… the HR Minion. Because even minions have opinions. And giggles.

No

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“No” is a powerful word. “No” is control. “No” is confrontational and assertive. “No” shuts down discussions and doesn’t leave room for negotiation. “No” can be both rude and empowering.

“No Bob, we can’t have a wet T-shirt contest at the company picnic,” seems like a responsible use of the word.

versus

“No Bob, we can’t get you a check today even though there was an error in payroll, that’s outside our normal process,” seems to be a bad use of no and a bad way to run your HR Department.

The judicious application of “No” is important when dealing with clients, employees, managers, vendors, and just about everyone else. If you are providing a service, and HR at its core is about serving others, “No” should not be your favorite word. HR should not be the policy police or a road block keeping people from getting what they need. When we say no to someone, we can take away their sense of agency. Real or not, the perception that you have no choices and no control, especially in a stressful situation, feels awful. HR needs to be better than that because of the personal impact we can have. Relying on “No” to control a situation out of a sense of fear, ignorance, or laziness doesn’t provide a service; it shuts everything down.

One of the basic rules of improvisation is don’t say no, because it effectively stops the scene from moving forward. HR’s role should be to move conversations and problems forward toward appropriate solutions. We can guide and advise. We can use other words like “Yes, but”, “Have you thought of doing this instead”, or even “Let’s work together to find a solution that will work for you.” This isn’t about giving people everything they want, it’s about making sure they are getting what the need and providing the best customer service experience for them while we are doing it.

HR could do a better job if we hold “No” in reserve for the times when we really need it. Like when we need to protect our employees and the company from inequalities and risk. Or when it can ease an employee’s way through a difficult situation. Or even when we have to hold firm to tough decisions that ultimately are in the best interest of the employee.

With great power comes great… blah blah, you know the rest. Let’s all help make HR a force of good out there.

Is anyone still out there?

A door creaks open, and a shadowy figure cautiously looks around. Drapes get thrown back to reveal dust motes dancing in the sunlight and cobwebs holding everything together.

“Hello? It’s me. I was wondering if after all these years you’d like to meet…”

Ok, enough with the melodrama. I have neither enough Kleenex nor wine cupcakes to handle Adele at her most soulful. Let’s try this again.

Hey there HR blogosphere, how you been doing? I’ve been good; I’ve seen a lot of change since I’ve been on hiatus. I’ve changed jobs, Jesse changed jobs, a neighborhood kitty adopted us and we drove another one to Wisconsin to adopt my sister. We traveled a bit, we loved a lot, I started kickboxing and baking, and my Mother in law was in a bad car accident (she’s getting better, but it was scary). So yeah, it’s been interesting.

We call him Cheeto

We call him Cheeto

But why come back to blogging after such a hiatus now? I’m not even running the Carnival of HR anymore. That was successfully passed on the the amazing Robin Schooling earlier this year and she is already doing such fun things with it. It’s funny, when I stopped blogging I wasn’t sure if I would ever start again. I was tired and stressed. In a way, I almost felt I had gotten everything out of blogging that I was going to get. This blog has lead to many amazing things: Friends, knowledge and experience, travel, support, extra income, creativity, and even love. What more did I want?

But when the opportunity to jump back in presented itself, more on that later, I didn’t hesitate. I think I missed it. I missed the interaction and the creative outlet cranking out a blog post provided. So yeah, here we go again. And if you want someone to blame, it’s totally Ben Eubank’s fault.

Over thinking it

I have a conundrum. I don’t think I want to continue with this blog anymore. (Pause for the collective gasps of horror from my audience). I know, I know.

For the last year or so I have been finding myself less dedicated to this blog. I can continue telling myself that I haven’t been posting on this site regularly in a while because I have been busy. New job/Travel/Puppies/Grown Up responsibilities/etc but that is just an excuse. I have always been busy and made the time before.

I’m not as motivated as I once was. It makes me kind of sad and, a little afraid. If I stop blogging on this site do I lose part of my identity? Am I no longer part of this awesome HR online community that I love? Do I stop being relevant? Or even scarier, do I find out I never was relevant? Will anyone notice or care? Have I gotten everything out of blogging that I ever will? Does it make me a little shallow even thinking that?

I still love HR, I still love social media, and I still love blogging. I still love writing. Writing on this blog has been a much needed creative outlet for me. I’m completely serious when I say my life would not be the same today without this blog. Through this blog I have been exposed to people, ideas, opportunities and a world I would have never experienced otherwise. It led me to my husband. But is that reason enough to keep doing it?

overthinking

This post has been one huge string of questions. This is what I mean by over thinking it. I’ve been hesitating on making a decision because of insecurity and fear. I can’t see clearly because I am too emotionally invested in this site. This is normally the time when I would ask for reader feedback on what to do but honestly, the only one who can make this decision is me.

So I am going to stop hesitating and punishing myself for not keeping up with this site. Now, this site is not going to disappear; I’ve got too much time and content invested here. And I am, and will remain, the HR Minion, she of the contagious giggles. But going forward the site won’t be updated or active. Don’t you worry though, I still have my fingers in other social media pies so It’s not like I am disappearing.

Instead, I think I want to focus on deepening the relationships this site helped me establish. I have made a lot of friends through this blog and I have been terribly lax about reaching out and having actual conversations, instead of just likes on Facebook. I miss you all and don’t want to keep waiting for the rare occasions when I run into people at conferences.

I guess you could say this HR Minion is taking the show off line…

Dogs and Advertising

One thing you learn very quickly as a blogger, especially if you ever get to be part of a social media team at a conference or event, is that you quickly start getting pitches from marketers about stuff to talk about on your blog. At first, it can be flattering. People are paying attention to you! Isn’t that like totally the point of blogging?

And they want you to do things like review books for free, or talk about their products… for free. Or share a picture of Wil Wheaton collating paper… And the pitches all start sounding formulaic; almost like they aren’t even reading your blog. Like you are just another email on a mailing list. Heck, most of the time they don’t even get your name right.

And soon you just stop reading the pitches altogether. The few times I do share something on this blog, it is because it is for someone I know, something I think is cool, some conference I want to support either just cause or because it’s part of what I do when I am part of a conference social media team. But I always try to be clear on how I am involved. A blog is worthless if it is inauthentic.

But we all have a weakness and a marketing agency finally find mine: Cute. Animals. Specifically dogs. I swear you can put a puppy on anything and I’ll buy it. I don’t care what it is, does, or costs, just shut up and take my money. So when Rachel of the Kindling Media Group sent me an email you can just imagine my will power slowly draining away from me as soon as I saw the subject line: Dogs Take Over Office.

Crap. I was physically unable to do anything but read the email about how they created a video to promote National Take your Dog to Work Day, which incidentally happened to be June 20th. And then I absolutely had no choice but to watch the video. I mean, PUPPIES! And after watching the absolute cuteness I did the only thing I was capable of doing which is to send Rachel back the note below:

Wow, you got me on this one. I never respond or even look at all the marketing emails I get but I am powerless in the face of puppies. POWERLESS. Consider your will to be done, I have to share the cuteness.

Thanks, Shauna

So if you too have no will power when it comes to puppies, check out the video below. (Slow Clap) Well done marketers, you’ve won this round…

11 Reasons Candidates Don’t Want to Work for You

This past month a great Slideshare was being passed around online, “Congratulations Graduate! Eleven Reasons Why I will Never Hire You” by Mark O’Toole. As an HR pro who’s done her fair share of hiring, I loved it. Sure, none of the information is anything you haven’t heard before but it did a great job of putting it in an interesting, straight forward manner that hopefully will resonate with the intended audience.

But as much as those of us recruiting like to swap war stories about the craziness that we see from candidates, I think we often forget one simple truth: Recruitment is a two way street. Candidates are evaluating you too and trust me when I say you are being judged by your recruitment process.

Sadly, most of the time companies don’t even know how badly they come across to job candidates. And so they wonder why it takes them 6 months to fill a job, or why they can’t seem to attract top tier graduates, or why their turnover for new hires is at 50%.

So in the same vein but much less cooler format than the Slideshare, here are 11 reasons candidates don’t want to work for you:

1. Your job descriptions have minimal information, are riddled with errors, and/or are so generic and boring that they generate no interest at all.
2. Your application process takes over an hour, requires a reference from their 5th grade math teacher, and the blood of a unicorn harvested on a Tuesday during a leap year. (That was a slight exaggeration but you get my point)
3. You have a terrible Website/Facebook page/LinkedIn page/Twitter Page/Blog with minimal or outdated information and no engagement. Or worse, you have no online presence at all.
4. Online reviews of the company are damning in their consistent message of “Don’t ever work here” and worse, the only engagements with criticism are childish flame wars between the company and the reviewers.
5. In a more analog version of the above, your reputation amongst those in the industry is so tarnished that common knowledge and gossip is “Don’t ever work there” and unlike online, you don’t even have a chance to respond to these rumors.
6. You never keep your promises to follow-up, whether it is to schedule interviews, provide more information, or even to let the candidate know if they have been rejected.
7. The Job Description/Title/Pay/Location/Hours have changed more than once throughout the recruitment process and the candidate no longer knows what they are interviewing for.
8. You demonstrate a lack of respect for the candidate by being unapologetic about being late for the interview or being a no show, by not being prepared, or by being rude/inappropriate during the interview. It happens more than you would think.
9. You lack confidence in yourself, the position, or the company, and it comes through in everything you say and do.
10. Your overall compensation and benefit package is not competitive, the work is not interesting/unique/meaningful, and the advancement opportunities are minimal and move as fast as an iceberg.
11. Your company culture sucks and candidates know it. It is very clique-y and inclusive. It lacks diversity of opinions, thoughts, and creativity. It is inflexible and demanding to an unnatural degree. Management is harsh, green, and petty. You have an office supply Nazi who won’t let you order post it notes. And so on.

Oh, and one more important note for all the Recruiters, Managers, Executives, and HR Pros out there: Candidates are also Customers. All these bad impressions will stick with them long after they’ve started working somewhere else. Give them a bad enough experience and you will find yourself losing potential customers and their revenue now and in the future. It’s just something to keep in mind when you go to re-evaluate your recruitment process.