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“Hey Barack. I’ll Vote For You If You Act On These 5 Job Creation Steps.”…Maybe.

Outstanding!  For the first time since 1945 we created zero jobs, June & July job creation numbers were revised down by 58,000, average hourly earnings dropped 3 cents, work hours dropped 1/10 of a percent (that’s a lot….a 100K jobs worth of a lot), and the U6 unemployment sits at 16.2% which is laughable.  Here are five actions that could be taken that would create jobs now; right now.

Disband the White House Council on Jobs and American Competitiveness

Do we not all agree that the vast majority of jobs created in this country are those created by the small to medium size business?  Right, I thought so.  The White House must not have realized this back in January of this year, and nor have they realized it yet.  This Council has done nothing.  Nothing!  Led by mostly Fortune 1000 CEOs and bureaucrats they have yet to create a job.  We know this because if they had, the White House press would have shouted it from the rooftops.  The council is actually chaired by Jeffrey Immelt, CEO of GE who said in May of this year that “the era of globalization around cheap labor is over. … Today we go to Brazil, we go to China, … India, because that’s where the customers are.”  This guy is responsible for the elimination of tens of thousands of American jobs.

Pass the Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with Panama, Colombia, and South Korea

Washington should do more to promote trade. American companies that increase exports create jobs.  We know previous FTAs supported 5.4 million jobs. Expanding foreign markets gives American businesses more opportunities to export.  Panama, Colombia, and South Korea are increasingly prosperous democracies and geopolitical allies with 100 million citizens and a combined GDP of $2 trillion.  FTAs with these three countries will mean more places for American businesses to export, and that will mean more American jobs. However, failure to pass the FTAs will cost the American economy 380,000 jobs. We can’t afford that.

Regulation Reform

Second, restoring balance to federal regulations can protect the public’s health and safety while relieving the uncertainty. Regulation reform can spur them to ramp up their businesses and create jobs. Regulations cost the economy $1.7 trillion a year. The cost of regulations per employee of a small business is more than $10,000 per year. The massive health care law creates 159 new agencies, commissions, panels, and other bodies. The financial regulatory reform bill has 259 mandated , another 188 suggested rule-makings, 63 reports, and 59 studies. The EPA is advancing 29 proposed major rules and 173 others. The Department of Labor and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) are working on at least 100 regulations and policy changes covering a broad range of issues.  Reforming EPA rules regarding green-house gases and boiler emission standards along with implementing common sense rules from the Dodd-Frank Act are two regulatory actions that Washington could do now to relieve the burden on businesses so they can hire more workers.

corporate Tax Holiday/New Tax Rules

This was done in 2004 and it raised federal revenues noticeably but for only a short time. The repatriated money was principally distributed to corporate executives and shareholders and not used for any domestic job creation or investments. Reality destroyed the original arguments in favor of this tax holiday.

Modify Bankruptcy Laws.

Americans cannot spend more and increase aggregate demand because they are carrying too much debt in the form of mortgages, credit cards, medical bills, and student loans. With unemployment and underemployment that has shrunk to its 1999 level despite population growth making things worse the artificially low official unemployment numbers mask the real unemployment rate of nearly 17%. More than two-thirds of American households admit they could not come up with $2500 in cash within a short period of time without selling assets.

Congress and the Administration could focus their attention on something that does not deal with taxes, spending, new government programs and regulations. It would permit individuals, households, and private sector businesses to resolve some of the huge outstanding debts among themselves on a level playing field without any specific governmental interference or mandates. It would require some modest modifications to the US bankruptcy code but he would not increase governmental spending or taxes.

The US bankruptcy code has been modified numerous times over the past 200 years. The last major legislative changes were enacted in 2005. As a result of intense lobbying by banks, financial institutions, credit card issuers, and debt collection agencies, a Republican Congress and President George W. Bush enacted a severe set of rules against debtors, consumers, individuals, households and small businesses. The legislation was strongly opposed by many groups representing consumers and by prominent bankruptcy and legal scholars. It became effective at the beginning of 2006 before the bust of 2008 so it’s highly punitive and complex provisions against debtors, consumers, and households were not immediately felt.

In order to help individuals and households de-leverage the massive amounts of un-payable mortgage and student loan debts, the bankruptcy code must be changed accordingly. Making major modifications to the anti-consumer 2005 bankruptcy legislation would probably be too much for our completely partisan, ossified, paralyzed, and dysfunctional political system. However, changing the bankruptcy code to permit existing U.S. bankruptcy courts to modify or discharge first mortgages on primary residences, and to discharge or modify student loan debts would not require many statutory changes. It would require only a handful of pages to write.

Come on Washington.

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Make HR A Part Of Strategic Planning.

Businesses that don’t include a human resources component in long-term business planning are probably not going to reach their full potential, particularly as the economy threatens to dip once again into recession. Without the right people in place to execute it, even the most carefully crafted business plan is little more than wishful thinking.

Karin Grantham, vice president of worldwide human resources for Vistakon , a division of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care  , recently spoke at the Florida HR Executive Council about matching a business’s growth goals with its human resources capital. Her presentation was entitled “Building Strategic Capabilities for Your Business.”

“It’s really about translating business strategy into your people strategy,” Grantham said. “It’s a future-oriented process where you look at where the organization wants to be in the future. [You determine] what are the strengths of the organization, what are the things the organization needs to do [in terms of talent] to make sure we get there.”

It’s important to assess all areas or departments of the company, and the short- and long-term challenges they are facing, along with what capabilities are necessary.

Grantham said Vistakon follows these best practices for hiring. The company looks at a department’s business goals and business plan and marries that with the people needed to make both those short- and long-term goals happen.

“It’s done completely in collaboration between those professionals in HR and those managers who are directly responsible for those areas,” Grantham said. “[If] you said you’ll grow shares or revenue by x percent over the next year, then with the business plan in place and the accompanying people, whether or not you achieve that growth in shares or revenue is the metric to assess the effectiveness of the process.”

This exercise demonstrates that HR needs to be seen more strategically to ensure the right talent is available to execute the agreed upon strategy, said Shinn, founder and director of the HR council.

“The key word is execute,” he said. “No sense in having a strategy if you don’t have the right people in place to execute it. They [Vistakon] really focus on high-potential folks. They have a lot invested in people to make things happen. That is part of their corporate culture to promote people from within. And they have done a very good job at that, succession planning.”

Shinn said that Grantham’s presentation highlights HR’s role in maintaining the company’s competitive advantage atVistakon  . “If they were not permitted to be part of that strategic development, that would be a huge mistake; it would be unwise,” he said. “They are the ones ensuring the talent is on board and ready to make the strategy happen.”

Lee Creasman, senior vice president of human resources and administration atSwisher International Inc.  , said Grantham’s presentation reinforces what his company is already doing, adding that this type of self-analysis can be done at any size business.

“The traditional role of human resources is reactive rather than proactive,” Creasman said. “I’m fortunate here. I get involved in the business strategy and the development of those strategies because the HR function is valued. I have had other HR positions where you wait until someone asks you what to do or to deal with an employee.”

Creasman said it’s important to have a collaborative approach with managers and employees throughout the organization to create awareness of business goals and strategies. “Often what gets lost is that we have a lot of dialogue ‘To be No. 1’ or ‘Provide the highest level of customer service’ and that’s great, but what are the capabilities we need?” Creasman said. “What about the details? Everyone wants to know from the top of the organization to the entry-level employee, ‘How does this affect me?’ ”

With an HR plan in place, it’s easy to communicate the details of how an organization will achieve long-term goals.

“The role of human resources is first working with the business groups to identify critical performance areas, the things the company wants to accomplish and the capacity of the key people involved. Then you can identify what they would need,” Creasman said. “The key is having senior management buy into the importance of the process.  Source:  Dolly Penland.  Jacksonville Business Journal.

Working With HR: Part 1. Great Piece From Down Under!

It’s time for CIOs and HR to recognise their similarities and plan for the next generation of leaders.
Tell me if you’ve heard this one before: “Managers aspire to be strategic, but they are required to fulfil their duties as a functional expert.”

If you think this applies to the role of the CIO, held back by the purely technical needs of the operation that impede the opportunities for strategic management, you’d be right. But you might be surprised to learn that this judgement was not written for IT management, but for human resources (HR).

In a recent research paper titled HR on the Line, author Dr Paul Gollan, associate professor of the Department of Marketing and Management at Macquarie University, says that line managers within both large and small organisations see the HR function as good at meeting operational goals, but 60 per cent believe that HR limits their ability to meet business goals.

Historically the relationship between CIOs and HR has never been close

“A startling statistic,” he says, “but one that supports the traditional role assigned to the function of HR — that of being an administrative paper shuffling rather than a business driven strategic development.

“Some organisations still perceive the HR function to be lower in the management hierarchy, and due to lack of clear financial outcomes, it is often not taken seriously.”

Substitute IT for HR, and “routine technology operations” for “paper shuffling”, and you probably have a scenario that sounds horribly familiar.

Marketing, operations and even finance are seen in many organisations as those departments that are at the cutting edge of organisational strategy and forward vision — the rest are there to keep the wheels turning.

But if HR and IT share a similar reputation, how well do they get on with each other? Do they work in partnership, and can they help each other step up through the ‘management hierarchy’?

Most organisations at least espouse the mantra of ‘people are our greatest asset’. And in an environment where there might be a skills shortage, especially in IT, you would think these two departments would work very much hand-in-hand to ensure they keep the best they have (and the intellectual property they hold) and attract the best that might be available.

Many large IT departments have their own HR function, with staff holding an HR background rather than IT. Others, however, have to rely on the skills and understanding of a department distinct from their own operations, with priorities that may be as much about developing a strategic role for themselves as it is doing the same for other departments.

Joe Perricone, IT manager for the Cerebral Palsy Alliance, says he is “in contact with our HR management team ‘virtually’ daily for all matters, such as breaches of conduct, management decisions and impact to team performance, and most importantly maintaining the integrity of human resources and IS systems”. He adds that “the HR team ensures any changes and business needs are in consultation with IT.

“It simply makes our job easier when support is needed.”

A positive relationship, then.

But, according to Robert Yue, vice-president of recruitment management software supplier SuccessFactors Australia, “Historically the relationship between CIOs and HR has never been close. Both departments had different objectives and were responsible for running different areas of the business.”

Harking back to Gollan’s assessment, Yue says “HR for many organisations was not typically a strategic player at the boardroom of the business. It has often been known as the department responsible for the back office of the company such as handling administrative tasks such as payroll and healthcare benefits.”

He adds, however, that thanks to advancements in technology, HR is becoming empowered to play a pivotal role in business execution, allowing it to see the “death of the three-ring binder”.

Perricone agrees, and takes it further: “HR’s reliance on IT is of upmost importance and highest priority. For example, pays need to be on-time, every time and correctly.” Whether dishing out the brown envelopes can be seen as strategic, it is certainly an important part of business execution. Unpaid employees are, by tradition, not a happy lot, so anything IT can do to ensure this process runs smoothly is bound to be appreciated by all. Then again, if IT fails to deliver, everybody in the company knows who’s to blame.

Peter Acheson, CEO of recruitment firm PeopleBank Australia, says this awareness goes right to the top. “CEOs say: I have a real interest in the CIO because IT is the one thing I can get fired over.”

One need only look at recent events concerning IT issues which have led to some senior executives losing their positions to see how importantly management regard IT — as a department that keeps the wheels turning.

There’s a pressing need from the top levels, therefore, for HR to understand the needs of IT, and help it achieve the best performance possible.  Source:  Tim Mendham, CIO Australia.

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