“Ask Czarina” The #SHRM15 Edition

Image courtesy of Unsplash.

Image courtesy of Unsplash.

Hey HR Aristocrats! On Sunday, I will be travelling to Las Vegas as a member of the 2015 SHRM National Blogger Team. It is my first time visiting Vegas and I am beyond excited. There will be a lot going on in my corner. I want to get you caught up, so you know where you can find me and what to expect.

The first thing you should know is: I will be one of the panelists on the Building a #SmarterWorkforce Twitter Chat sponsored by IBM on Monday, 6/29 from 11am-12pm PST/2pm-3pm EST. The topic is: The Future of Work. Brian Moran of Brian Moran & Associates will be hosting it and I will be sharing insights along with my co-panelist, Mike Haberman of OmegaHR Solutions. Mark your calendar and join us!

Image courtesy of Purematter.

Image courtesy of Purematter.

The second thing you should know is:

I will be dusting off the #czarinatravels hashtag. Follow the hashtag to see food, random musings and sights as I make my way to Vegas. In addition, I have taken the plunge and I am now on Periscope. Follow me @CzarinaofHR to view my pop-up live streams. It is unlikely that the bloggers will be cleared to stream sessions (although we have asked). I will keep you posted if this changes.

Check out my latest vlog below from The Aristocracy of HR You Tube Channel for more #SHRM15 nuggets. If you plan on being in Vegas, let’s connect. If you are a part of the #notatshrm15 crew don’t fret- I will make sure you feel like you are there.

See you in Vegas!

Occupy The Table: Your Buzzwords are Buzzkill!

I was interviewed by a company for a series they were putting together for employers that are looking to attract and retain entry-level candidates. The interview went great and I think I delivered what they expected. However, the interviewer made an interesting comment as I was answering her questions. What she said didn’t surprise me but it did confirm some things I’ve been thinking regarding the usage of buzzwords.

Her comment was ” wow, this is great information- this is what we have been looking for- someone who speaks in plain english rather than using buzzwords.” Of course, flattery will get you every where with me, but clearly she has been searching for someone to tell it like it is without every other word being a buzzword.

In HR, the buzzwords of the moment are “agile” “big data” “thought leader”, “strategic”, “authentic”, “transparency” “human capital” and of course there is your usual dosage of  “the seat at the table” talk. There is no question that using buzzwords is addictive. It is in our nature to want to dress up a word so that it sounds-well, more interesting. I have never been an addict of using buzzwords, but I’d be lying if I said I have’nt used them to explain a concept or just for the fun of it. It requires effort to be conscious of what you say and how you say it.

Please don’t kill my vibe- you say?

Based on my conversation with this interviewer, all of you “experts” and “gurus” with your fancy HR language are buzzkill. Yes, I said it- you.are.buzzkill. All of your big data and HR analytics talk that can solve all business issues and increase its agility so in turn, they can finally achieve that coveted seat at the table-is not as welcomed as you may think.

There is nothing wrong with being a conqueror of new HR territory, but do yourself a favor and keep it simple. I don’t mean dumb down your concepts, but I do mean that you need to make sure that the everyday HR practitioner gets what you’re talking about. Oh, and please do not tell me that those aren’t the people you are trying to reach, because if not them who are you speaking to? Who are you convincing to buy-in to your out-of-this-universe concepts and buzzwords? Is it business leaders? Not a chance in hell. You need to resonate with the everyday HR practitioner working in the trenches.

One of my professors in college always said ” a paper written in plain language with the proper grammatical and contextual effects is the most effective paper.” “Papers with floral language and terms that appear over the writer’s head is hardly effective and may even appear as ignorance over intelligence.”

There’s no question that HR has to evolve as the needs of our business partners become more complex and diverse. However, that factor is no reason to further alienate them from the discipline of HR by creating terms, methodology, and concepts that are too difficult to understand.

My interview was successful because I answered her questions in plain language and with practical advice and insights as to how her clients can employ my tips. Instead of saying businesses need to become “agile”, I may have said business leaders need to be able to act and think decisively in order to remain competitive. When I speak about all of the information/data we have available to us regarding the business, I speak about the ways we can make the most out of all of this information and utilizing only the information that makes the most sense for your business. Isn’t that much better than throwing around “big data” every other sentence?

There are HR departments that still don’t know how to properly interpret “time-to-fill” or “cost of hire” reports. That is small data- so they aren’t close to being ready for big data. Are they behind the times? Perhaps, but if business is thriving without big data and the HR department is doing what make sense for that business- none of this high-level talk will ever resonate with them.

For those heading to Orlando for SHRM’s Annual Conference as a speaker or social media influencer, keep in mind that usage of “flavor-of-the-day” buzzwords is impractical. People are spending good money to learn and possibly take some useful HR nuggets home. Do your best not to disappoint them.

Are you ready for a new strategy or way of thinking about how you approach HR? I speak HR and have the tools you need in plain language. Contact me.


“Employment Branding For Attracting Quality Hires” Snippet

Image Courtesy of fuwad.files

Some of you may know that I am off to San Francisco tomorrow to speak at HR.Com’s Talent Acquisition Excellence Forum in San Francisco. This is my first mainstream conference speaking engagement. I am feeling a mix of excitement, nervousness (all good) and anticipation at the moment.

I am very lucky to be co-presenting with my friend and colleague Lexie Forman-Ortiz, Community Manager for SmartRecruiters.

Our session: “Employment Branding For Attracting Quality Hires” is something both Lexie and I are very passionate about. All too often, employers work in a constant reactive state of trying to hire a “warm” body to fill a need. When you have a bonafide need to add headcount to your already existing staff; it is not something you take lightly. Employers have to stop expecting quality overnight and via quick-fixes. Attracting the right candidates to your organization requires a well thought-out recruitment strategy and an understanding between management, hiring managers and recruiters that they will all be dedicated to the process of properly attracting, evaluating and selecting the right individuals for the job.

How will they find these people?

We make the case that employment branding is the answer. Lexie and I are not going to leave employment branding out there as a glorified buzzword of the moment, but we will make it practical and relevant for attendees emphasizing the emerging need for employers to hire for retention.

Whether or not you are physically present to hear Lexie and I speak please follow our hashtag on Twitter #BrandQuality and also check out the conference hashtag #HRcomtalentforum to keep abreast of the other great sessions there.


For off-topic fun and to follow my adventures while in transit to and in San Francisco, follow my #Czarinatravels hashtag on Instagram. I will take you along with me to all the great eats, sights and everything in between.

Also check out my partners-in-crime: Tiffany Kuehl, Celinda Appleby, Jocelyn Aucoin and Mary Wright on Twitter. The first two ladies are also speaking at HR.com and Jocelyn and Mary are coming along for moral support. All great people to follow.

Wishing you a great weekend ahead!


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