MonthNovember 2011

Take A Chance on Me

I am a proud and unabashed ABBA fan!!


Dont stop reading this post.

One of my favorite ABBA songs is Take a Chance on Me. It reminds me of a CEO who took a chance on me and gave me my first real shot in HR back in the late 80s. I had just left a Fortune 100 company and had little holistic HR experience because the company I was at allowed me to do very little. When I applied through a small 1 x 1 newspaper ad, I didnt know that my HR career was about to really take off.

He said he hired me because during the interview I answered questions with I dont
know !! He thought that if I was honest with him, that he could teach me what I needed to do at his company. He left me with one gem that I havent forgotten since when practicing HR. He said,

 “Steve, the only reason you’re here is my people. Nothing comes before them.”

Now, here I am some 20+ years later and still in HR!! I am thankful that this CEO took a chance on me and it made me think of HR today.

Are you taking a chance on new HR people? I just got back from a phenomenal SHRM Leadership Conference and the worn out subject of how do we reach Sr. HR people reared its ugly head yet again. As a Sr. HR person myself, I want to throw this out to others like me – why dont WE do the reaching out ??

Why arent we the ones connecting with new HR people and sharing our knowledge and experience? Why arent we taking notice of the amazing things they bring to the table and see how we can learn from them?

When did our time in the profession earn us the right to not lead the profession, but wait for the profession to cater to us?

When Buzz asked me to guest post, I was tickled because shes relatively new to HR and I’m … not so new. However, I see her work and love it along with other new voices in HR. I am constantly learning from newer HR professionals and I appreciate their energy and zeal. I also value that the newest generation to the workforce questions things. It doesnt annoy me or wish for days gone by when you were supposed to just shut up and do what youre told.

You see I dont want to be the person who reminisces about the fond days of Personnel and Industrial Relations. I want to take a chance and risk all that I know and have done to dive ahead and see what will happen next.

The CEO who took a chance on me opened a door. Who will you open a door for yourself ??


Steve Browne, SPHR, is the Executive Director of Human Resources for LaRosas, Inc., a regional pizzeria restaurant chain in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana with 18 locations and over 1,400 team members. Steve has been an HR professional for more than 20 years in the manufacturing, consumer products, and professional services industries. He also facilitates a monthly HR Roundtable in Cincinnati and runs an Internet message board for HR pros that reaches 6,000+ people globally on a weekly basis.

Steve truly walks the talk he speaks of in this post! Just a few weeks after The Buzz launched, he reached out to me to invite me to join his message board and featured my blog as a must-read. This caused a huge increase in my readership and subscribers that I know would not have otherwise seen. He continues to encourage and look out for me. His support is invaluable!

And Steve inspires me each week with thoughtful and challenging writings on his blog, Everyday People. Connect with him and read more at

Why I Hate Potlucks

Is it because I don’t trust other people’s cooking? No.

Is it because I can’t cook? No.

Is it because of that awkward moment you have spit out a nasty bite of something only to look up to see the person that cooked it is staring at you in anger and horror? No.

I hate them because potlucks are unfair.

We have a potluck in our office every Thanksgiving. The company provides the meats and everyone signs up to bring in the other stuff. And every year, without fail, some people make these elaborate, yummy side dishes and desserts while other people bring … a bag of chips or marshmallows. Yeah, that’s right. Marshmallows.

It kinda pisses me off … which is not a good thing at a time when we are supposed to be thankful and jolly.

So a couple years ago, I had a brilliant idea to even things out. Instead of signing up to bring something, everyone would pay $7 and we would have the sides and desserts catered.

Order and fairness restored, right? WRONG! People were mad about the change. Even worse than the time I replaced the stapler by the copy machine (Read that story).

I expected the people who bring chips and marshmallows to be mad — this change would require them to contribute more than $0.99 to their offering.

But I didn’t expect the people who make larger contributions to be mad, too. I thought they would be relieved that their resources would be freed up since the time and money it takes to make a dish for 50 people is worth more than $7 … but, for some reason, they were mad, too.

I realize now that potlucks are just like the regular office workload. Some people contribute more, some people contribute less. Some people think that is really unfair and others could care less! Sometimes, all we can do is make the best contribution that we have to offer and learn to live with and/or appreciate the offerings of others, until someone forces a change. And, no matter how much you may know that you know that you know a change is necessary, sometimes it isn’t your place or it isn’t the right time to make it.

So we abandoned the idea and went back to our traditional potluck the following year. And I went back to making my candied yams … which are really delicious, ifIdosaysomyself … Happy Thanksgiving!


Where the Buzz is Going

It’s ironic that I’ve reached a milestone on the blog about the same time the year is coming to an end. I know a lot of people are reflecting on what they’ve accomplished in 2011 and starting to give serious thought to goals for 2012.

Here’s a basic rundown of my goals for next year:

  • More writing. I really love the whole creative process and I want to do even more! I am beginning work on my first book and seeking more guest-writing, collaborative opportunities with other folks in the blogosphere.
  • More networking. The most pleasant surprise of this journey so far are the wonderful people I’ve met through social media. I want to do more to solidify those connections and expand them. I set a goal to attend at least 3 professional conferences next year, not including my annual trip to Hire Minds. I believe that will give me the courage to tear down the wall I’ve built between work-me and blog-me one brick at a time.
  • More learning. It’s long over due for me to get active with my local SHRM chapter and get my SPHR Certification. I have heard this same message repeatedly from different sources in recent weeks in things I’ve read and listened to — and I know it’s the Universe telling me to get on it. Along with that, I also want to read more good, old-fashioned books.

Seems simple, right? It is.

Goal-setting isn’t rocket science. It’s taking the time to get still and silent, figure out what you want to do or what you need to do, how best to do it and setting an order of priority.

Most times, the goals almost set themselves. Like I said, the Universe often screams out to us what our next steps should be. We just have to atune our hearts and minds to hear it … What is it saying to you?

HR, Porn & PR: Why I’m a Buzz Fan

So honored to be asked to guest post on “The Buzz on HR” celebrating the 6 month blogging milestone. I have been asked to “hover” the blog and reflect on any post I choose.

As a creative type, to just choose one is not my nature. So I’m taking an overview approach. I enjoyed re-reading some of my favorites like: The story about Dewey. Whew. How do people live with such drama and manipulation in their lives? For me, as a business owner, it can be very lonely dealing with employee and management issues, unable to really talk about them for reasons of privacy and professionalism. And that is the way it should be. But, many reflective online souls enjoy an outlet for expressing our trails and tribulations of the day. And that is what “The Buzz on HR’ is for me. The writing is funny, respectful, reflective, relevant and most of all REAL. Want a good sampling? Read the “HR is for the Birds” series of posts.

As a marketing professional I want to reflect on the “Honey, Hover, Hurt” concept. This may especially appeal to those who might want to blog someday and be like Buzz! She crafts a unique structure by lifting these three categories. When a blog has a structure the reader knows what to expect from the writing. This is a solid editorial strategy much like any magazine that focuses on a particular subject.

My feeling is that Buzz picked this topic structure to keep her great writing focused. In turn it also keeps the reader focused. I could take some lessons from this. (But, remember I could not pick just one post to review for this anniversary piece.) “The Buzz on HR” is laser targeted to cover trench HR issues lifted from real life or the social media blog-o-sphere. We read about the agreeable  ‘Honey’ that inspires us, engages us and gives us motivation to do our job a little better. We get to ‘Hover’ into the mind of Buzz that may not have a straight answer or a clear opinion but is thoughtfully dissecting. And we get the ‘Hurt’ which disagrees and challenges HR’s views, common strategies and other blogger opinions.

Add humor and some recurring employee characters, you just want to tune in to “The Buzz on HR” for more story-telling. And it is the story-telling part that pulls me in every time. When it is unprofessional to participate in gossip or wild rumor, I feel like I have this secret place to read about other people’s stuff. I think that is the argument for porn too. But we won’t go there.

Maybe this post should have been some nugget of wisdom pulled from a relevant HR experience? But, I decided to stick with my marketing and PR  thoughts, encouraging readers to take some time and discover 6 months of wisdom right here on “The Buzz on HR”.  Anticipating 6 more months.

So congratulations Buzz! Cheers. This post is for you! For readers and writers out there in the Human Resources world who are inspired to read or inspired to blog, you have come to where the buzz is on HR. And thanks again Buzz for this secret place that I’m sure will continue to be discovered by many more readers.



Lyn Hoyt adopted me like a little HR sister within days of my first blog post. Well, maybe I adopted her … But either way, she’s mine now! Lyn has been a constant source of encouragement, NC Wolfpack love and bacon! Her presence and support has been invaluable to me.

Lyn is a business owner in Nashville, TN where she and her husband own Berkeley Tandem, Inc. an online retailer and wholesale manufacturer designing and producing framed recognition products in the USA since 1995. Home of and

Lyn blogs about HR, employee branding and engagement at  and tweets under @designtwit. She also tweets under @mtshrm while serving on her local SHRM Chapter communications committee.

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