HR Observations at Omega HR Solutions Turns Nine

by Michael Haberman on August 31, 2015 · 0 comments

Banner 3I am having my blog birthday today. On August 31, 2006 I posted this brief paragraph below.

I have read alot about the coming Labor shortage or the coming talent shortage. I certainly believe it, for a number of different reasons.. baby boomer retirement, fewer people in the next age wave, the diminishing quality of education, just to name a few. This appears to be felt more in “craftsman” type of companies.. everywhere I go I see “Now Hiring” signs for plumbers, electricians, HVAC technicians, pest control, and others.

What do you think? Are you experiencing this talent shortage in your company? How are you dealing with it?

We are still experiencing the same sort of issues today. The talent shortages however are expanded to high tech and the medical fields. We still have shortages in the blue collar skilled jobs as well.

As I enter my 10th hear of blogging, with 1743 posts written here I have expanded my writing to other sites as well. I have written about another 150 posts for Blogging4Jobs and another 15 or so for eSkill. There are an additional dozen or so written for a variety of other sites. I enjoy the writing. It keeps me on top of what is happening in my profession. It has given me a voice that some people may heed.

It has also given me the opportunity to launch in a new direction. With the launch of Future Friday on April 12, 2013 with a post on the importance of paying attention to graduation rates, I have endeavored to become an HR futurist with the goal of making the everyday HR department aware of what the world of work will look like in the next 5 to 15 years. I hope people are starting to pay attention. Someone must be. I was asked to join IBM’s #NewWayToWork and #SmarterWorkforce program. I hope I can contribute a voice and a point of view. I thank them for that opportunity. Looking backward, while providing a history of where we have been, is not the route to the future. Whole companies and careers will depend on us getting it right.

I hope you continue to join me on the journey. I hope you continue to get educated by reading my writing.


How will we be connected to our work?

How will we be connected to our work?

Most of you have heard the term “Internet of Things” or IoT. Wikipedia defines it as:

“..the network of physical objects or “things” embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and connectivity to enable objects to exchange data with the production, operator and/or other connected devices based on the infrastructure of International Telecommunication Union’s Global Standards Initiative. The Internet of Things allows objects to be sensed and controlled remotely across existing network infrastructure, creating opportunities for more direct integration between the physical world and computer-based systems, and resulting in improved efficiency, accuracy and economic benefit..”

It is estimated that there are currently about 10 billion devices that have this capability. By the year 2020 there will be 28 billion and by 2025 there will be 50 billion devices. You will not be able to spend a minute of you day without some interaction with an IoT device. Examples include things like energy systems in buildings that sense the presence of people; security systems that alert residents of intruders by messages to their phones; or your Fitbit which notifies you by smart phone when your device needs to be recharged. But have you ever thought of applications in the workplace?

IoT at Work

There will be hundreds of applications at work, many that we may not even be aware of as of yet. My imagination may certainly be too limited to think of them, but here are some of the ways I can think of:

  • Because the detrimental effect of sitting too long is well documented how about a chair that measures how long you have been sitting and sends you a warning to your smart device to tell you to get up and move?
  • A device that anticipates your presence and readies your office for your arrival and sends a message to confirm;
  • A coffee packet dispenser that informs the supplier when the packets are low and orders them without having any checking;
  • A computer monitor that tracks eye movement and can tell when an employee’s energy is flagging and thus sends a break message;
  • A refrigerator that tells when someone’s lunch has been there too long;
  • A software program that realizes you are struggling for ideas and suggests topics;
  • The office can send messages to all employees based on a calendar and not require any additional input;
  • You phone senses where you are and who you are going to go see and it can send a message to let them know if you will be late and by how much.

We are already seeing some of these things. Your smart phone will be the remote control of your business and personal life. As a result two things need to happen. Battery life needs to improve, considerably. Secondly, your smart phone needs to be able to tell you, by communicating with other devices where the heck it is when you lose it. It will be an important tool.

What else do you see in your work interaction with the Internet of Things?


Is HR the wrong department for innovation?

by Michael Haberman on August 27, 2015 · 3 comments

Are you the innovator with the big idea?

Are you the innovator with the big idea?

Think about your typical HR department or typical HR person. Does the word innovator come to mind? For most of you probably not, it doesn’t for me. HR is often more concerned with the status quo or the best practice. HR is more concerned about not breaking the rules, after all HR is the keeper of the handbook and policy manual. HR helped develop those rules to make the workplace a more sane and orderly place in which to do business.


In his book Future Smart, futurist James Canton describes the four mindsets you will find in any workplace. These are the Traditionalist, the Maintainer, the Adapter and the Trailblazer. How does HR fall in relation to these mindsets?

The Traditionalist gives you the reasons things should not change. They are the overt resisters of change and see no reason to innovate. I have known many HR practioner that would be described this way.

The Maintainer is the person that on the outside says yes but they mean no. They are fearful of change but don’t want to be perceived as being resistant. They slow down innovation all the time. They want to study things longer or don’t think the group is ready for change. I have come across these people as well during my tenure in HR.

The Adapter is someone who is ready to change as long as that change provides value and solutions. They are not “change for change’s sake” kind of people. They realize things need to change, but as Canton says, “they are reluctant change agents.” These are the HR people that get new systems put in place. They are the ones that get that legacy HRIS updated and coordinated with an applicant tracking system. They are the ones that have started to use Twitter and LinkedIn to find new candidates. They are the ones that realize that maybe texting is the way to communicate with Millennials and have started to develop a method of doing so. They are the ones that read about “progress” companies and start to think “maybe we should try that.”

The Trailblazer, according to Canton, leads change. They are the innovators in your organization. Canton describes the way innovators think as :

They are open. They explore. They envision the future, have long-term forecasts, are not afraid of breaking rules, and are above all else, they are courageous, even in the face of failure, criticism, and disaster. They have the capacity to change Fast, fail Fast, and succeed Fast. They are always looking for opportunity to embrace emerging innovations to create value.

Fortunately the HR profession has some of these people too, but far too few. There are organizations that are doing new things with people. They are creating new ways to find, recruit, engage, communicate, and help people grow. Typically these HR leaders are teamed with a CEO who is also a trailblazer. Without that combination a Trailblazer in HR will become frustrated and leave, or the organization will become frustrated with them and force them out. That is how consulting companies are created.

Which describes you and your organization?

After reading this go look in the mirror. Ask yourself “Which am I?” Decide if you are ok with that description. If you are in the first two groups or work for an organization that can be described that way then the likelihood is that neither will be around for the long-term.

Trailblazers in business are needed today. The speed of change in technology, in knowledge, in methods and in the world requires us to have a Trailblazer mentality. If you are not there you need to think about what you need to do to change. Otherwise you have to think about what you have to do to survive. Which do you want?

Image Credit: Stuart Miles


Ideal age range as hiring criteria? Really?

by Michael Haberman on August 26, 2015 · 0 comments

Just because he is older does not mean he is less capable.

Just because he is older does not mean he is less capable.

If you are over the age of 50 you know that “ageism” is still rampant in the workplace. To me it is the “hidden” discrimination that is far more wide spread than what many people think. If you are in human resources you know that age discrimination is illegal, yet often we turn a blind eye to it while managers look for candidates “better suited to the job.” Few companies, however, wave a discrimination flag. Not in this case unfortunately for the company.

Ideal age

On August 11th, the EEOC announced that they were suing an Indiana manufacturing company for age discrimination. The EEOC alleges that the company rejected a 58 year old candidate because he was outside their “ideal range” of 45-52.  The candidate had been selected for an email based interview and in that interview asked if he was in their “ideal range.” (Personally I am not sure about the HR person that allowed that to occur.) When the candidate responded that he was not he was rejected.

According to the press release “Laurie A. Young, regional attorney for EEOC’s Indianapolis District Office, said, ‘In rejecting an experienced applicant based on age, Seymour Midwest denied him his legal right to equal employment opportunity. Employers must look beyond age and focus on the qualifications of the individual, when making employment decisions.’”

The EEOC is seeking monetary damages and an injunction against further discrimination in addition to educational programs about discrimination and the company obligations under the ADEA.

The interesting thing is that an quick Linked In investigation shows that he president of the company is also outside that “ideal” age, yet they keep him employed. So age doesn’t imply ability in this case.

A warning

Age discrimination is as wrong as any other discrimination. There is a large part of the working population that is above the age of 55 who are still quite capable. Rejecting candidates based on age rather than ability is today a dangerous route for companies to take. People are much more likely to sue for age discrimination than they have in the past.


Photo Credit: Ambro


5 Ways to Satisfiy Employees on the Cheap

by Michael Haberman August 25, 2015

Tweet Today’s post is brought to you by my friends at None of these tips are groundbreaking but it never hurts to have a reminder of the easy stuff every once in awhile.    Keeping your staff satisfied with their jobs is vital to the continued success of your business, but you may not […]

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Can you discipline an Exempt Employee?

by Michael Haberman August 24, 2015

Tweet As you might guess the very simple answer is “yes”, but going about this can causes many problems for employers. After all there is a prohibition against deducting from an exempt employee’s salary. If you do this incorrectly you may alter the exemption and make the employee eligible for overtime, which probably not the […]

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Future Friday: What is “social loafing” and how will it affect your company?

by Michael Haberman August 21, 2015

Tweet I was reviewing one of my favorite books, The Future of Work by Jacob Morgan, in preparation for another article I am writing and a webinar I am creating. In a discussion on the future of work and the size of teams Morgan brought up something called the Ringelmann Effect and the concept of […]

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Learn the law: The Back to School Employment Law Blog

by Michael Haberman August 20, 2015

Tweet I learn a lot from lawyers. You can too. Around the country kids are going back to school. Here, we in HR are going back to school too with lessons taught us in the Employment Law Blog Carnival, hosted by Blogging4Jobs. You have an opportunity to learn about dealing with medical marijuana, I-9 forms, […]

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Rest easy college football fans there will be no unions in the NCAA!

by Michael Haberman August 19, 2015

Tweet You may recall that last year in January 2014 the football players of Northwestern University filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board to have an election on the formation of a union. The grant-in-aid players felt they were being taken advantage of and wanted representation via a union. The university argued that […]

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Did you know that National Origin discrimination covers American born workers?

by Michael Haberman August 18, 2015

Tweet In a somewhat unusual case a judge decided that the EEOC was justified in its claim that an American company was discriminating against American workers on the basis of national origin. Puzzled? Let me explain. Harder on Americans A Georgia farm was accused of having standards for American workers that were higher and more […]

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