CategoryGuest Bloggers

I’m Bringing Decking Back – The Return of the Christmas Classics Series

I love Christmas movies.

The joy of the simple, feel-good stories and the sweet nostalgia of watching the same shows and movies year after year just can’t be beat.

For the few years on this blog, I dedicated several posts in December to Christmas classic movies.  Each posts was full of fun, practical inspiration from me and an amazing line-up of guest contributors.

So I decided to revive my Holiday Classics Series with 3 fresh, new posts this year. The fun will start on December 19th.

Until then, relive the magic of yesteryear by reading these throwbacks:

Deck the halls, yo! It’s the most wonderful time of the year


Happy #TKDay!! Cuz We All Need a Tiffany

March 15th is Tiffany Keuhl‘s birthday … so the BlogFFs decided to embarrass celebrate her with posts across our collective social media.

I met Tiffany on Twitter about 4 years ago when she retweeted something I posted. Soon after, I followed her back on Twitter … then we connected on LinkedIn … then Facebook … then we exchanged phone numbers and began talking/texting.

And now I cannot imagine my world without her.

Tiffany is a great friend. When she rocks with you, she rocks with you. You don’t have to wonder how she feels about you because she tells you. You don’t have to worry if she’ll be there when you need her because when you look over your shoulder, she’s already there. Through every victory I’ve had and every loss I’ve suffered since we became friends, she has been a consistent source of encouragement and support.

Tiffany is an amazing HR professional. There a few people who know more about the world of HR and are willing to share without hesitation or expectation than my Tiffers. She “gets” that sharing information with others doesn’t diminish her value, worth or importance. She “gets” that helping others makes her and our profession better.

Tiffany is a networking savant. Tiffany knows everybody! And she knows somebody who knows somebody. She is intentional about being current and connected to other professionals. In every conference or seminar or meeting she attends, you will see her on the move, shaking hands and taking photos and exchanging information and making introductions and getting to know people. She soaks it all up like a sponge — then she squeezes it out by connecting those connections to the rest of us.

Tiffany is a loving family woman. She is married to another HR pro — and they have a beautiful son. She is a daughter and a sister and an aunt and a cousin. She loves her family and is as dedicated to them as she is to her friends and her career.

Tiffany is fun, funny and fun-loving. Our conversations (although mostly by text these days because our schedules are unnaturally hectic) are always hilarious. You will find her on Instagram out-and-about in great places with great people having a great time. Even when she’s down, she’s never out of encouraging words or positive perspective.

Turnup with us for #TKDay online … cuz we all need more people like her in our lives. And when we have them, we should absolutely celebrate them.

Happy Birthday, Tiffers!!

Bunches of love      ~ Buzzarooney


TKDay - Tiffany Kuehl

All is Not as it Seems: HR Lessons from Christmas in Connecticut

One of the movies I most look forward to watching each year is Christmas in Connecticut starring Barbara Stanwyck. It’s more romantic comedy than HR How To, but there are a few potential lessons.


barbara stanwyck

A Quick(ish) Summary

Elizabeth Lane writes a popular column for a women’s magazine describing her idyllic life as a homemaker on a picturesque farm with her husband and young son. Unlike the perfect homemaker image she portrays, in real life she is single, lives in a small apartment in NYC, and can’t cook. The recipes she writes about come from a friend who owns a restaurant and her descriptions of the farm are based on one owned by John, a successful architect whom she has repeatedly turned down for marriage. When her publisher invites himself and a war hero to her farm for Christmas, she knows he will learn the truth and she’ll lose her job. Desperate, she agrees to marry John and host Christmas at the farm. But, before they can be married by a local Judge, the guests arrive and chaos ensues as they try to hold the farce together.



  1. There’s a reason for checking references and verifying credentials. This is too obvious not to mention. It’s never revealed how she got the job but, because of her popularity, it would have cost the magazine considerable embarrassment and credibility if anyone discovered the truth.


  1. Job requirements are a filter, not a guarantee. Deception aside, she was very successful because her skill as a writer and imaginative detail overshadowed her inexperience as a homemaker. I don’t condone deception, but it does raise an important issue.


Job requirements are an easy way to identify and separate out the people most likely to be successful at a job. But in many cases, the “requirements” are just a best guess or even arbitrary and don’t truly have much to do with job performance (I’ll spare you my rants about college degrees or personality profiles). Too often, meeting all the requirements does not guarantee a person will be successful in the job while rejecting many who might be high performers.


Do any of your job requirements unnecessarily screen out people who might otherwise be fantastic? It’s easy to see if those hired are successful, but hard to tell which of those eliminated might otherwise have been successful. So, how do you know?


  1. The best ideas are those useful to you. She had zero expertise with anything she wrote about yet her readers revered her as the ideal they aspired to be. She didn’t have the credentials but she made the information useful to her readers.


Today, there is a lot of HR content pumped into the interwebz. Some is good, some sounds good, and some is just noise. Too much is positioned as cutting edge, aspirational HR Truth-with-a-capital-T when there is no one-size-fits-all. Different people and different situations are, well, different, and what works for one person in one situation might be an ugly fail in another. We all need to be discerning in deciding if something is true, useful, and could work in our particular situation. Caveat emptor.



  1. Connection with customers is crucial. When one column mentioned she was looking for a specific type of rocking chair, 40 readers purchased and shipped chairs to her as a gift. That’s connection.


What kind of connection does your HR team have with employees and managers? Are they raving fans, indifferent, or openly hostile? If HR was about to be outsourced, would employees fight to keep your team or cheer?



  1. Performance trumps. (Spoiler!) The publisher fired her for dishonesty and hired her back at double her pay when he realized he lost one of his most popular writers. It’s a reminder that, right or wrong, people who excel are often given a degree of latitude the average person never experiences.


Has your HR department created enough credibility and results to be given the benefit of the doubt and be listened to even when your advice or actions run counter to what leadership wants to do?



  1. Your choice. Watch the movie and let me know your biggest takeaways.



This post was written by Broc Edwards. Broc is a speaker and blogger on business, HR, and learning and development topics and has published the book “What Thinks You? A Fool’s Eye View of Human Resources”. Connect with him on Twitter @brocedwards or his website or blog fool (with a plan).

Who is the Real Scrooge? The Boss….or The Employee?

We are all familiar with the story “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens in which Ebenezer Scrooge, a miser of a boss, is visited by his dead partner and then three Christmas ghosts that help him see the error of his ways in order to turn over a new leaf before its too late.

In 1988, the film “Scrooged” starring Bill Murray took a modern spin on the story with Murray starring as Frank Cross – a cynical television programming executive who found great success and wealth, but only by becoming cold-hearted and cruel.  As his station recreates the story as a live play, Cross finds himself living out the play in his real life – mirroring the storyline.

Whether or not it was the intent of Charles Dickens when he wrote the story (which is actually loosely based on his real life and feelings regarding his father), audiences have always found themselves viewing Scrooge as the villain and his employee as the victim.  Especially in today’s job market where so many are working for low wages along with grueling hours, and thanks in part to the introduction of the Internet and social media/email keeping us connect to work 24/7, many workers find themselves feeling as if they are living the part of Bob Cratchit/Grace Cooley.  Many may even dream, this time of year, that their bosses would be “visited” and suddenly have a change of heart!

So one’s first inclination to discuss how HR plays a role in a situation like this would be to say that HR needs to address the boss and let him know just how unfair and disgruntled his employees are.

  • Is he truly blind to the workplace situation or purposefully ignoring the needs of his employees and focused solely on turning a profit?
  • If he/she knew that a “simple” act of kindness would have an enormous effect on the employees and their morale, would he/she do it?
  • Would he/she part with the money needed to upgrade the work environment, grant pay raises or even add more attractive benefits in order to keep trained and experienced employees? Does he/she really not care about the employees and doing what is needed to retain the talent or are employees viewed as easily replaceable?


If, as an HR professional, those are the questions that first come to mind, then you aren’t doing your job right. 

Remember: every situation has two sides to the story and one’s “perception” based on only some of the information can result in the wrong answers.  An HR professional truly is in a position to help garner change at a company so you need to first look at both sides.

Employees only see part of the situation at work and focus on what affects them and their lives.   Managers normally have to deal with much more that is rarely revealed as part of their decision process.

When people are placed into management roles, it is for a variety of reasons: based on skills/experience needed, to fill a need for someone to lead, because they are a family member, because it seems the next logical step in their career, and so many more.  Point is: not all those that go into a management role are ready for it and almost all bring with them some sort of baggage that affects the decisions in their new role.  One of the biggest factors is the manager’s past experience at the employee level – some work to change things for the better in their new position but some will use their position to control what they couldn’t control before…the ones we say are on a “power trip.”

So, when you come across a situation where the employee is complaining about their manager and “unfair treatment,” are you focusing on the solution they want….or do you try to uncover why their manager is acting the way they are or making the decisions they have made?  Employees aren’t going to focus on the manager or their problems…they only care about themselves which is, in a way, the definition of a “scrooge” even though we don’t automatically think that.  They are acting just like the person they are complaining about…do you see?

What both “A Christmas Carol” and “Scrooged” show is that the lead character didn’t start out the way he was…at one time, he was loving and hopeful.  Circumstances in his life caused him to change – and without having anyone to talk to about it, he changed for the worse instead of finding help and healing.  The ghostly visits eventually bring him down that path.

HR needs to remember that their role in the workplace is “human relations” which includes ALL employees of the company: from the owner to the managers to the employees.  All deserve the same consideration and treatment and not be labeled based on assumptions or skewed perceptions.  Remember: your job is to listen to both sides and help them see the others’ point of view so that both sides can work together – regardless of their role – to create a happy and profitable workplace.

You – Mr/Ms HR Professional…are the Ghosts of the Past, Present and Future all rolled into one! Happy Haunting!


This post was written by Barb Buckner. Barb Buckner is has over 15 years experience as a HR professional across a wide variety of industries including: banking, retail, pharmaceuticals, professional services and real estate. Read more of her writings and connect with her at her blog “Chicago HR Coach”

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