As I move through the end of another calendar year, I am floored to realize that I am entering the 11th month as head of Human Resources for my company. Homestar Financial Corporation is a home mortgage lender, with about 600 employees in 80 locations across 12 states. We’ve almost doubled in size in the past 23 months, and have the usual challenges that type of growth brings!
I learned quickly that for all the low-hanging fruit I “fixed,” there were dozens of other, more complex and time-consuming needs to be addressed. Conflict resolution is more engrained in the HR team culture, and New Hires are better prepared for their first weeks than when I started. We have taken positive steps as an HR team to be proactive instead of being the administrative, reactive department of prior years. But more can be done to help this company better reflect the character of its Founder, and become a place people want to be for a career.  In 2017, progress will be made.
So, in the coming year, I am focusing on three areas – HRIS, employee training, and improving our interviewing process. Of course, each of those areas includes dozens and dozens of small steps to accomplish, but that list is for another time.
If you are starting in a new role, or plan to do so in 2017, I encourage you to develop your 90-day plan (as I did), and be prepared to CHUCK IT! Having a focus when you take on a new role is important, but it’s not necessarily how things will unfold as you learn more about the day-to-day needs of executives and employees. I found much deeper problems that took far longer to resolve (some are still being worked on 11 months later…) than I originally could see from outside the organization.
Plan on spending the first couple of months just listening – perhaps a small survey of stakeholder’s expectations for your HR team could be useful, too. And develop your Year-One plan as you gain more insights into exactly what your company needs from an HR leader.
Good luck, and I hope you have a great 2017. Steve Lovig


Richard Castellini, VP at said “Hiring Managers often spend less than one minute reviewing a candidate’s resume.” I have heard from some recruiters they spend as little as 6 seconds per resume! So – make your resume GET NOTICED:

Put your job title in ALL-CAPS and BOLD. It’s the job title that’s important; more so than WHERE you worked (company name).

Remove “month” out of your dates; just use the years. Using months can tend to look like “clutter.”  Remove the period (“.”) from the end of bulleted lines; they are not really sentences.

Remove the period (“.”) from the end of bulleted lines; they are not really sentences.

Overall, you want to do much more than just list your job duties. You want to show how you did something SPECIAL, that someone else in that same role, would not, or could not do. Did you SAVE the department money, or time, or personnel, etc.? Did you create a report that provided better information in a timelier manner, etc.? If so, ensure they STAND OUT in your “accomplishments” list.


You need a resume that gets results, and I can help you! As a Human Resources professional, and Adjunct Professor, I have helped hundreds of people develop winning resumes. Send me your 1st draft; I will provide a FREE review to help improve your One True Marketing Tool, and make your resume the One That Gets Noticed!

For a free review, email

Watch out – your BEST Employees are planning to leave you



Almost half of U.S. professionals have thought about quitting their jobs in the past year because of “stifling frustrations at work.”

The survey from The Jack Welch Management Institute at Strayer University, also found that younger professionals, those who make less than $50,000 annually, and those who think their job is at a standstill are among the most likely to say goodbye to their boss.

About 30% of the employees said they are underappreciated, and overworked.


As caring employers, we can boost a positive workplace culture through clearer pathways to career advancement, and by offering leadership skills development to employees.

In our ‘business leader’ role, we can also do a better job of recognizing those small wins – thank an employee who turns in a fabulous report or presentation – IMMEDIATELY, and in front of others!


Do you have 5-minute “How are we Doing” conversations with your employees? At least one a week? It is simple, and effective. Just ask: 1) what they are working on; 2) how it is going; 3) and how you can help?

Your employees want genuine feedback, but it doesn’t have to be a BIG deal. A simple, but authentic “thank you” can make an otherwise burned-out employee feel great about their workplace environment. Really; they will go home and tell their spouse and friends!


Certainly there are many, many more ways to help ensure your A-Players continue to be happy and productive members of your talent team. But a cost-free way to jump start a more ‘results and rewards-driven’ culture can begin by simply recognizing your employees as “people” who like to be told “Nice Job.”


I help organizations answer their People concerns, before they become BIG, EXPENSIVE DEALS. Call 404-791-7454 or email for a FREE appraisal.



To go to work sick, or NOT to go to work sick….that is the question.


Deciding to go into work when you are not feeling well may depend on your income. Those worried about not being paid for a day off may go into the office and spread their sickness to co-workers. If company policy rewards those with “perfect attendance,” it might be sending a message that an employee is EXPECTED to be at work, regardless of personal issues. I encourage my clients to stay away from that policy, unless there is a provision to allow 3-4 days off per year as exceptions. (FMLA will also impact those policies.)

If you find yourself in the office and feeling sick, try to think about your coworkers:  Watch how you sneeze, and where you blow that snotty nose. Wash your hands frequently, cough into the crook of your elbow, and go to the restroom to blow your nose.

So, you’re OK, but you are surrounded by sick coworkers? When possible, the CDC tells us to “Stay at least 6 feet away from sick people when possible.” Think about avoiding closed-door meetings or large events with groups of people. Consider other ways to participate in office happenings; conference calls, video chats, and even perhaps postponing events.

Find some great thoughts on Office-Sickies from Kayleen Schaefer, Bloomberg Businessweek.

Should I get a Flu Shot? If your company offers free Flu Shots, take advantage of them. If the company doesn’t, talk with Human Resources about making that offer. Put up posters around the office to help employees recognize the symptoms – a fever, chills, or sweats means it is advisable to stay home.


So, as an employee, pay attention to your own health. As a leader, tell your employees to stay home when they are sick. As an organization, let people know they are hurting themselves, their coworkers, and costing the company when they cough, sneeze, and spread germs in the office.


I help organizations answer their People concerns before they become BIG, EXPENSIVE DEALS. Call 404-791-7454 or email for a FREE appraisal.

Checklist for Recruiting and Interviewing

Especially if you have an “HR Department of 1” and are perhaps new to HR and Recruiting, I’ve developed this simple checklist to keep you on-track as you start the candidate search process.

Pre-Candidate (Recruiting) Stage

(for Organizations with Internal Recruiters)

  1. Hiring Manager receives approval to fill / backfill position
  2. Hiring Manager and Recruiter partner to ensure Job Description is revised as needed
  3. Recruiter confirms appropriate Salary Range equity (internal and external)
  4. Recruiter posts Job Opening (remember your Employee Referral Program)
    • Perhaps “Post” on Company Bulletin Board?
  5. Recruiter and Hiring Manager both post Job Opening on her/his LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and other posting options (niche sites; University job boards; etc.)
  6. Recruiter posts on various external sites (both Free and Fee-based), per Job- or Industry-specific needs
    • Typically, start with your Company’s site.
    • You can find dozens of free sites available, including each State’s DOL, SimplyHired, Indeed, ResumeBucket, Goggle+, etc.
  7. When Internal and/or Free Recruiting is slow or ineffective, your Recruiter should connect with Job- or Industry-specific Headhunters
    • Also post on “paid” job boards
  8. Recruiting receives and reviews resumes
  9. Recruiting sends “initially-approved” resumes to Hiring Manager for review. S/he gives OK for Initial candidate list
  10. Recruiting starts Initial Phone Screen interviews

Candidate Stage    

  1. Based on results of Phone screen interviews, Recruiting and Hiring Manager develop final slate of Candidates
  2. Recruiting is responsible for setup of on-site Interviews, including ensuring each Interviewer has Interview Guide materials
  3. Hiring Manager, and others interviews in person; if good job fit, candidate continues process
  4. Recapping with all Interviewers, Recruiting leads Discussion and Decision Process
  5. Recruiting to call each Candidate not chosen to move forward in the Interviewing process, thanks them for their interest in Company, and wishes them well (do this within 3 business days)
  6. Note that your Recruiter should be providing Hiring Managers weekly progress reports

“Use-it-or-lose-it” vacation policies

The Colorado Department of Labor (CDOL) announced that “use-it-or-lose-it” vacation policies would no longer be permitted. However, they then admitted materials on the subject were “Not clear.” Now they’ve released an FAQ, which continues the confusion. Here are some takeaways:

  • If you have a use-it-or-lose-it policy, it must clearly explain vacation earnings and accruals
  • Definition of when vacation is earned is critical
  • Value of vacation earned when an employee leaves must be paid
  • If you want to change your policy, it cannot be retroactive

You could put a cap on how much vacation is earned, require employees to use accumulated vacation before additional time could be earned, and have a policy clearly stating vacation pay is not earned until employees work the specified amount of time. But until further clarification, it looks like the employee must be paid for all earned and unused vacation time.

Thanks for the overview from Fisher & Phillips, found here:

The Future Is Now!!

 You may remember the Saturday morning cartoon, The Jetsons.  They had flying cars, wrist watches that doubled as phones, and video-based communications; we do not have the flying cars yet, but we do have wrist watch-based phones, and we have videophones.  And those videophones are set to take over the job hunting interviewing process.


About 25% of companies are taking advantage of Skype and what it has to offer.  The most obvious usefulness is how well prepared and/or serious a candidate will be when doing this interview. Get familiar with the technical aspects of Skype – use it with family or friends a few times so that you will be prepared when (not “if”) you are asked to be a part of a Skype interview.  Ensure you are not constantly looking down toward your monitor, but instead, like a TV reporter is taught to do; look at the camera, and think of it as the “eyes of your interviewer.” 

 A couple more Skype etiquette tips:

  • Even though you will most likely be doing your Skype interview from home, be sure to look your best!  Use the same professional dress code you would follow for an in-person interview. 
  • Avoid distractions:
    • Turn off other computer programs
    • Turn off your cell phone
    • Close doors to avoid children, pets, or other interruptions.
  • Ask for a contact number once you have logged in; in case any technical challenges arise, you’ll be able to call them back. 
  • Ask the interviewer if they can see and hear you well, before the ‘official’ start of the interview, so you can make any needed adjustments. 

Good luck with your job search, and have fun with your Video interview!  

Welcome to the World of the Effective HR Investigation

When bad stuff happens on the job, you need to secure your “HR Investigator hat” tightly, and follow these three steps:

1.  Find as much DATA as possible about the situation – emails, phone records, texts, etc.; anything in print or digital that helps you get your head around what you’re dealing with.

2.  Create a list of people you need to talk to.  Order them in a way where early interviews are really about collecting data to add to #1.  As you get later in your interview schedule, you will talk to people closer to the issue in question.

3.  When you start interviewing the primaries in the situation (those who know what the truth is, you just have to get it out of them) you do the following:

a. Use the data you have to gradually rein them in to agreement on the general situation in question.

b. Use critical data points to test if they are telling you the truth – you generally need data from #1 to do this.

c. If you catch them in a lie related to 3b, use that fact to leverage them to come clean and give you even more than they were going to.

d. Repeat. Don’t be scared to stay in an interview for a couple of hours if needed.  These are often tough conversations


Welcome to the world of the effective HR investigation.  If it sounds like nasty business, that’s because it can be.  The best HR Leaders are really good at what I’ve outlined above.  What suggestions would you add to my list?

Recently, there’s been a lot of focus on developing management skills; we’re told good management skills result in good results. Although this is true, you CAN get extraordinary results from “Ordinary People.”

The secret of people who tend to get extraordinary results is distinguished by the fact that they are not just managers, but leaders.  Those who get extraordinary results tend to be extraordinary leaders.  Let’s see how this can help YOU:


Extraordinary leaders recognize every one of their people, given the right circumstances and challenges, have the potential to produce extraordinary results.  Look for various strengths in your people.


Great leaders lead by example.  If you are positive, dedicated, persistent, and goal-oriented, then you will develop this sort of atmosphere within your team.


Dale Carnegie outlined principles for perfect human relationships, one of which is “Give people a high reputation to live up to.”  Tell your people what you are trying to achieve, explain the importance of their contributions, train them to be effective, and then invest confidence and belief in them.


In his book ‘How to Become a Better Boss,’ Jeffrey Fox suggests you spend 90 percent of your coaching time with your top performers. Don’t assume your top performers need no time just because they are getting results; these people are your gold – treasure them.


Almost every study on why people leave jobs or stay in jobs highlights the key role of “Recognition.”  Catch people doing something right; Thank them Privately, then Praise them Publicly.

Evolving from a good manager to an extraordinary leader requires some additional focus.  Doing all of those things that make the people who work for you look and feel good about what they are doing, and modeling the attitude and behaviors you want from them, will result in some great results.

I stumbled across this article from last year, but I apologize; I do not have the original author’s information.  If you know it, please let me know so I can give proper credit.