My name is Luca, proud italian blogger and HR professional.
I studied Organisation and Human Resources at University of Milan for my Bachelor degree and I have a double Master degree in Cognitive Science and Decision Making (University of Milan) and Work and Organisational Psychology (Maastricht University). Being a huge fan of life long learning, I attended two courses at Harvard University in Strategy Management and Leadership and Decision Making.
I’ve covered different roles in the HR world as HR coordinator, Business Partner , Recruiter Business Partner and Talent Advisor.
You can hear about digital transformation and innovation everywhere. Transformation and innovation: from the virtual reality to the blockchain technology, through the automation of processes. The digital transformation is a philosophical and technical movement that influences businesses, departments and teams… including HR. The technological innovation, the new methods of collaboration and ways of doing are at the centre of this change.
We need to talk about the change. Choosing an innovative technology does not equal starting an innovation/transformation change. To understand what you need to change or work on, you need to understand your values. The values are not the ones that were present at the creation of your organisation or your team. If you do not understand what are the current values and the current way of doing things, the change will never happen. Relying on rewriting values and creating power point presentations on the corporate mission does not mean working on change.
When we are in safe environments, for example with family and friends, we share our opinions without thinking too much about the consequences. This behaviour is a habit and our habits are difficult to be changed. Why should we change this habit? We are not always in safe environments.
I often say that transparency is great for the organisational culture. I’m not changing opinion on this; however, you need to be sure that you are using the right way to tackle an issue. You should not cover the truth. You just need to be careful about how you say things.
How to train yourself in changing this habit? You need to try with an exercise. A simple one? Count to 3 and then say what you think. The new habit will take time but it will surely help you to improve your approach and it will make you more comfortable in tackling issues, even difficult ones.
Recruiters are often considered as the dark side of the process. It’s true that there are times when we do well and other times when we do not.
One aspect that is fundamental to our role is giving feedback. There is a lot of discussion around feedback and the importance to give and receive it. Feedback should not only be the conclusion of the recruiting process; giving feedback is a dynamic and constant exercise during the whole recruiting process.
One of the secrets of being a good recruiter is following your candidates during the recruiting process. The feedback can be related to the format of the candidate’s resume, the way of presenting or the needed preparation for the interviews. Being a recruiter means being a point of contact, from the beginning to the end of a recruiting process and give constant feedback. If feedback is a real gift, it has to help the growth and career development also for the candidates in a selection process. Even the ones that won’t be hired.
There are articles, blogs (like mine), presentations, and speakers that illustrate best practices or suggestions about certain topics. They talk about work, motivation, training etc. Really any kind of topic.
When we read these suggestions, we tend to copy exactly the “recipe” and adopt it as such. If we behave in this way, we make a mistake. Why are we mistaken? We read articles that come from personal experiences or events that happen in a specific context; they are therefore subjective. For this reason, you have to be able to step back, understand the proposed solution and try to adapt it to your context. Of course, you can also adopt the solution as it is; however, you should look at the results as an experiment and not give a final opinion on it. This is true for business or personal decisions; even about your career development. We need to treat the proposed solution as an experiment and then adopting or modifying it to make it ours.
I’m not saying that we should stop reading… otherwise this blog would not exist either. You have to take inspiration and look for your solution. Find your way.
You often hear about the importance of the candidate experience. The candidate experience refers to the dynamics related to the candidate’s journey during a recruiting process; the “journey” involves a few actors (interviewers, recruiter) and interactions (the steps of the interview process, email exchanges etc..).
Many companies try to understand, analyse and talk about the emotional side of the candidate experience, considering the involvement of different actors (recruiters and candidates for example). In addition to that, they tend to associate the candidate experience with the customer experience; the latter is the result of actions or planned actions/interactions between a customer and a company. Do the candidates need to be considered customers? Yes, twice; they are using a service (= your recruiting process) and they are prospects or already customers for the service(s) your company provides to the market.
Is your company really treating candidates as customers? Or are they doing just an emotions check? There is much more than the emotional side when we talk about the candidate experience. Does your company assess the points of contacts with the candidates (social media, company website, news etc), their tone of voice and the quality of the interactions? If not, they should start looking at the complete candidate journey and not only at the emotional experience.
The organisational culture creates unique workplaces. Why? Companies are built by individuals. For example, two companies of the same sector and with the same organisational structure are different due to the social component.
When you think about your career, it’s important to understand to which kind of organisational culture you belong to. Not all organisations are the right fit for you and you are the right fit for them… yes, even if the role your applying for matches your experiences. You have to think about the type of supervision you want (autonomy in the role vs close collaboration with your manager), the visibility (work in a client role facing or not) and the collaboration required in the team. It is important also to say that these aspects (autonomy, visibility, and collaboration) vary during your career. You need to evaluate these aspects in the specific period of time and in relation to your career development goals and ambition.
Finally, remember that the cultural context in your organisation changes over time. It changes and evolves as you do.
In most organizations, we manage our own working time around meetings. In order to make our time effective we try to match our tasks with the meetings requests that we receive; unfortunately, we often end up with the so-called “back to back“.
We need to find time for ourselves. To do what? Several things. It is true that attending many meetings gives you visibility and allow you to proceed with your work tasks (well, not always) …. however, in order to complete your work, to grow and develop you have to think about what’s really important. You need to dedicate time to training, networking or sorting out your work admin.
What is an easy solution to reduce your back to back?
Block your calendar! It allows you to handle also any last-minute requests without having to worry too much. Try it out and you will notice that you’d manage better your work priorities and your needs (=training and work tasks).
Working in a positive environment is fundamental. In order to enjoy your day, you need to feel comfortable and having positive relationships. The culture that surrounds you is important as the content of your job is.
I often say that eight hours of work are always eight hours of work; however, the perception of these 8 hours is different when you feel comfortable with yourself and with your colleagues.
You have surely heard that you need to have friends at work. Are we sure? As mentioned before, it’s crucial to be in a positive workplace to live it at its best; however, if you do not want to make new friends at work, you do not need to. Forcing yourself means modifying your behaviour and work attitude. The important thing is having positive work relationships. Having friends at work does not have to be a cultural norm (or a best practice) in your organisation. On the other hand, you’d need to have sponsors and allies.
I often write about the importance of collaboration. It has been said that companies should invest and have invested in technology, projects and programs (for example team building or mentorship) to improve collaboration between and within teams. Technology has changed the way we collaborate and exchange information. Conference calls and emails have completely revolutionised our way of working.
There is an aspect of your work that remains isolated and you should keep it isolated and personal.
What is it? Your career management. Receiving advice from colleagues or your manager is clearly important; however, your career path definition needs to be a personal investment and you cannot rely on collaboration. Managing your career path does not mean undermining colleagues or diminishing other people successes. Managing your career means creating your own path with your efforts. Take risks, join new teams, have different experiences and think about these experiences.
We can exchange and receive information in real-time; this dynamic and multiple sources’ network boosts innovation, knowledge sharing and relationships’ building.
The organisations have to embrace this revolution and their efforts are focused on (virtual) collaboration and cooperation. The results of this revolution brought also the organisations to be more open: they have opened their doors to the external world. For example, the recruiting function has been affected by this cultural change; think about LinkedIn, the meetups and Glassdoor. You can search about the company using different media and get to know better the company culture. If you want to reach out a recruiter, it is super easy.
So, why are you using Facebook? Why would you contact a recruiter via Facebook? Why would you move a contact from the professional level to the personal one? A recruiter might decide to do not answer a message. Additionally, your message might not show up because it has gone to the “spam folder”. So, I would not do it…and if you ask, the recruiters should not use Facebook to find candidates for the same reasons.