Future Friday: Nine Critical Skills for the Future of HR

by Michael Haberman on September 19, 2014 · 0 comments

The nine critical steps of the future of HR

The nine critical steps of the future of HR

In 2011 Thomas Frey wrote an article about Eight Critical Skills for the Future. He applied these to the world in general. It was an interesting article and naturally I started thinking in terms of human resources. I have borrowed and expanded this list and specifically applied it to the HR department. Here are the nine critical skills for the future of HR.

Skill #1 Communication Management

According to a study by Experian, as reported in the BusinessInsider, U.S. smartphone owners aged 18 to 24 send 2,022 texts per month on average. That is 67 texts on a daily basis and receive another 1,831. This is the future of our workforce. As an HR department if you have not mastered communicating by text message you are, and will continue to be, behind the curve. An unfortunate effect this is having on this age group is that they are tired, all the time, because they sleep with their device and stay semi-aware in order to receive messages.

This presents HR with three problems. First is adapting to their method of communication. The second issue is tracking their time if they are conducting work this way. Thirdly the question is raised on how productive they are going to be if their sleep patterns are disrupted.

Skill #2 Reputation Management

People today are becoming continually aware of the idea of reputation management. Story after story shows how an error, a post, a tweet, a picture or a video can affect a person’s reputation. Sometimes this is a good thing and sometimes it is not. In HR we pay attention to this “reputation” by reviewing social media and conducting searches on candidates and sometimes even employees. The world is reacting to that by increasingly talking about privacy. Younger generations are even beginning to grasp the idea and are being more careful of what they put out on the Internet.

But that street goes both ways. More and more employees are also checking up on companies to see what their reputation is on the Internet. Sites like Glassdoor make it easy for candidates, and even employees, to both review and comment on how the company treats candidates and employees. That will not be changing other than to become more prevalent. Company reputation management will be a key skill for HR.

Skill #3 Privacy Management

I broached this slightly in the above paragraphs. It is a huge issue. People are learning to pay attention to their privacy, especially the younger generation. It is the older generations that pay less attention, generally because we can’t figure out how to change the settings. (Yes, I can take that shot at older folks, I am one and I know that is a true statement.)

What is causing many people privacy issues are the actions of companies with the information they have collected. In HR we have both the legal and moral obligation to protect the information of our employees and prospects. That job is not going to go away and will only get more regulated.

Skill # 4 Information Management

Frey talked in terms of the amount of information that people are being exposed to on a daily basis. I am talking in terms of the amount of information our employees are producing on a daily basis. Information is also knowledge and if your company is not capturing the knowledge that is produced on a daily basis then you are letting your competitive advantage walk out the door. HR needs to help insure, along with IT, that there is a knowledge retention system in place.

Skill #5 Opportunity Management

The youngest worker today may have 200 plus “jobs” before they exit the workplace. The move toward the use of independent contractors, as a prime method of getting things done, means that younger workers will always be on the hunt for new opportunities. It will be HR’s responsibility to learn how to position those opportunities to attract the needed talent, while working within the legal framework of employment laws.

Skill # 6 Technology Management

I have written so much on the topic of technology and HR. From software, BYOD, robots, drones, to wearables, HR is going to be hugely impacted by technology. All HR professionals should make studying technology a second job. Most HR departments would be smart to hire HR Technologists to be permanently on staff.

Skill # 7 Relationship Management

This is a broad subject and deserves more verbiage than I am going to give it here. It is important that people are still people. They have relationships outside of work that affect work. They have relationships that can benefit work. The size of an employee’s personal network can offer significant benefits to their employer. They have relationships with coworkers and managers that have, and will continue to, provide challenges to HR. Regardless of how numbers oriented we get it is important to remember HR is still in the people business.

Skill # 8 Risk Management

This was not in Frey’s original list, but was suggested by a commenter on the original post. Risk assessment is not paid enough attention to by HR. Often this is considered to be an insurance issue. I take a slightly different view and feel that risk assessment is not about today but it is about tomorrow. Of all these skills it is the one most future oriented in HR. The HR professional needs to be asking “What is happening out there that has the potential for disrupting what we do in this company?” If you find something study it and develop a story around it so you can share it with your executives. This is how HR becomes a strategic player.

Skill # 9 Legacy Management

To Frey this is about your personal legacy. I think that is important. How will you be remembered? But in the same vein HR also needs to be concerned with how the company will be remembered and that can be a challenge.

Final thoughts

Frey had a couple of final thoughts that included time management and money management. Neither is a new idea, but both of them will be radically altered by technology and the global nature of our world today. Both deserve some consideration.

As you can see I have given HR a hefty plate of responsibility for the future. I think it is time we step up and take that responsibility on.

Don’t forget to take advantage of our great deal from our training partner MindEdge. A 30% discount, courtesy of Omega HR Solutions. You can find more information in the sidebar to the right.

 Image courtesy of jscreationzs at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Awesomeness at the Employment Law Blog Carnival

by Michael Haberman on September 18, 2014 · 0 comments

The Employment Law Blog Carnival

The Employment Law Blog Carnival

I am not an attorney… but I have stayed at a Holiday Inn Express… so that has entitled me to be included in this month’s Employment Law Blog Carnival. There is some great stuff in this Carnival that is hosted by Phillip Miles at Lawffice Space. Some of the topics include:

  • The difference between being a drunk and being an alcoholic
  • Millennials  fighting sexual harassment
  • How states are cracking down on misclassification
  • Pleading your case under the FLSA
  • How to swear about your boss on Facebook and get away with it
  • Why job references are important
  • The effect the National Labor Relations Act has had on loyalty
  • Did you hear about the one where OSHA walks into a store or warehouse… oh wait that isn’t a joke
  • and much, much more.

So saunter on over to the Lawffice Space and read The Awesomely Bad/Awesome Employment Law Blog Carnival


On another note, I was talking to a few other HR folks the other day about training and we all agreed that most American companies to a poor job of training. We do OK with technical skills but do a very poor job on leadership and management training. To that end Omega HR Solutions has worked out a deal, and I mean a steal of a deal, for a huge discount on training. Our partner, MindEdge, is offering a 30% discount if you sign up through us and do so by October 25th, 2014. You can browse around and also sign up by clicking on the MindEdge promo in our sidebar to the right of this blog.

Just reading some of the stuff that happens in the Law Blog Carnival makes it very apparent that managers and supervisors could use a lot, and I mean A LOT, of training. So take advantage of this great opportunity.


Long term heathcare  has become a major issue for our employees who are in the “sandwich generation.” These are our employees who still have kids at home and are also caring for parents who are declining in health as they age. Quite often it falls to the eldest daughter but increasingly it is affecting men as well. Employers suffer as well with increased absenteeism and increasing “presenteeism” due to the strain employee feel.

My Naked HR Radio podcast, presented with Bill Ramsey, is an interview with Steve Norris of Long Life Strategies. Steve has been in the business of addressing long term care issues for 19 years. He describes for us an educational and insurance program that can be presented to employees to help them learn strategies for dealing with a burdensome and tiring issue that affects their daily lives.

So take some time to listen to this informative and educational interview.

Long term care can make employee more productive by giving them support in taking care of parents.

Long term care can make employee more productive by giving them support in taking care of parents.


Problems with documentation in a cloud storage world

by Michael Haberman on September 16, 2014 · 0 comments

If you use the "cloud" understand the "cloud".

If you use the “cloud” understand the “cloud”.

I came across an article that points out some issues having data in “the cloud” may present in an employer defending itself in a discrimination suit. The article was written very “lawyerly” and dealt more advice to attorneys about the E-discovery process, but I gleaned from it an HR lesson or two.

It was about age discrimination

The case dealt age discrimination with two sales reps, Robert and Christine Brown, alleging the reason for their termination was age discrimination. Their employer, Tellermate Holdings Ltd., said the reason was failure to meet increasing sales targets over a period of years. Seems like it might be a straight-forward case, the employer presents its sales records of the Browns’ activity; shows the lack of productivity and case closed. Unfortunately it was not that easy. Tellermate used salesforce.com’s CRM to track all the activity of the sales people and when asked to produce that data they did not know how to do that to the satisfaction of the judge.

Attorney’s mistakes

Attorneys Eric Mandel and Charles Ragan, of Zelle Hofmann Voelbel & Mason LLP, writing in A Wake-Up Call To Counsel Over ESI Discovery, have geared the purpose of their article to talking about the mistakes made by the defense attorneys in dealing with the e-discovery process, ultimately allowing the Browns to win their case. The attorneys did not understand the CRM and they used overly broad searches flooding the court with 50,000 irrelevant documents (a strategy sure to make you a favorite of the judge.) Subsequently the judge ruled that any data they produced on performance was potentially tainted and thus inadmissible.

Employer mistakes

The mistake the employer made was not understanding how to use their system of documentation. According to Mandel and Ragan “Tellermate’s employees, including plaintiffs, used salesforce.com to keep track of all contacts with customers. The system was ‘dynamic’ in that users add to or change data within the system as they interact with clients.” Yet their defense attorneys claimed “that defendant did not have and could not produce the requested salesforce.com information, and that defendant could not take steps to preserve the information in the database (e.g., by obtaining an export of the data early in the litigation)”.

The judge pointed out in his opinion, “no cogent argument could be made from the agreement between salesforce.com and Tellermate that: (1) the defendant was prohibited from accessing the information and producing it in discovery or (2) that salesforce.com was backing up the information periodically such that preservation steps by Tellermate were unnecessary.” Apparently the judge did not see that as a good defense.

The lessons

There are a lot of lessons in Mandel and Ragan’s article for attorneys on the process of e-discovery. It is a good lesson for employers as well if you take some time to read it. The specific lesson for employers is YOU need to UNDERSTAND the systems you are using to store data in the cloud. I am not saying you should not use the cloud (actually tough not to these days) but have someone that knows how to recover data as needed. It might save the company someday.

Image courtesy of jscreationzs at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


What can a disabled comedian teach HR?

by Michael Haberman September 15, 2014

Tweet A favorite speaker and host of a weekly video, Marie Forleo, posted a video the other day that moved me. I usually find Marie’s guests very interesting. She has guests on that talk about things like making habits stick, how to be successful, how to overcome jealousy, the fear of success, how to continually […]

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Future Friday: Five Trends Shaping the Future of Work

by Michael Haberman September 12, 2014

Tweet Heads up HR! Information Week is telling Chief Information Officers about trends that are going to shape the future of work. This is stuff that you should be sharing with you CIOs! So here are the trends, how CIOs should deal with them and my tips on how HR can advise them. The Trends […]

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HR Carnival – The Fall Football Kick Off

by Michael Haberman September 11, 2014

Tweet         If you know anything about Robin Schooling you know she is a pro football fanatic, albeit she has misguided loyalties. But misguided or not she is the host of this version of the HR Carnival and she has used a football theme. It is a large carnival that features many […]

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Is judging someone’s grammar a good hiring test?

by Michael Haberman September 10, 2014

Tweet I recently came across an article in the Harvard Business Review titled I Won’t Hire People Who Use Poor Grammar. Here’s Why written by Kyle Wiens. He is the CEO of iFixit, the largest online repair community, as well as founder of Dozuki, a software company dedicated to helping manufacturers publish documentation. Wiens describes […]

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The Shape of the Workplace: Ergonomic Solutions for Business

by Michael Haberman September 9, 2014

Tweet Today’s post is from my friends at SocialMonsters.org. I wanted to publish this because health and fitness in the office work environment is very important.  Everything, it seems, is computerized. Our activity levels at work (and maybe at home, too) are low, but the incidence of repetitive stress injuries is high. Add to that […]

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Under the FLSA a late paycheck is as bad as no paycheck

by Michael Haberman September 8, 2014

Tweet Cash flow can sometimes be problematic to small businesses. As a result an owner may be tempted to pay employees late. A word of warning, don’t! Violation of the FLSA The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), also known as the Wage & Hour law, requires that employees get paid for the time they work. […]

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