Posts Tagged ‘HR Fishbowl’

Time to Share the Love (Better)

March 1, 2010 6 comments

I’ve really enjoyed the last four months of blogging.  I love to write and it’s been a real catharsis for me during what has been a challenging time.  As most of you know, I actually have a full-time job as an executive with a mid-sized public company.  We’re in the midst of Chapter 11, but have worked very hard to restructure our balance sheet and are very close to emerging from all of this in much better shape than we’ve ever been.  It has been an exhausting year, but I am more excited about our future and my role with the organization than I’ve ever been.  And I’m really excited about dedicating much more attention to our future…

HR Fishbowl was starting to “get legs.”  With hits and subscribers increasing consistently and some pretty good external validation (F.O.T. Top 25), the momentum was exciting…and the prospect of bigger things was enticing.  But I’m kind of an all-or-nothing guy; my alliances have started to blur and I’m beginning to feel a bit torn about my ability to truly focus on everything my day (and night) job demands.

I’m going to keep blogging.  I will continue to dedicate myself to 1) the simplification of Human Resources, 2) the promotion of #TrenchHR (hearing more in the blogosphere from people who actually practice HR in a corporate environment) and 3) good ole’ fashioned debate about the caring and feeding of people in the workplace.  But I will do all of these things a bit more intermittently.  So…

Don’t give up on me, keep coming back, and subscribe.  Just be patient with me because we have 1,000 employees who need love too!


Want to teach your daughter a REAL lesson? Sell their Girl Scout Cookies!

January 25, 2010 3 comments

It’s Girl Scout Cookie time again. Not only are those cookies worthy of a good glutinous binge, but who can resist that timid knock of that neighborhood girl practicing the fine art of door-to-door sales? It’s also a great way for children to get first-hand exposure to capitalism, commerce, ownership, responsibility, and…hard work.  So what’s up with all of you parents who bring your daughter’s order sheet into the office?  Some people would argue that you’re depriving your daughter of a good experience…that you’re giving them a cop out…that you’re spoiling them.  Others would say your actions border on unethical.  But I say you’re doing them a favor and that there’s a hidden lesson there for any of those daughters who may one day end up in the business world.  And here’s the lesson:

“People who succeed in corporate America inevitably have people in high places who help them get there.”

It’s just too tough out there to go it alone…hard work doesn’t cut it any more…it is mostly about who you know…nice gals do finish last…the “Good ‘Ole Boys Club” is alive and well.  I hate to say it, but it does matter whether you can play golf with the “big guys” (check out PunkRockHR today) or whether you can shoot the shit around the Super Bowl or whether you can smoke a cigar and drink scotch at a poker table.  And it will always matter when it comes down to promotions, evaluations, compensation, and any other “workplace competition” that you have someone in the room who can champion your cause.  Just like your parents are doing when they bring your Girl Scout Cookie order form into the office.  I have two daughters – only one of them is old enough to sell cookies.  We don’t even ask her to go door to door yet – that’s just too much for a 7-year-old.  She gives her pitch to her grandparents and close family and that’s it.  We end up buying most of the boxes, though; and that’s alright with me and my sweet tooth.  And I’m not sure I’ll ever bring her order form in to the office – it still kind of bothers me.  But I’m also not sure it’s such a bad idea either.  After all, helping your daughter – who will most likely one day become a working woman – get ahead in the workplace can’t be all that bad. 

Photo Credit: Factpile

There’s a Fly in my Fishbowl…

January 21, 2010 1 comment

Since my first tweet, I have been intrigued by what others say about HR.  It’s not often we take a hard look at what our clients think about us and Twitter gives us an abridged peek into the minds of others.  And it’s more raw than what we could get from any customer satisfaction survey…it’s like being a fly on the wall.  So I still comb the twitterverse from time to time to see what non-HR people are saying about HR.  It so happens Employees are much more critical of and vocal on HR than they are other departments.  After all, we impact their lives daily….and as a result we are a Fishbowl.  At first, I thought it might be cool to share some of those Fishbowl tweets.  After I reflected on the first list, though, I failed to find the value in sharing a bunch of whiney crap from people I don’t even know…what the hell do they know, after all, about my dear profession.  Sure, perception is reality and PR and Brand Image matter to HR.  But when @sfleatherbear tweets, “his company’s HR dept. could not possibly be more inept!” why should I f’ing care?  This is one man’s opinion and even if it’s true there is very little I can contribute to that department’s defense (or development).  But maybe I care a little bit when @adam_frisby tweets, “Wisdom Rule 1. Never walk into a HR department smiling, it’s a waste of muscle.” That hits a little closer to the core – that’s an image issue…one that more of us in the trenches may in fact be dealing with.  And from time to time I might even renew my faith when people like @kasinator tweet “My HR manager told me id be better off quitting & applying as an external candidate than trying to figure out the internal transfer system.”  Now that’s just funny and it’s evidence that HR departments can add levity to otherwise frustrating situations. 

So is this a “sticks and stones” thing?  Should I listen to my Mom and not pay attention to what these bullies are saying about us on the playground?  Or should I consider it another way to get perspective, albeit a tainted one?  One thing is for sure, I wish our employees could be as candid with our HR department as some of these tweeps are with theirs.  But until we create an environment in which they are comfortable doing so, I’ll keep looking for ways to be that fly on the wall.

A Call to Maladjustment…

January 20, 2010 3 comments

On 1/18/2010, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Bethel College in Kansas played for the first time a recording of a speech Dr. King made on its campus.  It is the only known recording of this speech and they were lucky enough to track down an alumnus who brought his own reel-to-reel recording equipment to the auditorium that day 50 years ago.  How cool is that?!  Anyway, Dr. King was fond of calling us to become maladjusted – and he did so quite a bit in his speech that day at Bethel.  Ordinarily, and particularly to conformists, this term connotes a negative: “lacking harmony with one’s environment from failure to adjust one’s desires to the conditions of one’s life” (Merriam Webster).  But in the context of humanity needing a slap upside its head, that’s exactly what Dr. King argued we needed more of.  There were, after all, “some things within our social order to which [he was] proud to be maladjusted and to which [he] called upon [us] to be maladjusted. [He] never intended to adjust [his]self to segregation and discrimination. [He] never intended to adjust [his]self to mob rule. [He] never intended to adjust [his]self to the tragic effects of the methods of physical violence and to tragic militarism…” (from The Power of Non-Violence, June 4, 1957).

At the risk of trivializing Dr. King’s teachings (which I can assure you is not my intent), I think there’s a lot about this maladjusted thing we need to take to heart in HR.  Have we fallen prey to conformists?  Do we sometimes feel more at ease when blending into the background?  Do we try too hard to acquiesce to the personalities and workplace idiosyncracies thrown at us?  Are we often too quick to adjust our direction to what “the business” tells us it should be – do we wait around for our marching orders?  Are there times when we really wish we would have spoken up, but didn’t for fear of ____?  Are we known for rocking the boat? Are we known for affecting change or just responding to it? Are we guilty of applying the letter of the law without room for interpretation or flexibility?  Do we stimulate debate…do we even take part in it?  Do we cower when confronted, or altogether hide?  Do we face, do we oppose, do we dissent?  Does conflict give us pause? Have you ever said, “we’ve always done it that way?”  Are we completely risk averse? 

What success HR might advance – even catapult –  if it maladjusted to our workplace order! 

Photo Credit: Mennonite Library and Archives/Bethel College

Looking for Guest “Trench HR” Bloggers…

January 17, 2010 2 comments

So much of what we do in HR is behind the scenes.  I was referred to the other day as the “wizard behind the curtain.”  Still trying to figure out if that was a compliment or not…doubt it, though.  I’ve always said that we could write a book based strictly on the interesting experiences we have in the world of corporate HR…most of it, after all, comes from “the land of you can’t make this shit up.”  I’ve also noticed that there still aren’t many HR bloggers out there.  Let me clarify: There are lots of people blogging about HR, but very view of them are currently practicing in a corporate environment.  The theory, the strategy, and the direction provided by subject matter experts and consultants is really important.  But hearing from those in the trenches is a perspective we need more of.  So let’s marry the two…

If you practice HR in a corporate environment (private, public, small, large), and would like to share your perspective on:

  1. What it’s like to be in the trenches these days
  2. Crazy stuff you encounter, crazy stuff your people do, crazy stuff you have to do to fix it
  3. Things you’ve done to simplify your HR practice
  4. How your career in HR has evolved and lessons learned along the way
  5. Etc.

then send me your post – shoot for 400 words or less.  I’ll gladly post it…and promote it…on HR Fishbowl.   There are lots of people who would like to see more Trench HR out in the blogosphere and maybe…just maybe…this would help.  Just Email me at #TrenchHR

What is your Employer’s Vintage?

January 4, 2010 2 comments

I spent the first 13 years of my career with one company; I wouldn’t trade those years for anything.  There were distinct points throughout that time, though, when I questioned…really hard…whether it was time for me to move on.  When I finally decided to go, the only thing I could use to describe it was that the whole experience just wasn’t as tasty as it used to be.  It struck me that investing in an employer is kind of like investing in a fine bottle of wine.  You don’t want to open it (leave the company) too early – you might not get everything you can out of it.  You don’t want to open it (leave the company) too late – the experience might turn sour.  You want to open it when its vintage accords, when it has reached its peak, when it has matured and from there on out will only be on the decline.  The trick is figuring out when your current employer’s vintage becomes most drinkable.  And that’s no easy task.  It takes careful study, regular attention; one needs to check the color, the fragrance (or stink as the case may be); one needs to pay attention to others who are tasting and rating it.  More than anything, one needs to roll it around on the tongue, oxygenate it, and see how the palate responds.  And only you can be the sommelier for that task.  But you have to do it.  Because there are lots of temptations to open it early – doing so would deny you an opportunity.  And sometimes its just easier to let it sit there on the rack.  But be careful, because you could end up with a bottle of vinegar.  And finally, don’t plan on holding just one and only one bottle of wine – there’s lots of great stuff worth tasting out there!

Happy New Year, HR Blogosphere!

January 1, 2010 2 comments

It has been my pleasure over the last year learning more about social media, Web 2.0, and how all of it impacts HR.  More than anything, though, it has been rewarding to have connected with so many bright, interesting, and spirited HR professionals over the last quarter of 2009 as I stumbled into the Twitter scene and delved into the blogosphere.  Thanks to all of you who have contributed and thanks for humoring me as I spout-off from time to time. 

Here’s to a happy, prosperous, intensely networked, and simplified HR practice in 2010!

Yours truly,

HRFishbowl (Charlie Judy)