HR Fishbowl Logic: Pithy Wisdom for the HR Professional | HR Fishbowl

#1) If an employee has to read more than 1 paragraph to get the message, the message is too long. #2) Yes, HR’s job involves some administrative minutia…get over it. #3) Technology is great, but don’t hide behind it.

#4) You’ll get more from a good conversation with an employee than you ever will from any employee survey. #5) Retention is an outcome, not a program. #6) Most other organizational functions take risks, HR needs to do so from time to time too. #7) It shouldn’t be HR’s job to tell the organization what it can and can’t do; but  it should be to make sure everyone understands the consequences of doing it or not doing it. #8) Maslow’s hierarchy applies in the workplace; HR should spend more time responding to the needs at the bottom of the pyramid. #9) Don’t even think about “getting a seat at the table” if you can’t look at the administrative side of your HR practice and say “I got that house in order.” #10) “Blaming HR is the universal way to change the subject when you are a poor leader.”    Laurie Ruettimann (PunkRockHR) #11) Your HR practice is nothing more than a commodity unless you focus on creating an experience for your people. #12) If your employees or managers have to fill out more than one page to get or give an evaluation, it’s too much. #13) Giving heartfelt thanks to your people on a regular basis will build more employee engagement than any fancy (and expensive) reward and recognition program. #14) If we’re going to keep referring to our employees as “Assets” or “Human Capital”, we better find a way to get Finance to report them on the Balance Sheet. #15) Every HR professional should have a Personal Board of Directors – x-functional, x-industry, x-level – meet quarterly, and have them hold you accountable…because it’s likely no one else will. #16) HR needs more of less. #17) When in doubt, fire them. #18) Your talent acquisition team should be more focused on hiring the people your company is going to need 1-3 years from now than it is on the people you need tomorrow. #19) Finance/Accounting shares monthly financial statements with a company’s stakeholders; HR should have an equivalent…call it a dashboard, a scorecard, whatever. #20) Most employees will never directly appreciate you for what you do in HR; if you can get over that, you’ll go much farther in your career. #21) Did you walk the halls today and shoot the shit with random employees for no reason whatsoever? #22) Don’t get stuck spending 80% of your time on the 20% who are just making a lot of noise. #23) Workplaces are not designed for trustworthiness…trust me on this. #24) The cemetaries of the world are filled with irreplacable employees…and HR professionals…and CEOs…and executives. #25) The Human Race is hands-down the most adaptable species on this planet; employees are no different.  Stop worrying about what every one is going to think about it and change what needs changing. #26) Executive Compensation Programs should not make you blush. #27) Stop doing things just because that’s the way they’ve always been done…just stop it. #28) If you’re not prepared to readily quantify the value of what you’re doing in HR, then what you’re doing has no value. #29) Break Bread Together…Often. #30) If you’re not comfortable sharing your opinion without being asked, go find another profession…please. #31) Treat your employees like human beings and 90% of everything else will take care of itself. #32) Uncertainty surrounding an outcome is always harder on people than the outcome itself…whatever it is. #33) Let people be angry from time to time…it’s human and it’s ok. #34) Pissed Off?  Step away from the keyboard. #35) Less Email.  Pick up the phone or stop by an office. #36) One’s stint with an employer is like investing in a bottle of fine wine. Make sure you don’t open the wine (leave the employer) too soon or you may miss something and don’t open the wine (leave the employer) too late or things may turn sour.  Find your employer’s vintage and act accordingly. #37) Spend more time learning (and practicing) how to think critically – how to imaginatively frame questions and consider multiple perspectives. #38) Selfishness insn’t necessarily a bad trait for an HR person… #39) If you find yourself complaining about your job, just stop for a moment and think about how fortunate you really are to HAVE a job…seriously. #40) We need more #TrenchHR perspective in the blogosphere. #41) Maladjustment to the workplace order is something to be proud of. #42) HR Professionals should gravitate toward conflict, not go out of their way to avoid it. #43) “Why?” should be one of the most used words in your vocabulary. #44) “Forget outside competition when your own worst enemy is the way you communicate with one another internally.” Jack Welch #45) Do something nice for your people and make them leave their Blackberry with you when they go on vacation. #46) HR can not fall prey to herd mentality when it comes to performance management. #47) Sometimes HR needs HR too. #48) We need to find a way to standardize a piece of the performance review process so the related data can follow employees from employer to employer…just like EMRs. #49) You can’t include every one all the time.  But when in doubt, over-include. #50) Getting fired sucks…doesn’t matter when, where, or why…it just sucks. #51) Network Network Network…If you’re not out there, you’re nowhere. #52) If you think your boss has your best interests in mind, think again. #53) HR professionals take arrows in the back more often than any other professional in the workplace (See Also #10). #54) You want all your managers to be “coach-like,” but don’t expect all your managers to be coaches. #55) Find the right combination of x) economic currency (money), y) socio-emotional currency (people), and z) ideological currency (purpose) for each of your employees and you’ve uncovered the formula for lasting employee engagement. #56) If the speaker list at an HR conference you’re interested in attending is heavily weighted toward vendors, sponsors, and consultants, make sure you understand what you’re getting yourself into. #57) If you have to be smarter than a 5th grader to understand an HR product or service you’re delivering to your people, then you should probably blow it up and start over. #58) If the grass were in fact always greener, there wouldn’t be any fences. #59) Conformity may amount to relinquishment of self, but realize it may also amount to a career survival tactic. #60) HR helps write the script for the workplace; use that role to give your people the occasional cliffhanger – keeping them glued to what’s coming up next. #61) Take time to understand and show an interest in your opponent’s perspective not so you can challenge him/her, but so you can challenge yourself. #62) Sometimes it is more important to help our people get good at receiving feedback than it is to help our managers get good at giving it. #63) If your ATS/RMS gives your candidates pause, then your ATS/RMS sucks. #64) “Hubris, both personal and organizational, is hard to hide and candidates always see it. No matter how hard you try to stifle/contain it.” ~ John Nykolaiszyn (aka @CigarSPHR) #65) “If you don’t know your organization’s people – like really know them – then your organization doesn’t need you.” ~ Steve Browne (aka @sbrownehr). #66) Guess what, your employees aren’t reading your Employee Handbook.  Part of the problem?  It’s too damn big! Trim it down…seriously! #67) Attending the SHRM Annual Conference and Exposition is a requirement for those serious about a career in HR. #68) When it comes to communications – to, with, and from your team – live by one simple principle: No Surprises! #69) Time kills all deals in the game of talent acquisition. #70) Read Read Read #71) Know as much, if not more, about what the world’s economic pundits are saying to “look out for.” #72) We Know Next! #73) If you’re an HR leader, you should have an HRCI certification. Don’t tell me it’s a waste of time or it wont help your career. Who cares? The profession does. #74) Stop spending so much time trying to fix your employees’ weaknesses and start figuring out how to simply work around them by leveraging their strengths. #75) Managers generally suck at team building and motivation and employees generally find that stuff more important than pretty much anything else. HR plays a really important role in bridging that gap. #76) “Make your weaknesses irrelevant.” ~ Marcus Buckingham #77) “Getting a seat at the table” is passé. If you haven’t already been there for a while now, you’re screwed. #78) Your CFO most likely never really wants to be your friend. Get over it and move on. #79) Want a bestselling leadership book for your team? Try To Kill a Mockingbird. #80) Inaction is neither success nor failure; rather, it is ‘nothingness’. Nothingness ain’t good for you or for our profession. Have no fear of failure…just act! #81) Pick up a pen and write a nice note to one of your employees…on paper. #82) Encourage your employees to take personal time off in bigger chunks than just one week. Otherwise, it’s wasted time. #83) The one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t really fly in the talent management world. Take time to tailor your programs to your distinct and unique constituents. #84) Stop talking so much. Listen. Listen. Then listen some more. #85) Be careful of the unintended consequences of your hiring policies. #86) The most important member of your HR Team might just be an Administrative Assistant. #87) There is no real place for false advertising during new hire orientation. Share the good, the bad, and the ugly. #88) “Duty of Care” is taken to another level when applied to international travel. Can you account for and attest to your employees’ safety at any given time – day or night? #89) Why waste your time trying to train your people to deal with difficult employees? Just get rid of those employees. #90) Labor day is about us and the people we take care of. What do you do to acknowledge, recognize, appreciate, and honor labor during this holiday? #91) HR doesn’t get to decide how much entitlement an organization will endure…especially when in comes to big shots. Law, policy, and safety aside, entitlement can be earned in the workplace. #92) It doesn’t matter how good your company is at engaging employees. If an employee was wrong for the job, the organization, or the environment to begin with, they are as good as gone. #93) HR can be a huge time suck on your people. Be crisp and clean in all of your transactions and realize the person on the receiving end of your services has a finite number of seconds in their lifetime. Take only what you need. #94) Want to change HR? Get rid of the dead wood on your team and upgrade – stop hiring mediocre HR talent! #95) When it comes to HR communications, use an effective and respected mouthpiece. Guess what, you are most likely not that mouthpiece. #96) We preserve our role as the organization’s agent by not (fully) engaging in its games. We fail to see ourselves as an active (and vital) participant so we end up playing with no one. And who the hell wants someone like that on their playground? #97) Successful and influential business leaders squander opportunities to positively impact our community time and again and in doing so perpetuate so much that’s wrong with it. #98) When it comes to conferences, 800 collective thought leaders is much better than 1. #99) Want to create a high performing organization? Get your people to spend most of their time on things that they 1) are really good at and 2) love to do. #100) It’s hard making things easy… #101) Employee Surveys Suck; if you have to ask your employees to tell you how engaged they are, you already have your answer… #102) “No one cares about your development as much as you. Don’t wait for your manager to bring it up. Be proactive.” ~ Dwane Lay #103) Have a position, turn it into a story, and then tell it to whomever will listen. #104) Sometimes the best networking you can do is with people completely outside of your profession/industry. ~ Mary Ellen Slayter #105) If you can’t explain it to me in a couple of sentences it is obviously something you don’t know how to do. ~ Shivan S. Subramaniam #106) Throw them a project get out of the way and let them direct. #107) Open your eyes, HR is NOT a noble profession. It’s an important one, but not noble. #108) Want to help the HR profession? Make sure the people entering it (primarily graduates) are coming to our profession with the right stuff. #109) When it comes to the carrot and stick approach to motivating and rewarding your people, make sure you have enough stick. #110) Spend more time in the lab working on the cure for workplace dysfunction than you do administering the morphine that merely masks the pain. #111) Meetings are wasteful enough already. Take what you would have spent on donuts, muffins, and bagels and donate it to your local soup kitchen. #112) There is nothing “semi” about a vacation. Learn to unplug and not feel guilty about it. #113) “If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you…Not Much!” ~Jim Rohn #114) Design and build your own Respect Radar; it will help you figure out whether or not you’re going to get along with someone. #115) We don’t need more rules to keep employers in check. We just need employers to value, trust, and rely upon HR. #116) There is nothing more inane than an Executive Office Suite. Board it up and mix with the masses. #117) Recruiting military veterans is one thing. Retaining them is another entirely. #118) Management is HR’s best Neighborhood Watch Committee. It’s HR’s duty, though, to teach them what to look for and what to do with it. #119) Does your organization have a Civility Code? It probably needs one. #120) HR should make sure the company observes, honors, and participates in Martin Luther King Jr. Day. #120) You are NOT an employee advocate. If you are an advocate for anyone or anything, it’s your employer. #121) Blah Blah Blah. #122) The Red Pensil Mentality suggests most people (and employees) will focus on the one thing that’s wrong versus the twenty things that are right. That mentality is alive and well in HR…and probably more than anywhere else. It’s not that you make the mistake, it’s what you do with it. #123) Head nodding is for suckers. Shake it every now and then. #124) Job security is no longer about ‘busy’. It’s about ‘relevant’. #125) Pretty much everything you do today can and will be done by a computer in ten years or less. Figure out a way to make yourself indispensable. #126) If you don’t like the food, get into the kitchen. Otherwise, you have absolutely no right to complain about it. #127) Pretty much every business strategy or process can be managed through a foursquare model. #128) If you are an Executive Administrative Assistant, stop being such a rhymes-with-bitch. #129) Customize the employment experience to the individual, not the organization. #130) A diversity strategy based on numbers or statistics is a slippery slope. #131) I honestly don’t care if you’re God’s gift to whatever product you sell or service you deliver. I’ll take inferior skill or intellect over your deadbeat behavior any day of the week. #132) We  have more HR professionals than ever (in total and as a percentage of the country’s workforce). Why the hell do EEOC employment discrimination claims continue to increase (also in total and as a percentage of the country’s workforce)? Disconnect? Hmmm. #133) When someone transitions to manager for the first time, chances are they’re going to need some serious help on the one thing they’ve never really done: lead. Be deliberate about that. #134) Stop trying to choose the job you love. Love the job you choose.

#135) Wanna add value? Execute. Wanna execute? Become the best project manager you can. #136) Let it go. Most of the stuff you think you can control you don’t. Give it up. Forgive. Forget. Move on. #137) It’s hard to design comprehensive HR solutions without also thinking about the marketing, finance, operations, and IT ramifications.

#138) Collaboration and consensus are not necessarily the same things. #139) Often the best answer is the easiest one. #139) Finding the best answer is only half the battle. The harder half is sometimes convincing others it is the best answer.

#140) It’s a ‘slippery slope’ to try and solve for problems that aren’t really there. Stay focused and on-p0int. #141) We have a lot to learn from one-another. #142) Be careful about putting too much credence in “HR Trend Reports”

#143) Empower your leaders to make the decisions they are being paid to make, and give them permission to do so without involving everyone and their mothers. #144) What are you doing to visibly, and vigorously, and passionately support and promote your profession? #145) Give your employees the permission to bend and even break the rules if it means preserving the broader (and more important) company mission and vision.

#146) Next time a vendor tells you this is a “best practice,” put your best smirk on and ask “says who?” #147) Next time some stupid magazine gives you a list of “best places to work,” go get a grain of salt. #148) Next time a recruiter tells you “this is the best candidate,” make sure it’s by your standards and not theirs.

#149) Trust yourself. #150) Looking for talent? How wide do you cast your net? #151) Are you appropriately frustrated?

#152) If you’re only pulling candidates from the same (large) field everyone else is pulling from, how the hell are you really differentiating your company? #153) Time and Place matter when it comes to Training. #154) Employees don’t want to trust us, they can’t think we care – doing so would make them too vulnerable.

#155) I think, therefore I am diverse. #156) The Business of America is no Longer Business. #157) Clueless Loves Company.

#158) Recruiting 2.0+ has made it very easy for your employees to look for a better job on your dime. #159) If you’re an HR professional, you belong to the HR community. Appreciate it. Support it. Or get out. #160) Your workforce is increasingly mobile – is your HR technology increasing mobile?

#161) Set your expectations low and they’ll be exceeded every time. #162) Wanna stay plugged into the HR community? Subscribe to the leading HR blogs. #163) American compensation ‘experts’ have utterly failed at managing executive comp for corporate America.

#164) HR is the place where (a lot of) smart goes to die. #165) Full-time employees aren’t the only talented resource out there; but I bet your organizational structure says they are. #166) Have a secret ambition to be unpopular.

#167) When you start your job, you aren’t starting from zero. You’re starting from negative one. After one year, you’re at zero. Trust me on this. #168) If every employer in the U.S. hired one more employee than they have now, we’d fix this economic crisis. #169) Maybe it’s time we spend less time worrying about our employees who aren’t thrilled with their jobs and spend a lot more time hiring employees who would be thrilled to have one!

#170) So stop commissioning work, get out of the way, and let your employees drive. #171) “Beware a man of one book” (at work) #172) Old School CEOs need a good shushing every now and then.

#173) You will never revolt against the workplace because either 1) you are a glutton for punishment, b) you are a pansy, 3) you are in fact shackled to your desk, 4) none of the injustices you relentlessly bark about really and truly bother you all that much. #174) Watch for the telltale signs that your workplace/employer has begun its descent. #175) “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a [workplace] that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” Let’s change that!

#176) Why all the books on becoming a better manager/employer? How about a few on becoming a better employee? #177) Take the time to thank those who have had an impact on your career along the way. #178) Be really careful of “Organizational Trump”: the organization’s sense of self takes precedent to the employee’s individual sense of self.

#179) If you wear a Kimono to an interview, open it. #180) If you’re not portraying what it’s really like to work in your organization to the public, your credibility is null. #181) When it comes to sourcing, maybe the question should be “how few candidates do we want to put into the funnel” rather than “how many candidates do we  have to put into the funnel.”

#182) Don’t let the rest of the organization determine your brand, HR. You’re responsible for building that brand on your own…do so deliberately. #183) Authenticity in influence is about genuinely caring for and being passionate about what it is you’re trying to influence. #184) Don’t tell someone how “passionate” you are. People want to hear you talk about what you do in a passionate way; but they don’t want you to proclaim yourself “passionate.”

#185) How much time, energy, and money do you spend analyzing the purchase of a $250,000 piece of equipment? Now how much time, energy, and money do you spend analyzing candidates for a $250,000 position? Do you expend comparable resources for each? You should. #186) Outsourcing is about letting go; it’s about exhaling again. Give up that HR back office. Now! #187) Implement change and drive HR transformation at work not because you’re a good planner, but because you’re not.

#188) If you ask yourself only one question (as an employee or employer) every year, it should be “What am I going to do to make work suck less this year.” #189) Yes, we’re “HR”. But we are first and foremost employees. That should always be our first frame of reference. #190) Another easy way to make an impact as a leader: remember people’s names.

#191) Are you a hoarder of institutional knowledge? Give it up. #192) Does an HR professional have to be in the building to “get a seat at the table? #193) ‘Anonymous Feedback’ is Performance Management’s Biggest Oxymoron.

#193) When a machine is broken, it loses its purpose. When a man loses his purpose, he is broken. #194) The Executive Suite will always have a different idea about how HR should be managed. And that’s why they aren’t in HR. #195) Need a Purple Squirrel? Get a Sourcer.

#196) Want change to stick? Make it personal. #197) Stop pretending our job is to make every human being live up to their greatest potential. That’s an interesting aspiration, but it’s not our job, dammit. #198) You are an entity; is that entity you?

#199) Sing your praises in public. #200) Sometimes you just have to pick one and go for it. #201)  When HR and the business leaders are too closely partnered HR might just lose its edge.

#202) Do you think you have any control over what your past, current, or future employees do or say about your company? Think again. #203) The beauty of blogging is that everyone has a voice. Just make sure it’s your own voice. #204) If we could all just get more comfortable with the notion of “diversity of thought,” maybe we wouldn’t go from zero to ‘hate’ as quickly as do.

#205) Take some risk to manage risk. #206) Social Recruiting is not about companies finding candidates; it’s about candidates finding companies. #207) Most companies are fat with employees – they just have too many of them. Lose the (unnecessary) weight.

#208) You are only as beholden to your employer as they are to you. You should always be looking for a job. Always. #209) Diversity Programs and Affinity Groups are important to heightening awareness to non-business based bias. But their aim should never eclipse results and performance. #210) When it comes to Recognition, nothing is bigger than the little things.

#211) Stop agonizing over saying ‘sorry.’ Just say it. #212) Your Employee Orientation should specifically contemplate the employees you’re orienting. #213) If nothing else, do it because I’m the boss and you are not.

#214) Our future does not depend on our ability to come up with the next big thing. It depends on our ability to make the next little thing better.

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