Repeat After Me: Just Don’t Be a Richard

I’ve had numerous conversations over the last several months that have given me pause as an HR professional.  Wait, let me amend that. Conversations that have given me pause as a business professional.

These conversations were with employees, managers and leaders who work in fly-over country for salt-of-the-earth, middle America, un-sexy companies in non-glamorous industries.  Insurance companies, manufacturing plants, and hospitals. Restaurants, transportation providers, call-centers and governmental entities.

You know…real jobs with real people; not the “world of work” we’re fed via the glossy pages of Fast Company magazine and its brethren.

This, my friends, is the world where punitive attendance polices still exist (as opposed to flexible work/life integration practices) and performance management programs cozily snuggle up next to forced rankings. A place where business owners and/or organizational leaders still feel it’s A-OK to suggest that a female candidate can be paid less because “she’s probably not the primary bread-winner for the family.”  A reality where not everyone has access to Slack or Dropbox or, believe it or not, even a mobile device with WIFI capability. This, of course, means that work schedules are posted on a bulletin board and employees take a bus across town to physically visit the workplace to check their schedule for the next week. And, in a perverted distortion of humanity, if they can’t physically view their schedule (or get hold of anyone via telephone) and thus miss a scheduled shift, they are then penalized via that draconian attendance policy. Full circle in a Kafkaesque world.

These are the workplaces that are veritable orgies of old-school management practices overlaid with a slick (and false) veneer of culture, values, and sexy branding. The sort of places that win a “Best Places to Work” award conferred by the Chamber of Commerce, local media conglomerate, or a third-party Rewards and Recognition vendor that paid big bucks to ‘sponsor’ the awards.

Workplaces where, sometimes, the managers/leaders still operate as if they’re running a Dickensian workhouse. Why? Sometimes it’s due to… 

  • Narcissistic love of power – “I’m in charge and I make the rules” (Waah ha ha!!)
  • Managers who developed their personal style of management at the knee of a mentor (raised up in the 70’s) and are too afraid or too lazy to adjust at this stage of the game
  • The ingrained belief that “everyone is out to screw us” (most often evidenced in business owners as opposed to leaders in an enterprise organization or governmental entity)
  • Stereotypes
  • Prejudices
  • Privilege

When will the day arrive when more workers can reap the benefits of our “new way of working?” Will we ever bridge the digital divide and find a way for everyone to benefit from the use of technology? What about workplace flexibility and the ability to take sick leave and not be ostracized for giving birth or having surgery or spending time with an ill family member? I think we can look back to the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire (106 years ago) and see vast improvements…but there are still locks on the doors.  Those barricades, placed on the doors by owners and managers, are now preventing people from opportunity and freedom of another kind.

Workplace freedom.

Note: this post, and its title, was inspired by a recent conversation with a business owner who said that her company’s policy around unlimited vacation for employees is “take off whatever time you need, just don’t be a dick about it.”  

Simple. Easy. Common sense.  

 

image: via tshirt hub

The Unofficial (and totally non-scientific) History of HR Blogging

I’ve been gearing up for the 10 year anniversary celebration of the Carnival of HR and, as we all know, I enjoy nothing more than a good party! The Carnival was started in 2007 by Suzanne Lucas (@RealEvilHRLady) who passed the reins over to Alison Green (@AskAManager) in 2008 before everything was handed off to Shauna Moerke-Griffis (@HR_Minion) in 2009; in January 2016 Shauna passed on the stewardship to me…and that means I get to plan the festivities!

So over the weekend I tossed a query out on Facebook to assist me in building the timeline of HR blogging. Who was first? Who wrote what…and where? Has Laurie always been blogging or does it just seem like that? Was there chocolate involved? Who brought the wine? And/or the G&Ts for our friends in the UK?

There was lots of reminiscing about which HR bloggers were the entre-drugs (my phrase) into HR blog reading; Kris Dunn, Laurie Ruettimann, Neil Morrison, Lance Haun, Ann Bares (and the crew at Compensation Cafe), ERE and Recruiting Blogs made many a list.  And, since this is my space, let me add some of my early blogging faves:  Trish McFarlane, Jessica Miller-Merrell, Steve Boese, Ben Eubanks, Bill Boorman, Sharlyn Lauby, Paul Hebert and Mike VanDervort.

Just the tip of the iceberg.

The Original Gangstas

 

Most everyone agrees that the Godfather of HR blogging was (and remains) John Sumser. John started Interbiznet in 1993, that, according to Inc. was … “a self-proclaimed Web hub for on-line recruiting… an easy-to-navigate site that, in addition to rating the top job-listing sites, also provides regular newsletters about recruiting on-line.” John, of course, remains at the forefront with HRExaminer (plus all the other things he does).

 

 

Early 1990’s – Bill Vick starts doing recorded telephone interviews

1994 – a few words from Gerry Crispin: “the first person I ever encountered ‘writing’ on the web about HR was John Sullivan who was driving academics crazy. He was using Cornell’s HR Listservs (which by the way were all managed by a grad/new professor name of Boudreau). John totally pissed off the academics who dominated in those days – which is how I tracked John down.”

1996 (May) – SHRM registers SHRM.org

1996 – CollegeRecruiter is registered by Steven Rothberg

1996 – Gerry Crispin (and Career XRoads) starts an email newsletter

1997 – Debbie McGrath registers HR.com; the deal included a case of Canadian Beer

1998 – David Manaster starts ERE (which, of course, was called “Electronic Recruiting Exchange”)

1998 – Kevin Wheeler writes his first blog post for ERE (and then began his regular column)

1998 – Barb Ling writes the book “The Internet Recruiting Edge” which leads to this August 1, 1998 article in Inc. entitled“What’s Hot: On-Line Recruiting” featuring this classic line: “…there are anywhere from 250,000 to 1 million World Wide Web sites that list job openings. That’s pretty daunting.”

1999 – a newsletter of sourcing tips is distributed called “The Sourceror’s Apprentice” (as remembered by Jim Stroud) (extra points if anyone remembers the author?)

The Young Turks

Young Turk (n), 1. Young progressive or insurgent member of an institution, movement, or political party. 2. Young person who rebels against authority or societal expectations

2000 – Louise Triance launches UK Recruiter on October 18th – the newsletter has been sent fortnightly ever since! #Props

2001 – Bonni Lile Titgemeyer starts the Employment Opportunities List

2002 – Jim Stroud begins blogging

2002/03 – Heather Hamilton launches a company blog with Microsoft

2004 – launch of RecruitingBlogs by Jason Davis; later there’s a launch of Recruitingblogswap.com for content sharing

2004 – Animal and Anthony Meaney begins Canadian Headhunter in 2004. Animal, of course, was all over radio even then!

2004 – Laurie Ruettimann starts blogging “anonymously” (and went public in August 2007)

2004 – Joel Cheesman / Cheezhead (which runs until 2009)

2004 – Steve Levy writes the first post at Recruiting Inferno (November 16th) – The Case for Character

2005 – Paul DeBettignes begins blogging

2005 – Travis Sinquefield launches his blog “Disorganized Behavior”

2005 – (circa) – Steve Toft (@FlipChartRick) begins blogging

2006 – Peter Gold launches HireStrategies

2006 – Paul Hebert writes his first post as “Incentive intelligence”

2006 – Michael Haberman launches HR Observations

2006 – Peggy McKee – gives us Medical Sales Recruiter blog

The Golden Age (2007 – 20013/ish)

A golden age is a period in a field of endeavor when great tasks were accomplished. The term originated from early Greek and Roman poets, who used it to refer to a time when mankind lived in a better time and was pure. (wikipedia)

Here’s where things picked up and there are, literally, too many to name them all. I, in a very unscientific manner, am choosing 2007 – 2013 as the Golden Age. Why? I guess because I saw people starting blogs for their love of writing or eagerness to have a conversation with the world. Beginning in 2013 (ish) <unscientific…remember??> it appeared it was more about content-machines designed to drive eyeballs to company websites, and, the individuals who did want to start a blog on their own began to do so to “build a brand.” (I am not even kidding when I tell you that here in the year 2017 I have recently had one HR practitioner say to me “I think I need to start a blog to establish my brand.” FFS).

2007 – Jon Ingham – launches Strategic HCM (July)

2007 – Jessica Miller-Merrell launches Blogging4Jobs in September (recently relaunched as Workology)

2007 – Mike Vandervort gives us the HumanRaceHorses blog (he published 1.530 posts before ending new content on the site in 2014)

2008 – Steve Boese kicks off the HR Technology blog

 

And hundreds of new HR blogs hit the interwebs. Hundreds. (The HRSchoolhouse was launched in 2010; I, myself, was not immune).

This was also the time of #HRHappyHour and #DrivethruHR.

Fistful of Talent was running strong and we saw the surge of other multi-contributor blogs like Performance I Create, Recruiting Daily <everything old is new again from the Recruiting Blogs family>, and TLNT and the other sites under the ERE family.

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Whew.  Quite a trip down memory lane!  I didn’t name-check loads of people; I know. Who do we need to add? Hit me up in the comments and let’s expand the list.

And don’t forget to watch for the SPECIAL 10 year anniversary edition  (February 21st) of the Carnival of HR when we celebrate all things HR blogging!

Humans Work Best…When They #WorkHuman

Many years ago I held a job that just drained every ounce of my mojo.

It wasn’t an overly taxing gig; truth be told the day-to-day tasks and responsibilities at Acme Corporation (as we’ll call it) were fairly easy.  Every now and again I got to stretch myself and do something new and/or innovative and/or exciting but, for all practical purposes, it was the HR equivalent of assembling widgets on a factory line.  (No slight to widget makers BTW; I’ve done an HR tour in that setting and it can be damn hard work).

I would come home at the end of the day from Acme Corporation just totally wiped. Bear in mind this was probably, when all is said and done, the least strenuous job I ever had in my life. This was 8-5 with no excess hours, no expectation of answering calls or emails or smoke signals after hours and no need to worry about catching up on the weekends. Of course there was no flexibility and very little autonomy but, once again, “punch-in and punch-out?”  Sweet-sounding gig for those who are over-burdened…isn’t it?

Well..no.  It’s not.

Or maybe that’s just me.

Part of what made that Acme Corporation gig so utterly exhausting was the lack of any human-connectiveness from person-to-person (or team-to-team). I mean I can barely put into words how staid and quiet and serious everything was; even “fun” activities were a chore. It was the traditional top-down hierarchical model and, let me tell you, nothing happened without the CEO signing off on it.

One time a senior leader did an impromptu “thank you” treat/snack/let’s gather at the coffee pot moment for his 10 person department; the sort of thing that good managers do regularly and instinctively. No big deal, am I right? The CEO got wind of this and was furious – I mean f-u-r-i-o-u-s.  Why? Power? Not something being seen as flowing from the CEO’s largesse? I dunno.  But it stunk. And, obviously, I left that environment a long time ago.

Cuz I’m a human being. And I didn’t want to work that way.

I bet you don’t either.

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Come get your mojo back at WorkHuman – a conference like no other where you’ll be energized and inspired as we immerse ourselves in conversations about maximizing the potential of our employees by keeping them happy, providing feedback and recognition, and encouraging them to bring their whole selves to work in order to fully contribute to and be involved in organizational success.  I love this event! This is the third year of the conference and the third time I’m attending – and this year I’ll be speaking!

Register with referral code WH17INF-RSC by tomorrow (1/31/17) and you’ll get $100 off the standard registration rate. If you register after that and use the code you can still get a flat rate of $995!