Spotlight Friday: An Interview with Instructional Designer and Learning Strategist Julie Winkle Giulioni

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Julie Winkle Giulioni has spent the past 25 years improving performance through learning. She’s partnered with hundreds of organizations to develop and deploy innovative training products that are in use worldwide. Julie is well known and well regarded for her creative, one-of-a-kind solutions that consistently deliver bottom-line results.

Since co-founding DesignArounds 14 years ago, Julie has run the west coast operations, leading multi-disciplinary teams that create award-winning electronic and instructor-led training. Previously, she was director of product development for AchieveGlobal, one of the world’s largest commercial training companies. She was also a professor and department chair at Woodbury University.

During her career, Julie has received numerous awards including: Ten Best Training Products Award from Human Resource Executive Magazine, LGuide’s Editor’s Choice Award, and awards from CINDY, JOEY, and AFTRA.

Julie is the co-author of the Amazon bestseller, Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go: Career Conversations Employees Want, and a respected speaker on a variety of topics, including career development, leadership, sales, and customer service.

For more information, visit juliewinklegiulioni.com. You can also find Julie on Twitter here

1. Most job postings cite “X” years of relevant work experience and specific education criteria as requirements to be considered for the position. With this in mind, what prior work experiences and degrees/certifications/training helped prepare you for your current role?

There are certainly lots of programs that offer degrees and certifications in instructional design and development… and many are very valuable. I came to this work differently though. I started out as a high school teacher, then moved on to the university level. And everything I learned teaching those aspiring to enter the workforce applies seamlessly to teaching those who are already there! Since making the transition to industry (and now consulting), I think the most valuable experiences have been working with clients – lots of them. Going through countless cycles and rounds of this sort of work helps an instructional designer more quickly understand the needs of a wide variety of organizations… and how best to approach content… and most importantly, learners. 

1B. What (if any) additional knowledge or skills that you don’t currently have would make you even better at your job?

Until recently, I’ve been very US-centric. Over the past few years, I’ve had the chance to work with more global organizations and later this month, I’m off on a whirlwind working tour of Singapore. The international perspective I’m cultivating now supports my work with all clients… and I just wish I’d had more of it earlier in my career.

2. Are there any behaviors and/or attributes that you would say are essential to performing the work that you do?

Instructional design is an odd job, requiring a seemingly competing mix of skills and abilities. An analytical nature is required to be able to assess, discern and internalize critical content and project requirements. But, at it’s core, this work is about communicating. So, being able to speak and write with ease is a huge help. Insatiable curiosity and empathy for the learner help ensure the best possible solutions. Also, it helps to cultivate the mind of an editor… being able to include what’s essential and be ruthless about leaving the rest on the cutting room floor. Finally, the job requirement that always surprises me is the ability to embrace and be comfortable with ambiguity. Every complex project I do comes to the same uncomfortable point where I feel like I’m swimming in muddy water and fear that I’m in over my head and will never make sense of the content. Then the water clears, concepts fall together, and a great way forward presents itself. No matter how long I do this, it feels like a miracle each time.

3. Jobs guru Lou Adler says there are only 4 job types of jobs in the world (producers, improvers, builders, and thinkers). Which type of job are you in?

My role is all of these things.

4. Does your job involve either directly or indirectly supervising or managing people? If so, how many direct (or indirect) reports do you have?

Our organization operates a bit like an accordion, expanding and contracting with trusted contractors/partners based upon client needs. Depending upon the nature and complexity of the project, it could just be me or up to 10 other talented professionals.

5. How does what you do impact the business? Think complexity (different types of impacts) and scale (degree of impact). Put another way: Who and what would be impacted if your job wasn’t being done well, and why would it matter that they were impacted?

Training and development delivers results in two critical areas. From a business case perspective, instructional design impact job performance… and all of the down-stream implications of that (productivity, profitability, quality, innovation, customer satisfaction….) But there’s a human impact as well. When employees feel that they are being invested in and developed, engagement grows. So does confidence, capacity, job satisfaction, retention, and the organization’s ability to recruit top talent.

6. Is your job safe? Rate its safety on a scale of 1-10 with 1 being “seated all day in an air conditioned vault” and 10 being “I’m an astronaut going into space”. If your job isn’t safe, what working conditions (specifically) make it hazardous?

The biggest hazards I face are paper cuts and carpel tunnel syndrome. It doesn’t get a lot safer than instructional design and development.

7. Is there anything I missed that people should know about your job? Is there anything else you want to say about what you do?

I firmly believe that I have the best job in the world. I get to work with individuals and organizations committed to helping employees grow, develop, and contribute more of their skills and talents. I get to keep learning myself as I take on new projects (recently, I learned how to apply those cool adhesive graphics to cars while working with a client!). And I’m never bored given the kaleidoscope of industries, business and issues I get to address. This is the sort of work that will keep me so engaged that I just might forget to retire!

As always, please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Best,

Rory

Infographic Thursday: What Do You Do When You’re 27?

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Below is a great infographic from the folks at The Best Master’s Degrees summarizing the educational, financial, familial, geographical, and occupational makeup of today’s 27 year olds. It’s an interesting snapshot in time of the modern millennial. As an HR professional, this is a troubling one because the lagging professional opportunities afforded this generation speaks to some of the talent shortages that many companies face (and will likely continue to face) in their succession planning efforts. It will be difficult for organizations to fill their benches with young talent when most of them are working in (presumably non-exempt) administrative roles today as opposed to receiving developmental opportunities that will prepare them to lead in the future. Check out the infographic out below to learn more, and visit “The Best Master’s Degrees” website here:

What You Do at 27
Source: BestMastersDegrees.com

As always, please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Best,

Rory

The Role of Culture in Performance Management

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As I did my daily HR reading this morning, I came across an abstract for an interesting study from Zhongxing Su and Patrick Wright (of Cornell and now University of South Carolina fame). The study examined which HR best practices are most associated with high performance in China, finding that a mix of conventional “Control HR” practices (such as open competition for positions) and “Commitment HR” practices (such as formalized grievance procedures) typically yielded better results for Chinese firms than adopting a strictly westernized HR system.

…Honestly? A lot of the practices lumped into both buckets sound like conventional/western HR practices to me. I’ll need to read the full study to learn more, but many of the practices associated with high performance at the Chinese firms - such as promotions from within and regular performance reviews – are things that good HR organizations everywhere should be doing. Regardless, this is an interesting study and you can check it out here.

With that said, the reason I shared this today is because it made me think of an interesting observation I’ve made working in a myriad of different environments around the world. I’ve served as an HR Generalist primarily supporting warehouse employees and route drivers in Boston, supported geographically dispersed client groups out of a corporate office in the heart of the Midwest, worked as a Generalist in a manufacturing plant (that sat adjacent to an office space) in a big city, and worked within a multi-national team on a project that ultimately took us to multiple corners of India. In each case the work styles of the teams I partnered with and the client groups I supported were different – no two approaches worked exactly the same.

…Now, as I’m managing people for the first time in my career I’m finding the same dynamic within teams – everyone has a different work style. As such, while there are general themes around coaching, vision, and empathy that seem to be universally effective, there are other aspects of management that vary by person (such as the degree to which they need to be micromanaged).

…As such I am beginning to think that instead of seeking to implement HR best practices / benchmark everything that we should instead be looking internally at our workforce to understand what works best for our company cultures and (local?) employee populations. I’m not sure of what this looks like from a resource or practicality standpoint yet, but I wanted to share my thoughts here this morning.

As always, please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Best,

Rory

What Role Should Employers Be Playing in Ending Occupational Segregation?

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I recently read an article from Daniel Tunkelang, Head of Query Understanding at LinkedIn that asks us to consider if engineering-driven cultures are sexist? This is a well structured, multi-faceted piece, and you can read it here.

With that said, one takeaway from Tunkelang that really stood out to me was the role that occupational segregation plays in driving down women’s wages. Quoting from Wikipedia:

Occupational segregation refers to the way that some jobs (such as truck driver) are dominated by men, and other jobs (such as child care worker) are dominated by women.

The interesting thing about occupational segregation is that there is nothing inherently sexist about it. Credit to the daily beast article here for these lists of the highest and lowest paying jobs (and their gender makeup):

Highest and Lowest Paying Jobs

As you can see, men make up the majority in 9 of the 10 highest paying professions and women make up the majority in 9 of the 10 lowest paying professions (exceptions highlighted in yellow).

…And a recent study from the Association of University Women (AAUW) found the following:

…women working full time or multiple jobs one year after college graduation earned, other things being equal, 6.6  percent less than their male peers did. This estimate controls for differences in graduates’ occupation, economic sector, hours worked, employment status (having multiple jobs as opposed to one full-time job), months unemployed since graduation, grade point average, undergraduate major, kind of institution attended, age, geographical region, and marital status.

You can read the full study here. To be fair, 6.6% is still a significant pay gap, but it isn’t the 23% that is often widely cited in the mainstream media.

…Okay, so my question for readers today is this. Assuming for the sake of argument that STEM skills (primarily held by men) are in fact more rare than people skills (more often possessed by women) in the marketplace – and thus more valuable – what role should the private sector be playing in addressing the broader societal and institutional factors that cause this occupational segregation?

By the time someone is in their 20s and has entered the workforce, their educational pedigree (and brand) is largely defined as it concerns what sorts of careers they will be able to pursue. There are outliers of course, but rarely do we see, say, a Human Resources Manager make a switch into Computer Programming. In this respect, the heavy lifting as it concerns re-defining the role that gender plays in shaping career aspirations seemingly needs to be taking place before young people enter the workforce.

Conversely… I would submit that the attractiveness of a career path is on some level shaped by the perceived culture and lifestyle perks of the population within it. In this respect, companies can take steps to make both male and female heavy work environments feel more welcoming and inclusive for the minority gender in either situation.

…Or maybe I have this wrong?

As always, please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Best,

Rory

Quote of the Week: “Procrastination is like a credit card…

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…it’s a lot of fun until you get the bill.” - Christopher Parker

<www.christopherparker.net

<www.christopherparker.net>

For this quote we can thank English actor and television presenter Christopher Parker.

…So my Monday is going to be pretty awful. Actually, it is already Monday. As I type this it is 3:01 a.m. I’m still up because I just finished the latest revision for a deck I needed to complete for a project today. And with that done, I can either write my daily post now or in three hours (after a short nap) when I get up for work. Frankly, now seems like a better bet if I want to commit something intelligible to print.

I didn’t have to be up working until 3:00 a.m., though. It is actually the consequence of a choice I made when I woke up on Sunday morning. At the time, I said to myself: “Rory, you’re always working on the weekend for one reason or another. Why don’t you just take it easy and do nothing today?” 

…And so I did.

Here is the thing though. When we procrastinate, the work we need to get done does not go away. It just piles up on itself, eventually forcing us to work at a frenetic speed to catch up because we didn’t pace ourselves when we had the chance. This is a lesson that I – like many reading today – learned at a very young age. But every once in a while it seems that I need to learn it again.

So as we get started this week, let’s remember to do what we can when we can so that we can improve both the quality of our work and the quality of our lives. Because (in addition to impacting our output) when we make the choice to put off until tomorrow what we can do today, the stress it creates is seldom worth the short-term reprieve granted us by the initial procrastination.

Happy Monday,

Rory

P.S. Let’s also be thankful for coffee.

Sunday Reading: April 13, 2014 – Eliminating the HR Department, and Paying Employees to Quit

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<www.taryncoxthewife.com

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Sunday reading for April 13, 2014:

1. Lauren Weber and Rachel Feintzeig have a great piece up on the Wall Street Journal looking at the changing ways employers are managing human resources issues such as hiring, firing, benefits, and performance management. As an HR guy, I’m predisposed to seeing the value in HR departments. With that said, the piece gives some compelling examples of instances in which the function has been both harmful and helpful to various organizations. This one is a must read. Check it out here.

2. Allison Linn has a story up on CNBC about a newly implemented Amazon policy wherein its fulfillment center employees can now receive a cash payout of between $2,000 and $5,000 to quit. The rationale here goes that if employees are disengaged and not happy working at the organization, having them voluntarily leave the firm is better than having them stay with the company (driving down engagement over time). I think the idea is sound in theory; the dollar amount is probably a low enough percentage of base salary that it isn’t going to compel a happy employee to leave the organization. On the other hand, in cases where employees were looking to leave the firm already payouts here will end up being wasted capital. I’m not sure what percentage of the company’s workforce falls into the latter bucket, but regardless this is an interesting idea and read. Check it out here.

As always, please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Best,

Rory

Video Saturday: Incentive Pay Survey Practices 2014

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<online.wsj.com>

WorldatWork’s Kerry Chou and Alison Avalos discuss newly released survey data regarding short- and long-term incentive-pay practices in both publicly and privately traded organizations. Watch more videos:

As always, please share your thoughts in the comments section.

Best,

Rory

Spotlight Friday: An Interview with Tim Collins, Director, HR Talent, Development and Resources at IBM

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TCollinsTim Collins is an international Human Resources professional, with 30 years of functional, business and international experience in Procter & Gamble and IBM. He has visited more than 38 countries, and lived in the UK as an expatriate for three years. Tim has been certified as a Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR) by the Human Resources Certification Institute, a unit of the Society for Human Resources Management.

In his current role, Tim is global leader of the Talent function for IBM’s global HR organization, providing support for HR succession planning, executive staffing and leadership pipeline development. He also has responsibility for WW HR Development and Resources, with ownership for the HR function career model, career development, tools and communications and leadership for global HR intern hiring and campus recruiting.

Tim is a Digital IBMer, co-founder of #SocialHRSuccess, and an LGBT Out Executive.

Originally from Canton, Ohio, Tim grew up in Ohio and Central Kentucky, and is a graduate of Transylvania University, a small, private, selective liberal arts college in Lexington, Kentucky. He lives in New York City with his spouse and UK Civil Partner, Tom Wolff, who works in HR Learning & Development at MetLife, and Gypsy the Havanese, who makes them both laugh at least once every day.

You can find Tim on Linkedin here and Twitter here.

1. Most job postings cite “X” years of relevant work experience and specific education criteria as requirements to be considered for the position. With this in mind, what prior work experiences and degrees/certifications/training helped prepare you for your current role?

According to people I trust outside IBM, we have long been considered a thought leader in HR. Inside IBM, we have a goal of being the world’s preeminent HR organization. Therefore, I have a great job because my focus is exclusively on the HR function and the several thousand colleagues who work in it worldwide. I bring to the role 20 years of business and HR experience at Procter & Gamble and 10 years at IBM. I consider myself lucky to have worked for two great companies, in business and HR roles, and this “outside HR experience” is something our leaders and I encourage for our colleagues. I have always been a “big picture” person, and try to think outside my own chair to how others see my work, understanding how my role fits in the enterprise, why it’s important, and how it could be done better. I hope it doesn’t sound too corny, but I believe everything I have done to this point, probably 25 roles over almost 30 years, contributes to the role I have today. With the global footprint IBM has, global experience and cultural awareness are important for success, as is knowledge of generalist and specialist jobs and business acumen.

1B. What (if any) additional knowledge or skills that you don’t currently have would make you even better at your job?

I have done a lot of international business travel, and that has been important to help me learn about our business and the people who work in it. Technology is great and social media is improving collaboration and shrinking the world, but there is no substitute for face-to-face interaction. I’d like to travel more than I do today. I’d also like to have more time with business leaders, to understand what they need from HR, and how I can influence that in my role. Funny enough, a month before I started this job in July 2013, I received my Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR) certification from SHRM and the HR Certification Institute. The timing was ironic, I decided to get my GPHR well before I knew I was being considered for this position, but other people thought it was all part of the plan. While a number of HR professionals in IBM have external certification of one type of another, it is not something we have pushed hard. However, personal development is very important, evidenced by last year’s introduction of “Think 40″ by our Chairman and CEO, Ginni Rometty. She communicated her expectation that all IBMers, in every country and job role, should complete at least 40 hours of personal or professional development every year. Our Learning & Development colleagues responded by creating an easy-to-use web app to track Think 40 hours, connecting it to our Learning Management System.

2. Some jobs require the incumbent to be very analytical. Others require one to be a strong communicator, and others still require traits like patience, the ability to multitask, self-directedness, comfort with ambiguity, and exceptional attention to detail. Are there any behaviors and/or attributes that you would say are essential to performing the work that you do?

All of these and more are required for me to be successful in my role, with the exception of multitasking because it is a myth. On our enterprise collaboration platform, IBM Connections, we have a 200 character self-curated field called “What I’m Known For.” Along with tags and content that I share in Connections communities, blogs, wikis, forums, files and activities, this becomes part of my digital identity, my personal brand, and helps to surface my expertise to others. These data also feed to IBM Expertise, a mobile and desktop app that we use to “find” people and talent. My “What I’m Known For” is: “Functional+Generalist HR experience at two great companies, P&G, IBM. Externally certified (GPHR). Global citizen, servant leader, direct, passionate. Social because it’s a better way to work, collaborate, engage, inspire, and get results.”

3. Jobs guru Lou Adler says there are only 4 job types of jobs in the world (producers, improvers, builders, and thinkers). Which type of job are you in?

Happily, my job and personal preference are well-aligned. I have always gravitated to Thinker and Builder roles, and I’m in one now. Improving and Producing are also important, but less so (my team helps me with this part), and that allows me to do more of the kind of work that I prefer and excel at.

4. Does your job involve either directly or indirectly supervising or managing people? If so, how many direct (or indirect) reports do you have?

Yes, I have four direct reports, and several thousand HR colleagues that I indirectly serve in the global HR organization. Don’t let the number overwhelm you, in addition to HR people focused on 434k+ IBMers, remember that IBM has a lot of client facing HR roles, including HR consulting and HR outsourcing in our services business.

5. How does what you do impact the business? Think complexity (different types of impacts) and scale (degree of impact). Put another way: Who and what would be impacted if your job wasn’t being done well, and why would it matter that they were impacted?

The best jobs I have had are those where I can see clearly the impact of what I do on the business. My three favorite jobs all fit that criteria, including the one I have today. I believe the work HR does is critical to business success. The “action” words associated with our work — attract, motivate, develop, retain, promote, transfer, incent, teach, engage, inspire, collaborate, team, perform, manage, mentor, sponsor — just to share a few, say it clearly and well. What I do is positive and aspirational. My other two favorite jobs were leading Global Mobility (Relocation & Expatriate Services) at P&G and working in HR Business Development (acquisitions, divestitures, outsourcing deals) at IBM.

6. Is your job safe? Rate its safety on a scale of 1-10 with 1 being “seated all day in an air conditioned vault” and 10 being “I’m an astronaut going into space”. If your job isn’t safe, what working conditions (specifically) make it hazardous?

Yes, from the standpoint of physical safety, my job is safe. I live in Manhattan, and travel to IBM HQ in Armonk, NY usually three days a week. The commute is the most dangerous part of my job (if you’ve been on the Bronx River Parkway, you would agree with me), although I enjoy driving and love NPR, so that makes it fun.

7. Is there anything I missed that people should know about your job? Is there anything else you want to say about what you do?

I am passionate about my work (and for that matter, my life too). One of the things I am most passionate about is social business, or as I like to describe it, open business.

For four years in a row, IDC has ranked IBM Connections #1 in market share for enterprise social software. It is a great product, a growing and constantly improving suite of tools and capabilities that we use ourselves. My view is that HR should be leading the enterprise in adopting social. Therefore, along with a few colleagues, a few months ago we started a new initiative that we call #SocialHRSuccess. We hand picked 60 HR people from around the world to work with us on the project (in addition to their day jobs). We have a public blog (inside IBM) that every week features (no surprise) a new success story or use case about HR people using social effectively in their work.

We are launching six other initiatives, all identified socially by the team through an Ideation Blog. These will include a #SocialHRTipoftheWeek campaign, a reverse mentor / social coach program on “how to be social” for senior HR leaders, a social design award (good design means ease of use and more adoption), a social learning roadmap for HR professionals, a campaign to help #SocialHRSuccess go viral, and finally an HR Social Analytics project to identify metrics to measure our progress and identify areas for focus. We have had great early success. Based on views, likes and comments, our group blog is very popular, not just in HR but with business colleagues. Best of all, our #SocialHRSuccess hashtag has gone viral inside the IBM firewall. We have more work to do, but it has been fun getting to know and work with HR colleagues from around the world on such an important project about which we are all passionate.

As always, please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Tim’s comments here are his own personal opinions, he is not speaking on behalf of IBM.

Best,

Rory

Infographic Thursday: Job Hazard Analysis

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As an HR guy at a manufacturing plant, in addition to my employee relations, recruiting, and performance management responsibilities, I also have duties around safety. As such, I’m really grateful that the team over at BLR decided to share this fantastic infographic detailing how to conduct a good job hazard analysis. Check out the infographic below, and follow BLR on Twitter here.

JobHazardAnalysis

As always, please share your thoughts in the comments section.

Best,

Rory

Building Employee Engagement on Internal Social Platforms

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<www.socialmediaexplorer.com

<www.socialmediaexplorer.com>

Eric Openshaw, John Hagel, and John Seely Brown have an interesting article up on Dupress; it espouses the value of social media as a tool to utilize communication channels throughout an enterprise to both enhance the value of internal analytics and drive business outcomes. This is a fairly involved read, but if you have a few minutes I highly recommend checking it out here.

…So the paper itself does a fairly good job of laying out the business case for investing into social. It shows that when a large percentage of an organization’s employee population actively participates in local social network(s), the data they create often allows the firm to conduct promising analyses which may ultimately be leveraged to drive organizational performance. Social communities can also serve as repositories for data that colleagues can reference to troubleshoot recurring problems which may have come up in the past. As an example:

…Sales associates at Avaya, the provider of business collaboration and communications software and services, use Socialcast microblogs to tap into what their peers are saying. A sales associate who encounters an exception can search conversations on Socialcast to see if anyone else has dealt with a similar situation. This easy access to institutional memory saves time. If the associate does not find a discussion about a similar exception, he or she can post a question to the group, eliminating the time-consuming process of identifying the right person or e-mailing a massive list-serve and receiving redundant responses.

In theory, I love the idea of leveraging enterprise social data to both identify casual relationships that drive performance and increase the net efficiency of teams by providing a community resource that individual contributors can use when facing down difficult problems. Conversely, another part of me says that in some cases practical application here isn’t always plausible. 

The article cites implementation success stories like cloud infrastructure provider VMWare; the company successfully scaled participation on their social channel via targeted engagement initiatives, increasing engagement from 73% to 95% over 9 months. This is really impressive, but I wonder how much the demographic of the workforce played into the firm’s ability to successfully grow engagement here. To this point, when it comes to adopting social technology internally, don’t workforce demographics have to impact the implementation strategy? I’m not sure. But having been part of engagement efforts for such communities before, I’ve found the process of increasing participation to be more art than science.

Has your company ever rolled out an internal social platform? If so, how did its leaders generate buy-in (and if they didn’t what are some of the reasons they weren’t successful)?

As always, please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Best,

Rory

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