Blog - MConnected Communications

The Missing Focus for HR

By | Employee Communications, HRevolution | No Comments

Being in HR can sometimes feel like you’re stuck on a never-ending hamster wheel. Is what you’re doing making a difference? Do employees care? Will you ever move past being the department that gets blamed instead of recognized for the shifts you’re making with culture and engagement? Will the bottom line ever stop interfering with big ideas?

It can be frustrating and demotivating. And it will continue to be so… because no matter what you do, HR will continue to be a function that constantly fights the good fight unless your focus shifts – and shifts quickly. With AI becoming a reality for many HR roles, companies starting to pull back on their previously touted “HR transformations,” now is the time to refocus your energy and efforts on HR investments that have the biggest payoff.

This doesn’t mean that you need to invest a million dollars in the next best HRIS – but instead, it’s your focus and energy that can be invested in work that may not appear to be “HR-sexy,” but will win you big gains now and down the road.

So what is this shiny object that will be the backbone of your company’s H(R)evolution? Read More

Where to Start – Metrics for Everything?

By | HRevolution, Metrics | No Comments

Perhaps that adds to the overwhelm, but instead, it should open your eyes to the opportunity around you. There isn’t a perfect starting place with HR metrics. There’s isn’t a “best practice” that is the absolute answer.

But there are metrics to be found, created and tracked, for every single activity you do.

(Ahem, don’t try and start tracking them all at once, or your entire world will be all about the metrics, forgetting about the work. But I digress…)

I have a few reliable standards, that I suggest you start with – or at least start thinking about first. Mostly because they are the easiest metrics to start with AND they are easiest metrics to start creating impactful change around. But these are suggestions. Remember that what makes HR metrics work, is the uniqueness of them, specific to your business and practice.

Get Started with HR Metrics Here…

#1: Email Communications

It’s probably no surprise to you that I think tracking metrics around every single employee-facing email communication you send out, is a great place to start. Yes, I am a bit biased since I’m a communicator, BUT, it is also the most direct contact you have with your employees… thus, being capable of creating the biggest impact to the work you do in HR. Read More

You’ve Lost Your Email Credibility

By | Employee Communications | No Comments

How many employees are actually opening the emails you send? How many are reading them?

I’ve asked that question in four rooms filled with HR professionals in the last month, and the results weren’t encouraging. The most common response was (paraphrasing here), “We have no idea because we don’t track that… but we know based on their actions, that not nearly as many employees as we need to.”

Of course I’d love to tell everyone how to track their email open rates and click through rates and all of those yummy HR metrics, but it’s not feasible for some companies… yet. And that’s ok.

But if your employees are not reading your HR emails, you have a serious problem on your hands. One that you need to fix urgently – especially before Annual Enrollment rolls around.

And before you jump in telling me all of the excuses you have like: our employees’ inboxes are packed full, they’re overwhelmed with email, they can’t keep up, it gets buried, they don’t check email often… I think you get my point.

There are a million excuses we can come up with to explain why we think our emails aren’t being read. But they are excuses – not the reality of what’s going on. Read More

3 Rules for the Content of Your HR Dashboard

By | Future of HR, Metrics | No Comments

HR Dashboards have been a key tool for HR professionals across various departments for a few years now. I remember working on my first one in 2008-ish, and it looked like this.

Not exactly pretty – but at the time, it did the job. It summarized all of the “important” HR data into one document to be shared with the C-suite. Only to be ignored by each leader, and frankly, never being looked at or discussed after the 10 minute presentation in the boardroom (if we were lucky to fit it in each month).

Dashboards can have significant value for HR, like they do for other departments, but HR is doing dashboards “wrong” for the most part. It’s not our fault, but it does provide us with an opportunity to create more meaningful visualizations going forward.

Most of us are familiar with dashboards that mimic our favorite HR tools, reports or something we’ve “always” used in the past. Does this look familiar?

While at first glance it may seem impressive – colors, circle charts, lots and lots of data, at the end of the day, this dashboard holds exactly zero value to US and more importantly, to the leaders we want to share them with. The whole point of your HR Dashboard is to highlight/showcase how HR is supporting the business’ goals – what you’re doing each day to drive results to the bottom line. Read More

4 Ways to Add Immediate Strategic HR Value

By | Future of HR, HRevolution | No Comments

Since we can all agree that the “Key to Great HR” doesn’t reside with certain certifications or standard learning, what is the key to great HR? How can you deliver immediate strategic value – even in an HR department of one?

4 Ways to Add Immediate Strategic HR Value – Regardless of Where You Sit Within HR


1. Align Yourself with Your Client

It may come as no surprise that the first step to add immediate strategic HR value is to align yourself with your client. But this is NOT the normal setting for HR people. Instead, most HR departments are set-up to have their HR professionals be aligned with their boss, their internal HR team, the company, or their peers.

Being “aligned” with your department is ok, but it’s not strategic.

Instead, you should first be focused on what your client needs and wants, and be a fierce supporter of his or her needs. Essentially, you’ll need to shift your priorities and your “side” within your team. It’s not that you’re going to be against the traditional expectations of rooting for your HR department, but instead, you’re going to approach questions, rollouts, situations, programs, and so on – from the perspective of what your CLIENT needs and wants. Read More

The “Key to Great HR”

By | Future of HR | 2 Comments

Admittedly, I’ve become a news junkie over the past year or so. And because of that, I constantly have the news on in the background. A strange side effect of watching cable news is all of the commercials you encounter time and time again. Within any given hour, you’re likely stumble across a few HR-related commercials.

The one that confounds me the most, is the ad SHRM has been running recently (and the series this is a part of). It’s titled: SHRM-CP & SHRM-SCP: The Key to Great HR (click below to watch it).

In the ad, SHRM is trying to tell business leaders and news watchers that in order to have “great HR,” your HR professionals need to be SHRM certified. Which is a larger debate I know, but at its core, it’s a false statement that we can’t keep staying mum about. Read More

HR Transformation? No…

By | Future of HR, HRevolution | One Comment

The last few years or so, HR has been talking about its big “HR Transformation.” Changing how HR does work. Mainly by Centers of Excellence (COEs) that separate different HR functions and specialties into different departments.

I remember first hearing about the COE concept, likely on a CEB webinar presentation, and shortly after every company slowly started radically changing the way they “do HR.” They made significant investments in new HRIS systems (some are already on their second investment in this space); call centers; self-service processing; and so on.

For most companies, the change over was rocky – regardless of how much (or little) change management was involved. At the end of the day, the way employees would interact with HR was drastically changed from how it was the day before the flip was switched.

HR people were ecstatic (I mean, at least the ones who weren’t laid off as part of the process – which were many, by the way) – they would finally be able to deliver “strategic” HR value and stop doing the transactional work. Except… it didn’t change all that much. Read More

What is Your HR Brand?

By | Employee Communications, Future of HR | One Comment

Have you taken the time to discover what your personal HR brand is, or even more important, what your HR department’s brand is? Thinking about “brand,” or what we want to be known for, isn’t something that naturally pops up as a discussion point. We talk around it during performance reviews, we try to gauge it during interviews for new roles, but ultimately, we put our heads down and do the work.

Definition of Brand: a kind or variety of something distinguished by some distinctive characteristic

You haven’t taken the time to consider how you’ve positioned yourself within the context of others. Or made a concerted effort to create a winning brand for your HR-self or your HR department. Instead, you’ve likely collected skills, taken on roles with increasing responsibility, maybe found a niche within HR that you thrive in, and kept going. Read More

7 Tips to Revamp Your HR Program Emails Instantly

By | Employee Communications | 3 Comments

When I was speaking at the Work Life Congress last October, I kept hearing the same thing over and over from every single HR professional I talked to during our round tables… we want to be better communicators, but we don’t know where to start. It was stated with more frustration coupled with the very real time and budget constraints that have been barriers in the past.

How can you use what you already have and create more effective HR communications? How can you revamp last year’s rollout emails, to something more effective without increasing your budget or investing a lot more time?

It can be an overwhelming proposition. Where do you start? How should you focus your efforts? Will what you change have better or (gasp) worse results than last year? Why should I be the one even doing this? And so on…

Even with all of the inherent barriers, you can absolutely create more effective HR communications (yes, I know – we’re probably talking emails for now), by implementing these seven tips. Read More

Our Employees Aren’t Taking Action!

By | Metrics | No Comments

Why aren’t our employees taking action? Why do we have to send a million emails about our annual performance review process, when it happens every year? Why does HR always have to be the bad guys?

Sound familiar?

Remember back in the day, or even just five years ago, when HR would say “do this” and our employees would simply comply? Perhaps it used to be easier to have our employees take action because HR was so feared or so misunderstood, that no one wanted to tick us off. Does that feel like forever ago?

As our workforce and those in charge of our workforce, changes, you’ve probably learned the hard way that your employees have changed as well. And the way they are motivated to take deliberate action, has changed dramatically.

While HR may still be feared and people are jumping out of your way when you’re walking down the halls, those same people have stopped listening to you – and what you want them to do.

In 2010 I headed up a project to get 100% completion of signed employee performance reviews – done by paper for all global employees, all 8,000 of them. One hundred percent! And we achieved it – which didn’t seem like a jaw-dropping goal with our communications plan centering around, sending a total of three emails.

Can you even fathom a goal like this today? Hopefully you won’t still be using paper forms, so perhaps part of the process would be easier, but even so – the amount of effort it would take to get all of your employees, worldwide, to signed and “complete” their performance reviews (and then ensure that it was done), seems insurmountable. How many emails would need to be sent? How else can we “yell” at our employees to get them to take action? And so on Read More