Archive for General HR

This is Modern Day Recruiting – LIVE from #gbrshrm14

bridge2I’m attending the Greater Baton Rouge SHRM Annual Conference today along with several hundred of my fellow HR professionals. We have coffee, croissants and, theoretically, cocktails at the post-conference Happy Hour.

Mid-morning I’m sitting in a session with Kara Blumberg, Director of Professional Services, with Hirevue, discussing Modern Day Recruiting.

Kara highlighted what she identifies as three trends driving modern day recruiting:

Recruiting must be Personal

Recruiting is personal and people want their stories to be heard. In addition, the horrendous ‘candidate black hole’ surfaces (boo!) and everything quickly becomes impersonal for, well, most everyone. Use tools and tech to assist but remember to  tell your stories and keep things authentic.

Recruiting drives Business Value

The reality is that HR/Talent Management professionals struggle with trying to fulfill all their responsibilities and have for years. Today, however, executives realize they need HR pros with a talent focus as TALENT is a primary concern for every organization. YOU (HR people!) can get your CEO’s eye by creating a ‘Talent Name’ for yourself. Add business value by focusing on talent needs…and executing well!

Data Science

Kara made the prediction – “in the near future, every HR Department will have a Data Scientist on staff…OR the Data Scientists will replace HR.”  (Gasps, disagreement and “but what about the need for HR to be people-people?” came up.)

And I get it. It’s frightening for many HR practitioners who have not felt the need to stay on top of trends Who have not realized that HR must have a future focus. Who have long considered technology and data and analytics to be something that resides in the server room with the IT Department.

So in the end, this was a great session for our Baton Rouge HR Community; I’ve long tried to be a resource and share information so I appreciate any and every opportunity when learning on these topics occurs.  I hope many of them read this recap of the #HRTechConf from Josh Bersin – The Top 10 Disruptions In HR Technology: Ignore Them At Your Peril.

As Kara commented when wrapping up - “The bus is full; but if you’re not on it….another bus is coming!”

Changing the Conversation about Diversity & Inclusion – #SHRMDiv

s_HomeI had the opportunity to attend the SHRM Diversity & Inclusion Conference and Exposition in New Orleans on Monday and was just enraptured; it was my first time attending this particular SHRM conference.

I could tell, right out of the gate, that this event was going to be a bit different than the typical HR event (SHRM or otherwise) geared towards the masses of HR practitioners trying to scoop up re-certification credits. It was small (500 or so attendees I would estimate) and the energy, passion and excitement was palpable. Smart, authentic, honest and human conversations were happening all around me as soon as I walked in and sat down for the opening general session.

During the session, after we all did a brief activity with the person sitting next to us (talking about unconscious bias), a few people shared their thoughts with the larger audience. When an HR/D&I pro stood up and said “As a gay black male here is what I experience everyday….” it was confirmed for me yet again that this was not your mama’s HR conference. I’ve been to HR conferences with your mama (and your daddy). Sometimes she’s racist, homophobic and judgmental; she quite possibly would have rolled her eyes at this guy’s honesty.

And it was the honesty I appreciated so much at this conference; people (HR people!) were their most authentic selves at every turn. No one was afraid to point out the absurdities of some of the residual attitudes they encounter every day in their D&I work. In a session I attended the speaker said “I’m a white middle-aged male. My friends don’t understand how it came to be that I’m speaking at a Diversity conference.” (and all of us in the room chuckled knowingly).

We didn’t hear chatter about EEO-1 reports or affirmative action. We didn’t sit through sessions run by the EEOC. Rather we had the chance to discuss “Building an ROI-Focused Diversity Scorecard” and “Assessing and Developing Passion for Global Diversity.” There were session offerings about religious diversity, using Six Sigma to link innovation with diversity, and how to address the biases that exist against the unemployed.

As Dr. Shirley Davis (SHRM’s former VP of Global Diversity & Inclusion and Workforce Strategies) told me during a video interview we did “we have changed the conversation about what diversity and inclusion is.”

I agree. We have. But our continuing work is getting all HR practitioners invested in that conversation.

Here’s the deal: I’m a SHRM member, former chapter president, and long time volunteer leader at the state level and I travel around quite a bit and see activities at the chapter level far and wide. Many SHRM chapters and state councils now have a Diversity Director position on their board and quite a number of chapters (and state councils) promote “Diversity Awards.” Yet I can tell you that the old conversation still reigns supreme as race and gender (with a smattering of generational diversity) continue to be the overwhelming topic of D&I talk. Compliance and coded keywords are prevalent. Too often, in my estimation, when HR practitioners say “we have a diverse workforce” they are merely doing a mental tabulation of their workforce demographics: white vs. black, old vs. young, males vs. females.

How do we disrupt that?

The Monday afternoon keynote speaker Daymond John, said something that is wildly appropriate to everything we do in HR but especially in our approach to building and embracing inclusion:


“The world is getting smaller and there is disruption in every industry.

We can either take advantage of that … or we will fall by the wayside.”


Let’s not fall by the wayside.

Making the Unconscious Conscious – Live from #SHRMDiv

s_HomeI’m excited to be attending the SHRM Diversity & Inclusion Conference and Exposition in New Orleans today; it’s the first time I’ve been able to attend this event and want to thank SHRM for inviting me to participate as a blogger. Rumor has it I might be doing some video interviews later today as well (stay tuned) so I best get my camera-face ready. Or something.

SHRM’s CHRO, Jeff Pons, kicked off the conference with a lively and interactive session where we had the opportunity (challenge?) of discussing unconscious bias at our tables. We also watched “Making the Unconscious Conscious” – a super video from Google (Life at Google). Go watch it. It’s worth it

And then, dear reader, I implore you to share it with your organizational leaders, HR colleagues and others who can benefit.

It’s an important conversation to have.

p.s. follow the conference hashtag #SHRMDiv through Wednesday!

More Than a Feeling: Relationships at Work

notes time capsuleIn the mid 90’s I left my position as HR Director with a 100-employee not-for-profit agency to slide back into in-house recruiting as the Employment Manager with a much larger organization (4,800+ employees). I wanted to get back into managing a recruiting function as well as work for an organization with, let’s face it, deeper pockets than the NFP where we used scratch pads and paper clips instead of wasting precious dollars on Post-It notes. (We also didn’t have our own fax machine because it was too expensive. To send or receive a fax – mid 90’s remember – we walked two blocks to the neighboring hospital where we were allowed to use the fax machine in the hospital CEO’s office. In Wisconsin. In winter. I am not even kidding.)

So I made a move. And even though I knew I was making a strategic career change, I hesitated before accepting the new opportunity. Why? Primarily because I was leaving peers, colleagues and friends with whom I had built extraordinarily tight bonds. Yes – even as the head of HR (also managing 8 staff members in various departments) I had friends; people with whom I built deep and abiding relationships.

Why? Because our culture supported, promoted and encouraged it. We went to each others’ homes and attended weddings, funerals and christenings together. I used to go for dinner and chill out for hours at my boss’ house drinking wine. I babysat her dog. I once took a vacation with some co-workers. (“Oh the horror! You worked in HR” I can hear some of you saying).

I adored those people.

On my last day of employment there was a going-away party at a local watering hole filled with laughter, pictures and merriment. While I received lovely tchotkes and gifts from various people, I received one item that caused me to break into tears right there with my vodka and tonic in hand. I received a “time capsule” container into which every employee in the organization had placed a handwritten note for me. I was told to read them (en masse or one at a time) whenever I wanted a reminder of what I meant to people or how I had impacted the organization. Yeah. See why I wept?

I thought about this when I read through the Globoforce Mood Tracker Fall 2014 Report. While much of the research is geared towards years of service anniversaries, the summary of findings are applicable across the spectrum of HR, whether we are devising strategies related to culture, engagement or retention:

  1. Peer relationships are critical to the modern work experience.
  1. Having friends at work increases commitment to the company.
  1. Years of service awards that include all colleagues yield better results.
  1. Years of service awards with emotional impact are more effective.
  1. Social Recognition amplifies the effectiveness of years of service programs.
  1. Workers yearn for a more shareable and meaningful milestone experience.

note: check out a nifty Infographic here


Those memories from almost 20 years ago stuck with me; that celebration was meaningful, emotional and shared with employees from all across the organization. Even though, obviously, this was a ‘farewell’ event and not a service award event I still remained committed to the organization as I continued to serve as an adviser and as a committee member with the Board of Directors.

The Globoforce Mood Tracker Report is enlightening. I encourage you to download it whether you’re exploring recognition, years of service or just looking for ways to make the employment experience at your company more meaningful. As the Mood Tracker Report points out: “There is room for improvement in today’s milestone experiences. Employees are looking for more shareable service awards that respect their memories and contributions.”

C’mon HR; we can fix this.

More than a feeling.


I’m partnering with my friends at Globoforce as a paid contributor and, as I should, am disclosing this to you in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.