My Thanksgiving week

by Michael Haberman on November 20, 2017 · 0 comments

There will be nothing new for you to read this week. I am relaxing and reading as well. Happy Thanksgiving. I will be back on November 27th.


Future Friday: Your future is up to you!

by Michael Haberman on November 17, 2017 · 0 comments

Your personal brand may be what saves you in the future.

Back in October of 2011, I wrote a post called  Reputation Capital: Key to Hiring in the Future. I repeated the post in September of 2013. Both these posts were based on a comment made in the book The 2020 Workplace by Jeanne C. Meister and Karie Willyerd. In the book they said:

Reputation capital will be the top currency in the 2020 workplace. This is the sum total of your personal brand, your expertise, and the breadth, depth, and quality of your social networks….. This means looking for employees who have not only wide, deep and high-quality social networks but also demonstrate a track record of turning those networks into increased business value for the organization and a stronger personal brand for themselves.”

Personal brand

Today I read an article in Entrepreneur written by Lida Citroën called A Resilient Personal Brand Ensures Your Competitive Edge. Her premise is to become competitive and stay competitive, in this rapidly evolving world of work, you have to have a strong personal brand. Citroën says a brand “…is what you put forth as an expectation of the experience people will have with you.” It is what allows you to stand out from the competition around you, whether it is you or your company.

She further says that your brand must be intentional. As she says “Its goal is to influence, inspire, and impact others. And, very importantly for today’s competitive world, a strong brand gives you the ability to identify your target audience and align with what that audience needs and wants.”  Talent will no longer be enough. Being “talented” is no longer sufficient to be competitive, particularly as talents may become outmoded or replaced by automation.


As Meister and Willyerd said in their book, the person with the broad network of connection that can be turned into potential business will take the place of the person who has talent. This connection is enhanced by the brand they project. Companies have found that having employees who project a strong personal brand aligned with the company brand is beneficial to the organization. Being perceived as competent, well-spoken, reliable and talented will go a long way to keeping you employed even as jobs change, and disappear. Citroën says “Work at it until your brand precedes you. Work at your brand until you no longer ask yourself if you’re staying competitive in a rapidly evolving work culture.”

That is good advice for both individuals, departments, and individuals. Have you examined your brand lately? The brand of many an HR department is lacking. As you evaluate your brand use “radical candor”, a term I have borrowed from Kim Scott’s book by that title. We can all probably improve our brand, some of us more than others.

Picture credit: MS Word clip art


Government starting to recognize the gig economy exists

by Michael Haberman on November 16, 2017 · 0 comments

Let Congress know that you would like to see the rules about the gig economy changes.

Do you know anyone that drives for Uber? What about someone who does side jobs in areas such as small maintenance, sewing, dog-sitting, or even childcare? What about you? Do you do some consulting on the side? If the answer is yes, then you know about the gig economy. It is becoming an ever-growing part of the economy and the government seems to finally be addressing it.

Not just the job of the DOL

According to attorney Lisa A. McGlynn, Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta has addressed the gig economy in recent remarks. In his remarks, he makes it clear that making changes in the structure of how jobs are dealt with is not just the job of the DOL. McGlynn said that Acosta said it is “…not the [job of the] Department of Labor’s, to put together legislation to deal with the wave of new issues that have arisen from the continued popularity of non-traditional working relationships.” Acosta feels that these changes need to be handled by more than just rules changes, it needs to be handled by enacted legislation. McGlynn also said that some legislators have expressed an interest in tackling this subject.


Unfortunately, the wheels of legislation are turning slowly these days. McGlynn says “The gig economy now seems to have captured the attention of the government, and some targeted legislation is likely on the horizon.” In my opinion, this cannot occur too quickly, but I also feel this will not occur very quickly. There are many forces that fight against the gig economy. Gig workers are not popular with Unions. They are also not popular with tax collectors. It is far more difficult to collect taxes from individuals that it is employers.

Rulemaking is still needed

While Acosta encourages Congress to enact laws to improve the laws that govern the interactions of employers with workers, for example, the FLSA is in bad need of an overhaul, we still need to have some changes in the interim. There are changes that can be made in the definition of independent contractors that could ease the way to a more comprehensive change in the relationship between employers and workers.

Acosta needs to realize that Congress will move slowly. The Courts will move slowly. Changes need to be made today to pave the way. Unfortunately, government moves slowly and getting rules rewritten will take time. There may only be three years left in Secretary Acosta’s tenure with the USDOL and if he wishes to get change started he needs to do it apace.

What HR can do

If you are in HR and would like to see the rules rewritten then write some letters. If you are someone who thinks they can prosper under the gig economy express your opinion to your Congressional representative or Secretary Acosta. Offer suggestions, you never know your idea may be the right one.


From the Archive: Lessons on Talent from Theodore Roosevelt

by Michael Haberman on November 15, 2017 · 0 comments

Theodore Roosevelt was a keen judge of people.

Theodore Roosevelt was a keen judge of people.

When struck with a bout of writer’s block I reach back into the archive and find something I thought was good. This piece makes that grade. 

Theodore Roosevelt was known for his bold leadership during his presidency. He is considered to have had one of the most successful and talented administrations. A major reason for his success was because of his emphasis on the people he collected around him.

From the beginning

Theodore Roosevelt was heavily involved with personnel issues in his career, even as, and especially when he was President. Early in his career, he was involved in the reform of the New York City Police Department and also the U.S. Civil Service. He helped remove “hiring by favoritism” replacing it with hiring done on merit. He was very big on merit and the value that a particular person could bring to the position. This was best exemplified by his appointment of William Moody as Secretary of the Navy, then as the U.S. Attorney General, then as an Associate Justice to the Supreme Court, despite the fact that Moody had been a very harsh critic of TR for many years. The criticism aside he saw the capabilities that Moody would bring to the job.

Hire people better than you

TR was of the opinion that you hired the best and most capable. Hiring a “toady” to make you appear to be the smartest or best was not the route to success for him. Instead you hired people smarter, more knowledgeable, with bigger ideas and a willingness to face up to the boss when needed. Roosevelt was quoted:

“Personally I have never been able to understand why the head of a big business, whether it be the Nation, the State or the Army, or Navy should not desire to have very strong and positive people under him.” 

Key points

James M. Strock in his book, Theodore Roosevelt on Leadership, has extracted several points about TR’s approach to personnel selection that I think are as important today as they were in the early 1900′s. These points are (my comments in italics):

    • Hire people more talented than oneself. (No one is served by having weak team members. Find smarter and more capable people to fill your positions.)
    • Look for the best in each person. (Don’t ask if they are a good person, ask “What are they good for?” However, TR was very high on character and he fired many a person who did not live up to his ethical standards.)
    • Where one must bargain over personnel, set standards for selection. (Have a list of skills and capabilities you need and compare candidates to this list.)
    • Spend the time necessary to evaluate and acculturate prospective team members. (Gut feelings only get you so far. Really understand if this person will fit the culture of the team you are putting together.)
    • Do not prolong consideration of people who will not receive a position. (This is a lesson many companies should pay attention to. Don’t drag people out, it does not enhance the company’s reputation.)
    • Ceaselessly search for new talent. (Always look for talent, even when you don’t need it. A prime role for a manager is to always be on the lookout for talent regardless of where they are or when.)
    • Ruthlessly replace individuals who do not meet the standards of the enterprise. (I would replace the term “ruthlessly” with “quickly”, but the lesson is that no one is served by keeping a bad employee one minute longer than necessary.)
    • Work with the tools at hand. (What was meant by this was finding the best in each person. Realize people will make mistakes, but work to get the work done anyway.)

In my opinion companies, executives and Human Resources would do well to heed this advice. Why not try to emulate a very successful executive?

Photo credit: Taken by the author at the Booth Museum in Cartersville, Georgia



by Michael Haberman November 14, 2017

Tweet We all have setbacks in life, be they family, friends, personal life or work. If they happen to you just remember the words of Robert Cheeke, an American bodybuilder, motivational speaker, and author. He said: Sometimes small setbacks are just blessings in disguise. They enhance your determination and whole-hearted dedication to achieving your goals.   Remember […]

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The Best Resources for Veterans and Their Families

by Michael Haberman November 13, 2017

Tweet This post was originally published in February of 2015, but given that November 11th, this past Saturday was Veterans’ day I thought this should be reposted. The tragedy of suicides among veterans needs to be alleviated by the action of many.   There was a very sad case in the news the other day. A […]

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Future Friday: The key to learning is unlearning – A Revisit

by Michael Haberman November 10, 2017

Tweet In one of my classes, the other day the students and I were discussing the final. I said that they need to remember that they were not being tested on their version of HR, but rather on SHRM’s version. That made me think of this post. So here again is a post about the […]

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Title: 5 Steps to Stay OSHA Compliant

by Michael Haberman November 9, 2017

Tweet As I post this I am watching the house next door be built. The gutters are going up and the guy on the ladder is “hopping” it from one location to another. Not exactly a safe practice. I hope you do better. Here is a great post from my friends at to provide […]

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Three HR lessons on a Wednesday

by Michael Haberman November 8, 2017

Tweet In my reading, I have run across several blog posts that I think it would behoove you to read. These writers talk about topics that each HR professional should pay attention to, in order to be better prepared to deal with similar situations. Social media Despite the fact that social media use has been […]

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Filing an EEOC complaint is now just a click away!

by Michael Haberman November 7, 2017

Tweet Effective Nov. 1, 2017, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced that they have created and made effective a new portal that makes the process of filing a complaint as easy as signing into a portal and getting the process started. The press release said: The EEOC Public Portal allows individuals to submit online initial […]

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