• Holiday Wishes….

    After seeing all of the holiday wishes that went back and forth to folks on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving I was thinking to myself, boy there are going to be a lot of holiday wishes being sent back and forth on twitter on Friday (#FF) December 24.  So I thought I would take some of my blog space to, create my own Holiday Greeting Card, and wish all of my friends in real life (IRL) and out here in cyber space a Merry Christmas.  At our house we celebrate the Christian holiday.  This is not to offend anyone, it is just what my family does.

    So from the inside of the HROffical’s home — a.k.a. @DaveTheHRCzar …  Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Best Wishes for a Joyous and Happy New Year.  Dave

     
  • Project Social Green HR Making Money

    Project Social continues to turns green and rolls on.  This week Laura and I discussed greening of HR and how to interest people in making HR more accountable for Green issues.   For those of us in the private sector we find profit margin most rewarding.  How can green make money for our Company? Another way to look at that is ([Current Cost] – [Improved Process}=> 0) = PROFIT. Profit, this is the main reason American business recycle is because there is economic gain to be had.  We are Capitalists. 

    Having said that let me carve out exclusion, some businesses recycle because it is the right thing to do.  Not for Profits may recycle because it is the right thing to do, but they too should be or are looking for economic gain out of recycling.  How can an HR department get something like this going? Well paper is a pretty easy target for the gain formula, while some of the other landfill destined items are a little more challenging.   Paper may require some handling or storage but it usually work easily if you are looking for the old ROI.

    This compactor creates 1000 lb bales of used paper.

    And remember if it is cheaper to dispose of via an alternate means than sending it off to the old dump, it is still a winner and a green alternative. This is another winner for the HR leader looking to do a little green HR.

    Through our discussion on the issues Laura has enlightened me as to how in most European countries there are significant regulations mandating Green Initiatives as well as tax incentives to reward those compliant businesses. While I am not a tax expert it would seem to me that if the U.S. government would make more Green initiatives more financially rewarding, businesses would  rapidly move in that direction.

    Over the years we have seen how tax law drives investment in and out of different areas.  Europe has already figured this formula out [New Tax incentive] + [New investment] = Innovation.

    So Congress needs to come up with the tax rewards for business – or the mandates to bring  green change to business!

     
  • Project Social – Green Jobs

    Project Social and Green Jobs… That’s my assignment.  Laura, my project social partner and I are working on learning more about green jobs and how HR is dealing with this.  Since Laura is obviously the brighter of the two of us (I let people shoot hockey pucks at me) she kind of took the high road on this.  Laura is looking renewable energy credits and jobs in green tech. I on the other hand, with a background in manufacturing and distribution, am let’s say may be a bit earthier wanted to look more to the trenches of recycling. 

    I wanted to see where this whole process of Green/recycling begins. For more than three years I have been doing my part and taking my paper, metal and most plastic out of my waste stream and putting in my blue recycling bin.   For a nominal fee, I set this container at the end of my driveway every week and poof there you have it, I am recycling. This seems pretty simple to me.  Have you ever wonder what happens next? Mind you all of my stuff goes in one bin and then into one truck.  So when the truck gets full they take it to the center dump it into the giant recycling machine and it comes out the other end, not quite.

     This is what happens.

     

    I  was originally going to shoot my own video of this, but later found out the material in my town is shipped elsewhere for sorting; so thanks to my Youtube friend pipmossop for the use of this video. 

    Those of us in manufacturing would like to automate everything, because we know that you only have employment issues – if you have employees.  But some tasks are better left to the human hands, eyes and brain. So, there are going to have to be a lot of jobs like the sorters to continue to make recycling viable.  It is going to be Human Resources’ challenge to turn these into good jobs. Let’s be honest, the sorting of garbage is a likely candidate for Mike Rowe’s Dirty Jobs.

    We need to view all of the folks who are working in the recycling stream as ecological soldiers, saving the planet from all of the people who live here. It is through these types of practice we can reduce the number of Garbage Mountains that are dotting our landscape all over the country.   I will be visiting my nearest sorting center and find out just what it is that they do, in  order to motivate thier workforce and keep good people in a job that might be viewed as undesireable by many – perhaps a challenge that many of us face daily!

     
  • Project Social – On Holiday

    Project Social isn’t taking a holiday, although maybe the people involved in it will.  While Laura and I are working on our Green HR initiative, we both had plans to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday with our families and friends.  So long story short I did not get a chance to work on my PS assignment, however I did want to talk about the program itself.

    There are only a few pairs of us working on this to see how this thing was going to work. So I thought I would talk about the program as a whole.  To a degree it is 21st pen pal program.  The difference is that we are working with the social media tools of the trade.  We are skyping, blogging and tweeting. Our sphere of on-line friends is melting into one.  Many of my tweeps are following @workgal and some of her tweeps are following me back. Our on-line friends are helping us socialize.

    We chat about how we are going to use video, with vimeo and youtube, as well as using linked in.  The program is giving us a purpose, a reason to do these things.  Laura is no novice when it comes to SM, so she is challenging me and pushing me to do new and different things via SM. I think this is what Ben and Voctorio had in mind when they hatched this idea. While I have used most of these tools, I do not consider myself close to being an expert, but the more I use them the better I get.  I think the point is this, just do it, get involved, get waist deep – after all – necessity it the mother of invention.

    The program got a shot in the arm last week at the SHRM Annual Leadership Conference.  Both Ben and I were asked to participate in a panel discussion on Social Media,  SHRM Social Media director Curtis Midkiff (@shrmsomedguy) gave Ben an opportunity to talk about the program and how people might participate in it.  While the session had no more than 100 participants, interest in Project Social and social media in general seem to be high.

    So next week I will be back on track with our Green HR Project and moving Project Social forward.

     
  • Project Social Seeing Green

    Another week has gone by and Laura and I are striving to be the best Project Social students- yeah we’re both overachievers.  While we have made reference to our super secret project, we have to be honest.  It has changed a couple of times because we got beat on the draw. 

    One of the things that the two of wanted to do as a pair is create some body of work that would be interesting and useful to those in the hr blogosphere.   We have kicked around several ideas during our various conversations. One topic that seems to return is what we call green HR.  This would include jobs that directly or indirectly relate to environmental sensitive matters, and practices that are designed to reduce waste and improve recycling. 

    In our dialogue I was pontificating to Laura how we are scarring the landscape here in the Mid-West.  My brother-in-law, who is an Arizona native disparagingly refers to me as a flat-lander, well we are changing that.  In my travels over the summer I have seen three what I will call Garbage Mountains.  They are all within about 100 miles of Chicago.  There are literally mountains of garbage that are from the waste hauled of ht urban area.  The one pictured  here is near Pontiac, IL, just to the west of I-55.  If you have driven this stretch of road you have no doubt seen this and hopefully wondered – what in the hell is that? 

    Garbage Mountain - Near Pontiac, IL (I-55 mile post 200)

    I shared this story with Laura and she began to tell me how most European countries are much more forth right about dealing with environmental matters.  In Europe there is much more regulation around the matter than in the states. I told Laura it was interesting to met because at my employer we are diligent about recycling – but only because it makes good business sense – it cheaper to recycle than dump!  We segregate paper, metal, wood and food products and push them to the approriate recycling stream. While we don’t actually make money doing this, it does cost less than sending it to a dump, therefore we have ROI! 

    We both thought Green HR is good direction for our contibutions to Project Social.  At lease in this country, it has to make good business sense ($$$) to get American businesses to be on-board.  We seem to lack the social responsibility held by our European partners.

    So the on-going conversation got us to thinking we need to begin to create a body of resources for HR on  green issues.  We need to learn about green jobs –  jobs that specifically helping address environmental matters. We want to learn about Companies that genuinely care about their carbon foot print, why they care and what they are doing about it.  We are going to  be looking for help and assistance from our fellow bloggers and tweeps as well.  We are going use the simple formula exspoused by fellow Project Social betaite Lisa Rosendahl– tweet out an idea, build on it, look for feedback and blog about it. 

    My Project Social partner Laura Schroeder feels the same way and has posted similarly on this topic over at Working Girl and we want to do our part to encourage the growing movement toward corporate social responsibility. So if you have some knowledge about Green HR that you could share please contact Laura or me.

     
  • Sick Uncle SHRM

    This year I headed out to the SHRM Leadership conference with a bit of trepidation.  There was a bit of uncertainty in the air about “the memo.”   Upon arrival my fears seemed to be somewhat justified as the vibe was somewhat muted.  The number of attendees seemed to be down compared to previous years, so from the get go it seemed somewhat ominous.

    On Thursday Outgoing Board Chairman Rob Van Cleave spoke to the group and there was no talk or mention of “the memo.” 

    While there are a number of attendees who are involved in new media at the conference, my sense is that many folks view us as a lunatic fringe element that is hell bent on causing problems. I don’t see it that way at all.  We are concerned for SHRM like you would be a family member that’s ill. Our concern is born out of passion for the organization and what we do.  

    With “the memo” it is like we hear that our Uncle SHRM has cancer and damn it we want to know about that. 

    Well yesterday my friend Jeff Williams took the conversation to the sources.  While visiting the mothership on Duke Street Jeff proceeded to approach Mr. Van Cleave and ask him straight up about the matter (read his post here).

    What we found out is that, he will discuss it with the state council leaders on Saturday.  I guess to use a figure of speech HIIPA rules are preventing him from discussing sick Uncle SHRM with the whole family.  He will talk to the family elders on Saturday and hopefully we will all feel better about old Uncle SHRM.

     
  • How I got my Friend A Job Using LinkedIn

    With my new found status as Director of Social Media for the IL State Council of SHRM I have had a number of folks question me about social or new media and its use.  During the summer I met a local SHRM chapter member at a chapter event.  She asked if we could discuss SM. I chatted with her a while and gave her some ideas.  Being a networking kind of guy, I gave her a business card and told her to call me if she wanted to talk more or had any questions.

    Well she did call me, and wanted to know more about Linkedin and Twitter.  So we agreed to meet at Panera and discuss some of her questions.  During lunch she had to take a call, as she was in transition at that time and actively pursing employment.   After this meeting, I encouraged her to trade emails or mock group issues with me so she could get a feel for how Linkedin functioned.

    Fast forward to almost Thanksgiving, when I spoke to my friend again.  She told me that she had landed a new job.  She landed the job through an old friend from high school who was now working as a recruiter.  She told me this recruiter had over 500 connections on Linkedin.  This recruiter was staffing a job she had been eyeing and low and behold she ended up getting this job.  And it was all because of Linkedin.

     
  • U.I.S. HRM- FA10

    Now that I have my own blog site, I can write whatever I want and not worry too much if I offend someone, or if I narrow-cast directed at an audience that is too small.

    This post goes out to these fine people…

    Laura Gasparas

    Brenda Blanchar

    Lisa Touloumis

    Tonya Laux

    Jenni Case

    Mindy Hassebrock

    Niccol Stout

    Thiyumi Abesysinghe

    Linda Bomya

    Shane Stafford

    Lindsay Birdsong

    Becky Skehan-Passie

    Aaron Banks

    Danielle Haley

    Brandie Forcum

    Michelle Theobald

    Rachel Ona

    Kristina Miller

    Kari Elliott

    Ryan McKillips  _–>>> GO BLUES!

    Kyle Nestlehut

    Kendall Burrage

    Patrick Davis

    Amy Zappo

    Alisha Kulek

    Randy Knuppel

    Chelsea Jones

    Lawrence Crowley

    Lacey Pollock

    Lesley Kaspraun

    Andrea Bennett

    Amy Hallmark

    Matthew Scrivano

    James Schacht

    Tara Sablotny

    Timothy Dillon

    Matthew Duff

    Christine Magallon (good to see you again!)

    Bailey Meek

    Steve Blythe

    Sinh Mai

    WHEW! Damn that’s a big class

    I wanted to thank all of you guys for being a great audience and for taking the time to write thank you notes (although I’ll bet that was required- right?).

    I really enjoy the opportunity to speak to students, and especially the one who are interested and enthusiastic about learning.  Keep my name and number and if our paths cross remind me that we met and how. Use this tactic to your advantage.  You should do this with all of the other HR people you meet. We are, after all people people.

    You have a great instructor, Donna Rogers, learn all you can from her and all of the other classes you take at UIS which is a fine institution.  I graduated from there and have done ok too. Thanks again – Dave!

     
  • Business is Down – Cut the HR Programs

    Business is down, this is your HR budget

    My partner Laura and I are taking our roles in Project Social very seriously and want to make a difference with what we are doing.  We are trying to talk at least once a week and this seems to be enough to keep the project moving forward. While this week, Laura and I continued work on our super-secret world changing project (sswcp), we talked about some more mundane HR matters. 

    I spend my most of my days in what Charlie  Judy –HRFishbowl  calls trenchHR  Laura is removed from the trenches by one degree of separation, working in the HR Software industry.  As we brainstormed about the sswcp, we traded some HR war stories, Laura recounted to me about a friend of hers who had taken on an HR position in an upstart company. Her post on that story is here. Laura said things were going well for her friend, (I’ll call her Ann) at the young company, Ann said that the Company was taking off, and was quite financially successful.  

    Accordingly most everything Ann requested funding for was funded and implemented.  But like with any success story, things slowed down, the money slowed and the financial picture of the Company changed. And now – the Company was pulling the plug on programs and not nearly so committed to the strong employee engagement programs, or other employee focused initiatives. 

    Laura asked me if I have I had ever experienced this phenomenon? This became a SAY WHAT moment for me.  The answer was yes – with about every slow down in business. 

    Like many of my trench HR peers, I have lived through this numerous times, Even if your department is allocated certain funds for a period of time that can change in an instant! When the funding/sales/revenue slows, or goes away, business functions that do not directly enhance the bottom line (product or service), quickly loose their luster, to most CEOs and CFOs. While a seasoned HR pro may be able to salvage a program or two, they  must choose their battles wisely and hold on to the program or service that is certain to bring benefits to the organization. That has to be the last thing you won’t give up – because you know it is too valuable to loose and your Company’s image may be tarnished if you let it go. For me, this has always been safety training – you just can’t stop regardless of the cost! 

    Meanwhile, it is only the true visionary leaders that manage to stick to their guns and not pull the plug on the people programs during downturns. So consider yourself one of the lucky ones if your CFO/CEO has gone through a downturn in revenue and did not take the meat ax to the HR budget or the people programs. They are the leaders who get it. 

    Like it or not this is one of the realities of HR.  As an HR pro, if you wish to understand business you need to understand this – you don’t have to like it but you need to get it. I don’t have hard date but over the year I have learned 9 out 10 times, the money people are NOT going continue with the HR people programs in a downturn. It’s not personal it’s just business.

     
  • Tipping – Penalty Free

    As a much young man I was a bartender.  I worked at local nightspots that tended to get very busy in the evenings.  Until that time it never even dawned on me that bartenders got tips – but they do.  Not too long after commencing my career in cocktails I learned that a good bartender (one who got drinks quickly and was generous with the spirits) earned a lot of tips.  This was extra over and above wages.  I liked this.  I remember one bar owner teaching me that TIPS was an acronym for To Insure Prompt Service.

    As I learned about working in the service industry, I then became a generous tipper, because I knew how appreciated the tips were.  To this day, I still have the utmost for respect for any of the service people who provide personal services to me; such as shuttle drivers, cabbies, bartenders, doormen and waiters especially the latter. So over the last couple of years I have started to do something that brings me a little joy, and a smile to my waiters and waitress, when I dine out.

    It is simply this,  pay your dinner bill with a credit card or debit card as most of us do – BUT TIP WITH CASH.   Not that I am advocating for not paying taxes, everyone has to do what works best for them.  This provides them options.  And typically most people would carry enough cash to leave a tip, while putting the dinner on a bank card.

    I did this the other evening and elicited a comment from my waitress.  She said she L-O-V-E-D my idea.  I asked her then how do I tell the world about it.  She said a lot of people read blogs – maybe you should write about it.

    So let’s review… restaurant bill with credit – TIP with CASH.

     
  • Project Social – Getting to know You

     One of the goals for the LD (Laura & Dave) Project Social team was to post weekly about our activity. We certainly want to meet our goals and objective and not evoke the ire of Program Coordinators Victorio and the Ruthless Ben Eubanks, so we will stick to our guns.  This week we have hatched out a plan that is rather large in scope, and thus will require several weeks of behind the scenes work before we can divulge the nature of our Project Social Project.  So in the mean time, we thought we would do kind of an eharmony like profile of ourselves, well sort of. 

     There were some things I found very interesting about Laura and her life style, living internationally and such.  So I asked her some questions about it. Both the questions and answers are posted below.  And while my lifestyle is little less cosmopolitan, and a lot more mid—western,  sadly the only two thing I really had much to comment about was Human Resources and Ice Hockey.  So Laura was kind enough to fashion some question about me and my mundane life as an HR guy and an Ice Hockey Official. 

    So if you dare… skate on over to Laura’s Blog Site Working Girl and have a look… 

    DAVE: As an American Citizen and working outside the country how do you al with the disconnect, that you feel with family and friends who are state-side?

    LAURA: As an LA girl I feel like a bit of a hothouse flower, especially during the cold months.  On the other hand, my immediate family’s quite small – I’m an only child with no first cousins – and I spent 7 years at boarding school before going away to college so my best friends are as ‘global’ as I am.  I don’t keep in touch as well as I’d like to but I like knowing they’re out there.  I read a lot and blogging also helps me feel connected.  And of course I visit the US on business and personal trips, which is always great for re-charging. 

     

    DAVE: Working outside of the country has career challenges/advantages –What is the biggest challenge or advantage that working outside the country has presented to you?

    LAURA: The biggest challenge is not being there.  Work at a software company is fast-paced and things can change hourly around the water cooler.  Plus you miss the small celebrations and interpersonal connections.  As the workforce inevitably becomes more virtual my situation will become more common but today it’s still a challenge.  I think of myself as a pioneer.  My situation isn’t always easy but if I can make it work, it may help people in the same situation down the road.

    But you asked about career challenges in particular.  From a career point of view most of the ‘action’ in my chosen profession happens in the US.   For example, you don’t find a lot of product management or strategy for global products happening outside the US.  Before I had kids I managed software development teams and managed global projects but as a remote working mom I don’t have the same options I would have living in the US.   

    The biggest advantage is I have a lot of freedom to structure my work load, which as a working mom is a huge benefit.  I don’t have to reschedule meetings if I have a doctor appointment or a child stays home sick because everyone on my team’s asleep during my work day anyway.  As long as my work gets done no one cares what hours I work or whether I answer email in torn PJs and bunny slippers – not that I would ever do that, in fact I’m wearing a 3-piece suit right now and having a fabulous hair day!  So, sometimes I feel very lucky, other times I miss being in the center of the action.

     

    DAVE: How do you use social media help stay connected with issues or matters going on state-side?

    LAURA: Blogs are a great source of information about market trends and also a wonderful tool for shaping opinion – it’s neat when you write about a topic from a new perspective and find that same opinion cropping up elsewhere.  And I’ve found Twitter to be a great resource as well.  Often while I’m pondering my next blog post someone will Tweet an article that has exactly the information I need. 

      

    DAVE: Describe some of the major difference that you see in the average German employee compared to the average American employee.

    LAURA: I find Germans more pragmatic about work than Americans. They spend less time on social niceties and have a ‘let’s get this done’ attitude.  Americans (by German standards) like to discuss things and change their minds a bunch of times while the process ‘evolves.’  This sometimes bemuses the Germans, who think you should analyze the problem, figure out and communicate what you’re going to do and then DO it.  They don’t rush or over-commit but they do what they say they will do.  Of course, getting an email from them can be a bit of a shock because they use so many capitals you think they’re yelling at you until you get used to it.   And they can be a bit rigid to work with, or less open to change or new ideas.  However, I don’t want to generalize because I’ve worked with lots of creative, flexible Germans. 

     

    DAVE: What advise would you give a recent college graduate who is considering an offer of employment that would have them living outside of the country?

    LAURA: Easy: Do it!  If all you know is your own country your horizons will be smaller.  And it’s harder to follow your dreams later with kids, mortgage, etc., so the best time to be footloose is right after college.  Why wouldn’t you live abroad for a year or two if you had the chance?  Oh, and if you want to be an au pair in Munich, Tweet me.

    Ok well there you have it from the LD Project Social team for the week.  We are really and truly working on something big and will roll it out later.  In the meantime follow the both of us to see what mischief we can get into before the big roll out!

     
  • Blog Post # 1

    After quite a bit of coaxing and some valuable  coaching I have decided to launch into the world with a new blog of my own. While I have posted on several other sites this endeavor leaves me no where to run and hide if I really offend someone – and I will.  If you would like to know a little bit more about the blog and the guy behind it, just visit the about page; otherwise make the connection by yourself.

    In this my first post I would like to talk about how I got to this point.  Looking back I first post on a blog site in  December of 2007.  At that time I was following some bloggers who are still on the scene today. Those pioneers are Suzanne Lucas The Evil HR Lady, Wally Bock – Three Star Leadership and Allison Gree at Ask a Manager.  These folks are still doing it, so hats off to them for thier service and longevity.  Take a look at them and learn from thier wisdom!

    At HR Official I am going to talk about Human Resources related stuff, from my views as an HR Generalist and as an Ice Hockey Official. Many times during my work day I feel like a referee, and when I am on the ice I feel like a Compliance Manager.   I will try to make the connection.  There is an old adage in officiating that at the end of the game if both coaches are mad – you  did a good job. 

    I hope to see many of my old friends in this space, and to make some new friends as well. 

    So here we go….