Author Archives: Ben

speaking

So you want to speak at HR conferences? Advice for the journey

One of the key parts of what I do in my job is speaking. Webinars. Conferences. Seminars. I’ll talk to pretty much anyone about anything related to HR.

speakingAnd I LOVE it.

This is pretty funny for anyone that knows me well, because I’m fairly shy and introverted. If I show up to the pre-conference party myself, I’ll eat quickly and leave for the safety of my hotel room and a good book. Ideally I’ll have a friend or someone meeting me so at least I have a person to connect with when I arrive. Better still if they introduce me to one or two people so I am not flying solo (or my “return to home” alert kicks in and I’m out of there in a flash).

Anyway, I have been speaking over 10 years now. The very first event was actually pushed on me (kindly) by a friend that thought I had important things to say. I was early in my career, but I had lots of experience already using social media, building a strong network, and developing myself outside of work. That formed the core presentation called “HR Sponge,” which was aptly named because the friend called me her sponge for new information. :-)

Fast forward to today, and I’ve spoken to tens of thousands of HR, talent, and learning professionals across the world. Spring and fall are heavy HR conference seasons, so I spend a fair amount of time on the road during those times. It balances out, because summer and winter are family time! With the new book that came out late last year, I’ve been speaking a lot more on the topic of artificial intelligence and how it can help us make HR more human, not less.

(Don’t tell my wife but I’m already thinking about the next book.) :-)  Continue reading

We’re Only Human 56: How Delta Airlines Designs its Candidate Experience

One of the negative consequences of today’s talent acquisition processes is that we have so many more candidates that don’t get picked for open jobs. With one-click apply, the availability of job boards, and other technologies to lower the friction of applying for jobs, employers have more candidates than ever flowing through their applications. This can create a negative experience for those that aren’t selected for the job, from the “resume black hole” to a lack of response overall.

Delta Airlines is approaching this problem by creating an intentional method called Designing for the Disappointed. Everyone can’t be hired for every job, so how we treat people at the other end of the table, especially when in a consumer-facing brand like retail or, in Delta’s case, airline travel. In today’s discussion Ben talks with Carol McDaniel, a talent acquisition leader from Delta that shares insights into how the firm has designed a tailored, personalized process that scales across the thousands of applicants it receives each year. 

Connect with Carol on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/carolmcdaniel

Learn more about Delta’s careers: https://www.delta.com/us/en/careers/overview

We’re Only Human 55:The HR Leader’s First Year on the Job

Leading an HR team is a complex series of tasks. Not only are you driving value for the business and caring for the employees, but you’re also running a team of HR pros dedicated to improving the organization as well. Stepping into any new position can be a challenge, and taking on a role as an HR executive at a new firm is no picnic. However, having the right mindset can take you a long way.

In today’s interview, Ben speaks with Michael Stambaugh, Chief Human Resources Officer for HJF, about his priorities and challenges on the eve of his first year on the job. The conversation covers the critical tip for how to be a great HR leader (hint: you have to be willing to go to bat for the needs of both your team AND the organization), what it’s like selecting and implementing HR technology as a new leader, and how to earn the respect and credibility you need to get the job done.

If you enjoy the conversation, be sure to share this with someone else who might appreciate the insights Michael has to share.

Show Notes

Episode 52: Top 3 HR Tech Implementation Mistakes

Learn more about HJF: http://hjf.org

Connect with Michael: https://www.linkedin.com/in/stambaugh

strategic hr

HR Strategy: How to Work ON Your Department, Not Just IN Your Department

One of the challenges with HR strategy and strategic HR is that it’s often talked about in vague terms, which means it isn’t always easy to understand for some individuals. There’s a great metaphor for this concept in the world of entrepreneurship put forth decades ago in The E-Myth by Michael Gerber. Here’s the core of it:

When someone starts a small business (even if it’s a sideline HR consulting business), they do so because they want to do a certain task: writing, painting, consulting, and so on. The problem comes when that person realizes they are actually doing two jobs: the product/service they are selling AND running a business. Many small businesses fail because they are great at working IN the business but not working ON the business.

Hopefully you can see the application of this in the world of HR as well. Many of us are really great at doing the core components of HR:

  • Recruiting great candidates
  • Delivering high quality training
  • Supporting leaders with coaching and development

But we often struggle when it comes to this strategic stuff. It’s not because it’s hard. Most of us are smart enough to lay out a game plan for the year with objectives and then work towards it. No, the problem is that we’re so darn busy doing the day to day work of HR that we can’t find ways to get to the strategy. We never really arrive.

If you’re not sure if this applies to you, here’s a simple test:

If you’re spending your days, weeks, and months churning through tasks and never really working on improving your function, team, or department, then you’re probably missing out. 

This actually played out last week in a conversation during the Alabama SHRM state conference. The audience was talking at their tables about obstacles for HR, and the group at my table talked about HR’s bad reputation for being the “no” police, for caring only about compliance, and for never leaving the office to do anything more meaningful.

I know, I know. A lot of this connects to the HR to Employee ratio at your company, as I’ve written about before. If you have a thousand people for every HR professional, it’s going to be very transactional. There’s no way around it other than picking up technology to help automate what you can and personalize to the highest degree possible.

I actually spoke with an HR executive recently that offers some incredible insights into this problem. If you don’t listen to the podcast regularly, you are missing out. In the upcoming episode I speak with Michael Stambaugh, Chief Human Resources Officer for HJF, about how to seize the opportunity for strategic leadership in HR. He tells a compelling story and it’s one I highly encourage you to listen to.

What are your thoughts? Does this problem of overwhelming tasks IN your HR role prevent you from working ON your HR function? How have you tried to overcome it?

An Open Letter to HR on Policies, Regulating, and Training (10 years later)

Ten years ago I started this blog. One of my earliest posts was about the critical importance of treating people like adults and training for the attitudes and behaviors we want, not just those we don’t want. Is it still true today? You decide. 

AKA An open letter to HR professionals who think it’s a good idea to regulate the snot out of everything

Dear fellow HR professionals,

Hey! So, I’m not sure if you know much about me, but I’m a different kind of HR guy. I like being open and honest and treating people like… Well, people. Our employees aren’t children (and if they are, that’s a whole other issue!), so why do we treat them that way?

This ain’t my first rodeo

Continue reading

first hr hire

How to Hire Your First HR Staff Member (and who NOT to hire)

first hr hireLast week I had a great conversation with a $10M startup company about how to make their first HR hire, and I thought those ideas would be worth sharing here. Many of you are already HR leaders at your own firms, but you probably haven’t given much thought to this idea of starting up an HR function from scratch, and it’s a good discussion to have. Plus, I’d love to hear from you!

  • What skills are most important?
  • What would you look for if you were hiring your first HR person?
  • If you’ve started up an HR function, what are your best tips?

Where to Look for your First HR Hire

Continue reading

We’re Only Human 54: Forecasting The Future Jobs of HR and Recruiting

If you could look out into the future and predict how HR and talent acquisition jobs might change in the next few years, what would you expect? Robots? AI? Something else? 

In today’s short monologue, Ben talks about some of the jobs he expects to see as more automation hits the HR function, from candidate experience designers to human-machine integrators. It’s about finding the best that humans AND machines have to offer to create the best results for our candidates, employees, and businesses. 

Jump into the conversation and share your own thoughts on Twitter: @beneubanks or LinkedIn.