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June 2009

SHRM09 - DAXKO (home of the Capitalist) Named As a Top 50 Place to Work...

Cool news from SHRM09 - the company I work for, DAXKO, was recognized as one of the top 50 best small and medium companies to work for in America by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Great Place to Work Institute, Inc. (GPTW). Winners were announced Monday at SHRM’s 61st Annual Conference in New Orleans.

DAXKO ranked 10th in the small employer category, which is great.  The commitment that is behind all the good stuff that led to the award is a big reason I chose to join the DAXKO team 3 months ago.  I'm a newbie so no credit goes to me, although like any free agent worth their salt, I'm looking forward to helping a clear winner defend it's title moving forward.. :)

Jennifer McClure, a part of the Fistful of Talent team, was kind enough to sit down in the video below with Dave Gray, our CEO and cultural architect, and Concetta Lewis, a member of our people team, to talk about what makes DAXKO different and leads to the team recognition.

Way to go DAXKO!

DAXKO - Great Place to Work from Fistful of Talent on Vimeo.

From the SHRM09 Floor - WARNING: Taking Presentation Advice Literally May Be Hazardous to the Health of Your HR Career...

One of the nice things about most of the presenters at SHRM is they've got some passion about the topic they're presenting on.  They're not HR practitioners in my classic definition of the word, but they've got passion.

Case in point - I took in a solid presentation on Monday from Jeremy Eskenazi on Consultative Staffing and Recruiting Strategies for HR Generalists.  Jeremy had some good stuff and it was clear he was passionate about helping recruiters and HR generalists become consultants - check out my twitter stream from Monday for the play by play.

The only issue?  If you listen closely to what Jeremy advocates, a less-experienced HR pro might become a lot more formal than the culture they operate in can tolerate - and that might clip a young pro's career at an early stage.. It's all about context and acting like you have more experience than you actually do...

Jessica Lee and I discuss below - also included in the clip is me catching up with Jeremy and asking him how to make a push for Service Level Agreements (known as SLAs to those of you that have been around big company America) in a less formal way that doesn't get you killed/fired.

SHRM09 - On SLAs and Boxing Hiring Manager In... from Fistful of Talent on Vimeo.

SHRM09 - The Great SHRM Hope - China Gorman

Let's face it, if you're like me and occasionally have been challenged to find the value in SHRM, it's usually been because you've felt it moved too slow and didn't have enough of a soul.  Speed and accessibility were always the primary issues for me when it came to SHRM, along with an absolute void of opinion.

The EFCA?  SHRM's against it, but they don't want to make members with union representation mad orSHRMLOGOPuzzle uncomfortable.  So, they've stated that the organization's not anti-union, but IS anti-EFCA. 

What? Alrighty then...

So, I've always wanted SHRM to have an opinion, or at least have a face.  But it's been difficult to find an opinion/face throughout my membership period with SHRM.  If you want to be accessible, you have to work at it.  If you want to be seen as a leader, you can't mamby-pamby the EFCA message or other controversial messages to the membership - you have to lead and have a take.  You can't have your CEO riff an intro to a keynote at a conference attended by 5% of your membership once a year and think that makes your organization look accessible, because it doesn't.  But that's been the SHRM strategy visible to the detached member like me for a long time.

Things might be changing at SHRM.  The great SHRM hope is China Gorman.

China Gorman is the COO of SHRM.  Whether or not she was passed over for the CEO spot vacated by Sue Messinger is SHRM's business (China was COO under Messinger's leadership).  What's important is that she's emerged in the new leadership structure at SHRM as an engaged leader and active face of the organization - even though she's not the CEO.

Need proof? Watch China go toe-to-toe with a clueless legislator on capitol hill, defending the big (our legislative interests) and the small (how to pronounce "SHRM").  Watch China out-tweet the so-called HR bloggers on Twitter (present company included) during the SHRM Conference in an effort to promote what's going on.  Watch China look for new ideas that can freshen up the mix at SHRM (sponsoring broad coverage for bloggers) while staying true to the needs of the organization (warning said bloggers not to curse during a blogging panel to be held on Wednesday - which was outright funny, but crafty smart on her part).

I've had some brief exposure to China, and here's the true value of what's going on.   Pros like China have always had the capability to engage customers in different ways that help their organizations grow - regardless of the line of business.  The problem is that the culture of the organization they're in doesn't always support it.  However, once an engaged pro is released at a high level in any organization and starts doing stuff not ordinarily tolerated, the culture can change.  People below that leader start taking risks, and everyone figures out that engagement is good.  Nobody dies when mistakes are made or opinions are shared.  Pretty soon, the organization becomes a lot more open and the customers start raving.

That's my hope for SHRM - that lots of SHRM staffers start engaging members the way China does.  Because if 20% of them do and SHRM embraces it, SHRM could be scary good compared to its past.

China Gorman is the great SHRM hope.   

SHRM09 - The Only Thing Missing is HR Practitioners Actually Presenting ...

Pretty good first day for me at SHRM09 on Monday.  Started thinking that night about the sessions I attended, which were high quality.  One of the problems with a big show like SHRM is the fact that there are 20+ concurrent sessions running at the same time, so I decided to take a look at the program to see what I missed.

After looking at the program, let me tell you first what I didn't miss.  Just this one little thing, it kindaFoley jumped out as I looked at the names, titles and companies of the presenters...

I didn't miss the HR Practitioners...



Before I give you the stat, let me define what an HR Practitioner is in the mind of the HR Capitalist.  An HR Practitioner is an HR Pro who is actually employed by a company and supports a client group of employees within that company.  In short, they're practicing the HR craft inside a company in the classic sense - in a way that most typifies the average SHRM member.  Doing it on a daily basis.

That doesn't mean I don't think consultants, vendors, attorneys can't be HR Pros - they can and are, but they're advisers to the core of the industry - the practitioners who are charged with actual employees in the field.  Consultants, vendors and attorneys are highly regarded in our economy and bring tons of value. I might be one of them one day.

But they're not HR Practitioners.  They're not HR Representatives, HR Managers or Directors/VP of HR inside companies.  They're consultants.

So here's the stat - I went through the SHRM09 Conference Program and looked at the profiles of the presenters.  Here's the ugly stat I came up with:

Of the estimated 95 presenters through Monday, only 4 (four!) looked to be HR Practitioners holding a title like HR Rep/Manager/Director/VP inside a company.

Let me tell you why that's a big deal.  SHRM has backed models like Ulrich's "New Competencies for HR", profiled in past copies of HR Magazine and other SHRM resources. See the entire list of competencies here.  Since competencies like "Credible Activist" represent the top indicators in predicting who's a player in your HR department -- according to Ulrich, the Credible Activist is respected, admired, listened to and offers a point of view -- doesn't it make sense that SHRM would go out of their way to showcase the HR Practitioners nationally who are game changers by having them present to their peers at National SHRM?

4 of 95... I'm not even asking for half - how about 25% of the speakers (roughly 24 of the 95) be actual HR Practitioners who are world class?

4 of 95?  Can I get a study on this?  A task force?

SHRM09 - Why Hasn't the Bailout Money For HR Started Flowing From SHRM?

I'm in the airport in the Big Easy, getting ready to head to the SHRM convention.  A question hit me during the flight - SHRM's sitting on almost $200 Million in cash, most of it from membership dues like mine.  So why hasn't the bailout (read: the remake) of HR begun with some of that money?

More on the concept of the SHRM-funded bailout of HR from an earlier article I did at Workforce:SHRM flloor

"You can’t turn on the TV or pick up a newspaper today without getting a rundown of the latest entity/industry/organization that is seeking a bailout from the federal government. The economy has been in the tank, and any bailout (of financial institutions, auto manufacturers, etc.) is designed with the firm belief that the organizations in question need a capital infusion to ensure they don’t go out of business, and that their survival is crucial to the U.S. economy.

    What about HR? Where’s our bailout?

    Before you dismiss this as grandstanding, consider similarities between the state of HR and the plight of the U.S. and its economy:

  1. Consumer confidence is reported to be at an all-time low.

  2. Approval ratings are in the toilet.

  3. People are scared and unsure of what to do.

  4. Experts are worried about our ability to compete in a global economy.

    Now, are those statements about our economy and government or about the HR profession? OK, I confess: They are about the economy and government, although the HR profession’s naysayers could easily claim they’re an accurate reflection of the state of HR as well.

But there’s a silver lining to this reputational cloud. If you agree that the HR profession as a whole could use a capital infusion (a kinder term for a bailout) to retool, reinvent itself and prepare HR pros everywhere for the challenges that lie ahead, a source of such capital does exist.

We don’t even have to go into debt to get access to the funds. The Society for Human Resource Management, the professional group of choice for HR professionals everywhere, is sitting on a cash reserve in the neighborhood of $179 million. Most of that cash, which came from dues from its 233,000 members, hasn’t been spent on services.

To be fair to SHRM, every well-run nonprofit sits on a cash reserve. But now’s not the time to channel the conservative side, button up the business suit and ignore the problem. Now is the time to channel Hank Paulson, spend the cash and double down on the investment in HR pros and the HR profession.

In a nutshell, the funds for the HR Bailout of 2009 should be focused on technology, leadership and the cultivation of business savvy.

I know Jack Welch would approve of my list of 8 things I would spend SHRM bailout money on.  Click through to see if you're down with the list.  Hit me in the comments if you aren't...

To be fair to SHRM, I'll keep everyone posted on what what's going on in some of these areas.  That's why you go to conventions, right?  That and to get a big bag of CareerBuilder calculators.  Maybe even a book or two that I'll never read...

The Cincy Recruiter has been in the Big Easy since early Sunday.  I suspect she's already collected all the available swag...

SHRM09 - Can the Progressives Really Disrupt the Fundamentalists @SHRM?

I'm on a plane down to the 2009 SHRM national convention in New Orleans this morning.  I'm looking forward to the trip, even though I've been a distant observer of the national convention for most of my professional HR career. 

It's not that I'm lazy, it's just that... I don't usually care... (Cue the office space clip)Green-to-support-iran

So, what's changed?  I'm noticing some signs that some things are changing at SHRM.  At the same time, I'm noticing some things that indicate that things will stay the same forever at SHRM.

For most of my career, I've been a member of SHRM.  I've held the PHR early in my career, and currently hold the SPHR (since 01 or 02).  That means I've drank a good bit of the Kool-Aid, but always paid my dues and took SHRM for what it is...

The reason I've always been a distant cousin is that SHRM has operated as a classic non-profit.  Great lobbying organization, but when it comes to taking chances and moving the profession forward, too slow for my tastes.  Trying to please a ka-zillion members will do that to you. 

Which brings me to the reason I'm attending SHRM this year.  Can some of the progressive movements I sense actually survive inside Alexandria, VA?  Or will the conservative forces (that's called culture, people, it works for both bad and good) finally have enough and send out a search and destroy mission to bring everything back to the mean?

That's why I'm heading to New Orleans. To try and get a feel for whether the progressives inside SHRM can win. Or even survive.

You remember the mean.  It's similar to average.  It's where everything's safe.  No risks.  Keep printing money and playing to the center.  Progressives don't like the mean.  Fundamentalists love it, however.  Keeps them in power.

If you're at SHRM this week, do like the Iran watchers, get a green twitter icon and change your location to "SHRM09".  We need to provide cover for the change agents.

I'll let you know what I find...

HRonomics - Why Your Attendance Policy and Allen Iverson Are Linked...

Heard a while back in an escalation to the desk of the HR Capitalist...

HR Capitalist - "Allen (named changed to protect the identity of the attendance-challenged), your managerIverson mentioned you were upset that you had been counseled about getting to work on time.  She mentioned you requested that I give you a call."

Allen - "Yeah, I wanted to complain to you about this.  I do my job, what's it matter if I am a little late?"

HR Capitalist - "Allen, we try and be as flexible as we can on the attendance front.  It seems like your manager has been very flexible.  She's tried to coach you on at least 5 occasions, and the formal counseling you received reflects 15 instances of you reporting to work late, from 10 minutes to 3 hours depending on the episode."

Allen - "But I do my job!  We're just talking about when I get there.  I'm one of the best when I am there."

HR Capitalist - "Based on our conversations, I think your manager agrees you are very good when you are there.  Since your role with our company is based on serving our customers, and we schedule your position based on call volume, it's important you are there as scheduled, so our customers aren't impacted."

Allen - "Would you rather have good reps on the phone or worry about when they are there?"

HR Capitalist - "I'd like both, since we schedule according to call volume.  Additionally, when you aren't there, it also impacts your teammates as well".

Allen - "How does it impact my teammates?  When I get there is about me, not them."

HR Capitalist - "That's not true.  When you aren't there as scheduled, abandoned rates and hold times go up, meaning your teammates are rushed to get to the next customer.   That impacts quality.  Additionally, they feel the stress of customers who have had to wait longer than they normally would, etc."

Allen - "I disagree with that.  Whether I am there on time is about me, not them...."

And so the dance goes...  While I am a proponent of the Best Buy/IBM/Netflix flexibility when it comes to when and where you work, some jobs are based on availability, like this one.

While the conversation was going on, I was reminded of a classic clip of perennial NBA All-Star Allen Iverson talking about the necessity of practice as long as he showed up and played well in games.  Take a look and see if you can identify any employee you know in this one....

The HR Capitalist Social Media Policy - All You'll Ever Need....

There's been a lot of talk on the following related to social media policies in your company:

1.  Do you need one?

2.  If the answer is yes, what the heck does a social media policy entail?

I'm usually a "less is more" type of guy related to polices, but I'll admit there might be a need.  For goodTwitter whale primers elsewhere, see the following from Jessica Lee and the HR Bartender related to social media policies.

As for me, I'd keep it simple with a little something like this:

"DAXKO encourages team members to be active in social media as a representative of our company.  Only three rules – be real, add value and don’t say anything that would embarrass your mom.  If your mom has low standards, then don’t say anything you wouldn’t want to see on the front page of USA Today.  Simple enough."

That's what I got.  If I was really writing in long form, I'd slip something in like "P.S. - You're responsible for all the other stuff in the handbook when you're twittering, blogging, facebooking or whatever it is that you crazy kids are doing these days."

What would you add?  On second thought, it would be kinda cool if you could share your social media policy via a 140-character tweet on Twitter...

That Garnishment Is Going to Leave a Mark.....

If you're a career HR pro, you've dealt with garnishments.  It really doesn't matter what career level you are, because wage garnishments ultimately find their way to you.  Even if you're the VP of HR, wage garnishments are your problem in one of the three following flavors:

A.  "Boss, take a look at this wage garnishment.  There's no one here by that name and theShrushy properties government keeps sending us these and they won't stop sending them.  What should we do?"

B.  "Boss, take a look at this wage garnishment.  I know by law we can only take 25% of the employee's post tax paycheck to pay the garnishment, but this one's so big the system we use won't let us automate the deduction that many times.  What do we do?"

C.  "Boss, Ricky is in the lobby.  He says the garnishment we're deducting isn't right and the social agency has it all wrong".

Based on which my answers are:

A.  "Send the agency a letter a day until they send us a confirmation back."
B.  "I'd use Outlook to create a reminder to set up another automation rule in the HRMS once this one runs out." Just sayin...
C.  "Did Ricky bring photo albums?  Because if he did, I'm in a meeting.."

So you've got garnishment questions... Great, because I've got answers... But there's one question I've always had- what happens when someone takes a million+ dollar judgment in civil suit?  Does the garnishment follow them around for the rest of their life, deducting 25% of their check at a time, a thousand cut process (or a hundred thousand cut process) that is the equivalent of garnishment purgatory?

What's got me asking that question?  The following civil suit judgment against former Healthsouth CEO Richard Scrushy:

"In what is believed to be the largest financial penalty ever against an individual executive, an Alabama state judge ordered Richard Scrushy to pay shareholders $2.88 billion after ruling against Scrushy in a civil suit related to a massive six-year accounting fraud at HealthSouth, according to The Wall Street Journal and The National Law Journal, an Am Law Daily sibling publication.

The judgment, which came after a nonjury trial against Scrushy, immediately raised questions about how much Scrushy would ever be able to pay. His net worth has been assessed in the past at $300 million, but his attorneys told the WSJ that number is inaccurate. Scrushy's co-lead attorney, Jack McNamee of Birmingham-based McNamee & Miller, told the paper he doesn't know exactly how much Scrushy is worth, but that, "I can tell you it's not $2.8 billion." (Scrushy, once one of the more flamboyant CEOs in the U.S., is still believed to own several homes and a yacht, the WSJ says. But he's spent an estimated $23 million on legal fees, the paper says.)"

That garnishment's going to leave a mark.  And if Richard ever comes to me to challenge the garnishment?  I'll need a spin through the photo albums.  Holla if you've ever had a garnishment challenge involve photo albums (which is a obvious hat tip to paternity).  I have...

LinkedIn Profiles - More Accurate Than Resumes (Sad But True...)

So I couldn't make it to last week's Social Recruiting Summit at Google to speak, but as an end user I was obviously interested in the conversation, so I plugged in from time to time via the streaming video.  Good stuff, and here was an early takeaway that I thought I would share:

LinkedIn profiles maintained by a candidate are more accurate than the Resume maintained byLiarliarposter the same candidate...

Think about that one for a second.  Wait for it - there you go - the clarity and realization that if you're truly looking for "what's up" with a candidate, you need to rely on the LinkedIn profile.  Why is that true?  Because there's a community of co-workers, friends and past colleagues that always have access to the LinkedIn profile, and there's no such community with constant visibility to a random resume the candidate sends in, and you have no means to circulate the resume to that type of community to fact check.

The result?  As Reid Hoffman discussed at the Social Recruiting summit - people won't lie in public via LinkedIn.  With that in mind, the core elements at play in most LinkedIn profiles - the titles, the dates, etc. - are always going to be more accurate than the resume.

Here's the tricky part - when you're looking for a candidate to unfold what they did at ACME Inc., the LinkedIn profile doesn't usually include the 5-6 bullet points you're usually used to seeing on the resume, right?  That's a key component to understanding the context of what they did.

With that in mind, is the day coming (from an accuracy and honesty perspective) when we'll ask candidates to update their LinkedIn profiles with more detailed information on what they did at ACME?

If you have over 100 contacts on LinkedIn, I'd doubt you'll lie in a big way.  Too much crowd-sourcing going on...