Networking is critical to your career internally and externally.

Two things prompted this replay. First, Tom Peters has a new book out named the Excellence Dividend. I will have more on it in the weeks to come. The second thing was that #SHRM18 is just under two months away, and since this post was prompted by Steve Browne, I thought that this would be a good reminder for people heading to the SHRM conference.

One of the themes from #SHRM17, the HR conference held in New Orleans, was connecting.  Steve Browne, HR leader extraordinaire, talked several times about the need for HR people to expand their sphere of contacts. He told everyone to reach out and meet someone new as they were standing in line in front of you. Steve even talks about this in his new book HR on Purpose.

It is not about being extroverted or introverted

In his book Steve says “HR people are hesitant to reach out and meet others.” Steve goes on to say:

It’s time to change this and start building your network within your field with other HR professionals- and others- who could end up being great business and/or personal connections.”

He then advises:

“Just so this isn’t overwhelming, make a commitment to connect with one or two new people in HR. Send them a LinkedIn request with a personalized invitation. Be active on social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat, and connect with other HR folks. Share HR blogs you read with others. Go to events and find new people you don’t know, and take the time to intentionally meet them.”

This method has worked for Steve. As a result of following his own advice he has become one of the most recognized professionals in HR. Elected to the SHRM Board and easily one of the most sought after speakers, Steve is a true example of the power of networking.

More than external connections

Steve is not just about external connections, however. He also follows the advice of Tom Peters. I am not sure if he follows Peters or not, but his actions align quite well with Peters. In his book The Little BIG Things Peters talks about the importance of networking internally in your company, advice given to all levels, all functions. Peters says that many companies are dysfunctional because of poor communication. He says the solution for this is Do lunch! He says:

I don’t care what your “priorities” are. …I demand that you devote a minimum of… five lunches per month… to dining with folks in other functions…Tell them the truth when you proffer the invitations: You’re tired of all the botched communication and lost opportunities – and you are determined for both your sakes to develop a …BIG-ACTIVIST-Intimate Network Across the Organization.

Later he says to do that now. He ends the section with ”Invite someone interesting/potentially useful to lunch…tomorrow. If it’s before noon, how about lunch…TODAY.”

If you need help on how to go about meeting people internally and externally pick up a book on networking. One I recommend is Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi.

I promise you, and I am sure Steve would too, it will make your life and your job more successful and interesting.

I will help you out. If you find me on LinkedIn, mention this post in a connection request, and I will connect to you.


This week’s edition of Future Friday is postponed until next Friday in preference to publishing this month’s edition of the Carnival of HR.

This month’s carnival is hosted by Dorothy Dalton, a talent management strategist, and coach based in Brussels, Belgium. Dorothy asked contributors to submit posts and tell her where they fit on a traffic light system. Green for good practices, amber for things that needed some adjustment, and red for things HR needs to stop doing. Sixteen bloggers responded, and I am happy to say that half of them submitted “green” posts. Some samples from this carnival include:

  • Laurie Ruettimann talks about how learning HR takes more effort than just watching videos.
  • Mark Stelzner talks about how to build a case for HR transformation.
  • Claire Petrie talks about connecting with future HR leaders.
  • Yvonne LaRose talks about the value of fifty-year-olds in the workplace.
  • I was included as a green when I talked about the importance of training supervisors.
  • Steve Browne talks about the importance of connecting with other HR professionals, which I am sure he is writing about this in anticipation of #SHRM18.
  • Prasad Okurion shares how we can better integrate the mystical (Organization Development) and the analytical (HR Analytics) in HR.
  • Paul Hebert thinks that HR professionals need to scale back the social media presence, a lesson he has learned from his own life.

There are another eight great blogs I have not mentioned. You need to go to Dorothy’s post at Reflections on The future of HR at Carnival of HR to get all this good stuff. Your work and your attitude will be better for it.


There are three critical components to creating culture.

Today’s post is brought to you by my friends at

In business, they say a great idea is worthless without great execution. Taking that a step further, even great execution sometimes can’t salvage a company with poor culture. Brilliance alone might be able to get a firm up and running, and things might even carry on swimmingly for a few years.

But, in time, if a company doesn’t focus on building the principles of a successful culture, the business will begin to unravel. With a hollow foundation, management will be leading a rudderless ship, employees will tune out, and everyone will just end up going through the motions. Indeed, what started as a fantastic idea and excellent business model will inevitably fall apart.

This doesn’t have to be you. And, fortunately, a lot of the key factors in creating a thriving culture are very simple. Here are three critical components that can help your company better define its company culture.

1. Fitting Culture to Organization

Most organizations already have some sort of built-in culture, and this is (usually) a good thing. Rather than demolish everything and start from scratch with ideas from the latest CEO bestseller, work within your means and with the principles you have already set forth; after all, you likely have set forth a good, solid framework of values and principles that have helped the company attain success. Now, it’s all about defining and refining them.

Ultimately, you want to get to a point where there’s an organization-wide understanding of what the company strives to be. If that means creating a competitive environment built on hitting sales numbers and quotas — and sticking around until 8 p.m. to make that happen — then perhaps that’s befitting of your workplace. Then again, your company’s core values might prioritize everyone leaving at 5 p.m. and offering flexible schedules that give employees a proper work-life balance.

Or, perhaps the guiding principle isn’t about behavior as much as outcomes. Some of the best companies have a lot of operational diversity from department to department. But even if attitudes differ, what everyone in a leadership position — from marketing and customer service to sales and IT — demands is high-quality results.

Not everything has to be warm and fuzzy. Just because it’s trendy, you don’t need to follow the Silicon Valley model of filling an office with pool tables, beanbag chairs, and smoothie machines. Instead, start by understanding what your company is already about and how to accentuate the positive, stamp out the negative and get everyone — from the shop floor to the top floor — on board with the core goals and mission.

2. Knowing Who You Are

Knowledge of self is fundamental, as coaches often preach this in sports. It’s less important to have a team that plays one specific style than it is to cultivate a team that knows what it is. If you’re a hard-nosed, tough, defensive squad, play that way and make sure everyone is on the same page. Or, you can be a sleek, offensive machine that uses quickness and creativity to confuse the opponent. Either way is fine.

Some teams win with defense, some win with offense. Some teams have players who are best friends on and off the field, while others keep it strictly professional. Any option can work; you just need to understand what makes you tick and how that drives success. Discovering what you are and building toward that is the real key.

There are many ways to succeed while being yourself. One thing nobody can ever do, however, is become someone else. This isn’t just a life lesson for teenagers, but an axiom that thriving companies embrace — either knowingly or just as a byproduct of the way management has developed the organization.

3. Demanding Improvement and Evolution

One final issue that world-class companies confront is complacency. This can be a killer, as a lack of leadership and inability to innovate has taken down many household names — like Kodak, Blockbuster, and Xerox — despite decades of success. No matter how you define company culture, it must adapt and evolve with the times. In this vein, embracing technology is the most obvious value to instill.

Salespeople are notoriously difficult to convince. But all but the oldest and most stubborn have come to realize how lead generation and customer management tools can transform their work. Customer service reps should similarly get up to date. Management should be bringing in sophisticated call center cloud infrastructure that can make their jobs more intuitive and rewarding.

And everyone in all departments needs to understand the importance of data security and privacy regulations. With all the reputational fallout from headline news incidents in recent years, this is now mandatory for all company cultures. Beyond technology, this also means adapting to modern sensibilities. Millennial attitudes may be the butt of many jokes, but this much is clear: The younger generations of today represent the employees of tomorrow — and they simply think about work differently.

The Power of Culture

Ultimately, the key to defining company culture is sitting right there in the concept: Define. The exact ins and outs or what an organization considers important are less important than ensuring those values and core principles are clear, consistent and adhered to over the long term. It can’t just be a sign on the wall, but rather something all employees practice and preach.

Doing something a certain way — day after day, year after year — is how the greatest companies build their cultures. It won’t be built in a day, but neither was Rome. Just keep working toward the ideals, and remember to evolve and adapt, much like society.

Understanding this and adapting to changes must be part of any culture. Few companies are run exactly how they were 40 years ago or have maintained the same old attitudes about the workplace. And you know why? Because all those that refused no longer have their doors open.


Getting your story Splained: A #SHRM2018 Vendor Profile

by Michael Haberman on April 18, 2018 · 0 comments

Splainers uses animated video to help engage your employees.

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of interviewing Alfredo Castro, a master storyteller. Alfredo will be telling how to use storytelling to improve our business results. Just the other day I had the good fortune to talk to Mark Smith, who has a company that helps companies do a better job of telling their story. Splainers uses short films, generally animated, to help companies explain ideas, or their plans, or even their employee handbooks, in order to get more engagement from the employees or customers. The concept is that people become more engaged with an idea if is presented in an animated story.

Their genesis

Mark comes from the entertainment business where he worked for Twentieth Century Fox. He learned about the importance of having a story hook in order to engage the audience. One day in a meeting, watching idea after idea presented in Powerpoint presentations, Mark realized there has to be a better way to engage an audience than slide after slide. People were doing a poor job of selling their ideas.

In searching for a better way, Mark came across a small company that was using video to explain things, such as what Twitter was all about. Mark’s newly formed company Splainers bought the idea and started pitching to companies about using videos to turn their ideas into little video stories. It became immediately popular and they ended up with a worldwide clientele.

Connecting to SHRM

The clients they had started coming to them to see if the video methodology could be used to explain HR issues. After some successful projects in this arena, they decided to step into the HR world and they attended SHRM15 in Las Vegas. They quickly attracted companies where HR wanted a good way to explain change and help establish a call to action.

HR departments have used them to get engagement on ideas and policies. In today’s HR world where employee engagement is considered of ultimate importance in both talent acquisition and talent retention, having a tool that quickly captures the attention of today’s worker is invaluable.

Splainers has a video on their website that uses It’s a Wonderful Life as a way of explaining the concept of their company. I was engaged by both their story and their ideas. Check them out at Booth 2316 in the Exhibition Hall.


Do you have to give compensated breaks under the FMLA?

by Michael Haberman April 17, 2018

Tweet In a recent opinion letter administered by the U.S. Department of Labor, the determination was made that 15-minute rest breaks necessitated by an employee’s medical condition were NOT compensable, at least not all of them. Here is the situation. FMLA covered An employee, covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act, had a personal […]

Read the full article →

3 Social Media Recruiting Strategies

by Michael Haberman April 16, 2018

Tweet Today’s post is from my friends at Recruiting is a vital part of a company’s success. Whether it be for a short-term project, permanent placement or just an interim solution, hiring the top talent ensures that business is continually productive, growing and successful. But what’s the best way to find the top talent […]

Read the full article →

Future Friday: It appears to be all about collaboration

by Michael Haberman April 13, 2018

Tweet I think most of us know that collaboration in the workplace produces better results than no collaboration. That is why so many software applications have been developed to enhance the collaborative effort. New research, however, shows us that it is not just the collaboration effort, it is also who is participating in the collaboration. […]

Read the full article →

Forty nine thousand reasons for supervisory training

by Michael Haberman April 12, 2018

Tweet Have  you ever heard the statement that “ignorance of the law is no excuse?” I heard that when I was younger as an admonition to not do something that was potentially illegal because even if you did not explicitly know it was illegal, you could still be found guilty. As I grew up and […]

Read the full article →

Developing Great Leaders: The Human Workplace Perspective

by Michael Haberman April 11, 2018

Tweet Today’s guest post is about leadership, from a younger perspective than mine, but the thoughts are almost universal. Being a leader within a workplace is about more than having an enviable title and corner office. There are opportunities that the leaders identify and use to get to where they are. There are years of […]

Read the full article →

The gender pay gap is not what we are told it is, who knew?

by Michael Haberman April 10, 2018

Tweet We have all read the news stories about the gender pay gap. The stories tell us how women are only earning 77% of what men earn. As you may have guessed, this is not the FULL story. In a recent study conducted by it is revealed that many factors need to be considered […]

Read the full article →