Archive for the ‘Human Capital’ Category

Sip your coffee and look out the window, if you have one.  The sun that just came up is shining on a “New Normal” world.  The Dow Jones is up, the economists are squawking that the recession is starting to pass, and I’m still cranky.

I took this on Main Street in Carmel...

I took this on Main Street in Carmel...

What if the recession passes but everyone who is out of work stays that way?  I am being asked to help write a lot of resumes these days for “a friend of a friend” and I’m getting a window into a tough job market.  My gut tells me that the rehiring that is starting to happen is not going to re-hire many of the folks that are out, and the expansion that is underway is going to find lots of “Lean” ways to stay at “lean levels”.  Productivity is up and will stay up, and new growth may come from an outsourced workforce.

I just read a good bog post on the subject – here is the link

A lot of the stimulus $$$ went to pay the bills for the unsustainable world we were living in.  Now that we’re re-set at 80% of our former economy, we have to get used to a lower standard of living…and along with that comes a lower employment level.

What to do?  Simply put, now is the time for HR to play a big role in the design and operation of the new organization.  Now is the decade of HR – the folks in finance need low risk and high return, operation needs flexibility and creativity, and the workplace needs leadership.

Now is the time for HR to step up with new tools to be a competitive advantage.  Start using new methods, and leave the ones that got us here in the closet.

Because the sun just came up in a “New Normal” world.  Happy Tuesday.


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Smell this.



I am always looking for predictors of behavior.  I work with organizations on how to find and keep high performng people, and I’m always fighting  the use of wacky “parlor games”.  I always go for the scientific, normed assessment.

I am working on applying Emotional Intelligence, and found a new wrinkle.  It could be a link with scientific evidence, involving smell (yes, smell) and the ability to read the emotional state of others.  Or it could be nothing.

Check out this study I just found – click here.

The headline – “People with sharper senses of smell really have a nose for relating to others’ emotions, new research suggests.” from an article that will appear in an upcoming edition of  Psychological Science.

Your thoughts?  Valid or a parlor game?  A possible valid assessment for one of the components of Emotional Intelligence?  Make application forms with a scratch ‘n sniff question?


Smells like teen angst.

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I’m in Washington, meeting with SHRM and some other Associations.  It’s like being at ground zero for the last day.

Yesterday I met with Mike Pence (R-IN), and saw Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) about the chances for health care.  As I got up this morning, the Nobel News was hitting.

Here is my prediction – health insurance reform will be passed by mid-2010.  It may not include a full public option, but there will be major changes in how we handle the un-insured.  The Congressional Accounting Office’s projections show a cost savings over time, and the leadership of the Democratic party is threatening party moderates that if they vote against health insurance reform they will lose their chairmanship of any committee they are on.  This is big.

Lots of new ideas will spin out of this.  More details to come – I’m off to catch the metro to get to SHRM.

Some pictures from yesterday –

Congressmen have very nice offices - I was left unguarded in Mike Penc'es office so I made myself comfortable

Congressmen have very nice offices - I was left unguarded in Mike Pence's office so I made myself comfortable

Some meetings and tour of the capitol –

Waiting for the politicians

Waiting for the politicians

We waited for the House to adjourn.

Met with Pence, Pelosi stopped by

Met with Pence, Pelosi stopped by

She was pleasant but noncommital

A staff worker makes a deposit of political capital.

A staff worker makes a deposit of political capital.

In the shadows of the capitol…more details to follow.  Off to SHRM.  This town is buzzing on the news of the Nobel Prize.

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Wow.  I have been predicting for some time now that the workplace will change in surprising ways, and evidence is showing up to support it.  Fresh evidence begins in a recent news story…but the real story is in the comments that have been posted in response to the journalism.

This is important.  Close your door (if you have one) and read this story, then read 20 or 30 random comments that are attached to it.  Just ignore the political hacks that are fighting in the comments section of every forum – look for the comments from people in the workforce.  Start with this link and read backwards for a while until you get the picture.

Yikes.  There appears to be  a real frustration building in the workforce, and your organization can either benefit from it by understanding this energy and harnessing it, or you can ignore it and possibly get hurt.  This is where our economy will benefit from a rethinking of what we call “work” and how it is done.  This is where HR becomes far more important than just being administrators and cops.  This is where we can make a real difference.

What to do?  Learn and engage your critical thinking skills.  Use this blog to share the news from the front.  I’ve found some people that might have ideas – in the coming days I will share some interview and content that I am using in my book.

We have to stay a step ahead…

People that "get it" - Chuck Gillespie and Chris Woolard

People that "get it" - Chuck Gillespie and Chris Woolard

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I got several phone calls yesterday about my rant on the USA Today survey.  The calls weren’t about something I misspelled or mis-interpreted, it was about the remark on how social networking and free job sites were hurting CareerBuilder and Monster, the big job posting boards.

The calls were not to pick apart something I said, or to defend the big job boards.  The callers wanted to find out how to it.

Specifically, they wanted to know how to use new tools to get good candidates without having to pay the onerous rates of the big job boards.  It’s not easy, but it can pay off.  Here is what I told them:

First, get working on your employment brand. Get your marketing people (or pay one if you don’t have one in house) to build your employment brand.  Tell the truth, loudly.  Brag.

Next, get online. The people you want to hire are out there, not in the conventional job lines.  With lots of people in the system, you need to use technology in a way that sets you apart.

Then, build a cloud of people around your web portal of high quality people that might want to work for you.  That’s where the branding pays off, and the proper use of social networking is the “game changer” that will do it.

Finally, have an Applicant Management System that asks better questions and helps the low performers self-select out of the system.  This system will work with the free job boards and get your message out.

…that’s the secret to getting  better candidiates for free.

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Well, USA Today is at it again.  The newspaper famous for zippy pie charts and short stories has published a Staffing Plans Survey in last week’s paper.   While I hope the perky scenario they project is true,  I have several problems with it.

First, look at why they’re doing the doing the survey at all.  Their partner in the survey is CareerBuilder.com, who are in the business of making money from the hiring process.  Who owns CareerBuilder.com?  Gannett.  Who owns USA Today?  Yup.  Gannett.  I recognize the practice of  “log rolling” from book publishing.  If I’m writing a book, and I find another author who is similarly inclined, we can write glowing reviews of each others’ work.  (Actually, I am writing a book and I assure you I will not be doing this.)  Simply put, both USA Today and CareerBuilder benefit from this – and it should be marked as advertising, not journalism.

Second, watch the fine print.  In the disclaimer at the bottom of the page, the data has a big “gotcha”.  “Responses weighted when necessary.”  Yikes.  They should tell us specifically which of the data sets were weighted, and why.  They have the room to do it – advertising space sales are down so they have room to fill.  Also, they did the disclaimer in the smallest type face they could find, so giving us data geeks a few more clues about what is “weighted” and what is not would be very helpful.

The big job boards have been laying off staff in large numbers.  This will continue.  They will probably not restaff much – organizations are finding them less and less cost effective, and with the dangerous combination of free job boards and more advanced social networking taking their place.

So, this will be a very interesting “jobless recovery” for the job hunting world.

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“We decided to innovate our way through this downturn, so that we would be further ahead of our competitors when things turn up.”

Think it’s good advice?  Want to have your CEO following this?  Go read an old interview with Steve Jobs that I found.

He said this six years ago.  SIX YEARS!   He had announced the iPod launch at the low point of the dot-com crash (compared to our recent near-total global meltdown, speed bump was more like it)

First you, then your CEO, should read the whole interview here.

Then, realize that big innovations have come from risk taking during down turns.  Miracle Whip (1931)  The Sensor Razor (1981)  The iPod (see interview)  All were released at a time where conventional knowledge said to keep a low profile and fight a defensive battle.

Time to go on the offensive.


Who knew?  Miracle Whip is a product of risk taking from the Great Depression...

Who knew? Miracle Whip is a product of risk taking from the Great Depression...

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One Million words in English.  That is, One Million words avaialble to those who speak English.  The most of any language.

This week as I spoke at the Nebraska State SHRM conference, this was hammered home.  I was there to help explain the gap between CFOs and HR.  The overflow crowd came to hear some strategies for getting things done.  I started by defining the world of the CFO, and we outlined the reasons that CFOs don’t trust us.

They don’t like HR’s metrics.

They don’t understand our terms of engagement

They don’t value our contribution.  More exactly, they don’t feel that we can add value in any particular 90 day period.

We worked on a few key terms.  Accountability.  EBITDA.

You see?  Another language.

Using the new ideas, we then worked on developing a more robust turnover cost calculator.  We also agreed that we needed better language.

Question – anyone care to share te language they use to get on the same page as their CFOs?

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Wow, what a resume.  Lots of books, lots of awards.  Check him out here.  He has Indiana ties – first degree from Rose Hulman.  Wife from Kokomo.  He is buddhist – gives everything away.

He will be talking about feed forward and how to get leaders to stop. He is nicely professional and high energy.  This should be good.

He is normal looking – here is a photo from yesterday as he walked the trade show floor.

Just some guy...

Just some guy...

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Dan Griffith did a FABulous session on social networking – and he promises that his stuff will be posted on the Indiana SHRM website in a day or so.  Go check out http://www.indianashrm/speakers and look for his session by the end of the week.

He gave great examples of the explosion of social networking, and specifics on how to use it in recruiting.

It took 9 months for Facebook to get 100 million subscribers.  It took 4 years for the Internet to hit 50 million.  It took 13 years for TV ot get 50 million.  It took 38 years for radio.

He also recommended that small organizations do not need a web page – they need a blog.

Chris takes notes

Chris takes notes

Here is a shot of Chris Schrader taking notes as he does everything else – very quickly…

A full house

A full house

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