HRevolution – Rants and Raves

Mark Stelzner as Donald Trump - sort of

Back in March I did a post following a SHRM conference called Rants and Raves.  Since I have no desire to re-invent the wheel, and I find that the title is the hardest part of my blog to write,  I am going to take the easy way out and offer this  HRevolution version.  This time, though, the rants and raves are not mine – at least not until the end.  These are comments made directly to me by some of the attendees, and not based on anyone’s blog post or tweet.

RANTS

NOT ENOUGH TIME BETWEEN SESSIONS FOR DISCUSSIONS/NETWORKING/CONVERSATIONS – This was by far the most prevalent and consistent comment I received.  People did not want to miss the sessions, but they wanted time to start and continue substantive conversations.  The tweet-ups, with a party-like atmosphere, were good for meeting and greeting, but they wanted quieter time for serious stuff, too.  When asked, people were willing to attend a 2-day session in order to rectify this.

NOT ENOUGH SPACE – Several people thought that Catalyst Ranch, while fun and funky, was not large enough for the attendees to find spots outside of the sessions to talk or even break out into a smaller group.  A related comment was that there were just too many people, making the sessions a little too large for comfortable discussion.

GENERAL SESSION/TRACK GRIPES – Some people wanted more topics lead by working HR practitioners and directly relevant to daily HR functions.  Some wanted fewer sponsor/consultant/non-practitioner speakers and facilitators. While many of the people I spoke with felt some uneasiness with the sessions, they did not articulate their feelings or dissatisfaction as well in this area (unlike the time and space rants).

RAVES

EVENT PLANNING AND LOGISTICS – As a member of the planning committee, it is almost embarrassing to admit that this was the number one rave I received. People were quick to recognize the work involved and seemed happy with the food, tweetups, transportation, information, and cupcakes.

CHICAGO – Even though there are rumblings on Twitter about having a future HRevolution in Hawaii or Las Vegas, many attendees commented to me how perfect the Chicago location was for them from a transportation and travel standpoint.  They liked Chicago and the choices it afforded them.

CONNECTIONS MADE – Many people came specifically for the opportunity and ability to meet others and extend connections with online friends and acquaintances.  While some wished they had been able to do more, many were enthusiastic about the connections they did make.

Now that I have reported on the most frequent rants and raves made by attendees (to me), I am going to indulge myself  just a little and give you a personal rant and rave (just one each!) because I can only shut up for so long. 😉

PERSONAL RANT

There have been a lot of blog posts and tweets about HRevolution.  Some were positive, some were not. Fair enough.  I get the distinct impression, though, that many people made their feelings known only through a blog post or a tweet. No personal contact with, or email or phone call to, a planning committee member – even though contact information for every committee member was given to every participant. Was this you?  It makes me wonder if some people actually listened to some of the messages that were given about the value of connection and communication.  If you have something to say about HRevolution – good or bad – say it on your blog or on Twitter, but say it directly to the people who brought you HRevolution, too.  You can’t have influence and credibility in 140 characters,  so make a meaningful connection and help HRevolution – and yourself – move forward.

PERSONAL RAVE

I was a very small part of a talented and dedicated group of people who helped bring HRevolution to life.  I learned much about effective collaboration and valuable teamwork from this experience, and I have to thank Trish McFarlane, Ben Eubanks, Crystal Peterson, Steve Boese, Mark Stelzner, and Jason Seiden for allowing me to be a part of this team. I am raving about all of them!

IT’S YOUR CHANCE NOW

I chose not to personally comment on the rants and raves of the attendees, because I want to know what YOU think!  Were you there?  Do you agree with anything?  Nothing?  Do you have other experiences that could help make an event like this better for everyone?

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My Dog Is Not A Rock Star – Does Your Employee Have To Be?

Gypsy, the pit bull-lab-rottweiler-who know what else-mix

Yesterday I took all four – yes, four – of my dogs to the vet for routine care, like vaccines and wellness exams. They each weigh around 40 pounds and the bill was enormous.  During the exam, the vet asked the same kind of questions your doctor does during a routine physical, trying to determine if there are any issues or problems that need to be addressed.

During the exam of Gypsy, who was rescued from an abandoned crack house in an ugly part of the city of Detroit, it occurred to me that she has never had any physical problems at all.  She has never thrown up on my carpet or floor, never had kennel cough (despite plenty of exposure in closed quarters to other dogs), and never has ugly gunk running out of an eye.  I will admit that she had a genetic defect (luxating patella) when she was very young, which had to be surgically repaired, but that knee has never given her, or me, a stitch of trouble since. Even her teeth looked the best of the pack, per the vet, even though she is the second-oldest.

My other dogs are Border Collies.  BCs, as we are fond of calling them, are premier athletes.  They play silly dog games like agility, disc dog, and flyball (my game of choice).  They are considered the smartest breed of dog in the world.  They are rock stars of the doggie world.

These rock stars can have health issues, though.  Vomit, kennel cough, eye infections, torn or ripped pads and toenails – my dogs have had or done them all.  One dog has a mysterious arthritic condition in his spine that required two MRI tests and means monthly visits to the chiropractor.  Don’t even ask about the costs.

Gypsy doesn’t play flyball or any other silly doggie sport, but she is loving, energetic, and devoted – the perfect companion dog.

So, to the recruiters and HR pros of the world who might read this, I ask a favor:  The next time you need to hire an employee, think about whether you REALLY need to hire a rock star.  I know the market is buyer friendly right now, so you can get big talent for less money.    Rock stars can do amazing things, but at what cost – particularly in the long term – to you and your organization?

Non-rock stars need and deserve good jobs, too. They may come from humble circumstances without a fancy degree, and they may need a little coaching or patience in the beginning as they find their way in your organization.  The long term return on investment will be substantial, though, and you will find yourself with a rock-solid, devoted employee.

Or would you rather have an employee that burns more brightly for a shorter period of time, with substantial upkeep costs thrown in?

Ike the Border Collie playing flyball
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Carnival of HR – Special Employment Edition

Maybe I should have called it the “Special Unemployed” Edition, because the purpose of this special Carnival is to highlight HR professionals who are unemployed, and these people are all pretty special!

Last week President Obama signed a jobs bill called the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act.  This bill allows companies to avoid paying the employee‘s Social Security payroll tax for the rest of the year, AND allows the company to get a tax credit for next year if they keep that person working a year.  It’s a good deal, so tell your employers to hire one of these people!

DON’T FORGET THAT YOU CAN SHARE THIS POST WITH GROUPS AND CONTACTS ON LINKEDIN and FACEBOOK.

SHAUNA MOERKE, PHR


Shauna is the ringmistress of the Carnival of HR, as well as the founder and co-host of the highly popular HR Happy Hour radio program.  She blogs as the HR Minion and can be found on Twitter using that name.  She is from the Minneapolis-St. Paul area of Minnesota.  You can read here, here,  and here why she is a valuable hire right now.

BENJAMIN McCALL


Ben hails from Cincinnatti, Ohio.  He has his MBA, and blogs at RethinkHR.  You can also find him on Twitter as @benjaminmcall.  If you want to see why he may be right for your organization, read his profile here.

ROBERT TARVER


Bob lives in Virginia, but he would like to relocate to the southwest (Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico) or northern California. He was profiled in the blog Do The Work by Franny Oxford, and you can read about Bob here as well.

KIMBERLY RODEN


Kim is brand new to the blogosphere (here), but she certainly isn’t new to the HR profession.  With 20 years of experience, she is now seeking work in the greater NYC area.  She has been profiled by Tammy Colson‘s Junkyard HR here, and you can find additional credentials on LinkedIn here.

JIM D’AMICO

Jim blogs and writes as HRPufNStuf, and goes by the name @jmdcomedy on Twitter.  He is a talented recruiting manager who lives in Minnesota, but is completely open to relocation.  Don’t hesitate!  Read more about him here and here.

SHENNEE RUTT

Shennee is from  the York, Pennsylvania area and needs to remain nearby.  She blogs at Deeply Rutted and is the co-host of Compassionate HR. Here’s her profile from her archives:

I come from a strong Recruiting/Staffing Industry background. I am passionate and compassionate about the “human” in the Human Resources. What I enjoy the most about human resources is that no day is ever the same, and the challenge of making it work.  Everyday, I strive to learn something new, network, and be inspired by others. Personal/Professional development is a priority to me. Making  a Difference in people’s livelihood is what get’s me going in the morning.  My Human Resources background includes large and small organizations.  I started a blog and I am connected through Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.  I really LOVE working , and really want to get back to it!

What I am looking for:

  • I am based in Manchester, PA South Central PA Area. I am looking for a local commute. Virtual employment would be fantastic. I am married to an IT pro.
  • Human Resources is my focus.  I enjoy Recruiting/Sourcing/Training/Social Media
  • I am looking to collaborate with others,continue to develop my blog, and step outside of my “comfort zone”.
  • I am available to discuss part-time or full-time employment opportunities.

If anyone wishes to discuss this with me. I am available at: www.twitter.com/shennee_rutt www.linkedin.com/shennee

Looking forward to connecting with you soon. Ready to hit the ground running!

AMANDA TARATUSKI, SPHR

Fluent in French, and conversant in Spanish and Mandarin Chinese, this talented woman needs a job in the greater New York City/New Jersey area.  She also blogs at Life Analyzed and can be followed as @ataratus on Twitter.  In her own words:

I am a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources with ten years of progressive experience as a human resource generalist, primarily in the field of legal HR.  I started my career working mostly on international recruiting, but over time I was promoted and given additional responsibilities in talent management, succession/workforce planning and policy development.  I am skilled at evaluating current processes and developing innovative solutions to on-going problems.  I am always looking for ways to be more efficient and effective in my work and encourage others to do the same.  As a leader, I believe that it is important to value my employees’ input and that I can motivate them by helping them to see why their efforts are important in the big picture.  I am looking for a manager or director of HR position in NJ/NYC for a mid to large size organization, focusing on talent management and strategic workforce planning.  My ideal company is one that is invested in their staff, offering training, career advancement and performance compensation, and having a commitment to work/life balance.  For more information about my background and to contact me, see my LinkedIn profile at http://www.linkedin.com/in/ataratuski.  I also maintain a blog at http://analyzedlife.blogspot.com.

JOAN GINSBERG, JD, SPHR

That’s me!  I’ll wrap this up by saying that I live in the Detroit area but I am open to relocation anywhere.  I have been profiled on Punk Rock HR (here) and Do the Work (here). Links to my LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter profiles are on the right column of this page.

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SHRM Employment Law & Legislative Conference 2010 – Rants and Raves

RANTS

The Legal Environment for Business Professionals – this “pre-conference” was my first stop on the first day.  The presenter, Richard Coffinberger, JD, is an Associate Professor at George Mason University.    He teaches a similar course to undergraduate students, and he asked the class if they knew what television show “Shirley Jones was famous for”.  Most of the people in the class knew about The Partridge Family because none of us were 18 years old.  He has obviously never heard about tailoring his presentation to his target audience.  Also, the case he was referring to (Calder v Jones, 465 US 783) was decided by the US Supreme Court in 1983, regarding a National Enquirer article that was published in 1979. It’s OLD, and it’s about in personam jurisdiction.  Why does an HR professional even CARE about in personam jurisdiction?  The man was personable and engaging, but suffered from a serious case of  “needs to update his notes and presentation.”  He also misspoke about the law on one occasion and was promptly chastised by one of the attendees (he called on her before me so I didn’t have the pleasure).

I’m also going to rant a little about SHRM and this same presentation.  It cost an extra $310, and attendees were promised a Certificate of Completion and extra HRCI credits.  There were no Certificates, and they furnished no program number for HRCI.  I submitted for credit without either, but if  HRCI denies my credit I am going to be seriously pissed off.

How to Lobby Your Member of Congress This program was presented by Lisa Horn,  who is from SHRM and works on health care, to explain the “ins and outs” of the scheduled Capitol Hill meetings with members of Congress.  I was fence sitting about going to these meetings, and went to this session to make a decision.  At one point an audience member asked about discussing something other than health care reform or Section 127 of the tax code (regarding extension of employer provided educational assistance), which were the two official topics of these meetings.  Ms. Horn made it very clear that SHRM arranged the Hill visits and attendees were there to promote the SHRM agenda.

Funny me.  I thought SHRM existed in some part to provide benefits and value to their members in exchange for dues and the fees from the conference. I didn’t realize that my conference fee was paying  them to promote their agenda. I got off the fence and didn’t go, because I am not a shill for SHRM.

Cocktails & Conversation – Networking Happy Hour – I always thought that networking meant that people came together and actually spoke to each other. That’s pretty hard to do when SHRM has people speaking from a podium.  In fact, Mary Ellen Slater, Mike VanDervort, Paul Smith and I were getting many dirty looks from others because we were actually talking during this billed-as-a-networking event.  We finally went outside.

Other rants? (1) The lack of diversity of opinion, particularly about social media.  See a great post about this from Mike VanDervort. I was there and he’s not exaggerating; (2) My inability to get breakfast at the Thursday morning session because I was 8 minutes late; (3) A total aversion to networking and conversation from the majority of the attendees. I’ve written about this before, and this conference was no different.  In fact, one presenter had no business cards, and offered no address or phone number of any kind; and (4) A program called To Tweet or Not To Tweet?  Is That the Right Question? given by a presenter who admitted to me that she doesn’t use Twitter.  When I told her that I would like to Tweet the program, she said, “You mean you are going to tell people what I SAY?”

RAVES

Washington, DC in mid-March – The weather was stunningly beautiful, mild and sunny.  I had the opportunity to see many of the monuments and buildings lit during the evening- a beautiful sight.  As I asked a companion as we were walking toward the Library of Congress, “How can anyone come to DC and not be emotionally moved?”

VIP Reception and Tweet-Up – This event, sponsored by the employment law firm of Constangy, Brooks & Smith, was nothing less than stunning.  Held in the Great Hall of the Library of Congress, it offered food, drink, photographers and an awesome view.  OK, there WERE speakers (again!), but the venue was so large that it was easy to ignore them and keep on talking and socializing networking. This was what a “networking event” should be.

Immigration Reform and the Employer – This was one of two different programs on immigration law compliance (a personal favorite topic), and it was easily the most superior (I attended both).  In fact, it was the best of all of the substantive sessions that I attended.  It was led by Stuart Brock, a lawyer out of Charlotte, NC who manages a consulting firm called HR Innovators.  Stuart used facts, not emotion, to make the audience understand the huge shift in immigration law enforcement prompted by the Obama administration.  He made it clear that some opinions could differ, and that some of his recommendations were based on the interests of his clients.  He gave us information and many resources, in an engaging and friendly manner, treating us like thinking adults and not children in need of discipline. At this conference, taught mostly by employment lawyers, that was in very short supply.

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Broadway Musicals and Al Gore

I like all kinds of live theatre, but I am particularly fond of musical theatre  – what many people call “Broadway musicals”.  I like musicals so much that I read books about them, listen to cast albums, and attend performances at all levels, including local high schools.  I follow many musical-related sites on Twitter; my favorite is @DailyShowtune.

Unfortunately, I am also hyper-critical, which sometimes makes it very difficult to enjoy watching shows.  If a musical takes place in 1958, like Bye, Bye Birdie, and the actors are wearing 1995 shoes, I go a little berserk.  Don’t even think about using a 1960’s radio as a prop in a show set in the 1940’s.  I don’t like the concept of  jukebox musicals (musicals that are written around a song catalog of one artist, like Jersey Boys) at all.  When I see these things, I see so much red that it is hard for me to concentrate on the rest of the show.

So when I am squirming in my seat, trying to ignore Emile de Becque (you know, the guys who sings Some Enchanted Evening)  wearing a Detroit Red Wings tie in a local community theatre production of South Pacific (yes, this really happened), I take a deep breath and say to myself:  What can I find to really LOVE about this show?

Inevitably, I will find something I really love – like the costumes, or a particular performance, or the sets.  Turning aside my critical feelings and finding the good stuff – it’s always there somewhere – keeps me in my seat for the whole show, even though the accepted theatre-goers response to show dislike is to get up and leave.

So what does this have to do with Al Gore? Or HR?

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) announced that Al Gore was going to be the featured speaker at their big, brassy annual convention in San Diego in June 2010.  There was an immediate amount of backlash and negative discussion prompted by his selection, including negative bloggers and a highly critical discussion on LinkedIn.  Many people said they would not go to his speech, or to the convention itself, because of his selection.

See the connection?  These people are letting this one small piece of hyper-criticism destroy their love of the whole.  And if they don’t love the whole, why do they care if Al Gore speaks or not?  I hope these people re-evaluate their positions and decide that it is not worth walking out on SHRM Annual just because they don’t like or agree with Al Gore and/or his politics.  If they LOOK FOR SOMETHING TO LOVE, even in his speech,  I bet they’ll find it.  Maybe he’ll be wearing great shoes.

Audience walks out – why do they come back?

HR 101 – HR and the Law – Part 2

If you haven’t had enough law related information this week, head on over to Creative Chaos Consultant.  I am happy and humbled to be part of the “HR101” series, where guests explore different aspects of HR management.  The focus of the entire series is the small and medium- sized business owner.  This week I offered HR and the Law-Part 2, which discusses some laws that affect HR and why compliance with those laws is good business.

HR and the LAW (Part 1)

(This blog first appeared as a guest post at Creative Chaos Consultant.  Thanks to VM for giving me the opportunity to post it there and inviting me to cross-post it here.)

Everyone who is a human resources practitioner in the United States has their professional life impacted by employment law.  In fact, the smaller your HR department and company, the larger your direct role in legal compliance probably is. Even VPs of HR, whose entire job may be to determine strategic initiatives, don’t move without considering if those initiatives are legal.

So how does HR learn the law and become the company employment law guru? How can HR use existing employment law – often seen as a liability – as a leveraging tool for positive change?

Each one of those questions require a lot of words to discuss and answer in any meaningful way, so there will be a full blog devoted to each topic.

HR and LAW – Part 1

law

People just don’t play together nicely sometimes. That’s why laws exist.  Think of your company’s internal “laws” – the rules, policies, and procedures.  Why do you even have them?  You have them because the long history of the human race shows us that people, as a species, can’t always be trusted to behave the way they should.  Laws and rules are based on evidence of bad behavior.  Back in the Industrial Age, when the USA was moving from an agrarian society into an industrial/commercial giant, employers were not playing fair. So state and federal legislators began requiring or prohibiting certain behavior from the employer.  And that legislative push is not stopping anytime soon, because people – and the companies they run – are still not always good sandbox buddies.  So my first rule for the HR practitioner who wants to be legally compliant (and keep their company out of expensive employment law trouble) is:

  • PLAY NICELY AND BEHAVE

Change your behavior if you need to; don’t force lawyers to make you treat your employees fairly.

It’s too late to make that your total strategy, though, because there are already tons and tons of laws on the books that you have to adhere to, no matter how nicely you are playing today.  This means that you actually have to KNOW some law, as much as it may hurt.  But how do you get that legal knowledge?

Many HR departments are totally dependent on counsel, either outside or in-house.  I’m not against that strategy (I am, after all, a lawyer), but I don’t recommend an attorney as your exclusive source of legal knowledge unless your company is large enough to have in-house employment/labor counsel. (More on this subject in a minute.) For most HR practitioners, and for those HR Generalists working in a solo environment, I say:

  • GET A MANUAL

You heard me.  Get a comprehensive manual that is written (1) by lawyers in your state, (2) for an organization that represents businesses, (3) is updated at least every two years, and (4) covers both state and federal laws.  Yes, they are usually a little pricey, but they are far cheaper than calling outside counsel every time you have a question. If you have in-house employment counsel, go borrow theirs, because I guarantee you they have one.

I can’t recommend a specific manual because you need one that covers your own state as well as federal law.  I’m located in Michigan, and I prefer the manuals published by the Michigan Chamber of Commerce (The Employment Law Handbook), and the Institute for Continuing Legal Education (Employment Law in Michigan, An Employer’s Guide). No one paid me to say that.

I don’t recommend doing legal research on the web, because the information is far flung and often informal, and you need to ask a really pointed, specific question to gain anything valuable. It also takes a long time to sift through all of the noise.  Use the manual first, and then supplement the details on the web if you need to. If you insist on using the web, try the official government site for the bureau that monitors the specific law, like the federal Department of Labor.

Unfortunately, a manual is only going to go so far.  It will give you some sound guidelines for your company behavior and requirements, but there may be issues or specific problems that need a more knowledgeable take, because I know you are not going to memorize that entire manual.  So dealing with an attorney is not only inevitable, but often desirable. I have words of caution on this subject, though:

  • GET AN ATTORNEY WHOSE WORK YOU LOVE

Most people and companies spend far more time agonizing over what type of computer to buy than what type of legal services to buy.   If you have actually used your manual and have some knowledge of the law, buying your legal service will become an easier task.  Repeat that:  YOU are the buyer. Your company pays the attorney, and they provide service to you. If you are not happy with that service – CHANGE IT. It’s a lot easier than changing your HRIS.

Here are some of my feelings about the type of lawyer to hire (both in-house and outside counsel):

  • Find an employment/labor law specialist.  Don’t hire or use your cousin just because they are cheap and available.
  • Find a “can do” attorney.  One of the biggest complaints of HR pros is that the attorney always tells them what they CAN’T do, instead of helping them DO it properly.  It’s an entirely valid complaint.  Yes, there are attorneys who help companies find a solution, instead of always telling them “don’t”, or “you can’t”.  They’re out there – look harder.
  • Have a voice in hiring your labor/employment attorney. This may be the most critical component of all.  If you need someone to help YOU with your human resources legal compliance, why would YOU let someone else decide who that person is going to be? You would not let someone else take away your decision on other HR resources to purchase or use.  Don’t do it with this most valuable of all your resources.
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HRevolution – The Future of HR

Saturday afternoon the gloves came off.

The last session of the HRevolution un-conference, introduced in my previous blog, was called “The Future of HR”.  It was facilitated by the incomparable Mark Stelzner, whose admitted purpose was “to be provocative and shake the room up a bit.”  His mission was well accomplished, and the passionate discussion was described by @KristaFrancis on Twitter: Great minds *don’t* think alike and that’s a good thing.  Mark summed up the discussion on his blog, but I want to focus on this particular statement:

There was a great discussion on how people need to quit their HR jobs if they are that miserable. In other words, stop complaining and lamenting your non-strategic role and instead find a company that values your contribution.

That “call to action” has been repeated since on blogs (here ), and the HR Happy Hour blog talk radio show.

Ouch.

Why does it pain me to hear and read that people who want to make a difference should just quit their jobs and go elsewhere? Because it’s a strategy that’s far too over-simplified, and the consequences of failure are too dangerous for that simplification.  I speak from personal experience.

My Personal History

I come from a small (less than 50 employees) food processing/manufacturing plant.  My husband and his partner own the business.  When I began working there, no one knew exactly what my role was going to be.  I fell into an HR function almost immediately, because there was NO HR function there at all.  I started learning, and I made myself a HR Manager/Generalist.  I had a seat at that strategic table, usually at the head.  I made those P&Ls sing.

So why did I leave in June 2008?  Because I had a nagging feeling that there was more evolving to be done, and I couldn’t do it where I was.  There is only so far you can go in a really small company before some of the work becomes redundant, and some becomes impossible. So I quit (read: no unemployment benefits) and went looking for a company that would “value my contributions”.

It’s now November 2009 and I have yet to find that company.  Telling a recruiter or a hiring manager that I left my job because “I needed new challenges” makes them hang up on me.  Layoffs and downsizings create sympathy, self-indulgence does not.

I’m lucky – my husband still owns the company and has a job, so I still have sufficient funds to go to un-conferences and listen to people tell me to do what I’ve already done.  But suppose I was a sole breadwinner with kids to support and a mortgage to meet?  That strategy would have placed a lot of other people in jeopardy.  Is Laurie Ruettiman’s philosophy is the better one? She says, ” You get a paycheck. Be happy.”

Going Forward

By sharing that with you, I want to emphasize a point that was touched on at HRevolution but not sufficiently embraced: the enlightened HR group that we are a part of is a very tiny minority of the entire HR population.  The solutions and suggestions we propose inside of our “HR echo chamber”  will not be embraced by them  and will often be actively resisted.  We need to help others examine themselves and their roles to see how they can evolve and revolutionize, even if circumstances and paychecks keep them in their positions.  A large majority of HR pros don’t even know that people and technology exist to help them make this journey.  In other words, they don’t read our blogs.  Until a very short time ago, I was one of those people.

When Alicia Arenas asked us in a video to leave HRevolution with a commitment to spread the message, she mentioned college students and local SHRM chapters as examples of avenues to spread our enlightenment. Let’s collectively think of more, and start an outreach program, because we will not succeed without  converting others. With that in mind, I am picking up the flag of  HRevolution and making this commitment:

I will use social media, personal connections, and any other soapbox that is available to me to encourage, aid, and advise HR Pros and other business professionals to embark on a course of personal development that will expand their knowledge and engage and enlighten others.

By doing this, I hope to move past the idea that HR people should just be happy to get a paycheck.  The people I will try to reach may not be able to leave their companies, but they may be able to avoid doing everything “The Company Way.”  Viva la revolution!

The Company Way




HRevolution – Beginnings

I attended a strange and amazing “unconference” two days ago.  It was called HRevolution and it was a collection of HR and recruiting pros coming together to discuss social media and its intersection with their professional life.  It was the first out-of-town HR conference I had ever attended, made up mainly of bloggers (including Twitter micro-bloggers).  The ideas flew fast and furiously, and I already have several HR University lesson plans in the works based on thoughts generated at the Revolution. Those lessons will have to be spread out over several posts, but I want to start here with some introductory remarks about the Revolution in general:

  • One of the attendees at HRevolution, Frank Zupan, lives and work in Cleveland.  He eats corned beef at a deli called Slyman’s; they buy corned beef made at United Meat & Deli (UMD) in Detroit.  The corned beef is injected/pumped with pickling brine with a machine operated by Joaquin Arredondo.  Joaquin is a permanent resident alien (has a green card) – a status that I helped him obtain as the HR manager at UMD.  That circle (Frank to Joaquin to me to Frank) of connectivity wasn’t created by HRevolution or Twitter, but it was discovered there.  It makes a compelling argument for the continuing exploration of social media, and it slaps the argument that “people only connect on social media because they can’t connect in person” right in the face.
  • Laurie Ruettiman of Punk Rock HR is a true superstar of the HR blogosphere.  Ooohs and aaahs were audible when she arrived, and I am old enough to be her mother.  In fact, I discovered through conversation with her that I am older than her mother. But she, like the other Gen X and Ys present (which was most of the room), was absolutely energizing.  Boomers like me can learn a lot from these smart kids, if we will listen.
  • None of the attendees at HRevolution had met me before; they only knew who I was because of my Twitter presence. Yet almost everyone who knew who I was (because of my avatar) hugged me. It was marvelous because I really like hugging.
  • HRevolution attendees have an absolute fascination with bacon.  I have no idea what the origin of this fascination is, or why it continues.  I am happy to indulge the fascination, though.  The first HRevolution attendee who comments (10 words or more required) on this blog post will receive the book “Zingerman’s Guide to Better Bacon” as a gift from me.

bacon-book

More lessons to follow; stay tuned!

Welcome to HR University

“There are two ways of spreading light; to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it” – Edith Wharton

Remember your undergraduate days?  Not every professor wrote their own textbook.  In fact, most professors that did write their own textbook – and used it exclusively in class – were pretty boring teachers.  The best professors, and your favorites, were the ones who culled information from a variety of sources – including the students in the class – and helped put that information together in a fun, informative, cohesive way.  Discussion was a huge part of this process.

With that in mind, I am launching this blog and calling it HR University.  I’ll try to be a good teacher about any and all things Human Resources related.   Not everything discussed here will be original or novel (perhaps not anything; we’ll see.) but hopefully we will work together to be mirrors that reflect and champion the best knowledge and practices and then pass them on.

Like a brick and mortar university, a lot of the discussion/learning may be about things other than HR.  In undergrad, we learned a lot in the dorm or the dining hall.  These were good things; life lessons that we still use every day.  I learned to like and drink beer in undergrad.  It had nothing to do with my academic major, but it helped develop knowledge of teamwork and achieving a common goal.  So virtual beer drinking will probably show up in this blog, too.

Questions and comments will be welcomed and answered.  I’m getting a little bit of a late start on this academic year, so let’s roll!