Why Encounter Groups Work

One year ago this month, Mary Ila published “4 Exercises to Enhance Your Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Efforts” and featured the Encounter Group Model. This blurb stuck out to me the most:  “When we engage in these types of activities, we get to know people. We build relationships. And when we know people it makes it much harder to hate them, or people that are ‘like’ them.’” Since then, our team has partnered with a client to pilot Encounter Groups with about 50 people in an organization of thousands. And it’s working.  We define Encounter Groups as “a group of

Learning from K-12 Educators

“Naturally, everyone must find a way to earn a living wage, but the paycheck should not be the only motivation. Employees who are confident in their abilities and somewhat comfortable in their workplace can be highly productive. Please note that my sentence said ‘somewhat comfortable.’ We must become a bit uncomfortable to grow professionally.”  This is a quote from a K-12 Career Counselor in our latest Continuing Education Class for Facilitating Alabama Career Development: Assessments & Resumes. For the last couple of years, our team has been working with K-12 career developers throughout the state of Alabama, and one big

Lead Up and Learn Up

MYTH: Individual Contributors can’t shift the paradigm at the organizational level.  Our team has a long-term partnership with a multinational company to facilitate leadership training for all of their Managers of People (MOPs) and Individual Contributors here at the local site. The program we’ve developed for them consistently receives glowing reviews, with one caveat: Individual Contributors are skeptical of a real shift among the “higher-ups”. The feeling is something like, “This is great and all, but unless corporate changes the way we do things, I can’t have an impact.”  Let’s tackle the myth.  Willie Pietersen, Professor at Columbia University and

Book Review: Happy Brain

My sabbatical was great for many reasons, personal and professional. One of the big ones: I could read books! I love to read, and my schedule had gotten so full that there was no time for it. So, the first book I read on sabbatical? Happy Brain by Dean Burnett. 10/10 would recommend.  Leading into my extended leave from work, I experienced my first personal mental health crisis. For several months, I felt wrong. Not like myself. My moods and emotions became erratic and unpredictable. It’s very strange, that feeling that you’ve lost yourself. So I did something about it. 

SAC Preview: Workforce Challenges and Solutions

This morning I read about 3 economists who’ve been awarded the Nobel Prize for their research and impact on critical workforce issues including minimum wage, immigration, and education. Their research on minimum wage in the 1990s found that raising the minimum wage had no effect on the number of employees, showing that companies could effectively raise the minimum wage, retain top talent, and increase the number of applicants in the labor pool. That was 30 years ago.  We’ve come a long way, but as we find ourselves in 2021, employers struggle to find and retain talent – particularly in retail

3 Reasons to Give and Take Extended Leave

Today I’ve been back at work for one week. Back at work after four weeks of extended personal leave. I could write a full-length novel about the why, how, who, and what of my semi-sabbatical experience. The short version is: every employer should give extended paid leave, and every employee should take it. I’ll give you three reasons. 1. We are People First.  People First is the single most important Horizon Point mantra. We live it and breathe it every day. That’s how we got here – this place in time where each of our team members is taking 4+

Your Local Wage Survey is a Gold Mine

Does your area have a local wage and/or benefit survey? Do you participate? You should! Here’s why and how.  National wage reports are helpful to study the big picture of economic growth, but these reports might not (probably don’t) reflect the small picture of your business in your community. Further, a 2021 study found that U.S. workers may get 19% less than federal estimates: Some tools, like CompAnalyst and SHRM, offer comprehensive data (for a hefty fee) that can be helpful in determining pay ranges and comparing company wage data to industry benchmarks. We use resources like these for some

5 Minute Memo for MOPs

Are you a MOP? MOPs are Managers of People, and whether you are leaning into long-term remote work or reacclimating to an in-person work environment, here’s a 5-minute memo to help you stay on track.  Go easy — on yourself and others. There’s been a shakeup. Remember that we are all People First. We are People First in the sense that we are not ______ first (insert managers, leaders, bosses, etc.), and we should be People First in the way we manage and lead others.  Be inclusive — Everyone has a different story. Remember to acknowledge, respect, welcome, and celebrate

The Volunteer Venn

Q: How many volunteers does it take to plan and host a statewide HR conference?  A: Whatever number you’re thinking, add 10 more!    Volunteers are absolutely critical to the success of all organizations, not-for-profit or otherwise, but they are often overlooked and undervalued. Knowing this to be true, why do we volunteer?  I am absolutely certain that I owe much of my professional (and personal) success to volunteerism. I have been equally – if not more – challenged, encouraged, and developed in volunteer roles in comparison with paid roles. Some of my most significant growth moments were from volunteer

Innovations in #CareerAdvice and Recruiting

Unemployment rates in Alabama are slowly falling and are on track to reach numbers from the pre-pandemic job boom. In the Huntsville/Madison area, there are more jobs than there are people to fill them. As a result of a volatile job market and the workplace changes in the last year, recruiters are working through some innovative ideas for 2021. Would you be surprised to learn that videos with the hashtag #careeradvice have reached over 80 million views since the start of 2021? TikTok has evolved into a recruiting marketplace, where job seekers and potential employers connect in a creative way.