Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving Carnival of HR: A Feast of Information

A Thanksgiving feast of HR information has been published over at Fortify Your Oasis. As you are sitting there multi-tasking while watching football take a look at what Rowan Manahan has published.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Affecting Legislation and a Referral to a Great Blog

Michael Moore over at Pennsylvania Labor and Employment Blog has posted about the Employee Free Choice Act. I know you may be tired of reading about this but you NEED TO. It is one of the most significant pieces of legislation that will have an effect on day-to-day HR. In my opinion nothing good will come from this for companies or employees. Only unions, who make their money off of employees, will gain. Mr. Moore has an upcoming list of articles that EVERYONE needs to plan on reading. So bookmark him. (Or keeping coming here, I will have the links too.)

I was thinking about this legislation and other legislation that has been proposed and is likely to pass. I know that many HR types do not like to be political, but you need to be. You don't need to necessarily be espousing your views on particular people to your employees. But I think it is your duty as a representive of your company and employees to pay attention to legislation. DO NOT blindly accept legislation proposed, regardless of which party or legislator it is proposed by.

I think it is your duty to OBJECTIVELY evaluate each piece of legislation. Ask the questions:
  • Is this good for my business?

  • Is this good for the employees of this business?

  • What will be the cost associated with this legislation?

  • What will be the benefit to us of this legislation?

Once you have the answers to these questions the next step is to INFORM your personal legislator. Remember, most of these people have NEVER run a business! They do not know what it is like to make a payroll or to have to deal with the recordkeeping, or how to deal with day-to-day empolyee relation issues. So EDUCATE them. Give them a professional assessment of the impact of that legislation. And if you are against it, let them know. If you are for it, let them know.

BTW, the reason you do this with your local legislator is that you have a vote to wield and other votes to influence. And since ALL politicians want to stay in office they listen to their voters. So be political by being involved in the process of helping legislators understand the impact of their actions. Make your voice heard beyond just the ballot box.

Carnival of HR: It Is Up and Informative

Over at Ask A Manager is the most recent Carnival of Human Resources. It is a great resource for some of the best in HR blogs. Give it a gander! (For all my non-English speaking readers, that means "give it a look". It is also a male goose. I have no idea what they have in common.)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Confiscating Individual Retirement Accounts: An Awarenss Alert!

Congress confiscating individual retirement accounts? Sounds outragous doesn't it? Well this article in the Carolina Journal Online shows that it is being considered. I had heard that Congress was considering taxing retirement accounts, but this proposal to seize them all and put them into a social security like program is unthinkable. But then lots of things unthinkable have been occurring. Banks collapsing, gas prices falling, the U.S. government taking over company after company (AIG bailout), GM and Ford talking merger, etc. So don't just blow this off!

As HR professionals how do you think your employees are going to react to all their retirement being taken? I know I am certainly not happy. I really doubt that anyone would be. Am I wrong? Would workers like universal retirement accounts, funded by existing accounts? Help me here.

This, along with all the other potential legislation coming next year needs to be watched closely.

I am all for change.... but...

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Learning at a Conference: It Is More Than The Sessions

Over my career I have been to a decent number of conferences, both national and local. I have learned something every time. The conference sessions and keynote talks are sometimes informative, sometimes not. A known speaker will sometimes delight and sometimes disappoint. An unknown may reveal themselves as a "star" of the future.

I have found, however, that I do much of my learning about the future of HR in the marketplace. I always make sure I spend alot of time talking to the vendors (who have paid alot of money to be there.) They often have the latest technologies, methodologies and ideas and give you a glimpse of where the field is going. There have actually been a couple of times where I paid to go to the marketplace and totally skipped the learning sessions. You make contacts with potential suppliers and informative resources. Yes, you do have to hand out some business cards and you may get literature sent to you, and you may possibly get a sales call. But that is a small price to pay for the great learning opportunity you are presented with. Besides you get to register for some great prizes and you will never lack for pens and other goodies.

Despite this great opportunity however, many, dare I say most, HR people avoid the marketplace at a convention. They are afraid they may have to talk to someone or may be "sold to". Heaven forbid! If you are one of these people GET OVER IT! It is the best way to be progressive and future oriented. You may find something that will make you an HR hero back at the company.

And conventions that do not allow enough time for people to mix, mingle and shop in the marketplace are making a mistake. Make those breaks longer! People need time to return calls, go to the restroom, eat AND visit booths. Remember your vendors are footing much of the bill for the convention.

So if you are going to a convention anytime soon make sure you visit the vendors. You will be surprized at what you may learn.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Bad News and Good News for Women in Human Resources

An article in the Wall Street Journal on Oct. 23rd talked about wage disparities. (Link requires subscription.) This is not unusual. The wage disparity between men and women is well documented and much discussed. The potential reasons are many: discrimination, career interruption, and predominately "female" careers among them. What makes this article noteable, however, is that Cari Tuna is writing about the field of Human Resources, where you would expect wages to be more equitable. And here is the bad news.

First an important fact. The majority of human resources professional are women. "About 70% of the country's 238,000 HR managers and 731,000 HR specialists are women, according to 2007 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics." So, you would expect in a field that is predominately female that wages for women would be ahead of men or at least on par. But, "...37 of the 50 highest-paid HR executives at Russell 3000 companies were men, according to a survey of 2007 proxy statements by Equilar, Inc., a California-based executive compensation research firm." And "The median weekly pay for male HR managers in 2007 was $1,581 – about 47% more than female managers took home. Among rank-and-file employees, men earned $1,037 per week, about 28% more than their female counterparts."

This is puzzling and there could be any number of reasons. A couple of new ones were suggested in the article, including who is tapped to fill HR exective positions, and the fact that many top HR positions are "combination" positions. A combination position is one such as VPHR and General Counsel. These apparently are staffed more often by men and who are thus paid more.

But so much for the bad news. Now the good news. Next year this is going turn around! If you are in human resources and you are female you have reason to CELEBRATE! With a Democrat controlled congress women in HR are going to benefit from the passage of three compensation acts designed to eliminate "historic discrimination". With the Paycheck Fairness Act, The Lily Ledbetter Act, and the Equal Pay Act women in human resources (and other professions) will get increases to put them on par with all the men in the profession. Pay disparites, for whatever reason, will be outlawed. Isn't that great news??? Plan the changes in your budgets now! This means that regardless of location, education, years in the job, and performance everyone in a single job title will be paid the same. It will certainly make compensation systems easier. Of course it might eliminate any incentive to try to get ahead. And the value of a degree and certification will potentially disappear. But who cares? Equality is a good thing.

So celebrate the good news! More money for everyone! Assuming the jobs still exist that is. Guess we will see.