Thursday, July 30, 2009

David Letterman Doesn't Understand Twitter

And the story continues. I love how he says when you do not understand something you make fun of it and ridicule it and that's what he's doing. Thanks to my new twitter/facebook friend, Carrie Bugbee, who lives in Portland for sharing this.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Try Teaching Naked

Now here is an educator who is doing it right. I found this via my college alma mater website - "Professor suggests teaching naked -- without computers." The premise of Jose A. Bowen's, a dean at Southern Methodist University, plea is to leave the computers out of the classroom. Have the students watch the presentation at home and come into the classroom ready to discuss what they've seen or heard. If a professor simply shows slides for the full 50 minutes of face to face time, they have wasted an opportunity to be better than simply having the student watch a webinar at home. Why pay thousands of dollars a year to attend college full-time when you can get the same information at your house for much less or maybe free?

It's worth a look in a quick 4 minutes.

Video from The Chronicle of Higher Education

Minimum Wage Increase and Health Care Reform

July 24 is the new "update your labor law posters" date. As of Friday, July 24, the federal minimum wage will increase to $7.25. I suspect that this increase will affect many of the seasonal employers who use so be sure that you know the laws and update your employees' pay accordingly.
Federal Minimum Wage - United States Department of Labor
State Minimum Wage - United States Department of Labor
Another hot topic in Washington is health care reform. Having worked in benefits and having seen first hand how expensive group coverage can be, I personally hope that those in Washington will find a way to help all of the uninsured and under-insured in this country. And, also for the sake of small businesses like, who generally are the first to return after a recession, make health care more affordable for them and their employees. We're all in this together. I would love to see a concerted effort by all Americans to take an honest look at their own health situation, and make their voices heard.
I'll get off my soap box now.
For a more humorous take on health care reform, please enjoy this segment from Lewis Black on The Daily Show:
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Back in Black - Health Care Reform
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorJoke of the Day

Friday, July 17, 2009

HR Happy Hour #5

I finally got to listen to the whole show and went from a lurker to a participator. Steve Boese and Shauna Moerke, aka HR Minion, have hosted 5 of these shows now and the idea behind it is to have a virtual happy hour with HR professionals. What a great idea!

Here's the show:

I joined the call at 36:15 and once I got everyone clear on how to pronounce my name, I talked about how I would run an HR department if I went back to being a practitioner.

Be sure to also check out the other podcasts including the one right after the annual SHRM conference with the HR Blogger panel participants. You can listen to that here.


Don't be years behind the curve

Jennifer McClure, @CincyRecruiter, did an amazing job of making videos with thought leaders at the SHRM Conference in New Orleans. [ I aspire to get to video. : ) ] In the video I feature here, she interviews Matthew Adam, Vice-President and Chief Talent Strategist at NAS Recruitment Communications. I had the pleasure of joining the NAS team for dinner on Tuesday night after the Sheryl Crow concert. What a great group of talented individuals.

The reason I wanted to share this quick video is because he goes to the heart of the matter when it comes to job seeker's expectations. This is the quote regarding candidate experience that I wholeheartedly agree with.

"You know, a couple of years ago you were considered leading edge if a candidate could apply on your website. Today that's a baseline expectation. And if you don't have that, you're years behind the curve." - Matthew Adam, NAS

Interview with Matthew Adam of NAS Recruitment Communications - SHRM 09 from Jennifer McClure on Vimeo.

As a reminder, Cool Works is not just about jobs in great places, we also have our own applicant tracking system (ATS) called Staffing Center that helps many employers, from family-run ranches to large corporations like Aramark and Princess Tours, ski resorts like Deer Valley, to even a hospital, manage their employment applications.

Some benefits of using the Staffing Center:

  • We customize the look and feel of the application to match the employer's branding.
  • We provide a dynamically updated job list.
  • You receive excellent customer service and support from me. ; )
  • You can have an unlimited number of users with access to departments as you see fit.
  • You can export the data so you can analyze what is and is not working in your recruiting.
  • You can be green by using less paper in your hiring process!

Along with our applicant tracking system, we also create customizable EEO tracking forms and reference check forms. Take some work out of your hiring process and get on board with the Staffing Center. Job seekers are getting savvier all of the time. Don't be left behind.

We'd love to show you more. Call or email to arrange a live demo.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Snippets from Jack Welch

Unfortunately, I didn't arrive early enough in New Orleans to hear Jack Welch, the former CEO and Chairman of General Electric, speak in person, but I did see him walk by right after I took this picture in the exhibition hall.

Cheezhead, Intern Queen, Steven Rothberg, Paul and Erin at's booth

Thankfully SHRM posted the video from Jack's session with Claire Shipman on their website. I hope that you'll be able to click on the link to view it, but you may need to be a SHRM member. It's worth joining. He had some solid advice that told it like it is, but he said it in a nice way. Think of it as "a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down."

Here are some snippets I grabbed from watching the video and from reading other people's interpretations of his talk. I definitely see the value of having him as a keynote speaker this year and the interest of the 7000+ HR professionals and 3000 exhibitors who may have listened to him live.

Some basic advice.

  • Don't be a victim. He repeated this message three or four times. He meant that you shouldn't complain about your state of affairs at the company. If you're not valued at the same level as the CFO, prove your worth. Get angry. Win.
  • Find the place in your company or another company where you can make an impact.
  • Get a voice.
When asked about how HR professionals can be helpful during this down economy, he said the following.
  • Communicate all the time.
  • Act smarter and faster.
  • Know if your employees have a voice. Can you tell if they are contributing to the greater good of your company? Or, are they just hunkering down, fearful of what might come down the pike?
  • It's important to say the same thing to everybody. There shouldn't be a different story being told to investors, your employees, your board, et cetera. Be consistent.
  • Be informal. How do you do this? Walk the floor. Tweet. Be sure that you are working for the people...the well as those above who are making the decisions about those employees.

I probably enjoyed the next piece the most when he talk about work / life balance. He said that that is a load of crap (I think those were his words). There is only work / life choice. How true is that? Each person makes decisions along the way that impact how his or her life is balanced. Personally, I've known workaholics and I've known slackers. I've also known those in the middle who seem to be balanced regarding their work and the life, or should I say life and work. In each scenario, it all comes down to personal choice. Having kids, not having kids, working your way up to CEO or not, these are all scenarios that involved lots of decisions and choices along the way. For another blogger's take on this, read this.

Another point he made regarded performance goals. He brought up the 10/10/10 theory which stands for planning for the next 10 minutes, 10 months and 10 years. He believed that too many decisions and goals are made for the short term and companies get the results they've asked for. He went on to say that companies get the behavior that they measure and that which gets the reward. He reiterated that managers are paid to manage and make the tough decisions. If people aren't performing, move them on. And, if you have great performers, find ways to make them stay.

Here was his advice to Gen Y:

  • Find the job that turns your crank.
  • Go for your dreams!
  • There's no better time to give an idea a whirl then when you're not tied to the picket fence, your family, a mortgage, et cetera. Go for it!

His thoughts on mentors:

  • He hates them.
  • The one you're assigned to by your company may not be a good performer.
  • Everyone has something to offer.
  • Be willing to learn from lots of people.

The word he ended with is trust. As HR professionals, you need to be trusted and inspire trust. This reminds me of a post on Mark Stelzner's blog about Kathy Griffin. Do your employees know that what you say you will do, you'll do? Think about the word trust. Are you earning the trust of your people every day? Do you get excited by their successes? Does your boss know that they can trust you?

Lastly, he closed by saying he wants us all to feel like he does everyday. "Six-foot-five with hair. Good luck!"

It's worth the hour or so to watch it, but I hope this gives you some insight into what Jack shared. You can get more frequent updates from him via his twitter account. He's a big fan. Happy we have that in common.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Thinking About Authenticity

I realize that mentioning authenticity may seem cliche, and Laurie of Punk Rock HR is sick of thinking about it, but every where I go I hear people talk about being authentic. Comments I heard at the "HR Bloggers - Who Are These People and Why Should You Care?" session at the SHRM conference in New Orleans included the following.

  • Tell your own story. He is who he is in person and on his blog. - from @thelance
  • It's easier to be yourself when you blog. - from @jessica_lee
  • If you can't be yourself when you blog, you're working for the wrong company. - from @lruettimann
  • Risk adverse companies may push a blogger to go anonymous. - from @kris_dunn
Mark, Laurie, Gary and Kari (Stelzner)

I work from home so for me my social outlets are my cats, my Cool Works partners via IM and GTalk, my twitter friends, other social networking peeps, and the employers with whom I work. However, from June 20 to July 2, I got full face-to-face (f2f) social experience because of two planned trips, one for Cool Works through Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks and one for me / Cool Works for the annual SHRM conference in New Orleans. In some ways, it's too bad that the trips couldn't have been spread further apart to maintain my "contact high," but in some ways, I think that running so hard and fast kept my brain at the proper pace to absorb all of the energy from each event. Lots of goodness was received from each trip.

Cool Works Meetup Wrap Ups - Part I, Part II, Part III, and Part IV (Final)
SHRM Wrap Up - For Three Strange SHRM - Conference Wrap Up

P, Jayden, Q and Richard

Now being self-absorbed for just a moment, I think I'm fairly authentic. The writing me and the talking me are the same. Comments from people I met on both trips support my belief, and frankly, really made my day(s). Back at you folks! Some examples:

  • From a member of our My Cool Works social network after meeting me at Lake in Yellowstone National Park - "Lovely meeting you kari. i think i felt your energy before i saw you, and as you passed, i'm pretty sure i could have grabbed the electrons in your outer orbit. i'm very happy that you were you. i wish you more luck in life than even an unreasonable person could expect." [WOW]
  • "I feel the same about @lruettimann, @kariquaas. She would ask the same Q's in person that she does on her blog." 9:47 AM Jul 1st from web - @leanneclc - Leanne Chase
  • "@kariquaas - I will never *ever* mispronounce your name again. You're a wonderfully interesting person & it was great mtg you! #SHRM09" 3:13 PM Jul 2nd from web - @stelzner - Mark Stelzner
  • "How did @kariquaas get so awesome?" 11:35 PM Jun 29th from twhirl - @SBWorkforce - SmartBriefWorkforce, aka Mary Ellen Slayter, whose writing I love!

Needless to say, but I'm flattered and happy that who I am online is who I am in person. I am me. If you don't like me, don't follow me. It's almost like @Animal's line of "If you're sensitive, don't follow me" on twitter. Being true to oneself is so critical. Like Kris Dunn of HR Capitalist said during the panel, blogging is about having an opinion, taking a stand and critical thinking. In addition to that I would like to state that sometimes it's hard enough to clarify my own thoughts so why on earth would I want to add the challenge of trying to think like someone else. Writing as yourself is easier, and also helps to develop your personal brand, a topic for another day.

So, therein lies the challenge to you. Are you you? If yes, great. If not, why not? Do you write as yourself or try to be someone else? If you write as yourself, good for you. If not, who else are you trying to be?

Thursday, July 02, 2009

OPP - Other People's Posts

Jessica Lee - SHRM09 Wrap Up... The SHRM's Recovery + Rebuild - Yes We Can?

Michael VanDervort - Getting Strategic with the HR Bartender

Laurie Ruettimann - SHRM Explainer: What is a HR Tweet Up?

Kris Dunn and China Gorman -

KD + China Gorman from Fistful of Talent on Vimeo.

For Three Strange SHRM

Okay, so really it was 4 days that I spent in New Orleans for the 2009 Annual SHRM Conference. I'll say right up front that I feel honored and privileged to have been able to go. Thanks again to SHRM for having me as a member of the "press." Also, briefly, I want to thank all of the wonderful HR bloggers and other attendees for making it another good conference experience. You guys are GREAT!

Like I've said before, and I'm quite sure that I'll continue to share that I love Twitter and its power to connect like minded people. I'd list all of the folks I met but it would take a long time. Just check out my twitter account to see who I follow and / or search by the hash tag #shrm09 and you'll see all the cool folks out there. This is the future of connecting. I read a comment on Laurie's blog from a guy who complained about people who use their BlackBerry / PDAs in the bathroom and maybe the possibility that as a group we've gone too far. For posterity sake, since I'm a child of the Ferris Bueller generation, "you can never go too far." I will agree that I too am against any phone being used in the bathroom because it's just plain disgusting, disrespectful and gross. But, at this point, you'd have to rip the phone or computer out of my hands before I would stop tweeting.

I intend on doing other posts about my opinions and summaries from certain sessions, but here are a few highlights from SHRM in New Orleans now that it's all over.

  • The community of bloggers and twitters is strong and vibrant. I am happy to be counted amongst this talented and non-risk adverse group. Read these folks' words. You might just learn something, and also, the next time you attend an annual conference or otherwise, you might just have some new friends to meet.

  • Lee Woodruff is an honest, compassionate and capable woman and I'm so glad to have her heard her story of love and learning regarding her husband, Bob Woodruff of ABC News. I'll eventually pick up Lee's book Perfectly Imperfect. What a gal. And, for that matter, what a guy.

  • Generational differences are nothing but different lenses for viewing the world. Each of us has more in common than is different. There simply isn't any good reason to pick on any generation for their so-called faults. Each generation was shaped and molded by the generations before. In other words, we created what we got. Stop blaming and just learn to work together.

  • Hurricanes are strong and the French Quarter is a whole other world.
  • Voodoo doctors exist.

  • Hurricane Katrina presented the city of New Orleans an opportunity to reinvent itself and show just how resilient its residents are.

  • Sheryl Crow ROCKS!

  • The Morial Convention Center is LONG.

  • Humidity is not something I enjoy for extended periods.

  • SHRM is running as fast as it can as a giant, traditional organization to catch up with the changes happening around it. There are some leaders including China Miner Gorman and Amy Thompson leading the charge for change, and I think in future years, there will be a better connection between the HR office, the blogosphere and social media. As Gerry Crispin says, if you want change within SHRM, you have to get involved and be that change on the inside. Or was that Gandhi? ; )

  • Most of the food in New Orleans is fried, but there are glimmering rays of sunshine and non-fried options at yummy places like Cochon. Long live pork heaven!

  • My friend, Erin, who runs her own HR consulting company is great. I'm glad we got to experience another SHRM conference together. It's nice to have a deep and meaningful conversation about what is really important in life.

  • Whoever believes that you can't create meaningful friendships with people you met on the Internet has his or her head in the sand.

  • I already miss Cheezhead, PunkRockHR, TheRedRecruiter and Stelzner.

  • Beignets are tasty.

  • Mobile is everywhere, but you know what? I didn't hear it mentioned ONCE at the SHRM conference.

I guess that's it for now.

Photos from the conference can be found on my Flickr page - Kari Quaas' photos.

Tweets from the sessions I attended and general impressions can be found on my Twitter page if you didn't catch them along the way.

Lastly, be on the lookout for more posts about SHRM as my mind processes all that I heard, saw and experienced. Thanks again to SHRM and for reading!