Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Monday, June 29, 2009
I was watching a show last night based upon a book I am reading. Germs, Guns and Steel by Jared Diamond. The book was published in 1997 and a PBS series was done in 2005, and that is what I was watching. I have found the book to be very interesting and the series was very good. As I watching it I made the comment "That is what I should have done, I should have been a historian." Both my daughter and wife almost simultanteously said "Well it is not too late." My wife then asked "What is stopping you?" My response was "This house, my paycheck, eating and the other things that could not stand me taking several years off work to pursue a degree." Her response was "Surely there is a program that you could do online." I said "I doubt it, not on the Ph.D. level." Of course I had not checked that statement for truthfulness, at least not recently.
But the nagging thought in the back of my head was "Do I really want to do that much work at 58 years old?" (well almost 58, my birthday is July 7th.) "Will the opportunity to do anything with that degree be there?" "Will it pay off for me beyond personal gratification to finally have the Ph.D. I have always wanted?"
This reminded me of Vroom's Expectancy Theory, which states that "... behavior results from conscious choices among alternatives whose purpose it is to maximize pleasure and minimize pain."
Vroom's Expectancy Theory is based upon the following three beliefs (from Wikipedia):
- Valence (Valence refers to the emotional orientations people hold with respect to outcomes [rewards]. The depth of the want of an employee for extrinsic [money, promotion, time-off, benefits] or intrinsic [satisfaction] rewards). Management must discover what employees value.
- Expectancy (Employees have different expectations and levels of confidence about what they are capable of doing). Management must discover what resources, training, or supervision employees need.
- Instrumentality (The perception of employees whether they will actually get what they desire even if it has been promised by a manager). Management must ensure that promises of rewards are fulfilled and that employees are aware of that.
Vroom suggests that an employee's beliefs about Expectancy, Instrumentality, and Valence interact psychologically to create a motivational force such that the employee acts in ways that bring pleasure and avoid pain. This force can be 'calculated' via the following formula: Motivation = Valance × Expectancy(Instrumentality). This formula can be used to indicate and predict such things as job satisfaction, one's occupational choice, the likelihood of staying in a job, and the effort one might expend at work.In terms of this my situation is the following:
- Do I expect that I can do a good job at getting a doctorate in history? (I have always been good in academics, I enjoy reading history, so I would probably to a good job.)
- Instrumenaltiy : What's the probability that, if I do a good job, that there will be some kind of outcome in it for me? In other words would I, could I, get a job using that degree? (Given my knowledge of hiring practices, my guess would be probably not. Without alot of university teaching experience and my age I feel I would be a disadvantaged candidate. By the time I get the doctorate I would be 60 or so. I do have teaching experience but at the Instructor level in a Continuing Ed program.)
- Valence: Is the Outcome I get of any value to me? (If I were to get the Ph.D. but no teaching job would the degree help my consulting practice? Would personal satisfaction at attaining a long held, but abandoned goal, be enough to overcome the effort required to get the degree?)
MOTIVATION= VALENCE X EXPECTATION(INSTRUMENTALITY)
I would conclude that I am not motivated enough to pursue the Ph.D. in History because of the low expecation of a successful outcome of doing something with it. Do I want to shut down a career of almost 30 years in HR to do this? Or could I do this and perhaps do a Ph.D. in the History of HR? Is there such a thing? Can I do it online? Lots of unanswered questions.
Or maybe I have just gotten lazy? What do you think?
Friday, June 26, 2009
Thursday, June 25, 2009
This study finds:
- "Unions function as labor cartels. A labor cartel restricts the number of workers in a company or industry to drive up the remaining workers' wages..... Companies pass on those higher wages to consumers through higher prices, and often they also earn lower profits. Economic research finds that unions benefit their members but hurt consumers generally, and especially workers who are denied job opportunities.
- The average union member earns more than the average non-union worker. However, that does not mean that expanding union membership will raise wages: Few workers who join a union today get a pay raise. ....The economy has become more competitive over the past generation. Companies have less power to pass price increases on to consumers without going out of business. Consequently, unions do not negotiate higher wages for many newly organized workers. These days, unions win higher wages for employees only at companies with competitive advantages that allow them to pay higher wages, such as successful research and development (R&D) projects or capital investments.
- Unions effectively tax these investments by negotiating higher wages for their members, thus lowering profits. Unionized companies respond to this union tax by reducing investment. Less investment makes unionized companies less competitive.
- Economists consistently find that unions decrease the number of jobs available in the economy. The vast majority of manufacturing jobs lost over the past three decades have been among union members--non-union manufacturing employment has risen. Research also shows that widespread unionization delays recovery from economic downturns.
- Some unions win higher wages for their members, though many do not. But with these higher wages, unions bring less investment, fewer jobs, higher prices, and smaller 401(k) plans for everyone else.
- Economic theory consequently suggests that unions raise the wages of their members at the cost of lower profits and fewer jobs, that lower profits cause businesses to invest less, and that unions have a smaller effect in competitive markets (where a union cannot obtain a monopoly).
- .....union contracts compress wages: They suppress the wages of more productive workers and raise the wages of the less competent. Unions redistribute wealth between workers. Everyone gets the same seniority-based raise regardless of how much or little he contributes, and this reduces wage inequality in unionized companies... But this increased equality comes at a cost to employers. Often, the best workers will not work under union contracts that put a cap on their wages, so union firms have difficulty attracting and retaining top employees.
- Studies typically find that unionized companies earn profits between 10 percent and 15 percent lower than those of comparable non-union firms."
Much more can be read in this study. If you truly want to know the costs, ALL THE COSTS, that are associated with unions read the article. It talks about how unions have cost GM and the US.
Probably the item I find the most disagreeable is this following statement on individualism. It is why I have never belonged to a union, it goes against how I was raised."Final union contracts typically give workers group identities instead of treating them as individuals. Unions do not have the resources to monitor each worker's performance and tailor the contract accordingly. Even if they could, they would not want to do so. Unions want employees to view the union--not their individual achievements--as the source of their economic gains. As a result, union contracts typically base pay and promotions on seniority or detailed union job classifications. Unions rarely allow employers to base pay on individual performance or promote workers on the basis of individual ability."
Thursday, June 18, 2009
- Focusing on profit generating activities- by outsourcing HR
- Capitalizing on new opportunities by attracting and retaining good workers
- Upgrading your workforce
- Providing peace of mind by a strong message of caring and professional compassion
- Making use of incentive compensation plans
- Heading of rising employment risk by assessing and managing risks
- Reducing operating costs, through a workforce cost analysis
- Making the most of training resources
- Improving employee communication.
Is there anything magical about this list? I think I have heard it all before and most of you have too. But how well have we communicated this to the CEO? The lesson here is that we can take a clue from Administaff and make our own compeling commercial. I am going to work on one and I suggest you do as well.
Otherwise your CEO may listen to Arnie and decide that it all sounds good and he/she can get that from Administaff.... WHO WANTS YOUR JOB!
So toot your own horn and keep from getting outsourced.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Monday, June 08, 2009
Friday, June 05, 2009
- Seth Godin, When Smart People Are Hard to Understand. Great advice on making yourself smarter when you don't understand something said. Clue: Acting like you know is not it!
- Kris Dunn at the HR Capitalist, If you think HR owns turnover, you are already dead. Great story of what should be said to a manager who want HR to take ownership of the manager's problem.
- Ann Bares at Compensation Cafe, The Excuses you may NOT use to defend gender pay disparities. With equitable compensation so prominent in the news these days this is an important tidbit of information.
- Michael Moore at The Pennsylvania Labor and Employment Blog, Employment Law Implications of obesity and BMI after the ADA Amendments Act. Michael discusses some of the technical implications of being considered "overweight" and makes a prediction on whether or not obesity becomes a protected catagory or not. Wanna make a prediction on his prediction???
- KJK, The Ohio Employer's Law Blog. 3 Lessons in handling workplace harassment. Harassment, especially sexual harassment, is still alive and well in the workplace. Here is a case and the lessons that can be learned from it.
- Cathy Martin, Profitability Through Human Capital. Hey HR, please no more TABLE talk. If you have been in HR for any period of time you will get this one and agree. Time for action not talk.
Well that is enough for one Friday. There are about another 25 I could (and probably should) include on this list. But if you read these today you will be a better HR person at the end of the day.
Thursday, June 04, 2009
through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to improve America's infrastructure and put Americans to work, the Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will receive economic recovery funds it will direct toward enhanced and targeted enforcement; technical assistance, guidance, training and outreach; and construction data collection."
Well based on the DOL job openings announcement I received by email today it appears the money is already being spent. The vast majority of jobs listed (click on the link for the listing) are for positions in OSHA. Specialists, investigators, lead inspectors, program assistants, engineers and more.