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Posts Tagged ‘HR Manager’

Anything You Can Do They Can Do Better

October 28, 2009 Charlie Judy Leave a comment

ethel mermanThe New York Times had an interesting article last week related to the profusion of talent in the market right now – “Tables Turned, Former Hires Can’t Get Hired“  We all understand that there are lots of people on the street right now looking for jobs; what’s different, though, is that a lot of those people are really really good.  It’s easy to think that the lowest performers get let go first, but that’s definitely not true in an environment where the factors driving workforce reductions are dynamic, widespread, and to a large extent uncontrollable.  The other big difference: no one is picking this talent up as quickly as they used to ’cause there’s nowhere to put them.  Or is there (Vincent Price cackle in the background)?  And that’s where my deviousness comes in…

Take a look at your under performers…or your marginal performers…or even your sub-optimal performers and see if now’s the time to upgrade.  Yes, that means involuntarily separating people from the organization simply for the fact there are better people out there to take their place.  This would be the epitome of the “up or out” approach to talent management – Jack Welch would love this.  One of the guys referenced in the article was a former SVP at PNC Bank responsible for providing Human Resources to 3,500 employees.  The guy can’t find a job.  Tell me he wouldn’t be the perfect candidate for that organization where the HR Director just can’t seem to get up the curve, can’t get to the table, can’t play a more vital role in directing the success of the business.  Get rid of that guy already.  And a lot of these guys are willing to take a pay cut just to get back on the playing field.  Why would you drive the Chevy Malibu when you could have the Saab 93 Turbo for close to the same price (I know, I’m the king of mixed metaphors)?  Here’s what the naysayers will throw at me:

  1. You’ll say, “Yeah, but they’ll leave when they find something better.”  And I say, “Maybe…if there’s something better…ever.”
  2. You’ll say, “There’s some employment law risk here.”  And I say, “Maybe, but the decision is based on legitimate business criteria  – we found someone who could do the job better.”
  3. You’ll ask, “But how do you know whether that person is really better?”  And I’ll answer, “my screening process is thorough, my performance management system is reasonable, and I’m a bettin’ man.”
  4. You’ll say, “but that just isn’t nice.”  And I’ll say, “Maybe not, but you know where nice guys finish.” 

Tough times call for tough measures and I say it’s all fair play.  Get that former SVP of HR, who the board squeezed out, to be the new HR Director for your fledgling organization.  Find that HR Manager, who was on the fast track only to be tossed aside during a downsizing, and put them into an HR Generalist role.   Get rid of the laggards, who are doing your HR Team a disservice, and give yourself a makeover.  Your (new) HR Team will thank you, the leadership team will respect you, and your employees will love you.

Categories: Performance Management Tags: Annie Get Your Gun, Chevy, Ethel Merman, HR Director, HR Generalist, HR Manager, HR Team, Human Resources, Jack Welch, New York Times, Performance, PNC Bank, Recession, Reputation, Saab, Talent Acquisition, Turnover, Vincent Price

HR: the Place where Smart goes to Die

October 26, 2009 Charlie Judy 1 comment

dunceI came across a Tweet from one @hulach today and it incited a riot in my head.  He says 2 years ago I met a HR manager…really smart.  After 2 years, smart turned stupid!”  Aside from being quite pithy – and I’m a fan of pithy – I started to wonder whether there is something to this notion that being part of an HR department can quite literally suck the smarts out of you.  I’m not sure if that’s what @hulach was suggesting, but let’s pretend for a second that he’s on to something. 

  1. How many Ivy League School grads do you know who have sought a career in HR?  I know a couple – and they are quite successful.  It’s certainly not the norm, though.  I’ve asked before and will do so again: Name the top 5 business schools in the U.S.  Now, name the top 5 HR graduate level programs in the U.S.  Which was easier?  Exactly. 
  2. I know a lot of people who got into HR with absolutely no formal HR training or education (myself included…scary, I know); is HR the Ellis Island of career immigrants – give us your tired, your poor? Will we take anyone? Is what we do so easily learned that anyone can do it?
  3. I know a number of people who got into HR because they wanted a change in lifestyle – meaning they left something that was really hard and demanding to go into something that was…well, easier. 
  4. Is the HR department a place where one’s intellect is stimulated or are we so busy running around putting out fires, managing risk, and keeping our people paid and benefited…generally checking the boxes?  Does merely checking the boxes lead to boredom, and then apathy, and finally brain atrophy?
  5. Why is it that 9.9 times out of 10, I have to further explain what an SPHR is to non-HR people.  Do people have to do that when they introduce themselves as a CPA?  Are the professional credentials we hold in HR really an indication of academic, intellectual, or career achievement?  And by the way, did you know SPHR comes up in “spellcheck” but CPA doesn’t…
  6. I know a number of people who got into HR from other careers (see ‘3′), but I don’t know a lot of people who got into other careers from HR.  This is maybe the most telling of all.  Once you become an HR person, is that all you can be?  Seriously, are you stuck there?  What exactly is HR the Triple-A club for? 

I’d love to get some responses to this post – hopefully some of your comments will include some tangible indication that I’m way off base and far too unkind to the profession.  But if I can ask these questions as a 17+ year guy on the inside, what’s being asked by those who are outside looking in?

Categories: Career, HR Profession Tags: Business Schools, Career, CPA, Ellis Island, HR, HR Manager, Ivy League, Reputation, Spellcheck, SPHR, Triple-A, Twitter