Archive for October, 2009

Is your HR Department scary?  Do you wander down the hallway afraid of what you might find? Do you ever look into the offices of your colleagues, and think “happy halloween, this is really scary?” Do you wake up in the middle of the night worried about whether the workers in your company are going to go on strike?  Did you forget to fill out the paper work , and you missed a deadline? Is your company in compliance?  Are your employees harassing one another? 

These questions are scary.  The answers can be even scarier.  What’s scarier are blogs, and consultants that use these questions to strike fear into your hearts.  That is my pet peeve! Consultants who use FEAR AS A SALES TACTIC.  It’s manipulative.  It’s unkind.   That’s just an opinion  I know many of my colleagues won’t agree.

One of the questions I used to ask on sales calls was, “what’s keeping you up at night?” and “what’s the result of doing nothing?”  Certainly those are valid questions, particularly if you can then lead your potential client to a solution.  However, in my heart, I believe a good HR Consultant is one who provides a solution without manipulation tactics, or fear.  A good consultant is ethical, competent, and offers outstanding results. 

Halloween is fun.  But HR can be scary enough.  Let’s leave the scary sales tactics to the used car salespeople please.

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We get it recruiters, your job is not to find us a job.  Your job is to fill the position you are being paid to fill.  Last night there was a heated debate on twitter among recruiters about candidates, about clients and their priorities.  There were those saying, “we should spend more time with candidates.”  There were recruiters shouting, “we have to prioritize our time with those who pay our fees.”  It is sad that recruiters do not represent candidates in the US as they do in the UK. 

 NEWSFLASH: You are NOT the recruiters priority.  Never lose sight that recruiters follow the money, they are retained by the client, and their allegiance is to the client, not to you.  Therefore, it is important to reach out to jobsearch focus groups, your contacts on linkedin, twitter, professional associations, and people like us who are willing to help you for free, without strings, or fees.  

   I recommend only spending 1/4 of your job search reaching out to recruiters, and the rest of your time networking with people in your industry.  People in transition have to be realistic.  The recruiters job is not to help you find a job.  Their job is to help the employer find the perfect candidate to fill their position.  So long as you know that going in–you will not be disillusioned.  Let’s face it, you do not want to waste your time. Keep a recruiters role in perspective. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not coming down hard on recruiters.  They have to earn a living.  Finding candidates for employers is what they do.  I like my colleagues. I used to be a recruiter myself, so I feel their pain.  With that said, many of them will spend time with people in transition.  People like Paul Paris (Paris22) Bill Boorman (@BillBoorman) and Jeff Lipschultz  (jlipschultz),and last but not lead @animal.  These people are great resources (on twitter) for jobseekers.

If you can afford a job coach.  I recommend JanetWorthington.  I just hired Janet to assist me in my search. She volunteers on Paul Paris’s site and is willing to help people there too (free of charge).    Being in transition can be disheartening.  It can be a morale buster.  When you are feeling low, turn to someone in your support system who can lift you up!  

Today, on Paul Paris’s radio show Janet Worthington and her son Jeremy we  discussed job search strategies.  A job coach can be very helpful to you in your search.  Another simple measure is volunteering on an industry specific committee.  For instance, I am a new volunteer on http://recruiterreqsjobseekers.ning.com . This site is free for people in transition.  I volunteered to be a guest blogger and job coach.   Paul Paris is a contact I met on twitter.  There is nothing more gratifying than helping fellow job hunters, and it is good experience.  Furthermore, it gets me in front of recruiters who can help me with my search.

Social media is another excellent resource for networking.   I have been using twitter with great success to connect with people in my industry.  That’s how I met Paul Paris, Janice Worthington and Karla Porter, and others. I’ve joined professional committees, and learned about inexpensive conferences and meetings that will help expand my contact network and may lead to me to my next position.

Follow smart people in your industry. At the twitter search box input the name of your industry. See who pops up. Follow the leaders. Follow the people they follow. Read the #hash tags they note in their posts. Join in the discussion. Get involved. Don’t be afraid to get your feet wet. Start listening to the HR blog radio shows. @paul22 blog radio show is outstanding, as is @animal’s.   If you need  a word of encouragement, I’m in your corner.

Networking with people you already know can help you get face time with the hiring managers you want to reach.  I also recommend preparing a company list you can share with your friends and colleagues.  They might know someone in that company who can help you.  If you are not comfortable with narrowing your search by company, be sure to specify what industry and job you want.  Most people want to help you; however, they can’t help you without your guidance.  So, be clear about what you are looking for, so that people know exactly what you are looking for, and can be of maximum assistance to you in your search.

 My favorite saying is simply this: you are either networking or not working.  This holds true even after you secure a position.  The power brokers, and the thought leaders are the people who are well connected and have access to the best resources in their industry. 

  The current job market is beginning to turn around.   However, it is still up to you to be your own recruiter. 

 The bottom line is this: you have to be your own best advocate.  Learn all you can about the free resources available to you and USE THEM!   Looking for a job can be a drag, but looking for a job can also be fun and exhilarating.   Interviewing can be a process of discovery. You are a resource person, not a job beggar.   You are the brand.  Learn how to build your brand, and as author William Bridges says, “It’s you and company.” This is one of my favorite books for those in transition.

 Just give me a shout. @HRMargomargorose@rocketmail.com And I’m sincere when I say I really care!

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On Saturday, President Obama issued an H1N1 national emergency alert in his radio address.   As an HR professional, I braced myself.  Not only was I concerned for our nation.  I also wondered how my colleagues would address this in my industry.

This week the CDC released an experimental drug still in its preliminary stages, which according to infectious disease specialist, Dr. Alan Cohen is extremely rare.   This coupled with the antiviral medication Tamiflu will be used for treatment, but will there be enough?    The CDC estimated that 40% of the US population will contract H1N1.  The implications for how this will have an impact my colleagues in human resources boggles my mind.

Tonight I was watching a debate take place on twitter between recruiters who were locking horns about whether their allegiance should be with the client or with the candidate?    And, after attending Dr. Cohen’s lecture Monday, I thought if the CDC’s predictions are correct, and the swine flu hits as hard as they are predicting, recruiters and hr directors will be lucky if they will have a workforce sufficient to meet the demands of American companies.  What are HR Directors and Recruiters going to do when the flu season hits?

Dr. Cohen says that infectious disease specialists haven’t seen anything like this since the 1918 flu pandemic which killed an estimated 50 million people.  How did does something like the swine flu begin?

Here are the facts he shared.  H1N1 started in Mexico, by June 2009 the W.H.O. raised the pandemic alert to 6 indicating a widespread transmission to 2 continents. 

  • July 27, 2009 134,500 cases confirmed
  • Over 100 Countries – 2 Continents
  • August  24, 2009 1 million cases reported in U.S.
  • Severe infection takes place disproportionately in infants, teens and young adults- Gen Y is expected to be hit the hardest

Currently, the vaccine is in limited supply.  Who will get it first? Those who are in the highest risk categories.

  • Pregnant Women
  • People who live with or care for children 6 yr and under
  • Healthcare & Emergency Service Workers in Direct Contact with the Infected
  • Children 6 months to 4 years w/chronic medical conditions
  • Children 5-18 w/chronic medical conditions

The Department of Labor issued a letter to employers in August that cited the CDC’s recommendations.  The letter states employees should stay home at least 24 hours after the fever–without penalty.  In addition they recommend instituting flexible workplace policies, including telework, flexible schedules for workers who need to stay home.  Due to the fact that medical resources will be overwhelmed, the D.O.L. also waives the requirements for Dr. notes. 

Knowing what I know about how things really work inside HR and in organizations, I scratched my head and wondered, really? Hmm, and yet if we are inundated with the labor shortage due to illness that CDC predicts, we have to be prepared.  So, now I want to hear from you.  What steps have your company taken to prepare for the onslaught of this flu season?

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Are We Too Hard on Ourselves In HR? A Twitter Conversation

 Some tweets just snag your heart strings:  “@Frannyo: wonder if we’re too hard on ourselves in HR? I’ve never seen IT  or Accounting be so introspective?  Maren Hogan replied HR is the only one with “Human” in our title. I thought that was classic, and I was hooked. (@sharon_lauby @megbear)

  As I read this question, I asked myself the very thing, and wondered, how much of this is based on temperament?  According to MBTI and David Kiersey,  People tend to focus their attention, gather information, make decisions, and take action based on temperament related preferences.  According to Kiersey, Introverts are drawn to Accounting, Engineering and IT.  Plenty of Introverts are also drawn to Human Resources  (as are extroverts).  The point is introspection, as @HRFishbowl says  Introversion is healthy when we are channeling it into something positive.  He replied to the thread, will someone please blog about this?  I answered the call:  Introspection is only problematic when we use it as a bully club and start beating ourselves over the head with it, I replied.    This brought up a few questions.

 Is HR hard on itself, or are employees hard on HR?  Isn’t the point to just stop being hard on ourselves period?  Are we hard on ourselves because we are engaged, and because we care?

My colleague Karla Porter warned that “HR needs to be careful because there is a fine line between being engaged and being an enabler. HR should not be a scapegoat.  HR should have a seat at the table, and not be blindfolded then handed a mop to clean up the messes.”   With that said, with the recession we’ve seen reduced budgets, plant closings, record-braking unemployment, and dysfunctional organizational dynamics.  It’s no wonder we are asking ourselves these questions.

 HR Professionals are just now beginning to see the tip of economic recovery- where do we go from here?

While temperament plays into how individuals respond, organization cultures will often dictate how people within departments and positions take action.  If the system is stressed, so are its people.   Certainly human resource professionals will function better if the organizational culture is healthy.  If the culture is toxic, people in Accounting, IT, and HR will suffer equally.

 Is the problem systemic? Franny Oxford answered “I’m not sure we are too hard on ourselves HR,” but wonder rather if that might not be the case—the question is do we fail to study systems that keep it all in place?  Her question and tweet resonnated with me.  In the final analysis, HR Professionals have to be the thought leaders-and-reframe the dialogue.

 The debate is not that of nature verses nurture.  The debate ought to center around Human Resources and Organizational Culture—will your culture allow for introspection, open dialogue, and input?  Do our HR systems allow for growth and renewal?  (Perhaps we should all read Karla Porter’s blog post from Sunday 10-25).

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My recent tweet on twitter exclaimed: “Unless you are a masked bandit super hero, take the name “Ninja” out of your title and job description.  Ninja, is a term social media enthusiasts are tagging next to their job title, but is it accurate?  What does that really mean?

1. If you are an expert qualify your expertise accurate in bullet points that describe the situation, task, action and result you achieved. 

2. Ninja’s don’t need job descriptions unless of course, they are turtles.

3. Consider your brand.  How are you positioning yourself in the market place?  Yes, facebook and twitter count.  Hiring managers are checking your sources as well as references.  Last time I checked, Ninjas don’t care.

4. Ask a colleague or a mentor for advice about your image.  As William Bridges used to say “It’s You & Company.”  Regardless of who you work for you are always working for yourself.  Manage your brand. You are the brand.

5. Read what the leading experts in your field are saying about social media–how are they connected? Can you connect the dots and use social media to position yourself and your market?

While I love the term “Ninja” to describe savvy, smarts, and social media pros-this term is over saturated in the mainstream workplace. Stick to your real credentials.  They speak volumes over cliches’. 

Recently, I connected with other HR professionals who helped me sculpt my twitter name.  These people also gave me great advice about how to tweak my tweets and linkedin profile.  Don’t be shy about asking for help.  Most people are more than willing to extend a hand.  Just be sure to return the favor by give them referrals, or help in return.

Your not a Ninja HR Pal,

Margo Rose, M.Ed. HR.D.

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HR Horror Stories

Tonight on twitter, several of my colleagues will be sharing their dare I say, “horror stories,” just in time for halloween.  However, HR horror stories are often much scarier than your typical “trick or treat.”  Tune in tonight at 8 p.m. to hear more.     A Definite Dont Miss event @hrhappyhourTonight #HRHappyHour – ‘HR Horror Stories’ | http://bit.ly/nh5Hl | 8 pm EDT | Call in 646-378-1086  Follow me on twitter HRMargo or get linkedin www.linkedin.com/margorose

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