Last Friday, I had the opportunity to serve on a Human Resources Panel Seminar hosted by the Pacific Business News. It was quite an honor to be asked to sit on the panel; the four other panelists have been business and community leaders for a long time and I considered it a real privilege to be able to share my thoughts on HR issues alongside these individuals. Kam Napier, PBN Editor-in-Chief, served as the moderator and he did a great job making sure the discussion flowed smoothly and that we addressed many of the hot topics that are facing HR professionals today.
Some of the topics we discussed included hiring practices, working out differences that arise between generations (i.e. Baby Boomers vs. Gen-X vs. Millennials), and new laws that affect the way employers must conduct their businesses. Some of the panelists discussed the difficultly of hiring talented employees in a job market where the unemployment rate is sitting at just 3.7%, the importance of wellness programs, and the value of creating a work culture that inspires employees. I had an opportunity to discuss the impact recent court decisions such as Adams v. CDM Media and EEOC v. Abercrombie and Fitch will have on how employers conduct their hiring practices. In addition, I also discussed the importance of training managers (who are involved in the hiring/interview process) on how to properly conduct job interviews. I explained that although many managers are great at doing their day-to-day tasks, they are not always kept apprised of recent changes to employment laws that might affect how they can make their hiring decisions. I also explained some of the dangers involved with providing employment references through the “coconut wireless” because you never know what type of information (or misinformation) might end up getting spread to others. Therefore, as a matter of practice, the “name, rank and serial number” method is still your best bet.
Finally, as always, I made sure the stress that, when it comes to managing your workforce, “the best defense of a good offense.” In other words, I firmly believe that the best way to address workplace problems is to try to proactively prevent them from happening in the first place. In this day and age, HR professionals have transitioned from being a clerical cost center that processes payroll and benefits to a strategic department that oftentimes partners with corporate officers in leading a business into the future. Therefore, it is imperative for HR professionals to stay ahead of the game, be proactive, and help their companies move forward.
Overall, I would say the event was very successful and I had a lot of fun.