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    Entries in HR (357)


    These might be the next HR roles you need to fill (or perform)

    It has become kind of edgy or possibly trendy, (my guess the first three times a new idea is pitched it is edgy, after that it becomes something else, and trendy was the only term I could think of in less than five seconds), to talk about Human Resources in the future in diametrically different contexts that the traditional ones most of us are familiar with. Think about how many times you've read about 'HR is the new PR' or 'HR (and more likely recruiting), is really Sales and Marketing', and even takes that advocate HR as the organization's owners of social media and internal collaboration and productivity initiatives. While sometimes these kinds of analyses and predictions about the evolution of HR are optimistic, (if occasionally sounding a little bit like wishful thinking from veteran HR pros just a little weary of FMLA claims and 401(k) migrations), if they are going to prove true, or at least directionally correct, then there are some implications for the roles that will be required in HR, and naturally, the kinds of skills the HR professional of the (near) future will need to possess.Mark Rothko - Untitled

    What might some of those roles and skill sets entail?

    Well, that sounds like a hard question, and rather than try to figure it out for myself, I will take the lazy route, and co-opt some examples from a neat piece on the Simply Zesty blog, titled 'The Job Roles You Should Be Hiring For', an examination of the roles, skills, and titles that are sought after in the Digital and Social Marketing space.

    Think you know how to staff the HR department of the future? Or perhaps a more important question for you personally - Do you think you have the right skills for the potential evolution of HR?

    Well, take a look at some of the roles and skill sets that the Simply Zesty piece thinks the modern digital marketing team needs and then think about your answers: (NOTE: roles and descriptions lifted entirely from this piece, please don't sue me)

    Data Analyst - With a large amount of data being collected by brands across social profiles as well as more traditional data-gathering channels such as email marketing or phone lists, there is a pressing need for smart analysis of this data to ensure you reach your customers (employees) in the best way.

    Futurologist - This is a slightly more adventurous hire and likely only really feasible for those companies with larger staffing budgets, but it’s an important one. With communications technology developing at the rate it is, there is a demand on companies to stay relevant and also impress their customers with the future-thinking stuff that gets talked about and shared, (by employees, perhaps?)

    Designer - Most brands will have a designer or graphic design team already, but it is an important hire even for smaller businesses to bring an element of this in-house. The need for beautiful design for your website (or company career site), or product to live online is more important than ever. Where once it might have been enough to just have a website, then a mobile site, then a Facebook Page and then an app, now there is a need for these to be beautiful and responsive.

    Creative Thinker - So not exactly a descriptive job title, but that’s sort of the point. While we get bogged down with the technological aspect of social media, it’s tempting to subject the creative process to the same process as you would approach a technological solution. This is an important role if you want to develop the kind of content that you see dream brands such as Innocent, Nike or Red Bull executing. Creativity should be as high on the agenda as marketing or sales, with proper investment made to get the best ideas you can

    A Good Copywriter - One of the highest demands on a social media manager is the expectation that they will suddenly be an able copywriter, able to write just as effectively for email marketing, Twitter updates, Facebook Page copy, websites, online ads, etc. And while many social media managers will of course be more than adequate at this, given the amount of time they will spend across these different formats anyway, there is a huge difference between copy that just does what’s required of it, and copy that makes people stop in their tracks and think. Unless you’re making this a key role in itself, you will always get sub-standard copy that just does the former

    There are a couple of other roles listed on the piece, but you get the idea I think.

    If the conception, practice, and profession of HR is really going to morph to look more like marketing, PR, and digital advertising, then it seems logical the HR department of the future will at least partially be populated with the kinds of folks in the roles listed above. Whether or not people with those particular sets of skills want to actually reside in HR I suppose is a question for another day.

    Today, I will leave you with these, simpler questions: 

    So, do you have some or all of those skills on your HR team?

    Do you have some or any of those skills yourself?


    READER QUESTION: Who is the new Dave Ulrich?

    I usually don't like these kind of 'Reader Question' type blog posts because the cynic in me secretly thinks that they really never cover an actual reader question, but the blogger just pitched it that way to have an excuse to write about a topic perhaps they would not normally cover, and they feel like somehow people will get the impression that the blogger gets all manner of back channel questions and comments from readers, which I also secretly think almost never happens.

    Having said all that, and asking you to put your natural cynicism aside*, I want to submit to you, dear readers, what I swear is an actual reader question that I received this week, one that I think is pretty interesting, and one that I (and the reader who hoped I'd have something intelligent to offer), could use some help from the crowd to try and answer.  Here is the question, in its entirety:

    Hi Steve. A question came up with the Sr. HR leadership team for my company "Who are the new thought leaders in HR?  Who is the new Dave Ulrich?", I thought - I bet Steve would know.  I would thrilled to recieve any thoughts you might have. Thanks!

    That's it, the Big $64,000 question for a Summer Friday. I did reply to the question, and offered up some thoughts, but after realizing that my views probably were not typical, (one of the names I submitted was Tim Sackett), I asked and received permission from the reader to post the question here, and see if we could crowdsource some additional responses or ideas.

    So I put it to you my friends - Who are the new thought leaders in HR as you see it?  Who is the new Dave Ulrich?

    And I think the answer could still be Tim Sackett. Or maybe it still is Dave Ulrich.

    I'd love to know your thoughts and many thanks to the actual reader who submitted an actual question, (I swear it really happened that way).



    * I am quietly working on a new presentation with a working title of 'Everyone is Lying to You', so I am even more cynical than usual lately.


    EVENT: The Social Media Strategies for HR Seminar

    In two weeks I will be attending and participating in the Conference Board's 'Social Media Strategies for HR' seminar, along with many other fantastic Human Resources practitioners and leaders. If you are thinking that the 'Social Media in HR' angle is getting really played out and overdone, then you might be right, but you also might be in the tiny minority of HR professionals and leaders that actually have been working with social media, social networks, and proactively using these platforms to support their business and talent strategy.  I think, generally, that the opportunities and challenges that social media present to the typical HR organization are just beginning to be explored. Remember, unlike many of us in the social media bubble almost no real HR leaders spend their year attending seventeen conferences, fourteen tweet-ups, or diving into one of the myriad new HR-themed Twitter chats. Mostly they are too busy in their day jobs, and when they have time, they are trying to figure out how to better their function and their performance, and using social media can be one of those ways - if they could ever find some spare time to try and sort it out.

    That is why a dedicated event like the Social Media Strategies Seminar for HR is so compelling to me.  In the early days of social media in the workplace, there were hours of trial-and-error while learning because there were no classes or conferences or case studies where you could learn how to use these platforms more effectively.  The benefit for today’s professionals getting into the space or for those who are using the platforms but want to take that use to the next level is that there are events where you can go and learn more in a day than many of us did in a month or a year.

    If you or someone in your organization is wants to learn more about using social media platforms for HR and recruiting, you need to mark your calendars now for The Conference Board’s Social Media Strategies for HR Seminar.  Join me in New York City on April 17- 18, 2012 as we discuss and learn how to:

    • Leverage social networks to benefit the entire organization
    • Implement and manage social networks to spur innovation and knowledge sharing
    • Use social media to increase employee engagement and bolster employer branding
    • Manage the legal implications of social media in the workplace

    I’ll be co-leading a session on how you can use social media to strengthen your employer brand and bolster employee engagement.  My co-presenter will be Trish McFarlane, Director of Human Resources for Perficient and co-founder of the HRevolution.

    Use discount code SB1 to get $250 off the registration cost!  You can register for one day or both.  I hope you’ll join us, you won’t be disappointed.


    Are you important? How far away from the inmates do you live?

    I have to think of all the jobs in this fantastic country of ours that chief among them for stress, danger, and sheer 'Sunday night and I can't believe I have to go to work tomorrow insomnia', has to be working inside a jail, prison, or penitentiary. 

    On the plus side, since our nation doesn't seem at all on course for reducing or even slowing the growth of incarceration rates, career opportunities in the prison system could be one area in an otherwise downbeat job market that might offer job seekers some prospects, and corrections system staff some level of job security that is often hard to come by these days. Sure, you have to deal with the daily inconveniences of metal detectors and pat-downs when coming to work, and every once in a while there could be some kind of security crisis like an escape that might throw a little hiccup into your day. And there is always the chance, however remote, that a more significant incident like a widespread inmate riot could ensue, the kind of circumstance that might require a full and comprehensive response from all prison officials and staff members to respond rapidly, and in numbers.Can I use my FMLA for this?

    Since these occasions could potentially require rapid response from off-duty guards and other officals at a moment's notice, often the corrections officers and the other high ranking prison officials will be provided (mostly free), housing in neighborhoods quite near the prison itself, such that response times are reduced, and quick action can be taken in the event of a major security or safety incident. Essentially, if you have a role, either in prison leadership or in security, it makes sense to have you situated close enough to the prison such that you can respond quickly if called upon in a crisis. When the inmates decide they've had enough of the man keeping them down, you better be ready and able to respond quickly.

    So what kind of persons and job roles at the prison should receive free or otherwise subsidized housing near the facility in exchange for their ability to be rapid responders and to be able to provide their leadership in a time of crisis, with the expectation that their fast contributions could mean the difference in a minor incident turning into a major one?

    Certainly the warden and assistant warden. Probably the senior corrections officers and guards. And maybe some other mid-level guards too. Possibly the prison medical staff and maybe even some of the communications and other outward-facing individuals. 

    How about the prison's Head of Human Resources? 

    Would you rate the HR leader for the prison in that 'special' category of staff that needs to live in close proximity to the facility, and at taxpayer expense? 

    Well officials in the State of New Mexico are about to try and sort that question out. It seems that for at least 5 years, the head of HR for the State Department of Corrections, Elona Cruz,  has lived rent-free in a home situated a 'stone's throw' from the state penitentiary. And according to the comments from Acting Deputy Secretary of Corrections Gregg Marcantel, it look's like Elona's time in state provided housing is soon to end. When asked whether the department's head of HR should be living in corrections department provided housing  Mr. Marcantel said- "From HR to an air-conditioning repairman, the answer would be no.” 

    Nice. Comparing the Head of HR for the Department to the A/C guy. Thanks Gregg. Any chance you'll be signing off on the new Leadership Development program we've proposed for next year? Didn't think so.

    Kidding aside though, it is unlikely that the Head of HR would be called upon to thrust him or herself into a potentially volatile and dangerous situation alongside the prison's first responders in the event of a serious security incident. Those kinds of incidents are more about using force, strategy, tactics, and execution of trained and ingrained protocols to attempt to regain control of the situation, and minimize the risk of injury to staff and inmates, and the damage to facilities and property. Sparing the easy jokes about organizing the facility picnic when teargas is flying, real life danger and violence is not typically the strength of HR.

    But the comments from the Deputy Secretary are instructive - in his view the idea of HR being at all essential or important in times of crisis is sort of implausible, as evidenced by his comparison of HR to the A/C repairman.

    And while it is natural and unsurprising that he's take this position, one thing is pretty clear - the farther away from the inmates you live, the lower your status and relative importance at the prison.

    While it's great to accept a sweet set-up with free housing and a short commute, eventually you'll get called out. And if you're not someone needed to run into the prison in a crisis, well then, you can live 45 miles away with the maintenance staff.

    (Here's the part where you make the comparison to 'charging in to the prison riot' with whatever equates to that kind of drama in your organization, and think about whether your leaders want you right next to them at the ready, or off 100 miles away).

    Have a Great Weekend!


    If you must have a dress code policy...

    I know, workplace dress code policies have (mostly), gone the way of the IBM Selectric and the Inter-office mail envelope as relics of a bygone age. In our more modern, progressive, and enlightened workplaces, most organizations have come to understand that with all the many thousands of things to worry about, that articulating specific dress code standards and policies is a colossal waste of time.Love the 70s

    The vast majority or workplace dress code discussions have been distilled into short phrases - 'business casual ', seemingly the dominant one these days. What exactly does business casual entail? Who knows for sure, just walk around the office for a day or two and generally you can sort it out. Mostly, dress code standards are arrived at organically and are largely self-policing. Wear something inappropriate to the office some time and chances are someone will tell you about it, if not to your face, in a snarky comment on Facebook.  

    Dress code policies are boring, and writing about dress code policies as I am right now, possibly represents the nadir of my adventure in blogging. But I had to come up with a hook to feature some fantastic workplace dress code policy imagery I came across recently. Fantastic workplace dress code imagery? That does not even make sense.

    Well, take a look at the image on the right that accompanies this post, as well as the rest of the collection of dress code policy images from the British Postal Museum Archive described on the How to be a Retronaut blog

    These dress code policy posters are, quite frankly, awesome. And not only do they look cool, but they also serve the purpose of transforming what would be a typical, boring written policy (that no one ever reads, except as a preface in an employee disciplinary hearing), into a vibrant and effective tool for educating the target workers as to the desired workplace behavior.

    Additionally, the dress code posters attempt to connect the policy to real-world examples, demonstrate the potential negative ramifications of violations of the policy, and even have a little fun at the same time. Are these vintage posters really that groundbreaking and meaningful in the overall canon of workplace thought and theory? 

    Not really. 

    But they do remind us that even the most mundane and tedious parts of the job of Human Resources, the parts that still sometimes include writing and enforcing workplace dress code policies, can still be creative, can still be personal, and can (for shame), still be even a little fun.

    No one reads your policies. Maybe it's time to get a little more imaginative in their presentation and communication.

    Have a fantastic week!