True Faith #HR Rewind: Best Employment Application Ever - Kris Kringle

by Matthew Stollak on Thursday, December 25, 2014

Originally posted December 25, 2012
From "Miracle On 34th Street"

Merry Christmas everyone

3 Adult Learning Trends You Need to Know for 2015

by Matthew Stollak on Monday, December 1, 2014

I'm up at the Talent Advisor Portal at CareerBuilder's Hiring Site talking how adult learning will impact 2015.  Learn how the problems of adult literacy, MOOCs, and the growth of online competency-based education will likely impact HR.   Check it out here:

MUST SEE: The Conference Concierge #HalfBakedHR #HRevolution

by Matthew Stollak on Wednesday, November 19, 2014

As noted before on the blog, Sir William Tincup and I had the honor of presenting a session at HRevolution on Half-Baked HR, a set of 40 HR ideas that are meant to challenge our expectations of what HR can be.  These ideas aren't necessarily fully thought out and there may be a company out there that is already trying to carry the idea out, but it hasn't gotten much acclaim.  Or, it was a miserable failure and deserves to be in the dustbin of history.  Over the next couple weeks, I will share 10 of these half-baked ideas in a more fully developed form on the blog.  Without further adieu....

HR Half-Baked Idea: MUST SEE - The Conference Concierge

Having attended the SHRM Annual Conference for 14 straight years, tackling the expo hall at SHRM (or any other conference) is among the most daunting of tasks.  Over 1,000 vendors vying for my attention, SWAG hawks searching for their latest trinket, and the risk of rollerbags underfoot, are all perils one must encounter.  In the 48-hour time span that the SHRM expo hall is open, there never seems to be enough time to truly get all the answers one might need while still trying to accumulate those necessary certification credits.  What is a 21st-century HR pro supposed to do?

The Solution: MUST SEE - The Conference Concierge

MUST SEE is a conference concierge company that "shops" the expo hall booths ahead of time to better target what you absolutely, positively need to see.  Looking for specific SWAG (e.g., iPads, GPS, Tory Burch shoes), MUST SEE is your scout.  Need to find a specific relocation service for your pet, MUST SEE sniffs it out.  Tired of timing out with your current payroll vendor, MUST SEE 'checks' out the competition.  When time is of the essence at your conference, MUST see is your answer!

Employee-to-Employee Wellness Challenges #HalfBakedHR #HRevolution

by Matthew Stollak on Tuesday, November 18, 2014

As noted before on the blog, Sir William Tincup and I had the honor of presenting a session at HRevolution on Half-Baked HR, a set of 40 HR ideas that are meant to challenge our expectations of what HR can be.  These ideas aren't necessarily fully thought out and there may be a company out there that is already trying to carry the idea out, but it hasn't gotten much acclaim.  Or, it was a miserable failure and deserves to be in the dustbin of history.  Over the next couple weeks, I will share 10 of these half-baked ideas in a more fully developed form on the blog.  Without further adieu....

Half-Baked HR Idea: Employee-to-Employee Wellness Challenges

Many organizations have adopted wellness programs in an effort to control health care costs.  Healthier employees not only are more productive at work, but are less likely to be absent or get into accidents.  However, several problems exist with the current iteration of wellness programs:
  1. Employees have to jump through a number of hoops to meet the requirements of the program
  2. You are already capturing a significant portion of individuals who are healthy and working out regularly
  3. Limited employee buy-in - terms of the wellness program are often dictated by the organization, with only a small amount of flexibility on the part of the employee on how to achieve the goals
  4. Rewards are not significant enough - will a t-shirt or a small gift card really change long-term behavior?

The Solution: Employee-to-Employee Wellness Challenges

As Robert Cialdini noted in "Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion," loss aversion is critical: 'People seem more motivated by the the thought of losing something than by the thought of gaining something of equal value.' 

With that in mind, what really would move individuals to change their behavior is employer sanctioned employee-to-employee challenges.  For example,
  • John bets Tom that the loser of the wellness challenge has to wear a dress to work for a week.
  • Amy bets Sue that the loser of the wellness challenge has to shave her head.
  • Dave the Democrat bets Robert the Republican that the loser of the wellness challenge has to donate the value of a paycheck to the rival's political campaign.

Not only does this create buy-in on the part of the employee, the consequence has real teeth.  Further, these bets would be public, meaning the loser couldn't back out without backlash from the group. 

Now go out and challenge a fellow employee to improve their health.

#HalfBakedHR - Mobile Video Interviewing Prep #HRevolution

by Matthew Stollak on Friday, November 14, 2014

The 7th iteration of HRevolution took place last weekend.  Want to know about how it went?  Check out the recap HR Happy Hour podcast as well as posts from:

*Ben Eubanks - The Evolution of HRevolution
*Steve Boese - Owning Disruption at HRevolution

*Kellee Webb - HR:Friend or Foe
*Dwane Lay - The Unbearable Lightness of Being Together
*Tim Gardner - I Can't Summarize HRevolution
*Melissa Fairman - Not Your Typical HR Conference

*Broc Edwards - It's Time to Get Bold
*Jennifer Scott - How About A Trust Culture Instead?
*Bonni Titgemeyer - Doodling at HRevolution

As noted before on the blog, William Tincup and I had the honor of presenting a session on Half-Baked HR, a set of 40 HR ideas that are meant to challenge our expectations of what HR can be.  These ideas aren't necessarily fully thought out and there may be a company out there that is already trying to carry the idea out, but it hasn't gotten much acclaim.  Or, it was a miserable failure and deserves to be in the dustbin of history.  Over the next couple weeks, I will share 10 of these half-baked ideas in a more fully developed form on the blog.  Without further adieu....

Half-Baked HR Idea - Mobile Video Interviewing Prep

Video interviewing has grown leaps and bounds over the last few years.  More and more companies are utilizing Skype, Google Hangouts, GoToMeeting, or other proprietary software in effort to learn more about a candidate.  It makes intuitive sense that this is the next generation approach to recruiting - it contains significantly more information richness than a phone interview, companies are able to save thousands of dollars by not having to bring a candidate, who may be less than stellar, on site, and the technology to conduct video interviewing has gotten cheaper and cheaper.

However, for the candidate, this can often become problematic.  The candidate may be dressed inappropriately, hair or makeup may be slightly askew, the Skype connection may be poor or spotty, or the background during the interview may not scream professional.  

For example, one candidate I interviewed in the spring had chosen her kitchen as the site of the interview.  She was sitting at her kitchen table, the refrigerator was covered with her kids' drawings, and the wallpaper was distracting.

Now, some may argue that where a candidate choose to have the interview may shed insight on the kind of professional he or she is.  But, shouldn't we minimize the likelihood of non-job-related factors to creep into the decision-making process?

The Solution

The future of video interviewing
Why hasn't a business taken advantage of this scenario by creating a mobile video interviewing unit (think the EM-50 Urban Assault Vehicle from "Stripes.")Each unit has the latest technology to ensure the video connection is strong.  Inside the unit, there is a spot for hair, makeup, wardrobe.  Professionals in the unit will be available to assist with any of the candidate's needs prior to the interview.  The actual interviewing spot will have a green screen in the background, so that the candidate can choose the image he or she wants to project.  And, best of all, the unit can come directly to the travel involved.   With the mobile video interviewing unit, candidates can take comfort knowing that they are able to put their best foot forward?

Call me Mark Cuban...I'm ready for my pitch on Shark Tank.

How Expensive Will #SHRM15 Hotels Be?

by Matthew Stollak on Wednesday, October 22, 2014

With the news  that hotel reservations are now being accepted for the 2015 SHRM Annual Conference, I bring you my 6th annual expose of SHRM hotel costs.

I look at selected SHRM conference brochures (i.e., the ones that I still possessed) over the past 15 years to see what it would cost a person to book a single room on a per night average.  Clearly, prices in 2001 will be different than in 2015, so I use an inflation calculator to adjust costs to today's dollars.  So, how does the 2015 Conference in Orlando compare to years past?

Cost of an Average SHRM-Affiliated Hotel (per night: 6/28-7/1)
 Chicago (2008): $267.00 (sd of $30.74)
San Francisco (2001): $266.69 (standard deviation of $58.80)
San Diego (2010): $254.95 (sd of $43.88)
Chicago (2013): 253.46 (sd of 20.99)
Washington DC (2006): $240.38 (sd of $41.30)
Philadelphia (2002): $226.45 (sd of $60.54)
San Diego (2005): $212.11 (sd of $51.72)
Atlanta (2012): $204.31 (sd of $22.80)
Las Vegas (2007): $173.20 (sd of $33.38)

Orlando(2014): $162.07 (sd of $36.07)
Las Vegas (2015): $142.79 (sd of $22.85)
Las Vegas (2011): $133.83 (sd of $18.56)

Not surprisingly, when you saw Las Vegas as the location of choice in 2015, you knew you would be able to get a hotel relatively cheaply, and the numbers don't lie.   This will be the 2nd lowest average hotel cost in the last 15 years.  Half of the hotels are below the median cost of $149.  The first quartile is at $131, and the 3rd quartile is at $1596.   The lowest price hotel is at $99 with a top price of $179.  5 star hotels such as the Bellagio ($179), Venetian ($149), or Wynn ($165) can be had for not much more than the average hotel room...just be leery of the resort fees.   Even better SHRM hotel costs in Las Vegas are usually competitive even against such sites as Hotwire and Priceline.

Just get ready to save your pennies, as more expensive hotels will be expected as Washington, DC and Chicago will be the destinations in the not too distant future.

See you in Las Vegas

One Month Until #HRevolution

by Matthew Stollak on Wednesday, October 8, 2014

On November 8, one month from today, leading HR professionals will be heading to Grapevine, TX and Symbolist HQ to have a little BBQ and discuss the latest HR issues at the 7th iteration of HRevolution.  The full agenda can be found here, but I wanted to give you a taste of what to expect from a couple of sessions.

Bold HR with Broc Edwards

We all know what bad HR looks like. Bad HR hides behind policy, embraces mediocrity, creates bureaucratic fiefdoms, and becomes a barrier for managers and employees alike. But HR has a bigger vision for itself – we want to be recognized as a player in the business, not just an administrative check box. So we strive to be a strategic business partner with a seat at the table (whatever that all means), but we get bogged down in clich├ęs, “best” practices, and infighting that holds the field back rather than moving it forward.

What if we tossed all that aside and just decided to be Bold?  Easier said than done. Boldness exists as a virtue in myth and legend, but in the everyday it’s easier and safer to say “no” than “yes”. It’s more prudent to replicate the past than create the future. We choose safe over meaningful, stable over fulfilling, secure over interesting, known over opportunity, and comfort over making a difference. And it’s keeping us trapped in mediocre sameness. Enough.

In this highly interactive session we’ll take a look at what Bold HR is and what it isn’t. We’ll explore what it would mean for our employees and managers, for our companies, and for us if we drew a line and started practicing Bold HR. And we’ll come away with practical ideas and plans to put into action when we get back to the office on Monday.

HR Half-Baked Ideas with Matt Stollak & Sir William Tincup

The problem - everyone loves having an office refrigerator to store their drinks and food, and a microwave to cook their meal.  It's both a cost and a time saver for those constantly on the goHowever, after a few weeks, no one wants to open up that brown bag containing a mystery meat with a fresh coating of mold, or clean the crusted tomato sauce off of the roof of the microwave from an unprotected Lean Cuisine.

The Half-Baked Idea: "Mom's Got This," a company that will come in once a month to clean the refrigerator and microwave. 

That's a HR Half-Baked idea that is not quite complete.   Will "Mom's Got This" work?  Is it a viable business?  Come to the session to find out this, and 20+ other half-baked ideas, as well as bring your own.

If these kind of sessions appeal to you, the planning team of Steve Boese, Ben Eubanks, Trish McFarlane, and Matt Stollak would love to have you attend.

Good tickets are still available here.

Thank you to all our sponsors for helping us make the dream a reality. With the help of Mercer, Symbolist, Small Improvements and personal contribution from Lois and Ross Melbourne, this will be a great event.

Hope to see you in a month.

Is Looking at GPA Lazy HR? The Role of Grade Inflation

by Matthew Stollak on Wednesday, August 27, 2014

As a professor, I am vigilant in examining my grading practices to ensure students are receiving a fair and deserved grade.  I want to ensure that the grade reflects the work and performance a student demonstrated over the course of a semester.  Last semester, I taught two sections of the same course - one section earned an average grade of 3.12 (on a 4.0 scale), the other a 2.67.

Unfortunately, grade inflation has been a major problem at many colleges and universities.  As Libby Nelson at notes:

By 2007, 83 percent of all grades at a sample of 200 four-year colleges and universities were A's and B's. And research from a former Duke University professor found that A's have been the most commonly awarded grade at four-year colleges since the 1990s:
grade inflation

One school, Wellesley College, attempted to combat grade inflation by enforcing an average grade for an introductory class: a B+.  If a faculty member exceeded this grade, he or she had to explain, in writing, why the higher grade was justified.

What was the impact of such a policy shift?  Research by Kristin F. Butcher, Patrick J. McEwan, and Akila
Weerapana in the Journal of Economic Perspectives

found that results were immediate; average grades were brought down in previously high-grading departments.

Further, not only did it impact choice of major, but evaluation of teachers; with tougher grades, teachers received lower ratings...SHOCKING!

However, where HR should take note is how GPA is used for hiring decisions.  Wellesley students were obviously concerned that lower grades would impact hireability, particularly if they were the only college instituting such a change.   As Butcher, et al, note:

"They point to examples of web-based job application systems that will not let them proceed if their GPA is below a 3.5," the authors wrote. "The economist's answer that firms relying on poor information to hire are likely to fare poorly and to be poor employers in the long run proves remarkably uncomforting to undergraduates."

In the absence of other universities replicating Wellesley en masse, is using GPA as a criterion for hiring lazy HR?  Do firms have evidence that the higher GPA is not only necessary for the job being performed, but distinguishes good performers from poor performers?  Further, if all colleges (other than Wellesley) engage in grade inflation, is the GPA really meaningful for hiring purposes?


"The Leftovers" and HR

by Matthew Stollak on Wednesday, August 13, 2014

I'm 100% in on HBO's "The Leftovers." 

The basic premise is that three years ago, 2% of the world's population simply vanished without a trace.  Three years later, there are no answers for what happened, and much of society is still coping and grieving over the loss of friends and loved ones.  A hierarchy of sorts develops (as well as a hidden backlash) based on the number of people one lost.  It is grim, but fascinating viewing (aside: I haven't yet read Tom Perrotta's novel for which the show is based).

Of course, I couldn't resist putting on my HR hat and imagining what the world of work looks like in the aftermath of the event.

The world's economy continues unabated (or does it?)

No mention is made of the initial economic impact of such an event.  Was GDP disrupted?  Three years later, grocery stores are still stocked with the usual array of cereals and other durable goods.  Pharmacies are still stocked to address appropriate medical needs.  People are still working and earning an income.

Of course, we see the rise of new businesses that attempt to profit from the situation.  There are conferences that host discussions on the possible causes of the event.  One company produces lifesize replicas of the departed for up to $40,000 (depending on how detailed you want the body to resemble the person you lost) that can be used as substitute body in a casket for a funeral.

Is it a recruiting boon or bust?
If 2% of the world's population disappeared, it is likely that, on average, organizations lost 2% of their employees.  Some may have lost more than others.  How do organizations replace that lost talent?  Does it thus lead to a war on talent?  Does it give recruiters a little more job security?  There are also many more individuals who decide to drop out of working altogther, but more on that later.

How are bereavement and leave policies applied?

With so many now "gone," how do organization deal with people taking time off from work to deal with the loss(es) they are grieving?  Do they apply sick leave?  Are EAP investments increasing?

How are survivors benefits handled?

The show noted that insurance companies are refusing to pay as there is no evidence the individuals actually died.  The government has stepped in and created "departure" benefits.  Bureaucrats go to the survivors homes and ask them a detailed 150+ question survey (in part to see if there is some commonality or correlation among those who left) to sift out frauds.

Is there career planning?

It doesn't appear to be a major concern for Generation Z, as there has been little to no discussion of career plans or college.

Your most engaged individuals will not necessarily be working for your organization

Perhaps the most fascinating part of the show is a group created in the aftermath of the departure called the Guilty Remnant.  They are comprised of individuals who essentially have dropped out of family and societal obligations; who feel guilty for not being chosen to be one of those who departed.  They do not speak.  They dress in all white (to set them apart).  They chain smoke (ostensibly because they believe the world ended on that fateful day three years ago, and so, why not smoke, since they believe they are likely to be raptured long before the smoking kills them).  They are 100% committed to their cause (though I em not sure where there economic support comes from).

What are your HR thoughts if 2% of the population disappeared?


Yield Ratios, NASCAR, and the National Guard

by Matthew Stollak on Friday, August 8, 2014

If you are responsible for recruiting at your organization, I hope you are paying attention to your yield ratios.  At its core, yield ratios tell you how the various sources you target for recruiting (i.e., newspaper ads, job postings, college job fairs) are delivering candidates that you hire at what cost.  

The National Guard has been under fire of late for its excessive spending.  One area what the National Guard has been particularly profligate has been its sponsorship of NASCAR.  According to Justin Boyer in yesterday's Washington Post:

USA Today reported the Guard spent $26.5 million to sponsor NASCAR in 2012, “but failed to sign up a single new soldier to its ranks,” according to Senate documents. Between 2011 and 2013, the Guard spent $88 million, but “it is unclear how many new recruits, if any, signed up because of it.”
“How can you justify the fact that nobody is getting recruited?” said Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) in hearings. “The facts speak for themselves. The data is very clear. You’re not getting recruits off of NASCAR.”

 Tom Vanden Brook at USA Today noted:

The Guard received 24,800 recruiting prospects from the program in 2012, documents show. In those cases, potential recruits indicated the NASCAR affiliation prompted them to seek more information about joining. Of that group, only 20 met the Guard's qualifications for entry into the service, and not one of them joined. 

In 2013, the number of prospects associated with NASCAR dropped to 7,500, according to briefing materials for the Senate subcommittee on Financial and Contracting Oversight led by McCaskill. The National Guard needs 1 million leads to meet its annual recruiting goal of 50,000 soldiers.

Landing only 20 potential candidates out of nearly 25k, and actually hiring none of them is a yield ratio no one should be happy about.

So, what might be responsible for generating such poor return on that recruiting investment?  Age of the audience:

"The Army, the Navy, the Marines and the Coast Guard all canceled their sponsorships with NASCAR due to cost, ineffectiveness and difficulty in measuring results," according to the briefing document. "The Army specifically stated that NASCAR was declining against the Army's core target audience and that NASCAR sponsorship had the highest cost per engagement in the Army's portfolio of sponsorships — three times the next highest program."

About one-third of NASCAR's audience is aged 18-35, the Guard's target audience for recruiting, according to the document.

Quick Lessons Learned from the 2014 #NBASummerLeague

by Matthew Stollak on Tuesday, July 22, 2014

I'm back from the now annual trip to the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas with most of the 8 Man Rotation (Steve Boese, Kris Dunn, Lance Haun).  The trip was filled with good food, conversation, music (in the form of Soundgarden and Nine Inch Nails in concert) and, of course, basketball.  So, what can be gleaned from a 3 day trip watching exhibition basketball?  You can read Steve's take here and Kris' take here.   Here's mine:

"You'll be pleased" is the new "Fine."
Over burgers at Bobby Flay's Burger Palace, discussion turned to reference checks and performance reviews.  A little less than two years ago, K.D. wrote that "neutral is the new negative," meaning that if the person giving the reference is only sharing basic info, the candidate is not likely to be a star at your organization.  Further, like "awesome," "fine" has become overused and lost any authenticity when it comes to praise.  If a person says an applicant or performer is "fine," are you buying that he or she is of quality?  So, what did the group settle on as an authentic phrase of praise?  "You'll be pleased."  For example, to Atlanta Hawks superfan K.D., "You'll be pleased with 1st round draft pick from Michigan State, Adriean Payne."   

EVERYONE is looking to make an impression
Not only are players looking to become one of the chosen 450 to make an NBA roster, coaches are trying to move up the ranks, and refs are trying to make the big show.  But, even behind the scenes, moves are trying to be made.  You have the overenthusiastic announcer trying to show off his chops, "Dennis Horner from the Corner!" 
"P.J. Hairston with the flush!"  You also had the singer of the national anthem.  Who was he?  Not sure?  Did he do a competent job?  Yes.  Was he paid?  Probably not.  But, like the HR blogger being told that writing on a blog will give him/her valuable "exposure," I'm positive someone somewhere gave the singer advice that such a performance will lead to gigs down the road.

EVERYONE thinks they know talent
Rodney Hood, formerly of Duke, and now part of the Utah Jazz...not a fan.  Here's his stats for the 5 summer league games he played:

Game 1: 3-of-13 from the floor, 1-of-10 from 3, nine points
Game 2: 11-of-16 from the floor, 7-of-10 from 3, 29 points
Game 3: 1-of-9 from the floor, 0-of-2 from 3, three points
Game 4: 7-of-11 from the floor, 1-of-3 from 3, 19 points
Game 5: 2-of-8 from the floor, 1-of-3 from 3, seven points 

Needless to say, I pointed out his shortcomings rather loudly during his mediocre game 5 performance.  Who took exception?  The trio of 10-year-old boys in front of me who knew he was the best player on the court.

If the three takes regarding the 2014 Summer League are not enough, feel free to listen to the 27-minute HR Happy Hour podcast summing up the weekend here 

True Faith HR Replay: Why #HR Should Care About the NBA Summer League

by Matthew Stollak on Monday, July 14, 2014

On Thursday, I will join three of my colleagues behind the 8 Man Rotation in Las Vegas (we always leave one behind to keep it going in case something befalls the rest of us) for two to three days to catch some NBA Summer League action.
Why do we want to head to the desert in summer time to spend 8-10 hours a day in a gym watching exhibition basketball when those games don't matter?
Because, in actuality, the games DO matter....for those playing.   In his piece on Grantland, Steve McPherson describes what it is like for those involved:

These are guys who have worked their entire lives to be one of the 450 players in the top basketball league in the world. Guys who spent their whole lives being one of the best basketball players in any situation they ever found themselves in. And now it’s just the grind. They’re simply looking for their shot.
The ones hoping for that shot are almost universally flawed in one way or another: undersized or stuck between positions; not good enough at one specific thing to be useful to a team; dogged by problems we can’t even see, the kind of stuff many of us carry around.........
But for these players — who are among the top one or two percent of basketball players in the world — it’s their big chance. Not to become something they’re not, but to see their years of work turn them into what they’ve always been striving toward.

Those playing over these few days in Orlando and in Las Vegas are no different than the applicants to your organization.  They're polishing their resumes,  taking your work sample test, engaging in your role play or simulation, trying to impress you enough to take a chance on them.

For us watching, it will be passing entertainment...but for those involved, it will be all too real, with stakes that truly matter to them.

Should Your "A" Players Recruit For Your Organization?

by Matthew Stollak on Monday, June 30, 2014

Its long been mantra that great employees want to work with other great employees.  The organization can only be better when great employees see others putting out quality effort.  In "First, Break All The Rules," Marcus Buckingham wrote that one of the critical 12 questions that measures the strength of an organization is "Are my co-workers committed to doing quality work?"

Interesting news, then, from the NBA, as the star of the Chicago Bulls is shying away from selling the organization to prospective players - in particular, talented free agent Carmelo Anthony.  According to Yahoo Sports

The Chicago Bulls are expected to pursue Carmelo Anthony in free agency. They just shouldn't expect Derrick Rose to participate in the recruiting.

Rose told Yahoo Sports on Sunday that he doesn't plan to recruit Anthony – or any free agent, for that matter – even though he likes Anthony's game and thinks they can play alongside each other.

Rose's reason is simple: He said it's "not his job."

"My thing is if they want to come, they can come," Rose said.

The goal of every player and team is to win that world championship (though some would rather make that max contract).  Each player should be looking at how they could make their team better.  Joakim Noah, Derrick Rose's teammate, has been doing everything possible to get Carmelo to come to Chicago:

According to several sources, including a teammate, Noah's All-Star Weekend “conversation'' with New York Knicks standout Carmelo Anthony didn't end in New Orleans. They had discussions via text the rest of the season, including the day after the Bulls were eliminated in the playoffs by the Washington Wizards.

“I was kidding Jo that they were boys now,'' a source said in a phone interview Friday. “ ‘Well, get your boy to come to Chicago.' ''

Sources said Noah has been in Anthony's ear as often as possible, and he has told other Bulls to push hard for Anthony this summer. But there is one condition: Backup big man Taj Gibson can't be sacrificed.

So, what is the obligation of your superstar to sell your organization to prospective candidates?  Does he or she have any responsibility, particular when fellow employees are making a strong push as well?

Its less than 2 weeks until the start of the NBA Summer League, and the 8 Man Rotation is looking forward to its annual trip to Las Vegas, June 17-20.  If you're interested in joining us, let me know.

My Annual Love Letter to the @SHRMFoundation #SHRM14

by Matthew Stollak on Monday, June 23, 2014

Dear SHRM Foundation,

We’ve known each other for years.  We’ve had our ups (your support of the HRGames) and our downs (the 247 Director’s Circle pins you sent me as a sign of your affection).  However, despite this rollercoaster of emotions, I’ve always supported you and been in your corner.  So, in this public forum, it is time to declare my love for you and say that you’re the best thing under the SHRM umbrella.  How do I love thee? Let me count the ways:

  1.  I love your heart and generosity- you provided $200,000 in scholarships and awards in 2013  These scholarships and awards are available for such things as certification, studies in HR, as well as for dissertations and the HR Advisor of the Year (I'm a proud recipient in 2006).  Further, you continually give many of the products that are the result of your efforts away for free to the greater HR community.  You have changed and affected the lives of so many in such a positive, affirming away.
  2. I love your mind – You are the leading funder of HR research.  You provided more than $600,000 in research dollars in 2013.  You are changing the face of the HR profession with cutting-edge products, such as the Effective Practice Guidelines, and the DVD Series.  Your Thought Leadership Initiative is setting the tone by identifying trends that will impact the workplace in the next 5-10 years.
Thanks for all that you do to enrich and advance the profession.



P.S. if you know of others who love you as much as I do, please tell them to stop by Booth 2264 and contribute to make the Foundation even stronger.  If you are reading this at home, go visit the SHRM Foundation website at, and read more about the great things the Foundation does.  You can also "Give on the Go" by texting SHRMF to 56512

The Four #SHRM14 Conference Keynote Archetypes

by Matthew Stollak on Sunday, June 22, 2014

If you're a newbie to the SHRM Annual Conference, you'll see that a major attraction to entice people to attend is the array of keynotes providing guidance and inspiration.  Perhaps this was one of the critical factors influencing your decision.

After attending for 14 years, you'll see that their are 4 major types of keynotes (h/t to Matt Charney for inspiring the post) that SHRM brings in.

The CEO/Major Executive.  

This speaker shares his (usually) insight of how he views HR and the workplace.  Think Earl Graves, Richard Branson, Jack Welch, Tony Hsieh, Louis Gerstner or Steve Forbes.  This year we have David Novak.

The Management/HR Pundit

This individual usually has a best selling book on HR and is sharing his or her results.  Think John Kotter, Patrick Lencioni, Malcolm Gladwell, Jim Collins, Marcus Buckingham, or Dan Pink.   This year it is Tom Friedman.

The Celebrity/Political LeaderIn the past, SHRM has brought in such names as Tom Brokaw, Hillary Clinton, Condoleeza Rice, Al Gore, Rudy Guiliani, Al Gore, Bill Cosby, and Sidney Poitier.  This year, we have Laura Bush.

The Inspirational/Motivational Speaker

This speaker usually has a message that gets us excited about what HR is about, or inspires us about how he/she overcame obstacles.  Sometimes, this overlaps with the celebrity speaker.  Such audience pleasers have included Lee Woodruff, Captain Mark Kelly & Gabby Giffords, Erin Gruwell, Liz Murray, Michael J. Fox, and Lance Armstrong.  This year is Robin Roberts.

Keep these archetypes in minds for future SHRM conferences.

#HRPickUpLines and the #SHRM14 Expo Hall

by Matthew Stollak

This is the 14th SHRM Annual Conference I've attended, so I'm a bit jaded when it comes to the promotion from vendors to visit their booths.  However, this year, Careerbuilder has a unique take by using the hashtag #HRPickUpLines as a way to get attention to their name.  The "best" lines can win an iPad air.  Here is the first winning line:

Here is a sampling of my entries:

Which ones your favorite?  Have a better one?  Submit it, and you may win an iPad.  See you around the Exhibit Hall.

What Should Be Discussed Instead of Certification at #SHRM14

by Matthew Stollak on Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The SHRM Big Show begins in less than a week as 15,000+ HR professionals descend on Orlando to hear about the latest in human resource management.  Unless you are a HR professional living under a rock, the topic du jour(s) will be the new SHRM certification being won't be able to escape it.  SHRM will have 3 straight days of sessions dedicated to the topic.  HRCI, while banished from the conference, will be holding a Monday night event at EPCOT to share there insights.  Vegas has put better odds of snow occurring during the four days in Orlando than Hank Jackson NOT discussing certification during the opening session.  I fully expect that SHRM will hand out an HR action figure called "Certy" to attendees at their booth in the exhibit hall.

Never has so much attention been paid to an issue that has so little impact on the day-to-day functioning of HR.

I wish a modicum of attention was paid to these issues instead:

1.  Sleep

Did you hear about the accident that nearly killed TV star Tracy Morgan?  It was the result of a Walmart truck driver who had gone more than 24 hours without sleeping.  According to Teamsters President James P. Hoffa, "drivers feel pressure from their employers to drive more than 60-70 hours a week with insufficient rest."  Further, Congress is attempting to make regulation of truck driver rest even more lax:

Days before Morgan's accident thrust trucking safety into the news, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved legislation that would undo rules that only went into effect last year that mandated certain rest periods for truck drivers. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) added an amendment to the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development bill that would suspend a regulation that truck drivers rest for 34 consecutive hours, including two nights from 1:00 AM to 5:00 AM, before driving again.

Issues involving sleep are not limited to the trucking industry.  As a parent of 15-month old twins, getting 6+ hours of uninterrupted sleep is a luxury.  The impact of less sleep is huge:


Instead of certification, we should be discussing how the profession can assist employees in ensuring they are properly rested so they may perform at a more productive level.

2.  Wage Theft 

According to the New York Times,

When wage theft against low-wage workers is combined with that against highly paid workers, a bad problem becomes much worse. Data compiled by the Economic Policy Institute show that in 2012, the Department of Labor helped 308,000 workers recover $280 million in back pay for wage-theft violations — nearly double the amount stolen that year in robberies on the street, at banks, gas stations and convenience stores.

Moreover, the recovered wages are surely only a fraction of the wage theft nationwide because the Labor Department has only about 1,100 wage-and-hour investigators to monitor seven million employers and several states have ended or curtailed wage enforcement efforts.

This is a huge black eye for the profession, and we should be discussing how to minimize this occurrence.

3.  A Living Wage

My wonderful blogging colleagues at SHRM14 are putting together a little charity event on Sunday night to raise money for No Kid Hungry.  It truly is a worthy endeavor.

At the same time, how much discussion is going into their Congressional representatives cutting funding for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families?  Or, eliminating unemployment benefits after a certain period of time, even when unemployment remains high.  Each contribute significantly to childhood hunger.

Recently, Seattle passed a minimum wage increase of $15 an hour.  Given HR's role in setting compensation, what influence, if any, should they have to address the impact of wage stagnation?