Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

If you are a HR/Talent Management pro, buy yourself an early present

November 22, 2011

There is an event coming to the Chicago area that all recruiters and HR pros need to attend. On December 5, TNL, the Recruitment Holiday Conference is happening in Aurora. You need to be there and here is why:

If you’re frustrated trying to find qualified candidates …

… or a flood of resumes from the wrong applicants …

… if you want to place more candidates faster …

… then this is important.

Here’s why: To find and place the best candidates, you must use the best practices.

Otherwise, that “A” player gets hired by somebody else.

But where do you find the latest and best recruitment methods?

You can read all the books and blogs in the world … or attend a dull, expensive HR conference … but most are just re-hashed versions of “me-too” techniques that stopped working 5 years ago.

Or, you can attend …

TNL National
(The Recruitment Holiday Conference)
December 5th at
Job Search Television Network  HQ

in Aurora, IL.

The experts and speakers you will learn from include:

John Sumser                   Lars Schmidt

Dan Arkind                      Veronica Ludwig

Matt Charney                  Geoff Webb

Craig Fisher                     Marianthe Verver

Crystal Miller                Elizabeth Lalli-Reese

Amber Osborne            Kevin Grossman

Maren Hogan                 Jason Seiden

Joel Cheesman              Sara White

Laurie Reuittimann

Now you ask, “How Much?”  Well, if you go to the official site, register and enter the promotional code “Fishdogs”, you can see this all for an amazing price.  SHHH, don’t tell anyone but it is $75.

If the price and speaker list isn’t enough, check out the agenda.  If that and the price and the speaker list isn’t enough…sorry, I am out of ideas.

I don’t often promote conferences, products or seminars, but this one is special.  It promises to be one of the top events of its like in Chicago this year.  I hope to see you there for this special event…oh, did I mention that there is a tweet-up too?


‘Cause that’s the way its always been done

July 5, 2011

Those who know me well are not surprised that I watched the movie “Gettysburg” this weekend. It is a tradition for me to watch it at some point during the anniversary of the battle, July 1-3. Yes I am a Civil War history nerd.

One thing that always strikes me in the movie and Civil War history in general is the amount of death and casualties caused by failure to adapt military operations to the technology that evolved right before the Civil War. The American Civil War was the first conflict to use submarines, ironclad warships, land and water mines, repeating rifles and aerial observation effectively.

In the battle and movie “Gettysburg”, the one thing that strikes me is the failure of the infantry to adapt their tactics to the improvement in weapons that occurred since the Napoleonic era when the tactics were devised.  Smoothbore muskets were replaced by rifles and artillery was improved, both increasing the range and effectiveness of those against infantry charges.  This was very evident in the failure of the climax of the battle, Pickett’s Charge.  For those unfamiliar with the event, it was a charge by over 15000 Confederate troops over 1000 yards of open ground, subject to artillery fire all the way and rifle fire a good portion of it.  Needless to say, the casualties were horrible with over 50% of those involved being killed or wounded.  The reason the charge was done that way is basically that’s how general’s were taught and until the Civil War, that was the way it was done.

How this ties into HR or management is the reluctance of many in our profession to embrace new technology  or change because “that’s the way its always been done”.  If there is a phrase that I have detested since entering management, it is that tired old excuse for not looking at new things.  You need to at least investigate the new ideas to see how it will affect how you do your job or business.  After thorough research, you can then decide if the new way of doing things is or is not for you or your organization.  To use an old cliché, you can’t drive forward by always looking in the rear view mirror.

Check out technology and new methods to see how it is changing the battlefield.  If you don’t, you could easily end up as a casualty.

Ask for permission or forgiveness?

June 16, 2011

As many of you know, one of my non-HR passions is the study of the Civil War. I have a sight I check daily on what happened on this date in Civil War history. The entry for June 16 caused me to bring up a bit of correlation to HR and management in general.

On June 16, 1862, Union General Henry Benham was defeated in an attempt to retake Charleston, SC, at the Battle of Secessionville.  The details of the battle aren’t of major importance but what happened after is what struck me.  Three days after the battle, General Benham was arrested for attacking without permission.  Huh? 

In those days, obtaining permission to take action would  have required days if not weeks in communication (remember, no iPhones or Twitter back then), various high level meetings to give the blessing to a go/no go decision and relaying the message back.  Here is a general taking initiative to exploit what he thought had been a weakness.  If he had won, it would have been a MAJOR victory for the North, taking back what was looked at as the hot bed of the Civil War and the place where it started (Fort Sumter).  Instead, he lost and got busted, never to be heard from again.  I wonder if he would have been arrested had he won?

The message to me would be no matter how you weigh risk vs reward, don’t move without permission.  How many of you can relate to this “lesson”?

ADA tees it up

May 26, 2011

May is the 10 year anniversary of an intersection of sports and employment legislation, the case of Casey Martin vs the PGA.

For those not familiar with the case, Casey Martin was an accomplished collegiate golfer (and a one-time teammate of Tiger Woods at Stanford) who wanted to take his talent to the next level, that being the PGA.  There was just one catch, Casey had a disability that kept him from walking the course while playing (he had a condition that made his leg extremely fragile), so he needed a cart.  Carts are allowed at the NCAA and some other pro tours, but not the PGA, the “major league” of pro golf.  So he asked for what he thought was a reasonable accommodation, to be able to use a cart while playing.

The PGA said no way, walking was a critical part of the game.  That lead to a lawsuit filed under the Americans with Disabilities Act, as far as I know the only one filed against a professional sport.   Martin had all the necessary documentation showing he had a legimate condition that met the qualifications under ADA.  The PGA thought the use of a cart was not a reasonable accomodation in that it would drastically  alter the sport.  The use of a cart would be an unfair advantage to Martin.   They had 2 of the biggest names in golf, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus, giving depositions against having to accomodate Martin.

Well, in a 7-2 desicion, the Supreme Court held that the PGA had to accomodate Martin by allowing him to use a cart.  All of the doom that the PGA was predicting  if they were forced to accomodate Martin never came to happen.  Casey won one tournament in his brief career and was out of pro golf in a few years.  The flood of requests for carts that the PGA predicted never came about.  In fact since then, they have had one request and that was for a heart transplant patient who used the cart only for a short time.

This history lesson is to point out that reasonable accomodation will usually not bring about the demise of an organization and collapse of Western Civilization.  Look long and hard at how you evaluate any accomodation requests and pick your fights wisely.

For more information on the legal battle, see the site that ESPN has for the case.

A not so happy anniversary

April 12, 2011

This post has nothing to do with HR (or does it?), so please indulge me.

Today is the 150th anniversary of the firing on Fort Sumter, in the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina, the opening shot of the Civil War. No event, with possible exception of the Revolutionary War, has had the impact on the US that the Civil War had.

The Civil War was the first “modern” war with a long list of innovations that changed the face of warfare for ever.  Included in this are the use of telegraph and railroads, ironclads and hospital ships,  machine guns and organized field hospitals.  It had changed the government by introducing income tax, voting for soldiers on active duty, the first cigarette tax and the Secret Service.  Media changed as it had the first use of press coverage from battlefields as well as the first battle photography.

The political fallout from the war lasted well into the 20th century and some say hasn’t ended.  The Civil Rights Act and the attached voting rights bills of the 60’s still fought for the freedom of African-Americans that supposedly was solved with emancipation.  Regional politics, especially in the South, can be directly tied to the Civil War.  We are still arguing the best way to tax income in the US that started during the Civil War.

It resulted in the death of a huge chunk of American men in that era.  Over 620,000 men died in battle with many more dying due to illness, hunger and non-battle related causes.  More died in the Civil War than died in both World Wars combined.

The Civil War has had influence on management.  There have been books published on lessons learned during the war and even specific battles.  The Conference Board even has a seminar on leadership lessons learned at the Battle of Gettysburg.  For those interested in hearing about that experience, see Trish McFarlane’s blog, HR Ringleader, and do a search for her entries on the subject Gettysburg.

Those of you who know me know I am passionate about Civil War history.  This is probably not the last you will hear from me on the subject so indulge me.

The future of the profession

April 11, 2011

I spent last weekend volunteering as a presentation judge for the North Central SHRM Student Case Competition at Lewis University in Romeoville, IL. It is an event where SHRM Student chapters throughout the 10 state region sent members to compete as teams in an event where they receive a case study in the morning and after a short 4 hour prep time, present a 2 page executive summary and a 15 minute presentation on their solution to the study. In addition to the competition, there were sessions presented by HR pros on networking, strategic HR and the HR profession, as well as opportunities for the students to network among themselves and the HR professionals there as volunteers.

I have been a volunteer in student competitions for years, mostly in the HR Games format.  That format (think HR jeopardy) was great for recitation of knowledge but those of us who have done this for a while realized it is just not remembering what FMLA stands for or what Griggs vs Duke Power decided.  It is taking that knowledge and applying it to our work.  While definitely not as exciting, the case competition is truly more real world.  Hopefully, both can coexist at the state and regional level.

I was impressed to see the professionalism shown in the presentations and presence of the students under such situations.  They all pulled together coherent thoughts and analysis on short notice.  It goes to the preparation and education given them by their advisors and professors.  It does give me hope that those coming into the field will add to the professionalism and quality of the profession.  Props to my friends  like Matt Stollack from St. Norberts, Jeffrey Walls from Indiana Institute of Technology and  Joseph Goodman from Illinois State University for taking their jobs and responsibility to heart.

Also kudos go to the professionals who gave up part or most of their weekend to support the future of HR.  Thank you Donna, Dave, Jodi, Michelle, Carolyn, Mel, Kraig, Janelle and the rest of you who sat inside on a nice Saturday to do what you did.  Finally thanks to the SHRM staff for their effort in running the event.  Always good to see Pam, Martha, Laurie, Maureen, Kristine and Chuck.  I know it is your job, but you do it with passion and energy.

If you ever get a change to get involved with HR students, do it.  It will energize and give you hope.

What an amazing effort…

March 20, 2011

This post has nothing to do with Human Resources but everything to do with human achievement.

I’ve just witnessed one of the most amazing moments of achievement I’ve seen in my life. I am a fan of amateur wrestling, especially at the collegiate level. Tonight is the championships matches of the NCAA season and the first match was just….unbelievable. Anthony Robles, a 125 lb competitor, won his final match of his college career, winning the weight class for himself and his school, Arizona State. That by itself is a truly great accomplishment.

What makes this totally amazing is that Anthony Robles was born without a right leg. To reach that level of athletic championship with a fully functioning body is an achievement of extraordinary feat but to do while dealing such a “handicap” is unparalleled in my memory. The dedication and discipline that would be required by him to reach that level of skill, strength and conditioning is beyond my comprehension.   I would encourage anyone looking for an inspiration to deal with your troubles or problems in life to check out Anthony’s story and hopefully find his final match on the web.  It brought chills to me to be able to see such an event.

It was so inspiring that it even brought me to the point of cheering for an athlete to defeat a Hawkeye athlete….for those who know me hopefully realize how much it meant for me to be inspired by Mark Robles achievement.  Thanks to that wrestler for the inspiration.

Just a quick update, Anthony was given the award for Most Outstanding Wrestler for the NCAA Division I tournament.  Outside of an Olympic gold medal or world championship, this is the most prestigious award a wrestle can attain.

You can see a short clip of ESPN’s coverage of Anthony’s amazing effort here.

2011 Predictions We Would Like to See

December 30, 2010

After reading one too many posts on predictions for HR in the year 2011, I decided that we needed to get to the “real” predictions.  So I turned to some HR thoughts leaders on what they really thought would happen in the next year.  Let’s check back in a year and see how many came true:

“Seat at the table” will be replaced with “engaging in strategic workforce initiatives by leveraging ideation.” 

The HR blogosphere will generate hundreds of articles full of amazing, useful, and witty content. All ten of their readers will rejoice. 

A handful of (slightly crazy) people will visit HR conferences. Every. Single. One. The sad part is that the content is 90% the same across all of them.

HRevolution will break away from the US and start its own country. Capital city: Baconville

In 2011, the SHRM Board of Directors will vote to decrease their pay by 20%… 

In 2011, the term “HR Bloggers” will be outlawed and replaced with “Social Media Personalities”…

In 2011, most HR leaders will focus on the Top Performers leaving… this will create much angst for the folks right behind the top performers.  Let’s call them the “Under Top Performers”.  Just wait until they get calls from recruiters.  Gone baby gone…

In 2011, will become a huge sensation… leading to a reality TV show no doubt…

In 2011, SHRM will reach out to urban/hip hop community and book Lil Wayne (AKA Weezy F Baby) as the main keynote speaker for SHRM National 2012…

In 2011, Marijuana will be legalized nationally… leaving many drug screening companies and HR leaders in a quandary.  What will be the new gateway drug?  Scotch?

In 2011, entrepreneurship as we know it will die because all of the folks that were forced into becoming entrepreneurs will get “real” jobs / careers…  

In 2011, consolidation of HR communities will happen…, SHRM, HCI, IHRIM will all form one dysfunctional HR community rather than keeping them all separate….

Snuggie sales will skyrocket in 2011 after the release of the much-awaited book ‘Snuggie Sutra’.

2011 will be the year of real fingernails and not carrying Coach bags for the HR ladies.  That was so 2010.

SHRM will not only provide recert credits for listening to the HR Happy Hour, they will ask the hosts to MC the annual conference!

There will be an iPhone app where employees can anonymously tell managers to get out of the way of productivity. Maybe your phone buzzes every time your employees see you operating as a jerk, a negative force, or a roadblock.

SHRM will explore ways to recruit members from outside of our solar system in order to truly demonstrate it is the voice of the HR profession

The heads of HRCI Re-certification Reps will explode as they try to appropriately “judge” whether submitted HR blog posts meet the stated criteria for HRCI re-cert credit

HR departments will refuse to write any silly policies to eliminate knee jerks from health care claims.

SHRM will do nothing to tick off any of its 250,000 members….but not accomplish anything.

I would like to thank the distinguished panel of Robin Schooling, Tara Arthur, Laurie Ruettimann, Shaunna Moerke, April Dowling, Trish McFarlane, William Tincup, Ben Eubanks and Steve Browne for consulting their crystal or Magic 8 balls.  Feel free to add your predictions, the more the merrier.

Merry Christmas…Happy Holidays

December 24, 2010

Just a happy holidays wish from me to you.  May your holidays be filled with family, friends, food and joy…oh yeah, some blues would be good too.

A Job to Die For?

December 7, 2010

In prepping to teach a class in safety and risk management for Northern Illinois University’s SHRM Learning System program, I stumbled across a disturbing number. In 2009, 4340 workers died on American jobs. That, my friends, is a shame.

Granted the numbers have dropped from the previous year (5214), it is still a number to be concerned about. Those 4340 deaths in the single year is almost more than the total number of US deaths in Iraq (4429) since the start of that war in 2001.  It is more than 3 times the number of US deaths in Afghanistan (1418) since the start of operations there.

In a historical perspective, it is many more than died at Pearl Harbor (2402) on December 7, 1941 by almost 2000.  Compared to the bloodiest day of on the Western Hemisphere, the battle of Antietam in the Civil War (over 3500 dead), it is almost 800 more workplace deaths.  A more recent comparison, deaths on 9/11 were 2977 compared to the 4340 and 5214 workplace deaths in 2009 and 2008.

My point in showing these comparisons is that for the most part, all workplace deaths are avoidable.  Throughout my HR career (mostly in manufacturing), safety has been part of my job descriptions and duties.  It is one I take very seriously because while all other HR duties are important, safety IS a life and death matter.  If a worker’s check gets screwed up, they will still go home that night.  If something drastically goes wrong in safety, someone can die.  Granted many HR professionals do not handle safety, I still believe it needs to be a stronger emphasis in the profession, especially taking into consideration the increase of workplace violence and bullying over the last few years.

As I said, I believe that most (if not all) workplace deaths and injuries can be prevented.  HR, especially trench HR, needs to be trained better to spot and correct safety issues and eliminate unsafe conditions and acts.