Your HR lady doesn’t know what to do when she assumes a position of power. She’s either too tough and acts like what she imagines a dude would act like, or she wants to be liked and asks for buy-in from her colleagues.

If I had to make a choice — and it would be a false choice — I would advise you to stop asking for buy-in.

Good leaders are inclusive well before decisions are actually made. And leadership requires a spine. If you are asking for buy-in, you’re not a real leader.

So never ask for buy-in.



John Edwards was right. There are two Americas.

The dividing line could be Ferguson. It could be hunger, poverty or literacy. The line could also be the crazy escalation in executive compensation.

I see the dividing line at the airport.

* I see the America that is stuck in an airport line for two hours, and the America that doesn’t deal with that nonsense.
* I see price gouging and Americans who are forced to buy $4.00 bottles of water, and the Americans who sit in executive lounges and drink free gin & tonics.
* I see the America that runs its own business using credit cards that offer points and enables vacations and excellent work-life balance, and I see the America that purchases goods and services from an unregulated system that enables price-fixing.
* I see the America that gets seated in first class, and I see the rest of America — black, white, brown, female, disabled — that sits in the back of the sky bus.

Maybe I’m a fool. Maybe the real division happens at birth, when you’re either born with money or you are not.

Perhaps there is one America that flies commercial and another that flies on private jets. It’s possible that I might be seeing multiple versions of the American narrative when I travel for work. Whatever I witness at airports like JFK and ORD, it’s humbling. It informs my behavior. It gives me a sense of empathy that I might not otherwise have from sitting in my cubicle in a human resources department and reading articles about Ferguson on Facebook all day long.

So before you join the chorus of voices out there and express an opinion about how people should or shouldn’t behave, maybe you ought to consider the institutions that create a marketplace of unfairness.

Look around you as you shop and travel, this holiday season. Does the world look just and right to you?

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.


HIV AIDS Facts World AIDS Day

Today is World AIDS Day. You say — I don’t know anyone with HIV/AIDS. What does this have to do with human resources?

Well, a lot.

There are approximately 1.1 million people living with HIV in the U.S. It is estimated that almost one-fifth (18.1 %) of those people don’t know they are infected.

Testing is so easy. You should get tested. That one person with HIV who doesn’t know about it? Could be you.

In 2011, more than 20% of people diagnosed with HIV in the U.S. were women. The vast majority of newly diagnosed HIV-positive women contracted the virus through heterosexual sex.

Even in consensual relationships where sex isn’t forced, women still face some risk from their partners. If you believe in protecting women, always use a condom. Engage is safe sex acts. And encourage your female colleagues to get tested.

By race, blacks/African Americans face the most severe burden of HIV. Blacks represent approximately 12% of the U.S. population, but accounted for an estimated 44% of new HIV infections in 2010. They also accounted for 44% of people living with HIV infection in 2009. Unless the course of the epidemic changes, at some point in their lifetime, an estimated 1 in 16 black men and 1 in 32 black women will be diagnosed with HIV infection.

Some people think that HIV/AIDS is a gay thing. There is a history of African American AIDS activism that you probably don’t know about. Google it. You’ll learn a lot.

Hispanics/Latinos are also disproportionately affected by HIV. Hispanics/Latinos represented 16% of the population but accounted for 21% of new HIV infections in 20102. Hispanics/Latinos accounted for 19% of people living with HIV infection in 20091. In 2010, the rate of new HIV infections for Latino males was 2.9 times that for white males, and the rate of new infections for Latinas was 4.2 times that for white females.

Whenever we talk about Latinos in human resources, we hyperfocus on immigration. Maybe we should also talk about healthcare issues?

The top 10 states for new HIV/AIDS diagnoses are California, Florida, Texas, New York, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania and North Carolina.

Many of those states do have high levels of immigration (international and state-to-state) so maybe we should go beyond the rhetoric of “protecting our border” and think about meeting the needs of our residents — both legal and undocumented.

CDC estimates that 1,144,500 persons aged 13 years and older are living with HIV infection in the United States, including 180,900 (15.8%) who are unaware of their infection.

Children are still impacted by HIV/AIDS. This is criminal to me. And while treatments are improving, there is no cure.

You probably work with someone who has HIV/AIDS and you don’t even know it.

In most instances, your colleague’s privacy is protected. There is no compliance or reporting requirement for professional employees who have HIV/AIDS.  Your best friend at work may be HIV+ and you might not even know it. And if you did know it, so what?

What you should know is that HIV/AIDS still impacts people around the world. 

Time and money are spent on this important issue. AIDS experts were killed on the plane that was shot down by Ukranian/Russian separatists (or the Russian government, depending on who you ask). As human resources professionals, we sit at the center of many important issues. HIV/AIDS is still something we should think about.


Statistics provided by CDC, AMFAR and AIDS.Gov.

I am not America’s HR lady.

America’s HR lady is actually Robin Schooling.

But one of the unique things about my company is that I offer HR for human resources professionals. From talking CEOs and CHROs off the ledge to working with learning teams to win the support of their colleagues, my job has evolved into something that’s unique.

I am part coach, part marketing professional and part older sister.

There are lots of complaints that HR doesn’t do social media and that Twitter is full of HR consultants and vendors. That might be true in 2010, but I have met a ton of human resources professionals in 2014 who are online. I have also gained a ton of followers on Twitter who work directly in human resources. Let me introduce you to a few accounts.

Kevin Fries is @kwfry, and he’s a volunteer leader at SHRM. Check out his tweets about work, family and travel. Pretty fun.

Sophie Lepercq is @SophieLepercq at JC Deaux. JCDecaux Group is a multinational corporation based in Neuilly-sur-Seine, Paris, France, known for its bus-stop advertising systems, billboards, public bicycle rental systems, and street furniture. In my life, they are known for Southpoint Mall where I go buy stuff from Lululemon.

Caitriona Staunton is @caitstaunton. She is the APAC Recruiting Lead for Atlassian in Sydney. Atlassian is an Australian enterprise software company that develops products geared towards software developers and project managers. She is new to Twitter but seems to be getting it right.

Bronwyn Hall is @HallBronwyn. She is the HR Manager for Asia Pacific and Orion Health. I’ve met her in real life. She is my height, hilarious and fierce.

Jill Kaiyalethe is @JillRecruiter. She is a recruiter at Fairview Health Services in Minneapolis. Her account is a mix of employer brand advocacy, topical articles, and pictures to make her profile very real! Good job.

Karen Crone is @klcrone, also known as the CHRO of Paycor. Wonder if a CHRO tweets? Maybe she has a team to support her, but these tweets feel real to me.

Candice Winter is @Candice_Winter, and she works as a talent acquisition leader for Truven Health Analytics, a leader in delivering unbiased information, analytic tools, benchmarks, services, and related expertise to the healthcare industry.

Jackie Ore is @jackie_ore, a recent graduate who works as a recruiter for Career XChange, a leading Florida staffing agency.

Finally, there’s always Rob Jones. He is a friend, yes. More importantly, it’s not like he works for the most liberal of companies. He even puts photos in his tweets. If he can do it, what’s your excuse?

If you want to expand your global network and meet great people, the way to do this is to hop on Twitter and follow some of the great people above. Be curious. Say hello. Or simply watch and learn a little something about a different approach to HR.

And if you want to criticize HR for being slow and dull, you better be ready to defend yourself to the tens of thousands of HR professionals who follow me online. They are watching you, and they’re not going to take your criticisms lightly.

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.


Can someone in-the-know please answer my questions?

1. What’s the real difference between HRCI’s certification program and SHRM’s certification program?

2. Per the internet and life, a competency is a set of defined behaviors that provide a structured guide enabling the identification, evaluation and development of the behaviors in individual employees. Has the new SHRM certification program been validated as an instrument that accurately measures competencies? Who validated it? How does the SHRM test differ from HRCI’s exam?

3. The HRCI program was accredited and (allegedly) carried the same weight as a CPA. Don’t tell that to CPAs. Does the new SHRM program carry that weight?

4. Has anyone tested how valuable and meaningful SHRM’s program is to the marketplace? Is there any data showing how SHRM’s program measures against an MBA? Or how the program is measured by CHROs and CEOs?

5. Will the SHRM board and leadership team be required to participate in the SHRM certification program?

6. Can you be a CHRO or CEO without these new credentials?

7. Is this program appropriate for any talent acquisition professionals or recruiters who work in human resources? Or is this program just focused on business partners and generalists?

8. What was the HRCI funding scheme? How did state and local chapters benefit from the certification program? How does SHRM measure against HRCI in this regard? Should anyone profit from HR professionals who take the test?

9. There’s currently a mechanism in place to gain your SHRM certification quickly if you’re already certified from HRCI. Doesn’t the quick certification process prove the similarities between the two programs more than it demonstrates the differences?

10. If I’m in human resources, can someone give me one good reason the SHRM certification program enhances my career prospects and is worth my time?

11. How do Hank Jackson, Bob Carr or anyone in SHRM’s public relations or marketing department still have a job after the failed SHRM-HRCI integration and the poor launch of this program? Who on the board has been held accountable for this mess? Does the board see this for the shabby mess that it is? How will SHRM do better by its members in the future? Why am I talking to myself on this bullet point? Why don’t I just shout into the wind a little more?

Those are my questions. Do you have questions? Did I miss yours? Do you have answers? Let me know!

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.


About a month ago, I had a conversation with Tim Sackett that went something like this.

Laurie: You know Vala Afshar?
Timmy: No, I mean, I guess.
Laurie: I don’t think he is real. And I want to figure his posting strategy out.
Timmy: I don’t see where you are going with this, Laur. Explain.

So here is my explanation.

Vala Afshar is a guy on Twitter, but more importantly, he could be any guy on Twitter who wants to be recognized as a leadership and management guru. He shares articles that he doesn’t write, and he tweets about leadership and technology.

It feels like he uses an algorithm to write his wteets. They are almost perfect.

Is he real? Yes. What does he do for money? It doesn’t matter.

This guy could be a computer. He could be a woman. People love his stuff.

So I did what Vala does, to some extent. I went on vacation, but I’ve been posting daily tweets that lack substance.

No creativity. No engagement. No authenticity. My clicks, retweets and @mentions are all up. Way up. Off the charts.

All it takes is a keen eye for the obvious and a twitter account.

Can you imagine if I did this, like Vala, multiple times a day? I would be #1 on all of those management guru lists. But I would also be an asshole. Nobody wants that.

So after playing with my “management guru” tweeting strategy, I am killing it today. And I’ve been thinking of some of my smart friends who have thoughtful social media strategies.

* My friend Sarah White no longer takes photos at conferences and guards her privacy. Her personal brand now reflects important things in her life: work and family. She says that Twitter is a platform where lonely people talk to themselves. I resemble that remark.

* Jennifer McClure talks about personal branding, authenticity and social media in our little community quite a bit. She has great things to say about developing a personal brand and leveraging key sites — Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook pages, Slideshare — to build your online reputation. I am with her, too. You should use these tools to your advantage when they serve your purposes.

I think most of us occupy the grounded middle. There is probably a place where we can be on Twitter and offer smart things to say about our areas of experise. I haven’t found that place. I’m still sorta looking.

But if you want to make a deal with the devil and hang with other management gurus, the simple technique is to schedule meaningless tweets throughout the day. That’s it. Write things that are opaque and emotional. Be a vainglorious bastard. Gain a bunch of followers for no apparent reason. Buy your own hype.

It works.

But I think we can all do better than that.

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.


It’s a beautiful day. #NSW

A photo posted by LFR (@lruettimann) on

I’m headed home from Australia. I had a great trip.

At one point, my husband and I took a semi-private tour of a secluded island. We did some snorkeling and hiking. We knew we were in trouble when our tour guide, upon hearing that we worked in the pharmaceutical industry, told us that he could show us the cure to AIDS and HIV in the bush.

“It’s an aboriginal cure. They don’t want to give it to white people because we gave them cholera.”

If they can cure HIV and AIDS, why can’t they cure cholera? Never mind. Tell us more, dear tour guide.

He obliged and told us to call him the Little Steve Irwin. He’s tan and Australian, so he’s either Steve Irwin or Crocodile Dundee in my GenX eyes. Our guide also told us about his experiences with crocodiles, and went into a lengthy discussion about how climate change is a lie that made Al Gore rich.

(Well, part of that might be true.)

Also, our guide once made Matthew McConaughey apologize to a local waitress at a bar. He played soccer with Hugh Jackman. When Nicole Kidman came to his island to film a movie, she rented an aboriginal child because she missed her kids who were under the control of Tom Cruise.

“She has more money than sense.”

Other things? When a butterfly or dragonfly lands on you, it’s a dead person trying to communicate with you. (I like that one.) And there’s a bush called a black boy, but it’s not politically correct to say “black” in Australia — but no one has a gun to his head. He doesn’t celebrate Australia Day, either.

The massacres in Syria and the Ukraine? Those happen on a green screen. The media are in bed with the government and will fake all kinds of things. Candy crush and TV are drugs of social control, and drones follow him on the beach to watch him, btw.

I didn’t pay for any of this, of course, and one of the women on the tour complained. Our tour guide told her to keep walking on her own. Then he apologized and took her into the woods — to a particular place that is sacred to Aborigines — so they could hug it out.

She survived.

And the tour guide felt like he had to explain all of this to me in great detail because I have an open face and I’m the world’s older sister.


Ken and I were like — well, that was something.

At first, I wanted to complain. But this guy needs a job, and he’s clearly passionate about Australia. He can swim, he can keep people organized, and he knows the lay of the land. This job is perfect for him, and it probably keeps him out of trouble.

Customers suck, people complain too much, and Americans feel like they have to have a Disney-like experience when the go on vacation. Frankly, it’s kind of nice to have an insane tour guide who says bat-shit crazy things. My husband and I have a story. We had fun with this guy. And nobody got hurt.

I don’t want this guy fired at all.

The next time you want to complain about poor customer service, think about this blog post and ask yourself — is something so awful that I ought to complain?

Probably not.


So you want to be disruptive and innovative, eh?

You fools. I’m barely disruptive, but when I write something different, people say things like:

1. Oh, Laurie!
2. Isn’t she something?
3. Gotta love her!

It’s so condescending and meant to diminish my contributions. It’s beyond cynical — and sometimes rooted in the institutional sexism in my industry.

Oh. Fucking. Well.

I chose this path. I brush dirt off my shoulder on a daily basis. I can do this because I have good mentors who lead by example. But I can’t tell you how many times people tell me that they’re longing to be recognized as more disruptive and innovative at work — especially in human resources and recruiting.

You don’t want that.

Disruptive and innovative employees have good ideas that nobody wants to hear. They don’t speak in a quiet tone. They don’t fit in. They are not good cultural hires.

Nobody likes disruptive and innovative employees, by the way. They are mocked. They don’t get invited to fancy dinners and private parties. They are often fired.

Disruptive and innovative people are influencers, but they don’t care for recognition. They know who they are. They teach us, and they inspire us despite our great protestations against their refreshing ideas. They are influential on a subconscious level, but they don’t need to be told that they are influential. They are courageous and bold. They stand in front of a room full of strangers and offer an informed and controversial opinion — even if those strangers don’t deserve that kind of brilliance.

Do you still want to be disruptive or innovative? Listen up.

There is no roadmap for disruption and innovation — especially if you work in human resources.

Want a map? Make one for yourself. And don’t complain when you are not invited to the party.

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.



Forgive me for the inside baseball, but I have something to say.

Every year, several hundred human resources nerds across the world vie for an opportunity to speak at an event called SHRM’s Annual Conference and Exposition.

Much like an RFP process — with no ROI for anyone involved and no transparency — SHRM selects speakers for mega sessions and concurrent sessions. Nobody gets paid, but airfare and hotel are included for a few nights.

This year, SHRM selected its speakers in its normal veil of secrecy. I’m not complaining because there are some new names on the agenda, which is great. Unfortunately, among the people who were not selected in my little HR community, there are some sour grapes.

I looked at some of the comments online from people who are clearly aggrieved — but don’t know how to set their privacy settings on Facebook — and I thought that, in light of what I know about the professional development of my colleagues in the HR social media community, SHRM did okay.

You didn’t get chosen to speak? The HR coach in me wants you to look inside yourself and think about the reasons why you weren’t selected. The legacy HR blogger in me wants you to say something nice about someone else who was selected. And the HR leader in me wants you to come to Las Vegas determined to learn, grow and contribute in a different way.

But mostly I just want you to suck. it. the. fuck. up.

Be gracious. One day, you will be selected to speak. You wouldn’t want people saying nasty things about you, would you? (I wouldn’t tolerate that, either.)

So please snap out of your #shrmennui. Lighten up. And live to speak for free at a different mediocre conference on another day.

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