Updates and Changes – Don’t Miss!

Do you read this blog in Google Reader? You might want to start thinking about some other options.  As of July, Google Reader will be gone, no more, ended. It will have gone the way of Atari, the VCR and portable CD players,…it will soon be something you mention in the office and the young kids are like “what is that?”

At first I was pretty ticked off…Google Reader was my life blood! But then I discovered tons of other great products that are actually better then Google Reader (more on that in a second). Now that I’m using some of these products, I’m happy to toss Google Reader away.

Closing down Google Reader is one in a long line of changes Google has rolled out recently as it narrows its focus. My first Google product frustration occurred earlier this year when Feedburner started acting glitchy on me. It turns out that Feedburner is almost no longer supported by Google (no updates and the support forums were closed), although Google has not announced an end date, speculation is rampant that Google will be shutting Feedburner down as well…le-sigh.

I’ve given you all this background information for a reason. Between Google Reader shutting down and functionality issues with Feedburner, I’ve made some changes to the blog that may affect how you read it. I hope that isn’t the case but just in case read on.

My RSS feed is now handled through Feedblitz. Which means if you subscribe to this blog via an RSS reader (such as Google Reader) please make sure to update the address for this feed. You can do that by clicking on the RSS icon in the right hand side of this page. Or click here.

If you enjoy reading this blog through Google Reader but aren’t sure what you will do once it is shut down in July you have a couple different options to pursue:

1.  Check out this article on replacing Google Reader. IMHO I strongly prefer Feedly, it has a very nice look and feel to it and is very, very easy to set up.

2. You can always subscribe via email (right hand side of this page). This means that you will get email updates whenever I publish a new post. Don’t worry about SPAM; I’m just happy I managed to get my RSS feed successfully migrated. Trust me I will not be spamming you. And keep in mind I usually don’t write more then 2-3 times a week.

I appreciate the time you take to read my blog and hope you re-subscribe (if necessary) to continue reading.

On other related news I am heading on a mini-vacation so I will not be writing anymore this week, but you can still find me on the Twitters or Facebook. Make it a great week!


It’s all about connecting #MNSHRM Part 2

Earlier I discussed the first key theme that emerged from this conference: accountability. Today I’m talking about the second theme to emerge: networking. Now before you say “same old, same old” I am not talking about the traditional method of networking, i.e. attend event, exchange business card (that method is still a great one), what I witnessed wasexposure to networking on a different level for many professionals: online through Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.

To kick off introducing HR to a new version of networking, Paul Debettignes introduced searching on LinkedIn and other forms of social media. He did a quick overview of many sites but spent some time in-depth on LinkedIn. I am by no means a LinkedIn pro so it was great to see how Paul utilizes the site.

Even more important than the LinkedIn walk through (IMHO), he also spent time explaining how and why to get started in social media. It is really as simple as starting with one site (that’s what I did with Twitter), if you don’t like that try something different.

Next up Monday’s key note speakers Talent Anarchy talked about social gravity. This was probably one of my favorites from the entire conference…Jason and Joe talked about the importance of building social capital. You see, when you have social capital, a company isn’t just hiring you they are hiring your posse.

Your posse doesn’t just appear one day…instead it’s something you have to work at. This means connecting with all kinds of people, not just the kind of people you think you need to connect with (i.e. ignoring a vendor phone call but picking up the phone whenever an HR contact reaches out.). Connect with everyone regardless what you “need” right now. This is key to any kind of networking but many people overlook this because of the time involved in networking.

Finally, I enjoyed the opportunity to connect IRL with many of the cool people whose blogs I read and follow on Twitter or Facebook. I’ve been building my network via social media for a long time (over a year) but it was much more powerful to build that in person. I really felt like I was taking it to the next level. Besides meeting Twitter friends I made some new connections with the awesome HR people in Minnesota and across the country.

A friend once told me that a good HR conference should be like a revival: you learn and you are revitalized. I’ve never been to a revival (I’m Catholic we are too serious for that) but this was an experience close to a revival. I learned a lot, challenged my thinking and came out of it re-energized and ready to take on the world again. Thanks #MNSHRM!

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The Future is Now

Part 2 in The Future of HR series comes from Chris Fields at CostofWork for all the details on this series click here:

Last year while surveying the HR spectrum on the twitter sphere, I saw this name “HRremix” and immediately loved the handle. So I investigated. I wanted to know more about the author. Upon reading a couple of articles a few things were clear; 1. This person was new to blogging. 2. This person had some improving to do. 3. This person has a story to tell but wasn’t sure how. I could tell because I was the same way once upon a time.

So I checked her out for a little bit, but not in that creepy Facebook ex-lover way. I read her articles without retweeting them, I watched her interact with others and one day something told me to reach out to her. I stole that move from Dave Ryan and Steve Browne. I wanted to give her some encouragement just as they had done for me.

Now here it is a year later and we’re talking about the future of HR. Well the future is now.

Earlier in 2012, I asked Dwane Lay of Dovetail Software and LeanHRBlog to guest contribute to CostofWork.com (my blog) on the topic “Future Trends of HR”, great minds think alike huh, Melissa? He wrote a piece titled “Same As Its Ever Was.” When I first read it I wasn’t sure if I liked it, I thought maybe it could have been more futuristic. But the more I read it, the more I realized he was/is right.

Now the HRremix, who has established herself a solid following and demonstrates a mastery of HR concepts, is asking me about the future of human resources. Welp, with HR the overall concepts are the same; find the people (recruiting), train the people (T&D), engage the people (EE relations & benefits), learn the technology (innovation), use the technology (process improvement) and keep the company out of court (compliance).

Over simplifying it? Hmmm no! That’s it. Human behavior complicates things a bit, the best laid plans are foiled when employees go rogue, and that goes for rank-in-file employees all the way to the C-Suite, those guys can really screw the pooch!

You ask me about the future of HR? You are the future, yes you, reading this article, you are the future of the profession. Stay current, stay open minded, don’t ever think you know it all and never ever get complacent or entitled. Be sure to pay attention to trends in all the aforementioned areas and you will be just fine.

PS. Happy birthday HRremix

Go! – Go! – Go! – Go, Remix, its ya birthday, we gon’ party like its ya birthday!

Chris Fields of CostofWork.com is a regular contributor to SmartRecruiters and Performance I Create, in addition he does a lot of HR consulting from policy and procedures to resume writing and career tips. You can connect via Twitter @new_resource or email at chris@costofwork.com.

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My Confession

This post originally appeared in April 2012 on the multi-contributor site Project Social HR.  Although now defunct,  this is a great site to review for any HR professional who is looking to get into social media.  Enjoy! 


Shhhh…I work in Human Resources and I love social media.

It sounds ridiculous to say something like that in such dramatic tones, doesn’t it? But the truth of the matter is that there are many HR people out there who distrust social media. Some think that employees will play Farmville all day, others can’t understand why you would want employees being brand ambassadors: “Isn’t that what you pay your marketing department for?”

I think others are still lost in that world where Human Resources means SERIOUS business…of the hiring and firing type. Don’t get me wrong; those are serious issues. But sometimes HR assigns itself an almost parental role where we are immediately suspicious of anything new on the scene. Kind of like our grandparents when Elvis started swinging his hips.  If the Arab Springhas taught us anything it’s that Twitter and Facebook are not just about fun and jokes.  Anything the Iranian government tries to ban I’m cool with.

So why am I such an advocate for social media?   I am a better HR person because of my involvement in social media.  Here are three other short reasons why:

  1. I have connected with HR colleagues all over the world.  With those connections comes an amazing diversity of thoughts, opinions and best practices.
  2. I actually know what employees are talking about when things spill into the social media sphere.  When you know how this stuff works, it’s a little more difficult for people to try and put one over on you.  Oh and even if your employees aren’t on Facebook (which they are), you probably should know something about it, because the NLRB certainly has some opinions on social media.
  3. Being in social media and promoting my blog through it has forced me to become more confident promoting myself and defending my opinions. You may work in an office where everyone agrees with your awesome ideas but in social media you are more likely to run into people who disagree with you. Debating and defending your opinions is valuable experience.

So now that I’ve talked for an entire post about how great social media is you are going to run out and join Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Foursquare right? You should! Think about standing at the edge of the pool, you dip your toe in slightly and start to feel the goosebumps but then your mean older brother comes by and pushes you in. Instead of slowly absorbing the cold and feeling every goosebump you are now completely drenched and your senses are in overdrive. The upside is that you are now completely acclimated and the water doesn’t feel cold anymore.

You didn’t have a mean older brother who did this to you?  Okay forget it; just go jump into social media…head first! Deep end!

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Hacking HR

The big news this past week was the Facebook IPO.  In the initial public prospectus there was a lot of emphasis on the “hacker way” at Facebook. The hacker way is:

“…an approach to building that involves continuous improvement and iteration. Hackers believe that something can always be better, and that nothing is ever complete. They just have to go fix it – often in the face of people who say it’s impossible or are content with the status quo. Hackers try to build the best services over the long term by quickly releasing and learning from smaller iterations rather than trying to get everything right all at once. To support this, we have built a testing framework that at any given time can try out thousands of versions of Facebook. We have the words `Done is better than perfect’ painted on our walls to remind ourselves to always keep shipping.[emphasis added]” (from “Zuckerberg describes the hacker way at Facebook, published at the Huffington Post)

Although hackers tend to have a negative reputation, there is something to be learned from constantly questioning and challenging ourselves and our work. I got to thinking how can we hack HR? Applying the ethos described above I came up with a couple ideas:

  1. Tear up your policy manual – literally.  Take it and tear it up and then think about how you would re-write the policies if you were starting from ground zero. Obviously there is some stuff that may stay standard (legal compliance stuff) but everything else is fair game.  Always struggling with the attendance policy? Ask yourself first if you even need it, if you do think about how you can re-write this to actually work with your employees and the company.  Remember many times we run into the problem of writing a policy for one exception, so keep that exception out of your thoughts when you are hacking the policy manual.
  2. Look at the status quo processes you have going on and figure out how to make them better. Take a look at the technology/systems you are using, what drives you crazy about them? Contact the vendor, your IT department and create some work arounds.
  3. Volunteer – looking to get the company moving forward on social media? Volunteer the HR department to be the guinea pigs. (For more info on this check out Project Social HR and Jay Kuhns excellent blog No Excuses HR).  Do you believe wiki’s or a Facebook like social community will help foster communication across the enterprise? Don’t wait for the IT department to roll it out, set up a wiki just for your team. Once the rest of the company sees how much fun the HR team is having they will want one of their own.

Now that you’ve hacked your way through the HR department and cleaned up the dead policies and processes on the floor, now comes the hard part.  SHIP IT.  The hardest part is to ship out the product especially if we know this is high priority, game-changing stuff.  When you go to hack your HR department it is game changing but don’t let the fear of failure keep you down. Get out there and ship.

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