HR Blacklist – Lessons from A Show

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Ok, first question, are HRPros actually willing to throw coffee at someone if there is no possible way to make another cup?

I’ve been binge watching Blacklist lately, great show you should check it out, so of course, I had to write a blog about HR and the show!

I’m sure there are a lot of lessons to be learned, like have a complete background check done on your partner before marrying them. But, I think the biggest lesson Elizabeth Keen learned from her partnership with Red is also a lesson that HRNewbies need to understand … work hard to find your own answer, don’t just settle for the basics.

On every resume or cover letter, there is the “Hard Working” line. What exactly are you hard working at doing? Red refused to give Elizabeth the direct answer and I enjoy this about the show because I can relate to it. Anyone, not just an HRNewbie, can appreciate the effort it takes to figure something out on your own. If it’s not in school, or a life problem, it can be with work.

Image result for laws memeAs a newbie of the company, there is bucket loads of information being given to you, but there are somethings you have to take the initiative on and figure out for yourself. Elizabeth took it upon herself to (finally) accept who her husband really was, in your case, it could be taking the step to figuring out the state laws that impact your company the most. Maybe my school curriculum didn’t focus on that for a reason, but I’ve found it to be much more important and difficult than they led on!

Much like my Workology blog post Starting From the Bottom says, always try to bring a solution to the room, never walk in empty-handed. Elizabeth refused to believe certain facts about her life and the people she was involved with until it hit her in the face. HR can have its’ ups and downs. This is why so many HR Pros encourage you to find at least one other person to connect with, maybe it’s to ask a question, or just to vent. If you let everything pile up on you mentally and emotionally, you’re putting yourself at risk. HR Pros have to pay attention to their needs as well as company needs. Having a situation hit you in the face, is the reason why more HR Pros need to get out of the office. Life isn’t predictable, but being open with your employees and having a trusting relationship with them, can hopefully help you correct situations before they occur.

Do you have an HR Blacklist?

**Spoiler Alert**

If you had any doubt that Red is Elizabeth’s father … I worry about you.

Until Next Time …

Bear with me on this journey of taking 2 graduate classes at once and thank you for your continued support of HRJazzy 🙂


Holding Management Accountable … At least for Paperwork

Wow, this is the 50th Blog Post for HRJazzy … Dance!

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In HR we talk a lot about getting the “buy in” from leadership, it’s in almost every discussion, just like getting a seat at the table. I’ve been talking to one of my HR friends and he’s been discussing the problem of holding management accountable, more specifically, having leadership hold management accountable. I could understand where he came from a little bit, because while we hold our managers accountable, there are also times where their supervisors protect them from the wrath of paperwork.

We ask for a paper to be signed and faxed over (yes, we still use the fax machine) and it doesn’t come! Even when we give them months to get something done, it never fails that we’re chasing them down at the end of the final month to get it all squared away.

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If you’re an assistant or have someone you report to in the HR world, how can you make sure you’re doing everything possible to hold management accountable:

  1. Documentation – it’s the word everyone knows and loves in HR, but it is critical. When I first started, I did a lot of phone calls to the managers when I needed something, that ended very quickly! I started sending emails and faxing documentation over. This way I had a record of the information being sent out. If a manager tried to say they didn’t get the information in a certain time frame, I was able to show proof that it had been sent on my part.
  2. Communication – another favorite word in HR, communicate to the leadership team the problems you’re having. Explain how it’s not just causing issues in your day, but also how it causes problems with having paperwork turned in and submitted on time. What if you’ve been asking for a termination slip for a week and an unemployment claim comes in needing that documentation? Put the information in front of the leadership team very clearly and break it down. Have proof when you go to the leadership that you’ve sent the emails, you’ve called, you’ve faxed, and still nothing has happened.
  3. Understand that Not All Management Care – this one can be a tad harsh, but true. Managers have a lot of in-house situations to deal with and paperwork isn’t something they focus on (at least for my company type) unless it’s dealing with an order or new hire they’re trying to get started. It is also important as HR that you explain the why. HR isn’t enjoyable for everyone, but if you give more than a “Because I said so” you will receive a better response from them.

Image result for accountable memeIf you’re having problems with management turning in things or not responding in a timely manner, the first step is to always discuss it with them. Maybe they’re not sure of the process, or maybe the store was extremely busy and they couldn’t get it back within the five-minute window you requested. Find out how you can help them and in return you will get a manager who respects the process, even if they’re not fond of it. We aren’t HR just to write-up someone, take the time to go step by step with them. Jumping down their backs does nothing to improve the situation. There times we need to be stern and times where a lesson is to be learned, and sometimes the two will combine.

How have you helped hold your management team accountable?

Until Next Time …



All Those Questions …

Kids ask a lot of questions, you can’t blame them, they’re trying to get through this thing called life … my sister would be so proud of this Prince reference lol.

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While some find those questions to be annoying or unimportant to the time, questions are how we all learn. Like mistakes, sometimes we don’t listen to the warning signs that could have prevented us from making them in the first place.

When you’re joining a new career or company, every question is valid and should be treated as such. I had no real HR experience when I walked into my interview with my current company. Sure, I had been to school and paid some attention in class, but I have never been put in an HR position and told to make a decision for someone else. I had a lot of questions and still to this day, I still ask questions to seek clarity on situations.Image result for asking questions gif

Asking questions can be hard for some people, asking for help can be an even bigger challenge. Being new to a position, you may feel things should be plain and shouldn’t need an explanation, but that isn’t true. When you’re gaining experience and knowledge there aren’t enough questions in the world you should ask. Don’t be afraid or nervous to get answers that you need to do your job. In the same time, you need to understand what the right questions are in certain situations.

Questions can also get you in a lot of trouble. Companies give their managers policies, manuals, and documentation, they layout exact questions that should be asked when conducting an interview. We tell you, do not break away from these questions, listen more than you speak when in this situation. There are reasons for these policies, even after training, it never fails that a manager wants to know why they can’t ask someone if they have kids that would take away from them being called in or how old they are. They listen and hear that the person had a previous alcohol problem and want to know if they can ask if them if they still drink. Word of advice, just please, don’t!

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There are times I’ll walk into my bosses office and turn around to walk right back out. I didn’t take the time to ask myself the question before I approached her with it. If I’m telling her she should trust my decision-making skills, I believe I should at least walk into her office with one solution. My boss also likes to answer my question with a question to get me thinking. She’s allowing me the chance to answer the question without her … I talk to myself more often in my office now because of this technique, but I appreciate it. Now, before I walk into her office with a background report, I have all of the questions answered that she will ask, I just need her final approval or denial.

Image result for asking questions gifSo ask all of the questions you need, the right question just might save one of your employees in a difficult situation. Asking that one question you’re holding back on might give you better clarity on something. Those questions will help you learn how to become better at your job. Ask all of the questions and then apply the answers to your work and become better.

Until Next Time …

Company Updates: Introducing #HRTech

Figuring out all of the great HR Technology Systems coming into play can be very difficult, at least for me is. My company doesn’t use outside sources (and please, don’t mysteriously contact me about this, it’s creepy) I have a harder time wrapping my head around all of the HR Technology available. ATS software, different systems they have in place to take an applicant from the application all the way through onboarding program. Payroll systems, allowing you the ability to complete these steps out of house and reduce a certain amount of risk. That is only the beginning, there is so much more these systems are able to provide. Systems can be amazing for your company, but hold on one second. What if you’re hired into a company that does not currently have any of the great systems you’ve heard of in school or through previous experiences and they’re a small company that handles everything in-house? The best advice … get comfortable with paper.

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Your company might not be on the technology bandwagon yet, but once you understand why they haven’t made the change to join the world of HR Technology, you can be the liaison between the two. Just because your company hasn’t made the jump, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep up to date with the advances in technology. You can read all of my personal thoughts regarding HR Technology on the SHRM Blog Q & A  written by SHRM Blog managing editor and #Nextchat creator Mary Kaylor @SHRMKaylor.

When you think a change in systems would be beneficial to the entire company, start taking the steps to introduce the idea, here are 2 tips that helped me start the conversation

Image result for options memeGive them options – One thing I’ve learned, at least about my company, is the leadership team loves options when they need to make a decision. They want to see what is out there and if you give them options, you might have a better chance at the answer you’re searching for. This means you will need to know everything about the options you’re presenting because they will have questions. A lot of questions!

Image result for research memeResearch – It’s going to be on you to complete quality research and match the skills your company needs, with those of the different systems in place. It would also be best to ask for a round about number if one is not provided, this way you’re not wasting time going far out of the budget. Look at your current systems, where are you failing, are you missing out on candidates because of the turnaround time? Maybe the online application is too long or the Mobile online application doesn’t generate quickly.  Does payroll take 2 days to complete? You have to know where the current downfalls are and find solutions to all of those problems first in this search. Don’t just Google information, look into reviews, ask colleagues, friends that have ATS or Payroll systems.

Every company doesn’t want an ATS software service, they enjoy doing things in-house, they manage the risk, have top people audit them. HR Technology is here and it’s going to stay, it’s time that HR as a whole accepts those changes. You may not convince your company that right now is the time to join this software program, but you have given them the information they need to start the thought process, and with you, they have someone they trust to guide them through.

What are you doing to keep updated on HR Technology?

Celebrating Your Employees

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**Cues “Celebration” by Kool & The Gang to be stuck in your head and officially your Friday song, you’re welcome :)**


Employees deserve to be celebrated! Not only for a job well done on a project, or for having one of the best customer service experiences, but also for personal strides as well. A little goes a long way with some employees, especially those that have never received such things at a previous place of employment. Maybe the newest employee in the company had a hard time grasping one of the training modules, maybe they just got married. Here are a few things you (and your company) can do to make your employees feel more like the company is a family that cares, and not just some place they clock in and clock out to get a paycheck.

Image result for office celebration gifCelebrate the Birthdays! – In our office, once a month whenever someone has a birthday, usually before a leadership meeting, we have an hour celebration. We get the persons favorite type of cake, some lunch, and just sit around talking and celebrating. When big birthdays hit, we get the person a special gift and pass down the “birthday cane”. For a small office, we don’t need to do a lot, but that little time gives us all a break, we get to just be in the office, and hear old company or personal stories.

Celebrate the Family! – Did someone just become new parents, get married, become grandparents, get a new pet? Yes, I know, we have work that needs to be done, but taking 5 minutes out of the day just to say congratulations or look at a picture won’t hurt you. Believe me, I use to think it would lol. Especially when a team member or manager in one of our store locations has an addition, we might send them a little logo onesie, just something to show them you notice.

Celebrate the Graduation! – Not only if someone graduated high school or college, what if you had a hard training course for certain managers and they passed the certification, a cookie cake doesn’t cost too much. Giving them a certificate or a lapel pin to show that they’ve just passed.

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Celebrate Retirement! – The employees that have stuck with you and your company when you weren’t as popular as you might be now. The ones who got excited about training a new employee, showing them the ropes, moving up from being an hourly team member to a member of management. To me, these are the employees that made the company what it is today, and when they decide it’s time to go on continuous road trips or stay at home and spend more time with the family, they deserve to be celebrated.

Sometimes a simple ‘Thank You’ is all someone needs to feel like they belong, and every once in a while, it’s nice to go above and beyond for the team that we wouldn’t have a job without. HR can be known as the “mean and unreasonable” office, we aren’t trying to bribe our way back into the graces of employees and companies with cookies, cakes, and ice cream (although if you know me, I might be willing to start the process to forgive and forget for a piece of cake) however, take it one day at a time. Change the opinion of those that have feared the HR department. I’ve heard the stories about HR Pros finding creative ways to change the response to them because of a previous bad HR department. These are just everyday small thank yous your team will enjoy. Your response to them and their concerns is important. Allowing them to see you’re human might help more than you know.

Now dance it out to “Celebrate” on this great Friday Image result for dancing friday gif


Creating and Posting Your Job Ads

I love creating job ads, I make them colorful, eye-popping, fewer words, and more pictures/shapes if possible. I still give the important information of what my company is looking for, but in the job market today, your company needs to stand out.

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I’m not saying a lot of individuals will, but there are some employees that will choose your company because of the atmosphere you provide, and not the hourly rate that you can afford to pay.

When creating a job ad, I think about the things that have attracted by current team to join our company, as well as things that I want to see when experiencing the big search. I’ve seen a few job ads that are very straight forward and what I like to call, plain boring. This isn’t necessarily the fault of the HR department, maybe the company hire ups don’t want to spend the time or money creating a more eye catching ad. There are also a few people who don’t look for the creativeness of an ad, but just the description and amount of money we will pay. My company has a good balance of both.

Posting in the Newspaper – In our small towns, we normally submit a newspaper ad. This one is normally what I deem as our “boring” ad. We have our company logo, our requirements, pay, and a few of the “what we offer you” pieces of criteria. Our biggest highlight for newspaper ads are definitely our hiring bonuses, normally that extra cash is eye popping enough to bring people into the store for interviews.

Image result for job ad memePosting on College Campus –  Money talks on college campus, when we need a new ad placed, we make sure to offer flexible hours and money. College students are looking for ways to make a quick buck. Some of them attempt to find jobs in their career field, which depending on your organization will really help, but some of them need basic working skills. Be creative when posting to colleges and tell the truth about your requirements. Don’t post that you’re hiring interns, but honestly looking for someone with a few years experience. Be specific, you can’t ask for something and complain when you get what you asked for because you didn’t know who you actually wanted to hire for the position.

Referrals – Believe me, your employees are walking job ads for your company. When your team is excited and happy about their job, they tell their friends. When they’re upset because you didn’t give them that day off or made them work to close, they tell their friends. Referral bonuses are a big plus to your employees to help them make a little extra money. Use them! Get them to post a job ad at their school, find out their favorite hang out spots and see if you can post an ad there. BE CREATIVE.

Posting in Your Store – If you have the ability to do so, positing in your store can be a great way to obtain new employees. They’re already there and looking around, they see how your employees interact with one another, how active the managers are, is it a fun environment. Your store/company should always promote a culture you’re proud to be apart of in and outside of the office. If possible, have managers that can always answer quick questions or do an interview if someone comes in and decides your company is for them.

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Job ads are just the words, “Now Hiring, Will Pay”. Try to encourage your hire ups to try new ideas when positing. Get creative, find out what people are looking for, figure out the best locations for your ads, and then go to your organization with the ideas. Another major part of positing job ads, is having faith in your managers to follow up with applicants. I’ve been in situations where the managers have been calling, trying to find out what we are doing to get them more people, but then they won’t follow up quickly when they receive an application. Everyone must play their part when recruiting and getting the employees to stay. Make sure your managers understand what this means in their role.

Get out there and create that brand new job ad, I hope you get a new applicant soon!

Until Next Time …


Handling Harassment Claims

Back at it with another big topic important to the HR world. Not only for newbies, but also executives and HR Professionals everyday.

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Last week I attended Northern Alabama SHRM September Workshop here in Huntsville. It was a full day of great information, with wonderful HR Pros sharing knowledge, tips, advice, how to’s, on the new, and the old. All of the speakers were awesome, but one of them really hit home on this topic. Mike Haberman discussed Investigation and Termination and here are a few tips that I found very beneficial.

Now, I don’t directly hands on deal with these types of investigations in my everyday role, the majority of it goes directly to my boss, unless she is out of the office. She allows for me to sit in the room and hear the investigation and shows me the process and steps on how to handle each claim.

The #1 Rule is – HR Cannot Promise Confidentiality: I was a little stumped about this until Mike explained it more in detail. There are a lot of moving parts in the investigation, including many people that must be interviewed. While the accused may not find out who brought the claim forward, other people that have been involved, will be brought into the mix as well.

There is a cost of not responding to a claim:

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  1. The bad behavior continues – if we ignore it, nothing will change. Even if the person stops harassing one victim, doesn’t mean he/she won’t move on to others.
  2. Lost Productivity – this does not only mean the victim, but also other employees that may work in that area. The harasser is losing productivity by causing these acts, and of course the victim is losing productivity by trying to avoid the harasser and situation all together. They may call out of work more often, come in late, be behind on projects.
  3. Lost of Talent – When your work starts to suffer, your job is in jeopardy. Being harassed can put someone in the position to lose his/her passion for a position or certain work. Think about the mental toll this type of harassment can cause someone in the company that is having to go through this, or have a friend/coworker go through this situation.
  4. Lost of money to settlements and court cost – when you ignore a claim, you are giving the harassed party the open door to head directly to a lawyer. Would you really want your company to be known as one that does not look out for the safety and well being of their employees, especially when the situation is brought to your doorsteps? Handling the investigation in a timely manner, means starting the investigation as soon as someone opens the door.
  5. Lost of Reputation – once again, its’ the not just the outlook of the company to the customers and the world, but what about how your employees will feel in an environment that does not make sure their people is safe in the doors of this business.

How can you have a reasonable investigation?

Make sure there is a neutral well trained investigator to handle this claim. Yes, normally HR is the department to turn to for investigations, but what if the HR department is being harassed? Find a person, like Mike, that has the background knowledge to handle these type of situations. Lawyers aren’t usually the person to hire for this, because if they conduct the investigation, they may not be able to handle your case in court.  Being about to find a good communication foundation is very important in any investigation. Sometimes the person being harassed won’t come out directly and inform you what is going on, a friend or fellow coworker may be that person. The harassed may also feel scared to come forward and give the details in an investigation. Taking them outside of the office to an undisclosed location and having a one on one conversation might make them more comfortable.

To finish off this post, I want to make sure to discuss two of the biggest lessons.

Be committed to finding the truth, regardless of where it leads and make it clear that retaliation will not be tolerated, in any manner. 

Image result for truthAs HR, we can not stop an investigation because of it’s direction. If an owner, executive, or even someone in HR has harassed any employee, they need to face the consequence of their actions. The party that has harassed a victim has done enough damage, retaliation is not an option in your company, and should be made very clear to every person involved. In one of my next post, I will discuss the importance of documentation during the investigation.

Until Next Time …