Tag Archive for Baton Rouge

The Community Has Spoken – #truBatonRouge

global-communication-background003“HR people and recruiters sure think differently, don’t they?” (quote from #truBatonRouge attendee)

They sure do; and I’ve talked about it quite a bit. I feel somewhat able to pontificate on the subject as I’ve not only worked for an agency, been an internal recruiter, and managed corporate recruiting teams, but have also held numerous HR leadership positions over the years.

If we imagine we’re just one ginormous agrarian society, the recruiters are like the hunters and gatherers who track down the talent; they’re out there fishing in the pond where no-one-else is fishing. The HR practitioners are back home tiling the soil; waiting, as it were, for the food to come to them.

It’s endlessly fascinating to me why these two groups – all invested in finding the right people for the right jobs at the right time – have such differing views on what talent attraction and acquisition looks like. So often, I continue to find, the HR leaders/practitioners in an organization operate via the ‘staffing’ model; let’s open the req, confirm the job description, blast an advert of some sort, and assume the people will come to us. Make the offer, close the req, and wait until the next person quits and we have to fill the same job all over again.

Is it a matter of time and resources for many HR practitioners? It can be. One of the #truBatonrouge attendees was from a rapidly growing organization with 600 employees where it’s no doubt a challenge to create a strategic sourcing and recruiting strategy when there are 3 people in the entire HR Department and they also handle payroll, benefits, comp, FMLA/ADA/WC, employee relations, etc. etc. etc. Out of necessity, perhaps more than anything else, they’ve migrated to a model where the hiring managers are fully empowered to handle all their own hiring; HR manages the process, workflow, and tools, but is hands off unless specifically asked to participate.

Without a dedicated recruiter the 25+ open positions they have (I checked) are, more than likely, being blasted to job boards in an attempt to get as many warm bodies loaded into the recruitment funnel as possible.

It’s the HR way.

And I anticipated this sort of tension – if that’s the right word – to rise to the top when I planned the event. Knowing the market here in south Louisiana the attendees were a varied bunch: we had a handful of recruiters, a gaggle of HR professionals (generalists who have recruiting as one of their responsibilities), some entrepreneurs, a health care executive, a bunch of organizational development folks, and a few communication/marketing professionals.

So what did we talk about?

I led a track on the “The Problem with Job Interviews” which focused on exploring things like uselessness due to lack of planning and our focus on hiring for “fit” when we don’t even know what that really means. We dove into the impact of bias – with confirmation bias being one of the biggies as we seek to confirm our initial gut feeling from the first 90 seconds with an applicant. We chatted about the use of data. We conversed about how many interviews is too many; one attendee reported he had multiple visits and met with 15 interviewers for a job. Sweet fancy Moses.

Casey Kugler led a track on “Recruiting Tips from a Corporate Recruiter” and discussed sourcing and searching strategies. He shared the results of an experiment he recently conducted to see if taking the time to personally construct LinkedIn communication (“Hi Joe…I see you like Pearl Jam!”) garnered more results than generic messages (note: he saw a 3% improvement). Darren Sherrard, Associate Director for Recruitment with the VA, discussed recruitment marketing and specifically chatted about paid vs. earned media as well as the evolution/merging/blurring of PR and recruitment marketing.

We had a track called “Fear and Loathing in Succession Planning” and dove into the topic “Are YOU the only one who cares about your Performance Management Program” with Sandy Michelet. The latter discussion was interesting; enough HR/OD people expressed a desire to hang on to numbers, rankings, ratings, and forms that it appears the shitty performance appraisals we’re often saddled with aren’t going anywhere soon.

We wrapped up the day with a free-wheeling discussion merging all sorts of topics together with a focus on how HR/Talent professionals can, perhaps, innovate; wellness (ugh!), use of technology, the digital divide, and spirituality in the workplace/business environment all landed on the table.

It. Was. Awesome.

We held #truNOLA in 2012, but I wanted to hold an event in Baton Rouge to gather more people together who have an interest in talent, recruiting and the evolution of work. I wanted varied experiences and differing opinions. I wanted people to meet and connect and build community.

And we did.

Thanks to Devin Lemoine and the team at Success Labs for providing the space and hosting us for the day, and thanks to my friend Bill Boorman, founder of #tru, who believes in building this global community.

“Those HR people and recruiters can get on the same page after all.” (me)

Join Us for #truBatonRouge

truUNCONFERENCE300x300We’re holding an event in Baton Rouge on January 29th and I hope you’ll join us as we explore topics related to talent, recruiting, HR, culture and technology. This free event, planned by the community for the benefit of the community, is for YOU! Join us if you’re interested in meeting and connecting in order to share, learn, build relationships, and have conversations.

#truBatonRouge is an unconference and there will be no speakers, no presentations, no pitches, no name tags and no podiums. We won’t be there to collect HRCI recertification credits (because there will be none) and we won’t sit quietly in orderly rows dutifully taking notes.

Rather we’ll have track leaders who will start a conversation around a topic in order to drive an interactive and engaged conversation. While track leaders will have the ability to decide exactly what they want to talk about, we’ll focus on topics like sourcing strategies, hiring the right talent, building your recruiting capabilities, organizational culture, social recruiting and all manner of talent/people strategies. Whether you’re looking to apply some new techniques or share what you’ve done or are doing (big or small companies!) you’ll find the conversations happening at #truBatonRouge. Scheduled tracks include:

  • The Internet IS your Friend: Tips from a Corporate Recruiter
  • Your Company Culture is Crap …. and You Know It
  • Fear and Loathing in Succession Planning
  • The Problem with ‘The Job Interview’
  • Are YOU the only one who cares about your Performance Management Strategy?
  • and.. a (mini) Hackathon – “Innovation in HR”

Each track leader (and you can be one! let me know if you’re interested!) leads a ‘track’ on their chosen topic and anyone can contribute, offer an opinion, tell a story or, if they wish – change the entire conversation all together. Track leaders moderate, facilitate and keep the conversation going – oftentimes by challenging the others with questions and ideas.

There have been 175 #tru events around the world since Bill Boorman founded #tru in 2010 and this is the second event to be held in Louisiana (we held #truNOLA in 2012). In the spirit of #trumunity this is a FREE event – planned for and available to ALL in the BR community!

We’ll be holding the event at Success Labs and I hope you’ll make plans to join us.

Contact me if you’re interested in leading a track – and register soon as we have a limited number of tickets available.

Note: #truDublin, organized by Ivan Stojanovic (@IrishRecruiter) and being held at the Guinness Storehouse, is happening on the same day as #truBatonRouge. We’ll be doing something fun with our friends in Ireland during #tru!

I’m on a Boat!

Richard Dreyfuss, Roy Scheider and Robert Shaw on board a boat in a still from the film 'Jaws'I attended a Lunch N’ Learn meeting yesterday sponsored by a local business group. There were about 15 people in attendance from both small businesses and large multi-state organizations. The topic, of interest to all as based on the discussion that ensued, was ‘Employee Engagement.’

Being immersed as I am in the world of HR I was curious to see how this topic was presented by a non-HR person and what conversations would pop up from this group of business owners, mid-level managers and organizational leaders.

Some, but not all, of those in attendance were familiar with the term if not the general concept of engagement. The speaker shared some of the Gallup results we’ve all become used to seeing and then explained it something like this:

“Imagine 10 people are on a rowboat adrift on the ocean. 5 of them are just doing their job and getting by (neither engaged nor disengaged), 3 people are actively working to manage the situation (engaged) and 2 are sitting back and doing nothing (actively disengaged).”

It was an easily understandable metaphor for the crowd to get.

But…

…. it led the group down a dangerous path of what they would do were they in charge of that boat. The general consensus seemed to be that the 2 people doing nothing merely needed to be tossed overboard. Get rid of the dead weight. Feed them to the sharks. Consign them to Davy Jones’ Locker.

The problem, amid laughter, appeared to be solved.

But isn’t this, unfortunately, how leaders and managers sometimes think? “The problem is with the employees; not me!” “Slackers!” “We do so much for them; why won’t they work harder and care?”

And so managers and leaders and yes, HR professionals the world over, find it easier to wash their hands of the situation rather than dive deep and ask the questions like “What if it IS us?” “What sort of conditions exist that prevent people from working harder and caring?”

“Why are we adrift on the ocean in this f*#king boat in the first place?”

*****

Last week we had the first-ever community-wide “Best Places to Work” luncheon; as with many of these ‘awards’ the emphasis when sharing the winners’ stories seemed to be on ping pong tournaments and foosball tables; jeans day and on-site flu shots. Company fishing tournaments with matching polo shirts. Hey… that’s the stuff that makes for fun reading. That also, sadly, leads some organizational leaders or HR practitioners to attempt to repair that leaking boat with a patch of silicone.

Of course, in the recap of the BPTW luncheon, it was pointed out that “when it comes right down to it, the real perks of any profession in the Capital Region are these: feeling valued in an organization, having confidence in the company’s leadership, feeling a sense of progress and knowing that your employer truly cares about their employees’ well-being.”

Hire right. Treat people right. Let them have a voice. Show them they are valued and that their contributions are important.

Although, I guess, those fishing skills from the company fishing tournament might come in handy when one is adrift on the ocean.

********

image from “Jaws” via Universal Pictures

Conference Culture and Local Flavor

Flavor FlavLast week I was fortunate to attend 3 separate SHRM conferences right here in Louisiana; the SHRM Diversity and Inclusion Conference and Exposition, the New Orleans SHRM (chapter) Annual Conference and the Greater Baton Rouge (chapter) Annual Conference. All were excellent. And all were different.

I posted my thoughts on Facebook at the end of the week and, in a side conversation with someone, got accused of being mean-spirited and harsh in referencing particular aspects. Look…I’m not Gallup or Nielsen running a poll; I’m a gal who happened to go to 3 conferences in a week and noted the overall conference experience – as-I-saw-it. I merely pointed out how these three events differed, in my opinion. It’s why I write a blog for god’s sake.

Here’s what I said:

SHRM Diversity & Inclusion Conference – great energy and excitement; people from all over the country/world who “knew” each other; cutting edge conversations; provocative conversations that push the profession forward; networking and connecting highly emphasized

NOLA SHRM – strong existing personal connections among attendees; friendly and welcoming crowd; standard HR content (mid-level and senior level content) with nuggets from each speaker that offered opportunities for “ah – I never thought of it that way” moments; lots of humor and fun; vendors drawings were for gift baskets of booze; attendees stayed until the end; scheduled networking event afterwards for cocktails with a batch of HR folks and speakers who hung around for it

GBR Society for Human Resource Management – serious business with lots of suits; less personal connections amongst the wider group as people danced (sat) with those they came with; standard HR content (geared to entry or mid-level pros); less humor; a number of attendees left mid-afternoon; vendor drawings were for Starbucks gift cards; no scheduled networking or social

 

Every event was superbly executed by the organizers and appeared to meet the needs and expectations of its intended audience. The folks who came to see Daymond John and Chaz Bono would not, I’m venturing a guess, have been interested in attending a session on Labor Relations (NOLASHRM) or updates on the ACA (Baton Rouge).

And that’s…OK. The organizers at all 3 events knew the type of content their attendees expected and delivered it. I have friends who head to recruiting conferences who would have rather jumped in the Mississippi River than attend the vast majority of these sessions but you know what? They don’t come to HR conferences; they head to the events that provide what they need.

What intrigued me about the week is that the events all fall under the SHRM umbrella; we’re all part of the same ‘family’ yet Uncle Joe is a bit different than Uncle Sam. There are 60 miles that separate the cities of Baton Rouge and New Orleans, but, as anyone who lives here can tell you, it’s more than mere miles down the I-10.

And that was my point with the observations.

It’s a bit like working for a geographically dispersed company with a well-defined and articulated culture. The company’s mission, vision and values may be in alignment with employee behavior but, at the end of the day, there are variations in implementation by micro-groups. The needs and wants of sub-groups differ – even as they go about aligning themselves with the overall.

  • “Our company has a casual environment and culture but we still like to wear suits here in the Chicago office.” 
  • “Sure, we socialize here in Jackson. We go out to lunch as a team but I would never head to Happy Hour with my co-workers. I just want to get home at the end of the day.”
  • “The GM for our site added a foosball table in the break room for weekly tournaments. It’s a lot of fun and I go to support everyone but I’m just a bit more serious than everyone else so I never sign up to play.”

Mea culpa to anyone who thought I was ‘slamming’ their efforts or results.

It’s hard to sell snow shovels in the deep south and there’s really not a market for pirogues in the midwest.

And that’s…OK.