Books in Brief

Jun 1, 2007

HR Magazine, June 2007Coaching, Counseling & Mentoring; Make Your Contacts Count; The Online Learning Idea Book; Motivation, Ability and Confidence

HR and the New Hispanic Workforce
By Louis E. V. Nevaer and Vaso Perimenis Ekstein
Society for Human Resource Management and Davies Black Publishers, 2007
List price $38.95, 304 pages
ISBN: 978-0-89106-189-2

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This book can be purchased through the SHRMStore online. Members receive a discount off the list price. Visit and search for item number 61.15003.

If demographic trends continue, Hispanics will represent 32 percent of the nation's population and 55 percent of its workers by 2050. In HR and the New Hispanic Workforce, authors Louis E. V. Nevaer and Vaso Perimenis Ekstein offer insights into cultivating and leveraging the success of Hispanic employees by focusing on five topics: employee selection; HR policies; performance management; training and development; and employee relations and retention.

Nevaer and Ekstein provide a list of tips for attracting Hispanic applicants, including:

  • Hispanics typically do not respond well to trendy descriptions of work or work environments.

  • Hispanics typically seek out job opportunities that have defined paths.

  • Job titles hold a great deal of weight with Hispanics, especially when designed in a manner that provides a sense of movement toward higher positions.

Other tips and lists are found throughout the book. A section on HR policies talks about issues such as how the growing Hispanic population in the workforce will increase the use of Spanish in the workplace and the kinds of policies needed to avoid a hostile work environment. Sample "Code of Ethics" and "Workplace Responsibilities" documents are provided in both English and Spanish.

The authors emphasize the need for diversity programs, mentoring programs and rewards for a job well done. They discuss conflict and dispute resolution and the growing "black vs. brown" tensions in American society between the nation's two largest minority groups, Hispanics and blacks.

Appendices cover the difference between Hispanic vs. Latino in the workplace, important Hispanic dates and events, and organizations for Hispanic employees.

Coaching, Counseling & Mentoring
By Florence M. Stone
Amacom, 2007
List price: $24.95, 230 pages
ISBN: 978-0-8144-7358-6

Managers often confuse coaching, counseling and mentoring. But American Management Association writer and editor Florence M. Stone argues that these three key activities have different goals requiring managers to practice different skills.

Coaching is an ongoing, performance-improving role. Coaching, Counseling & Mentoring gives managers tips on assessing employees' training needs, using performance appraisals developmentally and setting goals that stretch employees' skills. Readers get concrete examples of how to talk with employees as a coach.

Stone says counseling is a "nonpunitive disciplinary process" to turn troubled performance around and help the employee see the difference between the work he thinks he's doing and the work he's actually producing.

A step-by-step counseling process includes tips on handling misconduct cases and performance issues. Managers learn how to win the employee over to the idea of change, identify problems, and decide specific actions the employee should take.

Sections cover specific counseling situations, including counseling someone who is your peer on a team. Stone provides sample dialogues and detailed examples.

A mentor is more than a coach, Stone says. She describes the mentor's work as role model, cheerleader, sponsor and provider of contacts. Managers learn how to identify a good "mentee," see the employee's potential realistically and help the employee overcome his own fears.

Stone also looks at pitfalls, such as failing to document counseling and letting small performance problems balloon into larger ones.

Make Your Contacts Count
By Anne Baber and Lynne Waymon
Amacom, 2007
List price: $14.95, 255 pages
ISBN: 978-0-8144-7402-0

Networking is just schmoozing. It's only about handing out business cards no one keeps. Only junior employees bother to network; experienced employees don't need it.

Those are all misconceptions about networking, and if you buy into them, you're missing out on ways to build relationships that help get your work accomplished, say authors Anne Baber and Lynne Waymon.

Make Your Contacts Count guides readers through three steps--setting a network strategy, sharpening your networking skills, and selecting where and when you network.

Readers survey their own current networking skills and gauge how they react to new people. Baber and Waymon explain how to combat shyness and silence the inner critic that prevents you from reaching out to others:

  • Setting a networking strategy. Analyze relationships (is someone an acquaintance, an advocate, an ally, an associate?) and then develop them further. Learn to set goals for your networking; you might be seeking to further your career, get a professional certification or make a work project succeed. Specific tips help you set networking goals, organize networking "projects" and determine whether networking will yield the results you want.

  • Honing networking skills. Learn to improve networking, from how you enter the room to how you enter a conversation that's already in progress. Get ideas for answering "Who are you and what do you do?" in engaging ways your listeners will remember. Conversational tips include ways to tell others what you have to offer without turning them off.

  • Selecting where and when you network. Learn how to use your memberships in associations and organizations to maximize networking. Create or join existing "business referral groups" of other professionals who come together to exchange information.

The Online Learning Idea Book
Edited by Patti Shank
John Wiley & Sons, 2007
List price: $50, 354 pages
ISBN: 978-0-7879-8168-6

If you're an HR professional tasked with finding or creating an online learning initiative, or if your organization already uses online learning, you always need ideas: How can you help online learners get the most out of the experience? How can you make online discussions more interactive and personal? If you design online courses, how do you make them truly useable?

This handbook offers 95 ideas, each presented in a simple format that shows how to use it and discusses adapting it to your own workplace. Editor Patti Shank, an instructional design consultant, structures the book so readers can pick out ideas they need now, including:

  • Setting up online "learning agreements" that students use to clarify their objectives and commit to the online instruction. Create an "e-portfolio" in which learners can share coursework samples.

  • Improving collaboration with an online journal that lets learners post information about themselves. Use a team assessment form for regular, online input on team progress. Improve online discussions with a "karma points" tool that lets learners evaluate other learners' postings.

  • Letting learners compare their answers to questions with expert responses.

  • Starting critical evaluation exercises so online learners can post and provide feedback in a nonthreatening environment.

  • Enabling learners to pick the order of the topics during a live presentation.

  • Ideas for instructional design and development, including posting a list of design standards for online learning to gathering learners' stories about their experiences with online courses.

  • Ideas on usability and design such as developing online glossaries and automated reference materials. Using story examples to make content more engaging and personal. The book includes examples of effective online graphics as well as tips for both tech-savvy instructional designers and technology novices.

Motivation, Ability and Confidence Building in People
By Adrian Mackay
Butterworth-Heinemann, 2007
List price: $43.50, 395 pages
ISBN: 0-7506-6500-9

Aimed at managers, team leaders or supervisors charged with "bringing out the best in other people," Adrian Mackay's book Motivation, Ability and Confidence Building in People provides models for motivating employees, building employees' abilities and bolstering their confidence.

Mackay briefly reviews a century of theory about motivation to give readers a foundation for the practical ideas that follow.

The book covers both individual and team motivation and ties employee effort with performance and rewards. Readers learn why it's vital to "sell" employees on a business vision and how a positive psychological contract between employees and employer promotes performance.

Mackay offers his personal Motivation Development Model, using case studies to follow an unmotivated employee through to successful motivation and improved performance.

Ability building requires learning, and the book delves into what learning is, how a "learning organization" operates, and how learning from failure benefits the organization. Readers learn about individual learning styles and the relationship between managers' own styles and how their employees' abilities develop.

In his Ability Development Model, Mackay looks at how a manager's instructions as well as training, coaching and mentoring affect employees.

Chapters on confidence building examine how self-esteem, assertiveness and achievement are fostered. Mackay is managing partner with Duncan Alexander & Wilmshurst, Training & Development Advisors.

Compiled by Leigh Rivenbark, a freelance writer and editor in Vienna, Va., and Nicole Gauvin, SHRM Editorial Coordinator. 

Inclusion of a book does not imply endorsement by SHRM or HR Magazine.


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