• 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?

  • All The Good People Are Working – Really?

    All of the good people are working – that’s a phrase most of us in H.R. have heard before.  Do you believe it?  I don’t, not for a minute.  My Project Social partner Laura Schroeder and I were discussing this recently and both shared the same position. You can read what she had to say about the matter here.  However, there are those folks who do not share our view. 

    Somehow the folks who subscribe to this theory think that this, no matter what, the good people always land on their feet, and in a job – without fail. Taken to a wild extrapolation, the other side of this equation would go like this; all of the people who are unemployed, if hired would be or become bad employees, 

    As I think about the axiom of this post, all of good people are working, it seems more ludicrous in light our current economic situation.  In my state IL, statistics tell us that unemployment runs from about 7.5% to 13%.

    I understand how organization, want and need to get rid of the dead weight in their organizations, and like it or not an economic down turn does give a company a chance to shed some of those folks.  There is also no doubt they are not going to get rid of their key or top performers,  short of the nuclear option (bankruptcy, sale of the business, etc.),

    But what about that nuclear option – that does happen.  So if the theory is valid it would seem that the displaced employee, who is must not be or can not become unemployed, must have had a couple of things in the works.  Theory one says that the perfect employee is so good that they are always being hunted, courted or followed by recruiters or other employers, and once they became available the other employers would be pouncing on this person lavishing them with job offers.   Theory 2 finds the perfect employee always in the job market, perhaps unbeknown to their current employer.  Theory 2 though makes this person less than perfect, because the perfect employee is not on the hunt.

    Assume once again that I have figured this out, and the best do stayed employed – are there not any good ones left in the ranks of the unemployed?

    Those who would answer no – there are no good ones, are part of our consumable, disposable society.  Today there are so many things

    We don't fix or re-use these keyboards, we just throw them away. Are we doing that with the unemployed?

     that we do not repair, we just toss ‘em and get a new one.  Micro-waves, DVD players, computers, and televisions we don’t fix them, when they break we get a new one, a better one.  This is what they want to do with our unemployed folks, they’re broken – unemployed. They have lost their job and subsequently have now lost their employability.   So we’ll throw them away never to be hired again, at least as an “A” player.

    I don’t have a huge volume of jobs to offer, but I will not exclude looking through the ranks of the unemployed to find some good ones.  I know that they are out there and I will find some of them, I haven’t given up on them.

  • On Boarding – Are the Signs Clear?

    Personnel has now become Human Resources and orientation has morphed into what is now called On-Boarding.  Anyone in HR in this century knows what On-Boarding is supposed to be, but it really is unique to every organization.  There is no one size fits all approach.  Many approaches will contain most of the same elements, but a good program will be built to order for the organization.  You just can’t go to a vendor and buy a program off of the shelf or off this task to some perky contractor. If it is going to work you have to own it.

    Each employer must develop and continually improve their on-boarding process.  It is like any other process though, you might have all of the right elements but if you don’t assemble the thing properly it doesn’t work.

    So how does it start? Well, even prior to the first day, as the employee’s new employer we are sending messages and expectations about our organization.  How did you treat this employee in the interview process?  Did you make them wait in a lobby for 30-40 minutes past the time they were scheduled for an interview?  Was everyone who spoke to the prospective employee courteous?  Did you follow-up with them in the time frames in which you said you would?  Did you provide answers to all of their questions?  See these are all things are things that you can’t undo – and you have already laid this foundation whether or not this prospect is a hire or no hire.

    Ok so I hope you did all of that stuff right – either way you are moving ahead with on-boarding.   Now it is time for all of the obligatory stuff;  forms, policies, training, exits, fire extinguishers, rest rooms and so on ad nauseam.  I am not going to delve into the proper aspects of this, because this is your stuff to get right – or wrong.

    Now you have a new employee at your Company.  Do they now know everything they need to know?  Oh yeah you gave them all of the stuff you can no longer be sued for, but did you give them any of the really useful information as to how to assimilate into the culture.  Sometime some of the cultural fits are a little more subtle.  Things like if you want to advance in this Company you will go with the Friday Night Gang down to the Pub and Grub for more the first than the later.  Or maybe the successful people in this Company are the ones who rarely have a taste – just thought you would want to know.  The people who succeed here almost always started out heading up a committee. Hopefully these lessons will come through in the buddy system, provided your buddies really want new folks to succeed.  In summary, help them fit into your Company culture.  This is an ongoing process.

    Not everything a new employee needs to know is contained in the Company propaganda, because there is some stuff none of us would want published.  So we need to help the new people find their way through the organization.  HR must guide them showing them where to go and not to go. We must also make sure they know how to succeed – because if they don’t – you will be doing this all over again!