• MOSHRM15 Bound

    Tomorrow I am leaving to attend the Missouri SHRM State Conference.   I am attending in a dual purpose capacity; I am both speaking and am part of the Social Media Team. I love both of those roles but to get to do both makes me feel blessed. In my personal life I have been very busy in the month of July. July found me in Las Vegas, Phoenix, St. Louis, Ft. Wayne, Memphis, and Chicago and with a little time in Springfield, IL where I call home.

    Donna and Dave at Illinois SHRM

    Donna and Dave at Illinois SHRM

     

    While I have been preparing with my Co-Presenter Donna Rogers for our session, I feel somewhat remiss in not booking up more on the conference. Well, better late than never as we say. So over the weekend I got the #MOSHRM15 app downloaded and got to pursue the offerings.

     

    This is a fabulous line up of speakers and topics. I have seen a number of folks speak who are on the agenda. MOSHRM is offering up some the best and the brightest in the #HR space. The folks listed below are all friends of mine and are great speakers. I will vouch for their ability to wow you with their HR prowess.

    • Ryan Estis
    • Donna Rogers
    • Jessica Miller Merrell
    • Craig Fisher
    • Jason Lauritsen
    • Meredith Nethercutt
    • Don MacPherson

    Now this is not to say that the other presenters are not equally good, or maybe even better as I have not seen them present. No matter who you pick to see MOSHRM has put together a great line-up.

    While at the conference, I am going to challenge myself. I am going to attend one session on a subject that I shy away from or simply am not interested in, why, so I can learn a little more about the matter. I am also going sit with a bunch of people I don’t know, why, so I can meet more new people and grow my network. And lastly, I am going have a ball, smiling, chatting, listening, and learning all the while I am hanging out at a beautiful resort with a bunch of people who are jacked-up to be in Human Resources!

    See you Wednesday!

     
  • Top Ten Reasons to Attend #SHRM15

    I have written this post at least five times in my life.  We will call it, “Do yourself a favor and attend the SHRM National  Conference.”

    The post has two distinct audiences, those who are attending  (Group 1) and those who are not attending (Group 2). The purpose of the post is to attempt to motivate those in Group 2 to become part of Group 1.

     

    If this works right then EVERYONE in group one will come to understand what I am talking about and the cache of attending this event.  Social Media celebrity Charlie Judy was once quoted  as saying (and I am paraphrasing here) Do yourself a favor and attend this event, even if your tight ass company won’t pay for you.  Pay your own way and you will be thankful that you did.

    SHRMVegas

    But why, you as why should I attend or ask to attend? I am going to answer that question this way, in an effort to honor David Letterman in retirement, (as we share the same first name) I am going to give you my Top Ten List of Reasons to Attend #SHRM15

     

    10.) This is the largest HR Conference in the World. This is one of the larger conferences that takes place in the county.  So to say it simply, the scale of this event is EPIC.

    9.) You will hear from all of the key leaders in the SHRM organization.

    8.) You will get to hang out with 15,000 other HR Professionals (this should present some networking opportunities).

    7.) In the exhibit hall you will get to see ALL THINGS HR (and maybe have a cocktail while you are doing so).

    6.) Re-certification credits abound. If you are looking to keep up either one of your HR certifications you can get a bunch of them at this event.

    5.) It’s Vegas baby!

    4.)  Men only … really short lines at the restrooms.

    3.) Jennifer Hudson

    2.) Evening events away from the conference and MORE NETWORKING

    1.) You will have the opportunity to see me and my Partner Donna Rogers aka @HRWarrior present a break out session on Wednesday morning July 1 titled – Running an HR Department of One.   You should come because Donna is really awesome!

     

    If you have any questions about the event whether we know each other or not contact me.  You can find me on twitter as @DaveTheHRCzar or email me at drsrdrkr@att.net  and put SHRM Annual Question in the subject line.

    Hope to see you there and meet you IRL as we say!

     
  • Chris Ponder A High Impact Dude

    Chris Ponder (R) after a tough mudder competition.

    Chris Ponder (R) after a tough mudder competition.

    In addition to my personal blog site here at the HROfficial, I also have written a bunch at the ILSHRM site.  But in reality I am most proud of the stuff I have written at www.performanceIcreate.com . This is a site with a bunch of other great people who I hold in high regard.

    One of them recently decided to throw in the towel.  My friend Chris Ponder (pictured to the left) has decided to hang up his blogging jock, and maybe even his #HR jock too.

    These had to have been tough choices for him, because I have known him for several  years and he has always been quite passionate about everything that he does.   Both he and I have been on this social media, blogging thing since 2009 – that’s 6 blogging years (they are like dog years).

    I can’t let Chris off the spot without a story and some well wishes.  So, I recall, while attending #LASHM in 2014 Chris was supposed to present at the conference.  His flight got canceled, then a later new flight got rerouted, and then he ended up driving in from New Orleans to Baton Rouge, without his luggage or much sleep.  Chris was in his (travel attire) shorts still. Undeterred he did his presentation and was a big hit with one and all. This guy is a beast!

    I was invited to write at PIC by both, Chris Ponder and Chris Fields, (the two Chrises).  It has been a good fit for me personally and I am thankful for the opportunities and the friendships that this has presented to me.  I would like to publicly thank Chris Ponder for his friendship, leadership and willingness to put himself “out there.”

    I am not sure where Chris is going but I know where ever he ends up he will be a high impact dude. Godspeed my friend!

     
  • SHRM Atlanta Takeaways

    The exhibit hall at SHRM ATL 13

    The exhibit hall at SHRM ATL 13

    I have been back from the SHRM Atlanta conference for a couple of days now and had a chance to gather my thoughts about the event. First and foremost I would like to thank the Board of SHRM Atlanta for putting on a superb event.  It all worked;  the hotel, the meeting rooms, the exhibit hall, lunch and the tweet-up.

    There were a number of familiar faces on-site, all smiling and enjoying themselves.  It was particularly nice to run into Joe Gerstandt and Jason Lauritsen, who apparently brought down the house with their opening keynote address.  Unfortunately, I did not arrive in time to catch them. Those of us in Illinois hold Talent Anarchy in high regard.

    One thing that did jump out to me about this conference was that there was really no regionality to the event.  Any of the Atlanta sessions would have worked just as well in Albuquerque or Anchorage.  This tells me HR shares the same issues no matter where you are in the country – and probably in North America.

    Some other things that I noticed at the event were that HR folks in Hotlanta dress nicer than those in the Mid-West. Many, if not most, of the men had on coats – yeah sport coats or suits.  The women – many dresses.  I told one of my friends Deborah Herman, I expected to hear ZZ Top bust out into Sharp Dressed Man at some point.  This actually was a nice departure from what I have become used to.

    I was somewhat surprised at the continued lack of adoption of twitter by HR Pros.  I took  a look at Tweet Reach and only found 707 tweets for the event. (Although I do not know what that time frame represents.)  There were a number of the social media luminaries there, but overall I really didn’t feel the twitter big buzz.  Nonetheless, Jim Stroud and Teela Jackson took it upon themselves to do some heavy lifting on  the twitter stream for the conference.

    Probably the most interesting thing I encountered in the exhibit hall was a booth selling Pet Insurance as an employee voluntary benefit. VPI Pet had two representatives on site and they were working the crowd very well.

    I did get to attend a few sessions (so I could grab some of those old HRCI re-cert credits).  I caught the end of Joe Gerstandt doing “No, Great Minds Do NOT think Alike.”  Joe gets an A+.  I also caught Beth Miller speaking on Multi-Generational Management.  I give her a B+.  She needed to have her twitter handle out there so folks could mention her in their tweets.  And the only other session I attended was one that Teela Jackson commanded me to attend (not really).  Jennifer Mc Clure did an encore presentation of her program “From HR Leader to Business Leader.”   Her room filled up early, and there was simply no place left for anyone to sit.  So the ever gracious Jennifer did it again. A+

    Julie and I getting ready

    Then capping off the day were the last break out sessions at 3 PM on day two of the conference.  This was my reason for being there. I, along with my co-presenter Julie Moreland Senior VP from PeopleClues presented, as advertised, a highly interactive session, on HR Thinking Creatively.  I would like to thank Julie and People Clues for giving me the opportunity to work with them.  I would really also like to thank the 30 or so people who stuck around and joined in our session. It was an excellent group – diehards; each and every one of them. I do need to call a few of the folks out by name – Deborah Herman, Chris Havrilla, Lisa Watson and especially my friend Mike Haberman.  They all stuck with us, and Mike was gracious enough to talk about our presentation in one of his blog posts on SHRM ATL.  SHRM Atlanta ’13 was great experience for me. I got to visit with and make some new friends, meet up with some old friends, and I was a presenter at an awesome conference – a pretty good way to spend a couple of days out of  the office.

     
  • HR – We roll like the Alaska State Police

    ASPShow

    I have been trying to loose some weight since the first of the year.  Doing so, for me involves a lot of time exercising.  I am not one of those folks who has been blessed with a metabolism that runs at 12,000 RPMs,  in fact mine is very slow.  Since  exercise is not something that I live to do I try to pass the time with distractions like podcasts and/or television.

    So in my marathon exercise sessions i can usually only take the news cycle about once, before I am clicking on to something more stimulating. So today I was drawn in by the National Geographic Channel’s  Alaska State Troopers.  I know it sounds kind of cheesy but I get sucked into the cop shows.  Then add in the Alaska element and it really draws me in.  Many of the troopers in Alaska fly around in single engine planes because the state is so damn big.  Understand I had not seen this show  before today. I had seen the promos, but never actually watched it.
    In the episode I watched, there were several things that just jumped out at me. This seemed to happen in many of the vignettes it seems like the ASP had to devote an inordinate amount of resources to each criminal that they are attempting to apprehend.  (They have to leave a lot of areas uncovered to do this.)
    In the next vignette the ASP was responding to a repeat offender. They ASP knew the guy they that they were going to see.  They knew him by name, they knew his bio, they knew of the perps full background.

     

    In yet another vignette, the ASP has to go into community where they are not welcomed by the locals. Nonetheless they have to go in and get their perp – i.e. do their job.

    thissongcop

    So let’s review here – do you ever spend a bunch of HR resources on one lone problem employee, while neglecting the rest of the staff? How about this do you ever find that you are having repeated contact with the same employees over and over – you know the book on them right? Or have you have had to go into a division, a department, a building and clean up a staffing mess – and no one wants you there?    These are all hauntingly parallel to the scenes I watched on Alaska State Troopers.

     

    I have often felt like I was just a cop trying to keep peace and doing the right thing, even when no one wanted me there.  And everyone in HR knows that we, like any other entity, fall under the  90/10 rule – spending 90% of our time on 10% of our staff. So one could deduce based on the only episode I have viewed that HR ain’t all that different than being a cop – even in Alaska.

     

     
  • A Hometown HR Guy

    The Illinois State Capitol in Springfield, Il.

    This blog post is part of a collection created by various Human Resources professionals. This “Carnival” of HR posts centers around the theme of HR and Home. To read the rest of the collection click here. You’ll be glad you did!

    ###

    When people ask me  to describe my community, Springfield, IL, I tell them it is a really, really, really, really big, small town. While I was born in Ohio (which is why Steve Browne likes me so much), I moved to the Land of Lincoln at the ripe old age of 5, so you could call me a lifer here in what is affectionately called “Springpatch.”

    I work at a fairly high profile Company in the community. Mel-O-Cream Donuts has been a local tradition since 1932.   I was not here when the business started, although I have been with the Company since March of 1979.   I have been doing HR for a long time. I am familiar with many of my peers in HR in Central Illinois through SHRM and other local activities.

    All of this thrown together does define me, who I am, what I am all about and my business acumen. Yes I am in HR, but I know a lot about business, thanks to the great people that I have worked for, for many years. I understand things like EBITDA,  ROI, P&L. Having worked at the local public radio station, while I worked on an undergraduate degree, I find myself occasionally behind a camera or microphone, talking about our Company’s business. Fortunately to date I have not ever been “ripped” for some foolish or errant remark that I made. My guess is that while I am no great orator, I seldom put my foot in my mouth either.

    Through my SHRM associations I get the opportunity to speak to college classes periodically. I get asked back, so I must do at least ok, right?

    So this is not an essay on me, but rather how I fit into my community.  To speak to the premise  of this post  which ask the question, I do feel like I belong here in my town and I do have a positive impact on the community? The community has served me well, and I like to feel as though I have returned the favor. Knowing  what I know about myself, I don’t think I would find my work as rewarding if I lived in a major metropolitan area. While I am adept, I don’t see myself as the kind of guy that the Wall Street Journal would approach and ask for my take on matters – unlike my local newspaper (The State Journal – Register) who does seek me out occasionally.

    I like where I live. We have crappy winters (sometimes). The HR community in my town is awesome. There are many other great HR Pros in the area that rock and if you want to be plugged in around Central Illinois get in touch with me and I will make sure that happens.

    So to speak to the question of the post,  my community certainly does help define me in my role in HR, and I am proud of both!

    Thanks for the Carnival Victorio and don’t forget to check out the rest of the posts here .

     
  • TChat Live from SHRM Leadership

    I guess I understand why it was that Ernest Hemingway spent so many hours at Sloppy Joe’s in Key West trying to expand his mind to tell a better story.  Not that I consider myself in the same circles with Hemingway, I have been struggling with how to write this post.  All of my ideas were EPIC, and the subject just isn’t that monumental.

    Here is the deal;  this week I am headed off to Washington DC to attend the annual SHRM Leadership Conference.  I am an active SHRM Volunteer and support most of their efforts.

     

     

    At the Conference on Wednesday evening one of my partners in crime another SHRM volunteer  Donna Roger and myself will be helping set the stage for #Tchat.  If you have not participated in #TChat,  I encourage you to do so.  It begins on twitter at 7 Eastern 6 Central 5 Mountain and 4 Pacific.

    There are many, many chats on twitter, and while I participate is some other ones on an occasional basis #TChat is the one I enjoy the most.  This week’s  content of the chat is about Public Policy is shaping and changing the workplace.

    While the #Tchat cast of characters is from all over the world, we will be connecting this chat to what is happening in our Nation’s Capitol.  Please Join us! Hope to see you on line.

     
  • 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!

     
  • 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.

     

     
  • HR Hates Labor

    Those of us Human Resources hate labor, all the people who perform labor, the organizations that represent labor and all that both parties represent – right?  I can not speak for everyone in HR but I can speak to this myself. And the answer to the question is no; an unequivocal no.

    First let me speak to people side of labor, the people that do the work. These are the men and women who build things, who distribute things, and that process the routine information for companies. To be specific, I am talking about the electricians, the iron workers, the auto workers, and the nurses the bakers or the hotel housekeeping staffs. On a personal level I respect, admire and am thankful that we have these people doing these sometime thankless or unnoticed jobs. Today is their day – so I salute them and you should to!

    As for the labor organizations, I can not say that I hold all of them in the same esteem, which I hold for the people they represent. I have come to respect some labor organizations, which, in my opinion, get it.

    When I look at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and their training program, and the knowledge that they impart into their members, I am truly in awe. The IBEW brings value to their members, and value and quality to the contractors that they supply with electricians. As an aside if you look at their program you will see that it is a collaborative effort between IBEW and the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA). It seems like these two organization have figured out how to work together and provide mutual benefit to one and other. This is a shining example of success, with organized labor and management working together.

    On the other side of the ledger, part of the charge of a union is to defend its’ members – no matter what.   So, even when the employer has the employee on video tape stealing merchandise, the union must come to their defense. Those of us in HR don’t like this.  No different that a defense attorney, who is pretty sure his client is guilty, their job is to defend them as best they can.  Many in HR get jacked up about this – but it is their job.  Let them do their job, and give them some respect having done so.

    Another thing that some unions do that I find irksome is to make demands that are not based in reality. I have tried to understand or rationalize this a posturing in bargaining but often times it is just an unreasonable demand that can not and will not be met – which will ultimately become another wedge issue for management and labor. More often than not this seems to occur in public bargaining, which is ironic. For the most part public sector bargaining is unique because the funds available to management are usually public record.  So to those entities I would say, you want some more money go find it!

    Another reason for HR to want to hate labor is this – to use a sports metaphor – how the game is being called.  The current administration is trying to use the NRLB to radically change the landscape in labor management relations through administrative channels, as opposed to the legislative process that has been used heretofore. Changes like this are another way that wedges are driven between labor and management, without it being the fault of one side or the other.

    So it isn’t that those of us in HR hate labor, we often find ourselves in a situation where we can not win with labor.  We have to tow the Company line – even if we don’t always agree with it.  Just like the union that has to defend the employee who stole merchandise.

    Today is Labor Day in our country and to that end as I said earlier and it is worth repeating… Today is their day – so let’s salute them and treat them with the respect that they deserve.

     
  • HR Rockstars – Really

    I was talking with my Project Social partner Laura Schroeder and the conversation continued to come back around to Rock Star Employees.  I explained to Laura that I don’t want them, I probably don’t need them, and couldn’t keep them if I landed them as employees in my mundane world. For the most part I sense that Laura shares my opinion – you can read her’s here.

    In trying to justify this position I thought long and hard about the matter.  As I did, this song came to my mind.

    Now thanks to Chad Kroeger and Nickelback, a great group in my opinion I have a pretty good idea of what a Rock Star is…

    I’m through with standing in line
    To clubs we’ll never get in
    It’s like the bottom of the ninth
    And I’m never gonna win
    This life hasn’t turned out
    Quite the way I want it to be

    (Tell me what you want)

    I want a brand new house
    On an episode of Cribs
    And a bathroom I can play baseball in
    And a king size tub big enough
    For ten plus me

    (So what you need?)

    I’ll need a credit card that’s got no limit
    And a big black jet with a bedroom in it
    Gonna join the mile high club
    At thirty-seven thousand feet

    (Been there, done that)

    I want a new tour bus full of old guitars
    My own star on Hollywood Boulevard
    Somewhere between Cher and
    James Dean is fine for me

    (So how you gonna do it?)

    I’m gonna trade this life for fortune and fame
    I’d even cut my hair and change my name

    [Chorus:]
    ‘Cause we all just wanna be big rockstars
    And live in hilltop houses driving fifteen cars
    The girls come easy and the drugs come cheap
    We’ll all stay skinny ’cause we just won’t eat
    And we’ll hang out in the coolest bars
    In the VIP with the movie stars
    Every good gold digger’s
    Gonna wind up there
    Every Playboy bunny
    With her bleach blond hair

    Hey hey I wanna be a rockstar
    Hey hey I wanna be a rockstar

    I wanna be great like Elvis without the tassels
    Hire eight body guards that love to beat up assholes
    Sign a couple autographs
    So I can eat my meals for free
    (I’ll have the quesadilla on the house)
    I’m gonna dress my ass
    With the latest fashion
    Get a front door key to the Playboy mansion
    Gonna date a centerfold that loves to
    Blow my money for me
    (So how you gonna do it?)
    I’m gonna trade this life for fortune and fame
    I’d even cut my hair and change my name

    [Chorus]

    And we’ll hide out in the private rooms
    With the latest dictionary and today’s who’s who
    They’ll get you anything with that evil smile
    Everybody’s got a drug dealer on speed dial, well

    Hey hey I wanna be a rockstar

    I’m gonna sing those songs
    That offend the censors
    Gonna pop my pills from a pez dispenser

    I’ll get washed-up singers writing all my songs
    lip sync ’em every night so I don’t get ’em wrong

    [Chorus]

    And we’ll hide out in the private rooms
    With the latest dictionary and today’s who’s who
    They’ll get you anything with that evil smile
    Everybody’s got a drug dealer on speed dial

    Hey hey I wanna be a rockstar
    Hey hey I wanna be a rockstar

    So there’s your rock star. Is that what you are looking for in a top employee?  Not this HR Guy, I will be happy with the person that shows up most everyday and does a good job most everyday – and someone who doesn’t make too many waves or cause me too many headaches – I have enough already thank you very much!

    Rock stars not welcome here!


     
  • You Can’t Fire Everyone

    Last week I was not quite home, as it was  go time for HR Happy Hour.  So I thought no problem I will just call in on my cell phone and catch the start of the show that way.  Shortly thereafter, I found myself speaking to the show’s host Steve Boese.  Steve was missing his guest, and checking the phone lines for him.  A few moments later, I found myself along with Dawn Hrdlica-Burke (on twitter @DawnHRRocks ) as what Steve referred to as conscripted guests.

    So in true live broadcaster fashion Steve charged ahead with the show and tossed a few question at Dawn and me, that he was going to ask his guest Hank Gilman.   Hank has authored a book called You Can’t Fire Everyone.  You can catch the show here if you like.

    Now during the course of our conversation Steve asked Dawn and me both about “top talent”

    Photo from PresentationProcess.com

    and how we treat them.  I kind of downplayed top performers saying  that I didn’t want to rock the boat too much.  Dawn on the other hand said she wanted a whole organization full of rock stars.  Dawn is in the software business and I am in manufacturing.  After reflecting on our comments and where they came from, I had somewhat of an epiphany about this. Compared to Dawn I am practicing defensive HR  (not unlike defensive medicine).  Dawn is seeking all the rock stars she can get, me not so much.

    Dawn is more than willing to deal with the difficulties that the rock star may bring her, in return for their rock star performance and talent.  Me, I am trying to keep peace in the house.  As I thought about this, it became clear to me that what I am doing is maintaining the status quo.

    Rather than leading with bold innovation and pushing the envelope, I don’t stray too far from the known path. I don’t take outlandish risk.  However it is with outlandish risk come outrageous gains.   The great equalizer here is this, if one goes too far out on a limb and things don’t work out, you may find yourself in a very precarious employment situation, depending upon how your superiors views your actions.  Said another ways does your boss think you are being reckless or innovative?  In many instance this will speak to who is willing to take risk and who is not.

    As I look at the industry comparison, those of us in manufacturing are into replication, while those in software are always looking for innovation.

    I am not sure what all of this means.  I am going to look real hard and my prospective here and see if I can force myself to live a little closer to the edge.  So I owe Steve and Dawn a big thanks for helping me to see this.

     

     
  • HRevolution 2011 in the Books

    @Controllergirl a.k.a. Teresa Morris providing some visual HR commentary

    Well HRevolution v3.0 is over,  let the posts begin.  I spent about $800 to attend, and probably would have spent a little more had it not be for the generosity of Mr. W.  I would do it again in heartbeat because I so enjoy this group of people and their collective view on things (and having a few cocktails with them as well.)   Why did I go and why will I return to the next one, I guess is really at the core of this whole deal.

    While this was only my second version of HRevolution, I have come to know many of the participants on line and in real life. The collective attendees are simply great people, so much that they renew my faith in people.  We have men, women, pretty much all races, many religions, old, young, small, tall, big and not so big folks, but we are all one – and then we hug each other too!.  It’s kind of corny but it is also very cool.  I am kind of a portly old married guy and people still want to hug me and I want to hug them back. (Jesus we couldn’t do this at work could we?)

    Ben Eubanks ask me whether this was better than Chicago.  I told him yes, and of course he asked me why. This event was better, in my opinion because of the conference space – AND the people in it.  First I will speak to the space issue.  While I enjoyed the Catalyst Ranch and how it was going to inspire people with its open and eclectic space, but when it is all said and done, the traditional room/classroom or meeting style really works be3tter – for me.  The other thing that was better was the people and the session leaders.  The “unconference model” (if you don’t know this, you might google it) allows the attendees to actively participate.  This creates energy, vibe, buzz – call it what you will, but in the room and it is palpable.  The buzz and the interaction, this year was very good.

    I only attended about 1/3 of the sessions, although the ones I did were informative, energetic and enlightening.  For the $125 to get in the door it was money well spent. What I have found is this, I am coming to like most of my twitter friends and relish the time I get to hang out with them (in real life) and catch up with them. I must ask myself – is this a sickness or a redeeming quality?  And if I didn’t tweet you and tell you how fun it was to meet and hang with you this is my apology here.

    While at the event I met someone who told me they enjoy reading most of this (what I refer to as drivel) stuff that I crank out her and over at www.ilshrmblog.org, thanks Lyn! .  If I keep doing it long enough I may get that number to 3 or 4.  I took a more than 100 pictures at the event and they are posted on Picasa.

    There are more pictures courtesy of Monster and they are here.  I will have a couple more posts on this later this week.

     
  • HR – The Dark Arts?

    After meeting someone for the first time, they often ask, “What do you do?” A normal question, as people often identify their job, their career, their profession with who they are. Well I have been in Human Resources for a long time and I know that it continues to encompass more activities. To date though, I have never thought of myself as one who practices witchcraft or the dark arts.

    Humor me for 0:56 and check out this video.

    While our friend Bruce Cameron in the video is talking somewhat  “tounge in cheek” – we hope; there are a number of disturbing things he says in the video.

    For example, if an employee relates something to you, and insists they don’t want to be called out on what they have shared with you, often times, you must betray that trust and deal with the issue.  Simply by virtue of knowing about the matter, as a moral ethical professional you ultimately end up violating that employees trust.  Day in and day out I feel like I sometimes have to switch from magician to hangman, funny but true. My Project Social Partner Laura Schroeder and I discused this and both felt this way. You can read what she has to say on the matter here.

    HR is called upon to deal with some of the ugliest pieces of business an employer must face.  We must talk to employees about thier divorces; life insurance claims and the death of a loved one, lay-offs.

    So whether you call it HR or the Dark Arts,  the best advise is to be honest and up front with everyone.  I am reminded of what a lawyer friend once told me,  always tell the truth and it’s hard to go wrong. – Good advise for any profession!

     
  • Under the H.R. Umbrella

    Recently I had the opportunity to post over at Michael Carty’s XpertHR site.   Michael had asked folks to answer this question in their post. If you could, what is the one thing you would change about HR. My take on the matter had me looking at the HR certification process and looking at broadening the types of certifications.

    On Monday of this week when I was visiting with my Project Social partner Laura Schroeder, we were discussing this and Laura was sure there was more to say about the subject than I had said. We agreed that HR has changed and continue to broaden as profession and there are several disciplines that have now moved under the umbrella of HR.  Let’s refer to them like we do in the job descriptions …. and other duties as assigned.  In a recent post Laura has likened it to HR housework.

    We continue to be bombarded about engagement.  Engagement as best as I can tell, falls somewhere between Organizational Development and Industrial Psychology.    To a guy like me with a pedestrian undergraduate degree in Communication from a largely liberal arts university it looks like I really should be some sort of clinician to have this job.

    So as I move from the clinician improving employee engagement back to a compensation initiative, I am nearly knee deep in the accounting world.  That is a tough transition.   Charley Judy is the only guy I know who sports CPA/SPHR behind his name.

    In the same day I might be called upon to render an opinion/directive on how we as a Company, given a certain set of circumstances will  comply with OSHA standard 1910.147 (and if you know what that is without looking it up you are a geek too).

    And before the end of the day someone has come to me with a question why our HRIS is not interfacing properly with our ATS, and I am expected to know the answer immediately.

    So if you are going to be in HR these days you had better be able to wear a lot of hats, because it seems like the CEO types continue to push things under our umbrealla.

     
  • Recruiters I hate them, but I love them

    In my daily HR routine I do what Charlie Judy likes to call Trench HR.  Between me and another person we take care of all of the HR matters for our organization and a lot of other things too, I might add.  So this 2 person HR shop has to do all of the recruiting and hiring for the place as well.  Over the years on some really tough finds we have engaged a (now I am going to use the “H” word) Headhunter to help us fill a position.

     After having used the H person, I feel dirty and I feel like a failure. In addition to the failure aspect as a HR Generalist, my employer is usually out a sizable amount of money. The best rate I have ever negotiated was 20% of first year salary.  You can do the math…

    Let me say that not all HR folks share this opinion.  By way of example   my Project Social partner Laura Schroeder has a healthier and more balanced look at recruiters. You can  see what she has to say on her blog post on recruiters and filling positions.

    Meanwhile,  I want to talk more about my own insecuirities and how it is that  recruiters have often made me feel like a  failure.   Well as the HR Superhero for our organization I am supposed to be able to do it all: Labor Law,

    The HR Superhero

    Compensation and Benefits, Organizational Development, Health and Safety stuff – oh and recruiting too.  Alas, try as I may I drop the ball now and then and seem to have trouble getting her done, the recruiting that is. Then we engage one of these hot shop perky recruiters and they find this person that I have been seeking for three months in a day and one half, damn.  So see you guys make us generalist look bad.  We are generalist not HR Superheroes.

     I have joked with a recruiter, telling him this is what I need… “A seven foot tall Korean guy, who is left handed, speaks Portuguese and has a B.A. in the Studies of Western Civilizations.”   Then the recruiter calls me back in an hour and one half and says, “Hey I got your guy.”  That’s how I feel.  Then to add insult to injury the boss says we paid how much to find this guy, and asks me what do I pay you for?  That is a bad day. This is what I hate about recruiters.

     The love part is this. I have met very few Recruiters, Placement Counselors, Talent-Acquisition Specialist what ever they may call themseves who are not genuinely nice, good decent people.  So I want to dislike you all, but I can’t because you are all nice people. Add to that,  you are so damn good; you source these candidates in the time it takes me to fill out a new requisition, which makes me look bad.  For these two things I have to love you folks in the recruiting business.

     
  • Making Friends on Line

    Today I had a wonderful experience.  I met a family member of a fairly new friend of mine.  I met Jonas Schroeder. He didn’t have much to say to me as he was eating/drinking most of the time we were engaged.  Jonas is the son of my Project Social partner/mentee Laura Schroeder.

    Laura and I met through this on-line project put together by Ben Eubanks and Victorio Milian. We have been working together to teach one and other and to compliment each other’s social media acumen. The fact that Laura and I even met is somewhat fortuitous but it has been a wonderful thing.  We have talked and become friends via Skype, despite the 7 hour and thousands of miles between us.

    All the while we have been chatting and working on blog posts back and forth, we have come to learn more and more about each other in ten to twenty minute conversations.   While I knew Laura was pregnant, it was only about two weeks after she brought this new little guy into the world and then I see him on the camera. He is a handsome little guy.

    Laura and I are both normal people with jobs and spouses, and I think I have come to know her well enough to say happily married.   We enjoy each other company and passion because of our common interests in HR and social media.  This is now a way to meet people and make new friends.  My hope is that we will someday get the chance to meet in real life (IRL).  

    Given my level of involvement in social media I think I will continue to meet people in this fashion. While this is not the only way I meet people these days, it seems to be happening more and more frequently.

    In my last post I talked about a trip to Minnesota.  On that trip I connected with three of the people I via LinkedIn before meeting them IRL.  While this may be a scary thing to some people I feel it is just another way to meet new people and make new friends.  After all I am in Human Resources and I like people!

     
  • Employee Engagement – Small Business Style

    I am the Director of Human Resources in a 100 employee operation. This affords me the opportunity that might not be available to folks

    My rental car tells me it is a "cold" Minnesota morning.

     in larger organizations. One of those things is  that I get to do is go out “on the road”: and spend time with our sales representatives.  We have a handful of off-site/remote employees.  They deal with our customers directly.  I feel that it is important that they get some attention from Headquarters, other than just the sales department, or the accounting department banging on them for expense reports. 

    Fortunately our Company President agrees with this concept, so periodically I get out of the office to work shows, visit customers or just ride along with our sales folks. Just this week I went on one of these little adventures.   I was in Minneapolis, in February – my timing is not all that great.  On this particular trip there were a number of us who went with our sales rep to visit customers.

    While the concept of the so called HR guy getting out in front of customers is nearly alarming to some folks, I usually get a very positive response.  I recall what one Company President said after I met him at a show. After meeting me he replied “An HR guy, what in the heck are you doing here?”  I simply told him, supporting our sales staff and seeing what our customers need.  He thought about that a moment and said, “hmm sounds like a good idea, maybe I should have my HR people get out and meet with our customers.”

     Ok so the point of this post is not to blow my own horn, but rather to discuss some HR practices I have established that are going on at larger organizations.  My Project Social Partner Laura @workgal is also a remote employee. She works in a large organization, and is faced with many of those remote employee challenges. You can read her take on the subject here.  Now Laura tells me some of my practices are called employee engagement. (Actually I already knew that.). 

     The point is this, My Company’s sales staff do live a long way from corporate headquarters, they do not interact with company employees everyday and what they do for our Company is huge.   Effective employee engagement can run the gambit from being very formal and structured as Laura has discussed in her post, or fairly informal and not too structured, by simply spending some face time with remote employees, talking to them making sure their needs are being met.   Either way can work, but you have to remember them and pay attention to them.  Because if you just assume they are doing their job and everything is ok, – well let’s just say we all know what happens when you ass-u-me!

     
  • Social Media – Outside Human Resources – Are you doing it?

    Here in the HR blogosphere it seems like a small, and dare I call it, an incestuous group of folks.  For those of us active in social media “the cool kids” we all seem to know who one and other are.  I must say though, that I don’t think it is a cliquish group at all, in fact I would even refer to the group as welcoming.

    This is all well and fine.  We talk, blog and tweet about employee engagement, talent management, strategic planning verses tactical activities, with an occasional rant about this or that.  If you are reading this you know the subjects.  Now though – I want to branch out, connect with people in my industry write and talk about the products and services my employer sells and services.

    As I said, those of us in HR, hang with other HR folks. There are lots of answers as to why, and we could comment for days on this, but I won’t.  But now I want to move past this. Most of us who are in this space actually work in some other industry that HR.  As I think about my friends in this space here is what comes to my mind:  retail, health care, not-for-profits, banking, food and beverage and education just to name a few.  I want to be a part of and promote social media in my “other world.”

    My question would be are you doing this.  Are you active in social media outside of the HR space, whatever that may be?  I am not, although I am trying.  Further, I have found that people in my industry are not early adopters and are slow to see value, or practical applications in social media.  So this is part of my challenge.

    So I am trying to formulate a plan to push social media through my industry segment and to position “the HR Official” to be a leader in this space.

    If you have moved your industry segment forward on SM or have posted on this before, share this with me, let me know and help me to build on this concept.

     
  • 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!