Halelly's ASTD 2014 Conference Presentation Covered by Bloomberg Human Resource Report

Reproduced with permission from Human Resources Report, 32 HRR 497 (May 12, 2014). Copyright 2014 by The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (800-372-1033) http://www.bna.com.

Speaker Discusses Sustainable Engagement, Mentoring, Retaining Institutional Knowledge

By Caryn Freeman, Bloomberg BNA

Engaging Employees Across the Generations at ASTD 2014.jpg

An employee’s connection to an organization is based on three core elements: being engaged, being enabled and feeling energized, Halelly Azulay, president of consulting firm TalentGrow LLC and author of ‘‘Employee Development on a Shoestring,’’ said May 6.

‘‘Employees can fall anywhere in the engagement spectrum and can oscillate on that scale continuously,’’ she said at the American Society for Training & Development’s International Conference & Exposition in Washington, D.C.

‘‘Some employees sort of slide back and forth, others just hover around the middle,’’ Azulay said. ‘‘They’re not committed but they’re not leaving; they’re not excited but they’re there.’’

According to Azulay, ‘‘Sustainable engagement incorporates traditional engagement but also adds to it, energizing and enabling people.’’

An enabled employee is supported by the organization and equipped with the required resources to achieve his or her goals, she explained.

‘‘People working with actively disengaged people are not going to be able to sustain that motivation, that willingness to go above and beyond, that resilience to get over obstacles and look creatively for resources,’’ Azulay said.

Mentoring Across Generations. Mentoring is a way to engage people from different generations, Azulay said. It’s also an opportunity for knowledge transfer and to build skills, she said.

For example, she said, a subject matter expert who might not feel great about blogging can partner with a younger colleague who blogs. ‘‘That’s two generations working together,’’ Azulay said.

‘‘We all think about mentors as giving the learning to the protege, but mentors learn too,’’ she added. ‘‘Mentors can learn new perspectives, gain insight into the organization and get a more realistic perspective about the people and skills on their team.’’

Rock Star Videos. Every organization has its ‘‘rock stars, its folk heroes and its archetypes’’—‘‘the go-to people,’’ Azulay said. ‘‘They are seen as credible and have created that credibility by the work that they’ve done,’’ she said. But employers often don’t have a method to hold onto these employees’ institutional knowledge once they leave the organization, she told Bloomberg BNA in an interview after the conference session.

To remedy this, Azulay recommends employers take full advantage of video technology—because ‘‘it’s easy to use and everyone has access to a video camera through their cell phones’’—and record their top employees discussing subjects crucial to the employer.

‘‘It allows organizations to capture the wisdom and expertise of the rock stars, the problem solvers, the go-to people in the organization, to get it straight from their mouths,’’ she said.

‘‘That video is there for posterity, everyone can view it, everyone can access it,’’ Azulay said. ‘‘You can tag it for reference, make it searchable, people can comment on it, you can see the number of views it gets. That creates knowledge management and a legacy for a long time to come.’’

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