CEO Perspectives

How does an organization implement corporate strategy successfully? Chris Catliff, the CEO for BlueShore Financial, offers three key leadership techniques that focus on high employee engagement as a driver of corporate strategy. According to Catliff, successful strategy implementation begins with employees understanding what the strategy is and why it is important for organizational success.

Click here to read the article.

Catliff’s article focuses on the primary need for leaders to ensure that all employees are able to drive the mission and vision, because they (the employees) are empowered to do so. Of the three key tools that the author advises leaders to use, the need for tapping into legitimate authority stands out as a critical piece of this particular leadership puzzle. Legitimate authority, according to Catliff, is the application of consistent and dependable practices that allow employees to know where a leader stands from a values point-of-view, without needing to be told.

The article goes on to describe the need to support creative talent, flexibility, and the implementation of new ideas when the need for change is evident. What is notably absent, however, is the role that Human Resources could and should be playing in the delivery, support, and implementation of a leadership vision through effective employee engagement.

This is where the use of Human Resources research and analysis becomes critical. Catliff notes that only 29% of employees can accurately identify their organization’s strategy. In order to increase this percentage, the Human Resources function should be actively engaged. The Human Resources focus should begin with an evaluation of the effectiveness of the leader’s key drivers and messages.

As leadership’s ambassador to employees, Human Resources is the purveyor of legitimate organizational authority. In this capacity, Human Resources must uncover and address information gaps by delivering consistent and dependable findings that evaluate real levels of employee engagement in order to drive organizational success.

Discussion Questions:


  1. If you were the Chief Human Resources Officer for BlueShore Financial, what types of metrics would you put into place that would measure employee engagement that aligns with its corporate strategy?
  2. How can the Human Resources function assess the impact of legitimate power within an organization?
  3. How can the Human Resources role identify the gaps between what an organization’s leader wants and what the workforce is actually doing?

Biohacking De-brief / Shutterstock

A year ago, this blogger posted an item exploring the ‘new’ practice of implanting microchips into employees for purposes of tracking and monitoring.

Click here to read Chipping In?

Since that time, I have shown the clip to a number of under-graduate and post-graduate students in both Human Resources Planning and Human Resources Analytics classes.

The response from these student has been unanimous. There was solid agreement that implanting microchips into employees is a really bad idea and not a single person would volunteer to have it done to themselves. When we looked at this possible practice from the perspective of a Human Resources professional, the responses were not as vehement. Some students could see the possible benefits of microchip technology implanted into employees for certain sectors, but the safety risks and possible human rights issues far outweighed the possible employer-related benefits. The consensus was still in place that this practice might be suitable for someone else but definitely ‘not for me’.

With this in mind, it is interesting to see how the movement to implement microchips, known as Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) technology, has expanded. It is a technology that is being accepted and practiced by both employers and employees as noted in a recent article published by

Click here to read an update on microchip implants.

Far from it being perceived as an invasive and risky procedure, the article explores how microchip technology provides for positive engagement with ourselves and with others. First, it speaks to our narcissistic needs as the technology provides massive amounts of data about ourselves. It also may provide comfort to those who see the collection of personal data by someone else as a sign of belonging and caring. If someone else is watching us all the time, it must mean that we are connected to and participating with each other in a way that goes beyond regular social interactions. What could be more fun socially than being invited to participate in an employment related ‘chip’ party where the chips are not for eating but for implanting? If everybody is doing it, why not join the party?

No matter what we may think about the use of implanted microchips for employees, this is definitely a technology that will continue to evolve and will continue to provoke our individual responses well into the future.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Do you agree that having a microchip implanted into your body would provide you with data that could help you in some way? Explain your rationale.
  2. What do you think about the use of individual technology that brings a feeling of connection and participation with others?
  3. As an employer, how could you use data from employee microchips to improve organizational performance?

Cultivating Culture


Is an organization alive? From a strategic human resources planning perspective, the answer to this question is a resounding – yes!

Organizations depend on multiple levels of movement, development and growth in order to thrive and survive. How these levels are shaped depends on the culture that runs through all aspects of the organization as a whole. When we think of the word ‘culture’ in organic terms, it describes a living thing. Bacterial culture can be healthy or it can be deadly. Living things need positive culture in order to sustain continued growth. If culture is poisonous or toxic, a living thing will get sick and, without intervention, will die.

If we apply these concepts to the strategic approach to Human Resources planning, it is enlightening to see and hear how much emphasis is placed on the need to nurture, guide and influence organizational culture in order to ensure that the organization stays alive and well.

Three Human Resources leaders provide their opinions and insights on the impact organizational culture has throughout all levels of business practice.

Click here for the video link.

It is interesting to note how often each of these Human Resources experts uses language referring to growth, sustainability, nurturing, and thriving. All of these phrases or words are focused on the importance of ensuring that people want to continue developing within a living, changing and healthy organizational culture.

It seems that added to the multi-faceted business roles the Human Resources practitioner takes on, the most important element will remain that of a guardian of care. Care for individuals, which leads to care for the organization. Care for the organization, which leads to continued growth and sustainable success.

Discussion Questions:

  1. From the video clip, identify one important message from each of the experts that will guide you in your practice as a Human Resources professional.
  2. Why is it important to ensure that the Human Resources practitioner understands the business?
  3. How can you, as a Human Resources professional, influence organizational culture in a positive way?

Fifty Ways to Leave Your Employer?

Businesswoman Leaving Job vector

What employment resignations are saying about your organization?

In Paul Simon’s 1975 hit song 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover, he may be right when it comes to ending a relationships, but it turns out that there are only seven ways to leave your employer (according to research by Anthony C. Klotz, Associate Professor of Management at Oregon State University, and Mark C. Bolino, Professor of Management at University of Oklahoma).


In a recent study the authors identified that there are seven ways or categories of employee resignations:

  1. By the book
  2. Perfunctory
  3. Grateful goodbye
  4. In the loop
  5. Avoidant
  6. Bridge burning
  7. Impulsive

Click here to read the more detailed Harvard Business Review article.

Each of these resignation styles have significantly different meanings in understanding the quality of the employee/employer relationship. It turns out if the employee is using the resignation styles 4-7, the employee is trying to get back at the organization and there are issues with the relationship between the supervisor and the employee.

What does this research mean for new HR professionals? It reinforces the concept of the value of the exit interview. It also expands the concept of an exit interview to include the way employees resigned and the value of this information. It suggests that resignations should be tracked, reviewed and analyzed by the HR department for greater understanding of the deeper workplace relationships issues.


  1. The last time you resigned from a job, which resignation style did you use? Why did you use that style?
  2. Imagine you are an HR professional who is redesigning your organizations supervisory performance evaluation form. After reading this research study by Anthony C. Klotz, and Mark C. Bolino, you feel there is value in adding a new category to the performance review form to track and monitor the types of resignation each supervisor is having every year. Your HR partner does not think this is a good idea. Debate the pros and cons of adding this type of assessment to the formal annual performance review.

Perilous Productivity

productivity chart sign on blackboard

In our strategic HR planning discussions, we focus heavily on the cost-benefit relationships of Human Resources operations to the organization. Using the human capital approach, the value that employees as a commodity bring into any organization is linked directly to the output that is produced for the organization. We assess employee value by ensuring that human productivity is constantly measured, evaluated and monitored as part of a best practice approach to human resources management.

It all makes sense from a pure HR planning perspective. When we move from theoretical planning to actual implementation, however, the human element of the human resources equation pops up again to remind us that we are always dealing with people, not just products.

In a recent research article the authors explore the negative impact of the incessant need modern organizations have to monitor employee productivity.

Click here to read the article.

As noted in this article, it seems that the Human Resources function has been trapped into measuring and promoting policies that contribute to increased employee anxiety. Increased employee anxiety leads to lower productivity and more employee dis-engagement. Are we, as HR professionals, responsible for contributing to the ‘mirage’ of successful productivity by avoiding the real implications of constant workplace pressure on our fellow human beings? In an effort to measure what people do, are we also contributing to the mechanism of who gets blamed when the results of what is measured go wrong?

Human Resources champions have fought long and hard for a seat at the corporate table. We argue that Human Resources has the strategic edge to brings the business numbers and the people numbers together so that decision-making produces organizational benefit. While our Human Resources champions do not want to give up that seat or that fight, we must be reminded of why we wanted to contribute to organizational success in the first place.

We represent the Humans in any organization. Human Resources must champion human achievement and organizational success, but not at the cost of worsening the human condition in the workplace.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What types of employee productivity measures do you think contribute to increased employee anxiety?
  2. Why would organizations (like the example of Volkswagen mentioned in the article) knowingly engage in the ‘misrepresentation’ of productivity data?
  3. In your opinion, does an ‘accountability culture’ breed a trust environment in the workplace? Why or why not?