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HR Soapbox

18 Great HR Lessons from Facebook, Microsoft & More

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Patrick DiDomenico

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in HR Soapbox

This week, America's "Second City" was first in HR knowledge and networking as 15,000+ HR professionals converged on Chicago for the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) annual conference. You weren't able to attend this year? No problem. Here are 18 of the most informative and inspiring quotes from the more than 230 sessions during the four-day event:

1. The CEO 80-20 rule. "What keeps the CEO up at night is often not the urgent but the important. It's up to HR to know what's important to the CEO ... When you go in to talk to the CEO, are  you talking about the 20% of things that really matter or the 80% that are filling up your time?" - Ben Fanning, BF Coaching

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2. Have a pre-Day One plan. "After you offer a job and the person starts in three weeks, don't just say, 'Great, see you then.' People get scared and they get counteroffers. Be in contact during that time ... It could be lunch. It could be 'Come over and we want to introduce you around.' Just keep the dialogue going during that notice period." - Paul Falcone, VP of HR, Motion Picture & Television Fund

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Sheryl Sandberg
Sheryl Sandberg,
Facebook COO

3. Facebook’s evolving view on bereavement leave. “We see the benefit not just for the people who get it, but for the [employees] around them also ... It's not going to cost a lot because people won't use it unless they need it, and no one wants to use it. " - Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, whose husband died suddenly in 2015. Facebook has since doubled its bereavement leave from 10 to 20 days.

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4. Harness the power of trust. “Trust. You need to give it before you can expect it or earn it .... Without it, organizations fail, people suffer and teams lack health. ” - Richard Fagerlin, president, Peak Solutions, Inc.

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5. How to e-ask for help. "Never send a group email asking for help. Ask individuals with individual emails ... it's the 'diffusion or responsibility' theory. The more people that could help you, the less likely that they will." -- Heidi Grant, associate director, Motivation Science Center, Columbia Business School

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6. Metrics keep HR focused. "HR productivity is all about tracking the right metrics in your organization. Three to five metrics that help your department stay focused on what's important." - Amy Letke, CEO, Integrity HR 

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7. Don’t wait for a crisis to create a plan. “The biggest reason companies don’t have a crisis plan is they think it won’t even happen to them. But you need to think of your plan as an insurance policy that gives your executive team  and board a level of confidence they didn’t have before.”  - David Rittof, president, Modern Management

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8. Social media's role in 'workplace envy.' "Social media has ruined our workplace experience because it has flooded us with best practices on employee engagement that we never see at our jobs." - Joey Price, CEO, JumpStart HR

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9. FMLA abuse is stealing—let them know. "It doesn't take long for employees to realize that you're just going through the motions with FMLA paperwork, and that's where the abuse begins ... You have to communicate the harm and say that it's stealing or else employees will think that stealing FMLA is like stealing a pen." - attorney Michael Shetterly, Ogletree Deakins

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10. Mr. and Ms. Introvert: Stop trying to be extroverts. "Introverts are leaders. When they build on their quiet strengths instead of trying to become extroverts, they are the most impactful." - author Jennifer Kahnweiler

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11. Help the hoarders. "People keep paper for different reasons -- pride, fear, guilt. Help these people and give them the tools. Change is hard." - Bobby Zaepfel, HR project coordinator, James Madison University

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12. Like it or not, you’re a marketer. "Acquiring top talent requires HR professionals to think like a marketer." - Nancie Ruder, founder, Noetic Consultants 

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13. When to shut down political debates. “Managers should limit their political commentary around subordinates, but political statements by non-management employees should not be regulated unless the policy against harassment is violated.” - Attorney James McDonald, Fisher Phillips 

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14. Raise the ethical bar. “Make sure your executives know that you expect the same ethical and behavioral standards of them as you do of your lowest level employees.”- Dr. Dennis Davis, Ogletree Deakins


Joe Rotella,
Delphi Consulting

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15. Rethink HR’s role in the company. "'Transforming yourself from thinking like an HR professional to thinking like a business professional with expertise in HR could change how your organization perceives you  and your ideas and position you as a more effective leader." - Joe Rotella, chief marketing officer, Delphi Consulting

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16. More coaching, less controlling. “When we help our leaders adapt a coaching mindset, they start to let go of the need to control everything and micromanage.” - Sarah Noll Wilson, talent manager, ARAG

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17. Focus interviews on motivation.  “Stop using behavior-based interviewing. It’s responsible for your hit-and-miss hiring results. Instead use motivation-based  interviewing. It uses consistently phrased skill-assessment questions to gather both skill and attitude information. The idea is to hire someone whose passion is a match with the job duties.” - Carol Quinn, CEO of Hire Authority

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18. Raise morale instantly. “Appreciation is a free gift.  Seventy-five percent of American workers said they got no appreciation for their work all last year. The fastest way to raise morale in your workplace is to become an appreciative leader.” - author and speaker Barbara Glanz

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