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What is your company doing for Veterans Day?

Whatever it is, put those plans on hold.

The best thing you can do is hire a veteran. The second best thing you can do is stop assuming that all veterans suffer from PTSD. The third thing you can do is stop trying to gain favor with veterans because you have a cousin who served in Afghanistan or Bosnia or wherever.

I know you and your company are well intentioned, but you either treat veterans well every day or you don’t.

There’s no middle ground on this issue.

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You guys, I just finished a month of writing about the candidate experience for CareerBuilder’s Talent Advisor Portal.

What is this all about? What is the candidate experience?

The candidate experience is about fairness and communication. It’s about people in power — leaders, hiring managers, human resources professionals — giving a damn about job seekers and applicants.

Why does it matter?

Tim Sackett says it doesn’t. What the hell does he know? The measure of a civilization is how it treats its weakest members. That’s a famous quote attributed to about 15 different people, and you don’t get much weaker than a job seeker in 2014.

What’s so special about job seekers?

Job seekers are your future talent pipeline. I’m not asking corporations to throw a party every time someone applies for a job. There are pitfalls to avoid. I’m asking you — as a talent advisor — to acknowledge when resumes hit your system. Optimize your ATS and CRM systems. Maybe act like a human being and keep job seekers in the loop when you’ve considered for a position with the company.

Crazy, I know.

Can any of this be measured?

Good grief, yes. I’m all about evidenced-based decisions. Gerry Crispin thinks it can be measured. He’s not dumb. Jennifer McClure will walk you through the ROI of the candidate experience.

What else?

What do you mean what else?! That’s it. This is not hard, people. Get on board with the candidate experience or be a jerk and lose great people in the hiring process.

Start here by downloading this e-book on the candidate experience. Or don’t. Nobody can make you treat people well if you have a cold, cold heart.

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A good friend of mine is the CEO of a small (but busy) corporation. She told me that the single biggest differentiator between good HR leadership and inadequate HR leadership is someone who can speak the language of executive compensation.

You see, executive compensation is different than “average joe” compensation.

You get paid money. If you’re lucky, you might get a bonus. Some of you get RSUs. Maybe some of you participate in the grants and options game.

Executive compensation, which is way above my paygrade, gets confusing and weird. Earnings are taxed, but rich folk don’t like to pay taxes. Ownership, vesting, stock and scheduling all come into play in this regard, too. Health care and retirement schemes get complicated because companies have to indemnify their organizations and insure their senior leadership teams and officers. Who gets a company-mandated physical and when? (It’s not just officers.) Then there’s the perquisites aka fringe benefits of the job. Want access to the company apartment? When do you get access to legal counsel? What about a helicopter? A driver? When is that driver on call? Who does your personal planning? What does your expense account look like?

The CHRO of the future needs to know this — and know the people who know this — and she needs to know what, when and how to report this stuff (or not). Compliance still matters.

Most of us will never see this world, but it exists.

I like Ann Bares and Paul Hebert when it comes to compensation-related stuff. I also like the internet, which answers all my tough questions in life. I do think you can gain some insight into how companies operate and govern themselves (or don’t) by volunteering on a not-for-profit board.

None of this is the same as earning legit “executive compensation” experience, which is earned in the trenches; however, in the absence of proximity to power, it’s good to learn how some of these things work. And you should learn them ASAP, or get to know someone who knows this stuff, if you want to get promoted.

Why does everyone hate HR? Join the movement to fix that. Download the new e-book, “I Am HR.” http://ow.ly/xIRbQ Click to tweet.

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As the entire world knows, I will be forty years old in January. I’m not afraid of turning 40. I’ve never had more fun or more opportunity in my life. It’s good to be LFR.

But 40 is something. Not only does it mean that I have a few life experiences under my belt, it also means that I’m twice as old as your skeevy uncle’s girlfriend. In fact, I was your skeevy uncle’s girlfriend back then. Then I got a job in human resources and married the guy.

So what do I know at 40 that I didn’t know at 20 when I had my first job in human resources at a candy company? Well, I know that it’s tough to be a life-long learner and a student of anything — let alone HR. There’s no time to stay current with trends when your CEO wants some shitty report that he already has, vendors are crawling up your ass, and employees are calling in sick because of Obama.

When I worked in human resources, I skipped lunch and took 30-minute naps during lunch. I parked my car at an elementary school, which in retrospect looks pretty shady, and shut my eyes. I just needed a break.

But now I think that being a life-long learner is the only thing that will save you from the monotony and drudgery of your job. Work is tough? Focus on something else. So here are two ideas.

1. You should read HR Tech Field Guide by HR veteran Jessica Miller-Merrell. It’s a quick book. I read it alone in a restaurant in New York City while avoiding small talk with a British guy who was clearly into a woman in glasses who was reading an HR e-book on her iPhone. (Sigh. What a stupid dude.) Anyway, the book is great and will help you understand HR technology in a relevant manner.

2. Attend The Master Class in HCM: Understanding the Human Capital Marketplace, its Evolution, and its Future. William Tincup and John Sumser don’t want to tell you how to do your job better. They want you to walk away with a better understanding of product trends, key players in social media, the analyst community, and things to watch with investors and M&A. It’s an excellent class for HR leaders and practitioners. (It’s on my list to attend, but it conflicts with Sarah White’s wedding. Next time!)

I hope you find those two resources helpful. And leave a comment if you have additional ideas for HR professionals who want to improve their game.

Might I also recommend a nap in the car?

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Deloitte wants to kill your HR department.

I am not joking.

It starts with a casual conversation. Deloitte has done work with your colleagues in operations, IT and finance. It’s not tough to secure a meeting with your CEO or CFO. They know your industry, and they’ve done research in HR — which is nothing more than a cloaked lead generation campaign — that uniquely identifies the strengths and weaknesses in most modern HR department.

Can they just have a moment of your CEO’s time to talk about how business leaders think and feel? (Never mind those feelings aren’t fact.) Can they give your CEO and CFO a report that supports their consulting services? (It’s a report that is nothing more than a marketing scheme.)

From there, it gets bad for HR folk who work in the trenches. Once the ball is rolling, it’s all about best practices and optimization. You get trends, tips and a list of talent acquisition technologies to procure. You get process methodologies and implementations.

And you, the HR line leader, get boxed out. Labelled administrative. Told that you need to be more strategic (as you’re preventing lawsuits and dealing with front-line employee relations issues) while Deloitte has your CEO out to dinner that your company will eventually pay for on an invoice.

So how do you stop Deloitte from killing your career?

I wrote a book with some tips. I offer career advice on this subject all of the time in coaching sessions and in keynotes. But there’s one thing that you can do tomorrow that will help your hemorrhaging career:

Don’t let Deloitte through the door.

Bribe the admin to kill conference calls and delay the meetings. (I’m not joking.) Make every HR experience an efficient, glorious, meaningful experience with clear ROI for your executive team. Form a relationship with your leadership team that is based on familiarity, commonality and reciprocity. Copy what Deloitte does and deliver it flawlessly. Bar the damn door to the executive suite.

Once they’re in, they’re in.

Deloitte and its ilk are killing your future. Their projects get bigger when your salary dollars are reallocated. Don’t go down without a fight.

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CrayolaEdward Binney and Harold Smith co-invented crayons in 1903, which doesn’t seem that long ago. Fortune cookies were invented back in 1918 — but I have to admit that I thought fortune cookies were some sort of ancient Chinese dinner ritual. (This makes me mildly racist. Sorry, guys.) John Atanasoff and Clifford Berry built the first electronic digital computer in 1942, and both the VCR and liquid-crystal display (LCD) were invented in 1971. MRIs were invented in 1977 by Raymond V. Damadian, and RU-486 and Prozac were first commercialized in 1988. Facebook started in 2004, and YouTube came out around 2005.

I give you those highlights to remind you that the greatest achievements in life have nothing to do with human resources.

HR doesn’t innovate.

At its best, HR supports people who innovate.

At its worst, human resources gets in the way.

I know many of you want more for human resources. You want to do something more with your career than watch someone else do awesome work. I get it, but I think there’s something noble in paying people on time and guarding against civil rights infringements in the workforce. It’s not innovative, but it’s not nothing.

I really want to shake my head when I hear about HR departments that try to innovate, whatever that means. Good ideas are good ideas. If you have something to contribute, do it. Otherwise, do your employees a favor and meet the basic covenant of your job. Then get out of the way.

The invisible hand is the best hand to play. That’s what effective HR is all about.

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cultureisracistandsexist

For years, I’ve been saying that your company doesn’t have a culture. You are incorrectly applying the word “culture” to a group of people who behave a certain way because their lives are dominated by a few powerful figures in your office.

That’s it. Your shitty software company or little marketing agency doesn’t have a culture — it has a CEO and a leadership team that has particular points of view about how work should “feel.”

You? You show up and go along with the flow. You cash your check. If you don’t like the vibe in the office, you eventually quit.

I’m on record saying that “culture” is what we talk about when a company’s products and services are unremarkable. We pay employees in culture when we can’t pay them in cash.

I have also written that hiring for “fit” is a lie. Most people don’t know how to hire, so they zero in on likeability and gut-level bullshit that cannot be measured by good folks, like me, who believe that you can measure human capital decisions.

Fit is nonsense, but lots of leaders push back and tell me, “Oh, Laurie. Screening for skill is easy. It’s the gut-level stuff in the trenches — personality, likeability, trustworthiness — that’s the hardest to measure.”

That’s garbage. Fit is a lie we tell ourselves because we don’t know how to weight the one-two-punch of competency and character. What’s worse is that hiring for fit is often a cover for lazy, racist, sexist, bigoted, exclusionary, elitist, ageist and homophobic preferences in the work environment.

So I’m on record all over the goddamn internet with those statements. I have called bullshit on culture and fit before it was cool to hate on Zappos. I won’t walk any of it back, either, but it’s getting harder and harder for me to watch HR professionals play in the intersection of culture and fit without wishing someone would get hit by a car. When you talk about culture and fit, you sound like a tool.

Human resources leaders have an obligation to guard against group-think and homogeneous hiring methodologies. We have an obligation to ensure that the best ideas get heard and that the best employees move forward within an organization. We have an obligation to advocate on behalf of the cranky, grouchy, unlikeable employees who question everything and don’t go along with the flow. When we don’t do our jobs and question everything — including culture and fit — Goldman Sachs happens.

I want my friends and colleagues in human resources to start making evidenced-based decisions. I want them to think before they jump on the business jargon bandwagon. While I think it’s okay to love your CEO, I think the cult of celebrity CEO leadership compels many people to lose their freaking minds.

So remember where you heard it first. Culture and fit are lies we tell ourselves because we are afraid of the hard truths behind the unglamorous, unsexy, boring world of work.

Maybe you should stop lying to yourself and your employees. That’s one pretty easy way to fix the reputation of human resources.

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A few weeks ago, Bill Kutik asked, “Is predictive analytics for HR the greatest shuck and jive since social recruiting?”

I don’t know how to answer that question in a polite way.

Instead, I am moving onto the blog post itself, where the author claims that some companies are offering psychic powers to local HR departments (e.g., the ability to know when someone is about to quit).

I like building a good strawman and knocking him down; however, I have never heard a single vendor say that “knowing when an employee is going to quit” is the unique value proposition of their predictive analytics platform. But maybe I’m naive. I think employees are always going to quit. That’s part of why HR exists. You don’t need software for that. And nobody would try to peddle that rickety shit to me and expect to get away with it.

So what is this thing we’re calling predictive analytics? Click here and here and here to learn more.

What most smart people in the HR technology community are discussing is the opposite of psychic powers. Software companies have productized statistical modeling — used in finance, IT, and even pharmaceutical processes — and applied those protocols and methodologies to human capital investments. Data will help you test organizational hypothesis. Data will help you gain actionable insight. Data will help you understand the ROI of your HR expenditures in the most helpful ways. And you can begin planning for the future, too, in more accurate ways.

Dismiss the power of human capital analytics and predictive analytics at your own peril.

Want to learn more? HR professionals and vendors could start with books like Human Capital Analytics: How to Harness the Potential of Your Organization’s Greatest Asset or Developing Human Capital: Using Analytics to Plan and Optimize Your Learning and Development Investments. I have copies of both books, written by my friend Gene Pease, in my office. Let me know if you want one and I’ll send them your way.

Good luck!

Why does everyone hate HR? Join the movement to fix that. Download the new e-book, “I Am HR.” http://ow.ly/xIRbQ Click to tweet.

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Marathon-5

Happy to report that these Marathon Monday posts are over.

I’m pleased with the day. I had a great time, and the course was beautiful. This is weird to write, but there is nothing big to report.

As with most big things in life, it’s all about preparation. You get what you give, whether it’s college, marriage or parenthood. I worked as hard as I could work while maintaining a semi-orderly life. I tried to have fun. I wanted to bring my husband, friends and family along for the ride.

I achieved my goals and more.

Now what?

I don’t know.

Thanks for joining me in this journey!

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I eased off my running, this week, because my marathon is Sunday.

The methodology in which I back off my mileage and get ready for my race is called tapering, and it’s boring as hell. You can google it if you want to learn more.

I tried a new taper strategy. I spent a week away from anything that would remind me of my upcoming marathon, which helped. Here’s how it went down:

I flew from Raleigh to Detroit to San Diego to Atlanta to Miami to Atlanta and back to Raleigh. I ran along the ocean. I ate poached eggs with mushrooms and beurre blanc — twice. I drank water. I drank a Mai Tai and didn’t regret it. I saw friends on both coasts. I made some cash. I talked about work, power, politics, money, social media, marketing, talent acquisition programs and wearable technology that will allow you to know when your employees have low blood sugar and an upset tummy.

I talked to data and marketing geeks. I talked to HR geeks. I put my feet in the Pacific Ocean, and then I put my feet in the Atlantic Ocean.

Now I’m home. I am ready to run.

But that’s not bad for a regular week — let alone a taper week. I do life right!

My taper week. #flipagram ♫ Music: Tanlines – All Of Me @flipagram #runoaks #TMAHRBP #sumtotaltc14

A video posted by LFR (@lruettimann) on

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