Author Archive

Performance Records Go To Hanger-51

February 12, 2010 Charlie Judy 7 comments

President Obama wants to computerize and standardize all medical records within the next 5 years.  An ambition some call audacious and others call imperative.  Proponents suggest that Electronic Medical Records (EMR) technologies would, among other things,  ultimately facilitate a higher standard of care to patients.  Essentially, an integrated system would allow a patient to accumulate a comprehensive medical history that could be accessed at a moment’s notice by healthcare professionals wherever and whenever.  Change your primary care physician? Doesn’t matter.  Out of town with a medical emergency? No worries.  Want to give your neurologist a peek at your cardiologist’s notes? Consider it done.  Are there privacy issues? Yep…and others.  But doesn’t it make sense that the people being paid top dollar to manage your health have the complete picture of what works, what doesn’t, what’s strong, what’s not? Sure does to me.

So what if we could do the same thing with employee performance records?  What if we could standardize at least a piece of those records so the data could be transferrable to new employers? Shouldn’t your development continue where it left off at the old employer?  Seems to me that your new boss would like the opportunity to really understand your weaknesses (as opposed to whatever canned answer you gave him/her during your interview.)  Seems that might actually give him/her a chance to address them head-on before they creep up somewhere down the road and hinder everybody’s progress.  It would also give him/her a chance to quickly highlight and truly leverage your strengths.  Tim Sackett and Fistful of Talent had an interesting post the other day about carrying the “hickeys” of workplace transgressions around with you from job to job.  I’m not sure any one has to see your hickey until you’re actually on the job.  And as long as there was some understanding that they couldn’t kick you out for having a hickey (after all, we’ve all had them) then why not just get them out in the open? 

I think about the many years of performance reviews I had with my former employers.  It kind of bums me out that those are just sitting in a box somewhere in a storage room…worthless to anything I’m doing today.  Electronic Performance Records (EPR)…hmmmmmmmm.

Photo Credit:

Categories: Performance Management, Technology Tags: Electronic Medical Records, HR, HRIS, Human Capital, Human Resources, Obama Health Plan, Performance, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Weaknesses in Job Interviews

Trust? Screw that.

February 10, 2010 Charlie Judy 4 comments

Most organizational experts list Trust as an important element of optimally performing teams.  Steven Covey, author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, suggests, “Trust is the highest form of human motivation. It brings out the very best in people.”   In Trust Rules: How to Tell the Good Guys from the Bad Guys in Work and Life, Linda Stroh acknowledges that “betrayal is bad for everyone” and “without organizational trust, the focus of every transaction revolves around issues of determining who has control and ensuring no one gets more than that to which they’re entitled.”  Pick your favorite leadership guru, “trust” is all over their work.  It’s important, I get it.  But I say it’s also idealistic. 

I told my wife last night that, “I would absolutely love my job if it weren’t for this one person.”  That one person happens to be some one who has betrayed and abused my trust one time too many.  But here’s the problem: 1) He/she has an important role in the organization so he/she isn’t going anywhere any time soon, 2) I’ve tried to address the trust issue head on with him/her to no avail, 3) It’s really hard to play the role of unbiased HR professional when the issues you’re addressing relate to a peer who shares a boss with you.  It’s that third issue that brings me to my first recommendation to HR leaders out there: Have an explicit agreement with your boss on who your HR representative is in the event you need one.  It may be another HR leader, it may be corporate counsel, it may even be an HR representative who reports to you.  Either way, it should be agreed in advance that by using said representative you deliberately separate yourself from your role as HR advisor and take on the role of employee.  With that understanding you should feel more comfortable getting the same kind of support on your issues that you are dedicated to providing the rest of the company.  Here’s my next recommendation: Screw Trust!  Trust is for people you love, for people who love you.  Trust is for people your livelihood depends upon.  Trust is for people who actually matter.  But trust in the workplace is fleeting.  Yes, you should strive to be trustworthy; but unless you are a firefighter, a soldier, or a trapeze artist it’s naive to count on others to be trustworthy.  Sorry, it just is.  Try to give the benefit of the doubt, stay optimistic, have faith, have respect, strive to understand, build strong working relationships.  But keep a healthy sense of skepticism about any one and every one.  Don’t become paralyzed by paranoia, but watch out for wolves in sheep’s clothing.  I’m here to tell you: workplaces are not designed for trustworthiness…trust me on this.

Categories: Relationships, Risk Management Tags: Building Trust, HR, HR for HR, Human Capital, Human Resources, Trust

Tuesday in the Trenches: Integrate vs. Adminstrate

February 9, 2010 Charlie Judy 5 comments

This week’s Tuesday in the Trenches guest post is from Steve Browne, Executive Director of Human Resources for LaRosa’s Pizzeria. In business for over 50 years, LaRosa’s has grown to 63 locations in the Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana region.  Steve has the daunting task of building and maintaining an environment and career experience that keeps LaRosa’s employees engaged in this highly competitive multi-location business.  Steve is also the editor-in-chief for a weekly HR Email, HR Net, that has 5,500 global subscribers.  If you want to join the distribution, let him know. You can follow Steve on Twitter or catch his guest blog posts which crop up from time to time (e.g. a recent post on Rehaul). 

Recently Charlie asked for posts from the “HR Trench” and this intrigued me.  There are literally thousands of HR people who may take this term literally everyday unfortunately.  I know too many HR folks who are miserable in what they do as a profession.

In looking at this, I had to ask myself the question – “Why are they miserable and I’m not ??”

The answer was pretty clear only because of how I have been encouraged and “allowed” to perform at my Company.  About a year ago, my boss, the COO, asked me to draw a picture of what HR should be at our company.  I honestly was a little baffled because he literally wanted a picture of what I’d like HR to be.  After some deep reflection, and many cups of coffee, I came up with a picture and went back to present it to him.

I followed the “before and after” model that you see in those weight loss commercials because I wanted to express how HR was being utilized now and what it should be.  The “before” model showed every department as silos – including HR.  HR was only used if, and when, people needed it primarily for administrative tasks or employee relations problems that were now teetering on legal action.  In contrast, the “after” model took HR and spread it in a row that spanned all of the departments.  I explained that HR should be integrated throughout all departments and levels of the company because all of them have humans !!

Seems simple, but it worked.  He agreed that HR should be integrated vs. administrative.  Strategic on a regular basis vs. processing paperwork.

This frees me every day knowing that HR is expected to be integrated to move the Company forward.  I wish HR professionals everywhere would follow an “integrated” approach !!  If they did, they would see that the “trench” that we’re in is actually very cool and exciting !!

Categories: #TrenchHR, HR Profession Tags: Business Silos, HR, HR Profession, Human Capital, Human Resources, Integrate HR with the Business, Trench HR

Good from afar, but far from good…

February 7, 2010 Charlie Judy 1 comment

Julie Smolyansky, Playboy's "Sexiest CEO"

I’m not a sociologist and I haven’t done any scientifically sound research, but I think good-looking people have an easier go at career advancement than ugly people (I know, “Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder”).  As a recruiter, can you honestly tell me that your own feelings about one’s looks doesn’t play into your final recommendation about a candidate? I’m not talking about charisma, or how they dress.  I’m talking about physical appearance.  I spent 13 years of my career with Deloitte and participated heavily in campus recruiting.  I can tell you with a great deal of certainty that the “better looking” students got internships and job offers. 

Does this bias continue after recruiting? Harder to prove, but I think it may.  Wally Bock, a Twitter pal of mine, reacted strongly to a Time Magazine article on his blog, Wally Bock’s Three Star Leadership Blog.  Time suggested one’s looks could be a predictor of one’s success as a CEO.  Although the study supported this notion, I would agree with Wally that this is a stretch.  So for grins I looked at the highest paid CEOs of 2009 via CNN Money and aside from a few I can’t say many were fetching (man’s perspective, mind you.)  Then I looked at a gallery of Fortune 500 Women CEO’s at CNN Money and I think there was a bit more of a good looks factor going on there (man’s perspective, mind you.)  But I did this in all of about 10 minutes so none of this really means jack.

I’m hoping the workplace has matured enough to put physical bias aside; but I’m skeptical.    Do those who are soft on the eyes get a leg up?  Do those who make the stomach churn get looked over?  Are the physically appealing better leaders?  Are bad-looking people poor negotiators?  Do hotties get paid more?  So I’d like to know whether in your experiences as an HR professional, or as a citizen of Corporate America, good or bad looks play a substantive role in a career.

Categories: Environment, Theory Tags: Campus Recruiting, Good Looking CEOs, Good Looking Leaders, Good Looks Matter, HR, Human Capital, Human Resources, Julie Smolyansky, Playboy's Sexiest CEO, Tips for Finding a Job

Toyota, Herd Mentality, and HR

February 3, 2010 Charlie Judy 9 comments

Let me start by saying that my sincere sympathies go out to anyone who has been harmed in any way by the Toyota accelerator/floor mat issues.  It sucks you’ve been hurt and I hope appropriate reconciliation will come your way…if even possible.  Having said that…

Would all you other crazy-hypersensitive-sky is falling-little ninny nanny-overly judgmental-freakazoids please just cool it?  This is a perfect example of how the general public is prone to media hysteria, hypnosis, and herd mentality.  Here’s a company that did the auto industry a favor: it injected a competitive life into the increasingly arrogant and complacent Big 3 and in the process brought 10’s of thousands of jobs to the US (their Direct Investment in the US has grown to $17 Billion and they spend $29 Billion annually with US companies).  Think of all the cars this company has put on the roads in the US over the last 53 years (27 million Toyotas on the road in the US right now) and then…this.  The media gets a hold of it, the American public cries “foul,” and the next thing you know the company is projected to lose somewhere in the neighborhood of $2B by the time this is all said and done.  And for what?  Toyota owners have a better chance of killing themselves by slipping in the shower (2,300:1) than they do having even an issue (not a fatal one) with their faulty accelerators or floor mats (13,500:1).  Check it out.

One of the hardest things you’ll ever do as an HR professional is take a stand on an employee’s performance, suggest they “aren’t done yet,” and insist that you (all) have an obligation to at least try and salvage their career with the organization.  This is easy enough to do when you have some employment law risk to fall back on.  But try it when the mob is forming, when quick-judgment has already been passed, and some loud mouth is crying “foul.”  If HR professionals went along with the herd every time performance came into question, our “Grim Reaper” moniker would be well deserved.  We go out of our way to understand the dynamics at play, we gather facts, we interpret the data, and we always perform a risk analysis.  History (track record) is considered.  Multiple view points and diverse perspectives are sought.  And ultimately a recommendation is made.  But we always start with the benefit of the doubt…don’t we?  Don’t we begin with the premise that people make mistakes, that no one is perfect, that flawless performance is fleeting, and that every one should be given another (and another) chance?  And more than anything, we hate the “either/or” solution and always look for the “and/both” solution…

Why do Americans suck at this?  There are solutions to this problem, their are a number of models not subject to the issues, the company will pay for the fix, and it’s not like they are going to put new cars on the market that have the same issue.  To any one who is thinking some semblance of “I really like Toyota but now there’s no way I’m buying one,” you’re a doo doo head.  I just hope you’re not an HR professional too.

Categories: Performance Management Tags: Herd Mentality, HR, Human Capital, Human Resources, Performance Improvement Plan, Toyota Recall

The FLSA OT Exemption No Longer Computes!

February 2, 2010 Charlie Judy 4 comments

When the DOL enacted the FLSA back in 1938 there were a couple of things that could not have been taken into account.  The whole basis for the overtime exemption was that certain employees were educated, trained, and responsible at a level that afforded a certain flexibility in how they get their job done.  Generally the argument was that sometimes those professionals would work 40 hours a week, sometimes they would work 45, and sometimes they would work 35.  Whatever it was, though, the expectation was that their annual salary should take into account the level of effort – and the time on task – required by the role. 

Well the times have changed and this exemption as originally designed is losing its applicability…entirely.  As an example (one that you all can identify with) I have a Blackberry on my person at all hours – in fact, it’s on my bedside table when I go to sleep.  It’s the first thing I look at when I wake up, the last thing I look at before I go to bed.  Yes, that’s sad…and mostly it’s my fault.  BUT…there is some Employer culpability here.  Employers have grown to assume – almost by accident – that the average managerial or executive level employee will be available and on-call 24/7.  This applies, by the way, even when one is on vacation.  I don’t think I’ve truly disconnected from the office on a vacation – like leave the computer and smart device at home – since our honeymoon back in 2001.  Seriously. 

My annual base salary is fair and market competitive, but if I were to calculate an hourly rate based on hours worked I can guarantee you it doesn’t come close to what it is designed to be.  See if you can follow me here…  Let’s assume: a) over the last five years smart devices have become widely adopted and used as a business tool, b) said smart device usage has resulted in, on average, an additional 1.25 hours of work every week every year over those last five years (a conservative estimate I’d say), c) annual base salaries have increased, on average, by 3% every year over the last five years.  If you can buy into these assumptions, then you better sit down.  You’re really only making .26% (yes, less than 1%) more than you were 5 years ago! 


So, Mr. DOL, I hereby propose that you amend the current exemption to read, “Should you require an exempt employee to carry a smart device so that he or she can access job related eMails and/or phone calls outside of the office, employer must also pay said exempt employee an “on-call” rate above and beyond their annual base salary.  The on-call rate should approximate 1/4 of their regular base hourly rate and should be paid for all waking hours outside of the workplace.  If employee is also required to remain on-call during scheduled and approved vacation, employer shall increase the on-call rate to 1/2 of their regular base hourly rate.”  So if you’re on board with this approach, contact your respective congressmen and let them know.  I say it’s time the market be forced to adjust to what has very nearly become free labor.

Categories: Policies & Procedures, Theory Tags: American Workweek, DOL, FLSA, Hourly Wages, HR, Human Capital, Human Resources, Overtime Exemption, Smartphones, Sweatshops

Why Bother?

January 27, 2010 Charlie Judy 5 comments

How often do you take time to question the reasonableness, or idiocy, of what’s being asked of you and your team?  When’s the last time you made a substantially complete inventory of all the things your team does and ask, “why?” 

  • Why on earth do we do this? 
  • Why are you asking me for this?
  • Why is this a priority?
  • Why does this matter to our people?
  • Why isn’t there someone else who can do this?
  • Why does this have to be done so often?
  • Why oh Why oh Why?

Unless you have access to unlimited resources, part of providing exceptional customer service is making sure your team is focused on the right things.  Asking ‘why’ doesn’t mean you’re being obstinate, or insubordinate, or even difficult.  If done effectively, it means you’re charting your course, allocating your precious time, and ultimately bringing more value to your constituents.  Here’s a hint: If the answer to any of those questions is “because we’ve always done it that way,” you have a strong candidate for the trash can.  I once sat down with my HR ops team and asked them to go through a list of all the reports they give our Finance/Accounting department.  Many of these reports weren’t easy to generate, consumed a great deal of time, and were an all-around disruption to other important activities.  After asking “why” a lot, we determined that a number of those reports weren’t even being looked at by the Accounting/Finance department, others could be consolidated into fewer reports, and several could easily be generated by the Finance/Accounting department themselves.  What a waste!  Now do this with all aspects of your HR practice and see what happens…it’s like cleaning out the closet or trunk of your car.  You’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.

We’re there to serve, but we have at least some say in who/what/how/when/why we serve.  You deserve to know, to question, to understand.  Stop being a “yes man,” never be a “no man,” and become a “why? man.”

Photo Credit: Thousanty One

Categories: #TrenchHR, Communication, Workflow Tags: Ask Why, Client Service, Customer Eperience