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

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.




Use your resume to “MARKET” yourself to hiring managers.

  • Make your statements ACTIVE
  • Show how you STAND OUT
  • Tell the story of YOUR WORTH

As I have said in the past, resumes are marketing documents. They are not a career retrospective of what you have done or a boring list of your work history, education, and professional information. Your resume is a SALES tool; you are selling you. So, tell the reader what you bring to the role that puts you at the top of the pile. Really good resumes convey power and display confidence.

While a strong resume won’t get you a job, it will position you as a highly qualified and competitive candidate and provide a compelling introduction to get you to the next step – The Interview for your #DreamJob!

Remember what recruiters are looking for:

  • 77% look for relevant experience
  • 48% frequently consider a candidate’s ability to demonstrate specific accomplishments
  • 41% consider whether the resume is customized to the open position and to the Company


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

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.

Firing someone? Incorporate Dignity, Grace, and Respect

Today is “Black Monday”; the day many NFL coaches will be publicly fired. We will hear about the head coaches with household names. However, behind the scenes, we do not hear about all the assistants, strength coaches, personnel community, nutritional experts, etc.

Whether in a pro football organization, or a small business, a termination is painful for each party involved. (If it is not painful, then perhaps something else is going on…). As leaders, we must be sure to treat each termination with empathy, and respect for that other human being. People who suffer job loss go through some predictable emotional stages, including lowered self-esteem, despair, shame, anger, and feelings of rejection. While you may have plenty of legally relevant reasons for the termination, you are still severing a large part of that human being’s life.

To find a new role, the person may have to uproot their family, deplete their savings, and in some situations, seek assistance just to feed their children and themselves.

When a termination is not handled in a dignified manner, business people ought to realize the other employees are seeing a very clear message: “We don’t care about you or anyone else.” When the company does not care about employees, the employees do not care about the business. Customers feel the attitude, too, and it leads to performance, product, and balance sheets suffering.

Not every employer can provide a healthy severance package. But even small concessions can go a long way toward helping the employee, as well as those employees left behind.

HR can review their resume and LinkedIn profile, help them understand their Unemployment Insurance and COBRA rights, and an executive can introduce them to an outside resource. I am sure you can think of some additional ways to assist, too. Please leave your suggestions below.

Here’s to a great 2016, where we all find joy and fulfillment in our roles, as well as happiness with our lives outside the business community.

For more ways to ensure legally compliant and morally respectful termination decisions, contact me at 


Steve Lovig, is known as a “Different Kind of HR Leader,” a Human Resources Executive with expertise in Human Capital Management, Employee Relations, Retention, Training, Recruiting, and Cultural Improvements.

Contact via or 404-791-7454.



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?