31 Days, 32 Revelations: Finding My Place In The Universe


Image courtesy of quotespictures.com

Series Introduction

Every year, I like to find a different way of celebrating my favorite day: my birthday. Since I am turning 32 next month (I know…awww…), I’ve decided to share 32 revelations I have had during the course of my life about everything from life in general to business. Think of it as daily inspiration for you and therapy for me. It is a challenge for me, because I don’t think I have ever published a post everyday in the entire existence of The Aristocracy of HR. Plus, I recognize that while I am fairly generous in sharing on social media and here, I have only just scraped the surface on sharing who I am when I’m not pontificating how HR and Business can do better. Let’s use the month of March to get to know one another better. I hope at the end of the month, you walk away with something you can use in your own life or business.

Day 19 of 31-  Finding My Place In The Universe

Feminists everywhere are about to cringe, but I have to honestly say my favorite and most rewarding jobs are being a mother and a wife. There is something really magical and sacred about finding someone who gets you, loves you, supports you and shares your goals and aspirations. As if that isn’t monumental enough, your blessings are exponentially amplified when you start a family.

At a certain point in my twenties I realized I wanted to be a mom and wife, but I never imagined the ways it would change me, bless me, and challenge me. All of my life, I encountered settings, groups, and places where I didn’t quite fit. When I got married and had kids, that all changed. I found my place in the universe. Each of my kids are a part of me at different stages of my life and it is a real joy to watch them grow and explore. My husband and I have been extremely intentional about creating a fun, loving and meaningful environment for our kids. Working head and head with him to figure those things out is the most fun workforce planning I have ever done.

I’m not one of those rose-colored glasses mothers that lives and dies by her children and husband. Some days they all make me want to scream; but even on those days-I am in awe of them and so grateful that I we get to walk this journey together. I meet people that are constantly complaining about their husband and children and find me weird when I don’t have the same sentiments about my home life. Just like I don’t question why they are so unhappy, I think people should have the same respect to not to question my happiness.

My formula to a happy home life is pretty simple: I keep my affairs in my home, I mind my own business, and we forge through tough times with love, faith and understanding. There are a few other tips, but I don’t want to fog up your screen- I am an HR practitioner you know.

Having a place you can fail, succeed, be goofy, and be vulnerable is priceless. Everything I have been through in my life has been worth it- if it was all meant to prepare me to create and nurture my little family.

What do you cherish the most about your family?

Czarina’s lesson: We all have a place in this universe. Find yours and be happy.


31 Days, 32 Revelations: Digital Snobbery


Image courtesy of lovethispic.com

Series Introduction

Every year, I like to find a different way of celebrating my favorite day: my birthday. Since I am turning 32 next month (I know…awww…), I’ve decided to share 32 revelations I have had during the course of my life about everything from life in general to business. Think of it as daily inspiration for you and therapy for me. It is a challenge for me, because I don’t think I have ever published a post everyday in the entire existence of The Aristocracy of HR. Plus, I recognize that while I am fairly generous in sharing on social media and here, I have only just scraped the surface on sharing who I am when I’m not pontificating how HR and Business can do better. Let’s use the month of March to get to know one another better. I hope at the end of the month, you walk away with something you can use in your own life or business.


Day 8 of 31- Digital Snobbery

I’ve been dabbling with social media for years. In my opinion, the start of it was in the early 2000’s with platforms like MySpace, BlackPlanet.com, Mi Gente etc. I wasn’t hip to how it would evolve, but I was on those platforms doing what I could to promote my then modeling career and everything else I was doing. Those platforms fizzled and then entered Facebook around my college years. You couldn’t even join unless you had a college email back then. I had one girlfriend that was on it and begged me to join- I wasn’t impressed. It wasn’t until 2010, that my employer at the time said “hey there’s this thing called social media and all of you Talent Acquisition Specialists need to be on it making us look good”. Not their exact words, but essentially that was what we were all charged with doing.

Under duress, I joined Twitter and Facebook. I chose a terrible Twitter handle that later caused me to be heckled into changing it. I was offended at first.  However if not for my “hecklers” and (they know who they are), I wouldn’t have created the brand I have today as the “CzarinaofHR”. In any event, since I officially joined social media- I’ve learned what works, what doesn’t, and that just like in real life people have lots and lots of opinions on what you should say and do on social media. I am still learning how to best position myself on the platforms I am on. What I have let go of is the angst around following the unwritten rules of how you should exist on social media.

From buzzword usage to quizzes on Facebook, there are individuals (sometimes cliques) that are always so beyond whatever the next fad is before it even gets going. Its a kind of digital snobbery that people have picked up where everything and anything someone chooses to share is a problem or is not the proper usage of the platform. It’s like a cool kid thing. They think, “maybe if I post smug, snarky, offensive updates or respond nastily on someones thread people will applaud me or better yet like me. If this is you, I say this in the nicest way possible- get over yourself! I have seen plenty of things that were offensive or ridiculous. When that happens often enough, I simply unfriend, disconnect or block your feed. It is simply not in my best interest to tell you that your feed is full of rants, bigotry or that the sun doesn’t rise and set with your daily selfie. Whatever you choose to portray on social media is your business.  I guess the trouble with it all- is that we have become accustomed to judging this digital life many of us are living. Assumptions are made about who you are and what you value based on words, updates, tweets etc. It maybe an unfair disadvantage since people share at different times and for different reasons. Nevertheless, the judgment is all the same.

As I branch out and explore other lanes of business, I am assured there will be someone quietly or publicly questioning why I’m doing what I’m doing. The way I approach my digital life and real life is, I do what I want and what feels right. That means I will hashtag what I want, use slang if I choose, promote my business if I need to and utilize buzzwords if it best explains what I am trying to convey. I care about my audience. I care even more about being true to who I am and what I want to share with the world. I pay attention to social etiquette and guidelines as a reference point, but I don’t let it put me in a box or prevent me from coloring outside of the lines. Social media is a fun extension and curation of my life, and some of you are fun sponges.

I am forever indebted to social media to opening a world of possibilities to me. There’s no way I could have imagined the friends, colleagues, and opportunities that social media would bring when I started back in 2010. My point is use social media for what works for you. It’s supposed to be helpful and fun- don’t ruin it for people.

Czarina’s Lesson: Don’t be a digital snob!

Slacking on OFCCP Compliance



Courtesy of Wikipedia

Courtesy of Wikipedia

By the fall of 2013, those of us in the federal contractor community were made aware of some significant changes coming down from the OFCCP. In good old OFCCP fashion, we were inundated with several new directives that were proposed with very little guidance to employers. Of course all of the major employment law firms went to town developing webinars and the like. Unfortunately, those did little to ease employer’s pains and added to the growing number of contractors in a vegetative state over the new compliance requirements. In January of 2014, I went to a conference in San Francisco to give a concurrent session as well as lead a roundtable on diversity and inclusion. During my roundtable, I asked for a show of hands as I attempted to ascertain how many federal contractors I had at the table.

What I found fascinating was all of the participants were federal contractors and when asked if they started reviewing and planning to comply by March 24th of 2014 as stipulated-they all gave me a resounding “no”. I attempted not to look astonished but nevertheless I continued sharing tidbits about things I was doing to get ahead of the new outreach and recruitment efforts analysis requirements. They all swore they were going to be on top of it when they returned to the office. I certainly hope that was true.

That was then and this is now…

We are now nearly one year into the new compliance and I still hear murmurs of companies not getting in OFCCP shape. If you haven’t started or are taking your sweet time- wake up! The audit list now has 22 items  you will be responsible for. Get ahead of it now and lessen your pain when you inevitably receive your notice.

My fellow HR colleagues usually hate me for this-but I believe that much of the pain felt in complying with OFCCP regulations is due to how we approach it. When you see these regulations as onerous ( and I agree some of it is) and fail to see what you get in return for your compliance (which is government money)- you will ultimately procrastinate in doing what is needed. If you treat hiring of minorities, females, individuals with disabilities and veterans as quotas, you will always be in a rut of trying to explain why your AAP goals don’t budge year to year. When you receive government money it is only right that you be held to a higher standard with regard to how you do business. If you take a little bit at a time and approach the requirements as both a business imperative and priority-it will become less burdensome.

Here are five pieces of OFCCP compliance that employers are slacking on:

1) Is your outreach and recruitment efforts rooted in quality or quantity ? You need to be consistently auditing your diversity outreach and recruitment process to see what works and what doesn’t. If you identify outreach activities that aren’t yielding candidates or hires- you need to be proactive and cease utilizing that outreach.

2) Have you revised your self-identification forms yet? According to the new regulations, you need to be asking applicants to self-identify both pre and post offer. This includes updates to include self-identification for Individuals with Disabilities (IWD). Get your OMB-Approved form here.

3) How are you handling reasonable accommodation requests during the hiring process? Be sure that your ATS works well with assistive devices and technologies in an effort to ensure that individuals with disabilities are give equal opportunity to apply and be considered for vacancies.

4)  Have they added your EO clause to all subcontracts? Get purchasing involved! This is another requirement that contractors are overlooking. Equal Opportunity clauses must be added to subcontracts, along with language that explains subcontractors obligations as a federal contractor.

5) What’s your hiring benchmark? The 7% goal for IWDs’ is a lofty goal for many businesses. My advice is set your benchmark and make sure it is attainable. If you set it at 5-6% you are just slightly below 7% and it looks admirable that you attempted to get close. It remains to be seen whether contractors will be penalized for playing it safe here.

Now that you have some food for thought, prepare yourself by doing mock audits. Also, encourage your recruitment teams to regularly audit their activities and raise any issues ahead of time so you can tweak things prior to an onsite or offsite audit. Good luck!

A Global Look At The Future of Work

FOW Meme

I had the privilege of being invited to the first ever IBM and Purematter Thinkathon: Hacking The Future of Work event in New York City last month. It has taken me this long to properly synthesize all of my thoughts and experiences from the event.

Why Hack The Future of Work…

The purpose of the “Thinkathon” was to get 30 people who influence the world of work in one room over three days to discuss the future of work. Over the course of these three days we were met with mind-bending presentations from IBM’ers as well as other notable keynotes. We also spent time in groups discussing how we see things like workspaces, communication, talent, technology privacy etc. working in the future.

Of the notable keynotes, was a woman by the name of Faith Popcorn. She was charged with providing the group with a glimpse of the future of the work circa 2025. While I believe we all came into this presentation with our eyes wide open and ready to be schooled, many of us became a little disheartened with what we learned of the future. In this keynote, 2025 was a vision of robots having governance over pretty much everything, simulated living/working, and the disappearance of careers. It’s important to note that Faith Popcorn is known for making wily predictions that come to pass 95% of the time (check out some of them here). As someone who has a passion for the human touch in business, I felt like someone punched me in the gut listening to her go on about a world 100% driven by robots and technology.

Based on her view of the future of work, the human touch is extinct and we all live and work in a simulated, computer amplified world. The idea that humans relinquish more and more control as technology advances presents a pressing question for HR professionals. If careers are obsolete, and people can work via simulated workspaces with a bevy of robots running about our communities and companies- what will HR’s role be?

Jay Kuhns and I at the IBM Design Camp

Jay Kuhns, fellow HR expert and I with IBM employees and VIP Futurists at the IBM Design Camp.  Photo courtesy of @kwheeler

The facts are…

HR will have to transform more rapidly in the next 10 years than it has the past thirty to keep up with societal and technological advances should Ms. Popcorn’s predictions hold true. Will there be whole HR departments run by robots in 2025? I don’t think so, but do I believe that we will see more and more outsourcing of functions that are better delivered by technology or people specifically dedicated to that one function? Yes.  As far as the talent goes, we are all reported to be free agents by 2025 and solely responsible for marketing ourselves to companies for work. The idea that there are no more defined roles within an organization filled with professionals with a finite set of skills creates complexities for recruitment teams and every other facet of HR as we know it today. Which begs the question will there be a need for recruitment teams in 2025? I think there will be reverse recruitment in the sense that jobseekers with broader profiles will have the ability to actively recruit or seek out companies that align with their values, passions and that have a need for their skillsets. We already are starting to see this with the concept of employer branding and candidate experience. In 2025, Onboarding may be a thing of the past or repurposed, if people are no longer in traditional roles requiring the usual assimilation into their companies.

When asked about the economical impact of this new reality of the future of work, Faith Popcorn responded “there will be the haves and have-nots.” Which leads me to address the global implications of this new reality of the future of work. With companies outsourcing work to alternative markets abroad to create efficiencies and lower labor costs- will we drive these advances in how we work or will the U.S be a late adopter? Admittedly, Faith’s research and predictions are based on the American market, so she could not speak to the global implications of what she was proposing. However, with an economic reality of haves and have-nots and no real mention of those that “have a little” a.k.a. the middle-class, who are the future workers? Are they humans, robots or a mixed bag? If any of the future scenarios involve robots as actual workers this changes the entire landscape of employment law and labor relations. We will have to start thinking of things like “do robots have rights or does being human need to be a protected class?” Wild!

My opinion is change is often far more gradual than the vision of the future I viewed in Faith Popcorn’s presentation. The change we experience in the world of work will be gradual largely because many companies haven’t even adopted the technology and progressive practices available to us now. The playing field is not level for all people socially and economically which also hasn’t been resolved on a global scale; nor will it be in the foreseeable future. I have reason to believe there is a greater need in the future to preserve humanity and it’s place in the world of work. I also believe that when you predict things in the future you have to also account for the inevitable outlier events and resistance to change that often color and shape the final outcome. Too much of anything is never good and that also holds true for any imagined advances for the future of work.  With some technological leaps, hardcore streamlining with a focus on creating new efficiencies and a genuine dedication to meeting the needs of future talent and business; I think the future of work has plenty of promise.

What do you think the future of work will look like in 2025? I want to hear from you!

Over the next couple of months, I will be working with IBM on some cool initiatives. Follow my journey along with my 29 fellow futurists with the hashtag #NewWayToWork.

Here’s a glimpse of  the IBM Verse launch I was privileged to attend on November 18th, 2014.



How to Reach Those Holiday Job Shoppers

As the calendar flips over to the months of November and December, our minds inevitably drift to holiday shopping. Recruiters are preparing their shopping lists now for the hiring that is sure to begin (budgets willing!) come January. Taking advantage of the slower pace of business, recruiters need to capture the attention of candidates who may find themselves with a little more free time over the holidays to do some job shopping.

If you’ve ever shopped online (and come on, who hasn’t?), then you understand the value of the “Quick View” feature. It’s not a laziness factor that stops us from going to another page to get the full details of the product. It’s more of a convenience factor. You can easily click on the Quick View option and still get detailed information like the colors the item comes in and whether your size is available. Quick View makes it even more convenient to find what you want quickly and easily.

Where am I going with this?

As many of you know, I am on a quest to find HR technology vendors who are finding unique ways to solve HR problems. As such, I recently stumbled across a new company called Match-Click. If you haven’t yet heard of this company, you likely will soon. In a nutshell, the company is taking the concept of the “Quick View,” enhancing it by adding video and applying it to the recruiting process.

Launched in June of this year, the start-up is quickly spreading the word about its ability to help companies move beyond those staid job board listings to market their positions using short and sweet videos. Like the Quick View feature, the videos (three for each job posting) give candidates a brief look at the salient details of the job – who they will be working with and what the culture of the company is like. It’s a unique way to browse before buying, if you will.

What I found most interesting is that these aren’t your typical lengthy, high-production corporate videos. Instead, these videos are made by the hiring manager and a couple of co-workers using whatever recording device they happen to have on hand, whether that is a mobile phone or a webcam. It’s real, it’s authentic, and it recognizes what we are all short on – time – by keeping the videos blissfully short.

As those who follow me regularly understand, I am in support of HR technology companies who are delivering products that find practical and distinctive ways to help HR practitioners perform their work more efficiently. No copycats, no replicas. Now, I’m not saying that Match-Click is the be-all and end-all solution for recruiters and companies, but what Match-Click does – help companies grab the attention of job shoppers and “just browsers” alike – it does well.

What Match-Click is doing is giving companies an innovative and cool tool to attract interest – to a job, to a company, to the people who work there. It is always challenging to capture the attention of candidates, but compelling content and useful information go a long way. Whether it is an active candidate, a passive candidate or a candidate somewhere in between, the brief, personal videos offer a no-obligation peek into a job. The site also lists the typical information you’d expect – job requirements, day-to-day responsibilities, benefits, etc. The candidate then gets to decide if they want to invest more of their time to apply for the job.

Want to know more about Match-Click and just how easy they are making it to attract attention to your job postings? Visit them on the web at: http://www.match-click.com/

Do you know about an innovative product or service that is making HR practitioners’ jobs easier? Tell me about it and I just might give it a test drive, too!

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