HR Carnival Bone Picker Edition
HR Carnival: Bone Picker Edition

Shauna Moerke is an astonishing woman who is reshaping the way people think about HR. Her seemingly modest innovation, the HR Carnival, is a way for readers to see ideas they might otherwise never encounter.

Each month or so, a new editor steps up and receives submissions. The job is to review and organize them (curating). The resulting work is posted as that month’s HR Carnival.

The sea of self promoting HR bloggerisms rises up to meet the shore in the HR Carnival. Each month’s postings are a good source of traffic and the smart marketers of the HR blogosphere are ready. Since all you have to do is send a link to the editor of the month, it’s easy for folks to submit thier work.

This month’s submittals ranged from completely naive or downright stupid to insightful or provocative. Rather than editing out the relatively useless, I took this as an opportunity to discover the conversation implicit in even the most off-base submittals.

Think of this as the bone picker’s HR Carnival. For each item where there is the possibility of an interesting argument, I took the alternate position. I picked bones wherever I could find them.

It’s my hope that this edition of the HR Carnival will make you laugh, get mad and think. Robust conversation always starts with controversy. Otherwise, it’s just the same old people peddling the same old ideas.

One major bone to pick. There were three or four reports from people who went to conferences and determined that meeting people at a conference is a kind of social networking.  Imagine that.  None of them mentioned the content of the conference. Content is news.  Conferences as networking isn’t news.

Here you go.

  • HR TEKTONIC Awards – Rewarding Disruption, Revolution and Innovation
    From the Devon Group comes an announcement of a new set of industry awards–including disruption.
  • Are You a Talent Magnet or a Talent Poacher?
    Ideally, work is so amazing that people just want to come have fun with you.
    But, today’s bright and shining stars are routinely poached by third party recruiters. Dan McCarthy suggests that internal recruiting should involve manners and protocol. That’s why third party firms are so successful and internal departments become career prisons.
  • MultiTennancy: Table Stakes for HRM SaaS in 2011
    Naomi Bloom operates at a level of technical insight that is qualitatively different from much of the material in this HRCarnival. If you are at all involved in the procurement or operation of HR Software and Technology. You need to know what she thinks. Not always right, but always thought provoking.
  • Why I Blog. You Should, Too
    LeanHR comes from a guy who ended up in HR after time in IT. (Probably had too much personality.) It turns out that the really good news is that no one will read your blog. This should free you to think clearly and not worry about other people’s reaction. There won’t be any.
  • Company Boss Demands Unethical Behavior
    So, what do you do? According to Lynn Dessert, “First, you do not want to get caught being a part of the mess, especially if it is clear that you will be made the fall guy or girl or scapegoat.” She offers a set of approaches to cover your behind. One wonders why she didn’t suggest “Quit”. Commonsense career protection often looks like weasely behavior.
  • The HR Manager’s Role, Then and Now
    Apparently, the HR Department is no longer the “company police” because firing is more humane and we now promote diversity. The shift from Gestapo tactics to social work marks the functional changes in HR. As a business partner, HR still hires, fires and metes out discipline. Today, the descriptive PR is much better. At Young HR Manager, Amit Bhagria, explores Strategic HR Issues from a younger person’s perspective.
  • Vigilante Corrective Action
    Trish McFarlane wants to issue speeding tickets to employees when they do something wrong.  She wants to hold people accountable for their performance with on-the-spot documentation and feedback. In an adjacent piece, she notes “Let’s face it, there is almost nothing but navel gazing when it comes to Human Resources.  We spend a majority of our time trying to justify what we do in desperate hopes of leadership noticing so we will get the coveted seat at the proverbial table.” Is being a busybody an improvement over navel gazing?
  • Can I Ask an Employee Why He Is Going To The Doctor?
    Susan Lucas is widely known as the “Evil HR Lady.” She writes thoughtful things about workplace dilemmas. The money quote: “You can’t allow Steve time off for his nose job because everyone agrees it’s really ugly, but not John because we all think he’s making a mistake and will regret those pectoral implants.” Above all, don’t let the fear of HIPAA inhibit your sound workforce policing practices.
  • CEO of Starbucks: HR Needs a Seat At The Table
    Apparently, having HR there will sell at least one more latte at each meeting of the people who already have seats at the table. HRLori finds inspiration in this.
  • The Tom Sawyer Effect
    What’s the difference between inspiration and compensation. That question is at the heart if Kevin Grossman‘s musings on Tom Sawyer and call-center-soliciting. The jaded might note that since inspiration is much cheaper than market level compensation, most managers prefer motivation to raises. Most workers prefer the cash.
  • Amateurs and Professionals: HR Southwest 2010
    One of the better known of the new crop of HR commentators, Mark Stelzner offers this piece that is a combination apology and trip report. In his initial review of HR SouthWest 2010, Stelzner criticized the ‘stamp-ede” of low level HR folks hunting for schwag. A lack of reader response to the first piece left him speechless (momentarily). This follow up is an attempt to find some value in the event.
  • Project Social: Let’s Clique
    A self-avowed late adopter, Laura Schroeder (aka Working Girl) talks about her experiences learning social media. Is the communications environment ‘clique based’? Probably. Another term for clique might well be target market. Gotta love the idea of a targeted clique-stream.
  • Use Social Media Sites – Carefully
    Susan Heathfield writes the Human Resources Blog at In this piece, she notes that social media sites are becoming more commonly used, that one has no reasonable expectation of privacy and that one shouldn’t routinely post stuff that would offend your Mom. Companies should also be cautious, but she’s not very clear on the why.
  • The Original Social Network
    In a trip report about the parties at the Oracle User’s Conference, Arvin Kan says that the original social network was the “work conference.” Apparently he hasn’t heard about churches, the town square or prisons.
  • CHRU!
    Jon Ingham is a Brit who opines on enterprise HR software strategy and social media. He’s busy putting the socialist in social media as you can see in this post about an ‘unconference’ held in a partially renovated warehouse. Searching for a purely egalitarian conference model, Jon decries event sponsorship because it creates status distinctions.
  • The Quest of Better Outcomes: Hierarchy and Performance
    Scant attention is paid to the fact that culture’s influence on performance is usually greater than the individual’s. We have few tools to quantitatively manage the mores, ethics, processes and systems that comprise our organizational environments. We don’t even have very useful language to build on. Tanmay Vora‘s offering, QAspire, is all about building quality cultures. Sometimes, it takes someone who is willing to deal with torturous language to get the ball rolling.
  • 8 Benefits of an Inclusive Organization
    “When you feel valued for your work, you are going to be more satisfied with your job”.
    So sez Drew Tarvin, a professional corporate humorist who writes the blog, “Humor That Works“.
  • How To Run A One Person HR Department
    Ben Eubanks, at UpstartHR, represents the young, entry level HR Pro. This piece summarizes tips and tricks for running a small shop. At the top of the list? SHRM Certification, relentless prioritization/focus and a clear understanding of your limits. The money quote? When asked what qualified him for the job, the young HR guy looked at the senior leader and said “Nothing. But let’s agree that if I am effective, we’re okay. If not, then you’ll talk to my boss and get me out of here.”
  • How Do You Get Employees To Stay?
    Kevin Brazvich says “Ask Them What it Takes.”
  • Performance Management: Recognize the Source?
    Evil Skippy, aka Jim Weber, is a recovering employment lawyer who provides workplace training and does investigations (when things fall apart). There are more than a few people who think that the market’s fascination with Performance Management is a bit on the Pavlovian side. Is it really surprising that in a time of high unemployment, the high velocity management technique involves wielding the stick with more precision? Cleverly, Jim points this out with time honored performance training techniques.
  • Leadership Is Damned Personal
    Mary Jo Asmus notes that leadership involves having the courage to change yourself. “Developing into the kind of person who can successfully lead the change you want to see happen is indulgent and selfish. It’s also necessary.”
  • Perceptions of Ladies In High Heels
    Carnival creator and curator, Shauna Merkle, submitted this piece from Ali Webster. (Ali is a part of the Women of HR). It’s really easy for HR to be distracted by the very superficial things that are the foundation of bias and prejudice that aren’t things that effect performance. Before we can get very good at making the workplace to focus on the things that matter, we have to navigate those issues for ourselves. You simply can’t give away what you don’t have. Here, she examines the relationship between dress and performance and finds some interesting things as she matures.
  • A Fair Day’s Wages For A Fair Day’s Work?
    From Europe comes a piece grinding that well worn axe, executive compensation.
    One of the trickiest things about having a successful HR Career is knowing when you are looking at something that you might not understand. When HP’s CEO was ‘accused’ of a range of things, many in the HR Blogosphere joined the mob condemning him. In hindsight, it looks like it was really internal board politics among Silicon Valley players. It’s easy to look like a chump when you don’t have experience with the thing you are talking about. In the case of CEO pay, there really are multiple sides to the story.
  • Emotional Dimwits Need Not Apply
    Announcing the imminent arrival of low conflict Nirvana. It’s just liike the old tune, the Big Rock Candy Mountain, where “the bull dogs teeth are rubber and the hens lay soft boiled eggs.” This is the operational Nirvana in the dreams of some HR theorists (like this one). Amongst the conflict avoidance set, there is an emerging myth that all organizations should be run by nice guys. It’s not true. CEOs become CEOs because they are aggressive and greedy. It’s more likely that they are not nasty enough.

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