How to Help Non-HR do HR

It is a fact. Not every small business is sizable enough to be able to afford a full-time certified HR professional. My manufacturing company is a bonafide “Mom & Pop”. And as any small business or startup knows, you wear many hats! HR is one of them. My design degrees did not prepare me for the business world very much. Much less HR. I learned the process of designing & marketing. Running a small business for 10 years has been “baptism by fire.” I do have some great support on the numbers side with my business partner / husband whose background is environmental engineering & safety. Coupled with an MBA (he had a few HR classes), he can tell me if my business head is full of shit. But, he is not the people person in the equation. That is me. I’m sure you can now make some assumptions about how we divide up our Human Resources roles in the business. And we cover the bases well. We have reached out for help. We discover quickly when we are over our heads.

Experts Rock

My biggest perk as a SHRM member is to have access to experts and literature. I idolize people who are experts in their field. I am realistic that I cannot be an expert at everything. I know my core competency as an individual. Ummm… it is not HR. I also feel that a major strategy to successfully navigate running a business is to always assume there might be a better way. I am always learning, reading, observing. I love case studies. I hate paperwork. I love using SHRM’s HR forms a starting point to help me understand how to organize my employee relations, onboarding and retention. With every SHRM luncheon lecture and conference I add to my bag of tricks. With every blog read or interaction with my social media network I gain some nugget of knowledge that helps me make less mistakes. I am also realistic that mistakes will be made. And I also observe the mistakes of vendors. Hoping to not repeat issues that bug me, like employee turnover.

Dumb it Down

Not like “d-u-m” dumb. But, there are parts of the HR equations that are daunting. Labor relations, the legal system, distractions of employees’ personal lives and absenteeism, risk management and government regulations. We have mostly hourly line positions. But, still have to manage web/internet and product component vendors. We can even get swept into subcontractor’s HR issues. I hate that. But, the worst thing we can do when growing our business is take a “put out the fire” position with HR. I know, because of my amazing HR online network that we must continue to align our Human Resources objectives with our business growth. I think emphasis on concrete objectives, actionable HR strategies, can turn heads in the “owner’s box”. What are HR’s objectives? Dumb it down for me please. Show me stats. Give me examples with results that make me want to go deeper.

Mistakes Shorten the Learning Curve

Examples don’t all have to be these rosy outcomes. Lay down the dirt. Trench HR is the meat. You white collar recruiters and HR software tool developers are entertaining and all. But, I need stories about docked pay, employing someone with criminal record, illegal aliens, OSHA inspectors, personal injury, family leave, rights violations and what happens when you screw up those situations. Amongst others. I have a healthy respect for what can go wrong. When you are a small business it can be devastating. I don’t need scare tactics though. Just sound advice and real examples. I hate to hear “What? You don’t do that?” But, sometimes it is what you need to hear. Damn rules.

When Certification is a Necessity to Make a Buck

I have never looked for a punch list that would flag a need for a certified HR professional. Though I’m sure it exists. Business tends to think about it in terms of number of employees we serve. Or we think about HR in terms of risk management. While my employee numbers might not align for even part-time HR services, I’m sure there are businesses out there teetering on the edge of hiring or needing more than part-time help. There are many uncertified, but no doubt qualified people, working in the HR function in businesses world wide. I would love to hear from them or business owners or from HR managers that were hired on by a small, growing company. What pushes a business to the point of hiring an HR Manager? It is a numbers game to be sure.

I’m in this for the long haul as a pro-hr business owner. When the time comes to implement HR at a higher level I want to have the budget and resources and a big picture understanding. I don’t want to be the executive that brings it on because of some problem. The panic. You’ve seen it. I want to transition because of efficiency and employee growth. Efficiency adds to the bottom line. Any advice to prepare now for that transition would be a fantastic thing to offer up to any non-hr person or business owner still trying to do HR ourselves so we can make a buck. SHRM membership is an asset. Especially for small business. I wish more businesses knew that. Might be a marketing direction for SHRM to make a buck? How can SHRM do a better job growing membership for non-HR?

Come join me in the tweet stream to discuss this topic “How to Help Non-HR people do HR” at the next twitter #SHRMCHAT. You can catch the conversation on twitter Tuesday May 8th 8pm EST/ 7pm CST. Check out the next  show summary or last show Recap Here with your host Joan Ginsberg.

Shamleess SHRM plug – The 2013 TN SHRM Conference is officially calling for speakers. Let me know if you need the contact to submit your info! Thanks for reading.



Fingers in HR Pies


Wanted to share some happenings in the HR Bacon Hut world. Content has slowed down over here a bit. But, I have good reason. Let me catch you up! With two new recognition product launches starting to wrap up, we have had a great Spring at Berkeley Tandem, Inc.  And that has certainly dominated my time. Not to worry, the conversation of influence still swirls by phone or a lucky moment to grab lunch when one of my fave HR pals comes to town. I am listening and commenting! The goal? To inspire content. I’m seeing content in the HR and social media space grow in exciting ways. Let me share with you what I’m having conversations about.

Rich Social Media Pie

For those bloggers truly putting content out there, you need to get listed on the two hottest influencer platforms. And even get paid! To be an HR Blogger (The Mashable of HR)  you have to post at least 4 times a month. To be in the HR Blogger Network, PPC you have to post once a week.  Once a month or less for me is obviously not getting me a seat on the list. But, I encourage my readers who can pour out this kind of content to check out these two opportunities with Star Conspiracy and Blogging for Jobs.

Flavor of SHRM Pie

My poor SHRM chapter  has been neglected this Spring as well. Not as much as my blog though! We’ve been wrapped up in the pitfalls of social media multi-account ownership and needed website re-make. Along with my business social media, MT|SHRM is getting my live time. And my SHRM chapter social media network  is growing with a target of 2013, hosting our State Conference, and tightening our social media presence. Look for more to come SHRM fans! Very exciting. Be sure to follow us on Twitter. 

Teach Making Pie

Tying into SHRM is the new Project Social HR site in soft launch. Victorio Milian and I have been working hard to bring this HR blogger mentoring alive. The site is staged to become a publishing and educational platform for those who want to break into HR blogging. Project Social is a crowd sourcing opportunity that leverages everyone’s network to disseminate a message and “practice blogging” within a support system of other HR bloggers. I’m so excited to see this go live and buffer, the sometimes daunting task, of putting yourself out there in a professional circle. My long-term goal is to help facilitate this site as great educational tie into my SHRM chapter. It would be great if the site can help open a door to my chapter members who would like to try blogging. Victorio is doing a great job keeping me on task. He is social media community manager extraordinaire! (My French word for you Victorio.)

This influence is coming home to roost. Shout out to the Middle TN State University, Organizational Communication Majors and the Special Topics Course “Social Media”. Taught by long time personal and social media pal Dr. Lynette Long, @smcorco. They have been studying me…. and you. (Amongst others.) I spoke to the class Thursday. They are a handsome crowd. A mix of blogging causes, artistic expression, college musing and insight into the mind of the college student’s introduction and perception of social media. They are learning how social media makes an impact. Dr. Long has done a wonderful job coaching these students into the world of blogging with assigned topics and required regular posts. I am schooled! It is fascinating to see their social media expression mature into their online voices. The semester is wrapping up and they now see this social media “stuff”  can serve them in their job and internship search! I encourage you to check them out.

Let me introduce you to some of the class blog roll:

In no particular order:
MTSU keeps waffling on their course offerings. Social Media will not be offered in this department in the Fall. I cannot help but question that decision. New technology and communication platforms are being created each day within social media. Obviously it is exploding in the HR space. Universities need to be the think-tank to teach the tool with an immersion methodology in order to connect to a broader application. The Project Social HR blog platform understands that for the social media tools to take root, you have to use them regularly in order for your organic network form. You have to jump in and use the tools in a way that connects with your areas of expertise. College coarse work and blog mentoring becomes the fertilizer to help grow a network in a more targeted, interdisciplinary, deliberate way. Corporations and organizations are on board. Course work should be leading this charge, not following.

Who Else WILL FEAST on Pie?

Thanks again to the  smcorco class. You ground me in the importance of education, learning and the freedom to publish without fear. Be in control of what you put on the web and use it to promote your talents and skills to further your career. Finding your social media purpose is the hard part. Once you discover where your interests are playing in the social media sandbox, engage with them. When you contribute your thoughts, your network will start to blossom. I love seeing my Human Resources network blossom online. I remember their ideas in infancy, seeded in tweets and blog posts that evolved into full-blown, money-making business plans. The frontier is growing! Will higher education be left behind?

It is an exciting time to be a blogger. Social Media is not a fad. Blogging is not dying. It is being woven into a more credible network within industries as a part of an effort to communicate ideas. Blogging and tweeting media is just a piece of the social tool box that reaches culture, branding, business and education. It is about people. It is about making time to finding an audience. One tweet won’t build it. So thanks for letting me share some of the pies I’ve been licking lately. It is sweet success I share with my HR network and those who influence me. Thanks for reading. You inspire me!

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Crispy Fried Inclusion as Blogging Motivator


Welcome Project Social readers. This is a new chapter for the Project Social experiment. I can honestly say it has helped me come out of my shell as a blogger. I will never forget standing at the HRevolution Atlanta tweet-up with Victorio Milan and Dave Ryan as they talked about project social and asked me to join in. That moment of inclusion was pretty profound. And it certainly helped motivate me to raise my bar a bit to join the stage with such respected bloggers in the HR field of practice, including my other team member Laura Schroeder.

My blogging beginnings can be credited to Lance Haun and the first HRevolution in Louisville. His blogging perspective helped me let my guard down. And I discovered that I could put myself out there (even in need of editing) and still feel I had something to say.  My tight social media circles on twitter validate that try, so I continued. But, the missing layer was a timid attempt to promote what I was doing. So I remained in the background trying to find my purpose. Two years later the Project Social team took me to the mat.

Putting yourself into a forum like this helps your accountability, your post quality and it brings a larger audience than you could achieve starting out on your own. Content is king. Bring your good work and readers will notice. And you will learn blogging is pretty organic. You can even re-name, re-design and re-invent what you want your blog to achieve. Still memorizing your audience as they travel that journey with you. I’m contemplating a redesign actually.

I hope sharing my story will inspire you to put your voice out there. I want to invite you to be included in Project Social.  I learn something each day as an avid blog reader. And I feel the profession can be enlightened by ideas and thoughts expressed in blogs that can impact your business strategy or make you see a solution you never thought of. All because of a blog post.

Be the teacher. Be the change. Inspire us. Contact and let us help you begin your blogging journey.


Sleeping with the Boss: Valentines 2012 HR Blogfest


I often wonder how my husband and I fit into the Human Resources discussions on dating your office mate? We own and run a business together. 20% of the time I will get the reaction of “how nice that must be” to work together. The other 80% look puzzled. “Oh, I could never do that. How do you get along?” I will say, it is not for everyone.

Working and sleeping with the boss (as my husband does and vice verse) can make for interesting pillow talk. After 12 years of marriage and 11 years working together we have this unspoken way of keeping work and home sort of separated. We make meeting appointments (even if it is in the den over a cocktail on a Friday night) to talk about work. Pillow talk rarely goes deeper than mentioning a bullet point list of to-dos. We make better business decision when we are seated rather than when we are prone. That is the policy. I think that translates. When you go prone with work, trouble can brew.

Fraternizing at work is still a touchy situation. Some organizations have actual policy against it or a “don’t ask, don’t tell” approach to dealing with dating a co-worker or vendor. Sexual harassment is real and alive. So don’t let that valentine get taken the wrong way.  That being said, I thought I would pass along some great Valentines Day blogging I surfed up on the subject of dating your co-worker. Good snarky content that makes you think generally it is a bad choice to date your co-worker unless they are a stuffed animal.


Dating at work – what’s your policy?
By @susanavello on “HR Virtual Cafe”

Suck it, Cupid. You don’t work here!
By @mikevandervort on “The Human Race Horses”

It’s Valentine’s Day – Do You Know What Your Employees Are Doing?
By “Small Business Support”

Gir on Valentine’s Day!
By the @HR_Minon Shauna Moerke

Office Romance: When Does It Make Sense to Mix Business With Pleasure?
By Discovery Fit Health

Generosity Day at Work: How to Spend Valentine’s Day in the Office
By @UpMo @RobGarciaSJ

Valentine’s Day Dilemma: Office Relationships and Sexual Harassment
By @xperthr and some of my Fave UK HR Bloggers

Celebrate Valentine’s Day by Valuing Coworkers
By @AboutcomHR @SusanHeathfield

Bad Office Romance
By Patrick Mullarkey over at @mentormullarkey

Water Cooler Made for Two: A CareerBuilder InfoGraphic
CareerBuilder has the visual. @CareerBuilder

Love is in the Air
By @theonecrystal

Adam & Eve & the Workplace Love Story
By “The Buzz on HR” @thebuzzonhr

Monster Video Advice on Workplace Romance
By @Monster

Atlanta SHRM is Giving Away Membership Discounts for the Love of SHRM
Your SHRM Atlanta is Making some Promo Love. @shrmatl

INSTAGRAM SHOT by Maren Hogan for all you moms who stayed up all night making valentines treats for school (Not me. I sent Nerd Candy boxes.) This has nothing to do with sleeping with the boss. It is just fun valentines stuff from my online HR community. By Maren Hoagn “Marenated”

Happy Valentines Day.

Thanks to Susan Avello for the bacon picture.


Stop Slamming Social Media Without Trying to Understand It

This post originally ran in April of 2010 before I was a part of Project Social. While it was read by very few, it was a turning point post for me to discover my voice as a social media advocate in the online HR space. My Project Social partners Dave and Laura are also pulling up some archive posts. So let’s look back and see what they had to say, especially if you missed it the first time! Thanks for reading.

Get Me off of Facebook.

What is it with everyone slamming social media these days? I was driving from a customer meeting to our warehouse Friday and decided to check in on my parents. A bad habit I have, checking in with them while driving. But, I am stealing a moment of quiet where interruptions are less possible via blue tooth. Some of you know my Dad is battling cancer. He is surviving it and doing well though treatments will continue indefinitely. I check in often. He answers the phone. “Lyn, how do I get off of Facebook? I swear I did not sign up for an account. But, I keep getting email when people post on my wall or whatever it is.” He goes on and on about how he will look at pictures but, he has no interest in being on Facebook because he ‘does not want his identity stolen.’


There is no convincing my Dad. Facebook is bad. He wants me to come over this weekend and take him off. I’m so tired of the fear mongering about social media. Fear is based in uneducated, uninformed knowledge. To quote Geek Dad and Wired Magazine about fear in social media: “What information, on a personal level, are you required to share? That’s actually a very simple answer, one that seems to elude many. None. You are required to share nothing. “

I spoke at the Southern States Communication Association this week about social media and was shocked at the real lack of interest. This surprised me since the majority of the members are mass comm. professionals and educators. Have we forgotten how to study and embrace the new and innovative? Where is the innovation people? I will say in defense of my panel and smattering of attendees, the roundtable was full of engaging discussion with people who were passionate or who wanted to understand SM, specifically twitter.

I Just Don’t Communicate That Way.

There will be some people who will never adopt social media. It is not a choice based on fear. It is personality based. My husband chooses not to do social media. He says, “I just don’t communicate that way.” I get that and respect it. He respects my need to create. And part of creating for me is creating content. There will be content creators and content absorbers. Not everyone is wired to put information out there. Not everyone is into sharing business or personal details. I thrive on the collaborative nature of social media. It is a good fit for me as a marketer, promoter and active learner. But, for some it will never be a part of what they do. So be sure to create content they want to absorb.

We’ll Get There Someday.

These days I compare the slow adoption of social media in business to a similar pattern in the adoption of ecommerce. In 2000 I was part of the crash. Laid off after riding high on stock options and the Internet gold rush, I saw the visionaries of online shopping sites miss calculated the fact that there we just not enough people shopping online to support their big ideas. And egos were convinced if they built it people would come. It just did not work that way. 10 years later we are now seeing the fruit in online shopping and success can be had with sound strategy. But, it is not quick.

So we move slowly with the masses. We advocate, educate and set the example for how social media can be used personally and professionally. It is not a fad. Apps can be a fad. Social Spaces can be a fad. Being social as a human behavior is here to stay and by jumping in to understand the applications online now you will be more prepared for how we will be collaborating tomorrow. Join a social media site today and experiment, innovate and educate. Some people call it cutting edge. Others call it research. I call it necessary to stay ahead.

2012 – Dad update, my father continues to battle metastatic cancer. He is doing amazingly well, responding to maintenance treatments and is still not on Facebook.

Read More Wired Magazine Article

Southern States Communication Association