Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Target: Fun, Fast, and Friendly

Today I got an opportunity to interview an Executive Team Leader of Human Resources for a Target store in my neighborhood. Upon the arrival of our meeting time, I was so excited to conduct the interview for several reasons: A) I LOVE Target!, B) This aspect of an organization is not one with which I am entirely familiar with and C) I think Target has a very unique culture and atmosphere that keeps me coming back.

In our interview I asked a lot of questions about her position as an HR leader. A lot of our conversation related to what I have been reading in class from the Human Resources Administration for Educational Leaders by M. Scott Norton. At first glance, a store such as Target and an elementary school don’t seem like they would have much in common (in regards to HR), the reality of it is that they do! When hearing about this friend’s job as an HR leader, I related it to the job of a principal. When asked what challenges she faces on a day-to-day basis, she said that it is hard to get the scheduling activities done and still be a cheerleader for her Team Members (or workers). The “cheerleading” part of her job relates back to the text when it mentioned the importance of coaching (pg. 203).

Another point of today’s interview that I thought related back to the text was when she mentioned that all new Team Members have to create a Learning Development Plan. After shadowing and working with a mentor, the mentor has the opportunity to sign off on the LDP. This type of plan is suggested in the text (pg. 205); however, it is called a Talent Development Plan. She mentioned that this type of plan allows the new talent to have an organized idea of what is expected while working at Target. This shows that Target cares about its employees and doesn’t have a “Sink or Swim” type of attitude. I wonder how Wal-Mart’s guides new employees compared to Target? Compared to the text that we have been reading for class, it seems that she is approaching Human Resources in all the right ways.

Here are a few things that I learned about Target that I didn’t know before:

  • Target’s motto among Team Members is “Fast, Fun, and Friendly”
  • Team Members who work in the Photo Department, Starbucks, and snack area make more money than cashiers or Team Members who work on the floor.
  • Target is extremely involved in giving back to the community. (I already knew this; however, I think it’s important to note.)
  • Filling out the customer surveys is important because the employees get good comments posted in a common area. Sometimes the CEO Gregg Steinhafel will recognize employees’ good work by writing a letter of appreciation and thanks.
  • LOD=Leader on Duty, ETL= Executive Team Leader, STL= Store Team Leader
  • Target Garden Centers are closing. :(

I certainly enjoyed my time today with this friend and appreciate her speaking candidly to me about her position as the Executive Team Leader of Human Resources.

Thanks for reading (and don’t forget to shop at Target!),
Ashley :)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Three P's For High-Performing Employees

Arguably, the most important component of an organization is the people. If an organization expects to be successful, it is essential to keep the employees happy. Dealing with people can prove to be a very challenging task. By nature, humans are very complicated beings and each person’s needs differ. Even though some may vary, there are several underlying “needs” that are imperative for employees to be as high performing as possible. First and foremost, everyone wants to be treated respectfully and feel appreciated. Fostering Positive Relationships is one of the most important aspects of creating an environment for high-performing employees to flourish. Next, employers should provide “Just In Time” Professional Development and training for employees. Employees who are trained to conduct their job correctly, waste less time and are able to focus on the organization’s goals and objectives. Finally, employees should be provided with the Proper Materials in order to be successful in their efforts. A baseball manager wouldn’t send his team onto the field without bats, balls or helmets. This situation wouldn’t allow for his team to be successfully during the game. The same is true for the workplace. Proper materials must be provided to create an environment that is conducive for “home runs” in organizations. Remembering these three P’s, will help ensure that your employees can be as High-Performing as possible in order to contribute to the success of the organization.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Lucky Girl

This week I read Chapter 4 & 5 from the text Human Resources Administration for Educational Leaders by M. Scott Norton. While reading the text I had several connections to my position as a teacher at Chets Creek Elementary. In Chapter 4: The Recruitment Process, the author suggested that in order to improve job satisfaction and prevent the loss of teachers, principals and other leaders should pay more attention to motivation factors. The motivation factors that he listed were: 1) create a climate of appreciation, 2) help employees understand how important they are to the system, 3) add variety and interest to the workplace, 4) increase employee responsibility and respect, 5) encourage continuous and personal improvement and 6) allow them to use personal initiative and to set their own goals. (pg. 126) I am fortunate to say that the leader at my school, Susan Phillips, is a master at all of these suggestions. She is especially good at creating a climate of appreciation for her teachers. There doesn’t seem to be a day that goes by where she doesn’t sincerely thank us for the work that we do. As often as she can, she showers us with different surprises that show how much she appreciates us. We definitely feel the love!

Another suggestion that the book gave was to allow teachers to answer an assignment interest questionnaire at least once a year. (pg. 127) This is another protocol that is standard at my school. Every January, Mrs. Phillips asks us to fill out our requests for the following school year. In my opinion, she tries very hard to fulfill all requests. In my six years of working at Chets, my teaching wish has been granted. This is pretty much the same for everyone who works at my school. For this reason, the voluntary turnover rate at my school is practically nonexistent. My school is a pretty fantastic place to call home.

While reading Chapter 5: The Selection Process, I was astounded at how much effort goes into hiring personnel. When I was hired six years ago, I was hired late in the summer. The school was rushing to fill this position and I got hired after one interview. Admittedly I didn’t know much about what it really meant to be a teacher. The text stated that sometimes in interviews people would be asked to perform tasks (performance interview) on the spot such as “teach us why we invert and multiply in the division of fractions.” Yikes!! I was lucky enough to remember my name in my interview, much less teaching a table full of interviewers a complex mathematical concept. I am pretty sure I wouldn’t have passed a performance interview if I had been given one.

Although this reading was somewhat technical it gave me a good idea of how the recruitment and candidate selection process works in the school system. I am sure glad that I read this after I got hired as a teacher!

Thanks for reading,