
      • Maybe HR could help programmatize something that worked really well for your team so that it can help other teams.

26:05 – Going to HR with Issues

  • When should employees go to HR with a problem?
    • Is HR only there to protect employer reputation?
    • Take policy violations to HR.
    • Personal conflicts with a coworker may be better suited for a conversation with your manager. HR is probably going to ask you this.
      • HR is more of an escalation point…unless you don’t feel comfortable speaking to your manager about it.
    • Don’t make your first interaction with HR a situation where you are raising a problem.
      • Say hello when you see the HR team. Built some rapport first if possible.

Contact us if you need help on the journey.

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