• GPA How Important is It

    Many of you who look at my posts or tweets know that I have attended a couple of college graduations recently.  Today’s post is closely related to graduation.

    When you graduate from college on of the things that you take with you,  that stays with you forever, along with your diploma is your GPA.  As a parent I stressed to my two children how important GPA was, both in high school as well as in college.  I think most parents do.  I think most of the kids who head off from high school to college get the GPA thing, although for some students it is really too late to do much about it by the time they realize that it may affect where they go to college, and if they will be eligible for any scholarships or grants.

    Meanwhile with the college students, they often see that the students with the highest GPA get first go at a number of things.  It might be opportunities to present to the class, lead the class project or some other event with perceived prestige.   At the institution where my oldest son attend one MAJOR employer was there to recruit for their Company, but were only interested in speaking with the students in the top 10% (as measured by GPA) of the class.

    Now where I am going with all of this is on to Human Resources and hiring college graduates.  As an employer do you want to see the students GPA?  What do you do with this information?  What does it indicate or not indicate to you. Do you exclude candidates because of a low GPA?  I am no longer sure it means too much.

    You see, I know another recent graduate whose GPA was under three,  2.8 to be exact.  That in and of itself is not too impressive, I agree.  She did not make very good grades.  So, what does this tell us or indicate? She is not very smart or didn’t apply herself at school, maybe or maybe not.

    Here are a couple of other facts about this young lady.  She worked the whole time she was going to college, as she paid for her own education.  She took out student loans as well.  During the time she attended college, she also took care of her mother who is and remains nearly bedridden.  She also spent a lot of time looking after her younger brother, who was still in high school, because her father lived and worked out of the state.  She was also involved with a number of campus activities, many of which were volunteer and community based activities.  Lastly, she was involved with a boyfriend and had a long-distance relationship. A busy girl to say the least.

    So it would appear that even though her GPA was not stellar she is capable of managing multiple priorities, a hugely important skill in business today.  Given her endeavors she seems to have a pretty good  “moral compass”. Now I know that most of the good HR folks can sift through the crap and find out what really is going on in someone’s life, but if your Company has a  GPA exclusion, you will never get to talk to them. Then because of this exclusion,  you and your Company may be missing out on some Rock Star Talent. Capiche?

  • Business Strategies Big and Small

    I had the opportunity to sit on the board of a not-for-profit board, that was based in Peoria, IL. One of the other board members was a gentleman who at the time was the Director of Employee Relations for Caterpillar Inc.   He had a very important job with the quintessential Peoria Company.  He was highly respected by the other board members, and when he talked you could hear a pin drop in the room.

    Chris and I were visiting one day before our board meeting had begun.  We were  talking about some business strategies that Wal-Mart was using at the time, and I recall him say, “While I would not consider what they (Wal-Mart) are doing to be a predatory practice, I could see how they might be called into question for what they were doing.”

    I am a reasonably worldly guy, but I have never worked for a fortune 500 Company.  So even though I am familiar with terms like predatory practice or the Robinson-Patman Act, I have never had to deal with these in my day to day grind in the HR world.

    My Project Social partner Laura Schroder has made reference to me as a trench HR guy who practices every man HR.  While that sounds kind of pedestrian, I would totally agree.  I do a little bit of a lot of things. My employer does not have the resources of a General Electric or Mobil/Exon. We have to operate differently.

    The Company, along with every man HR guy Dave, try to make our shop a good place to work.  We work towards having harmonious realtions with our labor force, some of which is unionized.  We try to provide fair, yet affordable benefits. In general we try to do the right things for the right reasons and hope that we appease most of our employees, enough that they continue to hang around.

    Recently, Laura, who lives and works in the global business community was telling me of an evil strategy that some employers were using (check that out here); to  create the ideal workplace, one where people would want to come and work long-hours, weekends, holidays, forgo their family life – all in an effort to help their employer create larger profits.

    Let me kind of recap here; as a business strategy the employer was going to create a climate where the employee would be so content that they would be lulled into spending every waking hour at work.  Laura said it was rumored to be a happening.

    Hmm… well just like I couldn’t understand how Caterpillar and Wal-Mart see the world, old every man HR Dave can not get my head around how you could  pay someone so much money, make them so happy at work that they would never want to leave, and to have created such a Utopia that the employees basically turn into pods.  Oh and that is a legitimate business strategy?  Sorry I don’t believe for a minute.

    Maybe I should forward this to Jamie and Adam over at Mythbusters to see if they can find our if it is true or not.

    P.S.  Hey HRCI Can I get 1.25 Hours of Strategic credit for this post. I reference strategy several times.







  • Is HR Sexy to the Grads

    2012 EKU Graduates

    Last weekend I attended my nephew’s college graduation  at Eastern Kentucky University.   In a few more days, I will be attending my youngest son’s graduation at SIU Carbondale.  So this has got me to thinking about what it must be like to be a graduate headed into the world, and starting out as a young professional.

    Well, being the good attentive Uncle I am, I attempted to  listened closely to what all of the commencement speakers had to say and then reflected on their comments.  What I got is this from the  speakers collectively:  now is an exciting time; go out into the world find your niche, aim for the stars and be the best that you can be – oh and don’t forget to donate as an alumni.   The students that were graduating with my nephew were from the College of Health Sciences and the College of Justice and Safety.  Many of these students will end up working as various health care occupations, nurses, policemen and firemen. I am confident that many of them will make a difference in peoples lives.

    I could sense the excitement the graduates.  They seemed genuinely amped up about going out into the world.  I would include my nephew as one of the jacked up students.  This got me to thinking about me and what I do –HR.   I will always remember hearing Johnny Taylor, former SHRM Board Chairman, speaking at a SHRM Leadership Conference.  He said this;  ” I talk to a lot of students and I don’t hear any of them saying when I grow up I want to be a benefits administrator for a Fortune 500 Company.”   I think Johnny nailed it too.  HR just ain’t sexy.   That is a problem.

    If we don’t look like a cool field to get into, we are not going to get some of the best and the brightest into our field.  So how do we make it cool – sexy?  The HROfficial does not have the answer for this one – but I think SHRM and some of the younger folks in the field had better be thinking how we are going to doll this up and get students jacked up about wanting to be in HR.

    In a effort to gauge our coolness or lack there of, I googled “Is HR sexy?”   Based upon what I found on the first two pages of returns I am going to have to go with NO.

    Perhaps if I were at a large business school with an emphasis on HR, I might get the notion that the HR profession was a little more glamorous.

    Next weekend will take me to another college graduation. I am going to mingle with these graduates and ask them, “Have you ever thought about getting into Benefits Administration?” – and see what kind of responses I get. Perhaps I will do a little video or my investigation, to capture the essence of their responses.

  • Going to the SHRM Big Show

    To quote the Pointer Sisters,  “I’m so Excited and I just can’t stand it.”   I am going to the Big Show in Atlanta – and I am going to be part of the SHRM Social Media Team.

    If you have attended one of the National Conferences, you know what a mammoth event it is, if you have never been, you should do whatever you can to attend the event – really. Charlie Judy says you should go, even if you have to pay your own way. For the record, I agree with Charlie.

    If you have never attended a SHRM National Conference, you can not grasp the largess, the over the topness of the whole event.   It can only be held at a handful of venues, because these venues are among the few in the country that can accommodate the number of attendees (often near 15,000). Flying to the event you will find that probably 25% to 33% of the people on the plane are going to SHRM.  There are dozens of motor coaches contracted to move attendees from hotel to the conference  venue and back. The SHRMies descend upon a city and overtake it.

    What do you get from the conference? It is learning and seeing.  There are countless breakout session covering every HR Topic imaginable, and a few unimaginable.  The HRCI credits abound – even the strategic ones. You also get to see.  On the exhibit floor, it is an HR Carnival on mega-steroids.  There is every product or service that you could conceivably want to purchase on exhibit.  This is not the run of the mill stuff man, this is the cutting edge stuff. The vendors are showing off, trying to get the HR folks jacked up!

    The Networking is unbelievable as well.  And if you are a SHRM member and you are not into networking with your peers – you might want check out your own EAP to see how you can fix that.

    I was looking for video to give you a flavor of the event, and I found a great one from my friend Jennifer McClure.  You know I first met her face to face at a break out session at the 2010 SHRM Conference in San Diego.  Funny how those relationship develop and grow.  Take a look at Jennifer’s video wrap from Las Vegas 2011.

    My 2011 SHRM Annual Conference Experience – from Jennifer McClure

    I hope to see you there in Atlanta!