The Best of the Buzz 2014

Happy New Year!!!! I am excited for all that lies ahead of me for 2015. It is going to be a great year.

That doesn’t mean 2014 was a bad one. Although there were several tough personal moments, I have to say it was a really good year. And I couldn’t close the door on it without a quick look back of the top posts on the blog for the year.

I present to you “The Best of the Buzz — 2014” ….

14. Bringing that “Back to School Magic” to HR.

  • The 3 part series from September gives practical management and personal tips on how to bring the same excitement to work as teachers and kids returning to school from summer break.

13. What HR is to Me … Now.

  • My annual reflections on where the profession is and where it is going.

12. Confessions of a Louisiana SHRM 14 Speaker.

  • I was a ball of nerves preparing to speak at the annual conference. Read why.

11. Is It Time To Re-Write That Job Posting?

  • Set it and forget it works with crock pots, but not job ads. These tips will help you know when it is time to refresh.

10. HR Under the Gunn

  • Fun and practical mentoring and management tips from the reality show Under The Gunn

9. “The Choice Is Clear” — A Lesson in Conflict Resolution

  • It’s hard to choose between managers and tenured employees when conflict arises. This will help you make the choice.

8. Who’s The Boss

  • I brought my daughter to work with me and she thought the intern was my boss. Read why.

7. What I Learned at SHRM14 … Even Though I Wasn’t There

  • I missed the big SHRM show in Orlando. But I still learned stuff. Read about it.

6. No More And Then! (A Lesson In Employee Relations)

  • Here’s what problems with furniture delivery taught me about employee issues

5. What Is HR Thirsty For?

  • Learn the urban dictionary definition of “thirsty” and how it relates to frustrations in HR

4. HR Rock – Paper – Scissors … SHOOT!

  • Dealing with employee issues sometimes feel like a game. Learn how to play and win.

3. Certifiably SPHR Certified

  • My tips and tricks for passing the exam

2. It’s the Carnival of HR Love … and Other Stuff

  • I hosted the HR Carnival in February 2014, with posts focused on passion for work and at work

1. This is What I Think of the SHRM Certification

  • The decision of SHRM to split from HRCI sent shockwaves through the HR community this year. My thoughts on the split turned out to be my most popular post of the year


There you have it!! And please don’t forget to check out mine and all the other great posts over at Performance I Create.

I’m back next week with new content. Thank you for reading and sharing this journey with me!

Book Review: “The Reality-Based Rules of the Workplace”

It’s no secret that I love and admire Cy Wakeman. Ever since I met her last year at the Illinois SHRM Conference, heard her speak and got to spend time with her at a little restaurant in Chicago-Midway airport — she’s been like my BFF in my head.

That little bit of time I spent with her put my life on a different trajectory. Listening to Cy talk about “Reality-Based Leadership” and “ditching the drama” in the workplace is a big part of what made me realize something had to change in my worklife — and that something was ME!! So when I returned, I took active steps to upgrade my resume and my job search … About 45 days later, I was in a new position — and I’ve been playing catch-up ever since. I marvel almost every day at how different my life looks now than it did a little less than a year ago … And I couldn’t be more grateful and excited to everything and everyone who has encouraged and helped me along the way.

So when Cy Wakeman sent me an email about a month ago to let me know her new book was about to be released, I was really excited. And when she sent me another email asking if I would consider reading and posting a review of her new book on my blog, I was like … YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT!!! (I didn’t even really try to be cool about it)

Whereas her first book (Reality-Based Leadership) was all about managing others, The Reality-Based Rules of the Workplace is all about managing yourself. The new rules are all centered around the New Value Equation. Your score indicates the actual value you bring to your organization. Your Value equals:

Current Performance + Future Potential – (3 x Emotional Expensiveness)

I’m only a little embarrassed to admit that my score was -0.5! However, it revealed to me the areas where I’m really solid and the areas where I have much work to do … Then the book goes on to give the advice and tools to do the work — in clear, practical and easily-digestable bites. That’s what I love about Cy and her writing the most! She is brilliantly practical — and puts her finger right on the pulse of why the reign of drama queens needs to end in our workplaces! Being a workplace jerkface is no longer acceptable or desirable. Accountability is the only way to survive and thrive. Period.

I won’t spoil it with much more detail on the rules or how to apply them … But I must share a few of my favorite wisdom nuggets:

  • “You can’t expect anyone to work harder at your success than you do. Downtimes are perfect times to upgrade your skill set, volunteer for cross-training, widen your experience … and enhance your value by becoming more flexible”
  • “…most talk about accountability is about who is to blame, who dropped the ball, or whose butt is on the line. It is ironic that we tend to focus on others and what they should have done or prevented … because accountability is personal, and it is very empowering”
  • “If your life is full of drama, you are its creator or co-creator — not its magnet”
  • “Giving the benefit of the doubt, not jumping to conclusions, is part of what it means to be professional”
  • “The value you add is identifying potential problems and fixing them with the minimum drama possible”
  • “If you aren’t developing, change will expose your lack of competence, but if you are keeping up with your development, you have no need to resist. Your success will not be dependent on everything staying the same, but on your readiness for what’s next”
  • “Stay and serve, or go in peace — there is no third option”

Great stuff, right?? I know!! That’s why I want you to take time and make time to read this book. I promise it will change your outlook on yourself, your work and the people that you work with … Put “Reality-Based Rules of the Workplace” on your summer reading list. Now.

HR is the Nerve Center

Wikipedia defines Human Resources as the set of individuals who make up the workforce of an organization, business sector or an economy.  In other words, we are the backbone of the company.   No company can survive without employees, more specifically, good employees.  Any Joe Schmoe can set up shop and put up a now hiring sign.  But does Joe really know what he’s looking for in an employee?  Does Joe know how to determine whether or not Jane Doe has the right skills for the job?  Can Joe discern whether or not John or Jane Doe will stay with his company for more than a week?  In most instances Joe has no idea.   How about once John or Jane Doe is hired?   Does Joe know exactly what is required to verify employment eligibility?  What about payroll and benefits? And so on and so forth.  Having an experienced Human Resources administrator can make or break the company.

I started working in the HR field around the year 2000.  I have done recruiting and staffing, worked with benefits, processed payroll, you name it.  And every job I’ve held, every aspect of the Human Resources field is extremely important and rewarding.  There are times where you get stuck with grunge work, working late nights, and having to deliver bad news to candidates, hiring managers, and co-workers.  But  everything else is awesome like helping someone truly qualified and deserving find a job; ensuring that employees are paid correctly; and having a hiring manager show appreciation for your assistance in placing the right candidate in the job.  The perks definitely outweigh the grunge.

From the time I set foot into my first corporate setting in 1995, I wanted to work in Human Resources.  Ahhh, the coveted HR Department!  I have worked for quite a few, ok let’s be real, SEVERAL different companies.  And almost always, it’s virtually impossible to transition into a position in the Human Resources department.  For one thing, Human Resources employees just don’t want to leave!  They almost never seem to want to transfer OUT of Human Resources.  They rarely resign and take forever to retire.  And while I was waiting for someone, anyone, to quit, retire, get fired, or relocate to the Czech Republic…so was everyone else in the company.  So while getting into the HR department, in any capacity, was a challenge.  I set a goal for myself to make it there, just because it was where everyone else wanted to be.  I had no idea how important that department and the people in it really were.  So initially, what Human Resources meant to me was achieving a goal that would confirm that I was awesome and everyone else sucked.

What Human Resources means to me today is jobs, employee retention, economic stability, healthcare and so much more.  If I can be dramatically whimsical I’d venture to say, that Human Resources means dreams realized, a new home, a business growing and profiting.  So again, Human Resources is the nerve center and the backbone of any successful business.  Two words:  WE ROCK!!!


This post was written by Keeya Majors.

Keeya was born, raised, and currently resides in Richmond, VA.  Her work experience has been an eclectic mash up between HR/Payroll and Banking.  At one point she was known as the “banking merger queen”.  She was with Crestar Bank when they merged with Suntrust; NationsBank when they merged with Bank of America; First Union when they merged with Wachovia; and Bank of Richmond when they merged with Gateway.  Keeya is currently a Payroll Specialist with The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, or as she likes to call it “The Banks’ Bank.”

She has worked in every aspect of Human Resources and Payroll.   From recruiting and staffing to time reporting to benefits.  She’s had a hand in each role and loved every minute of it.  Her most challenging, taxing, and rewarding role, however, is being a mother to three beautiful children.

I’ve had the pleasure of hiring and working with Keeya twice in my career — and I would do it again if given the chance. She is awesomesauce! Connect with her on LinkedIn and follow her on Twitter


My So-Called HR Reality

Almost eight years ago, I found myself in my last year of undergrad searching for my niche in the world of psychology. I started out in clinical psychology and decided I didn’t want to diagnose and counsel for the rest of my existence so I set out on my quest to find my new niche. In searching, one of my mentors at the time told me to look into industrial psychology … I was hooked immediately!

Since dealing with mental issues was no longer an interest, I figured I would endeavor to diagnose and prescribe solutions for the issues in the workplace instead.

Every class I took excited me more than the last. By the time I graduated I felt a superhero sense of empowerment to go out in the world and right all the wrongs in the workplace or maybe at the least understand them. By the time I landed my first HR job, my hopes and dreams were quickly deflated. They neglected to tell me in school that HR wasn’t superman and didn’t always save the day by saving poor employees from the wrath of their employers. They also neglected to tell me that sometimes HR was the problem and didn’t have all the answers.

What a blow to these hopes and dreams I had of conquering all and leaving companies better than I found them. Several stints in HR into my career, I had been the victim of antiquated processes, bullying, sexual harassment, ill-equipped bosses, ridiculous schedules, deficits in resources and poor HR models. What the heck was my mentor thinking? Now I need a couch and a psychologist to speak to for all that I’ve seen and endured in this profession. I didn’t aid the company in resolving these issues; this became my HR reality. I actually lived these atrocities in a company’s HR department.  I reached a point of feeling that my hopes and dreams had been naïve and perhaps misguided now that I realized that HR wasn’t the Immaculate Conception I thought it was.

All of a sudden, I had to find a renewed purpose in a profession that hasn’t lived up to the fairy tale I was told in undergrad. Instead it was a nightmare — but I didn’t want to escape completely. I wanted to fix it and I knew eventually I would have other profound realizations and find my purpose in this profession. If there is one thing that is essential to your HR toolbox it is purpose. Without a sense of purpose, I think one cannot endure the sordid happenings that are all too common in HR for long.

As I have progressed through my career to date here is what I have realized … HR is not the savior of any business or one employee and I’m not sure that is a job that HR wants. No matter what your religion, this idea of an omniscient being or beings swooping down and saving your company is a huge burden to carry. Being omniscient is best left in religious texts not for the world of work. The other thing is sometimes HR has to make unpopular decisions whether it is seeing an investigation of sexual harassment through to the bitter end or handing down a termination of someone in the C-Suite for shady business practices. We are the face of these unpopular decisions and should wear it as a badge of honor. We are not the police nor are we the Dalai Lama. We are simply a group of individuals equipped to develop and administrate the programs and initiatives that assist your company in thriving fiscally, ethically, and legally by managing the “human capital” facet of the business.

Assist, advise, assert, administer, and advocate are just some of the words that are synonymous with the purpose of Human Resources. We assist leaders in managing the “people” business. We advise employees and leaders alike on everything from career development to workforce planning. We assert the business imperative to do the right thing even when it’s not the lucrative thing. We administer policies, programs and initiatives that enrich the business. We advocate on behalf of the employee and for the company- it’s a fine line to walk but we understand how to balance it all.

It is apparent that HR and I share the same journey in that we know what has to be done, we have the tools to do it, we certainly have the business savvy and intelligence to advise the C-Suite yet we are still in a place of trying to find our “niche”.  Here’s a thought — our collective niche is ever evolving. It is true that we are the core of the organization and in being that there are some things that will remain the same. However, as our businesses evolve so should we. That is taking what we know and everything we are and putting a new spin on it. We will never be perfect or be all things to all people. What we know is good enough — and that is people. Happy people equal happy and thriving organizations. Once we realize that this is the area where we really shine we will find that we have found our niche and possess a power unmatched.

Good, bad, or indifferent this is my profession and I am proud of it. This is my so-called HR reality.


This post was written by Janine N. Truitt.

Janine is a Senior Human Resources Representative for Brookhaven National Laboratory. Her expertise and interests are in Talent Management, HRIT, Employee Relations, and HR Policy/Compliance and any other endeavor that improves the HR function in organizations. To add to her multi-faceted talents she is a devoted wife and mom to two amazing little girls, science and philosophy lover, and HR blogger and founder of “The Aristocracy of HR“. Connect with her on Linked In and follow her tweets on Twitter @CzarinaofHR. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect the opinions of her employer.

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