Memorial Day

by Michael Haberman on May 25, 2015 · 0 comments

memorial-day-antique-postcard[1]According to Memorial Day, honors men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971.

Originally dated May 30 because it was not the anniversary of an particular battle in the Civil War, it is now officially the last Monday of May as a Federal holiday. Many cities and towns hold a parade honoring the military dead. The original Decoration Day in 1868 saw General James Garfield (later to become President of the US and the second president to be assassinated) give a speech and 5000 participants decorated the graves of the 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried in Arlington Cemetery.

Memorial Day was always May 30, until 100 years later the US Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May in order to create a three-day weekend for federal employees; the change went into effect in 1971, according to

Memorial Day is also considered by many to be the unofficial start of summer. So enjoy your time off, enjoy your picnics, enjoy the retail sales opportunities, but remember the men and women who have sacrificed their lives for the US.


Future Friday: Hot jobs for HR people in the Future

by Michael Haberman on May 22, 2015 · 0 comments

What may be the hot jobs for HR in the coming decades?

What may be the hot jobs for HR in the coming decades?

With all the prognostications of people losing their jobs to robots in the coming decade people are wondering what jobs HR people will be able to hold. I have written several times, here, here and here, about the importance of the “human” component of our jobs. Recently Fast Company asked some futurists what they anticipated for the future of jobs. I have taken some of their suggestions and related them to the field of human resources. Here is my take on the hot jobs for HR people in the next two decades.

Brand Coach

As I have written before, much of the future workforce will be contingent workers, or as Graeme Codrington, a futurist at TomorrowToday Global, calls them “on-demand” workers. Since everyone will be out there competing for freelance jobs, the person who can project the best “brand” will be employed more often. Just as a brand is important to a company today, in the world of “You, Inc.” brand is important too. Some HR professionals will be well suited to counsel people on how to best position themselves to find work as freelancers. So people who do resume counseling, such as my friend Chris Field, are already positioned to take on such a role. There will be a much greater need for this skill set. By the way, these “brand coaches” will also most likely be freelancers.

Professional Triber

Seth Godin wrote the book Tribes, (follow the link for a free pdf) where he said “A tribe is any group of people, large or small, who are connected to one another, a leader, and an idea.” Joe Tankersley, a futurist and strategic designer at Unique Visions, says “that as more companies rely on on-demand workers, the role of a professional triber—a freelance professional manager that specializes in putting teams together for very specific projects—will be in demand.” One big part of this role, in my opinion, is in finding the talent needed to work on these projects. Recruiters are particularly well suited for this future role. Of course they will need some project management skill as well.

Freelance professors

The days of tenured positions are rapidly disappearing. The days of freelance professors or teachers are nigh upon us, in fact, many of us serve that role already. Many an HR professional teaches an HR course or certification prep course. If you can expand your repertoire you may easily go from gig to gig.

Sex worker coach

John Danaher, a lecturer at NUI Galway’s School of Law and an expert in emerging technologies, says that many people may be employed in the future performing work that has a significant “human” component to it. It may yet be awhile before robots are as good at sex as are real people and those workers may need job coaches to keep them out of trouble. Since we in HR are used to dealing with sexual harassment situations and counseling people it is not too far of a leap to see many becoming a key part of this industry as it grows in the future. Of course this will assume that it becomes more legalized than it currently is. Given how legalized marijuana has become in some locals it is not hard to see other states adopting the standards of Nevada on a greater basis. Those workers need help and protection as much as do any others.

Other jobs

Other jobs these futurists foresee include:

  • Urban farmers (already underway in some locals)
  • End-of-life planners
  • Senior carer
  • Remote health care specialists
  • Neuro-implant technicians
  • Smart home handyperson
  • Virtual reality experience designer
  • 3-D printer design specialist

Read the Fast Company’s THE TOP JOBS IN 10 YEARS MIGHT NOT BE WHAT YOU EXPECT by Michael Grothaus for more on those jobs.


Failure to recognize a hazard can be deemed to be a "willful" violation.

Failure to recognize a hazard can be deemed to be a “willful” violation.

If you were caught up to your neck in sand would you consider that an emergency situation? What about if you were just caught up to your waist? That was the situation at a company in Illinois. An employee was in a bin that had a funnel opening in the bottom for dispensing sand (into trucks I am assuming.) He had climbed into the bin to scrap sand from the side when his efforts caused the sand to shift burying him up to his neck. He screamed for help and fellow workers responded. Did they call 911?

No emergency call  

Unfortunately the fellow workers did not call for emergency help. Several jumped in the bin to try to dig out their coworker. They were able to get him unburied to his waist, however, the sand kept shifting and no further progress was made. The plant manager arrived on the scene 10 minutes later after being summoned by a supervisor who noticed no one was working. The plant manager reviewed the situation and determined that the employee was in “no danger” and told them to continue to dig him out.

I don’t know if you have ever been to the beach and tried to build a sand castle but digging at sand usually results in more sand falling. That was the case here. No progress was made on freeing the employee. He pled with his coworkers to call 911, yet no one did. Finally after an hour and a half of futile attempts to free the worker 911 was finally called. A special unit of the fire department, trained and equipped to handle such situations, was dispatched. It then took them another 3.5 hours to free the worker. By this time the weight of the sand on his lower body had caused severe injury.

The OSHA inspection

OSHA inspected the plant and the bin the day following the accident. The inspector determined that the company had committed a number of safety violations, including three “severe” violations and one “willful” one. They received a fine of $70,000. Naturally they protested, especially on the “willful” violation. Their attorney argued that “willful” is not really defined in the OSH Act and not doing something cannot be defined as “willful.” The US Court of Appeals, Seventh District, spent time reviewing this issue. (You can read their decision here.) They concluded  the definition that applied to this situation “requires proof only that the defendant was aware of the risk, knew that it was serious, and knew that he could take effective measures to avoid it, but did not—in short, that he was reckless in the most commonly understood sense of the word.” Thus the company’s appeal of their fines was denied.

The lesson

I have been in many safety situations in the past. My experience has always been that you are better off deciding on the side of caution. If an employee is trapped in anything you call emergency personnel. Few of your employees’ onsite deal with emergencies or have the equipment to deal with emergencies at the same level as firefighters or other professional rescue personnel.

It is also very good to make sure you are complying with the OSHA standards to begin with, which in this case was not being done. Know the rules, follow the rules, provide the training and respond appropriately when needed. This will keep you from getting heavy fines and who knows, it may actually save someone’s life.

Thanks to Jonathan Crotty and Michael Vanesse of Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein LLP for the inspiration for this post.


All-Star Startup Team: 4 Must-Fill Positions

by Michael Haberman on May 20, 2015 · 0 comments

Four essential positions in every start-up

Four essential positions in every start-up

Today’s post is from my friends at

Maintaining a successful startup is a tricky venture. More than nine out of every 10 startups will eventually fail — 93 percent of them to be exact, according to Business insider. There are dozens of factors as to why some startups succeed and most don’t, and there are thousands of articles written on the matter.

But one of the biggest make-or-break moves for startups is hiring the right people on day one. Since small companies start with a limited number of people to help build from the ground up, it is crucial to have the right players on your team in the beginning. outlines 10 types of people who can kill your startup, and while personality type is very important, finding specific skill sets is also key for early success.

The Social Media Wizard

Social media is no longer the entry-level role it once was. Online presence for a small business is huge and there is an element to social media you can’t learn in the classroom — meaning it takes a skilled, motivated millennial to execute the task.

Social media is forcing positive change in the business landscape from content marketing all the way up to how CEOs make decisions, according to Forbes. Focus on hiring someone who has the technical know-how in social media tools like Hootsuite, but more importantly has the personality and right feel for the industry to publicly represent your brand in the social forum.

The Web Dev Guru

Traditional IT departments are going the way of the dodo bird, and startups don’t have the need or budget for them anymore. With so much of the industry moving to the cloud, all you need (at least at first) is one developer who wears as many hats as possible.

This person will build and maintain the company website and act as IT support for the office. Assuming your startup has less than 25 employees, this should be manageable for one employee. Pick the right man or woman, and this could be your most-tenured team member in a few years.

The Inspirational Leader

You might know how to run the x’s and o’s on paper, but it takes a true motivator to unify the team. Be honest with yourself about whether or not you can be this person, because assuming the role without the talent could be the end of your company. This person will be a manager second and a leader first. He or she will ensure morale is high among employees, which might be one of the biggest factors in creating a positive company culture.

The Creative Writer

All companies in all industries rely on good content to sell. Whether it’s social media, blogging, print advertising, or product marketing, without a good writer, you can’t convey your startup’s message to the world. This writer will be more than someone who puts words on paper, you can hire interns for that. This person will be in tune with your brand and maybe even have a hand in developing it too.

Find someone who challenges your ideas about what looks best and thinks outside of the box regarding new and exciting content to keep your message fresh.


Trendy terms can get you in trouble

by Michael Haberman May 19, 2015

Tweet When trying to attract new “talent” many companies try to make their job listings stand out from the crowd. This is certainly a smart strategy, unless that trendy term you decided to use gets you in trouble. Two well-known blogging lawyers I know recently pointed out a “trendy” term that could actually be construed […]

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Millennials may not be the radicals you think

by Michael Haberman May 18, 2015

Tweet A recent LinkedIn survey showed that Millennials may not be the radical employees that everyone keeps talking about. Here are some of the findings. Despite the image we have of the under 30 crowd Millennials may be better dressed than their predecessors in Gen X. Eleven percent wear suits or “career” clothing compared to […]

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Future Friday: Demographic Alert or “No Sh*t Sherlock”

by Michael Haberman May 15, 2015

Tweet This post is a bit tongue-in-cheek, but a recent headline in Forbes announced “LIKE IT OR NOT, MILLENNIALS ARE OFFICIALLY THE FUTURE OF WORK.” My first response was “duh.”  In reality what the article was announcing was that Millennials are the PRESENT of the workforce. They have officially taken over as they largest segment […]

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A data breach is often an employee problem

by Michael Haberman May 14, 2015

Tweet According to the Verizon 2015 Data Breach Investigations Report “phishing” is still a major source of data breaches. They found that 23% of recipients of phishing emails were opening them and 11% were clicking on the links in the email. Fifty percent of these people were opening and clicking within one hour of having […]

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Do your confidentiality and nondisclosure agreements violate Federal law?

by Michael Haberman May 13, 2015

Tweet Most companies try to protect proprietary information by having employees sign confidentiality and nondisclosure agreements. Unfortunately in the eyes of various regulatory agencies these agreements are considered to be too restrictive and violate various aspects of federal law. Violated provisions According to attorney Andrew Trimble of McBrayer, McGinnis, Leslie & Kirkland, PLLC, there are […]

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Events and Trends in Employment Legislation

by Michael Haberman May 12, 2015

Tweet I wanted to make you aware of some of the things that are going on in employment legislation around the country. This list is by no means the only things that are going on but they are ones I found interesting. Federal level activities First up, are the changes in the Fair Labor Standards […]

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