Here's To You, Recruiting Animal (@animal) #TimSackettDay

by Matthew Stollak on Friday, January 22, 2016

Tim Sackett Day began four years ago as a way to recognize those hard working HR professionals grinding away doing the real influencing on a day-to-day basis. As the hashtag suggests, the first recipient was the aforementioned Tim Sackett.  In subsequent years, Paul Hebert, Kelly Dingee, and Victorio Milian have all been recognized.

This year we recognize Recruiting Animal.  To be honest, I've never met him.  That really could be him in the above picture.  But, I know of him.

He seemingly has a birthday every day (according to Heather Bussing), so this recognition is simply the icing on that cake.

He's an accomplished author.  His book, "The Psychology of Job Hunting," as of this writing, currently ranks #1236 on Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Health, Fitness & Dieting > Counseling & Psychology > Mental Health > Emotions but ranks number one in the hearts of many. 

He's also a trendsetter. Animal's first blog was created back in 2004. Then, in April 2006, he founded the Recruiting Animal blog. That quickly became the Recruiting Animal Show in March 2007, the first online call-in show about recruiting.  

So, here's to you, Recruiting Animal, on this Tim Sackett Day.  You have blazed a trail that has influenced so many.

You can connect with him here:

True Faith #HR Rewind: Best Employment Application Ever - Kris Kringle

by Matthew Stollak on Friday, December 25, 2015

Originally posted December 25, 2012

From "Miracle On 34th Street"

Merry Christmas everyone

How Expensive Will #SHRM16 Hotels Be?

by Matthew Stollak on Tuesday, October 20, 2015

With the news that hotel reservations are now being accepted for the 2016 SHRM Annual Conference in Washington, DC, I bring you my 7th annual expose of SHRM hotel costs.

To be honest, I gasped when I saw the prices for 2016.   Is this the most expensive SHRM Annual Conference when it comes to hotels?

To examine this question, I look at selected SHRM conference brochures (i.e., the ones that I still possessed) over the past 16 years to see what it would cost a person to book a single room on a per night average.  Clearly, prices in 2001 will be different than in 2016, so I use an inflation calculator to adjust costs to today's dollars.  So, how does the 2016 Conference in DC compare to years past?

Cost of an Average SHRM-Affiliated Hotel (per night: 6/19-6/22; 1 room, 2 beds)
Washington DC (2016): $269.59 (standard deviation of $31.85)
Chicago (2008): $269.40 (sd of $31.01)
San Francisco (2001): $268.68 (standard deviation of $59.23)
San Diego (2010): $257.31 (sd of $44.29)

Chicago (2013): 253.46 (sd of 20.99)
Washington DC (2006): $242.42 (sd of $41.65)
Philadelphia (2002): $228.16 (sd of $61.00)
San Diego (2005): $213.84 (sd of $52.14)
Atlanta (2012): $206.29 (sd of $23.02)
Las Vegas (2007): $174.71 (sd of $33.67)

Orlando(2014): $163.69 (sd of $36.43)
Las Vegas (2015): $142.79 (sd of $22.85)
Las Vegas (2011): $135.09 (sd of $18.74)

Ugh!  My initial sticker shock was right.  SHRM 2016 looks to be the most expensive conference for hotels in 15 years.   Rooms, on average, will cost approximately $127 (+ tax) more per night than Las Vegas (though that will be somewhat tempered by no resort fees).  It is $27 more on average (in 2015 dollars) than the last time the conference was in DC (2006). 

The sticker shock is even more surprising given the sheer number of hotels listed (69); the most ever in this survey.  Of the 69 listed, only two fall below $209 per night (+ tax).  The middle 50% of hotels range from $249 (25th percentile) to $290 (75th percentile).

The cheapest listed hotel in DC ($177) is more expensive than every hotel but one ($179) in Vegas a year ago.

Also of note, many of the hotels do not provide bus transportation to the convention center (though Metro passes will be provided).  If you choose one of these hotels, be sure to build in extra time to make the morning keynotes as the Metro will be particularly crowded for rush hour.

Given the above, be sure to budget a little extra when you make your ask to your boss to attend in DC in 2016.

Why Good #HR Leaders Aren't Worried About the NLRB "Joint Employer" Decision

by Matthew Stollak on Monday, August 31, 2015

Last week, the NLRB ruled in a 3-2 decision that "two or more entities are joint employers of a single workforce if (1) they are both employers within the meaning of the common law;  and (2) they share or codetermine those matters governing the essential terms and conditions of employment."  

As a result of this decision, there was much gnashing of teeth and wringing of hands among my HR colleagues.   This, they say, will make it easier for unions to bargain for better pay and working conditions.

Here's the thing - unions don't exist in a vacuum.  They arise out of dissatisfaction with compensation and mistreatment by the organization.  If you're practicing quality HR, worrying about "ambush elections" or joint employer status shouldn't and doesn't matter. 

Think about the following questions:
  • When the firm is successful, are employees rewarded for their hard work and contributions to those organizational goals that are reached?
  • Are you hiring co-workers/peers with whom other employees want as part of their team?
  • Are you investing in the professional and career development of employees?
  • Is the job designed so that employees are able to use a variety of skills and abilities?
  • Is an employee able to complete a job from beginning to end?
  • Does the job an employee performs have an impact on others?
  • Does the employee have the necessary tools and resources to complete his or her job?
  • Are performance goals for an employee based on factors within the employee's control?
  • Does an employee have autonomy over when and how the work that is performed?
  • Are organizational decisions made transparently?
  • Are employees given quality feedback regarding the work they perform?
  • Are efforts made to put employees in a position to succeed?
  • Are efforts made to identify and remove bad bosses from positions of influence?

Individuals want to partner with an organization and succeed on the job with relatively little hassle.

Individuals don't wake up one morning and want to suddenly unionize.  They are unfortunately often given significant reason to do so, despite the many structural barriers in place.

Successful HR managers are the ones answering many of the questions above affirmatively.  As a result, they are not sweating the most recent NLRB decision.

Why THIS #SHRM Board of Directors election REALLY Matters

by Matthew Stollak on Thursday, August 6, 2015

About this time each year, I receive notification that SHRM will be having their annual election for their Board of Directors.  I usually gloss over the names, as few, if any, know how individuals are chosen for the vaunted position, and I rarely have heard of those that are on the ballot.  When the ballot arrives, I give a quick vote for the slate of candidates, and it really doesn't register much more on my mind.   It's very hard to challenge the status quo, as the SHRM Members for Transparency tried to do.

However, this upcoming election is different.  Why?

Steve Browne is running for the position.

While there are many great attributes about Steve that make him a worthy addition to the SHRM Board of Directors, I'll highlight two:

1.  Steve Browne knows SHRM inside out as an active volunteer.

Unlike most candidates for the SHRM Board of Directors, Steve rose through the ranks of SHRM volunteer leader.  Not only has Steve served on his state SHRM conference committee, but has served as OHSHRM State Director and President of the Greater Cincinnati HR Association.  In addition, he served on the SHRM Membership Advisory Committee (SHRM MAC).  Based on this experience, Steve will be an active and responsible voice representing the thousands of individuals who volunteer for SHRM on a regular basis.

2.  Steve Browne is active on social media.

When was the last time you saw a tweet from Immediate Past Chair Bette Francis of Twitter?  What about current SHRM President and Board member Hank Jackson?  Or Jeffrey Cava?  It'd be a miracle, because they are not on Twitter.  Current Chair Brian Silva?  One entire Tweet.  The most active member appears to be Jorge Consuegra, who has made a whopping 51 tweets since joining Twitter in 2007.  While being active on Twitter isn't really that big a deal or should be a determinant for Board status, it does demonstrate an active effort to advance the HR profession.  Steve Browne has 35,000+ tweets and over 27,000 followers.  In addition, he sends out a weekly e-mail called The HR Net (sign up here) that promotes the best in HR.  He also blogs regularly at his own blog, Everyday People, as well as a contributor to CareerBuilder's Talent Advisor Portal.  He is one of the most active individuals highlighting what is great about the HR profession and HR professionals.

So, when that ballot does arrive in your e-mail inbox.  Don't hesitate to vote for Steve.

My-Chau Nguyen

Employee Relations, Tough Conversations, and #SHRM15

by Matthew Stollak on Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Several years ago, long-time family and friends got together over the holidays for a good meal.  Grown children were back in the nest, and we enjoyed the repast reminiscing about days gone by.

The conversation, however, drifted into a discussion regarding what we remember as the most upsetting or painful interaction we had with our parent/child.  For example, one son mentioned his father yelling at him across a blackjack table, "If you're not going to play RIGHT, don't play at all."

What emerged was that every child had a painful memory that the parent had no recollection of doing.  Similarly, parents held onto a moment of regret that did not even register as important to the child.


A HR manager who has served an organization for a significant period of time has likely had many a difficult conversation with his or her work "family."

It would not be surprising that many of these managers have held on to memories of painful discussions they have had with some of their current employees.

However, if the discussion with our friends is any indication, it is likely those employees are not hung up on those past interactions.

The theme of the 2015 SHRM Annual Conference was "tHRive."  If today's managers want to truly thrive, they'd be wise to let go of those interactions that haunt them.  They are not as important as one would believe.


#SHRM15 Day 1 Quick Impressions

by Matthew Stollak on Monday, June 29, 2015

This is my fifteenth straight year of attending the SHRM Annual Conference.  Here are my quick impressions from day 1:

  • As always, kudos to the many volunteers helping to support the Annual Conference.  If you have an opportunity, be sure to thank the many individuals who give up their time to make the conference succeed
  • Special shout out goes to Terry Starr and the Dice team for sponsoring the SHRM15 Blogger lounge.   The SHRM bloggers are here to provide content and perspective on the going-ons and we hope you get a few positive takeaways from them.
  • Magician and entertainer Penn Jillette gave a rousing opening highlighting what it takes to thrive in Las Vegas, echoing the theme of the conference.  However, I wonder if the 100 pounds he lost referred to his silent partner Teller, who was nowhere to be seen.
  • CEO Hank Jackson's opening address most likely resonated with first time attendees.   However, was there anything unique in his points that couldn't have been said in 2013 or 2014?  How is HR different today than it was one or two years ago?  How has SHRM changed in what they do this year compared to what they did last year?
  • I was not looking forward to Coach K's keynote, and, being from Wisconsin, it was certainly crushing to have to revisit the "highlights" of Duke's championship win over the Badgers.  However, I appreciated his three main points of employees and employers needing to be adaptable, taking ownership of their actions (does this include flopping on the court?), and demonstrating one's feelings.
  • Most embarrassing use of Twitter - the continued reference to @coachkwisdom, an account that is neither affiliated with Duke University nor Coach K.  While I am sure the manager of the account appreciated the attention, be better people.
Onto day 2....