Sometimes two heads really are better than one. Professor John Budd, Director of the CHRLS and Jennifer Reilly, '97 MA-IR, who works as Director, HR, Growth, and R&D at The Hershey Company, collaborated to create a webinar that addressed how to effectively select, motivate, engage, and reward employees on the basis of what work means to a specific employee.
The webinar was based off Budd's 2011 book, The Thought of Work, which addresses the importance of looking at why employees under-perform. By explaining ten different ways to think about work, he made the point that there is not one best way to motivate and engage employees.
Work can be viewed as a way to serve others, a source of income, a source of freedom, a method of psychological fulfillment, and more. "Work is so complicated that even an individual employee can be motivated by a variety of these factors," Budd says.
Budd had delivered a presentation on the topics discussed in his book during the 2012 HR Tomorrow Conference that drew the attention of Reilly, who attended the conference, and Bloomberg BNA, an independent provider of legal, regulatory, and business information for professionals.
"It really resonated with me as an HR person to think about how each employee thinks about work and how they are unique," says Reilly.
Bloomberg BNA asked Budd and Reilly to give the same presentation to HR professionals across the country through a webinar, favoring the collaboration from both an academic and business standpoint.
"Jennifer's knowledge from the business world added a very rich professional perspective to the presentation, which otherwise would have been more academic and conceptual," says Budd.
Reilly and Budd prepped throughout the summer, communicating by email and phone. The online presentation consisted of PowerPoint slides that Budd and Reilly controlled as they used a voice over; they could also make notes on the slides as they presented.
Both said the webinar ran smoothly, though Budd said the largest challenge was not being able to see the audience he was presenting to. They also could not see if there was anyone tuned into the webinar.
"There's a certain energy you can use from a large audience," adds Budd. "It was hard to give [the presentation] without making eye contact with people."
Participants could ask questions via chat throughout the presentation or at the end via chat or phone. Participants were also able to follow up with Budd or Reilly via email.
Though he does not know the exact number of people who tuned in, Budd said he thinks the webinar successfully sparked interests thanks to the insightful questions asked at the end.
Both Budd and Reilly said collaborating with each other was a good experience, and they would be willing to do a professor/alumna collaboration again.
"It's always nice to re-connect with alumni and to witness their successes and their professional development," Budd says.