What the heck is a Gruzzle?

So… What is a Gruzzle? That\’s what I said the first time I spoke with G.L Hoffman, a brilliant blogger and entrepreneur with a penchant for word puzzles that stimulate surprisingly deep thinking. Actually it\’s fairly simple. A Gruzzle is a combination graph and puzzle. And they are fantastic for generating conversation and new ideas.

Leadership Lessons via Gruzzle

Leadership Lessons via Gruzzle

G.L. is working to spread the word about these things, and I enjoy them more than enough to share a few with you. He has created dozens of them and incorporated them into a few packages that are targeted toward HR professionals. The first ones I saw were the onboarding group, and that\’s when I knew he was onto something special. If you are looking for straight talk, then look no further. He helps you to tell employees like it is, and it can help to develop some desperately needed communication.

Stuff you need to know

Stuff you need to know

Sometimes it\’s hard to say what really needs to be said. It can be awkward or just plain weird. Want some help? How about this one?

Starting the hard conversations

Starting the hard conversations

If you\’d like to know more or order your own pack of HR Gruzzles, contact him on Twitter or via the contact page on his blog. I’m going to do another post on this in the future, but don’t you want to grab one before they’re everywhere?

If Batman was in HR

Batman tat. Coolness.
Batman tat. Coolness.

I’m a Batman fan. Yes, my geekery is showing, but you know it’s fun to watch! What if Batman was in HR? What would happen? Well, here are a few of my thoughts, but I’d love to hear yours, too!

  1. Strategic plans would always begin with the phrase: “hop into the Batmobile.”
  2. Theft of office supplies would drop drastically.
  3. Capes and masks would be required in the new dress code.
  4. Senior management would be known as “villains.”
  5. He could give a drug screen, interview an applicant, and terminate an employee using gadgets in his utility belt.
  6. He’d teach the receptionist seven forms of martial arts to use on annoying sales people.
  7. Office hours would be 8pm-4am.
  8. Admins would be called “sidekicks.”
  9. Christmas bonuses would be $1M per employee from an “anonymous donor.”
  10. Employees would be too terrified to perform poorly.
  11. Job titles like “bat-accountant” and “bat-IT manager” would be commonplace.

I’m sure that’s not all, but I need some help! What would be different if Batman was in your HR department?

Top 15 Reasons to Take the PHR or SPHR Exam

Getting certified. Its a big deal for some people. Not so much for others. And some people just laugh at others about it. Why in the world do people put themselves through this kind of stuff? Well, here are the top 15 reasons to take the PHR or SPHR exam… And if you don’t get humor/sarcasm, then this ain’t the post for you. :-)

  1. Your boss told you to.
  2. You really want that nifty certificate on your wall.
  3. It’s easier to be the “smug HR person” when you have letters after your name.
  4. It can help you pick up HR chicks/dudes.
  5. You want to show your mastery of some subject so boring that it would make a librarian cry.
  6. You needed an excuse to get the Rock the PHR guide.
  7. You need something to balance that upcoming performance review.
  8. That new job you’re looking at requires it.
  9. You’re in HR. Other than torturing employees, you have a lot of free time.
  10. You’d like to demonstrate excellence in (snort) and commitment to (giggle) the HR profession (cough). Riiiight.
  11. All the cool kids are doing it.
  12. You enjoy spending hundreds of dollars on study materials.
  13. Because Dwight Schrute would do it if he was in HR.
  14. You want to learn new and creative ways to make employees miserable.
  15. Because you want your HR department to do more than plan birthday parties.

And there you have them! The top 15 reasons to take the PHR or SPHR exam. Think you could do better? Have something to add? Drop it in the comments below.


Posts, Problems, and Probabilities

In the past week or two, posting has been sporadic. There are several reasons for that (as you’ll see below). I’ve been reading some amazing posts from my blogger friends, trying to meet a fast-approaching deadline, and planning the future of this site. I hope you read stick around, because you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

First, I’d like to apologize for the double posts you may have received in your feed reader in the past week. I was trying to submit the blog to Technorati, and I’m thinking that’s what messed with the feed. I’m not sure, because I was also toying around with some Feedburner features at the same time. Anyway, if your feed reader was flooded with UpstartHR, I’m hoping it won’t happen again (unless it’s purposeful!).

Next, I’d like to share a little about some projects that I’m working on. Some of them are UpstartHR solo gigs, and others are partner endeavors with some people you all (should) know and love.

  • HRevolution-Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you know that HRevolution is coming. We are getting ready to set some of the details later this week, and Trish and I are very excited to let everyone know the status of your soon-to-be-favorite event.
  • HR Ninjas-The HR ninjas just keep coming! I don’t know why people love these things, but they do. Feel free to get one to wear to your next Casual Friday. I guarantee your HR pals will love it.
  • The Master ListThe Creative Chaos Consultant is working on a project. He needs your help. Are you on… Twitter? LinkedIn? Blogging? If you are in the HR field and involved in social media in any way, check out his post today and give him a hand. He’s a friend of mine, and I’d appreciate it if you could stop by!
  • Rock the PHR

    Rock the PHR

    Rock the PHR eBook-I’ve been working on an eBook for a while now, and it’s been tough. I’m in the editing stages right now, and I’m hoping to get it out very soon. After seeing how popular the free PHR study guide was, I decided to put out a premium version called Rock the PHR with some amazing goodies included. Public thanks to April of PseudoHR for the assistance. She did a good bit of the legwork, and I’d have been pushed back even farther if not for her help. In fact, she is still gathering more information that is going to be packaged as a special bonus. Stay tuned for more news later this week (hopefully!).

  • Smile Week Contest-To those that entered the Smile Week Contest, I really appreciate it. After you read the rest of this post, you’ll see why you haven’t yet received your prizes. Don’t worry,  I haven’t forgotten you!
  • NASHRM blog-I’m working with my local SHRM chapter to get a blog up and running. Much of the hard part is already done, and we’re mainly waiting on the more mundane/administrative parts to finish it completely. And a big thanks goes out to Stephen of HR Gumbo for giving me a hand.
  • HR Capitalist-I’m meeting Kris Dunn, the HR Capitalist, today for the first time. We live about 45 minutes from each other. It’s not like we’re seven states apart or anything! He’s coming to do a presentation at NASHRM on social media. Very excited.
  • Jobacle eBook-I’m talking with Andrew over at Jobacle about getting another eBook started. If you haven’t visited Jobacle before, you’re missing out. A gem is the annual Sick Day Calendar, which helps you plan your sick days months ahead of time, so you can get the most out of holidays and other events.
  • NewHR guide-The next UpstartHR product is going to be focused on the entry level HR professional. I can’t mention any pertinent details just yet, but I’m already planning something that is going to be huge.
  • 2nd Guest Post Blitz-I’ve been trying to focus inward in recent weeks, but I have four or five requests for guest posts currently that I’m going to try to fill with another Guest Post Blitz. The first one was very popular, and it’s a unique way to handle the guest post scenario. I’ll probably end up giving half the HR blogosphere the day off by the time I’m through. :-)
  • Baudville-I recently had the opportunity to interview Baudville for a great post on the Jobacle blog, and it inspired this bit of humor that’s been missing from UpstartHR in recent weeks…recognition

This stuff is just a dent in the surface of all that’s going on, but maybe now you see why I drink from a 2-liter bottle of Diet Mountain Dew? If you’re not subscribed, but you think you’d like to be a part of more of the coming events and projects, feel free to join the movement! You can get free email updates every week.

Smile Week Contest

The contest is closed! Thanks to the participants. Alicia, Krista, Trish, and April all got in before the deadline and won a prize. Congratulations, ladies!

In an earlier post, I mentioned that Ashley Andrus sent me a book in honor of this “Smile Week” idea.

Seeing my niece and nephew kissing my wifes class pet rock is enough to make me smile

Seeing my niece and nephew kissing my wife's classroom pet rock is enough to make me smile!

After some Google research, I couldn’t find much about this celebratory period! However, I promised I would pay it forward, and I most definitely shall! UpstartHR is having its first contest, and it’s dedicated to the idea (that I wholeheartedly embrace) that we can all bring a smile to someone’s face with relatively little effort.

I want to know what someone has done to make you smile in the past week. It could be big or small, but I’m going to pick my favorite response and send that person a little prize. And, just to be fair to those that work in an office full of automatons, if nobody made you smile this week, but you were able to help someone else with a grin, then that would work just fine!

What happened this week that created a smile?

Did someone send you an unexpected note? Thank you for your contribution? Offer help with a difficult project? Tell a great joke? I want to know! Drop it in the comment section below and I’ll choose a winner by this Friday. Good luck!

What’s Your Flavor?

This post comes from my office at the “other” job. :-) Needed my prop, and I was out of stock at the house, so I arrived early for a quick video.

Hey, everyone! It\’s Ben with UpstartHR, and today I\’d like to talk to you about flavor.  You want to hear something interesting? You have thousands tastebuds on your tongue. Your tongue can recognize hundreds of unique flavors. Taste is a very powerful sensory experience.

Bloggers use flavor to make their blogs unique. All it takes is a little spice to stand out from the countless others. Frank at KnowHR is known for pointing out things that should be obvious to everyone, but people are still surprised. Chris at Renegade HR is known for his opinions on inspiring and motivating people. Venting HR Guy is known for saying very funny and irreverent things that we all have experienced at one time or another.  All of the great ones have a style and a flavor that is their very own.

So, as I was ruminating over a drink the other day, I realized that I wasn\’t quite sure what mine was. What the heck are people listening to me for? What\’s my flavor? I shot out a quick question on Twitter, and I quickly received a few responses. People know me for my humor and my insights on things. People know me for being enthusiastic and inspiring. And do you know what? I was thrilled. Sure, some people see me and wonder which zoo lost their favorite monkey, but most of you like hearing what I have to say.

And let me just tell you… I truly enjoy the experience. I write. I tweet. I interact with others. I provide solutions to problems. I make people laugh. And that\’s all part of my flavor. The way I do that makes me different from everyone else, and I couldn\’t be happier.

So, while I savor the flavor just a bit longer, I\’d like you to ask yourself what your flavor is. Think about it. Ruminate. Ponder. Drop a comment below and we’ll discuss it!

If you enjoyed the post and you’re not getting free updates via email, it’s easy! Just click here and you’ll never miss anything from UpstartHR.

HR Equations and Formulas

Formula for figuring out how many HR pros it takes to screw in a lightbulb. Flickr-halfbyte

Formula for figuring out how many HR pros it takes to screw in a lightbulb. Flickr-halfbyte

HR is governed by laws and regulations much of the time. However, we also have some nifty formulas that help us do our jobs on a daily basis. Below you will find some interesting resources that should help you with any questions you have. Make sure you subscribe for free updates so that you never miss a hot news item or funny article.

HR Metrics

While human resources has traditionally been more of a “soft” profession, in recent years we’ve begun to learn how to measure our impact on an organization through various formulas. We can study factors like cost per hire, time to fill, employee satisfaction, etc., but those really are just scratching the surface and not digging into the available data. Learn how to make your HR metrics rock.

We should be looking for more useful, practical types of knowledge like HR to staff ratio (i.e. how many HR professionals do you need per employee?), employee turnover cost calculator (i.e. how much does it cost every time an employee decides to leave your organization?), and other hiring, turnover, and absence calculators.

Another great resource is this list of 20 common metrics.

A nicely done formula or equation is pleasant to look at.  The ability to take rows and rows of endless numbers and force them into a format that is easy on the eyes is to be respected.  Heck, even a chart can be interesting if you pick the right one (like this). :-)

Now for the not so serious part of this post…

Know Your Limits

I have spent a good bit of time in the past week or two developing derivatives of calculus formulae that express HR concepts (geek alert).  My favorite so far involves limits.  The limit formula has boundless possibilities for application, and coming up with new concepts is a tricky, yet interesting, way to spend some time brainstorming.

It’s been quite a few years since I had a calculus class, so anyone that can say this better can feel free to chime in.  Limits basically say that as value x approaches a predetermined point, two dissimilar items become equal.  The example my calculus teacher always used was “As the engineer’s grade approaches zero, an engineering degree becomes a business degree.”  In simpler terms, the lower the engineer’s grade, the more likely he/she is to become a business major (obviously he was an engineering fan :-)).  Another easy one would be “As your wallet approaches full, dinner becomes a steak.”

HR Applications

Yeah, I haven’t really figured out a real world application for this yet, but I do think it sounds promising and it could be a fun brain-stretcher to think up a few ideas for it.

Do you have a favorite formula or something else you’d like to know? Tell me in the comments below!