Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Mental Minefields

Human Resources Business and Legal Reports (HR.BLR) asks "will mental minefields blow up your corporate wellness program?": click here

HR.BLR. also has an article about HR assistants who will see a 5.3% increase in their salaries in 2008: click here

Lastly, a blog's take on workplace bullies and bullying, which seems to be an unusually common theme lately in our blog: click here

Happy Halloween everybody!!!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Back to the articles

On this Two for Tuesday we are back to the articles...

First from the Kansas City FOX affiliate, a phony e-mail scam that is affecting Human Resources: click here

And from the blog, the break room, a quiz for leaders about what HR means to you and your organization: click here

Monday, October 29, 2007

Opening up the floor

I decided to open up the floor to people's thoughts on everything HR and is our first entry of the kind (feel free to e-mail if you would like to submit something for review):

"As I closed up shop this past Friday, I decided to take a look at my calendar and count the number of weeks that I have been officially employed at my new job. Amazingly, I have already been hard at work for ten weeks, which means I have something to look forward to very shortly: my three month review. As I have been reminded several times by my team leader in both a serious and a joking manner, my continued employment, like everyone else in the company, depends on my performance during my first three months. The three month review will serve as an assessment of how well both my style of work and my job skills have fit in with the company’s operations.

While I cannot deny that I remain in suspense until ‘my day of judgment,’ I am doing all that I can to prepare for my evaluation. I expect to receive an equal amount of both compliments and criticisms. I believe that the key to making the most out of my review is to not take personal offense to the inevitable criticisms that I will receive, nor to vehemently defend myself against each and every one of them, but to accept each one as it is and to improve upon each of them to the best of my abilities. I say this having tried the former strategy and having come to the realization that such a strategy only prevents oneself from improving his or her performance.

I also expect that I will be asked to reflect upon my own performance personally, discuss any personal issues that I have encountered up until this point, and most importantly, elaborate on my future career plans and where I would like to go within my field of work. The final question seems daunting and it is, especially for those of us like me who are only a couple of years removed from the safety blanket provided by college. My strategy will be not to elaborate too much on what my future plans are, especially because I am not completely sure what they are. Rather, I intend to verbalize the fact that my focus remains on doing the best job that I can at my current position and that I hope to gain more exposure to my field of work through continued hard work at my position.

I remain optimistic that my review will be a positive experience for me for both the short term and the long term. The advice I gain from this assessment will hopefully allow me to improve upon the work that I am doing in my current position and allow me to improve upon the skills that will allow me to advance to the next level in my field."

-Ben Wolinsky, Customer Support Analyst, Information Technology Department, Mount Sinai Hospital, New York, NY

Friday, October 26, 2007

Pay for the World Series

Every company sets their goals at the beginning of the year. Some want to see an improvement from the year before, some want to reach breakeven, some want to move past break even, some want to be among the best...and others have one goal in mind, being the best.

The same is true in baseball (where breakeven is a .500 record, past that is a winning season, and being among the best means making the playoffs). And in New York, for the New York Yankees, there is only one goal, especially under the rule of the Boss, George Steinbrenner: Win the World Series.

So why, then, do people criticize Joe Torre's latest contract offer which would have had a much lesser base salary but bonuses that would kick in depending of the performance of the team in the playoffs? Furthermore, why did people have a problem of his salary at all consider he was still going to be the highest paid among his peers? And, lastly why would people have a problem with the contract only being for one year, but renewable upon Torre's team meeting the goals of his Boss?

There are different views on this. Ryan Johnson from World At Work writes that the media coverage of this and the reaction of Torre has dealt a blow to pay-for-performance. Charles Green's (co-author of "The Trusted Advisor" with David Maister), writes that the pay-for-performance model doesn't work and actually is the reason Joe Torre, a dedicated, team-oriented player left.

I happen to fall on the side of Green (which side do you fall on?). Torre's problem wasn't a need for extra incentive to win nor was it, as we discussed yesterday, that his team wasn't successful (and the argument can be made that he was very successful and just fell victim the past couple of years to the crapshoot that is the playoffs). Pay-for-performance is a great model if you need to create incentive for a person, but when they already have their beliefs in the right place, it can just serve as the "perfect" underhanded insult in contract negotiations and is why, in Torre's press conference afterwards, that he claims he left.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Joe Torre Story

So I figured that I would have an actual replacement manager to talk about today, but alas...

Forget, for the moment that Joe Torre was a baseball manager for the New York Yankees. Think about him as a Human Resources Manager. Now when he's hired for this role, no one thinks he can do the job. He doesn't have a good track record, he has a Boss who most people fear, and he has expectations to do well since the manager before him did so.

Joe Torre was not a manager who yelled at those under him or singled them out if they were doing bad. He rarely got fired up enough to get himself in trouble. He just sat there and was stoic: the same expression was on his face through the good times and the bad times. He excelled at shielding his employees from the overbearing media and the tyrannical Boss. He got to know his employees well and treated them with respect.

Oh, and he was good at his job. He spent 12 years as manager and all 12 years his group of employees finished in the top 8, 7 years in the top 4, 6 years in the top 2 and 4 years as the best. The means one third of the years he was in charge, his employees were the best of the best and half of those years they were first or second.

Joe Torre was fired after all this. If he were an HR Manager, would he be treated differently? Tomorrow we'll go further into this...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


On the evening of the first game of the World Series, it seems appropriate to talk about Moneyball. For the longest time I didn't agree with the premise of the book, but after reading it again this summer, I feel like the book has some interesting points.

One is that the way small markets beat larger markets is by beating them in the information and development stages. This is definitely true in HR. Being able to analyze potential employees and getting them early in their developmental stages so you can mold them into the future employees you desire (in the case of the Oakland Athletics, OBP machines).

Another is that the statistical matrices of the past always need to be reevaluated and constantly changed to better adapt to the workplace environment of today. This could not be more true in Human Resources where today's constantly changing business world requires different workers with different skill sets and a different set of evaluation statistics.

The mental makeup of someone on a team is a huge factor in determining how well they will gel within your organization. Billy Beane passed over certain college players who may have had a higher talent ceiling but who could not be vouched for. Again, HR professionals need to understand that no matter what the potential an interviewee or recruit may have, they still have to be able to work and function within your company's guidelines...can this person do this?

Lastly, once everything is in place, when you get to the big time, it's all a crapshoot. This was true in Moneyball when they talked about the playoffs...and even making the playoffs have become that way. The Yankees have made the playoffs in 12 straight years---the next largest streak is 1. Since Y2K, seven different teams have won the World Series, and only two (the Yankees and the Cardinals) had been to more than one World Series before the Red Sox joined that group this year.

In the same way, Human Resources becomes that way too. You can put the best looking people in positions and train them the best you can...and in the end it may not produce results. But doing your homework and constantly adapting the guidelines for which you judge potential candidates will certainly increase your chances of winning that proverbial World Series.

In our next post we'll talk a little about Joe Torre....stay tuned....

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Scary Stuff

Some more information today on this Astronology Tuesday to let you know about the workforce situation in the US:

Monday, October 22, 2007

Digging into the Vault

We're digging into the Vault, to find you some great articles to catch you up before Astronology Tuesday...

First, from Vault blog entries Generation Y not helping and reference letters left unread among other things: click here

This article, also from Vault says to take ownership of your own job search: click here

From MSNBC, an article that Generation X'ers are going to hate...Generation Y is getting perks galore in the working world as the Boomers retire: click here

One place where this is not true is in the United Auto Workers Union according to the Christian Science Monitor: click here

Business Week has an article about the great tech worker divide and whether there is really a labor shortage: click here

The USA Today reports on this article about McCain's new healthcare plan being unveiled: click here

HR Business and Legal Reports (HR.BLR) says that HR's challenge is to take the lead: click here

Lastly, we have HRMarketer, another HR blog, which talks about where HR suppliers spent their marketing and PR dollars: click here

We have a new look on our site...we hope you like it...drop us a few comments and let us know what we're doing well and what we can do better...

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Career Couch

On our Tuesday, we start off with the New York Times Career Couch which discusses how wise newcomers find their way: click here

Also from the Times, an article about a little Mexican Cafe, built on persistence: click here

Monday, October 15, 2007

HR Director, Hockey Player

We start off with this article from the Boston Globe which talks about an HR Director who doubles as a hockey player...and she's a 58-year-old woman: click here

Workforce Management has an article (subscription required) which says that task force training helps to develop new leaders: click here

Lastly Digg provides us with this blog entry which gives you three inexpensive ways to care for your employees: click here

Recruiting and Retention

The Boston Globe's "Ask the HR Experts" takes on the questions surrounding recruiting and retention: click here

The Boston Globe as has an article which states that making connections is the key: click here

Lastly, the Washington Post has some advice about pleading the case for more pay: click here

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Total Recall

Deb's Career Corner on Vault starts us off with an article about recalling old jobs while interviewing for a new one: click here

From the Wall Street Journal's College Journal (via Vault) a look at faith-based networking: click here

Lastly, from USA Today, an interesting piece about how Social Security is hitting its first wave of baby boomers: click here

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Clueless Managers

Invesp Blog starts us off on our Wednesday with a list of 9 clueless manager stories (but with an Office Space quote to definitely assure their place on this blog): click here

From the BizCoach on KOMOTV in Seattle, Washington, 10 ways to avoid trouble with EEOC: click here

Lastly, the Career Couch of the New York Times talks about how wise newcomers find their ways, among other topics: click here

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Astronology Tuesday

It's another Astronology Tuesday but this one we're going big for...

First, from PersonnelToday, word from the UK that says that maternity pay is too low: click here

The Seattle Times says that if you need a hug, you may be able to find one in your office: click here

A blog entry from about how to keep your company and employee information confidential and protected: click here

A LinkedIn user asks is their a connection between Human Resource Management and business development in SMEs: click here

And, lastly, the Slacker Manager blog asks what's your management's dress code: click here

Sunday, October 07, 2007


This post is going to be heavy on expectations...

The first is a blog entry quoting an article by the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) about salary expectations: click here

The next is from Conde Nast and is about expectations that your leaders may have about you: click here

The last is from the Washington Post and has to deal with expectations about cultures working together: click here

Thursday, October 04, 2007


It's a big sports night in New York with the Yankees starting their ALDS matchup against the Cleveland Indians and the New York Rangers begin their regular we'll continue the New York theme with three articles from the New York Times:

First from the Times, a Career Couch look at walking the tightrope of workplace decor: click here

The Times also alerts us about the help for holiday help starting earlier than the holiday season: click here

Lastly, an interesting article about when mentors guide young filmmakers: click here

Let's Go Yankees! Let's Go Rangers!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Perfect Job

Vault starts us off on this Wednesday with advice on how to find the perfect job, including some information on what to do about the dreaded salary requirement question: click here

Vault also adds in an article about people in the government who telecommute to work: click here

Lastly, MSNBC says that workers are finding more and more jobs in the cleantech sector because of the boom in the industry: click here

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Lack of Managers

3 articles on Tuesday??? It must be a good day...

Construction abounds in the United States, according the New York Times, but managers for that construction are few: click here

The New York Times also goes to the Career Couch and answers a question about people who play games at work: click here

Lastly, and sticking in New York, Newsday reports that for some employees, the key is not salary or benefits, but flexibility: click here

Monday, October 01, 2007


The Washington Post starts us off on this first day of October with an interesting article with advice about surviving the salary negotiations: click here

Next, from In Business Las Vegas, a column that says that HR liaisons help small businesses compete: click here

Lastly, from the Philly Burbs, an article about orientation issues should be on company's agendas (if they aren't already): click here

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