Got a Minute? 9 Lessons for HR Professionals (Book Review)

9 lessons for hr professionals book coverWhen I received a review copy for Got a Minute: The 9 Lessons Every HR Professional Must Learn to be Successful, I had no idea I would enjoy it as much as I did. With dozens of real, personal stories embedded throughout the book that will make you laugh with delight and shake your head in disgust, this great book is definitely written specifically for HR pros.

The nine lessons

The nine chapters in the book focus on these major lessons:

  1. Accept that People will Say (and Do) the Dumbest Things
  2. Norms are Important for Leading and Managing Change
  3. Some Rules are Made to be Broken Continue reading

Signs That a Person is Lying-Free Guide

how to tell if someone is lyingWhat are the signs that a person is lying?

  1. The person rubs their forehead or neck
  2. Perspiring, trembling and blushing
  3. Delayed nodding to support an answer they’ve given
  4. All of the above

If you’ve been in HR for very long, you have probably run across some employee relations or management issues. Inevitably, someone will end up lying to you before too much time has passed. But how do you detect when someone’s not telling the truth? How do you know when to dig deeper on a question that someone’s trying to avoid answering? I recently ran across a free guide from i-Sight (link below), and I thought it was a resource worth sharing. Continue reading

Creatively Ever After (Book Review)

A while back I received the Creatively Ever After: A Path to Innovation book by Alicia Arnold to review. I had a tough time getting started, and it sat on my shelf for a few weeks at one point. I’m a naturally creative person and a fan of solving problems through a creative process. However, I just couldn’t get into this book. It might be that I don’t have much trouble coming up with ideas, or it could very well be some other reason. I’d love to hear from someone who is a more analytical thinker about what they thought of the book. No offense to Ms. Arnold, but this one didn’t appeal to me.

What’s it about?

The basic premise is that Jack and Jill (from the nursery rhyme) want to change their story. You know…

Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water,
Jack fell down and broke his crown and Jill came tumbling after.

They meet someone who helps them work through a creative process to develop potential solutions and narrow them down to workable actions. And at the end, well, I’ll let you read it to figure out how it turns out.


If you’re looking for a book that focuses on creative problem solving with a heavy dose of “cute,” then this book might be for you. If you’re looking for something that provides more real world issues/solutions and ways to teach your people to be more creative/innovative, then you might want to keep on looking.

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Field Tested-Recruiting, Managing, and Retaining Veterans (Book Review)

I work for a government contractor in the defense industry. We have a large number of veterans working for us, so I am always looking for ways to understand them better. Recently I received a review copy of this book, and I was really excited to dig in. As usual, I read with an eye on the corporate culture aspects, and I thought the author, Emily King, did a great job of addressing those. Here are my top 4 “Aha!” moments while reading Field Tested-Recruiting, Managing, and Retaining Veterans.

#1 Put yourself in their shoes

This was the single best explanation for how a veteran must feel when they join the private sector that I’ve ever come across. Basically, the author asks you to imagine that you take a job in a private employer and work there  for twenty years. Then, you retire from that company and go to work for the military. Imagine the chaos and difficulty of trying to navigate the landscape of an entirely different organization and culture. That is how veterans feel when they come to work for us after completing a military career. Continue reading

Seven tips for recruiting success

Recently I had the opportunity to review the book 101 Strategies for Recruiting Success by Christopher Pritchard for the SHRM Store. As an HR Generalist for a small company, recruiting is one of those activities that I do occasionally but not often enough to really be creative. I learned some great ideas from the book that I\’m looking forward to testing out, and I\’d like to share seven of them.

  1. 101-strategies-for-recruiting-success-christopher-pritchardDevelop a process map (pg 26)-Recently we took a few hours to map out our new hire process to help the operations team have input into how they would like to be notified and to make sure we are completing all necessary tasks associated with a new hire. One of our ninja admins developed a high-level flow chart and a set of checklists designed for accounting, HR, security, and administrative tasks. Having this in place ensures that the team is on the same page.
  2. Do a customer satisfaction survey (pg 34)-Wouldn\’t you like to know if you are doing well or not? I would! The author suggests using a very simple, two question survey sent to hiring managers (or you can be really open and honest and send it to candidates as well!), including the following questions: Are you A) very satisfied, B) somewhat satisfied, or C) dissatisfied with the recruiting process? What would you improve?
  3. Provide status updates to candidates, managers, and up the chain (pg 35)-I know that we often hear about candidates needing updates on the status of the process, but it\’s even more important to make sure hiring managers know the status of the hiring process, too. I work with remote leaders and try to update them once every day or two on any pertinent updates to their candidates. Keep everyone in the loop that needs to be!
  4. Use metrics to gauge performance (pg 38)-We use metrics for other activities, so why not for recruiting? I\’m not a fan of the normal “time to fill” metric, because it can be misleading and difficult to calculate if there are a lot of starts and stops in the process due to managerial needs. The book mentioned a “submission to hire” ratio that I did like. Basically you look at how many candidates it takes to get a hire (10 to 1, for instance). Then try to work on narrowing that gap to 5 to 1 to save time and resources.
  5. Reach out to alumni (pg 57)-Assuming the people left in good standing, they could be fantastic resources for referrals or other information. We have two people who left but were thrilled with the experience they had with us. They just wanted to do more of what they love, and we couldn\’t offer that at this time. Just because they are gone doesn\’t mean they won\’t help if asked sincerely.
  6. Utilize military outplacement programs (pg 67)-We often hear the statistics, but the truth needs to be said. The unemployment rate for veterans is higher than the national average. What are we going to do about it? Well, we\’re going to look into programs like Operation Impact and work with organizations (local and national) such as Still Serving Veterans to try and find qualified candidates to fill our positions. If they can lead a group of men and women into battle to protect our freedoms, don\’t you think they are worth your time to consider for a position?
  7. Pre-close candidates (pg 120)-I\’m a big fan of this one. It\’s all about preparing candidates by getting them excited about the position, manager, and company. If they are emotionally invested, then there is a good chance they will take the interviews seriously and do their best to get the job. I\’d rather have 3 great candidates fighting for a position than 3 so-so candidates who we wouldn\’t want to hire anyway.

There was one “bonus” idea that made me stop and think. Utilize internal promotions when possible. I\’ve pushed for it in my own organization, but sometimes it slips your mind when a hiring manager reaches out to open a requisition for a new position. In my mind, it\’s usually easier to promote from within and recruit for the lower level/less experienced position than it is to find someone from outside who is unfamiliar with the organization yet capable of filling the role.

Again, here\’s the link to the book. If you\’re one of those generalists who does recruiting on the side, or if you are new to recruiting and looking to fill your toolbox with ideas to try out, I think 101 Strategies for Recruiting Success is a great book for you.

Do you practice any of these at your own company? Which have you had success with?

The Levity Effect: Why It Pays to Lighten Up (#HRFL11)

the levity effect book reviewI have read The Levity Effect: Why It Pays to Lighten Up, and I think it’s a fantastic book for people to read in order to understand the impact that humor and levity can have in the workplace. Scott Christopher, the author of the book and speaker at the session, had so many fantastic quips and quotes that it might as well have been a comedy session with some learning thrown in. It was phenomenal and I can’t say enough how much I enjoyed hearing him speak.

One of our core values is to have a safe and enjoyable workplace. That’s why we have photos of office staff in men’s helicopter flight suits and videos of bagpipers playing in our lobby. We take the enjoyable part very seriously. Well, not so seriously. Anyway, you get the point.

Five quick points:

  1. Figure out what’s fun and share that (healing patients vs. serving food, building relationships vs. recruiting candidates, etc.)
  2. Herb Kelleher-Southwest Airlines-order of recruiting importance from least to greatest: education, experience, humor Continue reading

Carrots and Sticks Don’t Work (book review)

When I received my review copy of Carrots and Sticks Don’t Work: Building a Culture of Employee Engagement with the Principles of RESPECT by Paul Marciano, I wasn’t sure about what to expect. I’ve talked about employee engagement before, and I feel like I know a good bit about the topic.

This book took it to a whole new level.

See, the engagement stuff is usually “fuzzy.” We know it’s a good concept, but we don’t receive a lot of practical advice on how to make it work. This book covers overarching concepts that affect human psychology at work and actionable ideas for employers to use to affect employee engagement on a daily basis. And the interesting part? It’s all based on respect. Continue reading