So, here's the deal. Ed Frauenheim and Rick Bell of Workforce did an article a few weeks back that wondered aloud about conflicts that HR Bloggers have, and questioned whether more disclosure was necessary in the industry. Dave Manaster followed up with this post at ERE supporting the Workforce article. I can't take that type of pressure, man... So I started listing not only the conflicts that are present in my blogging life, but also the bias I bring to the table when I write, based on my professional identity.
As a result, I feel like I need to openly weep and beg your forgiveness. Kind of like Jimmy Swaggert after a night walking up and down the Vegas strip.
So, here's the "Frauenheim Disclosure" of the baggage you should consider anytime you read my stuff. I'm naming it that not because I'm mad at Ed, but because I think "Frauenheim Disclosure" sounds cool, kind of like the next movie in the "Bourne Identity" series. The "Rick Bell Disclosure" would have sounded lame. I'm also hoping the name gets me some much needed European-based SEO and the resulting spike in traffic. I'll add a link to this disclosure anytime I write from a show, about a product or generally waltz in a space where a reasonable person might think I'm conflicted.
Here's all the conflicts (or notes on potential conflicts) of the Capitalist:
--I'm a full-time VP of HR for DAXKO. My number one mission in life is to advance DAXKO in the Birmingham community and beyond. You should read all my posts with that in mind. The good news is that one of the reasons I write is to learn from others in the HR community, which makes me a better VP of HR.
--When I speak at shows, I am generally getting travel expenses to go do that. I've been offered speaking fees in the past couple of months for a few shows, which I've declined to this point. Don't ask me why - I'm probably waiting for the Jack Welch or Dave Ulrich type of speaker's fee (note: When I get 25-50K per shot, There's a high probability that I might channel Tiny Fey from 30 Rock and say, "Suck it Monkeys, I'm going corporate" <code for selling out>). When I speak at shows, I generally do some blogging on it, which is never guaranteed to be positive and is never subject to review by the people putting on the show. I'm also on the record as saying I'll come to speak for free to your group if you need me to. It's just gotta fit into my schedule and be approved by my boss.
--I've never been paid to do a post. If you've got a big offer and I accept it, I'll add you to the disclosure HERE.
--I'm not on the advisory board (paid or unpaid) of any product or service in the talent/HR/recruiting industry or anything connected to our industry.
--I've never offered positive coverage to someone as a quid pro quo for inviting me to speak or blog.
--I'm a Contributing Editor at Workforce.com. My name appears on the masthead of the magazine, and like most people who appear on the masthead, I get paid for my work in that regard. I also believe Workforce to be a great voice in the HR space (news gathering that also engages opinion). I also like everyone at Workforce a lot, and I'm happy and transparent about being a part of their extended team.
--Workforce has editorial control over my columns that appear at workforce.com, but no editorial control over my blog. In fact, all you'll find related to my blog at workforce are links to titles that appear on the Capitalist, FOT or Benefits Buzz. They don't see it before it's live. Since I put my name and my company's name on everything I write, the pressure to back up what I say is internalized in my daily life.
--I love the team I have at FOT and Benefits Buzz. I promote them without apology, because I think they're the best in the business.
--I write headlines designed to get clicks. Like Ice-T once said, it ain't easy, but somebody got to do it.
Now for the bias:
--Am I a journalist? I say yes, but I'm not a "news-gathering" journalist who is paid to simply report facts. Instead, I think I'm an Op-Ed writer who focuses on reacting to the news and events around him. I'm not a news-gatherer.
--I’m pro-business and anti-union as a HR pro.
--I have a strong disposition for the value of recruiting/talent management in HR.
--I think HR pros need to have a strong opinion on what goes on around them.
--I like sports, pop culture and mixing it all together with HR.
Anything that falls outside that view? I don't think about it much, which is an obvious form of bias. I'll add things to this as they become apparent so I'm on the record, and I'll add a link to my "about" page as well.
Man, do I feel better. I'm glad the charade is finally over. Today is the first day of the rest of my life.