Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Busy With The Important

If you are visiting either of my blogs, Predecessor Pro or my page on Blogspot, you've probably noticed that it's been a long while since I've posted. I've had every intention of coming back to you with new ideas, procedures, information, anecdotes, brainstorms, and stories. However, I've been too absorbed in other activities that are more important to me. It's about choosing priorities and what has to take priority: Working for the wonderful nonprofit Make-A-Wish, studying and practicing my crafts (Project Management, Prospect Research & Management, Human Resources), and spending time with family.

Realistically, I have a feeling it may be quite some time before I get around to posting here again. So if you're interested in what I'm currently up to, check me out over on LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com/in/trevorstasik) and send me an invitation to link. You can also check me out on Twitter (https://twitter.com/tstasik).

It's been a journey, but we're not quite through yet. Until next time, take care.

P.S.  Oh, hey, if you have a few bucks to spare, consider giving to a local nonprofit. I highly recommend Make-A-Wish (www.wish.org/donate), but there are many worthy causes out there. Find one with a mission you connect with, get involved, and consider donating.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Book Review: Console Wars

I remember visiting my cousins when I was little. I was fascinated by the colorful images bleeping and blooping across their television screen in crystal clear 16-bit glory. There was a blue, spiked ball that was whirling to and fro, ricocheting off of walls, and raining down pain on the backs of his enemies. When that blue ball finally stopped moving, an edgy new mascot stood their impatiently waiting for the player to get him moving again.

Book Review:  "Console Wars"

It was somewhere around 1992 and the character on my cousins' screen was Sonic The Hedgehog. I was somewhat familiar with the Hedgehog from the TV commercials and the cartoon, but seeing it come alive in person was a totally different animal. I had an old, classic Nintendo at home. I had a copy of the amazing Super Mario Brothers 3 that I loved; I think I had purchased it myself with newspaper route money. However, this Hedgehog was far more lively than any dumb plumber. It was built from the ground up, designed to be a hip alternative to Mario.  At that time, I knew of the battle between Nintendo and Sega. It seemed a lot like the Cola Wars between Coke and Pepsi. It was a taste test.  I knew those commercials were telling me what was cooler and more fun.  As a kid, I had no idea the level of machinations that were going on behind the curtain. 

However, Tom Kalinski was intimately aware of all of the strategies and tactics that were being employed in the war between Sega and Nintendo.  You see, Tom Kalinski was the CEO of Sega during this most influential period in the second great wave of gaming consoles.  The book, “Console Wars”, follows Tom in his quest to pull a second-rate video gaming company best known for Altered Beast and Alex Kidd, into a top tier gaming titan.

The book is written in a narrative form, telling the story as it unfolds.  The writer, Blake Harris, has a writing style that is deceptively casual, allowing you to become engrossed in the victories of the Sega team while still being able to take away lessons in business leadership, communications, technology, and workflow. It had tons of great ideas about marketing and teamwork.

The book is separated roughly into thirds.  The first part of the book follows the retirement of the Sega Master System, the rise of the Genesis console, and the challenges of getting the first Sonic the Hedgehog Game done.  The next part deals with the overwhelming success of the Genesis over the Super Nintendo, the creation and release of Sonic 2, and the maturation of Sega team.  The last third of the book deals with the internal conflicts that allowed Nintendo to triumph, and planting the seeds of the eventual collapse of Sega consoles.

The version of the book that I read was on Amazon Kindle, of which I was grateful.  I imagine that a fictional book would try to streamline the number of characters, but this is non-fiction.  The book takes pains to include all of the real people that actually worked in the industry. It was sometimes easy to lose track of who was who. Fortunately, the Kindle has search functionality that made it easy to go back and refresh my memory when needed.  I appreciated that level of detail, even if it meant I had to work a little harder at reading it.

I would highly recommend this book. There is a lot to the book “Console Wars”; plenty of content.  It was a fun read, and if you paid attention, you might learn a thing or two. 






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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Redwoods

Have you ever done Toastmasters before?  Toastmasters is an international speaking organization.  I recently joined an affiliated chapter and had to give a speech.  For my speech, I chose to speak about the Redwood trees.  Well, I thought that I would post the text of my speech here.  Hopefully you find it informative and enjoyable.

Redwoods 

Good morning!  The National Geographic biologist and explorer Sylvia Earle once said, “Look at the bark of a redwood, and you see moss.  If you peer beneath the bits and pieces of the moss, you’ll see toads, small insects, a whole host of life that prospers in that miniature environment.  A lumberman will look at a forest and see so many board feet of lumber.  I see a living city.”  It is the importance of these ancient cities I would like to speak of today.

Now - Stand up.  Come on, I want all of you to stand up.  Take a look around the room for a moment and imagine if every single one of you stood on the shoulders of one another.  How tall do you think you would be?  60 feet tall?  Maybe 75 feet?  Even if all of you stood on your tippy toes, you wouldn’t be tall enough to reach the height of the mighty redwood tree. 

Next, I’d like you to go ahead and put your arms up and stretch out.  You feel that burst of oxygen that is filling your lungs.  There’s a good chance that oxygen came from a tree, and a tree the size of a redwood can produce enough oxygen to support the breathing habits of 11 families of four each year. 

One last thing I would like you to do, turn to the person to your right.  Shake their hand.  Turn to the person to your left.  Shake their hand.  Do you feel a spiritual connection?  For centuries, people have felt a spiritual connection to these towering giants as they journeyed through forests. 

Okay, please feel free to take a seat as I tell you more about the last few centuries with the Redwoods.

What is the Redwood tree?

The Redwood is a hardwood tree that has been around for over 100 million years.  In that time, it has changed very little.  There are actually three different kinds of Redwoods.  The Coast Redwood is located along the western edge of California, and the Giant Sequoia is located in the central, eastern side of California.  There is also a shorter cousin, the Dawn Redwood, which is located in China.  The tallest of the Coast Redwoods hides in a difficult to access area of the Redwood National Park known as The Grove of Titans.

As mentioned earlier, these are very tall trees; actually the tallest in the world.  To demonstrate how tall these trees can get, the tallest tree in the world is called Hyperion, a Coast Redwood,which stands at 379 feet tall.  That is higher than the top of the Statue of Liberty and the U.S. Capitol Building.

These trees are among the longest lived organisms on the planet at over 2,000 years old.  Something interesting that was recently discovered was the source of this durability.  Scientists have found that the Redwoods have a unique genome structure that has 6 different sets of chromosomes, which have allowed to it adapt and overcome diseases that have destroyed other trees with fewer chromosome pairs.

Speaking of Scientists, did you know that scientists have found that the redwood is one of the fastest growing trees in the world.  Redwood clones are being grown in every continent except Antarctica. 

Who cares about the Redwood trees?

Scientists are one of the many groups that care for the Redwoods.  There are so many unique properties held within the genetic code of the Redwood, that scientists want to protect that biodiversity.  Ecologists care for the Redwood tree, understanding how it acts as a canopy protecting the animals and plants from excessive sunlight.  The branches, holes, nooks and crannies create homes to protect species during long winters.  Park Rangers and recreationists protect these trees to ensure that the peaceful relaxing environment lasts throughout the ages.  Even responsible lumber companies are getting into the act, cultivating populations of new Redwoods to replace those that were cut down in the past.

You can care for the Redwoods too.

Learn as much as you can.  Visit our national parks.  Rising up over every living organism on the planet is a species that can fill you with awe.  Let people know how being in the shadow of these giants makes you feel.  The Redwoods are trees of epic proportions, standing taller than national monuments and living longer than the Roman Empire.  Everyday people like you and me can tell the story.  These trees have the ability to teach us about ourselves. 


So, stand up.  Stand tall.  Stand strong.  Stand with the Redwoods.




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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Get Stuck

Just a quick FYI before you start reading this post.  I think I broke the cliché machine when writing this.  It’s 4:30 am in the morning and I was just writing down the thoughts as they came pouring out.  I hope nothing I said is too far off of the mark or offends anybody.  Please forgive me if I sound too much like a self-help fountain.

Get Stuck.

It’s okay to get stuck in life.  It means that at some point in your life, things happened to stop your momentum.  You ceased moving in the direction that you wanted to go.  Oftentimes, if we get stuck, it means that we were simply trying something that didn’t quite pan out.  This is a great time to follow that old phrase, “Fail fast, fail often”.  Once you know something isn’t working, once you know that you are stuck, you are now in a position to try new ways to get yourself unstuck.

Try something new.  Try something wild.  Try something untested.  If you are stuck in life and you keep doing the same kinds of things to try to get moving again, you will continue to keep getting the same kinds of results. 

Some problems will never go away, but you can go around them.  You can move beyond them.  Here are a few examples that popped in my head:

     1)  If you are confined to the house due to an illness - I know, that can be a bummer.  You and the doctors have tried everything.  Perhaps it is a good time to grow beyond your pot; to break the mold. Try to find a problem that you can solve.  Maybe you can’t fix your illness, but I’ll bet you can use your time to find a solution to something else.  Whether it is finally finishing that book you've been meaning to write or figuring out how to make the bathroom door stop squeaking, focus on the problems that you can actually fix.

     2)  When graduating college, you cannot find a job in your major - Eventually, you may have to take a job outside of your major.  It may suck, but I’ll bet if you look, you can find jobs that are more interesting outside of your major.  Try applying for those too!  Don’t limit your potential.

     3)  You have a family member that you can’t fix - No matter what you do, this family member will not change.  You continue to provide them with sound and reasonable advice, but they refuse to be responsible.  What do you do?  Maybe the best answer is to do nothing.  The relationship will stay stuck unless you accept that it’s not on you to force this change.  Try to find other ways that you can share with this family member outside of the problem.


These are just a few ideas.  Obviously, there are a bazillion-kajillion scenarios where you can get stuck.  There is no one solution.  It is okay to get stuck.  Hey, get stuck more often!  That is the best time to innovate, grab a crowbar, and come at your problem from the side.  



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Saturday, June 14, 2014

Change Is Inevitable


Change is Inevitable  - by Trevor Stasik
Change Happens
Author Douglas Adams once wrote in his book Mostly Harmless, "Anything that happens, happens. Anything that, in happening, causes something else to happen, causes something else to happen. Anything that, in happening, causes itself to happen again, happens again. It doesn’t necessarily do it in chronological order, though." The truth is that things in life rarely remain static for a long time. Things happen. Systems get upgraded. New schools of thought are discovered. Have you changed with the times? Are you adjusting your career battle-plan? Own your change.

 
TYPES OF CHANGES
What kinds of changes are you dealing with in your life? You can deal with it, whether it is a tiny change or a big, monumental, transformational event. You just need to get your head around it. There are many kinds of changes but they can all be boiled down to two questions:  Is it wanted change? Can you prepare for it in advance? Once you answer those questions, you will hopefully be a little less stressed as you will then be able to better deal with the change.

Think of the types of change across a 4-box matrix:


Top Left Box - If the change that you expect is wanted, but there is no way to prepare or to know when it will happen, your best strategy would be to practice patience. Sometimes good things come to those who wait.

Top Right Box - You wanted change and now it is coming. If you are able to prepare in advance, you can take advantage of the event. Set yourself up to do more than succeed. Set yourself up for multiple successes. Try to group your tasks and events so that victory in one can help the others. Hopefully I am making sense on this one. In other words, nothing succeeds like success.

Bottom Left Box - Push forward peacefully and keep going.  There is a Serenity Prayer that some people follow that may be helpful to remember:

God, grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom to know the difference.

If there is nothing you can do to stop an unwanted change, then there is nothing you can do. Try to work on the things you can change in your life. Try to find strength to pass through those changes that are unwanted. Consider breathing exercises, doing yoga, or talking to a friend. Anything you need to so you can find serenity.

Bottom Right Box - If you know a flood is coming, you had better put up some sandbags now and plan your path to higher ground. Sometimes there are changes that are for the worse, but the damage can be negated with the proper amount of preparation.

ASK THE QUESTIONS OF YOURSELF
Change will often push us; cause us to get out of our comfort zone. How we answer those questions for ourselves will help decide how to handle the change.

On a personal note, I have not made any updates to my blog in a while, as I have been experiencing my own changes - Career, family, etc. Additionally, I may change the format or I may leave it as is. As I debate this, I ask myself the questions above: Is Change Wanted? Is Preparation Possible?


If I do not talk to you again soon, have a great summer.



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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Diversity in Tea and the Workplace

Diversity in Tea and the Workplace
How does your workforce blend?
Have you ever thought about how diversity in the workplace is a lot like tea?  I have a little tea instruction manual in front of me about how hot to boil the water and how long to immerse the tea bag.  Along with each of those is a type of tea:  Black, White, Green, Herbal, Oolong, etc.  Oh, don’t forget that there’s iced tea.  Some people might make teas from fruits, seeds, or flowers.  You could even make a Long Island Iced Tea if you felt so inclined.  Regardless, a variety of teas can quench your thirst in a variety of ways.  This is the same way that diversity in the workplace will bring you many different ways to solve a problem.

Diversity in Tea and the Workplace

So, let’s get a little more diversity in here with our tea.  You can make a really good tea by using some store bought tea bags.  However, how about if we tear open the tea bags and create our own blend?  You can create a brilliant tea by mixing the right amount of a few different kinds of tea.  It would be individualized and custom.  Now, this tea might not be the perfect drink for everyone, but you can make a blend that is just right for you.  A little of this, a little of that; and voilà, you have something fabulous.

You should consider that in your workforce as well; blending people of different backgrounds.  You may find that employing a wide variety of people will give your business the best chance for economic success.

NOTE:  Of course, you should practice diversity and non-discrimination for legal reasons too.  Unless there is a Bona Fide Occupational Qualification (previously discussed HERE), your company could find itself in trouble if it is discriminating.  

With a diverse workforce, you can look at issues from new perspectives.  How many kinds of diversity are there?  Legally protected classes include:

  •    Race / Color
  •    Creed / Religion
  •    Nationality / Citizenship
  •    Age
  •    Gender
  •    Veteran Status
  •    Disability

There may be other protected classes in your state.  You should consider diversifying beyond these legal classes to include other groups as well.  Classes you may not have thought about:

  •    Unemployment Status
  •    Sexual Preference
  •    Height / Weight
  •    Conservative / Liberal
  •    Tattoos / Piercings

In short, people and tea can both create beautiful blends.  You may want to consider hiring and promoting people of all types.  You never know which employee will have a new way of looking at things; which will allow them to come up with a great new idea to move your business forward.

Be Human... Be a Resource... Be a Resource for Humans.


Interesting Links:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tea_blending_and_additives
http://www.teatimemagazine.com/content.aspx?id=918
http://www.artoftea.com/events_news/Blending_Article.html
http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/



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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Two Weeks Notice


I remember the first real job I ever quit.  I mean, I had a little newspaper route with "The Levittown Express", but quitting that really doesn't count.  I never had a boss looking over my shoulder, checking the quality of my work.  My output was not someone else’s input.  Also, I was probably 7 years old when I quit that job and I knew less than nothing at that point.

No, the first job I ever quit was my job stocking shelves at Bradlees.

Two Weeks Notice

The year was 1995.  I had joined their team during the summer between 11th and 12th grade.  It was a relatively fun job putting sports gear and action figures up, straightening and fronting the merchandise.  There was even a cute girl that worked the electronics counter that I got to talk to occasionally.  I really liked the job and felt bad when summer was over and I had to quit to go back to school. I probably could've kept working part-time, but I was afraid that it might affect my grades in my Senior Year.  So I quit.

Unfortunately, at this point in my life, nobody had informed me that it was customary to give your employer a two week notice before leaving.  It was a training event for me.  When I spoke to the store manager, I remember how her nostrils flared.  She had assumed that since I didn't give her my notice earlier, that I would be staying on over the fall.  I let her know that it was my last day.  That was when she told me about the two week notice.

The reason I bring this up is as a reminder that sometimes someone is counting on you; others have expectations that they expect you to meet.  If for some reason you cannot do something expected of you, it is usually a good idea to give notice ahead of time.  Do not wait until the last moment, because you might leave someone in a bind.  Try to be respectful and always remember to give an employer two weeks notice so that they can try to find a replacement.

Please feel free to leave a comment.  Tell me about the first job you ever quit.

Be Human... Be a Resource...  Be a Resource for Humans.





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Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Earliest History of Human Resources

It occurs to me that we have never discussed the early history of Human Resources before.  Human
Resources is a resource for humans, but how did it get that way?  Holistically speaking, HR is the person, group, or team within an organization responsible for the management of people at a company.  The HR function has sometimes gone by other names such as Personnel or Industrial Relations.  As the HR function has expanded in larger organizations, it has transformed into departments specializing in areas such as Benefits, Payroll, Sourcing, Recruiting, HRIS Tech, or Public Affairs.  The most basic role filled by someone in HR is usually that of a Generalist.  Let’s talk about where HR came from?

The Earliest History of Human Resources

To see where Human Resources came from, we only need to go back about 100 years.  This is where we will find the seeds of the current HR career practitioner.  There are many great educational resources that you ought to check out to learn all of the details.  However, here’s the short version:

1800s 
- In the latter part of the 19th century, the Industrial Revolution led to large-scale production with large-scale employment.  As organizations grew, so did abuse of many of the employees under the management styles of the day.  To help battle this, the first trade and labor unions were formed during this period to push for standard working hours and higher pay.  The American Federation of Labor (AFL) was formed during this timeframe under leader Samuel Gompers.  Also, the first major labor regulations were passed by the Government including the Erdman Act which made it illegal to discriminate on employees for union membership.

Early 1900s
- At the dawn of the 20th century, a need for a manager devoted to human resources became clearer.  Urban worker conditions appeared to be declining.  Upton Sinclair’s book “The Jungle” was released in 1906, revealing deleterious worker conditions in the meatpacking industry.  Public awareness was raised.  Some companies took steps to improve relations with their workers.  B.F. Goodrich and National Cash Resister formed the earliest corporate HR departments; tracking records, wages, and grievances for the employees.

1910s 
- Engineer F.W. Taylor releases his time-motion study “Principles in Scientific Management” in 1911; a historic work about boosting productivity among skilled and unskilled workers.  Henry Ford eventually utilized Taylor’s ideas in using the assembly line to manufacture cars.  In the UK, Seebohm Rowntree releases studies titled “The Land” about increasing productivity in agricultural workforces, and also “How the Labourer Lives” which studied poverty among agricultural workers.  Rowntree also organizes the inaugural meeting of the Welfare Workers Association, the first professional group devoted to Human Resources and employees.  Back in the US, the Department of Labor was formed in 1913 under the Taft administration to “foster, promote and develop the welfare of working people, to improve their working conditions, and to enhance their opportunities for profitable employment.

The changing developments in labor and employment resulting a growing number of companies to devote resources to forming HR departments.  These were professionals that could bridge the gap between management and labor; to help companies work with their employees as valued members of the team.  That is how HR began.

And remember all of you Human Resources professionals:  Be Human... Be a Resource...  Be a Resource for Humans.


Interesting Links
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_labor_law
http://www.shrm.org/Education/hreducation/Pages/TheEvolutionofHumanResourceManagement.aspx
http://www.creativehrm.com/hr-management-history.html#.Up01ksS3JBk
http://www.cipd.co.uk/cipd-hr-profession/centenary/timeline.aspx#1910s
http://www.webpronews.com/the-historical-background-of-human-resource-management-2006-09
http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/RErowntreeS.htm
http://www.buzzle.com/articles/history-of-human-resource-management.html




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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Any Given Monday

Football and Business on Any Given Monday
I write this as I sit here and watch today's football game of the Philadelphia Eagles versus the Minnesota Vikings. There is a term in football known as "Any Given Sunday".  On any given Sunday, the right strategy can be employed to overcome insurmountable odds. Losing teams can catch teams with winning records flat-footed and stop a five game streak in its tracks.  Conditions on the ground can allow anybody to take the advantage.

Any Given Monday

You can apply this idea to your workday.  When you go to work on Monday, do you give it your all?  If you are the manager or employer, do you fight for victory even when it looks like your team is outmatched?  You can win the victory on any given Monday.  It is so important day-to-day, week-to-week, season-to-season to come out ready to play each and every workday.

As I wait to see if the Eagles can come back from the unexpected beating they are taking from the Vikings, I would like to leave you with an Al Pacino monologue from the fabulous movie Any Given Sunday:

I don’t know what to say, really. Three minutes till the biggest battle of our professional lives all comes down to today. Now either we heal as a team or we’re gonna’ crumble, inch by inch, play by play, 'til we’re finished.
We’re in hell right now, gentlemen, believe me. And, we can stay here -- get the s--t kicked out of us -- or we can fight our way back into the light. We can climb outta hell one inch at a time.
Now, I can’t do it for you. I’m too old. I look around. I see these young faces, and I think -- I mean -- I made every wrong choice a middle-aged man can make. I, uh, I pissed away all my money, believe it or not. I chased off anyone who’s ever loved me. And lately, I can’t even stand the face I see in the mirror.
You know, when you get old in life things get taken from you. I mean that's...part of life. But, you only learn that when you start losing stuff. You find out life’s this game of inches. So is football. Because in either game, life or football, the margin for error is so small -- I mean one-half a step too late, or too early, and you don’t quite make it. One-half second too slow, too fast, you don’t quite catch it.
The inches we need are everywhere around us.
They’re in every break of the game, every minute, every second.
On this team, we fight for that inch. On this team, we tear ourselves and everyone else around us to pieces for that inch. We claw with our fingernails for that inch, because we know when we add up all those inches that’s gonna’ make the f--kin' difference between winning and losing! Between livin' and dyin'!
I’ll tell you this: In any fight, it’s the guy who’s willing to die who’s gonna’ win that inch. And I know if I’m gonna have any life anymore, it’s because I’m still willin' to fight and die for that inch. Because that’s what livin' is! The six inches in front of your face!!
Now I can’t make you do it. You got to look at the guy next to you. Look into his eyes! Now I think you’re gonna see a guy who will go that inch with you. You're gonna’ see a guy who will sacrifice himself for this team because he knows, when it comes down to it, you’re gonna’ do the same for him!
That’s a team, gentleman!
And, either we heal, now, as a team, or we will die as individuals.
That’s football guys.
That's all it is.
Now, what are you gonna’ do?


And remember all of you Human Resources professionals:  Be Human... Be a Resource...  Be a Resource for Humans.


Interesting Link:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0146838/





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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Winter Weather and Icy Conditions at Work

Winter Weather and Icy Conditions at WorkSnow!  Freezing Rain!  Ice!  These are exclamations that TV Meteorologists make that should send businesses into action.  Are you ready for the next big winter storm?  How you cope with these winter messes can showcase the effectiveness and durability of your services to your customers.  Proper execution of these plans can also improve the loyalty of your workforce.  Please feel free to leave a comment or suggestion down below about your own experiences with the latest snowpacolypse.

Winter Weather and Icy Conditions at Work

Unfortunately, too many businesses do not do proper planning for Mother Nature.  Of those companies that have plans, even fewer of them have effective execution of their plan.  Always remember that a plan is no good if it cannot actually be used in the real world.  So your first step should be to come up with a realistic plan of operations for the business under adverse winter conditions.

Questions to Consider:
  • What is the plan?  -  Write it down.  A plan does not become real unless you write it down.  In this digital age you do not necessarily need to have a hard copy, but it can sometimes help enforce the legitimacy of the plan to have a printed copy that can be referenced at the drop of a hat.

  • Are you prepared? - Make sure you have enough salt for your sidewalks in your closet or warehouse.  If you need to contract a 3rd party vendor to plow or shovel, be sure to sign those contracts months before disaster strikes.  Consider having an emergency store of food or water on hand, just in case your workers need them.  Get your equipment secured before the storm hits full blast; don’t wait until the last minute.  Do not forget to watch for changes in weather forecasts, public transportation and school delays, and public emergency advisories.

  • How many people? - Figure out what the bare minimum headcount is that you need to be able to operate safely.  Try to figure out how to meet that expectation in advance.  Consider having people work from home or at an off-site location.  

  • How will you explain it to customers and employees? - Pre-write the language for your weather advisories so you are not scrambling to put together something at the last minute.  Have a web-portal, phone chain, or hotline set-up in advance to get the message out.  Be consistent in your update timing before, during, and after a storm to build some reliability into the system.

  • How will jobs be completed on-time? - Maybe the jobs will be completed; maybe they won’t.  Consider writing language into your contracts with customers to accommodate weather delays.  Be upfront with your customers by showing them your Winter Weather policies in advance so they know the conditions that are considered untenable for operations.  It is suggested that you do not force employees into an unsafe condition just because a customer is unreasonable.

  • When will you close? - The worst time to make the decision is after it is too late.  If you wait until you have machinery freezing or breaking; workers sliding across roads or trapped at their desks; you have guaranteed a failure in your work environment and possibly invited some liability into your processes.  Try to come up with a set of conditions that will always prompt closure.  Build in time frames for different phases.

  • When will you open? - Think about road conditions after a serious storm and what you need to do to re-start operations.  Some companies may consider housing a skeleton crew at a near-by hotel to allow them to open faster after a storm.  Remember the human element - Your workers may have stranded family members or closed schools.  Just because you can resume operations does not always mean you should resume operations.  If appropriate, consider a snow delay or remaining closed an extra day.  

  • What is the Practice Date? - You ought to do a dry run of your procedures and systems before the big snow emergency.  None of your preparation will be useful if you cannot execute it on the day of the storm's arrival. 
So... Do you have a policy in place?  What are some of the questions you ask when preparing your business for icy conditions?

And remember all of you Human Resources professionals:  Be Human... Be a Resource...  Be a Resource for Humans.



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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

Delivering The News About Staying Open For ThanksgivingAre you working tomorrow?  Is your organization open on Thanksgiving?  I hope that you are able to spend some time with your family.  This post will be a bit of an editorial.  If you disagree with me, please feel free to leave a comment.  I would love to hear what everyone is doing this Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving

For those of us in the United States, we celebrate a day called Thanksgiving on the 4th Thursday in November *.  This is a day where thanks are given for the harvest over the last year and for all of the hard work in collecting that bounty.  Recently, Thanksgiving has “gone rogue”.  It is gradually shifting to become more of a consumerist holiday, with stores staying open and sales drifting into family time.  In my personal opinion, I think that it is wrong to force employees to go to work on Thanksgiving.  Stores that open and “allow” employees to attend voluntarily are worse, because of the uncomfortable decision that it forces employees to make.  I understand some emergency and medical services being open (such as hospitals and fire houses).  However, I believe that Thanksgiving is a time meant to be spent with families and friends at home and not at the mall.

Delivering The News About Staying Open For Thanksgiving

Regardless of my opinion, many people are going to work on this day.  As someone interested in Human Resources, I would be curious to know how you handle this.  Obviously there will be some people that object due to religion, family, or just on principle.  How do you handle that?  Assuming that you are not the person making that executive decision to remain open on Thanksgiving, it is still up to you to deliver the news that attendance is required on that specific date.

If I had to give that news, I would try to be blunt, but open and honest in handling an employee’s potential feedback.  I would explain the policies and procedures of the organization.  Unless the employee brings up the overtime as a benefit to them, I would not try to spin it as a positive.  I would explain the consequences of not showing up for work.  If you keep it short, sincere, and stick to the facts, you ought to be able to deliver the news without causing major waves.

Stores Closed For Thanksgiving

As so many stores are now opening on Thanksgiving, I would like to list some of the stores that will thankfully remain closed:
Bath & Body Works
Nordstrom
Home Depot
Lowes
Costco
T.J. Maxx
Marshalls
Ross
P.C. Richard & Son
Dillards
B.J.'s Wholesale Club
Sam’s Club
Fred Meyer
Fry’s Electronics
GameStop
PetSmart
I hope that you will consider visiting these stores over the weekend after Thanksgiving.

And remember all of you Human Resources professionals:  
Have a Happy Turkey Day!  Gobble-gobble!


     * Interesting Fact:  Canada celebrates Thanksgiving on the second Monday in October. 

Interesting Links:
http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2013/11/20/thanksgiving-retail-holiday-sales-black-friday/3644853/
http://ktla.com/2013/11/26/keeping-closed-on-thanksgiving-a-badge-of-pride-for-some-retailers/#ixzz2lq0TwNPP
http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304281004579221971756165900
http://retailindustry.about.com/od/BlackFridayChristmasSalesDeals/a/All-Retail-Stores-Not-Open-Thanksgiving-Day-November-28-2013-Complete-List-Closed-Retailers.htm



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Monday, November 25, 2013

Shorter Commute Time

Shorter Commute TimeHow long is your commute to work?  If you are anything like me, you drive to work.  However, some of you may walk, bike, or take the train.  However you choose to get there, the amount of time that it takes an employee to get to work can greatly effect job satisfaction.  A short commute can be a huge perk for  whichever employer they may work for.  Please feel free to leave a comment or suggestion down below about your own experiences with commuting.

Employment Perk:  Shorter Commute Time

Some 600,000 people are now defined by the Census as Mega-Commuters, travelling over 50 miles or 90 minutes each way, each day.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average commute time for most Americans is about 25 minutes.  I suspect that for the majority of Americans, that is 25 minutes too long.  If you want to see what the average local commute time is in your own county, you ought to check out this map by WNYC:  http://project.wnyc.org/commute-times-us/embed.html#5.00/42.000/-89.500.

Most employees hate the time they spend sitting in traffic; it is aggravating for them knowing how many other things they could be doing if they were already home.  Also, it is a known health hazard due to the increase it causes in sedentary lifestyles.  A short commute is something that HR professionals and managers can sell as a perk to candidates on a potential position.  Remind them of how close they are to major roadways or train stations.  If a candidate volunteers their frustration with a long commute in an interview, be sure to mention any available features such as carpooling, public transit, or travel reimbursement.  A shorter time spent in a vehicle is something that is sure to attract some candidates.

My current drive time to work is below the average, clocking in at about 15 minutes.  How do you get to work?  How long does it take?

And remember all of you Human Resources professionals:  Be Human... Be a Resource...  Be a Resource for Humans.


Interesting Links:
http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/10/28/commutings-hidden-cost/?_r=0
http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/health/story/2012-05-23/long-commute-poor-health/55162620/1
http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/pdf/poster_megacommuting_in_the_u.s.pdf
http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/american_community_survey_acs/cb13-41.html



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Sunday, November 24, 2013

Women, Minorities, and the Glass Cliff

Women Minorities and the Glass CliffHas your Board of Directors been setting women and minorities up for failure in the C-Suite?  This is a somewhat controversial topic that some are calling the “Glass Cliff” effect.  What have you seen in your workplace?  As always, please feel free to leave a comment or suggestion down below about your own experiences.

Women, Minorities, and the “Glass Cliff” 

By now, most of you have heard of the “Glass Ceiling”, which is a term used for the difficulty faced by women and minorities trying to reach the top of the corporate ladder.  However, the phrase “Glass Cliff” is a term more recently added to the workplace lexicon.  Recent studies by Utah State University have confirmed previous studies showing a discrepancy between the quality of promotional opportunities at the highest levels of corporations.  This is to mean that women and minorities have been found to be disproportionally promoted into senior leadership positions when a company is having the most difficulty.

In other words, it could appear that women and minorities have been “set up for failure” by being given the reins of an organization in free fall, just as a company reached a crisis.

Researchers also found that after a company has hit bottom and stagnated after a crisis, a “savior effect” was noticed.  This was where a disproportionate number of white males were promoted to bring these failed organizations back to profitability.  Fewer women and minorities were selected for these easier wins.

Biases in the Selection Process

The Glass Cliff appears to be partially created by subconscious biases of the boards.  These have been backed by a series of Psychological studies done and summarized in an interesting report by Michel Ryan and A. Alexander Haslam of the University of Exeter.  In one example, they found that boards of directors tended to think of men when they thought of “management” but tended to think of women when they thought of “crisis”.

There has could be some disagreement about the bias.  Some have argued that Women and Minorities self-selected those organizational positions atop the cliff; that they chose to accept the most difficult assignments where white males would decline a similar position when offered in the midst of a crisis.

However, that is not the case.  Three independent surveys were completed comparing the selection of men and women to lead a company in crisis.  In all three surveys, women were selected for leadership only when an organization was in decline.  For minorities, it was shown in one study of high political office that black candidates were typically selected as an opposition candidate when there was a highly popular incumbent and the seat was considered hard-to-win.  This result was also duplicated in studies within the corporate environment.

Solutions to the Glass Cliff

To find a solution, first people need to be aware that the problem exists.  Fortunately, awareness of the cliff is growing.  In a 2004 CNN poll, the question was asked “Does the glass cliff exist?”  72% of respondents said yes.  One of the Utah researchers, Alison Cook, has said that HR representative need to be “encouraging boards of directors to top into social professional networks outside their immediate networks”.  These boards should be mindful of Disparate Impact when following internal selection processes in choosing new CEOs.  Consider Women and Minorities outside of your circles when your companies are improving, not only when they are in decline or in crisis-mode.  The Exeter researchers concluded that the other ways to eliminate these Glass Cliffs is for firms to adopt non-token affirmative action policies and active mentoring programs to help raise the group-consciousness of this effect.  Over time, it will help to dissolve the cliff and allow boards to be more fair in their selections for C-Suite positions.

What are you seeing in your organization?  Is anything being done to combat the Glass Cliff?

And remember all of you Human Resources professionals:  Be Human... Be a Resource...  Be a Resource for Humans.


Interesting Links:
http://journalistsresource.org/studies/society/gender-society/women-leadership-glass-cliff-research-roundup
http://www.sozialpsychologie.uni-frankfurt.de/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Ryan_Hasklam_AMR.pdf
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbRDxb21pIM
http://www.researchgate.net/publication/256036360_The_Political_Glass_Cliff_Ethnic_Minority_Candidates_are_Selected_to_Contest_Hard-to-Win_Seats

Interesting Reading:
“Watch Out for the ‘Glass Cliff’” by Antonio Franquz, HR Magazine, Sept. 2013



Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are by the author Trevor Stasik, and do not necessarily reflect the views of any employer or any other organization. Trevor Stasik is the owner of this post, may or may not receive compensation resulting from this writing, and retains the copyright of any original material presented in this post herein. Please note, this information is based on my understanding and is only to be used for informational and educational purposes. Do not take what I am writing as advice. Seek your own legal counsel and/or see a tax accountant before making business or personal decisions. The author of this post makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information in this post, on this site, or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.

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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Mind Like Water - Management Like Water

Mind Like Water - Management Like WaterDo you have a mind filled with big, unmovable granite boulders?  Or do you have an adaptive mind like water?  I would like to discuss the significance of having a flowing mindset in tackling management problems - Watch out for a mudslide!  Please feel free to leave a comment or suggestion down below about your own experiences with zen-like management formation.

Mind Like Water - Bend with Reality Rather Than Breaking Against The Rocks

I assure you, this post is not about to become some kind of trippy-experiment.  What is meant by the term “Mind Like Water”, is allowing yourself to adapt to the world as it is.  It is about answering a stimulus with only the amount needed; not rocking the boat by over-reacting.  In a personal sense, it is being balanced in your life so that you are prepared for whatever life throws at you.  At a professional level, it is about clearing away the mental clutter.  Some people use the “Getting Things Done” system, developed by David Allen, to sort things, allowing your mind to focus on more important matters.  Try to not worry about those things that you cannot change.  I know this is tough, I struggle with it myself, but it is a worthy goal to consider.

Management Like Water

So, can this “Mind Like Water” mindset work with managing an organization.  I think that it can.  Sometimes, managers and leaders have little control over who is on their team or the resources that they are allocated.  You have to work with the reality that you have been given, and hopefully lead your teams to accept their role in a bigger picture.  Clear out your group’s mental clutter by removing as many obstacles to productivity as possible.  Get all of your work into one place that your team can view, so they can clearly understand exactly what their responsibilities are.  Do not over-commit your team causing it to lose its focus and effectiveness.  Do not under-commit your team to cause people to feel bored or unvalued.  Find that balance.  Change your policies to fit a shifting reality.

The Boulders

I hope that you have thought a little bit about how to flow better in life and at work.  If you are in the fortunate position to have a lot of boulders thrown in your path, try to look at it as a learning opportunity.  You have the chance to find new ways of thinking and looking at things to find greater successes in your life.  With a little energy, maybe you can get even get some of those rocks and boulders to unstick on your way down the hill.

Are you practicing “mind like water”?  Flow and adapt.

And remember all of you Human Resources professionals:  Be Human... Be a Resource...  Be a Resource for Humans.


Interesting Links:
http://www.davidco.com/
http://zenhabits.net/mind-like-water/
http://skylance.org/2012/01/belief-needing-complexity-reach-simplicity/
http://www.alanfurth.com/achieving-mind-like-water-through-getting-things-done/


Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are by the author Trevor Stasik, and do not necessarily reflect the views of any employer or any other organization. Please note, this information is based on my understanding and is only to be used for informational and educational purposes. Do not take what I am writing as advice. Seek your own legal counsel and/or see a tax accountant before making business or personal decisions. The author of this post makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.

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Monday, November 18, 2013

Retaining Your Seasoned Talent

Retaining Seasoned TalentHow are you retaining your seasoned talent?  If you have employees that have been around for more than a few years and they have deep institutional knowledge, you should have a plan in place to help keep that talent in place.  As always, please feel free to leave your opinions in the comments section at the end of this post.

RETAINING YOUR SEASONED TALENT

Many employees may remain in at one company for an extended period of time, sometimes within the same position.  With this experience comes the synergistic benefit of institutional knowledge.  These seasoned employees not only know about the current state of the company, job, and accounts; but they also retain an understanding for how things used to be done.  This can be valuable in decision making, knowing what has or has not worked well in the past.  This can be valuable in administration, remembering past sorting or filing procedures.  This can be valuable in sales, remembering people in your network that can be useful in the future.  They can be valuable mentors, saving you time and money in training newer employees.  There are so many ways that long-term, experienced workers can benefit a company, that it makes sense to structure incentives into your policies to retain these employees.

IDEAS ON RETAINING MORE EXPERIENCED TALENT

For employers, there certainly can be an attractive draw to bring in newer, younger talent versus retaining existing seasoned employees.  Among other things, the newer employees may be more open to new ideas and bring fresh systemic knowledge.  However, it would be a mistake to neglect those employees that are already working for you.  These are just a few incentives that you may want to put in place, if you have not already done so:

Updates to Vacation Days - A common way to incent long-term employees to stick around is to allow those that have been with your company longer to have more PTO based on seniority/tenure at the firm.  You may also want to increase the number of days that can be rolled over each year.

Years-of-Service Bonuses - You could consider a non-discriminatory bonus based on the numbers of years worked at the company.  The bonuses could be in cash, stock, options, etc.

More Flexible Schedules - Offering more flexible schedules to more highly tenured workers can offer two benefits.  First, it can encourage your workers to stay with you as they adjust through their life changes, should they need time off for medical or family reasons.  Second, it can help them feel more valued as you are accommodating them.

Promote From Within - Many of your employees are probably more skilled and have more potential than you give them credit for.  Be sure to promote and hire from within; employees will stay longer if they think they will have a future at your company.

Responsibility - Hopefully an employee that has been with your company for a long time has proven themselves as responsible individuals.  Consider giving them greater responsibility and not just more work.

These are just a few of the incentives.  What are you doing to retain your seasoned talent?

COMMUNICATION

A final thought:  Employees that feel valued are less likely to leave.  Remember to keep the lines of communication open.  When an employee is new, they are probably going to receive more attention and hand-holding until they have mastered their position.  However, seasoned employees still need interaction as well.  Perhaps it would let them know that they are still valued if their managers spoke with them in person occasionally.  Try doing that instead of firing off another email.  While speaking to you employee, remember to tell them “Thanks for all you do.”

And remember all of you Human Resources professionals:  Be Human... Be a Resource...  Be a Resource for Humans.


Interesting Links:





Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are by the author Trevor Stasik, and do not necessarily reflect the views of any employer or any other organization. Please note, this information is based on my understanding and is only to be used for informational and educational purposes. Do not take what I am writing as advice. Seek your own legal counsel and/or see a tax accountant before making business or personal decisions. The author of this post makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Employment Verification - Form I-9

On May 7th, 2013, a new version of the Form I-9 became effective and employers must only use this newer form for their Employment Eligibility Verification.  This is a form that will help you verify and authorize your employees.  Let’s spend a few minutes discussing what this form is and how it works.  As always, if you have comments, please feel free to add your thoughts to the discussion below this post.

Employment Verification - Form I-9

Prior to the Form I-9, employers were not required to prove the legality of an immigrant seeking employment.  However, the I-9 was created out of the Immigration Reform and Control Act in 1986, tasking employers with identifying and verifying their workers right to work.  Since then, the Form has undergone several revisions as additional laws have been rolled out, but still remains the primary form used in reviewing the status of a person’s right to work in this country legally.  Employees must keep Companies are required to review documents supporting an employee’s claim to legality.  This is enforced by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Identification

When the I-9 Form was first introduced, employers could choose from any of 29 different forms of identification to prove an employees’ right to work.  This has evolved into a much shorter list over time.  You need the documents to do two things; prove that an employee is who they say they are, and prove that they are eligible to work in the United States.  As of this writing, these are some of the documents that the government finds acceptable for identification: 

List A Documents - Prove both Identity and Employment Eligibility
  United States Passport
  Permanent Resident Card or Registration Receipt Card
  Employment Authorization Card
  Some Foreign Passports

List B Documents - Prove only Identity
  Driver’s License
  Federal/State Identification Card
  School ID Card with photo
  Voter Registration Card
  U.S. Military Card / Draft Record
  Military Dependent’s ID Card

List C Documents - Prove only Employment Eligibility
  Social Security Card (unrestricted)
  Birth Certificate
  US Citizen or Resident Citizen ID Card

This is only a partial list of all of these documents.  If you have a question about a particular document that you have been presented, be sure to research it further with the USCIS.  While not required, it is highly recommended that Employers retain a copy of these identifying documents with the I-9.  Be sure to keep all of these documents in a separate file from the rest of an employee’s documentation to minimize the possibility of the documents from forming a basis for discrimination.  Also, per the DHS, “You should not shred previously retained copies of documents. DHS regulations provide that once copies of documents are made, they must be retained with the Forms I-9.”

Enforcement

Failure to make appropriate use of the I-9 Form, failure to review acceptable documentation, and failure to keep and maintain proper I-9 documentation can result in a loss of government contracts, serious civil fines, and even criminal penalties.  There are very detailed charts and lists under the websites for both the USCIS and ICE detailing the level of penalty that an employer could face for failure to heed the law.  Monetary loss due to fines on a single worker could range from $110 for a failure to complete the I-9 properly, and up to $16,000 for repeated hiring offenses.  Once you add in the possible money lost from cancelled contracts and possible jail time, you can see how seriously your company could be damaged for failing to completely examine the I-9 for every employee hired.

Employers that have questions about the I-9 Form and all related topics can contact the customer service area at 888-464-4218 or email them at I-9Central@dhs.gov. 

And remember all of you Human Resources professionals: Be Human... Be a Resource... Be a Resource for Humans.


Useful Links
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immigration_Reform_and_Control_Act_of_1986


Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are by the author Trevor Stasik, and do not necessarily reflect the views of any employer or any other organization. Please note, this information is based on my understanding and is only to be used for informational and educational purposes. Do not take what I am writing as advice. Seek your own legal counsel and/or see a tax accountant before making business or personal decisions. The author of this post makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.

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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Immigration and HR

Companies are required to follow the law.  Sometimes the question comes up about which law - city, state, federal - should you be following as a Human Resources professional.  In a perfect world, the answer would be all three, all the time, every time.  However, with the tricky subject of immigration, there are sometimes contradictory laws and enforcement in place.  Let’s talk about that for a moment.  As always, please feel free to leave a respectful comment or opinion about your own experiences in the area below this post.

Immigration and HR

Immigrant workers can be a wonderful addition to your workforce.  They may bring with them ideas and skills that are difficult to find in domestic employees in your local area.  However, workers that did not immigrate legally present a challenge.

Within the United States, Federal Law makes it illegal to employ Undocumented Workers.  However, there are 31 cities where local ordinances have created Sanctuary Cities; locations where police and local authorities are compelled to not enforce these Federal Laws.  As a result, many of these workers are employed and HR professionals should know how to deal with them.

First off, I would suggest speaking to your local SHRM, checking with your lawyer, and consulting your ordinances.  Laws and enforcement will vary from location to location.  This may be a case where you might be best following the local laws first.  If there are physical conflicts that arise, you may need the aid of local police.  If the conflict arises from your attempt to follow National Law in the hiring process, but local ordinance prohibits enforcement, you could have an HR nightmare on your hands.

Oftentimes, Sanctuary Cities will offer a Municipal ID Card or other form of identification card.  This card may be used to identify and assist the HR rep with tracking the employee.  If non-enforcement of national immigration laws is the norm in your area, you would want to treat the Undocumented Worker the same as every other employee to the greatest extent possible.  They should have tax withheld the same, benefits applied the same, and be treated in a non-discriminatory manner.  Hiring for employment should continue to be without regard to race, color, religion, sex or national origin. 

Do not, under any circumstance, ever try to exploit the undocumented workers.  Beyond the unethical and immoral ramifications of using a person’s undocumented status against them, it can also put you in jail.  A recent story in the news talked about how 7-11 had undocumented workers that they were effectively using as slaves.  Now those employers have had their franchises taken away from them and may face prison time.

There may be immigration reform on the horizon which may or may not affect the HR professional.  A change in immigration laws may not be enforced locally.  This will continue to be a tricky subject for Human Resources departments in the foreseeable future.

And remember all of you Human Resources professionals: Be Human... Be a Resource... Be a Resource for Humans.



Useful Links:



Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are by the author Trevor Stasik, and do not necessarily reflect the views of any employer or any other organization. Please note, this information is based on my understanding and is only to be used for informational and educational purposes. Do not take what I am writing as advice. Seek your own legal counsel and/or see a tax accountant before making business or personal decisions. The author of this post makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.

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Friday, June 14, 2013

Labor Unions and Social Media

I just came across this fabulous free Online Webinar given by Jessica Miller-Merrell and Jon Hyman http://www.blogging4jobs.com/webinars/unions-nlrb-social-media-webinar/  It is really great; lots of useful information.
of Blogging4Jobs about the nature of union tactics, the current activism within the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), and the use social media for organizing.  It is really interesting how aggressively unions are targeting workers at companies such as Sodexo, Walmart, and Apple to recruit people to join as members.  Human Resources need to be aware that this activity is going on.  It is not just union members handing out leaflets or marching around with a giant rat in front of your workplace.  As companies are getting smarter about targeting their ads to individual customers, unions are also getting smarter about targeting their messages to specific employees at specific companies.  They recommend preparing a rapid response team to be able to conduct an investigation quickly if a union situation erupts at your workplace and you need to protect your company’s reputation.  I highly suggest checking out this Webinar: 


And remember all of you Human Resources professionals: Be Human... Be a Resource... Be a Resource for Humans.


Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are by the author Trevor Stasik, and do not necessarily reflect the views of any employer or any other organization. Please note, this information is based on my understanding and is only to be used for informational and educational purposes. Do not take what I am writing as advice. Seek your own legal counsel and/or see a tax accountant before making business or personal decisions. The author of this post makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

SMART Goals


If you really want to boost the performance of your teams, you need to make sure that they are following the right goals.  Well, how do you determine what your goals are?  Why, you have to be SMART about it.  As this management technique has been around for a while, if any of you wish to discuss how you have used this process in your own goal-setting, please feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of this post.

SMART Goals

Goals can be difficult things to achieve.  They are made even more difficult when you do not know what your goal is.  You will probably never find your destination if you do not have a map and some directions to take you there.  You can think of the acronym S-M-A-R-T when you think of achieving a goal.  Whether personal, professional, or commercial; you can use a step-by-step procedure to help make your objectives more clear.

S - Specific

The letter S stands for Specific.  You want your goals to be clearly definable.  When an athlete runs a race, they do not simply run until someone declares him or herself the winner.  They run with the finish line in mind.  They know what it is, how to get there, and exactly what it looks like.  Your organization should not have vague goals.  Be able to provide a number.

M - Measurable

You need to be able to measure the metrics that help define the result?   You should not have a goal that cannot be clearly measured, because without measurement, there is no real tracking.  These measurements will also help you determine how far you need to go to reach your goal.

A - Attainable

It is okay to shoot for the moon if you are NASA.  The rest of our organizations may want to focus on more attainable goals.  You should pick out goals, they should be realistic.  You need to have the resources to complete the goal or have a way to obtain the necessary resources.  Consider whether you will have the time, manpower, equipment, energy, etc. to make a goal a reality.

R - Relevant

A relevant goal is a worthwhile goal.  This tells you why you want to have the goal in the first place.  You need to answer two questions tor goal to be considered relevant:  Is it tied to the company’s strategy?  Does it provide value to an organization?  If a goal makes sense for an organization and it creates a benefit, then it may be a goal worth pursuing.

T - Time Trackable

The Alpha and the Omega.  You need to know when to begin a goal, when to end a goal, and what your timeline of milestones should be along the way.  When a goal is time trackable, it is more easily broken down into sub-goals that can be met along the way.

As we have discussed, SMART goals can help you and your organization set better goals which will help the organization’s performance improve.  Keep this in mind when developing your next goal.

And remember all of you Human Resources professionals: Be Human... Be a Resource... Be a Resource for Humans.


Useful Links:



Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are by the author Trevor Stasik, and do not necessarily reflect the views of any employer or any other organization. Please note, this information is based on my understanding and is only to be used for informational and educational purposes. Do not take what I am writing as advice. Seek your own legal counsel and/or see a tax accountant before making business or personal decisions. The author of this post makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.

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