• A Czar’s Christmas

    My Project Social partners and me are at it again.  We like to share in each others story-telling (blog posting) call it what you like.  I have written a bit about Christmas around my house.  I am sure that both Laura Schroder and Lyn Hoyt have cooked-up much more interesting holiday stories than have I.  So after you check out Laura’s Christmas Post at Working Girl  and Lynn’s Christmas Post at the HR Bacon Hut, come back and see my intriguing story I will call A Czar’s Christmas.


    My life seems to be falling into somewhat of an annual routine at this stage of my being. For the last time, this year in the late summer I sent a son off to college.  Then it was Labor Day, Birthdays (mine is 10/16 and my wife’s is the next day).  Somewhere in there is a USA Hockey Officials Clinic, the hockey season begins, then there is SHRM Leadership, Thanksgiving and then boom Christmas.  It seems to have rolled this way for about the last 7 years of my life.  It’s not bad; it is just the way it is.

    But the Christmas Holiday is always special, both in what it represents and the family time that it brings.   Only since my sons have left home and gone to college, do I know understand why my dearly departed Father-In-Law so much loved the holiday season.  For many of us it is a chance to gather with family and friends that we seem to see less and less. It’s no ones fault it just happens this way.

    In my time of having children (25 and 22 now) we have done many different things on Christmas, but in the last seven years some of our traditions have begun to develop a little staying power.

    Getting ready to make some juice

    The Chairman of the Board of our Company is an active Rotarian at 80 years +. One of the things they do to raise funds is sell Fresh Florida Citrus (oranges and grapefruits) at the first part of December.  I have always purchased a case or two.  For the last several years the tree-ripened fruit ends up being squeezed into fresh orange juice.  Whatever of that juice is left come Christmas morning is used to make Mimosas after the presents are opened

    Another thing our family does is this. As a family unit, usually on Christmas Eve, we watch Christmas Vacation. You know the show, with Chevy Chaseand Beverly D’Angelo. We all know nearly all of the lines in the movie, yet we still laugh when Clarksays “Eddie if I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpeting I wouldn’t be more surprised than I am right now!”

    Christmas Day we always manage to catch A Christmas Story at least once or twice on TBS, where we hear a rousing version of Deck the Halls.

    My wife comes from a large family, so many of her siblings end up at our house for an early afternoon Christmas Dinner and gift exchange. I am usually knee deep in cooking by this time and about waste deep in some sort of Christmas Cheer.  I end up being the last to eat, and then start the clean up.  It is noisy there are a lot of people – sometimes near 40.  There is always a lot of trash, following the orgy of gifts. And then – they all leave. Everyone seems to have at least two or three stops on Christmas Day.

    We wind it down at the Ryan house and then we head out for a very special early evening.   The Chairman of the Board of our Company (the Fruit Rotarian) and his wife have for many years now had an open house on Christmas Day.  It is always wonderful. I see people I work with; I see old friends and make new ones, and share great food and Christmas Cheer. We have missed this a few times, when I took the family and bolted to see my relatives who all live in warmer climates.

    So depending upon whether or not the 26th is a work day, kind of drives what time we depart the open house.   But at some point we get back in the car for the five minute ride home, and it’s all over.  The excitement, the expectations, the craziness is all done for another year.

    Next year the Christmas build-up cycle will not begin with sending a kid off to college. Hopefully he will be working.  So if you are in HR and are looking for a sharp young man with a B.A. from SIU in Video/Cinema Mass Communication Major for your organization,(check him out here) just leave me a comment – we’ll talk.

    Merry Christmas!

  • TNL Chicago Wrap-Up

    Last week (12/5/11) I had the pleasure of attending the Talent Net Live (TNL) Recruiting Conference in Chicago (Aurora to be specific).  This was a most interesting experience for me personally.  While I am a well travel HR/SHRM conference attendee, this was actually the first full-blown recruiting conference that I have ever attended.

    In most if not all  organizations, Recruiting is part of HR.  Part of what I do in my day job is recruiting, but I do not do it exclusively. Most of the people in attendance are recruiters and that i s all they do.  So suffice it to say I was somewhat out of my element, a little uncomfortalbe , because they all swam in the same pond and I don’t swim there.  I was on the inside but still felt like I was an outsider looking in from the outside. To be clear, all of the problem was in my head.  I was treated really well by conference organizaer Craig Fisher and his entire TNL Crew.

    The entire event was about recruiting, how to do it better, tricks from pros in the field, the latest and greatest tech tools as well as several sessions on Talent Communities.  Do you really know what this is?  I had a cursory idea before attending this event.  Now I have good handle on the concept – and I think it is a most interesting concept.  My grotesque oversimplification is this.  Find people that want to be in your organization,  engage them through any means, stay in touch follow-up with them and place them in your Company when you find a match (an open position they want and one the Company feels they are capable of performing).  To me it sounds –  a little wacky – but I get it and could easily see how it works.  All of the costs are up front and your time to fill goes way down if you have people cued up waiting for a vacancy.

    Joel Cheeseman talking mobile at TNL Chicago

    Another matter that got a lot of attention at the conference was mobile.  The whole world is going mobile. And if you are in the business of recruiting employees, you had better have an app for that – and it better be mobile.  Not just a klunky phone sized version of your web page.  The recruiting app needs to be taylored, tweeked and tuned in for mobile.   I attended an excellent session on this with Mobile Social Media Guru Joel Cheeseman.  Joel taught me this; mobile apps go up and down not side to side and they have big buttons.  That is great information.

    Another thing I learned is recruiting is moving heavily toward video.  The fact that the even was at JSTN speaks volumes.  JSTN is going to revolutionize the way video is used in recruiting.  Take that to the bank folks.

    There were a couple more concepts coming out of the conference that were new to me.  The first was metrics.  Recruiter have a whole set of their very own metrics.  No Voodoo or anything here, just serious straight up definable, measurable metrics.  I am a better HR person for learning more about the metrics this gang uses.

    One more thing I got out of the event was some great software tool tips.  There were session titled Cool Tools and Pimp My Profile.  There were probably two dozen software applications I heard discussed.  Most of them are on the internet and have a free version available on the internet.  Most of them also have a super-charged pay version/upgrade that is available.  But I learned these recruiters are a frugal lot and are not interested in paying for things they can get for free.

    I learned more at this one day event than I have at many multi-day events.  This event was the first thing that TNL has done outside of their own backyard in Texas.  My understanding is that there will be more of these one day recruiting events around the country.  I HIGHLY recommend that you attend if you have the chance.  The conference fees are most reasonable (remember I told you these recruiters are a frugal lot).  Conference organizer Craig Fisher is well known in the HR and Recruiting space, accordingly his speaker line up will consist of thought leaders  and well known names in the industry.  And given the size of the event you can meet, connect and network with all of these folks.

    If TNL gets back here to the Mid-West look for me to help them promote their events.  They have good stuff to offer. Also look for me to attend – because the content is guaranteed to be  good stuff  – and it doesn’t cost an arm and leg to attend.

  • Leading HR What’s In Store

    My youngest child is a senior in college, and even though I want to think I am a young man, but all the signs in my life tell me I am

    moving into the autumn of my career.  As someone who is passionate about the Human Resource profession I sometimes wonder where will this field of HR be in twenty years and how will it get there.  Will we end up there because that is where the collective mind of HR thought we should be, or will we end up where we are because simply by happenstance?

    My instincts tell me that we will end up where we desire to be, because the leaders of the the collective mind will help lead us there.  Mahatma Gandhi said, “We must become the change we wish to see in the world. ”  So what will change with HR in the future?  Although I am not a futurist, I see big changes on the horizon for HR of the Future.  It will not be for the faint of heart. We need to be preparing tomorrows leaders today.  They are going to be forced to deal with many issues.  I really got on this train of thought following a conversation about leadership with my blogging buddy and #ProjectSocial partner Laura Schroeder.   See what Laura has to say non the matter over at  her blog Working Girl.  Then take a look at what follows.  These are some of the issue I see confronting the HR Leaders of  tomorrow.

    Work and Mobility  In many instances it would appear today’s employer is all about bricks and mortar, but I feel that is a concept that will continue to fade into the past.  Work teams will be diverse and dispersed.  A work team can already be located around the world.  Right now societies and employees are struggling to adapt to this concept.  You may report to someone that you see face to face on very infrequent basis.  This will also continue to cut away at the concept of long-term employment.

    I see work teams of the future more like talent that is assembled for a project, for a finite period of time.  You will work together and then disband,  perhaps to work together again, or not.  The concept is very similar to making a movie, or drilling for oil.  You assemble your talent, perform this project and move on to the next, call them mercenary employees.  Some of the folks will be on site, some off site and all will move on at the completion of the project.

    The Definition Work  As technology becomes more and more pervasive and more and more intrusive,  it appears that the lines between work and non-work is going to become seriously blurred.  At least in the country our labor laws are going to have to change if we wish to compete on the world stage. What we will know as work in the future does not exist today.  It will be different.

    Productivity  How will work output be measures and evaluated. In many instances it will not be measured in any way shape or form that we are doing so today.  I see output and productivity being measured over longer periods of time – say during the duration of a project.  In some pursuits there will be certifications or endorsements to tell the world you are competent or qualified and perform work properly and in a prescribed time frame.  I see this coming more from independent agencies or not for profits.

     Health Care as an Employee Benefit This will no longer be what we know it as today.  The employee benefit will sit on top of some type of care that is provided to everyone.  Given the direction of health care and health care costs it appears that some level of care will be afforded to everyone. Employers will still sweeten the pot if you will.  Things like better funding for this, access to more exclusive providers or a greater degree of on-site or close by care, perhaps delivered by a CVS, Walgreen’s of (God Forbid) WalMart.

    Workplace Diversity  This too will change as the workplace changes most likely leading to a redefining of what it means.  What we know a s the workplace will not be the same.   And diversity – well I see us moving into one big melting pot that continues to become more and more homogeneous.  I think we will still have some classes, such as gender, age and religion.  Some of the other classes will become more of a challenge to define and I think will just go away.

    HR in Government  This is my mind is an emerging area. So many governement bodies have done such a poor job of meeting their employees’ needs employee will drive government agencies to professionalize  call it Government HR. (Hey SHRM a new certification GHR.)  As long as we continue to have growth in public sector unions and politicians making ill conceived and poorly planned government operation and staffing decisions based upon budgetary constraints, both government employees and voters will demand accountability and it will require professionals to deliver that accountability. HR in government is minimally existent today, but won’t be in the future.

    All of this talk of the future makes me think of the Jetson’s.  As a child of the ’60’s. I grew up watching  George and Jane and their family.  So much of what seemed literally outrageous has come to fruition.  The Jetson’s cooked with their fingers (microwaves),  talked on video phones (Skype) and had a robot (Rosie) to clean their house (Roomba).

    I can’t help but wonder how Human Resources will look In the Year 2525.