50 Human Resource Challenges to Overcome

human resource challengesAKA Human Resource Challenges to Light Your Fire

Today I’m going to step on some toes. I’m going to push you a little bit. And you know what? That’s a good thing. We all need a little bit of that in order to be the best that we can be. Today we’re going to look at 50 human resource challenges that I’m laying down for you. Below the list, you will find some instructions on how to utilize this information to the fullest extent (click here to jump to the instructions). It’s up to you to decide how you want to handle it, but you have a chance to radically impact your career if you take the time and effort. Your call. Continue reading

Ten most popular posts of 2011

I have a lot of fun digging into the statistics on this blog to find out what everyone enjoys reading about. That, in turn, helps to influence what I write about! I have spent some time looking through the pageview counts and visitor stats, and I have developed a top ten list of most popular posts this year. One point I found interesting was that some of these posts that were viewed the most often were actually written in 2010 or before. If you missed one of them, feel free to check it out. Everyone else is. :-)

  1. HR Careers-How to Get a Job in HR – This post focuses on the transition I experienced as I moved into HR for the first time.
  2. Onboarding and New Hire Orientation eBook – This collaborative eBook brings together some of the smartest HR pros of the day to share their take on onboarding.
  3. I don’t believe in social responsibility, but… – This short post discusses a different type of “social responsibility” in the business world.
  4. How to Establish Credibility – I do some Q&A with people I highly respect to find out how they established their own credibility. Great lessons here.
  5. How to Ask Questions During an Investigation – If you’re in HR, you will eventually run into an investigation. Here’s how to ask questions to find out what you need to know.
  6. How to run a one person HR department – If you’ve ever worked in a small HR department, this one is for you.
  7. Policy on working through lunch – Do we need a policy banning working at your desk during lunch? Do we need a policy for anything?
  8. Employee Engagement eBook  – This collaborative eBook brings together some of the smartest HR pros of the day to share their take on engagement.
  9. The Cost of Disengaged Employees – Looking at how disengaged employees can impact your business and culture (and not for the better).
  10. Men in HR-A National Geographic Exclusive – This was a fun post to write, because I am definitely in the minority as a male in the HR field. Good stuff here.

Just wanted to say a quick “Thanks” to everyone who reads the blog. I am so appreciative of it. If you ever want to reach out via email, feel free!

17 ways to enjoy the HR Carnival

We are drawn to lists. It’s pretty simple, really. With all the information at our fingertips on a daily basis, our brains need some way of keeping track of all the data. It needs a way to catalog resources it runs across, so it sorts, ranks, and filters as needed. Today I have a special list. The Carnival of HR is in town, and I’ve collected 17 fantastic posts for your enjoyment. Whether you’re looking to increase your productivity, get more speaking roles as a trench HR pro, or fire an employee, there is something here for you!

  1. Tanmay Vora brings us 10 productivity reminders.
  2. Lizzie Smithson shares 7 reasons people hate you on Twitter.
  3. Laurie Ruettimann offers up 3 annoying things you do on Twitter.
  4. Eric Meyer tells us 6 shocking social media stats.
  5. Paul Baribeau lets us in on the top 5 job boards for recruiters.
  6. Mark Stelzner preaches on 4 ways “trench HR” pros can get more speaking gigs.
  7. Mike McCarty gives us 4 steps to understanding background checks and the FCRA.
  8. Jennifer Miller lets us know the 4 critical roles on a project team.
  9. Jennifer McClure presents 10 presentations on using social media for HR and recruiting.
  10. Dan McCarthy tells us 10 reasons not to do succession planning.
  11. Laura Schroeder offers 7 trendy HR trends to follow.
  12. Naomi Bloom brings Thanksgiving early with 6 things she’s thankful for.
  13. Andrew Tarvin yuks it up with 5 tips for corporate entertainment success.
  14. Mike Haberman talks about the number 1 key to retention.
  15. Chris Young throws out 4 tips for effective meetings.
  16. Shauna Moerke coughs up 5 ways to know you should have called in sick.

Thanks again to all the great participants for sharing their expertise! I had a great time reading through these posts and I know you will, too.

Company corporate culture-14 ways to research as a job candidate

My friend and I were talking recently about how to determine company corporate culture before you start working there. In the past we’ve both been burned by companies that looked good on the surface but eventually turned out to have a terrible culture of one sort or another.

company corporate culture

Take a peek at the culture

Honestly, if it was foolproof, people wouldn’t be suckered into it as often as they do. And since my friend and I (and others) actually work in HR/recruiting, we should know better than anyone how to unearth this stuff, right?

Mindset change required

All too often when we’re looking for a new job we become blinded to the negative and would move over even if the hiring manager promised to kick us in the kidneys four times a day. I understand when you have no job that it’s important to take what you can get, but never settle for working at an organization with a poor company corporate culture (or if the culture really isn’t “wrong,” but you just don’t fit in anyway). You’re giving them skills and experience that they can’t get from other candidates, and they’re trading that for money. Don’t forget that employment is a two way street!

Think about it. For many of the questions below, there are no “right” answers. Everyone appreciates different things about specific working environments, and what may appeal to you actually repulses others. Consider what the ideal company corporate culture would be for you, and filter the responses through that. Oh, and several of these methods will require you to ask unorthodox questions of the hiring manager or recruiter, but it’s the price you pay if you’re going to be serious about finding the right company corporate culture fit for you.

14 Ways to determine the culture

  1. Ask to interview an employee or two on what they enjoy about working there
  2. Ask for a walkthrough of the office-listen for laughs and look for smiles; that says a lot about the work environment
  3. Ask about previous people who held the position if you are replacing someone-find out what they did right and what they could’ve done better
  4. Look at sites like Glassdoor.com for reviews by current or former employees
  5. Keep in mind that there are “pockets” of culture within individual departments, so the overall company culture could differ from your specific work area-that’s why it’s important to try to do things like #1 and #2 above
  6. Ask what sorts of behavior are rewarded and which are punished
  7. Ask how (or if) news that affects the company is shared-does everyone learn of it at once or is it distributed to managers to trickle down to employees? Are they transparent?
  8. Find out what sort of events the company holds for employees-is it a once a year Christmas party or are there monthly opportunities to celebrate with coworkers?
  9. Ask if there are known slackers in the office and try to find out why they are still around (good luck with this one, but if you get a straight answer, you will have a leg up)
  10. Ask about how difficult it is to get attention or funding for new ideas and initiatives-are they a “we’ve always done it that way” type of company?
  11. Ask what the company’s overall mission/vision is. If a random employee can tell you (at least in general terms) it could signify a strong, unified workforce.
  12. Ask about the dress code and other abrasive policies/details that, while palatable at first, can end up chafing you down the line
  13. Find out if the company offers any sort of reimbursement or support for training, seminars, or college tuition. If they value smart employees who work to better themselves, they probably will.
  14. Ask how previous employees who committed ethics violations were held accountable (general terms are fine to protect any guilty parties, but do they even care about ethics in the first place?)

So, what other ways do you know of that a candidate can use to discern a company’s corporate culture before deciding to take a job?

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?

4 Things I Wish I Had Known About Recruiting

My recruiting duties ebb and flow in my days as an HR generalist, but there always seems to be a new lesson to learn with every candidate I come in contact with. Working in a small HR department means that I get to learn by doing more often than not, so here are four things I wish I had known about recruiting when I started…

  1. It never hurts to ask. There have been times when I’ve been hesitant to make an offer to someone because I feel like they would consider it too low. However, I have to remind myself that we never know just what is going on in someone’s life at any given time. Maybe they are fine with making less in exchange for setting their own work schedule. Maybe getting away from a toxic coworker, manager, or workplace is worth a pay cut. Whatever the case, it never hurts to ask; the worst they can do is turn down the offer, but at least then you won’t continuously wonder if you should have offered or not!
  2. Minor details in your mind are major details for others (and vice versa). I worked with a guy recently and part of his package would include travel expenses. I skipped right over some of the routine boilerplate information in an attempt to cover the travel portion in detail, and the candidate freaked out because he thought I had forgotten a part of his previously negotiated offer. I realized that while organizing all of the travel details was a large issue in my mind, it was just a small portion of the big change that the candidate was facing if he accepted the offer to work with us. Find out what their concerns are and address them early to put them at ease through the rest of the process (do this step in conjunction with number four below and you’ll be on the top of your game!).
  3. Communicate culture every step of the way without fail. I’m a culture nut, but this one has come in handy so many times. I actually wrote a post on how to define corporate culture to make better hires, and I’ll let that speak for itself. Take every opportunity to share how things work within your organization. It will appeal to some people and turn others away, but it will help to ensure that the candidates who finish the process are a good fit for the culture.
  4. Attention and sincerity lead to trust. Last week I had a rush deal that took a lot of effort on the part of our entire leadership team. Because I had approximately 48 hours to make contact, deliver the offer, and process the candidate before he left the country, I made sure to give him my undivided attention every time we talked via phone. And during those conversations, I was open, honest, and sincere with every discussion (I had to answer, “I don’t have that answer, but I can get it for you” more times than I can count). At one point we were laughing about a part of the process, and the candidate mentioned that after dealing with me he trusted me to do the right thing for him. That floored me, because while it was true and I was working to pave the way for his successful start, just hearing him put that faith in me was astounding. Having that trust helped soothe potential frustrations and roadblocks on the high pressure, quick turnaround hire. It also put him at ease, knowing he was in good hands and would be taken care with every resource we could muster.
For those of you who’ve been around the block, these might not be groundbreaking. For those out there just getting their feet wet, I hope these lessons help you to make a positive impact on your organization! Anyone else have a recruiting (or HR) lesson they had to learn the hard way? Feel free to share!

Quick Hits from Sunday at #SHRM10

This weekend has been a whirlwind of activity and the big stuff hasn’t even started just yet. As I’ve said before, I’m working as a part of the Monster Street Team to cover the event. Here’s the whole backstory. I have a few pieces of content in the works, and here are a few quick snippets I can share from my barely registering brain cells. :-)

  • I’m here to cover leadership, culture, and other related topics. You can keep the total rewards, legislative updates, etc. :-)
  • Matt, Lisa, Eric, Janet, and Kathy (all of them are Monsters) are just amazing. Seeing all of their hard work going into this event to make things amazing for the participants is just wild. Keep up the great work, people.
  • Neat survey stuff coming from the SHRM research lab hidden deep in an underground bunker somewhere in DC.
  • John Hollon hits the keynote by Steve Forbes with heavy criticism.
  • This thing is so incredibly huge for someone who’s never done it before. Who knew that HR was this big?
  • Corporate lactation was a big topic at the Sunday night Monster planning session. Yeah, you heard me right. Having two dudes running a lactation booth is wrong in so many ways.
  • There was a wild mob just before the keynote. Click for the video.
  • SHRM10 has 30% more participants than last year (11,000 total). I’m hoping that’s because they want to learn something and not just because it’s in California. ;-)
  • I met with my friend Terri Zaug from HRCP and it was fantastic. I’ve been working with them for almost a year and it was great to finally meet in person. If you’re looking at getting certified, hit them up and tell them I sent you.
  • I met another pal, Cori Curtis with Baudville, and I got a sweet bag with goodies that says, “I put the HR in HERO.” :-) I think you’ll enjoy some of their fun stuff that’s all about helping to make work more fun and encouraging for people, so drop by and get some goodies.
  • SHRM’s team is doing some great work. Keep it up, people!
  • During the press briefing (and all through the day yesterday) I kept hearing about the work that SHRM is doing with veterans. I think it’s great that they are making an effort to reintegrate our fighting men and women into the workforce.

I’m sure there’s more, but that’s all I can make out for now. Anyone else see or do anything great?