• The Future of Blogging

    It is after all the first of the year and it seems that everyone is chipping in with their two cents worth on what the future holds. Sadly I don’t know what it holds- there that’s my answer.

    Now perhaps I am better equipped to see trends, than make full-bore all out predictions, but as the title would suggest, today I am discussing blogging. Last year I became a guest blogger at Sanera Camp, and going forward I have agreed to submit posts on a regular basis there with Alicia.  Then later in the year I was offered another opportunity by Chris Ponder to be a regular contributor on the Performance I Create blog site. On a personal level, these are huge and exciting opportunities for me and I feel fortunate to be afforded them.

    On a macro sense I feel I am just part of a trend that will grow  in 2013the Multi-Contributor Blog Site.  I see this being the next direction that blogging will take.  There are many reasons for this; here are a justs few

    • The collective voice is louder than the individual voice
    • The site shares in diversity of thought
    • Each blogger brings a different audience
    • Bloggers will get cross-over followers
    • Maintaining new content is much easier
    • The volume of content expnads
    • Bloggers like all other folks like being on “Teams
    • Synergy
    • New power to promote ideas or issues

    While these are not the only reasons that someone or an organization would create a multi-contributor site, they certainly are in the forefront.

    For those of us who are embarking upon a multi-contributor site journey, we have some sites that we can look to and see how they have been successful. Each of these sites has broken new ground and have put new ideas and concepts into the thought stream.

    Fistful of Talent

    Project Social

    Women of HR

    TLNT

    Talent Culture (aka #TChat)

    HR Examiner

    If you haven’t looked at these sites, please check them out as they all contain top notch material.

    The concept of growth of the multi-contributor site  is is not just my opinion.  On a recent Drive Thru HR broadcastWilliam Tincup mentioned this while he was discussing PeformanceICreate.com  with Chris Fields (at about 14:20 into the show). William too thinks that this is a growth area for blogging.

    As I was poking around and looking  up links for this post, I found that Chris Ponder has shut down his site, xtremehr.com to dedicate his efforts to what we like to call PICHR. Is this another trend that will take place, with authors finding enough ways to contribute through other outlets and not maintaining their own site?

    -Stay tuned-

     

    Photo credits to http://www.armchairbea.com

     

     
  • 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.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     
  • Mercenary One Rung down from Rock Star

    We all have them  or at lease we want them, whether it is an employee, a contractor or any other type of service provider.   These days the buzz is all about the superstars, the rock stars and how everybody in HR is looking for them. We have to source them, find them where ever they are and get them into our organizations.
    Well there is another type of employee who falls short of the superstar status,  it is the employee who can get a phenominal amount of work done, done right and in a very short time. The problem with this employee though is this, they lack finess, they have a tendancy to piss people off and they really only focus on getting the job done. Organizationally, this type of employee often reaks havoc within the organatization. For the purposes of this post I will call this type of get ‘er done employee the mercenary.
    There are many of the touchy feely types in HR who don’t like the mercinary because they don’t play well at work. But there are those of us, such as myself, who call upon the mercinary from time to time, because we know they will execute – no question. For those of us that call on the mercenary we are willing to deal with the collateral damage, especially when we need  someone that we know they can get the job done.
    Sadly, this may even be our go to person, if we are short on the rock stars.  We all know someone who is either a mercenary or has those tendancies. They are not all bad,  perhaps they just need a bit of refinement.  So, if I can’t have one rock star, maybe I can get by with two mercenaries.
    This idea for this post came out of a recent discussion with Laura Schroder, my project social partner and she too agreed that she would choose a good mercenary employee now and then, when she had  a need to get the job done;  You can read her take on the matter at her blog Working Girl.
     
  • Katy Bar the Door

    My blogging buddy Laura and I were having one of eclectic conversations a couple weeks ago and she asked me, what is a hot topic at conferences theses days?  I told her this.  For better than two years I have heard a theory that is routinely espoused by many writers and speakers here in the HR space. I will call this theory the Katy Bar the Door Concept. It centers on this.  HR pros need to prepare for the coming mass Exodus of nearly all of our top talent from our organizations,  when the economy turns around.

    Bar the Door

     

    As the theory goes, the top talent, and others have hung around your shop because the economy is in such bad shape that nearly everyone is afraid to leave the comfort of a known pay check, regardless of how repressive your workplace is perceived to be.  But, when things take off, watch out boys and girls.

     

    Well here is my take on the Katy Bar the Door theory.  I am not an economist, but it doesn’t appear that the economy is soon going to turn around and blast off in an upward direction. It will be a gradual transition, if and when the turnaround occurs.  Further,  the economy has been in the doldrums so long the business prospectives on staffing has forever changed.   Companies, Not for Profits,  and even government agencies have all learned how to do more with less.   AND they will never return to those days of bloated staffs where we have staff for everything.  Going forward, we will all be leaner and meaner and that’s the way we business is going to get done now. We will use contingent workers, freelancers to fill in the holes.

     

    So I do not agree with the KBTD theory and do not think it will come to fruition in catastrophic manner as has been predicted.   But just because your employees will not have an opportunity leave by the bus load does not give your HR department license to treat your staff poorly.  You had still better do your damnedest to keep and engage your top talent, or you might be the one getting shown the door.    That is my take on KBTD,  check out what Laura has to say on the matter at her blog Working Girl.

     
  • Project Social Rides Again

    Project Social what is it?  Well like most things anymore if I want to know more about it, I Google it.  If you do so you will end up on Ben Eubank’s blog site. While that gives you a brief overview, my view is a little different.  I was one the Project Social particpants of what I termed the Beta-ites.  Laura Schroder and I were paired up by Ben and Victorio.   Slowly we figured out what we needed to do to make Project Social a sucess in our minds. Not long after we included Lyn Hoyt in our escapades – although she came along willingly.

    Now Project Social is becoming full on operational. Apparently, you will find this triumverate under collaboration.   Laura and Lyn and I have written a number of posts on the same topic.  Then when we post them, we mention/reference our partners in the post and suggest to our readers that they check out our partners. Quite frankly at the outset it seemed like somewhat of a hair-brained scheme but I was able to sell Laura on it.   Oddly enough it did prove to be at least nominally sucessful.

    For much of 2011 Laura and I would Skype on a weekly basis – 6 am on Monday mornings (althogh it was 1 or 2 PM in Germany depending upon day light savings time).  We would chat and concoct a topic to write on.  Often times then I would contact Lyn and include her in the effort.

    This worked well to keep us posting.  We were accountable to each other to meet the deadlines and get the work complete. I know at one point Lyn told me that she was posting monthly and we were trying to get her to post weekly, and we did. We pushed her and she liked it.

    Another benefit to this collaborative effort was it helped each of us to increase the traffic on our sites.  We began seeing cross-overs readers from one and others followers.  On a few occasions it was significant.  We also increased our Twitter followers and presence on the platform with the interaction with one and other.

    Well now my understanding that here on the Project Social Site we are going to be a mini-carnival.  Most carnivals consist of numerous posts ont he same subject matter.  We will continue to do this, I guess until we come up with another scheme.  So look for the the three of us out in the blogospher and here through the Project Social web site.

    In the  meantime if you would like to be part of this effort, you can join in right here.

 
  • HR Meet Marketing

    I talk with a lot of different people about HR, what it is, what HR should be doing and not being and so on.  One of the more enlighten persons that I talk shop with is my Project Social Partner Laura Schroeder.  We talk about things that are “in the news” or that are getting a lot of attention within the HR space.  I particularly enjoy these conversations with Laura, because she works for a large global public concern, while I work at a mid-size privately held company. I think we enlighten and compliment each other.

    Our most recent discussion touched on some opportunities for the field of HR to improve collectively.   Laura summed up HR’s ills by suggesting  an introduction was in order;  that being HR meet Marketing.  Why this?  Well if HR would learn to embrace some concepts that Marketing has long held near and dear, some huge collective improvements could be had.

    One concept is HR needs to be better at is tracking indicators with bottom line impact (Metrics and ROI).  This still seems taboo to some folks and organization. We want to hide behind the fact that what we do is a soft skill, it’s squishy and is difficult to measure.  Well it is indeed all of that, but bright clever people need to adapt measurement methods that fit their organizations and operations so that HR can prove that we are adding value to the bottom line.  If you don’t,you are just going through the motions.   It is like this, we have then go through this training program because OSHA requires it.  Well even though it is required, what are you going to do to gain value for your organization, and then measure it. It can’t simply be a check box that needs to be checked off.  Where is the ROI?

    Many years ago I was at a wedding. A friend of mine who worked for a state agency was there, as well at the mother of one of our collective friends. My friend’s job was developing and writing test for state government.  Recently my buddy had sent a form with a number of questions, to our friend’s mother. She told my buddy, ” You know those question you sent me about my job, they don’t have anything to do with my job.” His response was,  “Well that’s my job to send you those questions.”  There was seemingly no relationship between one and the other. There should be. And in HR everything needs to relate to ROI.

    Another concept Laura and I discussed was how well does HR socialize the things it’s doing. Marketing does! They let the whole world know what they are doing; internally, externally, via new releases, web sites, social media and the list goes on.  By and large HR efforts pale in comparison to those of the Marketing inside many organizations.   It is easy to say we need to to better, but hard to do.  Communicate, communicate, communicate – you can not over do it.

    A third concept we discussed was this; is HR truly arming our staffs with the proper tools that our people need to be successful?  This too is difficult to measure, however it is paramount that it is measured to define and understand the success of our employees, managers and leaders.  For this to take place the organization has to have clearly defined goals, with the expectations of each employee known and communicated, so that they may know they are or aren’t doing their part to move the organization forward.

    These three ideas are just a few takeaways that HR should get from Marketing. There probably are many more, but this would be a great trio to begin the process.   So if you are in HR around at some other organizations and see what their marketing departments are doing. You might get  some new ideas!

     
  • 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!

     
  • First Break All the Rules Review

    My blogging buddy and I were talking recently about the books that we were reading and decided we should write about them. Laura was reading Rise by Patty Azzarello,  while I was reading FIRST Break all the Rules by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Corrman.  I have not written a book review for a long time. I am actually excited about doing this. You can read Laura’s review hereif you like.

    Now onto First Break All the Rules.  You might wonder why would I even be reading a book with a 1999 copyright. It is a good question with a fairly simple answer.  I had been working on a presentation on employee engagement and performance management.  It seemed like everywhere I went quotes from the same book First Break All the Rules kept coming up.  Without much further research I could not help but notice that it was co-authored by non-other than Marcus Buckingham.  At the time it was published I have to think that he was living in utter obscurity compare to his life today, as he is now getting big bucks for speaking engagements.  Regardless I was still curious as I had a chance to hear him speak at a 2010 SHRM Conference.

    The book was a good quick read and it is still hugely relevant today when it comes to understanding employee engagement. Unbeknownst to me Buckingham worked for the Gallup Organization early in his career.  The book is the result of a study conducted where the authors interviewed 80,000 managers, of some of the countries top companies (at the time).   They were trying to distill down to the essences of what made a great organization and keeps employees at the highest level of engagement.  After the interviews were completed they distilled the matter down to these 12 questions.  (taken directly from the book)

    • Do I know what is expected of me at work?
    • Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right?
    • At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?
    • In the last seven days, have I received recognition for praise for doing good work? 
    • Does my Supervisor of someone at work , seem to care about me as a person?
    • Is there someone at work who encourages my development?
    • At work, do my opinions count>
    • Does the mission/purpose of my Company make me feel my job is important?
    • Are my co-workers committed to doing quality work?
    • Do I have a best freind at work?
    • In the last six months, has someone at work talked to me about my progress?
    • This last year I have had opportunities to work, to learn and grow?

     

    If the employee could respond STRONGLY AGREE (5)  on a scale of 1 to 5 for each of the 12 questions then there is no doubt that thier workplace if filled with highly engaged employees, according to the authors.

    The rest of the book goes to support this12-question hypothesis. And as I had said earlier there is a wealth of information supporting this theory as well on great ways to move your organization in this direction.

    There was one particular line in the book which was ironic, if not even false based upon what we know today.  The authors were discussing sucess stories and they talked about how MicroSoft had beat out Steve Jobs and Apple, essentially saying that  Apple was no longer relevant.  Oh well, things change.

    It is still a great book and if you can pick it up like I did for about $5 it is well worth it.  Someday when I get a Kindle or an Ipad I will be able to read that way, but in the meantime the old yellowed pages still work just fine.

     
  • Data What do you Have What do you Want

    If you work in Human Resources, everyday you have data driving decisions that you make.  Hopefully, the data that you have is good since you are basing significant decisions on what this data is telling you.   But out of all of the data that you sift through what is the most important information?  I have discussed this subject with my ProjectSocial partners Laura Schroeder and Lyn Hoyt and they have also posted about the subject.  Check them out.

    Meanwhile, as I undertook to answer that question, in my mind I thought a lot about what is

    Photc Credit to Pike Research

    measured, what is used and what is left unused.  Those of us in HR talk about Human Capital, engaged employees and work life balance.  But for those of who work in manufacturing the most important data we look at is PRODUCTION data. It is measurements like, how many did we make, what was the cost of goods manufactured,  what was the throughput,  what was our up-time ratio, what was our unit labor cost, how much waste was created.  Where I work,  those numbers take precedence over all other data items.

    While there efforts made to measure more esoteric things like employee engagement,  job satisfaction and how family friendly our organization is, those things do not drive the business in manufacturing.  Now, this might be wrong but that’s how it is.  This may also be why so much of our manufacturing is leaving our country, because we honestly and simply do not put people first.   

    I think the needle is moving and continues to move in that direction placing more importance on the people.  However, HR must do more to get the money and operations types to see the benefit to these factors and measurements. And it truly is a struggle because the corporate types  are always looking for immediate gratification.  Things like what were our profits – this period; this quarter. Most corporations, public or private are unable to look past the end of the quarter.

    So I have established what data is used the most where I come from, but on the flip side what data would I like to be looking at that I don’t have?

    I would like to have some true and legitimate form of an Employee Satisfaction Metric. Again I use  the word – sadly I do not have what I feel is a real measurement of how happy the employees of my Company truly are.   Having said that, if I did have it I am not sure that I could act on it.  It could be that if I reacted in the ways the employees wanted me to, I would skew the other metrics, the PRODUCTION Data (the most important metric).

    So it seems like a viscous circle.  I guess I have to look to the wisdom of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards to understand that You Can’t Always get what you want.

     

     
  • Storyvite The Next Big Social Media Site

    Today is everything is in motion, it’s alive, it’s interactive.  I recall one time (about 20 years ago) I was speaking to my son’s first grade class.  I brought a Power Point presentation and they were all wowed.  Remember it was 20 years ago.  The teacher commented to me, you have that to get their attention and I have this.  She held up a book.  I get it.  I had style and substance – she only had substance.

    So as the techy creatures that we are we seem to be drawn to the glitzy things. Well I am too.  Also, we all want to be that leader, that early adopter and be on the new thing.  Well whether you want to hear it or not there is another Social Media Application out there that might just be the next Facebook.  It is called Storyvite.

    Thanks to Ad age for the picture

    Storyvite is an application that has been developed by a gentleman named Satish Sallakonda and a small team of developers.  This is his brain child. You can find Satish on Linkedin or twitter.  I came to meet him though my Project Social partner Laura Schroeder, who also has a post on Storyvite.  In addition to Laura, Project Social partner Lyn Hoyt has also shared her thoughts on Storyvite.

    Now I think that Storyvite could well be the next huge Social Media Application.  For the record Satish likes that idea.  I see it like this; LinkedIn is a bill board and  Storyvite is a LED billboard.

    C’mon even as much as you are drawn into the Ashton/twitter billboard the LED is so much more compelling.

    So if you haven’t already clicked on over to Storyvite to take a look do so now. and set up a profile.  Satish has set up the invite code of  social if you want to set up a profile.  I have been working on mine and like any other work of art, it is a work in progress.

    Thanks to Satish for sharing with us – and his Storyvite efforts. You can contact him via email at satish@storyvite.com .

    Also thanks to Brian Kersey – Catnip20 for the youtube video.

     

     
  • Blog Post Comments

    Since sometime back in 2007 I have surfing the net seeing what HR bloggers had to say about this, that and the other thing.  Some of the earlier bloggers were more like Ann Landers or Dear Abby

    Abby & Ann

    –giving out advice on how to get a job or when to file suit against your employer.  This is pretty much garden variety HR, by what we see in the blogosphere today.  This did little to make for a lot of interaction between readers and bloggers.

    As it is today, things seem to have changed.  Some bloggers are seem to delight in aggravating their readers or writing things that they know will enflame their readers.  When this happens readers are often moved to comment. I have wondered if this is their strategy to incense readers to the point that they are motivated to comment.

    Besides really jerking the readers chain what moves a reader to scroll down to the comment box and fill out the obligatory boxes and then share their take on the post. Having given the matter a great deal of consideration these are the reasons that I have identified that cause people comment.  In no particular order

    1. The post is timely and well written (kudos are in order to the blogger).
    2. The commenter is part of the bloggers circle of adoration.
    3. The commenter feels passionately about the subject.
    4. It’ s spam or the comment er is trying to sell something.
    5. You have been asked to/or feel obligated to comment on a friends post.
    6. The commenter is attempting to raise their Klout score.
    7. The comment er is not really commenting on the blog, but rather commenting on a comment.
    8. You see that a bunch of the kool kids have left their mark in the comments section, so you want to join them.
    9. The commenter is trying to drive traffic somewhere else.
    10. You spend way too much time looking at stuff like this –( But Thanks!)

    This was just an idea that I was kicking around with fellow blogger Working Girl  a.k.a. Laura Schroeder.  Laura has here take on this subject and if you go take a look  she will no doubt shed additional light on this matter.

     
  • My Circle of Tweeps

    I often date myself as I sit in my basement and create blog posts.  Today I am going to do it again – hopefully to make my point.

    You have probably seen a number of posts that I have written in tandem with my blogger buddy Laura Schroeder @workgal   and as of late the duo and turned into a trio.  My friend Lyn Hoyt @designtwit   has joined us when we decide to write collectively on a topic.  My meeting of Laura was rather fortuitous.  We met as a random pairing of social media enthusiasts though a program that Ben Eubanks   and Victorio Milian.  It has been nearly a year since we were first paired-up.  Lyn and I had met on line but had a chance to visit face to face this year at HREvolution. As a little group, a clique we are getting pretty tight.

    We do nice things for each other  on social media.  We re-tweet each others tweets, almost mindlessly.  We comment on each others’ posts.  We co-mingle our followers and readers with one another.  Essentially we each have some on to lean on.  This brings me to the dating myself part – please see the video.

     

     

    As a child of the ’70s I think Bill says it well, we all “Need Somebody to Lean On”.  You can ask the questions of your SM buddies, does what I wrote actually make any sense, do you think this is funny.  Blogging is someone of a solitary activity and it sure is nice to bounce things off of others.

    I have other on-line friends who are also most gracious and RT my tweets, read my posts and the like and appreciate ALL OF THEM.  But the big take-away from this has to be, as you immerse yourself in social media, find a couple on-line friends that you can count on and have those private conversations with, or bounce ideas off of them.   Writing and posting can be a lonesome activity especially at when you start.

    So build your circle of tweeps, and share things back and forth like I have with Laura and Lyn.   And yes they have both posted on this matter of on-line collaboration.  Laura’s post is a click away here – and Lyn’s is right here.  Please go over and read their posts on the matter, because what they have to say will no doubt be illuminating on the subject – and their my friends!

     
  • Diversity Made Simple

    Diversity seems to keep coming up on my radar these last few weeks. I am not sure what that means. I was speaking with one or my #ProjectSocial (What’s up with that Ben/Victorio ?) partners Laura Schroeder about this matter in one of our Skype conversations.  I asked Laura to give me her take on the big “D”. After a few minutes we  decided to just write about the matter.  If you would like to know what she had to say about it head on over to her Working Girl blog and check it out, and you can find out Lyn Hoyt’s take on it over at her blog the HR Bacon Hut.

    Photo Credit David Sihombing

    In the meantime, I am left to collect my thoughts about Diversity. For some reason my default thought is always Race, Religion and Gender, when someone first speaks the “D” word.  Well I have learned enough in my 50+ years, to know that may well be a small portion of the issue but it ain’t the whole enchilada.

    Diversity has seemed to grow and change over the years. It is as if Diversity has become more diverse!

    When I hear the experts pontificate on the matter,  I hear the stories of how our workplace cultures need to have more diversity in generations, sexual orientation, thought, income levels, where we make our homes, or attended college, not to mention, race, religion and gender, all of which makes good sense – call it organizational balance.  But how does an organization achieve this lofty goal.

    I know how the EEOC wants us to achieve the necessary diversity an employer must maintain to be a Federal contractor, but I am curious as to how to achieve and measure the more squishy aspects of diversity.   I also know what I need to do, in my mind, to ensure our organization is welcoming of others; people who may think, speak,  or view things differently that the majority of the people in our organization.  However ultimately I guess I can’t put a percentage on it.

    While global organizations can take on Diversity with a big stick and a big check, the smaller organizations are left to try to do the right thing with the resources and knowledge that they have available to them.  Sadly sometimes there are few resources and even less knowledge about diversity.

    The one concept I find myself relying upon is something that I learned many years ago in this arena.

    It is unlikely that your organization has made any efforts to exclude anyone or group, BUT have you made a real effort to include people who are different?

    If you can answer yes to that question you are probably in pretty good shape – and forget the numbers.

     

     
  • My 3 Favs from HR Fishbowl, The Human Race Horses and Fistful of Talent

    How many blog posts do you think you have read?  I thought about this for a while and came up with a number 2500.  I maybe under or over but it doesn’t really matter.

    I first started reading HR Blogs in 2007.  Some of the first ones I started to read were  The Evil HR Lady , Three Star Leadership – Wally Bock and Gautam Ghosh.  In my world these bloggers were some of the pioneers.

    Now there are HR bloggers on every virtual corner.  My project social partners and I were discussing this – as we now each how our  own virtual corner as well.  Accordingly,  I suggest that we  write  a post about the three favorite blog posts ever.  Lyn’s  aka @designtwit post is here and Laura’s  @workgal is here.

    As for mine, here they are … in no particular order.

    The first post is from Charley Judy aka hrfishbowl. The post is titled “Even Security Guards get it.”   This is classic.  If you are in HR read  this, it takes 3 minutes.

    The next fav is from Mike VanDervort  and his site The Human Race Horses. The post is title How many HR Managers does it take to change a light bulb.   Mike describes some positions he has held in HR, and this really hit home with me. That’s why I love this post.

    My last fav is from Tim Sackett at this post which first showed up on the Fistful of Talent site.  It is simply  titled HRVille.  This is a hoot! If you work in HR and you don’t get a chuckle out of this QUIT!

    These are not related and don’t have anything special to them other  than I REMEMBER them and each of them moved me.  By the way I do think each of these guys are great writers and have a lot of important things to share.  So  a big thanks to  Charlie, Mike and Tim for somewhat hijacking their material.

     
  • Turnover and Teams A Temporary Prospective

    As our project Social team was discussing turnover and its impact on teams, I began to think about the subject from my usual prospective.  Turnover is bad! In her post over at the Bacon Hut Lyn agrees with the concept that turnover is not a good thing, my other partner Laura is not necessarily in agreement. Laura’s post on the subject is on her blog Working Girl

    While we have all the usual reason for thinking turnover is bad… loss of experience, moral, re-training, recruiting, state unemployment effects – you know the list.  Then I though about it from the other prospective,  could turnover be a good thing?  As I contemplated this concept in my mind I was served a drink by a flight attendant.  I was mulling this over on a recent trip.

    Meanwhile, as I thought about teams, it dawned on me that the flight attendant who just  served me a drink was on a team of people. In fact, there were

    Flight attendants working as a team

    four people on her team on this flight. This team however will disband at the end of the day, with part of the team to re-assemble again to make a different team.  Those teams go on and function day in and day out.

    I thought about myself, as an ice hockey official.  I come together with one or two other officials to call a game.  Some of the other officials, I work with routinely and some of them once only, again then the team disbands.  There are probably thousands of other teams that come together for an hour a day, a week or some other predefined period of time (e.g. a construction crew, or movie crew).  Then it is over, the team is disbanded and it’s is on to the next team.

    How is it that these teams work – and usually work well?  Could it be that the turnover, the disbanding of the unit is good?  When I come to a rink to officiate a game, I am there for the task at hand.  Even if I have shortcomings, my partners will cover for me or vice-versa. The flight attendance invariably seem to know what their jobs are and they execute them well.

    I look at these types of teams and wonder what is unique about them that makes them work well? Is it training?  Is the job so well defined there is no question about what has to be done?  I wish I could figure this out.

    If I could, I could take what works from the temporary teams and hopefully project that on the static teams.  The teams I am speaking of are the teams of work groups that assemble day in and day out together. The teams that seem to fret over seemingly silly details of the day or they stew over one and others behavior for many different reasons.

    I am going to continue to ponder the seeming success of the temporary teams verses the omni-present of the highly visible trouble team – we all have on of them and could name them at a moments notice.

     

     

     

     
  • Social Media Which Medium do You Choose

    The once famous or perhaps infamous media critic Marshall McLuhan espoused many years ago “the medium is the message.” So if he was correct, which Social Media platform you choose must say a lot about someone.

    I can think of six or more platforms that I use, regularly.

    Twitter|Facebook|FourSquare|LinkedIn|Skype|YouTube|Blogging & other Blog Sites

    But I must confess, my real SM home is Twitter. I like twitter the most. I like the lively – yet concise dialogues that are had on twitter. It’s also a little geeky and dare I say I like that too.  I have met some very cool people from twitter.  And lastly I will RT my best tweet of 2010 – Ppl who tweet r fun ppl. I will leave it up to my OD friends to obsess about what twitter being my number one platform means.

    I do also spend some time on Facebook, not so much but it is a great place to connect with people.  I used to reserve FB for my “real” friends and family.  But have adopted the William Tincup philosophy, which is, I am who I am on any and all platforms.  Accordingly, I am now FB friends with many of my twitter friends and some of LinkedIn acquaintances too and anyone else most anyone else who wants to connect. My project social partner Laura Schroeder is a Facebooker dirrenet than me.  She has some other ideas on the matter in her post titled Do you Facebook.

    This now really brings us to the point where the lines have become very blurry.  I have met many folks via SM and have now become good friends as we say IRL (in real life).  I also have friends of many years who I do not connect with on SM.   I also connect with folks on LinkedIn and then that goes to Facebook and to twitter.  It is becoming a never ending web. Now that’s my web, Lyn over at The HR Bacon Hut has an even more complex web of social application – seriously!

    Having recently attended HREvolution I saw just how cool FourSquare is if you’re looking for the party.  People check in and you see where the action is, and who is there.   However the same info from Foursquare is often found bleeding over on or through twitter.

    This now brings me to my closing point, about the different platforms.  In my opinion, it is ok to connect one or two mediums occasionally to get a message out, but in general I think it is a bad idea and turns people off – especially if you have 3 or 4 platforms connected. Each of them is different and serves a different audience in a different way.  So don’t connect all of your social media outlets, because it doesn’t make sense to different groups on different platforms.   And if Marshall McLuhan was right – boy will you be sending some major mixed messages!

     

     

     
  • The Art of the RT

    To RT of not to RT That is the Question

    The way that most of these Project Social cross-post develop are usually just a volley of ideas. This, oddly enough is almost like an MRT (Modified Re Tweet).  Where someone says something and then someone says it again and may add to it <like this!  If at this point RT is still unclear –  I would  Google it.

    Ok so now that’s  the what; is cleared up, how about the who, and the why.   Why do I RT the things that I do.

    • · Because the tweet is an awesome 140 character bits of wisdom
    • · Because the person that said it is a sage/savvy SM person and I want to demonstrate to them I value what they have to say.
    • · The tweet is funny – odd- or otherwise intriguing
    • · I enjoy the blogger and want to help them spread their message
    • · I got a DM asking me to retweet a particular tweet
    • · I picked the wrong function on Tweet Deck and out went the RT

    Ok so in true inverted pyramid style, now that I have the who, what, why, where  it is now on to when.  RT  ASAP.  This is even more true if you ever follow any of the online chats like #TChat.  The tweets and the Re-Tweets come so fast you can’t keep up. If you have never participated one of the twitter  chats – load up the hastag #tchat in one of your search columns, and be on-line at 7 PM Central  on Tuesday for Talent Culture’s Tchat, and watch the RT’s go by.

    If you don’t think the Talent Culture #Tchat is for you  Jessica over at www.blogging4jobs.com has put together this awesome list of twitter chats. Do yourself a favor and check one out.

    Lastly how to re-tweet – most apps have a function, or you can copy and paste the tweet and put RT in front of it.

    That is the HROfficial’s take on ReTweeting.  Now there are a couple other folks I would give an RT to just because of who they are.  It is kind of an act of friendship too.  So often time if I see my friend Laura aka @workgal has posted something on her blog  Working Girl. I will give an old RT just because of that.  And since Lyn Hoyt  aka  @designtwit has decided to hook here wagon to this ProjectSocia train as well,  I will give her an RT for any of her posts over at The Bacon Hut. Both Laura and Lyn have posted on this subject or RTs so click on over and see what their take is on RTs.

     
  • SHRM, HRevolution, ERE, HRTech…Why do you go?

    Three time attendees recognized at HRevolutioin

    In this post I will be making reference and linking over to my project social partner Laura Schroeder; like we have both done a number of times.  But with today’s post Laura and I are going to add new friend and blogger to our little project social project link-fest.  For those of you who don’t know her, please say hello to  Lyn Hoyt (from twitter @designtwit) and her blog site http://hrbaconhut.com/content/.  Lyn will be linking back and forth with Laura and I now and then. So onto today’s post…

    Having recently returned from HRevolution this subject is top of mind for me.  Over the past few years I have had to opportunity and good fortune to attend a number of conferences.   Many of these my employer has paid for, and for that I am most thankful.  I have attended some other SHRM events, and while I did not have to pay to attend, on some occasions, I have committed to working and I have paid to get myself there or for meals or other incidentals.  And in the last case such as HRevolution, I paid my own (airfare, lodging, conference fee and incidentals) way to be there.

    At the various events I have attended I often encounter a number of people who seem to be in attendance at virtually every event. I look at this and I am left with more questions than answers.  I question this not to be mean or rude – simply just out of curiosity.  I understand that some of the folks who morph between attendee and participant are there to promote themselves, besides being an attendee; and I get that.

    While there are other folks who are in attendance and never present, but seem to know and hang with all of the ”A” players.

    And then there’s my group those of us that show occasionally at some of the events and know many of the folks.

    Now that I have identified the groups, I am still curious to understand what it is that drives each of these groups. I have my own reasons for attending different events. I attend for theses reasons:

    • To obtain recertification credits for my SHRM designation
    • To learn current thinking current legislative matters
    • To seek out creative solution to complex problems that I face
    • To understand better an organizations goals and objectives
    • To visit with old friends and make new ones
    • To travel to fun, exotic or just warm locations
    • To get away from the day to day grind and clear my head
    • To participate as a panelist or speak at the event

    That is my list – for now.  Why else do you spend time on the conference circuit or simply what drive you to attend an event?  I would love to hear from anyone who attends! For a couple  more looks at the conference circuit check out Laura here – and Lyn here.

     
  • The Reverse Mentoring Challenge

    I recently attended a student H.R. competition and came away from the event feeling refreshed and just generally better about things. I am not sure exactly what it is but the 30 and under folks, but I get a vibe from most of them I encounter that “all is well.” Conversely when I am around the 40 + crowd, by and large, I get the overwhelming sense that, we as individuals can’t do much to change our fate or what goes on around us. I find that aura to be a downer. I was discussing this with my Project Social Partner Laura Schroeder last week.  Here is what she had to say on the matter.

    Meantime, I know this is stereotyping but these are the feelings I get. What can we do about this? We are all familiar with the mentoring concept. Well I think we need to encourage our younger counterparts to do some reverse mentoring. Just as the older folks take a younger person under their wing and “teach then the ropes” by advising and coaching them on professional matters, it would appear to me that our younger folks could do the same with their 40 + peers in need of a attitude adjustment.

    It would be really nice if our younger pros were able to do this for the older crowd without us knowing about it. I am not sure how you improve someone’s outlook without them know that you are doing so, but I am sure some of these bright young minds can figure this out.

    So there is my reverse mentoring challenge. If you are under 30 take that challenge, I just don’t want to know that you are changing me.

     
  • Project Social – 6 Month Check-up

    It has been six months since Laura Schroeder and I became Project Social Partners.  We were matched up by Ben and Victorio as part of the roll out of their brain child Project Social.  We were told that we would be part of a small beta group. Laura and I agreed happily.

    While we did agree to participate we did not receive a planner, outline, syllabus or any other guiding documents.  So we were pretty much on our own to figure out what it was that we both wanted to get out of it.  I was really somewhat shocked to find out that Laura lived in Munich Germany.  I thought wow, this is rather international for old Central Illinois Dave.

    Laura and I figured out that Skype would be the way to communicate.  We also learned that there was a seven hour time difference between Springfield and Munich. We established a target time, and we try to chat weekly.  When we talk, we talk about what is going on in our lives and what we want to blog about.

    What we have done is write about the same topic and then we link to each others post.  This seems to have increased traffic to each others site.  We also have seen an increase in followers from each other’s blogs.  We both have also learned more about SEO.  We have learned what days create more traffic for our posts.  Again we are doing this,  so see what Laura’s take on the matter is here at her  blog Working Girl.

    We have encouraged each other to push their personal limits.  Although I still have not yet gotten Laura to do her first video blog, but it is coming.  Laura has given birth to Jonas, who I have met on skype, and even wrote a post about. Laura has helped to validate my thoughts on things.  Sometime I feel my opinion about things is not really representative of anyone else’s, but she encourages me, having referred to me as the everyman HR guy.

    Although I must say out of all of the wonderful benefits I have reaped from this endeavor the biggest and best thing is making a new and dear friend.  Laura and I have not met face to face, although she knows a lot more about what is going on in my life than most of my friends.  I have shared nearly private moments with Laura and her young baby boy.  This is no different than other acquaintances I have made on line.  It is not an unusual way to meet people, it is just another way.

    And the kicker is that once you meet people on line, in second life, any way other than face to face, you always have the experience of meeting face to face for the first time to look forward to.  I guess the next step in this process is for us to introduce our spouses to each other.  My first skype call to Laura was on my wife’s computer, so I suspect this will happen at some point.

    We will continue to do what we are doing, that and more, because Laura and I are both enjoying this and learning from this effort.  How long it will go on I don’t know.  This was our six month check up; we see how this thing looks after a year.

    Thanks Laura it has been my pleasure!