It’s OK. I’m With the Band (recruiting edition)

I live in south Louisiana and let me just say that one perception about our lifestyle here is pretty damn true: we have lots and lots and lots of live music. Most anywhere, and at most any time, one can find a band or a solo artist jamming out or singing on a street corner. There are musicians who cart their instruments around town as they head from gig to gig, while the piano players and vocalists often just “show up” at venues around town and sit in with the band. Everyone, seemingly, seems to know each other because, more than likely, they’ve played together before.

Since it’s so prevalent, I would say that at least 1 or 2 nights per week, Mr. S and I are listening to live music at either a festival, in a bar, or just by happenstance as we meander around town.

I love it.

Now, as it just so happens, this past Saturday evening we were out and about and decided to check out a hidden local venue (aka “a neighborhood bar”) we had never visited. Small’ish with about 12 barstools; crock pot of homemade tortilla soup on a side table (for all to enjoy) ; cheap drinks; 60 or so patrons. We, being strangers, were immediately assessed as we walked through the door but, as we were relatively harmless looking, were allowed to enter.

There was a band playing (blues, classic rock, cajun and zydeco classics) on the small stage and, as we settled in, multiple people came over to say “hi;” the owners (the husband and wife each made individual visits to our table), the bartender, and several bar flys, regulars, patrons all paid us a visit.

Now, as it just so happened, I was wearing a t-shirt from last year’s ERE Conference (2016 – held in New Orleans); logo on the back is a Mardi Gras mask and, emblazoned on the front is “ERE Media” and, more prominently “TALENT ADVISOR.” OK – we who work in HR and Recruiting understand this but, let’s be real, the average Joe has no concept what any of this “Talent Advisor” gibberish means.

At one point, as I was walking across the room, sipping my extraordinarily inexpensive drink (neighborhood bars rule!) and humming along to “My Toot Toot” , one of the gentlemen from the next table stopped me and said “Hey!, Which agency are you with? (my blank stare apparently signaled to him that I had zero idea what he was talking about).  “Your shirt,” he said by way of explanation. “Talent advisor. Are you a scout? Here to see the band?”

First time, I must admit, anyone has ever mistaken me for a music impresario or an A&R rep.

But…for those of us in Recruiting or HR, this experience at this off-the-beaten-track Baton Rouge neighborhood bar should serve as a reminder of how, even today with all the technology and bots and automated processes, finding talent can still be done by getting out of the office and:

  • Scouting for talent (in ways beyond merely digging through our ATS inbox)
  • Going where the talent hangs out (and not simply waiting for them to come to us)
  • Identifying ourselves (‘branding,’ if you will) in a personable and interactive manner

Right?

Anyway, as the night wore on and we chatted with our new friend, I mentioned to him that I was the head of HR for a local casino (“we’re hiring!”) and, I thought, convinced him I wasn’t there to sign the band to a record deal.

But then, at the break, the bass player came over to say “hello” and gave me his card……….

It’s OK. I’m with the band.

 

 

 

 

The #HROlympics

synchro swimWhile the Olympic athletes are deciding whether or not to stay in the Olympic Village or head on out and book a room at the local Hilton, the rest of us are just sitting here waiting for the opening ceremonies to kick off next week.

Those of us in HR though, in between having super-important-strategic meetings where we literally sit at the table and/or are running around prepping for open enrollment (sweet baby Moses…. already? didn’t we just do this?), still need a bit of fun. I mean, something other than the monthly SHRM chapter luncheon meetings at The Central City Convention Center (oh my god Tara! They’re serving the hot buttered rolls! And the special Green Goddess dressing!!) Am I right? Yeah; you know I am.

So, because I desired a bit of levity, I posed a query on Facebook the other day and asked folks to “name some featured sports in the ‪#‎HROlympics.”

I went first and offered up what I thought was a sure fire winner —- “Forced Hoop Jumping.”

But then we got more ideas; way better than mine. Let me present to you the following #HROlympics sports for your consideration:

  • Passing the buck
  • Running a 401(k)
  • Lying (** ouch**)
  • Discussing Psychometric Assessments
  • 4 judges with numbered cards for annual appraisals
  • The hamster wheel
  • Bending over (** double ouch**) (also – not in that way. Get your minds outta the gutter.) 
  • Lawyer wrangling (this from an employment attorney) 
  • Back peddling
  • Excuse wrestling
  • Synchronized employer branding
  • Extreme cat herding
  • Ass kissing – closest to the center ring wins (wait…isn’t that the #MarketingOlympics?) 
  • Disgruntled employee steeplechase
  • The OFCCP luge
  • OneUpsManship
  • SHRM swag powerlifting (with reference to Coach bags and Michael Kors)
  • The Marathon – (just another day in the life of HR)
  • Biathalon: Failed teambuilding exercise and synchronized bitching
  • The outside counsel waffle
  • Insurance decathlon
  • Picking low hanging fruit
  • Stamina & endurance test: proving you have at least one more f*ck to give

My goodness. We’re a cynical bunch.

Or…perhaps…incredibly self aware.

#GoForTheGold

 

*************

thanks to: Matthew Stollack, Christine Assaf, Stephen O’Donnell, Julie Sholar, Heather Kinzie, Kate Bischoff, Franny Oxford, John Jorgenson, Damona Barnes, Mike Haberman, Martin Burns, Mary Faulkner, Lois Melbourne, Tim Baker, Mary McClure Wright, Brad Galin, Kelly Blokdijk, Christy Chess, Paul Miller (and more….) 

p.s. since, as we know, NO idea in HR blogging is original, let me point out that back in 2012 my friend Tim Sackett wrote a post about the “The HR Olympics”. I, however, think our 2016 list is better…..

 

HR Service Delivery: Signed and Sealed

signed-11_8Looking for a hot conversational topic when you’re stuck chatting with a bunch of HR professionals? Whether you’re sitting with two of them at the train station or stuck in some in-house training session with your company’s entire HR team here’s a surefire discussion starter: ask them who they serve in their organization. In other words whose needs are they there to meet and/or satisfy? The business? Leaders and managers? Employees?

I guarantee this exchange will be both captivating and heated. I’ve participated in informal roundtables with this as the topic du jour and enjoyed cocktail parties (whilst sipping a lovely Kir Royale) where the discussion on this subject was so tempestuous we managed to barely escape just short of actual fisticuffs.

The answer, proffered by your average HR practitioner, to this seemingly basic question will vary based on any number of factors; the type and size of organization she has worked in as well as the sort of organization in which she was trained in the ways of HR. The answer will be formulated depending upon the HR pro’s previous mentors or bosses, and also the type of specific roles he has held in the human resources field. What was measured? What mattered? (note: contrary to popular opinion what matters does not get measured nor does what gets measured….matter.)

 

The answer, as far as I’m concerned, is “HR serves everyone.”

We serve the needs of the business. In accordance with laws, regulations, policies and the dictates and desires of our CEO or business owner, we serve, protect and defend.

We serve the needs of managers and leaders. We don’t cover up their shenanigans of course, but neither do we bring them down and lay blame. Rather, we assist them in everything related to the management of their people/human capital/resources. We coach, guide and support them so they can focus on running the business.

We serve the needs of employees. We hold their hands, we answer their questions, and we help them solve problems. We may, depending upon the need, talk to their mothers, spouses, priests or parole officers.

And when we do all of these things right we are also serving the needs of those who are external to our organization – our candidates, our communities, and our customers.

Here’s the deal…so often in human resources we’ve tended to think of these things as mutually exclusive. “I can’t be an advocate for employees if my role is to protect the needs of the company” is something I’ve heard more than one HR practitioner say. Or “I need to maintain impartiality so I can’t be too friendly with employees.”

Both of which, of course, are utter crap.

You can work in HR and be a competent and caring business professional without being a solemn and dour robot intent on spreading doom and gloom with every policy update. You can serve others without being servile or subservient. It’s not the role of the HR lady to keep a candy dish on her desk, bake muffins for birthdays and holidays, and take minutes at the weekly leadership meeting but you can still be pleasant and kind.

The strategies and goals of the business inform what HR does…but the how is what each of us as HR professionals determine once we realize who we serve.

The how is the magic sauce.

This question – “who does HR serve?” – is perhaps the most elemental aspect of human resources and goes well beyond a practitioner grasping the bodies of knowledge or being fully capable in the HR competencies. The answer to this question lays the foundation for one’s entire career in and around HR.

So I wonder…how many HR professionals are truly delivering … to all?