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Bucky Covington, SHRM and 36 HR Bloggers - Headlining the 39th "Carnival of HR"...

Welcome back my friends, to the show that never ends....

What show you ask?  It's the Carnival of HR.  Stroll through the midway and soak in the goodness.Swings_3 Look!  It's the Ferris Wheel!   There's the poorly constructed mini-roller coaster, and the "swings" ride.  Oops - Look away kids, there's a carnie washing his clothes in a tub in front of his gaming booth - without his shirt on... ugh...

Who's on the big stage at the Carnival?  Who?  Bucky Covington from American Idol, fresh off an appearance at the Marion County (IL) Fair?  Didn't he finish 8th overall in 2006?  Well, OK...

And the freak show?  It's a little light on shock value, but there is this one exhibit you might have an interest in.  It's something you've heard of before, but you still shake your head every time you see it...

It's an entire profession talking to themselves, preoccupied with having a seat at a mythical table.  Step back, because as part of the exhibit, folks outside the profession get to "egg" the poor creatures who make up the exhibit.  Isn't it sad to see a mob treat fellow humans with such a lack of compassion?  Oh, the humanity....

I've said in in the past, and I'll say it again.  Every time you see an article that says "HR stinks", or isn't at the "table", start a value-added project for your operators/line managers and deliver some value they don't expect.  Don't wring your hands, don't spend energy wondering why.  Instead of saying you deserve the seat, the cool HR/Talent professionals at this carnival are telling you to do something specific to take it.

Even Sue Meisinger finally agrees, encouraging HR professionals in her goodbye speech to "stop asking, and start taking" the proverbial seat at the table as a part of her SHRM farewell.  Glad she said that, but the thing we need from SHRM is for the organization to take a stand and tell members what that means to SHRM, and as a result, what the mid-level HR pros should be doing to become players.

So, the next time you feel like you're not getting any respect, don't talk buzzwords or furniture.  Just doFreak_show_3 it.  But don't wait on SHRM to tell you how.  You can figure it out on your own, and the participants in this HR Carnival have 36 ideas (kind of like Jay-Z's "99 problems", except postive and not profane) on how to do something that creates value out of your HR shop:

-Start forecasting - Strong HR pros are knowledgeable of trends and tell their clients how to prepare.  Alice Snell of Taleo tells you how...

-Remember you are the expert (and act like it) - Ann Bares of Compensation Force shows us how in the area of compensation, related to when a request for a grade adjustment is real, and when it's not...

-Tweak rewards and incentives based on the goal - Wouldn't it be nice to be the expert on the impact of different types of rewards on individual vs. team behavior? Paul Herbert of Incentive Intelligence runs it down for you here.

-Use technology to deliver a customized experience for employees - Wally Bock reminds us that technology exists to customize our programs in many areas, including employee development.

-Become the expert on getting innovation through collaboration - Jon Ingham trots out some thoughts on the value of collaboration.  Maybe you should rethink locking down the social media sites via your web filter.

-Figure out what the problem is before you buy a tool - Rather than rushing to buy the next great tool for your HR shop, you need to figure out what problem you are trying to solve.  Meg Bear sees this issue in the HRMS space, but it applies elsewhere as well.  Why you're at it, make sure that technology isn't seen as a replacement for talent, as Chris Young reminds us.  For a glimpse of what the technology will mean to HR's role, check out Amit Avasthi's look into the crystal ball.

-Use pop culture to teach those around you about talent issues - HR can be a snoozefest to many, so act different and add value by putting it in terms that anyone can understand.  HR Minion displays the skill with this post...

-Tweak the workplace to get the best performance out of individuals with different styles - Scott McArthur gives us a rundown of small tweaks we can bring to the workplace to keep things fresh and productivity high.

-Value the mavericks in your company, but know where to put them - Flip Chart Fairy Tales has some ideas on the best way to handle the change agents that you love, but many hate...

-Use Slides that Don't Suck - That 14 point font with 7 bullet points isn't impressing anyone.  Rowan Manahan tells you how to standout in a boring medium...

-Don't Be the Usual HR Clone  - Anna Farmery makes a case for having passion in what you do in the workplace.   You can't stand out if you don't have passion... Also, if you have to pick one skill to master, Nina Simosko makes a strong case that skill needs to be communication...

-Become a Marketer in HR - Maren Hogan is a recruiter/marketer, and tells us the value of applying marketing concepts in HR or recruitingJanet Walsh of Birchtree HR riffs some thoughts on employment branding in this space as well.  Finally, Kelly Dingee of Fistful of Talent waxes on the benefits of becoming a "twitt".

-Be a Career Coach for those who walk in your door - Being a career coach is more than just patting someone on the back.  Master the 5 C's offered by Steve Roesler, and you'll be a trusted consultant for those who seek and value the truth....

-Own and publish metrics so folks know you're attempting to measure what you do - First up, if you don't measure yourself, someone else will, as Cathy Martin points out.  Who are you going to trust - them or you?  At the end of the day, it doesn't matter if you miss on the measurements from time to time.  Gautum Ghosh has some thoughts on how to get started.

-You can use your lobbying group (SHRM) to rage against the machine - There's no bigger machine than the government, and HR Lori tells us why SHRM membership still makes sense at a macro level.

-Do a little public service and help your friends that have no idea how the interviewing game works - Evil HR Lady helps the little folks out via some timely Q&A, in this case how to answer the softball question "why do you want this job?".  Why you're at it, why not help the needy in transition by answering the ole' "what is your weakness question" like Peggy Andrews.

-You can provide therapy to those marginally unhappy in their current gig - Susan Heathfield breaks down what employees should do if they are unhappy at work, not by telling them that it's all going to be OK, but by taking action for themselves.

-Shake the tree by challenging widely-held beliefs within the corporate infrastructure - Laurie Ruettimann thinks that wellness programs and obesity in the workplace are full of myths.  See her rundown hereWayne Turmel takes a look at commonly held beliefs on middle management and questions whether they are applicable to everything you think they are.

-You can coach your HR peers that confronting employees for something approved by a manager is probably not the best use of organizational currency - Hard to believe that it needs to be said, but HR Wench points out that confronting employees directly for the decisions of an ineffective manager isn't good business.

-Encourage the boomers getting ready to retire to get that knowledge transfer binder ready - Alice Graves at the Institute for Corporate Productivity points out that when the Boomers go, it's up to you to ensure you've locked down the data in their heads.

-You can use your knowledge of economic levers to chat your team up regarding the linkage between Federal Reserve policy and employee increases - Don't know how to do that?  It's OK, Ryan Johnson from World at Work has the rundown for you...

-Warm up your ZoomInfo and LinkedIn paid subscriptions - Because as Mark Stelzner of Inflexion Advisors points out, once you get to the table, you'll be recruiting for C-level talent since the average life span of the CEO, CFO, CIO, etc. keeps getting shorter and shorter...

-If you're feeling especially frisky, attack the whole market segmentation thing - Stacy Chapman is here to get you started...

-Support leaders who show their human side once in a awhile - Natalie Cooper talks about the tendency to expect our leaders to be superheroes.  It'd be nice to show a little compassion to those who fall, but of course, we'll expect reciprocity when that happens...

-Get all the people necessary to provide great training on the same page - What? There are silos in organizations?  Dan McCarthy runs a great breakdown of how to get two critical players - HR and Training - on the same page related to the development of management training programs.  While you're at it, see Art Petty's thoughts on getting a Senior team aligned with the need for a Leadership Development program.

-Write your manifesto on how to change the profession - You've got an opinion on the change that is necessary, so does J. William Tincup at JPIE, and Mike Haberman at HR Observations.  The necessary common denominator is that you have the passion necessary to call for change if things seem stale.  Plus, the word manifesto is cool, and that matters...

-Make sure your organization is treating candidates with respect - Closing the loop is important, as noted by Ask A Manager, even if the candidates throw the verbal equivalent of battery acid on you.  Michael Homula of Bearing Fruit Consulting reminds us to look outside for talent on every search, lest you be compared to Karl Marx...

-Get Green and Get Flexible - It's not easy being green.  Michael Moore tells you how.

-Think down the road and set the right level of expectations - Thinking about increasing your benefit spend by 5% to jumpstart recruiting?   Susanna Cesar-Morton reminds us we might want to make sure we'll still be offering that benefit in 3 years.  No reason to cause employee relations issues as a result of your own actions.

That's it!  Time to close down this midway game, because I hear Bucky's base player warming up over byBucky the porta-potties.  I'm going to the show. 

I heard the band's opening to the Bucky version of Freebird.  Even Bucky knows enough to skip complaining about the circumstances and bring his A-game. 

Be like Bucky and bring your A-game for the HR nation...


laurie ruettimann

Kris, you deserve OTE time-and-a-half pay for this excellent summary. Great carnival!!

J. William Tincup


Wonderful job with this - thanks for the hard work and kind words.



Hey Kris,

Great stuff. Thanks for putting this together. You've signposted the HR Carnival really well.


Scott McArthur

Nice 1 - this is becoming a very strong community - we should write a book!?

Anna Farmery

Wow - great stuff for my train journey. Thanks for inspiring me for the next few hours:)

Cathy Martin


This synopsis was fantastic. Thanks for compiling all these interesting and thought provoking ideas!

Cathy Martin

Meg Bear

you are right these are getting long, but what a great way to see how the conversation is growing. Hat tip to you for pulling this off and giving it a theme.


Great post, Kris! The HR Minion article is quite good.

HR Minion

I agree Erik, the HR Minion post is quite good. :)

Great job Kris! All your hard work really shows.

The Career Encourager

Oh my - I am in awe! This raises the bar on hosting the carnival to new heights. Well done, Kris!

Nina Simosko

Fantastic job! These Carnivals are quite something to see come together! Much appreciation for my inclusion!


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