Wednesday, April 29, 2009


I think everyone in the world probably knows what TMI is, but for those not fluent in the short message acronyms, TMI is "Too Much Information." Essentially, it is about certain individuals' propensity to share too much information about themselves or any topic under the sun. Typically, when one hears too much information the reaction is to cringe and/or experience general malaise at why so much was shared. TMI happens too much.

Why is this on my brain today? Well, often and particularly now that the summer working season is about to begin, the number of times that members of our social network bring up drug testing and smoking weed increases. For the record, I'm no fool, I know that lots of people in the seasonal world imbibe, BUT, my work experience is in HR and safety management and I've got a low level, if not zero level, of tolerance for idiots those who violate health, safety and DOT policies. I've administered drug and alcohol testing programs for the DOT (bus drivers) and I've heard every excuse in the book for why someone failed a drug test. "I swear, I wasn't smoking. I was at a party and everyone else was smoking. Not me." "Dude, I use hemp oil in my cooking." Well, I have not heard all of them, but enough to know that generally people will lie about their use because they just are mad that they got caught. I've also been involved in performance / discipline events with employees who simply made bad choices. There are good reasons the rules exist and certainly if I am in a role to enforce them, then that's what I do.

The social network is a whole other ball of wax. I'm not their employer. I'm not their manager. I can't discipline them or nor do I care to. I'm just a simple network administrator who tries to keep relative peace when things get heated. I am frankly amazed at how much people will share and how they are so cavalier and public about something that not only violates most employers' policies, but is against the law. But whatever. It just means more jobs for me in the future, right?

Now as HR professionals, we know that unless something affects one's performance on the job, it should not matter or be considered when weighing someone's potential employment or continued employment. The fact that individuals post this stuff on the Internet really has nothing to do with how they will do their jobs. Nothing.

So what can you do about it?
  • Have strongly worded policies about drug and alcohol use on the job.
  • Enforce those policies.
  • Do not take hearsay into consideration, but do your own investigation to get to the truth of the matter.
  • You can Google your employees. In fact, a lawyer told me it was perfectly fine to do so at a SHRA conference, BUT, if you do that for ONE person, be prepared to do so for ALL of your employees and prospective employees, AND, don't take things into consideration that may violate the EEO. Read more about what the lawyer said here.
  • Lastly, know that they're headed your way and be prepared to handle the inevitable policy violations.

Hopefully, this post did not make you cringe, but this is what I am seeing right now on our social network. Mind you, the offenders are few and far between, but they are out there, and they are headed to a summer job near you.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Introducing Mobile

Change has come to and we're pretty excited about it. We've been fans of the recruiting news website Cheezhead for some time, and when the chance to better serve both our employer clients and job seekers through mobile was offered, we jumped at the opportunity. With iPhones taking the world by (Blackberry) storm, we didn't want to fall behind. According to the mJob website, a Cheezhead affiliated company, "With more than 4 billion handsets in the world, mobile is rapidly becoming the media of choice for savvy recruiters across the globe." We definitely wanted to make sure that is a part of this mobile revolution.

What does this mean for our job seekers? Job seekers can now check out the open job opportunities via their cell phones anytime, anywhere by visiting the following link.

They can then email leads to themselves to follow up on later.

We're hoping that this becomes a simple way for them to keep up with the latest and greatest on in addition to the current job notification emails and RSS feeds we already provide.

What does this mean for our employers?

It's just another way for job postings on to reach even more people. As access to mobile continues to grow exponentially, the number of job seekers who utilize to find their summer jobs will only increase. It means better odds for employers to find the qualified job candidates needed to fill their seasonal job opportunities.

It's a win-win situation for everyone.

So, a BIG thanks to Joel and his team at for taking us into the next realm of recruiting possibilities. Be sure to check out and let us know what you think.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Now Arriving - Your New Summer Staff

It's that time of the year where the big kids head out to their summer jobs. I clearly remember being the Mom Cat as it were when my first round of seasonal employees / driver guides headed to Alaska in the spring of 1999. We all loaded up their stuff into the Gray Line of Seattle motorcoach and shuttled them to SeaTac. As they were saying their goodbyes in their Gray Line of Alaska red coats, I felt like a mom sending her kids off to camp. I hoped that each one would find what they were looking for in Alaska and that nothing bad would happen to them.

The enthusiasm right now on our social network is bubbling over. The countdown timers are mentioned daily. "Two more days left!" "15 days left!" "No fair, I still have month to go." They cannot wait to get to their new jobs and their homes in the parks and other great places.

So, my encouragement to you today is simple. Help them have the best summer job ever! The rewards to them will be great, but the rewards to you for being an employer of choice are greater. So here's a quick checklist of ways to start off on the right foot.

Make a great first impression!
  • Smile, smile, smile!
  • Know their names and be expecting them just like guests at your resort/ranch, etc.
  • Be sure that employee housing is clean and ready for use.
  • Hang welcome signs.
  • Provide maps so they know where they're going.
Build Your Team
  • Have a BBQ so that your new employees get to know their co-workers.
  • Provide mentors to those employees who are new to your operation.
  • Team them up during orientation.
  • Find out what the one thing they want to do is this summer and help them do it.
Help your employees succeed.
  • Keep your HR office door open for questions and concerns.
  • Help them learn their jobs quickly.
  • Buddy check with your employees to see how things are going early on.
  • Let them know when they're doing a great job!
  • Feedback is important. Encourage it.
  • It's normal for people to be nervous when they reach a new place. Help them to feel comfortable by answering their questions and taking care of their needs.

That's enough for now since I know that you have plenty of items on your to-do lists. Treat your new employees well and they'll be champions for your organization in no time. I hear the train whistle now....