Articles from October 2011



Happy Halloween from HRE and Company!!

Members of our Human Resource Executive® and sister publication Risk & Insurance® magazines family created this entry into our company’s (LRP Publication’s) office-decorating contest.

From all of us at LRP to all of you, Happy Halloween, and may you steer clear of institutions such as the one depicted here!! (Posted strictly in the name of  fun.)

 

America’s Scariest Jobs

The good folks at CareerBuilder.com who have compiled this year’s list of the scariest jobs in the country, as voted on by 4,300 American workers:

1. Bomb Squad Technician

2. High Rise Window Washer

3. Armed Forces

4. Miner

5. Police Officer

6. Alaskan Crab Fishing

7. Mortician

8. Firefighter

9. High School Teacher

10. Cemetery Worker

11. Exterminator

12. Stand-Up Comedian

13. Animal Control

14. Stunt Person

15. Politician

But when it comes to what is scaring employees — besides holding any of the above-mentioned job titles — more than a third of workers (36 percent) say layoffs are what they are most afraid of at work. Other work-related issues that may keep workers up at night include:

*Pay cuts – 13 percent

* Workload – 9 percent

* Presenting in front of other people – 9 percent

* Forced relocation – 4 percent

* The boss – 3 percent

Happy Halloween!

 

CareerBuilder and Warren Buffett will Meet to Try and Solve Jobs Crisis

Interesting meeting set for tomorrow. Worth a mention. It appears CareerBuilder’s CEO, Matt Ferguson, and other company executives will be sitting down with American business magnate Warren Buffett, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, to try and jump-start America’s economy, skilled-labor force and job growth. Tall order.

This release about the meeting tags it as “part of both CareerBuilder’s and Warren Buffett’s ongoing conversations with U.S. business and political leaders to figure out ways to get America back to work.”

As Ferguson puts it: “We have a common mission and are excited to share ideas and perspectives with Warren Buffett.

“We have industries such as healthcare and information technology producing jobs in strong numbers,” he says, “but can’t find enough qualified people to fill positions — putting continued growth in jeopardy. We have other industries unable to bring back employment to pre-recession levels.

“We need to devise better ways to expand small businesses, ‘re-skill’ workers and re-energize Americans’ confidence.”

The folks at CareerBuilder promise to fill me in on any news or decisions that may come out of this — which I will, in turn, post here.

 

Revisiting RPO

I’ve attended HR People & Strategy’s annual spring conference on a number of occasions in the past (when the group’s acronym stood for the Human Resource Planning Society), but never the group’s Fall Forum. Until this week, that is.

HRPS is in a rebuilding mode, with a membership now reportedly around 1,200. About 150 people attended the group’s fall meeting, which featured a good line-up of sessions and speakers, including HREOnline ’s Talent Management columnist Peter Cappelli.

Incidentally, this year’s event was held at the Westin Arlington Gateway just up the road from the Society for Human Resource Management’s headquarters in Alexandria,Va.

I wasn’t able to catch the first full day’s opening keynote by Healthy Companies Inc. CEO Bob Rosen this morning, but did sit in on a later panel titled “Moderated Panel Discussion on Outsourcing.” Not the sexiest of session titles, but the discussion had some lively moments and included some good pointers for anyone considering or reconsidering recruitment process outsourcing. (A show of hands suggested that most of those in audience had yet to embrace RPO.)

As might be expected, all of panelists have used outsourcing to some extent. But not all were necessarily fans.

One panelist, Mike Brown, senior director of talent acquisition at Siemens, led off the discussion saying he believes that “good professional recruiters … can do a better job in-house.”

When Brown first joined Siemens, much of the recruiting was “decentralized and outsourced.” But not anymore. Today, Brown’s team makes a case to bring on a new recruiter for every 35 requisitions. That recruiter, he said, is expected to fill between 120 and 130 positions every year.

Brown pointed out that the focus at Siemens—which averages about 40 to 50 hires a day—is on time to fill, not cost per hire. “It’s a little brazen,” he said, “but we ask them for the money and tell them to hold us accountable [in shrinking time to fill]. If the results aren’t there, then we’ll pay the price.”

On the list of challenges for those going the RPO route, several of the panelists emphasized the importance of getting a provider who understands your organization’s culture. Figuring out during the RFP process how well it grasps the culture is difficult to do, explained panelist Aziz Chowdhury, a former talent-management executive who founded careerSHOUT!, a provider of career-management solutions. “But it’s a big driver of success.”

NLRB Extends Deadline for Poster Posting

Since I’ve been the one filling folks in here on the new National Labor Relations Board rule that private-sector employers must post notices letting employees know their rights to unionize, I thought it was incumbent upon me to make sure you all know you now have until Jan. 31, 2012, to tack those posters up, not Nov. 14, as previously reported.

The NLRB earlier this month put this notice out, saying it was postponing the date ”to allow for enhanced education and outreach to employers … .”

It did not mention anything about the recent backlash from the private sector, nor the two lawsuits filed recently by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers that I posted about here last month. (This link will also take you to earlier posts with more reasoning behind the rule from the NLRB and a downloadable version of the poster.)

The agency, in this latest announcement, says its decision to extend the rollout period “followed queries from businesses and trade organizations indicating uncertainty about which businesses fall under the Board’s jurisdiction, and was made in the interest of ensuring broad voluntary compliance.”

“No other changes in the rule, or in the form or content of the notice, will be made,” it says.

 

Facebook, DOL Take New Joint Step in Social Recruiting

Facebook announced just yesterday a new partnership with the Obama administration and its U.S. Department of Labor aimed at connecting America’s job seekers with some 3 million jobs that are currently unfilled.

The “Social Jobs Partnership” is a newly launched Facebook page aimed at connecting seekers with employers, according to this report from CNSNews.com

Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis announced it at the department’s Washington headquarters, saying “our all-star social-media team [is] committed to putting America back to work.”

“Beginning today,” she said, “132 million Facebook users can discover new tools to find out about these job openings and the skills that they will need to get hired. … By leveraging the power of the social web, this initiative will provide immediate, meaningful and ready-to-use information for job seekers and employers, and a modern platform to better connect them.” (Here is DOL’s release about the initiative.)

At first glance, it’s hard to tell just how Facebook will facilitate these connections other than simply listing a host of employment-related links on the page, such as the National Association of Colleges and Employers, DirectEmployers, the National Association of State Workforce Agencies, Career One Stop, Job Corps and, of course, DOL.

It’s also hard to determine whether connections with private employers will be just as readily available — and promoted — as public employers. But it definitely includes site links to both sectors and does seem to offer a one-stop shop for information, training programs, educational opportunities, employment-related organizations, job-search resources, and some coaching and counseling help.

Marne Levine, Facebook’s vice president of global public policy, said at the announcement that “Facebook is about connecting people, so that they can share what’s important to them, and that is the driving force behind the [partnership].” She said the new page would fill the “connection gap in America’s workforce.” That’d be nice, if that turns out to be the case.

The page’s general information section does list initiatives “to more effectively leverage the utility of social networks in the job market,” such as conducting surveys, allowing employers to post job openings for free and promoting federal job openings.

Earlier this month, Senior Editor Andrew McIlvaine posted on this blog his report from the HR Technology® Conference’s closing keynote speech by Jim Holincheck, Gartner’s managing vice president for finance, HCM and procurement. Entitled “Welcome to Face-Linked,” it kind of took us into Holincheck’s fantasy of a future where all the major social networks have coalesced into one  global platform that would include — in addition to worldwide social connections unburdened by privacy and language restrictions – a worldwide talent-management solution the likes of which we can only imagine.

Am I intimating that this new partnerhsip heads us in that direction? Hardly. So much more would have to be added to something like the Social Jobs Partnership page to turn it into even a suggestion of Holincheck’s global Face-Linked vision. But if his vision really is where social media is heading, then I’d have to guess, for a site as big as Facebook to join hands with the U.S. government to help its citizens find work … well, that could be seen as a first baby step, no?

Kozlowski’s Take on Pay

In the early to mid-2000s, Dennis Kozlowski became something of a poster child for corporate greed thanks to his exorbitant pay package and other perks, including the well-publicized $6,000 shower curtain.

As you no doubt remember, the former Tyco CEO was convicted in 2005 of grand larceny, securities fraud and conspiracy and was sentenced up to 25 years behind bars. So it’s been quite some time since we’ve last heard from him—until today.

In an exclusive interview with Wall Street Journal writer Joann S. Lublin, Kozlowski talks about the past, including Tyco’s controversial pay practices. It makes for an interesting read.

On his pay package, Kozlowski tied it to being the “competitive person I am,” telling the journal it was “a way of showing how well I was doing.” No doubt. But I also felt, after reading the piece, he still feels a need to deflect some of the responsibility.

The Journal article said:

The disposed Tyco chief also wished he had chosen more seasoned people for his top team. ‘The lack of documentation was the key’ in his conviction for taking unauthorized compensation, he said. ‘We needed somebody to rein us in.’ 

Wonder who he’s referring to?

The story also points out that Kozlowski (who is now earning 80 cents a day doing laundry) is seeking early work release and wants to take a job with Access Technologies Group, whose offerings include job-search training for ex-convicts. Were he to be granted that opportunity, I suppose that means Kozlowski’s path back to the workplace will ironically pass, at least indirectly, through HR.

Where Are All the Workers?

With the prevailing notion being that there simply are no jobs out there to be had in America, we present you with this against-the-grain story out of Littleton, Colo. this morning, courtesy of Channel 9 News.

According to the story, one  local company, PowerBridge, is having trouble filling positions (paying between $7.50 and $8.50 per hour for full- and part-time workers, no benefits)  to manufacture its device which allows flatscreen TVs to be hung on walls without any wires showing.

Company CEO Sara Sabalka says the trouble began after a large retailer decided to stock its stores with the device:

Best Buy wanted the product in all of their stores by this fall.

“We had to go into high gear,” Sabalka explained.

Sabalka had to triple her workspace and workforce.

“In September I started posting on Craigslist and I got inundated with resumes being sent to me,” Sabalka said.

She set up dozens of interviews with qualified applicants to fill 20 assembly line openings.

“In that first day I was expecting 40 people to show up, one showed up,” Sabalka said.

The results were similar the next week.

Sabalka, according to the story, thinks she may know the reason for all the no-shows:

“I think now it’s becoming almost easier to stay at home and accept the unemployment checks than it is to get out there and work and I think I was getting so many resumes because that’s part of the unemployment process,” Sabalka said.

And, while she was able to fill 20 positions last week, Sabalka worries she may have to resort to drastic measures if her hiring troubles persist:

“If I’m not able to keep people here and employed and find enough people we may have to out-source, which we really don’t want to do,” Sabalka said.

An American manufacturer in 2011  may have to outsource its production because it can’t find enough workers?

These are indeed troubling times…

 

Is the Hiring Process Broken?

Former Fortune 500 HR exec Liz Ryan writes in the Sept. 29 issue of BusinessWeek about “Nine Ways Employers Screw Up Hiring.” Ryan’s column is a litany of what she says are faulty recruiting processes that combine to discourage all but the most desperate of applicants. They include ineffective interviewing by managers, companies that don’t even know what they’re looking for, asking “pointless” questions such as “Where do you see yourself in five years?” and elevating “skills” over judgment and brains.

The last item stuck with me, as I’m in the process of writing a news story about 600,000 open job positions in U.S. manufacturing that are going unfilled because, according to a survey by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute, companies can’t find enough skilled applicants to fill those jobs. That doesn’t mean those people don’t exist, one source told me; it’s simply a matter of each group not being able to find the other. In fact, the source–Deloitte’s Craig Giffi–believes part of the problem is a “disconnect” between HR and the business side at those companies. HR may be inadvertently overlooking potentially great candidates because it’s unable to identify folks who may not have the exact “skills” to fill those positions yet possess all the other traits and experience necessary to fill those jobs with just a little extra training. The automated systems widely used to source and filter out applicants via keyword may be exacerbating the problem, he said.  It’ll be interesting to hear what other sources have to say about this as I continue reporting the story.

A New Way to Pay for Healthcare?

Back in 2006, Massachusets, under the leadership of then-governor and now presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, was the first state in the union to implement a healthcare-reform law that extended coverage to nearly all of its residents. Although the law (which served as the model for President Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) has fulfilled its mission of covering almost all adults and children in Massachusetts,  it has done nothing to control (or perhaps has exacerbated) the state’s spiraling healthcare costs, which are 15 percent above the U.S. average.

Now Massachusetts is once again boldly going where no state has gone before: Gov. Deval Patrick and the legislature are working on bills that will, if enacted,  drastically change the way the state’s healthcare providers are paid. Instead of fee-for-service payments, networks of doctors and hospitals would be reimbursed via a “global payment system” in which they “would receive flat fees for the care of each patient, with higher payments for patients deemed to be greater health risks and with bonuses for higher-quality care. In theory, the healthier these so-called accountable-care organizations can keep their patients, the more reimbursements they can pocket as profit,” according to the New York Times.

The bills are not popular with many of the state’s doctors: 60 percent of them told the Massachusetts Medical Society in a recent poll that they were not likely to join a voluntary global payment system. But if the bills are passed into law, look for this approach to receive far greater attention. Healthcare costs continue to grow by leaps and bounds, and while everyone seems to have a reason (“Obamacare,” obesity rates, malpractice awards), it’s inevitable that doctors and hopsitals will start coming under even greater pressure to reduce their costs.