Effective Solutions Through Partnership

Category Archives: SHRM

3 Tips on Using Servant Leadership to Build Successful Relationships

Co-working, Communications, Employee Engagement, Human Resources, KAI Partners, Managing/Leadership, Sacramento, SAHRA—The Sacramento Area Human Resources Association, SHRM, The WorkShop

By Melissa McManus, Ed.D, SHRM-CP, CSM, LSSGB

As a People Operations Manager (traditionally, an HR Manager), my focus is relationship centric. From relationship management to talent management and everything in between, people are at the center of what I do—hence my job title!

Without strong relationships, I would not be able to do my job effectively. Business relationships are important both outside and inside of the organization. Strong relationships lead to strong teams. These are important in any organization because there is an ability to accomplish more together than as individuals. But how does one go about building strong and resilient relationships?

Relationships fundamentally, must be two pronged. There must be effort made on both sides for a strong working relationship to develop. The expectation must be mutual where all parties feel that equal participation and effort are being put forth. This creates accountability and reliability as well. Managing that expectation is important to making sure everyone is on the same page.

In my organization, we have always worked in teams in one way or another. I have worked with teams as small as two and as large as eight. As an introvert, working on teams was not always my first choice; however, I’ve come to not only appreciate the team dynamic but in some instances, I rely on those relationships when I’m stuck or just need to talk through something that I am working on. And, I am able to offer the same to my colleagues as well, because we have built that relationship.

Ideally, the focus of the relationship is not what you can get out of it.

Relationships are about what you put into it and what you can offer the other person, like the sharing of ideas and strengths to get to the best possible outcome.

In my opinion, a relationship needs be cultivated and built. One way this can be done is through a servant leadership approach or attitude, which demonstrates care and compassion. It is the will to serve others first. Here are a few ideas to demonstrate how using a servant leadership approach can assist you in developing strong lasting relationships and teams.

  1. Demonstrate and Encourage: Build the kind of relationship and team you want through example. Let others see you serve and it will naturally encourage that behavior in others. People see what you do and if you are serving others that in turn cultivates strong relationships and teams, it will catch on and others will want to join you.
  2. Invest: Give others your time. Offer to assist with projects, brainstorm together, etc. Let people know that you’re not too busy to assist them. Everyone’s time is valuable—show that by giving away some of yours.
  3. Care: One of the best ways we can build relationships in through example. The way we treat others is a direct reflection on how we want to be treated. Showing care for others is a fundamental stepping stone to building a strong, resilient, and lasting relationship.

KAI Partners recently celebrated 15 years of doing business in California. One way we’ve accomplished this is by fostering our relationships. Our new co-working space, The WorkShop – Sacramento, follows this same model. If you’re looking for a community of individuals who are always willing to talk through an issue or help one another succeed, then look no further than The WorkShop.

About the Author: Dr. Melissa McManus is the Human Resources Manager for KAI Partners. Melissa is passionate about human behavior and knowledge transfer and believes that human capital drives any organization to success. Melissa is a CSM, Lean Six Sigma Green Belt, and SHRM-Certified Professional. She holds a Doctorate degree in Educational Leadership with a focus in Human Resource Development. She is ardent about life and describes herself as an avid bookworm. Melissa enjoys reading (a lot), going to the movies, spending time with her munchkins, line dancing, being with friends and wine tasting.

How Becoming a Certified ScrumMaster® Can Help Human Resources Succeed

Agile, Certified ScrumMaster (CSM), Corporate Training, Human Resources, KAIP Academy, Learning, Professional Development, Sacramento, SAHRA—The Sacramento Area Human Resources Association, Scrum, SHRM, Training, Workforce Development

By Melissa McManus, Ed.D, SHRM-CP, CSM, LSSGB

Around the office they call me Doc—a gracious nickname that was earned by virtue of my doctoral degree.

However, my learning did not stop at my Ed.D. Albert Einstein once said, “Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death” and I am a firm participant in, believer of, and advocate for professional growth and development.

As the Human Resources Manager for KAI Partners, I am also a proponent of professional development for my staff and I encourage them to complete their individual development plans (IDP) annually as a way to achieve their goals, development, and training.

I do my best to lead by example, so when the opportunity presented for me to take the KAIP Academy’s Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM) course, I was in. I am always excited to learn something new and take on new challenges—for me, the CSM course was both rolled into one.

Up until this point, my exposure and involvement with scrum and agile had been minimal. If I had to add up all the experience I had with scrum, I had around 18 months to 2 years of total exposure. The majority of the exposure has come from working with my staff, many of whom work with scrum on a regular basis on their client projects.

The drive to take the CSM course came from multiple places. I had a desire to learn something new, to take on another challenge, and to be able to better understand the world my staff live in. I wanted to be able to walk the walk and talk the talk (and do it correctly!).

Overall, the CSM training was a great learning experience. It taught me a new and effective way to conduct meetings and provided a deeper perceptiveness into the world of scrum. I now feel confident in participating in scrum projects across the organization and with my management team as well.

From an HR perspective, one of the things that I learned is that scrum is about the ability to respond to change. As a Human Resources Manager, I am also a change agent. Because the landscape of HR changes consistently, I have to be flexible and adaptable and be able to give the customer (in my case, my staff) the best product possible.

The scrum course taught values that not only align with my personal philosophies, but also with my organization’s, including respect, openness, courage, focus, and commitment. Being part of an organization that practices scrum also assists in my own personal development.

Remember, growth does not have to be immediate to be meaningful and sometimes we must be patient with ourselves. One of my favorite phrases from the CSM course was, “Scrum is lightweight, easy to learn, and hard to master.” Challenge accepted!

About the Author: Dr. Melissa McManus is the Human Resources Manager for KAI Partners. Melissa is passionate about human behavior and knowledge transfer and believes that human capital drives any organization to success. Melissa is a CSM, Lean Six Sigma Green Belt, and SHRM-Certified Professional. She holds a Doctorate degree in Educational Leadership with a focus in Human Resource Development. She is ardent about life and describes herself as an avid bookworm. Melissa enjoys reading (a lot), going to the movies and wine tasting.

5 Ways to Achieve Work-Life Balance

Best Practices, Employee Engagement, General Life/Work, Human Resources, SAHRA—The Sacramento Area Human Resources Association, SHRM

By Melissa McManus, Ed.D and SHRM-CP

Work-life balance. I am sure you have heard this phrase before or even tried to fulfill its simple message: To balance your work and personal life.

Some of you might be thinking, “Yep, I’ve got this down to a science,” while others might be thinking, “It seems so easy, why can’t I just do it?”

Well, I am about to let you all in on a little secret…I know from personal experience that there is no magic answer or solution—work-life balance is something you have to actively think about and try doing.

As a Human Resources professional, one of my responsibilities making sure my employees can find ways to have this balance, which is important. Not only should it important to the individual, but it is important from an employer standpoint as well. Ever hear the expression, “Happy wife, happy life?” Well, we can apply that same principle here: “Happy employee, happy organization!”

Employees who feel rundown, overworked, or stressed are more likely to be less productive. It is easy to get caught up in our work, especially when we love what we do and who we work with and for. However, it is equally important to unplug (sometimes literally) once the work day has ended and take time for yourself and your loved ones. Sometimes this is easier said than done, as I have found myself putting in 10 hour days without even realizing it.

So, how do you make sure to balance work and life appropriately? Here are some tips that you might find helpful.

  1. Be Organized: Stay as organized as you can throughout the day; set goals or make lists. Use whatever methods are effective, depending on what organization looks like for you personally. Find a way to prioritize and delegate tasks accordingly.
  2. Breathe: Remember to take breaks and refocus throughout the day. Sometimes I find that taking a quick walk or doing some simple stretches (especially important for those of us who work at a desk or in a seated position all day) can help you reset and allows you to be more productive and less stressed.
  3. Be Flexible: Be open to flexibility in your work and ask for flexibility when needed. We all need a little wiggle room at times and being flexible and having flexibility can lead to higher productivity—a win-win situation!
  4. Be Efficient: When you are at work, be efficient by staying present, avoiding distractions, and staying focused on your tasks. This can be as simple as keeping a clean work space, organizing your tasks or projects for the day, creating a timeline and sticking to it as much as possible, and delegating tasks as appropriate. Working efficiently allows us to get more done at a quicker pace and worry less when we go home (or get us home faster). Work smarter!
  5. Communicate: Communication is the cornerstone to just about everything. If you need something, ask for it. Whether it’s a day off or assistance with a project, be sure to communicate what you need—those around you cannot read your mind.

These tips might seem simple, but give them a try. By doing a few simple things, you may find yourself more energized, productive, and less stressed throughout the day and at night when you go home. Remember, it’s okay to leave work at work; I promise it will be there when you get back!

About the Author: Dr. Melissa McManus is a Human Resources Professional and research guru. One of her greatest strengths is her resolute ability to soak in new information and her never-ending thirst for knowledge. Melissa has a Master’s degree in Counseling, and a Doctorate degree in Educational Leadership with a focus in Human Resource Development. Melissa’s professional interests include human behavior, career development, research, writing, training, and knowledge transfer. She is passionate about life and describes herself as an avid bookworm. In her free time, when she is not running her kids to gymnastics or karate, Melissa enjoys reading (a lot), wine tasting, being with friends/family, and spending time with her husband and two children.

What the KAI Partners Team is Thankful for in 2017

Communications, Data Management, Employee Engagement, General Life/Work, KAI Partners, Organizational Change Management (OCM), Project Management, Project Management Professional (PMP), Prosci, Sacramento, SAHRA—The Sacramento Area Human Resources Association, SHRM, Small Business, Team Building, Training


From the KAI Partners team to yours, we wish you a happy, healthy, and stress-free Thanksgiving holiday.

5 Ways to Jumpstart Your Professional Development

Conferences, Event Recap, Human Resources, KAIP Academy, Learning, Sacramento, SAHRA—The Sacramento Area Human Resources Association, SHRM, Training, Workforce Development

By Melissa McManus, Ed.D and SHRM-CP

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a Human Resources Conference sponsored by SAHRA—The Sacramento Area Human Resources Association, a professional organization of which I am a member— titled People, Purpose, Passion!

It was a great two-day event showcasing topics current to the field of human resources, including legal issues, talent management, and technology, just to name a few. Not only did the event provide great opportunities for learning, it provided networking opportunities with vendors in the industry and other human resources professionals in the greater Sacramento area. These types of events are important to attend as they build upon knowledge in my specific career field.

I’ve talked before about planning your career development goals. Professional development is the next step in this process and includes what you do to achieve these goals. It allows you to continue to be competent in your chosen career and provides career growth and learning for you as an employee. In addition, it can be a valuable tool in aligning with your company or organization’s strategic plans. Smart and innovative organizations strive to hire and retain the top talent in their industry—if you want to stay relevant in your career, professional development can help make you a valuable asset within your organization.

There are many ways to continue to hone your career craft and remain a commodity in your chosen career field and industry. Today I want to share a few activities you can do to jumpstart your professional development:

  1. Join a professional organization that focuses on your career. As an HR Practitioner, I belong to two professional organizations.
    • Benefits: Access to latest information in my field; access to information regarding seminars, webinars, conferences, and certifications; and opportunities to network.
  2. Attend a professional conference specific to your career.
    • Benefits: Meet industry experts, gain new and important information in your industry, and network with others in your field.
  3. Sign up for webinars and seminars that highlight or focus on a specific area in your career.
    • Benefits: Provides a way to get new or updated information in your industry in shorter, more concentrated, and often less expensive (or free!) doses.
  4. Read a book pertaining to your field.
    • Benefits: A quick and easy way to learn what might be new and exciting in your industry; also provides flexibility in timing, as you choose how this fits into your schedule.
  5. Mentor someone in your industry or specific career.
    • Benefits: The ability to teach someone what you know and transfer that knowledge demonstrates the highest mastery of the subject matter; plus, it feels good to give back.

These are just a few of the many options out there that you can take advantage of to stay on top of your professional development. What are some things that you have done to stay current in your field or industry?

About Melissa: Dr. Melissa McManus is a Human Resources Professional and research guru. One of her greatest strengths is her resolute ability to soak in new information and her never-ending thirst for knowledge. Melissa has a Master’s degree in Counseling, and a Doctorate degree in Educational Leadership with a focus in Human Resource Development. Melissa’s professional interests include human behavior, career development, research, writing, training, and knowledge transfer. She is passionate about life and describes herself as an avid bookworm. In her free time, when she is not running her kids to gymnastics or karate, Melissa enjoys reading (a lot), wine tasting, being with friends/family, and spending time with her husband and two children.

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