Why Remote Workers Are More (Yes, More) Engaged

An interesting article from Harvard Business Review arrived in my email this morning that I want to share:

Why Remote Workers Are More (Yes, More) Engaged.

Two points that stand out to me are:

  • Absence makes people try harder to connect
  • Leaders of virtual teams make better use of tools
Unknown American Mountain

Your remote worker is somewhere in this picture.

I agree with Mr. Edinger for the most part, but one point that he omits is the perspective of the remote worker.  I believe that many remote workers actually put more effort into making sure they connect with their leaders.  I do work remotely quite often for my clients, in the capacity of an independent consultant, and remaining visible and accessible is very important.  Communication, have channels in multiple directions, flows as much from the workers back to their managers, as the other way around.  Engagement is a two-way street.

I think that remote workers feel that they need to prove themselves, to justify their absence from the office.  I was one of the first remote workers at my company in the late 1990’s, when working remotely was still a rare thing.  The friction that I received from one of the directors, who was not my boss, almost stopped the remote work, until I was able to justify why I needed to work remotely.  The justification was backed up by delivery.

Delivery is where the remote worker really engages his or her boss.  The efficiencies gained by working remotely allows the remote worker to deliver more often and in a more visible way.  In this way, they are engaging their leaders and other team members more than those workers on site.

For the record, I believe a blended onsite/offsite remote work arrangement works best, in particular if you are an independent consultant.  It is good for your client to see your smiling face on a regular basis. 🙂

Must Have Oracle HCM Resources

This is a short but powerful post. Here is a list of must-have resources for anyone using the HRMS / HCM Suite in Oracle Applications E-Business Suite:

Oracle HRMS Forum: This is the official Oracle hosted forums, moderated by real live Oracle employees. This leans more towards the technical side of the applications, but I have generally received quick answers from participants. http://forums.oracle.com/forums/forum.jspa?forumID=113

OHUG – Oracle HCM Users Group: If you are using Oracle HCM products, including PeopleSoft and now Taleo, you must join. They are an independent users group focused exclusively on Oracle HCM products. They are very influential with Oracle on the development of new features and products and their conference archives are full of excellent presentations. http://ohug.org

OAUG – Oracle Applications Users Group: Global users group for Oracle Applications. This is the mother of all users groups, I kid you not. http://oaug.org

My Oracle Support: My Oracle Support (MOS) should be obvious, but I am surprised at how many of the HR, Benefits, and Payroll people do not have access to MOS (formerly Metalink).  This is full of information on your products and the search feature is very powerful.  I know there are people who really dislike it, but it keeps improving year after year, and the best improvement lately has been the migration away from Adobe Flash.

Mushroom Power Up

HCM Power Up!

Ask your application manager or director for access, particularly if you are in a super user capacity.  Your organization pays a lot of money for this resource, so you should take advantage of it. https://support.oracle.com

Oracle E-Business Suite Technology Blog: If you have ever performed an Internet search for Oracle EBS information, you probably have been here.  This official blog, by Steven Chan of Oracle, focuses on the entire EBS development, but there is a lot of value for HCM users.  It is well written, accurate, and useful. https://blogs.oracle.com/stevenChan/

PeopleApps: A collection of forums for various ERP applications, although the forums are mostly dead. This is home to the archives of the long-running OraHRMS-L list-serve, in which I used to participate. Although there are no recent updates, it is still an excellent resource for troubleshooting issues if you are still on Oracle EBS 11i. http://peopleapps.com

If you have any you would like to share, please add a comment!

Book Review: A Message to Garcia – The Best Book You Have Never Read

Andrew Summers Rowan and General Garcia

Andrews Summers Rowan in the center, General Calixto García on the right.

I stumbled across an amazing story, A Message to Garcia, about 6 months ago, which sums up what we all should strive to be and should look for when hiring people.  This book is in the public domain, and I am including copies at the end of this review, based on the Project Gutenberg texts.

The book, which is really more of an essay, was written by Elbert Hubbard, an American writer and philosopher who was active in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  He wrote this story shortly after the end of the Spanish-American War, based on the actions of Andrew Summers Rowan.  During the war, Rowan was asked by his general to deliver a message from President McKinley to General Calixto García, leader of the Cuban resistance, who was hidden in the mountains in an unknown location.  Not asking how he was going to accomplish such a task, he took the message from his general, and without a word he set off and successfully delivered the message to Garcia.

The essay extols the virtues of Rowan as a desirable trait for all people.  Here is the crux of Hubbard’s message, as I see it:

The world needs people who can take a task and complete it, without question, complaint, or fuss.

Many of us are that person.  As managers, these are the person we want working on our teams.  As entrepreneurs, these are definitely the people we want for our startups.  Hubbard describes those who cannot take or follow through on orders as morally deformed or crippled.  He sympathisizes with the hard working person, who does their job without complaint, without stupid questions.  To quote Hubbard:

“His kind is so rare that no employer can afford to let him go. He is wanted in every city, town and village—in every office, shop, store and factory.”

I am not going to try an analyze the book from head to tail here, because I would do an injustice to it.  The one thing that strikes me is that this book could have been written yesterday.  I believe it is as important a book as any I have read in years and should be required reading for every child, high school student, college student, worker, soldier, and citizen.  It is short enough to read in a few minutes and I very highly recommend it.  You can download or read the book here:

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I am forming an opinion lately that books do not need to be long, but rather short.  This was first brought to my attention while reading Seth Godin’s “The Dip”.  There are too many non-fiction books that have filler, because apparently some publishers charge for books by the pound.  There may be a prevailing thought that a short book does not carry as much perceived value as a long, large, heavy one.  This is why we end up abandoning books before finishing them, unless the content is very compelling.

I believe books need to be shorter, not longer.  I think that takes a great deal of time and thought to write a shorter book than it does a longer book.  To quote Cicero (also attributed to Blaise Pascal, Mark Twain, and others):

“If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.”

To quote my wife:

“Land the plane.”