TagChallenges of Working in HR

Nothing Left To Ponder

I’ve been a contributor at the Performance I Create blog since 2012. And although my schedule has become way more hectic and I’ve had to slow down much of my “Buzz” work, I’ve continued to write monthly for PIC without lapse or fail.

I believe in the simple message that PIC promotes about creating successful organizations by focusing on creating performance excellence. The team of bloggers at PIC have become some of my closest HR friends and confidantes.

So it was incredibly bittersweet when I received the call from PIC founder Chris Ponder a few weeks ago, announcing that he was stepping away from leading the group and the HR blogging/social space altogether.

I totally understand the reasons. The grind of HR is not easy. It is hard to stay motivated to write positive, useful, original HR content after dealing with the hardcore challenges of the HR trenches every day. I struggle with it. It’s why I don’t post as often on this blog as I once did or would like to now … Add to that the stress and responsibility of constantly wrangling a dozen other uber busy, grinding HR professionals — and it’s enough to burn anyone out.

What sucks is that Chris Ponder is a talented writer and the HR blogosphere needs voices like his. Here are a few of my favorite posts that he’s written:

I will miss reading his thoughts and advice … However, I’m fortunate to still have my friend just a text, email or phone call away.

There’s nothing left to ponder. Chris Ponder has left the PIC building. We will carry on without him — but we won’t be the same.

For starting this site. For bringing this talented, awesome group together. For leading us for the last 4 years. For putting up with our shenanigans. For encouraging us. For being our biggest promoter and helper. For being my friend … Thank you, CP2!! We love you bunches and we will continue to make you proud.


From PIC — “HR is Headed for Self-Destruction”

One of my favorite old skool hip-hop songs is “Self Destruction.” After 20 years, I still know over 90% of the lyrics. It is one of a few old skool jams that causes me to stop whatever I’m doing and lose myself in words and nostalgia for a few minutes whenever I hear it.

It isn’t lost on me that the lyrics are still very much relevant and applicable today — but I don’t want to talk about that stuff here. This isn’t the place for it. This is a blog about HR leading organizations to high levels of performance. And although pop culture and politics trickle into the conversation, we always have to bring it back to the practical application of business theory and operations. Otherwise, we’re just more rhetoric and a symptom of the problem.

I digress.

The song popped into my head recently as I was planning an exercise with my HR team about the connectedness of our functions. This is the first time I’ve worked somewhere with departments within the HR department, where everyone had a specialty and there were no generalists. And the in-fighting between the groups is something to behold! I thought only practitioners and consultants had ‘beef’ (see Notorious B.I.G for definition). Now I’m learning HR specialties fight with each other over who is the most important, who deserves the most accolades, attention and budget resources.

I found myself looking to these lyrics for explanation and inspiration …

Read the rest of this post over at Performance I Create ….

It’s Been A Long Time

… I shouldn’t have left you … Depending on the era you were born, you can finish that lyric in any number of ways.

It’s hard to believe it’s been over 2 months since I last posted anything on this blog. I’ve never gone that long without writing since I launched 3 years ago. Yikes and yuck!

The stuff of life and work just got to me. I couldn’t make the time and mental space to be creative. I try to be a practical and positive voice in the HR blogosphere. When my daily happenings are less than that, it’s hard to push the challenges aside and speak from a clear, neutral place. So instead of sharing sadness and snark, I chose silence.

There were events and moments that made me want to say something … but then I’d sit in front of my computer and nothing would come out. Soon, the moment would pass and the idea wouldn’t really be relevant anymore.

Sigh. It happens to everyone, I suppose.

I wasn’t a complete lazy lima bean in the meanwhile. I wrote 3 posts AND appeared on Drive Thru HR radio AND collaborated on a fantastic e-book with the awesome team of bloggers over at Performance I Create. You should check all that out as well as subscribe to PIC because there is new, great content there almost daily.

I was also the featured speaker for a webinar on HR.com (you can get HRCI credit for watching the replay)–I spoke at a couple of local events in NC as well

Best of all, I got a new job!! And with that, I know my work-life balance will come back to equilibrium.

Still, with all that going on, I didn’t post any new content here. I regret that. However, there’s nothing I can do about it now — except apologize to my readers for staying gone so long and get my butt back in the blogging saddle.

So that’s what I’m doing. Today … Buzz is back. Buckle up! 😉


The Quest for an ATS

I’ve spent much of the last year working to improve my organization’s recruiting and hiring processes. One of the main goals was moving our application process completely online. Being a small staff, we have to make optimal use of technology to track the success of our hiring. Like all organizations, we need to maintain a steady flow of appropriate applicants to staff our business. And we need to be able to report and track those metrics.

Finding a reputable, affordable vendor to partner with was both too easy and too hard. Because there are dozens and scores out there! And they all proclaim to be the best at what they do … Fortunately, I have a professional network full of really smart and savvy HR geniuses to help navigate the selection minefield. Their recommendations have been invaluable. Who you know continues to matter almost as much as what you know.

In making a selection, one thing that was really important was the system’s ability to send notifications to the candidates about their status throughout the process. We get hundred of applications each month. Communicating with each applicant is important to us — especially because so many of them are or become customers. How we treat them during the hiring process has larger impact that we have to always keep in mind … More than just the standard “we received your application and will contact you if interested,” we hoped for something that would communicate automatically if the applicant didn’t meet current needs, didn’t score in the benchmarked range for assessments or just wasn’t a fit without making them so upset that they would never want to visit our locations or purchase our products again … It didn’t seem like a lot to ask.

But it turned out that it was. Repeatedly, I heard that the notices desired were not either not available or not recommended because there was too much risk involved in rejecting or upsetting the potential candidate.

Huh? So letting someone who has applied to work for you think you either never looked at their application and/or looked at it didn’t think enough of the person to respond at all is the better option??

C’mon man!!!

Applicants are screaming for feedback about their status. They want to know if they are in or out. They want to know if they are in the running or should move onto other opportunities. We should give it to them. There has to be a way to do that and still be lawful, appropriate and respectful.

If there isn’t, there should be. So I’ll keep looking and working until I find it or create it. The quest for the perfect applicant tracking system is far from over …

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