Monday, January 28, 2013

The HR Social

Ask an HR Professional about social media and you will most likely get a head in hands retort similar to that of posing the Big Data question to an IT pro. It turns out humans are infinitely resourceful when it comes to social media. Individual and company reputations are now on display 24/7. Jobs are lost, candidates put on the back burner, and ad campaigns put on hold; all because of the power of the typed word. While the aforementioned foe paws serve to company/employee detriment, others are differentiating themselves through the power of the social enterprise. Approach any enterprise technology expert with a social media apprehension and you will get a direct response, "its here to stay...get used to it".

Our best employees are adopting social media to promote their personal brand. Their resumes are consistently on display and their thought leadership broadcast to the world. The day and age of background checking candidates for blunders are being replaced with a requirement for social enterprise leadership.

What can HR do to keep thought leadership in-house?

Be Boldly Transparent!
Over the last 2 years there has been a surge of emphasis on killing performance reviews. It is not because people don't want to be evaluated (in fact they want more feedback, more often). The biggest organizational hurdle is middle-management marginalization. Managers keep their talent at arms length: taking credit for their contributions, dismissing them when they have failed to engage them. This silo-ed approach is directly correlated to the performance review culture. One's talent cannot be assessed (and/or empowered) by just one person behind closed doors. This creates office politics, energy spent away from core job functions, and animosity that squashes motivation. People don't leave companies, they leave managers. We can no longer allow mediocre management to chase away our extraordinary talent.

Lesson 1: Time to socialize talent management!

Create Advocates
If you allow people to use social media at work they are less likely to waste time updating their status from the bathroom. If your social policy indicates that employees are empowered to use the internet they are likely to promote your brand in the process. Glassdoor requires equal company reviews (best thing/worst thing). The bad stuff on this site always overwhelms the good. All candidates are pre-qualifying your company on Glassdoor. But when brought to HR's attention; we get offended. Company culture is on trial 24/7.

Lesson 2: By letting them taste the forbidden fruit you give them reason to promote not disparage.

Lead by Example
The stereotypes of HR still exist: budget minded, risk averse, policy police. Unfair at best!

We have come to understand, in fact, that HR is the coolest department in any organization! HR is the pipeline from the people to the brass. HR empowers brand beyond cubicles through the crowded social enterprise. HR creates jobs, promotes superstars, and dismisses stagnant culture killers. The keys are in your hand, be a leader and jump into the world of social media.

Lesson 3: If HR loves social media, everybody loves social media!

Want to be a part of the movement?

Follow these thought leaders:

Join us on next chat:

Don't Forget to Remember!


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Advice From Successful People

I remember a VERY wealthy man once told me that ones professional life takes 3 stages:
1. You work for the man
2. You work for yourself
3. You work for a cause

...being aware of this has helped me keep things in perspective. With a genuine cause in mind, individual goals and the collaborative tend to intersect. I have the good fortune of working with extremely smart, motivated people. The uncommon denominator is that said people have managed to stay humble. They possess an ability to keep things in perspective so they need not regret the process of their ascension.

Last week I came across 3 people who have found great success without betraying their sense of genuine purpose. Their lessons take different shape but always bend back to the 3 stages of success examined at this entry's inception.

Go Big, Take Risk
Doing just enough to get by is only met with a sigh of relief. It can be said that the best way to spend one's time is to dream the impossible and make it reality.

Decisions guide our success. The most authentic partnerships are build on ideas that challenge the norm. It is easy to adopt the competition's strategy and undercut their price. To be truly effective, a directive has to be unique to the audience that drives its success. One-of-a-kind is better than a best practice. New ground can only be discovered by vacating the beaten path.

Don't Let Your Comfort Zone Get in the Way
The concept of work/life balance was created by a person who didn't like their job because they weren't very good at it. Steve Jobs explained that the process of innovation is dramatically hard. He related that when you think you have won, you have to try even push further. He also said that in order to endure the aforementioned process you have to love what you do.

Doing just enough to afford breathing room is a losing approach. You have to jump out of bed every day driven by passion (albeit fueled by uncertainty). You have to push harder, you have to take risk. Allow the run through the roses to invigorate your being (don't just stop and smell them)!

You have 29,200 days on this earth. Do you really want to waste any of them resting on your past.

Have Strong Whys
At the height of the great depression, Jimmy Braddock chose to make a comeback in boxing. When asked why he would test his uncertain talent in uncertain times he explained:

"This time around I know what I'm fighting for"

Jimmy Braddock felt disingenuous giving up his dream to put food on the table. He felt that compromise for the sake of getting by could only produce regret. If you fake it, they will know, and that's worse than starving.

Money is just paper. A promotion to sit next to someone you do not admire is a demotion of your character. If you do not genuinely believe in what you are doing you are betraying your company, yourself, and the people you love.

Don't fake it. Don't choose the easy route. Don't pretend it is OK to punch the clock, buy some toys, and die.

Don't Forget to Remember!


Monday, January 21, 2013

Random Thoughts

Persistence is an act of love. 
Pretending prolongs mediocrity. 
Dismiss your ego. 
Believe really hard. 
Connect want and must. 
Accept what you must, but only what you must. 
Be acutely aware of your surroundings.
Celebrate freedom. 
Fail famously. 
Ask for help. 
Remember that everyone is in the people business. 
Let go of what you cannot control. 
Being annoyed is annoying. 
Know the difference between charm and sarcasm. 
Become better by doing more for those who have less. 
Admire nice people. 
Be admirably approachable. 
Don't worship false idols. 
Don't sidebar or footnote to extremes. 
Don't say what you're gonna say just tell us what you're gonna saying it. 
Learn to narrate. 
Work very hard to enunciate clearly. 
Empower (don't discourage). 
Put your phone down. 
Learn to love chaos. 
Flatter people but don't creep them out. 
Don't fake it....ever. 
Develop an insatiable thirst for knowledge. 
Tell someone a white lie...if it inspires them to make their life better. 
Preach your core values every day...and when necessary use words. 
Learn how to hit the curve ball.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

A Seat at the Bar

I served on a panel last night for the members of NCHRA. Danika Davis presented her vision for HR as a Business Partner. We engaged topics like strategic leadership, trust building with business units, self-awareness in Organizational Development, data gathering, policy navigation, and crowd sourcing. HR professionals who have ascended the bureaucracy spoke words of encouragement to the large crowd...some who smiled with inspiration, others who nodded off...enforcing the very HR stereotypes we sought to dispel. Such is our plight.

A goal in debunking HR stereotypes is building trust. Instilling in business unit leaders a gateway from the trenches to the brass. There is an emphasis on transforming HR from the policy police to one who is invited to the bar (notice I didn't say the table). We concluded that HR is a lonely place if you allow the stereotypes to overwhelm you. You don't have to be lonely any more...

You Have Friends in Social Media

This week marked 2 monumental events:
1. The release of the HRBN 40 under 40
2. 2013's first #nextchat

What does it mean to me to be nominated to the HRBN 40 under 40? A lot. Yes, I am a shameless self-promoter but I also think that great minds think alike. I cannot say enough about what Laurie Ruettimann does for the HR Community and tough she is vastly popular, more people need to know her. The collection of writers in the 40 under 40 are your advocates in HR thought leadership. These folks will assist you in sharing proven practices, debunking HR stereotypes, help you develop courage, and empower you to understand the quintessential organizational relevance of the HR function. More importantly, these people have balls: they are not afraid to tackle the stigma and take action to initiate change.

NextChat is a weekly Twitter chat hosted by SHRM's micro-community, "We Know Next". In these chats the more candid in HR leadership put their plight on the table (and flip said table over). It has been part of the HR pedigree to avoid social media like the plague (well, we might use it to illegally screen job candidates or invade our employee's privacy)....Rebels! Don't kid yourself, social media is your friend!

Why would you ignore shared stories of success from industry veterans?
Why wouldn't you want to benefit from a network of people who have fought the system...and won!
Out of sight, out of mind is no way to move forward.

I repeat, social media is your friend! Say it with me.....

Don't be lonely, don't be scared. 2013 is the year that HR destroys the stereotypes!

Lead...and if those with marginal skill sets seek to commoditize you, run them over! That's right, the stereotypes of HR will continue to exist if we wait for the Secretaries to retire. The time is now, seize your opportunity for advancement, and prove the organizational relevance of your motivated intelligence.

In 2013, NCHRA will be hosting a series entitled HR as a Business Partner. We will reserve a seat at the bar for you.

Time to be strategic, time to build trust, time to prove that you are Super Cool!

Don't Forget to Remember!


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Seeing Through HR Stereotypes

HR is adapting (and in some cases actually using) social media. Note the HRBN 40 under 40. Strategic leadership is helping the organization's most critical department earn Executive buying power. Technology is streamlining the dirty work to allow HR to concentrate on organizational design. Hiring and Retention are improving. Ever-changing policies are requiring interpretive expertise. Learning is at the center of evolving corporate culture. There are more ways than ever to engage our employees. This is not your mother's Human Resources department.

With the emphasis for HR thought leadership at the forefront, there are age-old stereotypes that need to be put to rest. Clean off the Ray Ban lenses, its going to be a fun year!

Stop Stereotyping Generation Y
I remember at the SHRM conference in Chicago 7 years ago we spoke of addressing a new generation of workers. The idea was played-out then and it has been battered like a baby seal in the near decade that has followed. All of the tales of entitlement, attention deficit, lone-wolf ideology, and lack of work ethic are wholly inaccurate. The Generation Y adaptive strategy sucks for two reasons:
1. The inaccurate stereotypes (created by Baby Boomers) serve to insult Generation Y.
2. Addressing your organizational strategy to adapt to only a portion of your employee population makes the rest of your employees feel insignificant.

You wouldn't be an ambassador to the city of Cincinnati if you lived in California. Stop pretending that you know what young adults want (or that it matters). Adapt your organizational strategy for the sake of your entire organizational culture.

Don't Pretend Technology Solves Problems
Onboarding, employee recognition, document management, learning, and performance management can all be channeled with great efficiency through technology. That's a good thing! We cannot pretend however that by simply spending a million dollars and a year of our lives implementing said platforms will solve organizational issues. We need people to correlate application significance to our problem solving process. We need communication and learning to promote program adoption. We need an internal marketing strategy to ensure our new platforms are accepted as cutting edge.

You cannot throw technology at problems and pretend they will be fixed.

Marginalize Nonstrategic Players
We are fighting to kick the administrative stereotype of Human Resources. Every department has an administrative function, HR only has the aforementioned reputation because we promote through tenure. Leadership in any department is usually a 'best athlete' qualification. HR is the central strategic element to employee engagement. As such, HR is the most important part of the organizational strategy. HR is a revenue producing department not a budget-crunching, paper pushing, file room.

It is time to develop leaders in HR based on their comprehension of organizational development, the ability to execute on strategic initiatives, and their measured contribution of revenue....this is how every other department measures performance and promotes leaders.

HR Vendors: Show Some Creativity
Walk to floor of the SHRM annual conference seeking a "vendor" to provide a product or service and you will leave the expo hall with your head spinning. There are thousands of vendors who do the same thing, stress the same capabilities, tout their client  base, demo their technology, speak of their Global footprint, and hand out product specs (and swag). None of it makes any sense because the vendors exist in a copy-cat culture that serves to out-BS the competition.

HR Vendors: stop pretending your cutting edge technology matters if you cannot assess the inefficiency before you prescribe a solution. Stop copying one another...don't create a gamification app simply because you think gamers are taking over organizations. Stop pretending to create a culture of appreciation while you treat your own employees with limited respect. Stop pretending a solution is the right solution for your prospective customers simply because it is best for your margins.

We can pretend we want a seat at the table (sorry Matt - donation to follow). We can pretend to understand the need to evolve the organizational development track. We are forced to pretend because we listen to what everyone tells us what we need to be. A department that is tasked to ensure organizational stability probably cannot be disruptive. A department that serves a critical administrative function needs administrators. A department that controls payroll needs to understand headcount. HR should not pretend to be something we are not simply because a vendor told us to be more strategic. Nor should HR pretend to be something we used to be simply because the 40 year veteran at the helm of our department refuses to adapt to change. Cut the crap and get real: be who you want to be by eliminating what doesn't matter. Ignore those who seek to commoditize HR!

Don't Forget to Remember!


Wednesday, January 2, 2013


The blogosphere has been run amok the last few days with proposed goals for the new year. The holiday season is over. We have returned the sweater Gramma bought us in exchange for a cheap bottle of wine, drank it on the last day of 2012, and spent yesterday wallowing in the regrets of the year passed. The changing of a year means nothing to one's motivation, we simply choose to dramatize what was and what can be. We look back on our failures with intent to correct them and cherish the past as our tails of success grow mightier.

The formula for success is simple: work hard, be smart, and persist where failure seems certain.

Something everyone can do....
There is a great certainty in your personal/professional development....excuses are readily available! No matter what your trade you can always come up with a reason to explain your lack of results. You will always find 10 people like you on bar stools across the world that will sympathize with your sob story. You know you could have worked harder and made better decisions. I'm sorry to announce that your lack of success is your fault.

In business, we are consistently surveying our effort seeking better productivity. We look at hours logged, how they were spent, and what we can eliminate. We examine new technologies and how systems can streamline results. We realign business lines to target markets. Good stuff!

All you really need to do is work your ass off! If you work 12 hours a day, 5 days a week, you will have dedicated 3,000 hours to your profession this year. You can do anything in that amount of time! It is easier to succeed if you have 10 prospective partners instead of 1. You can succeed if you know more than your competitors. Your customers will give you more business if you know their business as well as they do. You've got 3,000 hours to build a pipeline, learn your strategy, and research your target clientele. You can do it.

Be different...
I walked a convention hall at a major international conference last year. I was amazed at how similar every "vendor" made themselves out to be. One copied another...they all had a notable customer base, innovative technology, and a global footprint. They all spoke to me about how great they were. When asked what differentiated them from the 20 other companies with the same exact business model...they started on a capability dump that spoke to the same things everyone else does. Conference conclusion: all of the companies sucked so bad that they were simply trying to out-suck one another. Make sense? Of course not.

It would have been refreshing to have had a challenging conversation. I would have liked to learn something. Too often, we don't know the true essence of what we want to buy or the true intent of what we are selling. The cog turns, things are made and sold, and we all get donuts. An extraordinary waste of our valued time on this planet.

What if we viewed 2013 as the year we quit making excuses, worked harder, and made daily effort to be better by being different. What if we challenged our assumed expertise? What if that thing that worked before stopped working? It is not enough to have one good idea. You have to have a good idea every single day.

Stop coasting and put the shuttle in over-drive!

Achieve the impossible...create...over-come...triumph...because you can!

Don't Forget to Remember!