If I get hit by a bus…

I’m such a big fan of the “hit by a bus instructions” that I drive most people crazy about it. When I learn something new or add a new task to my normal routine I document it. And then I document it again. For real y’all, if I get hit by a bus tonight I want my team to be able to easily access what I have been working on, what my pending deadlines are and what work requires an immediate pick up and run. Too often we think that people will only be out of work for a day or two at a time, but let’s face it these instructions are for multiple circumstances. 1) the obvious-if I get hit by a bus. 2) if I get mad as all get out (after my screw you fund is built up of course) and walk out, never to be seen or heard from again. 3) if you get all mad at me and walk me out, never to be seen or heard from again.

As HR professionals we have all seen a situation where we “suddenly” had a problem employee we had to get rid of and start devising a plan of how to divide up the work tasks this person was responsible for. Wait, you do know what work tasks that person was responsible for, right? Oh, well there is another problem. How do you know what they are doing? Oh okay-you can just go around to their co-workers and gather information and piece their normal job functions together. Cool. Good luck with that.

Sometimes we don’t want to ask employees to keep a “living” training manual of what they do. It may take too much time, they are busy enough after all. The employee may start thinking we are going to fire them or replace them. Or you think they probably won’t do it anyway. Well, my dear HR pro, that is because you are not selling it right. I am often baffled at the lack of salesmanship from HR pros and must say I deeply value my selling capabilities. When our job is to manage our human resources we have to get creative, we have to find a way to get our humans to receive our message! Example: Is your work environment team oriented? Then you could sell it as a way to relieve pressure from the team if something happens and they have to step in and help with your job functions at the last-minute (hello, what if you get hit by a bus). Are your employees focused on climbing the ladder? Well then their transition up will be easier when they have the opportunity if they can train their successor quickly and give them a go to guide for the day-to-day things.

Still not enough for you to think about these handy-dandy manuals? How about this “hit by a bus instructions” should include a point of contact sheet. This sheet should list everyone and everything this employee is a POC for and what all contact information is used for this POC. Why? Because almost a year ago I switched jobs for the first time in 7 years. In those 7 years I accrued a lot of different responsibilities and became the POC for a lot of different employees, vendors, customers, etc. I still (with the most recent being yesterday morning) get phone calls on my cell phone from different people who the company failed to follow-up with and change the POC info. The most recent call was from the security service because the burglar alarm was set off. The call before that (two weeks prior) was about an employee working on third shift who got injured on the job. When I say third shift I mean my phone rang at 1:13 in the morning for an issue I didn’t need to know about. This list goes on and on and on. Had they taken the time to go through the instructions I had in reference to my job and the point of contact info they would’ve been able to take care of notifying everyone promptly. Or I could just change my cell phone number right? Don’t worry, I will soon. Seriously though, in the case of the burglar alarm what if it was a crisis that needed to be handled immediately? That isn’t the time to scramble around for the password for the security customer service rep to verify you are legit while you frantically tell the tale of the employee that is no more.

Employees, keep track of what you do. Keep track of who you are the contact for. Keep track of all the contact information you have for all of your point of contacts relevant to your projects. Don’t leave your team high and dry for any reason whether its you really get hit by a bus or you get ticked and walk out.

Employers, know what your employees are doing. You can do that without micro managing, I promise. Assign a back up point of contact for all projects, just in case. Don’t nag employees, but do follow-up and see if they are indeed keeping a good operating manual for you or someone else to take over in case something goes bad.

Managers, don’t spring a last-minute problem employee on us. Bring your issues to HR and lets talk about how to deal with it. I promise we won’t immediately say fire this person (that is why you don’t tell us right away isn’t it?). We will work with you, but if the employee doesn’t get better it’s a lot easier to get them out the door if we have followed procedure. We didn’t make this stuff up, its to protect you and the company so cooperate with us.

work instructions


NASHRMs SHRM Foundation online Fundraiser!




Welcome to NASHRM’s SHRM Foundation Online Shopping Event Fundraiser!! – Parties will be open until October 30th!

For those of you that may not know, the SHRM Foundation is a nonprofit affiliate of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). The SHRM Foundation supports academic research, scholarships, educational materials and practitioner resources to advance the HR profession.

Christmas is coming and we have the perfect opportunity for you to get some early shopping done, or buy something special for yourself and help support the SHRM Foundation at the same time!

With NASHRM’s Online Shopping Event, you can place orders with Avon, The Pampered Chef, Tastefully Simple, Mary Kay, Thirty-One, Scentsy and Origami Owl, and a percentage of the proceeds will be donated to the SHRM Foundation. Details on how to place orders with each company are below. The parties will be open from October 1st to October 30th. For general questions about the event, contact Kirsten Stutts at nashrm.foundation@gmail.com. For questions about a specific company or party, you can contact the consultant directly.

Mary Kay (click on Mary Kay to view flyer)

Tracy L. Swayne, Mary Kay ADVANCED Color Consultant
Website: www.marykay.com/tlswayne
Special Instructions: Enter “-SHRM” after your name when placing orders.

Pampered Chef (click on Pampered Chef to view flyer)
Ember Lewis, Pampered Chef Consultant
Website: www.pamperedchef.biz/emberstips
Special Instructions: You will be prompted to enter the host/organization first name: SHRM and last name: Foundation
Outlet items cannot be applied to the party


October Customer Special is attached.

Tastefully Simple
Jonni Smotherman
Website: www.tsbyjonni.com
Special Instructions: Be sure to include Host first name: NASHRM and Host last name: FUNDRAISER

Pamela Sanford, Avon Independent Sales Representative
Website: www.youravon.com/pamelasanford
Special Instructions: Enter code AFNASHRM before you check out

Thirty-One Gifts
Kirsten Stutts, Thirty-One Independent Consultant
Website: www.mythirtyone.com/kstutts
Special Instructions: Choose the NASHRM Fundraiser party



October Customer Special is attached.

Laura Allen
Website: https://lauraallen.scentsy.us
Special Instructions: Party name is NASHRM

Origami Owl (click on Origami Owl to view flyer)
Christen Cantrell
Website: www.locketup4ever.origamiowl.com
Special Instructions: Select NASHRM Foundation on the checkout page under the Party drop down box.



This is Chicago day 2 and I have to say SHRM knows how to have a conference. I’ve been in complete awe since I stepped foot in the McCormick center. The volunteers are the friendliest people you could ever meet and beyond helpful; turns out there is hope for customer service yet! HRCI is sponsoring free 10 minute massages today-Heck yeah! There is a lounge for chapter volunteers to kick back and enjoy some snacks and win some cool prizes. There’s vendors for every little thing your company could need from pet insurance to some kind of breast pump solutions (?). There’s people here from all over (78 countries) like Korea, Brazil, Canada, Australia and even, you guessed it, Alabama! Just thinking about how much knowledge and expertise is sitting in this building with me seriously gives me chills!!! The SHRM store is here selling some really cools stuff for all of us nerdy HR pros. The HIVE is set up next to the SHRM store to answer all your social media questions and tech recruiting questions. And there’s plenty of time and opportunity to network and have fun with your HR friends! I’m quickly making new friends and connections and already learning things to take back to work and share with my coworkers! I’m so excited to be here at #SHRM13 and if you’re here then come seek me out tomorrow in the HIVE from 10-12, I would LOVE to meet you! If you’re not here at #SHRM13 my blogger friends and I will be working diligently to keep you in the know!


Changing the Game

Lets just jump right in to opening day since #MarchMadness has become a huge disappointment for me…

How the Oakland A’s perfected the Applicant Tracking System…Remember the 02 season for the Oakland A’s? They finished 1st in the American League West with 103 wins and 59 losses. They were essentially a Cinderella team. Beane was able to produce an unexpected record with an unexpected team on an impossible budget. Often times you hear that necessity is the mother of all invention and that is probably the case here as well. Beane’s predecessor was forced with the task of fielding a competitive roster on a limited budget and turned to sabermetrics for help. He used sabermetrics to measure on-base percentages and target undervalued players. He eventually taught this system to Beane and he continued using it and tweaking it (and still uses it) to maximize a minimal budget and put together teams worthy of winning. The incredible thing about this is that someone had to step out and say “let’s try something different… no more recruiting the way we have just because it’s the way we have always done it…”. Other teams began utilizing this system and it began to change the recruiting of the entire league, not just one team. And hey, a good movie was born through the process somehow too 😉

The point isn’t really that the Oakland A’s decided to use evidence based metrics when assessing players, well.. yeah, that is part of the point. The other part is that someone was willing to change the way of doing things. They were willing to change the way they recruited in hopes to change their organizations output of a finished product. It’s kind of like our ATS that we turn to in HR. A one stop shop that shows us work history, education, skills and all other good to know evidence based info about candidates and employees. At one point, that wasn’t the norm (note: I am too young to know a time when that was not the norm in case you were curious). I did however work for a company that chose to utilize the paper way instead of maximizing the abilities of their ATS many years ago and it was foolish. I can only imagine the fights that sabermetrics brought in comparison to the pushback I got from charging forward on the oh so obvious one stop shop ATS that was being underutilized. What did we find when we started using all the bells and whistles on the ATS? We could suddenly work far more efficiently than we ever imagined. We could get lots of great things done, everything was in one place, everything was easy to get to, easy to measure and easy to assess…Ultimately, we could change the game. We improved our efficiency and overcame the fear of not holding a handwritten application in our hands when assessing candidates.

There will always be room for improvement, but if we aren’t open to change and improvement we will eventually get left behind. If HR professionals allow their organizations to fear change or fear it themselves I can promise you the organization will eventually be outperformed by competitors. What are some changes you are fearing in your organization? What are some changes you are heading in your organization?

"...how much you don't know..."
“…how much you don’t know…”

Throw your New Years Resolution in the GARBAGE

Yes, It’s officially January 2nd… how many of you have already broken your new years resolution? Not I-Not I, because I don’t wait for the new year to implement my goals! 🙂


I. Hate. New. Years. It’s such a disgustingly annoying unavoidable repeating scenario, year after year after year. We all know what is going to happen, the gym will be packed in January, everyone will laugh and say “durn it, I keep writing 2012, I just can’t get used to putting 13, har har har” and you make a New Years resolution, you break it, you cry, you whine, you decide to try again next year. Really? You fail at keeping a [probably unattainable in the first place] resolution in the first month and don’t take a stab at it again until next year… You annoy me. I am already tired of seeing the posts about the resolutions (good/bad/ugly/etc.) Try this on instead, a challenge… a promise… a goal… anything but the R word.

With that, I challenge my HR brethren to fulfill its purpose this year, to be the best business partner they can be, to improve organizations, to improve employees, to build other HR professionals up (especially you catty women, better said by Laurie here: http://thecynicalgirl.com/there-is-a-special-place-in-hell-for-hr-women-who-dont-help-other-hr-women/ ). I challenge you to take HR to the next level, to motivate and mentor! I challenge you to set attainable goals for your work life and home life. I challenge you to promise your family they won’t be second to your job. I challenge you to make a difference. If you fail at any of these don’t wait until next year to start over. You don’t need some shiny ball drop paired with horrible musical performances & raunchy kisses everytime you need to set a new goal, so I challenge you that if you fail, if you fall short in the slightest way, to start again the next day – not next year.

I know I sound like a New Years version of the Grinch, eh, well… maybe I am!



Taking Charge vs Leading

Did you know there is a difference? Once upon a time I didn’t know and when I say once upon a time I pretty much mean most of my life. I can think back as far as a 3rd grade group science project that I was in charge of and how little patience I had for two of the kids in my group that didn’t “get it.” Oy vey! Just thinking about it now messes with my blood pressure-it wasn’t a hard project (yep, I can remember the project exactly too!).

I just know what you should be doing...
I just know what you should be doing…

Anyway, at my last position I had many trials and tribulations in the area of leading… mostly because I have an obvious lack of patience and a low bs tolerance, but I learned a lot!  So my aha! moment came one Thursday night after work when I was sitting at my desk with absolute shock and anger at the fact that my staff wouldn’t do their jobs the right way, CMON MAN! And I was called to the carpet that very day for being short with them… My response to that was just blank stares and a lot of “REALLY?”… [what an amateur response right?] So I dial-up one of my allies in the company just to get some perspective and kind of vent, SOOOOO NOT expecting this person to give me an aha! moment. He asks me what happened and what I said so I begin to tell him… he stops me in mid-story and says “THERE, RIGHT THERE!” What? Right there what? “If someone said that to you, you would be so offended…” You know what, I would’ve been, but my defense counteracted with a smart aleck “No one would have to say that to me for me to get offended because I would be doing it already!” Well sass-pants that’s not the point now is it? The point is you can’t talk to people like that and expect them to respond… So the back part of the aha! moment was this: I’ve got to stop talking to my staff like I’m a co-worker and start talking to them like I’m their leader. When I say that I talked like a co-worker, I think many times I did & it’s similar to when a parent tries to play the role of a friend and not necessarily the role of a parent – it’s confusing. I was pretty much creating my own problems because I wouldn’t let go of my stubbornness because “If I can understand it why can’t they?” was a staple in my reasoning.

So after a few days of licking my wounded ego and pretending I wasn’t in the wrong I started a change, a change that wasn’t as evident then as it is now, in how I talk to people not just staff. It started with little steps like replacing some words in a request with nicer words, becoming sincere, practicing patience of course and trying to understand why it is that someone doesn’t understand what I feel I easily understand. Some of these were steps that I already knew I should-be doing, I was just too stubborn and some if it is advice from my great group of HR peeps and of course a book or two helped guide me. It’s exciting for me to see the difference in how people respond to requests from me and I feel like I’m really back on track to getting this leadership thing down. Taking charge of a project has always come easy for me, but leading a project, I know now, is way more enjoyable!

Just for fun...
Just for fun…