Author Archives: Ben

hr certification courses

Announcement: New HR Certification Materials are Live!

I had a powerful moment last week. I went back and checked some of the statistics on the website for how people find the blog, and there have been tens of thousands of HR pros that found upstartHR via Google because they were looking for help with HR certification content. That truly blew me away!

It’s that kind of support that has encouraged me to work on developing critical study materials that fill the gaps in the HR certification industry. I made a quiet announcement last week to all of our customers so far this year, but today I’m announcing publicly that our new revised courses for PHR and SPHR certification prep are both available.

(read on for how to get a limited time 20% discount on the course you need!)

hr certification courses

Why a new course? What was wrong with the old one?

The changes in this year’s HRCI body of knowledge prompted me and the team to make changes to the content, and I’d already been thinking for some time that I wanted to move away from the old format to a more comprehensive study platform. I have partnered with Thinkific, an online learning system, to transition the PHR and SPHR courses to a new format that helps learners wherever they may be.

Additionally, during the transition I not only was able to weave in some additional content from video, audio, and external sources, but I was also able to pull together hundreds of practice questions to assist with study preparation. Now students that use the course are not only getting the industry’s only study materials that offer a practical perspective—they also get a wide variety of practice questions to help them test those concepts they’re learning.

Is this the end goal?

Not by a long shot. The course has always been designed to be used alongside another study tool. HRCP has been a great partner in that regard, but I also recommend the Reed books on Amazon for anyone that needs something more budget-friendly (even if it’s for an older version of the test, 99% of the principles are still the same!).

However, those resources are highly academic in their approach, and the number one reason people fail the HR certification exams is because they lack the practical insights around application. In other words: you learn the theories, but you fall down when it comes to talking about how they really work in practice.

The content in the upstartHR course is very practical and written from an “in the trenches” perspective, which means students aren’t just memorizing terms with no idea of how they function in the real world. It’s my plan to continue fleshing out the course until it is able to stand on its own, though this is a long-term plan. Additionally, I will be incorporating new resources, research, and information into the course on an ongoing basis to ensure students are always receiving the latest and greatest information.

What about the SHRM exams?

These tools have been used successfully by dozens of students in the last year. I was hesitant to make this claim without some evidence to back it up, because the course was designed for the HRCI exams. However, there aren’t two wildly different ways to practice HR, there’s one right way. The feedback from SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP students has been very positive and I’m proud to say that it can help those studying for the SHRM exams with key concepts and practical insights and case studies.

A note about the popular audio course

A final note: the audio course was developed as a tool to help solve a variety of problems (students wanted to listen to materials, study on their commute, etc.), but I’ve heard from some students that the content navigation and user interface is not as easy as they would prefer. I’m working on a solution to this, but, as with the course, it isn’t a quick fix. Some of the audio content is being merged into the PHR and SPHR courses and some will stand alone, but I am working on this to create a better experience for students.

Celebrate with a discount!

Bottom line: this is an exciting time for me and the team. To celebrate, for a limited time I am offering a 20% discount on the new courses if you are preparing for the PHR or SPHR. Use discount code “20launch” at checkout. This code is good until Halloween (October 31st, 2018) so don’t miss your chance! Access to the course does not expire so you can take the exam this winter or any time next year if you’re already thinking about it.

As always, if you have questions feel free to reach out to me in the comments below or via email. It’s an honor to serve the HR community and I look forward to another great year of success with my students!

cheree aspelin

We’re Only Human 41: HR Leaders, Stop Treating the Symptom

“HR should see themselves as the sole source of people exertise in any organization… You don’t go to IT to get ideas on how to formulate product. You go to them for [technical] expertise.”

How many times do you solve a problem only to have it come back around again? Are you treating the symptom instead of treating the root issue? In today’s conversation with Cheree Aspelin, Ben asks about how HR leaders can get beyond this common issue.

In Cheree’s words, HR needs to “buck up” and make some tough choices about how to lead the business and the function. It’s an encouraging conversation because Cheree’s passion and excitement about HR as a profession come through in her words, tone, and message.

Connect with Chereee on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/chereeaspelin

If you enjoyed this episode you’ll want to check out “How to be a Chief Troublemaker in HR.”

What about you? Does this resonate? Are you treating the symptoms or the real problem? 

pay commuting

Should Employees be Paid for Commuting Time?

An interesting piece of research on publicly available WiFi access in England led to a question that made me pause. Should employees be paid for commuting time?

As someone that travels a fair bit for work, I know the value of being able to connect and work from any number of strange locations–restaurants, hotel lobbies, airports, etc. But what about the commutes that make up a significant part of the day for so many workers? From the piece:

Interviews with customers revealed why internet access was as important for commuters as business travellers. Many respondents expressed how they consider their commute as time to ‘catch up’ with work, before or after their traditional working day. This transitional time also enabled people to switch roles, for example from being a parent getting the kids ready for school in the morning to a business director during the day.

Until now, there has been little research to evaluate the impact free Wi-Fi provision has had in the UK, despite government encouragement for companies to provide access on transport networks. The researchers looked to Scandinavia to see how commuting time could be measured differently, and found that in Norway some commuters are able to count travel time as part of their working day.

Dr Juliet Jain told the conference: “If travel time were to count as work time, there would be many social and economic impacts, as well as implications for the rail industry. It may ease commuter pressure on peak hours and allow for more comfort and flexibility around working times. However it may also demand more surveillance and accountability for productivity.”

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hr executive ai changing hr

How AI is Changing HR for the Better

Last week I was one of several thousand people that attended the 2018 HR Technology Conference and Expo in Las Vegas. I had the opportunity to share about my take on the HR Technology landscape as it pertains to AI and automation technology that is affecting recruiting, talent management, core HR, and more.

In the video below, I answer a few key questions about how AI is driving value for employers that leverage it to solve HR and people-related challenges. This is from my upcoming book (now available for presale!) on Artificial Intelligence for HR. It’s a very practical look at where HR is today and how technology can enable us to FINALLY be strategic in ways we’ve always dreamed of by automating some of the simpler, transactional components and “grunt work” that we all have to do on a daily basis.

Plus, I grew a mini beard for HR Tech this year. Enjoy. :-)

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How to Legally Avoid Paying Overtime Wages [Reader Question]

I’m trying out a new Q&A format for some questions I’ve received in the last few weeks. Let me know what you think in the comments or by emaiing me your own question to ben@upstarthr.com

overtime clockLast week I got a question in the mailbag that was short and to the point.

How can we avoid paying overtime to employees?

My answer was short and sweet: Continue reading

elon musk

Your CEO “Steps In” to Help a Troubled Project: Good Practice or Not?

This year I’ve watched with some interest the saga of Tesla, which is run by Elon Musk. He’s a genius with technology but seemingly less so with human relationships. Musk is known for making bold claims about technology and innovation, but Tesla has faced some struggles to meet production deadlines and more. This is from a few months back but the story and question are still relevant:

You can probably argue over whether it’s a good or a bad sign, but Tesla CEO Elon Musk confirmed on Twitter today a report in The Information that he has taken over direct control of the division that’s producing Tesla’s Model 3 electric sedan after the company failed to meet the delivery goals it set.

Specifically, Tesla had intended to produce 500 Model 3 cars per day, or 2,500 per week, by the end of last month. But according to a company-wide email to employees that was sent today and obtained by Jalopnik, Musk said Tesla has been making closer to 2,000 of the cars per week. (Musk estimated last July that Tesla would be making 20,000 of the cars per month by December.)

In his email — fired off at 3 a.m. PDT — Musk added that if “things go as planned today, we will comfortably exceed that number over a seven day period!”

Musk may have been referring in part to the reorganization. But while The Information reported that Musk had seemingly “pushed aside the company’s senior vice president of engineering, Doug Field, who had been overseeing manufacturing in recent months,” Musk quickly took issue with that characterization of events.

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We’re Only Human 40: How Southwest Airlines Lives and Breathes Corporate Culture

collette williamsonDoes corporate culture matter? Does it really? In today’s interview, Ben talks with Colette Williamson of Southwest Airlines about the company’s approach to culture, hiring, and training.

It’s quickly apparent that culture is about more than just a fluffy set of core values on the wall at corporate headquarters–it’s about a way of life that makes the company fundamentally different than the competition.

In the interview you’ll hear from Colette how the company takes that 2% of applicants that make it through the hiring process and helps to mold them into the people that serve and love their customers in an almost fanatical way. The stories will make you laugh (and may just make you cry), so we hope you enjoy the show as much as we did recording it.

To learn more feel free to reach out to Colette on LinkedIn or, as you might have guessed, check out the Southwest blog site to learn more about the company.