Posts Tagged ‘hiring’

I felt I had been here before.   Image a large room full of marketing types and business leaders, all wearing name tags and juggling coffee and folios and talking about how great they were doing.  It was the new incarnation of the Business Rally, and I was happy to be back in a room of artificially happy people. The smiles were nice, even if they were forced.

Ron Brumbarger, CEO of Bitwise, had pulled this together, and was happy with the turnout.  I was happy for a free cup of coffee and getting some energy from a room of marketing types.  I think everyone needs a dose of happiness every now and then, even if it is partially artificial.  The rules on the invitation were clear – this was not a job search event, so if you were looking for work, look elsewhere.  That also meant that the requests for 20 minute networking meetings were eliminated.

What was different and refreshing was the presence of several key Human Resources professionals, and how they might have the answer to the turnaround.  Yes, there were bankers in one corner talking about cash flow and operations types in another corner talking about new tracking systems.  The surprise was a pair of HR experts, and the answers that they had for american industry.

Chuck and Chris make it simple for us

Chuck and Chris make it simple for us

Chris Woolard, whom you may already know, is a national expert on employee engagement at Walker Information.  Chuck Gillespie, ex-senior HR person at a local logistics company, is now leading the charge at Peoplebase, with a new take on HRIS systems.  Between the two of them, an organization could make sure that their high performers were fully engaged, and then use that knowledge to produce a better outcome.

It just made me feel proud that, here at ground zero of the business turnaround, that HR was at the table along with the money and the operations.

It also made me proud that people clearly knew who they were.  All of that work that HR has done to be taken seriously is starting to pay off…

The coffee was brewing, the suits were talking, and HR was in the room.  This was good.


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Looking for a job in Human Resources has special challenges.  Simply put, it stinks.

Problem – HR is cautious and may not share.  When you try to network people as a part of your search, HR people generally don’t respond well.  If you are looking for work and approaching other HR professionals, the people you are approaching are often threatened by your request.  “…hey, I want to keep my job, and if I know of openings I probably want to apply myself and don’t want to share that knowledge…

Problem – HR is overwhelmed right now and not in touch.  When people are slammed by administrative work because of a reduced workforce and high work levels, everyone hunkers down.  Therefore, if you ask them for a 20 minute meeting to review trends and current market conditions, they feel that they are out of touch and have no useful knowledge.  Truth is, they are probably right – they don’t.  They don’t have the reserves and they have let their own networks slip.  They won’t take your meeting because they feel they don’t have much to share.

Problem – Everyone knows that conventional “networking” meetings don’t work, yet nobody wants to admit it.  When we are approached for job search advice because we are in HR, we step back to the classics.  “Get a copy of “What Color is Your Parachute” and start networking.”  Yet, we seldom make the time for a classic networking meeting.

Problem – Searching for HR jobs on most job boards is a significant hassle because the boards do a poor indexing job.  If you search for “Human Resources”, you get EVERTHING that has HR as a response point in the ad.  Polymer Chemistry postings, Call Center postings, Insurance Sales postings, and so on.  You have to grind through all of the results.  Aargh.

These are real, and a real problem. Care to add any?  Comments welcome.

At the recent New York State SHRM conference, we had a very lively discussion of these issues, and came up with some clever (or so we thought) ideas around this.  I’ll post some of our answers in the next blog post.

Clearly, someone with a recent bad hire...

Clearly, someone with a recent bad hire...

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Parallel worlds

Parallel worlds

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You don’t have to be high tech to “get it.”

Thinking about Hank’s comment to my last post as I drove by a car wash a minute ago.  The staff was out front in neckties and white shirts, waving in a line of cars and selling the service of a clean car.   Me?  I’m cheap and I use a discount gas station.  It’s $3 cheaper.

The local car wash chain ran an interesting series of advertisements a while ago.  They weren’t selling their service directly.  They spent their advertising dollars to have their hourly staff talk about the high quality of their bosses and how much they enjoyed the opportunity for personal development and what motivates them on the job.  They talked about how tough it was to get a job there and what they thought of having to wear a necktie.  They were clearly proud of it all.

And, they clearly think we have more intelligence than the average terrier or sheepdog or whatever breed it was that I recently saw in a parked car.

Seen on the street near my house...

Seen on the street near my house...

They never talked about washing cars or coming to Mike’s Car Wash.

My takeaway was that they are clearly a group of high performers at the bottom of the corporate food chain, and that I get more than $3 of additional service at their place. Also, I am impressed that the leadership team is proud enough of their culture to spend advertising $$$ to sell HR, not coupons.

To me, it is proof that good performance management and communication and high standards for hiring all pay off.  I’m going back there this afternoon for a wash…and I’m expecting a good experience.

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Things that are currently hot topics –

Lots of interest in motivation and related issues – that includes total compensation plans and how the money spent creates a positive outcome, and how to make sure benefit plans are motivating the right behaviors.

FMLA.  It never goes away, and still an irritation.

FLSA and all of it’s fringe issues.

Termination and outplacement and workforce planning with an eye to the future

COBRA rules and dealing with the administrative workload

…notice that most of this is administrative, and not that strategic.  The push of the featured speakers at the conference was a push for more of a strategic role.  The average attendee, however, is facing a crushing administative workload upon return to the office, and new ideas are not exactly welcome right now…

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