Thursday, December 14, 2006

Minimum Wage Increase

I heard a discussion on NPR about the effect of the increase in the minimum wage that will occur in January with the new Democratically controlled Congress. It will increase over a three year period ending at $7.25 per hour. Obviously, being presented on NPR the discussion had both pros and cons.

My question for you is: How do you feel about? Will it effect your business? Do you think it will affect the economy? Will people gain from it? Will people lose as a result of it? Will we, the consumer, ultimately pay for it? Weigh-in on this discussion and lets hear what you have to say.

However, regardless of what you think about it, it is coming, so you had better be thinking of the issues and how it will effect your company.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Holiday Parties

Here is some guidance from the US Department of Labor on Safe and Sober office parties. Many employees ruin careers at holiday parties and more and more companies run the risk of being sued. The possibility of sexual harassment charges are now possible too. So be careful, control the alcohol and keep everyone happy.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Thinking Competitively in the HR Department

I just finished reading an article on Thinking Competitively by John Sullivan. He states "Having the competitive advantage is now essential to the survival of any business function, especially human resources. In the past, it was possible for HR to focus 100 percent on internal issues, never demonstrating superior performance when compared with talent competitors.
This internal perspective is no longer acceptable. The business world has changed dramatically, and global competition for talent has been ratcheted up several levels. Now more than ever before, the HR function and its activities affect the success or failure of the business."

He outlines a number of steps that HR departments must take in order to become competitive or to provide a competitive advantage for the company or organization. Those of you who have taken classes from me will have heard me say many of the same things he says.

At this time of the year if you are doing some planning for next year perhaps you can incorporate some of these steps.

The only issue I have with this article is that it was written by someone who has been in the academic world for 30 years. So I wonder if he has ever run an HR department. Regardless, the advice is still sound. Read the article by clicking on the link and tell me what you think.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Managing "High Flyer" Employees

One of the things most HR managers "preach" is consistency. We drum this into our managers and supervisors. Treat everyone the same. Don't discriminate. Well here is an article on Managing High Flyers that argues that this may not be the best approach. The author, William Rothwell, says that managing what he calls "high flyers" may take a different management approach than is used for most employees. Ignoring this may be detrimental to the organization when this "high flyer" leaves. Read this article and tell me what you think.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

People Say the Craziest Things

Here is an article from Kiplinger magazine that discusses Things You Should Not Say in an Interview in a humorous way. Having interviewed thousands of people in my career I got a good chuckle and also a reminder that there are people out there that will say each of these things to you as some point. Enjoy the chuckle.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Importance of Voting to Human Resources

I am not here to tell you how to vote. That is a personal decision. However, I did want to point out that the results of the election may have consequences for you as a Human Resources professional. With a change in control of Congress it is possible that the following may occur (good or bad depends on your point of view):
The November 2006 Election:
  • An increase in the minimum wage (btw, there are six states that have an increase on their state ballot today)
  • Change in the size company that must comply with the Family and Medical Leave Act, from 50 employees to 25

The November 2008 Election:

  • Healthcare coverage, going to National Healthcare or required healthcare by employers
  • "WalMart" laws
  • Change in the composition of the National Labor Relations Board, moving the balance in favor of unionization
  • Changes in the make up of the Federal Court system thus altering decisions for many years.

These are just some of the changes that could be made. Who knows what other social employment legislation may be introduced in a more "liberal" Congress.

So if you want to make an impact, in either direction, this is the time you do it. GO VOTE!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Labor As THE Supply Chain Disrupter

The October 31st issue of the online The McKinsey Quarterly discussed a global survey of executives on supply chain issues. According to this report "Nearly two out of three executives who responded to the latest global survey of business executives conducted by The McKinsey Quarterly1 say they face increasing risks to their ability to supply their customers with goods and services cost effectively." Further they say "Most of the surveyed executives say supply chain risk is growing . The executives most likely to say that their company's level of risk has risen are those in retailing, manufacturing, and energy; those in the energy industry are by far the most likely to say their risk has increased significantly. Professional-services executives are the least likely to have seen an increase in risk, but even there, nearly half have done so. Executives at all levels share the view that risk is on the rise."

Topping the list of risks most likely to disrupt supply chains is the availability and quality of LABOR. This was true around the world, with the exception of Latin America, where regulation was the reason at the top of the list. "Among respondents who identify labor as a significant issue, almost two-thirds are primarily concerned about the availability of well-trained labor. Indeed, though the level of concern varies somewhat, a shortage of high-quality employees remains the top issue among those concerned about labor, regardless of their company's size or location. Among those concerned about labor, labor cost is their biggest worry; only 3 percent of them cite labor disruptions and less than 1 percent of this group cite diseases or pandemics." Despite this few executives said they had formal program to access the risk and fewer still said they had plans to mitigate the risks.

This is the challenge to pro-active HR departments. Get your executives to understand the "people" issue of supply chain problems. What are the disruption possibilities in your industry? Feeling them already? What are the possible solutions to this disruption?

  • Better hiring?
  • Better and more training?
  • Better sourcing of candidates?
  • Better retention?
  • Changes in technology to remove more "bodies" from the equation?

Of course to make this argument the HR executive needs to understand supply chain management for their industry. If you can't make your suggestions in terms the executives can buy into then they will not listen.

But this is your chance to make a major impact on your company.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

A Starbucks Union? Surely You Jest.

I'm flabbergasted. There is apparently a group that is trying to unionize Starbucks employees, and they seem to be gaining support. The City Council of Cambridge Massachusetts late yesterday became the first local government in the nation to condemn Starbucks'...

This is, in my opinion a misguided effort on the part of the union and the employees. But the company should be paying attention, because some manager is not managing the way the company wants it done.

Read more

Body Art and the Dress Code Revisited

Just less than a week after I posted about body art this AP article about body art, piercings and the dress code appeared. Very interesting. Take a look and consider what you need to do. Post and let the rest of us know how you have dealt with this. Are you leading or lagging? Has it hindered your hiring?

Friday, October 13, 2006

Body Art and the Dress Code

I was reading a post by Jack Yoest on body art in the workplace and got to wondering about what companies are doing today. As a consultant I get asked about about dress codes, but no one has ever asked me about body art and other adornments. With the proliferation of tatooing today it is going to be a "problem" you are going to encounter the more you are hiring younger workers. So you may want to think about it now. What is going to be your criteria? Ability to do the job? What kind of contact with the customer? How visible? There is no "one" answer. It will depend on your business, your culture and your needs.

But, I would suggest you make that decision now, instead of "being caught with your pants down" (and your tatoo showing).

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Search for Talent as a Search for Talented Teams

I was reading Bob Sutton's blog on his take on an article in the Economist about Human Resources view of "talent." He makes the comment that "If you read this issue of The Economist, if you consider standard HR practices for recruiting, hiring, evaluating, and compensating employees, if you listen to most HR consulting firms, and if you look at how employee records are organized in enterprise software you will see that the – usually unspoken but pervasive – assumption is that a focus on people means a focus in hiring the most talented individuals. Indeed, talent is the word people like to use talk about good people, a word that conjures up images of superstar actors and athletes." He further states that "Certainly, having talented individuals is important. But focusing on individuals alone – as the HR mindset seems to do, in an automatic mindless way without ever questioning the assumption – is a dangerous half-truth. It blinds managers and executives to a growing body of literature that shows performance is heavily dependent on having people who are experienced at working together and who work together for a long time."

This dangerous half-truth is that for companies to be more successful they should be looking for talented teams of people not just the talented individual. As he says in discussing a number of studies "The implication of this research is pretty clear and shows the limits of modern HR practices, assumptions, and even the enterprise software systems that they use. If you are going to hire some “talent,” don’t focus on just landing that lone star – focus on hiring as much of his or her team, or network, as possible. You win the war for talent by bringing aboard talented sets of people, not talented solo acts." He cites one study in particular that dealt with GE executives who had moved to other companies. The study found that executives who moved by themselves had a negative effect on the company they had moved to. However, executives who moved and brought a team with them, a group of people they were used to working with, had a positive effect on their new companies.

Sutton concludes with " the war for talent seems to be heating up again, companies that fight it right will spend less time looking for solo stars and more time looking for dynamic duos, teams, and networks of people that have worked together in the past and want to work together more in the future. And perhaps it is time for modern HR practices to catch-up with the evidence."

I agree with his assessment. Perhaps you do as well. Look at your companies, look at the effects of teams versus the effect of the solo star. When you need to recruit you should start looking to hire teams that the "star" is used to working with in order to take best advantage of that "star" recruit.

Read his blog for a more complete discussion of this point.

Monday, October 09, 2006

The Value of Reading

I made the comment the other day that HR people do not read enough. To me, to be a great, proactive HR professional you have to read. And not just HR "stuff'. The value of reading however, was really brought home to me when I was reading an online article on some of the self-made billionaires in the US. As I read their answers to a set of questions about their lives I was struck by the fact that each of these BILLIONAIRES reads at least an hour a day and in many cases far more than that. Contrast that to how important they thought an MBA was, only half felt that one was needed. Part of the reason is that with the reading they do they get the equivalent of a Master's degree each year, according to Brian Tracy. So read this article Forbes on Entreprenuers and see for yourself the value of reading.

It broadens the mind. It gives you ideas. It gives you experiences with out having to actually have the experience. It prepares you to deal with the future and the day-to-day.

Friday, October 06, 2006

HR as a Maverick

I was reading a blog by William Taylor, co-founder of Fast Company on his book Mavricks at Work. He lists the ten points from his book:
1. Is there a distinctive and disruptive sense of purpose that sets you apart from the competition?
2. Can you be provocative without provoking a backlash?
3. If your company went out of business tomorrow, who would miss you and why?
4. Are you the kind of person that other smart people want to work with?
5. Can you make innovation fun?
6. Do you treat different customers differently? .
7. Why should great people join your organization?
8. Do you know a great person when you see one?
9. Does your organization work as distinctively as it competes?
10. Are you learning as fast as the world is changing?

I was struck by the fact that at least 9 of the 10 points, if not all 10, are in reality HUMAN RESOURCES ISSUES. He is not talking about things, machinery, raw materials, etc. He is talking about people and ideas and attracting stars and learning.

This book gives you an idea how IMPORTANT a great HR department can be to a company. Are you an HR MAVERICK? Take a look at this list and blog and book and see where you can make a difference.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Impact of the Little Things

This post in another blog on The Power of Ordinary Practices was very interesting. It talks about how the day-to-day little actions of leaders have a tremendous effect on the people surrounding that leader. People are more creative when they are happy and leaders can have a tremendous impact on whether people are happy or not. And as the above blog points out most leaders do not realize what impact they have on people. A positive word versus a negative word can set the tone for the day.

Do you have any examples of this kind of impact?

Monday, September 25, 2006

A Marketing view of HR

"Every person who encounters your organization for the first time comes with beginner's mind. She knows nothing about yesterday or how hard you worked or your financing or what it took to build it. She's here now, she's first, let's go."

This quote came from Seth Godin's marketing blog. Even though he was talking about how a customer may view your organization I think it is an excellent approach to take from a human resources perspective as well. If you look at your organization from a "never been seen before" perspective how does it look? If you want people to want to work for you are you giving them a view that excites them? Interests them? Draws them in? Or do you take the approach many companies take and assume that candidates should be interested in you solely because you have a job opening? Think BRAND!

If you would like more information on what Omega HR Solutions, Inc. does click on our name.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Commemorating Sept. 11th

From a human resources standpoint I think the best way for most of us to commemorate the attack on the US is to make sure our security and safety plans are in order. Do you have an evacuation plan? Have you done a fire drill? Do the employees hired in the period since the last meeting or drill understand what needs to be done? There is no better day of the year than this one to insure that in case of an emergency, be it natural or man made, all your employees can reach safety.

There were many compelling stories of 5 years ago of people reaching safety because they had a plan and had practiced the plan. I would hate for your story to be a sad one because you did not.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

HR Policies against Blogging

I read an article today about the increase in employee blogs that is occuring and the resultant need companies feel to creat policies controlling employee use of blogs. Certainly issues arise as employees make statements about companies, policies, procedures, bosses, fellow employees, secret information, etc. Control becomes an issue. Many employees feel they have a right to free speech, a right however, that really only applies to actions of the government and the person, not what an employee can or cannot say about a company.

Some companies encourage blogs and put few guidelines on their use. Others try to control information that may be deemed defamatory or reveal secret information. Others may try to forbid their use entirely.

What has been your experience with blogs... either as a blogger or as an HR professional in dealing with bloggers?

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Talent problems

I have read alot about the coming Labor shortage or the coming talent shortage. I certainly believe it, for a number of different reasons.. baby boomer retirement, fewer people in the next age wave, the diminishing quality of education, just to name a few. This appears to be felt more in "craftsman" type of companies.. everywhere I go I see "Now Hiring" signs for plumbers, electricians, HVAC technicians, pest control, and others.

What do you think? Are you experiencing this talent shortage in your company? How are you dealing with it?