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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Identifying Your Own Bias is Key to D&I

Earlier tonight I was reminded of an incident that occurred just yesterday on my own front porch. This flashback came as a reflection-having just finished listening to author, Howard Ross (@HowardJRoss) and SHRMs VP of D&I (Diversity & Inclusion), Shirley Davis (@SDavisSHRM) have a conversation primarily surrounding his new book.

The book is titled ReInventing Diversity: Transforming Organizational Community to Strengthen People, Purpose, and Performance. The focus of his talk is based on the idea that we as a community of Diversity minded individuals have pushed the envelope over and over again to encourage people, business, authorities, etc. not to do or say things that is inappropriate, against the law (now that there are laws), and other related "dont's". He provides lists of statistics and metrics in the books to continue to foster diversity and inclusion in his book but the bottom line is we need to look at ourselves. We need to look in the mirror. We need to do the work to identify the bias we all have as individuals.

He said we need to take away the idea or belief that bias is either good or bad. Instead we need to recognize that bias is part of human nature. We are programmed to develop bias as a way to make decisions, keep ourself safe, and manage life in general. This is not to say what we have done thus far should be criticized. It was necessary but in order to move forward to a country even more diverse than it has been over the last 30 years of D&I efforts, it's time to reinvent it.

The reinvention is putting a flashlight on ourselves (those of us who do the D&I work day in and day out). Are our communities similar, different or diverse? Do we leave the job and go back to our own world of indifference? Do our friends look like us? If the answers are yes, then perhaps we are not living the life that we protest to others as the way to be. This affects our integrity and credibility on the job This work is again not to judge ourselves as good or bad. It is to identify what is reality (conscious or unconscious). Then we can help others identify their reality. When we can begin to have open and honest straight forward communications in organizations then we can see another breakthrough in our D&I work. The thing is we will never be done. This is something we have to continue to do for the rest of our life.

You see the reason this talk reminded me of my porch yesterday is because I wonder what is going on in my own mind with regard to unconscious bias. Consciously, I have worked to be inclusive of African Americans because I feel I was brought up in a home that was not tolerant of indifference. As an adult I did not agree and recently when I watched the movie "The Help" I cried almost the entire movie thinking i could not believe (although the history proves it) that any human could openly treat others the way they do just because of the color of their skin.

However, just as Howard Ross described himself instinctively locking the door as a young African American male passed in front of his car, I turned down a young boy yesterday who was selling candy on my front porch. Consciously, I remember looking at the candy choices (milk duds, thin mints & something else that I can't recall) thinking I don't need them and I really don't want to spend the money. I was also worried I would eat them as I have a serious sweet tooth and it shows. However, unconsciously, I wonder. His skin was dark.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Online HRCI Approved Webcasts Nov/Dec 2011

Cheaper, faster, and more succinct is the goal in this HR Tuesday Lunch-N-Learn program. In November I will embark on a new experience. I have been teaching HR for years in organizations and at universities and now I am going to be teaching via the World Wide Web! I admit I have been teaching online via UIS since 2008 but this will very different. My office doors will be open to any interested HR professional who wants to learn more without taking a full 17 week course. The courses are designed to sit at your desk with your lunch and learn on Tuesday’s in November through mid-December. As an HRCI pre-approved provider I have submitted all of these programs for 2 hours of recertification credit. The programs are co-sponsored by Rogers HR Consulting and University of Illinois at Springfield.

Affirmative Action Plan: Where do I start? 11/29/11 11am-1pm (2hr)

If you have been told by a vendor, a consultant, a department of labor specialist that your company is required to prepare and maintain an Affirmative Action Program but you have no idea what it is let alone how to prepare one, this is the course for you. We will go over all the required ingredients, research necessary to include and how to find it, as well as give you a chance to see an example. In addition, a sample timeline will be provided with a checklist of all the steps you would need to take to accomplish the goal along with an annual follow-up to maintain the program once it is in place.

Hire and Develop Top Employees 11/30/11 11am-1pm (2hr) (Wednesday)

The focus of this course will be on what I call the “Rock Star” Employees. Typically by default and interruption primarily, we focus on the low performers, whiners, and to be quite honest the folks we really should be getting rid of. This program will provide ideas on how to find the “right/top” employees in the first place. And once you have them, how to keep them, and how to develop them into being even better performers and possibly inspire those non-engaged employees in the middle who are on the fence of being not engaged and/or being one of those employees who sucks the life out of you!

Conducting Your Own HR Audit 12/6/11 11am-1pm (2hr)

If you would like to determine the company effectiveness of the HR function, identify any restraining forces that affect the achievement of company goals and strategies, or identify any potential compliance issues that can affect a company’s defense in employment practices and policies, then this program is for you. You will learn how to conduct an HR Audit, practice using sample tools that can be tailored and used in your organization.

Conducting Employee Disciplinary Investigations 12/13/11 11am-1pm (2hr)

Have you ever had an employee situation that could be described as a “he said-she said” situation? Have you wondered just how to investigate it properly and cover all your bases just in case the situation turns into a fire later on? This program will walk you through an investigation process that utilizes company policy and documents the necessary paperwork regardless of the outcome that will help minimize risk and save on attorney fees.

Conducting a Salary Comparability Study 12/20/11 11am-1pm (2hr)

Have you ever wondered if we are paying employees competitively? Why employees keep leaving the company? How to attract the best and the brightest workers in the business? If your answer is yes, then this seminar is for you. You will learn how to conduct a compensation study and compare it to what you are now paying your employees.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Birds Fly...Supervisors Die

Check out this post:

From Illinois SHRM blog site. This article is the last of a series of three posts covering the 2011 #SHRM Strategy Conference. This article has links to the first two articles.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

CEOs Sit Up, Take Notice, & Incorporate THINK DIFFERENT

Key components of a thorough Strategic HR plan consists of many theories, concepts, and tasks that I have both had the pleasure of implementing in companies I have worked for or consulted with as well as teach in my HR Management courses. Most of these components have been covered over the last two days during the annual SHRM Strategy Conference at the Chicago Fairmont.

The following is a list in no particular order of comments, phrases, and ideas that I heard or reheard that is important for all organizations to sit up, take notice, & incorporate into management philosophy, style and policy in a very strategic way. Without top down support it just won't work. To put it simply THINK DIFFERENT!

-Put People Before Numbers
-Drive Systemic Change
-Encourage Criticism to Spark Innovation
-Engage Employees
-Employees First Customers Second
-Focus on Talent Management
-Create a Marketplace for Talent
-Seek to be an Employer of Choice
-Embrace Social Media
-Encourage Risk Taking
-Improve Collaboration in a Virtual World
-Focus on Developing People

Honestly the list can go on and on. The bottom line is strategic planning is crucial for positive impact in any organization. Consider the "Human" in Human Resources will help you get there!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Twitter for HR Risky Business? Perhaps Not!

Over the last four years, human resource professionals have sought ways to stay with “the curve” for dealing with social media. Social media sites, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter have began to take center stage for firms of all sizes. As firms race to have a presence out there, they also must find ways to use social media as a tool to increase brand awareness, manage customer image, promote products and services, and to attract people to the firm. While those tasks are not new, what is new and changing is the means by which it is done. Whereas print, radio, television, and face-to-face networking may have been the means twenty years ago, today social media is beginning to take over. So how do human resource (HR) professionals utilize the tools of social media, specifically Twitter? One of the most significant ways is though recruitment.

Despite the risks perceived by utilizing social media, including Twitter, firms have determined that the risk is worth it to reach young recruits and new talent. Firms feel it is a more proactive approach in connecting to new and younger talent as most of that talent spends significant amounts of time online (Walker, 2010). Even in spite of changes in job search websites or job boards, firms are choosing to shift money for recruitment advertising toward less expensive social media, including Twitter (Needlehman, 2010). A 2011 Jobvite survey confirms this trend, showing that almost 55% of the respondents were investing more on social media for recruitment, with significant decreases in spending on job boards and third party recruiters or search firms (Jobvite, 2011).

The numbers tell the story about the change in use of social media. According to research conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) in April of 2011 (Soceity for Human Resource Manangement, 2011), from 2008 to 2011there was a 22% increase in respondents that utilized social media to recruit potential candidates. The same research lists the following top five reasons firms use social media: to recruit passive job candidates who might not otherwise apply or be contracted by the organization, less expensive than other methods of recruiting job candidates, to increase employer brand and recognition, to target a specific job level to recruit or contact, and can target job candidates with specific skill sets. The report also indicated that compared to 2008, staffing “other management” and “non-managerial salaried” utilizing social media increased over 23%. The clear indicator the report offers that times are changing is at least a 30% increase, compared to 2008, in the belief that social media is an efficient way to recruit candidates. Clearly, HR professionals “buy in” to the recruiting power of social media.

HR professions also offer their own testimony about using social media, specifically twitter, in their recruitment processes. Blogger and consultant, Jennifer McClure, shares of her Twitter experience in a recent blog post (McClure, 2011). Jennifer looked to Twitter to “brand herself and the company she worked for,” as well as to identify potential candidates. Jennifer found it important to learn how to connect, build relationships, and find business benefits as she began to utilize Twitter. One of the biggest benefits she found was “building an awareness of top talent in her local area… that she could consider for opportunities with her clients.” That statement represents the aspect that Twitter excels in, and that is referrals.

When respondents of the Jobvite Social Recruiting Survey 2011, were asked to “rate” the quality of candidates from a variety of ways, referrals (including from social networks) ranked tops, with candidates for social networks in general ranking “mid pack” (Jobvite, 2011). Jennifer McClure also mentions the significance of referrals in an earlier blog post. She states that “Because Twitter is a place where people network, ask questions or mention needs, I’ve spotted a number of opportunities in the last three years where I’ve been able to introduce one of my contacts – which resulted in new clients or new jobs for them. “Social networking” works the same way old-fashioned networking does. It’s about building relationships and connecting people!” (McClure, Celebrating Twitter as a Business Communication Tool, 2011). Her same blog post also stresses building relationships and friendships through Twitter; but also the need to manage time “tweeting” as well as utilizing the tools of Twitter to make it a more powerful tool.

Twitter also allows potential recruits to get a glimpse at the corporate culture. Tweets posted by other employees, HR professionals and even upper management allow for a chance to see what a firm is really like, before the potential recruit even schedules an interview (Walker, 2010).

While recruiting may take center stage for HR’s use of Twitter, is certainly is not the only use. That same younger or newer talent that was sought by recruiters though social media also seems to enjoy feedback that is more responsive once employed (Silverman, 2011). While a “tweet” is not used to offer a performance review, but rather the need for updates and feedback changes the timing and structure of the feedback. In addition, Twitter allows for other HR professionals to network with each other where they can stay attuned to industry changes and trends, which is especially beneficial to HR professionals in smaller firms that may lack access to resources of larger firms.

Twitter, in addition to other forms of social media play a significant role in the work of HR professionals. Twitter is a proven branding, recruitment, and culture tool. Based upon how rapidly Twitter has been adopted, deployed, and utilized it is clear that its place is cemented in the works of today’s HR professionals.

Works Cited

Jobvite. (2011). Social Recruiting Survey 2011. Burlingame: Jobvite.
McClure, J. (2011, August 17). 5 Mistakes Recruiters Make on Twitter. Retrieved September 24, 2011, from Unbrideled Talent:

McClure, J. (2011, March 1). Celebrating Twitter as a Business Communication Tool. Retrieved September 24, 2011, from Unbridled Talent:

Needlehman, S. E. (2010, August 19). Dot-Jobs Draws Worry. Wall Street Journal , p. B.5.

Silverman, R. E. (2011, September 6). Managing & Careers: Yearly Reviews? Try Weekely. Wall Street Journal , p. B.6.

Soceity for Human Resource Manangement. (2011, April n/a). SHRM Research Spotlight: Social Networking Wesites and Staffing. Retrieved September 24, 2011, from Society for Human Resource Management:

Walker, J. (2010, June 8). Firms Invest Big in Career Sites. Wall Street Journal (Online) , p. n/a.

Posted with permission