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By Wayne R. Bodie, MBA, SPHR
I am completely guilty. Every single time an article crosses my eyes that says something to the effect of “How to Become a Millionaire in 3 Simple Steps” or “5 Simple Steps to Success,” I admit to taking the bait and clicking. The humorous part is I know exactly what I am about to get myself into, long before I finish reading the article. I may be able to withhold my compulsion for a minute; however, my curiosity often overcomes my internal voice of reason. And honestly, who doesn’t want to be extremely successful right?
After clicking these links I am almost always immediately filled with regret. It creeps up from the pit of my stomach as if reading each painstakingly oversimplified suggestion renders me less and less satisfied than the tip that preceded it. Pick any three “adjectives” you want, insert them into an article, and then summarize with “follow these steps and BOOM Zillionaire.” Many of these articles come from non-credible sources; however, surprisingly some of these same ambiguous “buy my program today” articles come from reputable entrepreneurs and A-list magazines.
Typically, the article ties back to a consulting service, training class, or another tangible item that can be purchased at an additional cost, ultimately feeding revenue back to its source. It’s a good business model and it does work, so in a way, these articles do provide a value as it serves as a business model to mirror. Regardless of the sellable item, whether the industry is real-estate, financial sales, insurance, consulting, etc., the concept can be duplicated and tweaked with varying façades.
I have no issue personally with this type of hustle, but I do have a concern for those who are seeking guidance in these articles because they are in dire financial straits. There are certainly many ways to achieve multiple revenue streams utilizing today’s technology online without paying for “John Doe’s” get rich quick program. Millennials have got this figured out, they are starting businesses younger and starting more average businesses than any other generation that has preceded them. Not only do they have little fear of failure in starting a business, but they are quicker to embrace current technology and stay on top of hottest trends. A winning combination.
I won’t insult your intelligence with a simplified list of adjectives and call it a recipe for success, but I know generating additional income online is certainly achievable because I have. If you are in-between professions, waiting patiently for interview feedback, or have hit a low point in your savings accounts, there are many creative ways to source additional income and there is no need to pay for someone’s unique system. For every pay-for system that is listed online, there is someone willing to give out the information out for free. YouTube is a fantastic resource. In terms of practical information, YouTube has taught me more than my undergraduate and graduate degree combined. If you want to monetize a website, write a blog, create a drop shipping business, you name it, there is a video on it. Hundreds of thousands of free videos and walkthroughs on how to generate an active and passive income for free if you’re willing to take the chance.
The most successful people I know didn’t get to where they are today because of a list of descriptive action words listed in a motivational article. They had luck, knew where to acquire resources, and had no fear. Thankfully you can teach an old dog new tricks, and as the world is changing we had better be prepared to learn new information and become fearless. When we have hit a point in our timeline when college degrees can generate a minimum wage and certificate programs return six-figure incomes, it is time to get creative with our income strategies today because who knows what tomorrow brings.
By Wayne R. Bodie, MBA, SPHR
No matter how prepared we think we are, life has a funny way of teaching us exactly how much we truly don’t know. Although a lifelong learner with extensive postgraduate education, I gleaned my most important lessons from the school of life, not from a formal university. As a native Floridian, I’ve experienced countless hurricanes. Never once, in all that time, did I ever feel compelled to evacuate.
That is, until now. Along with 6.3 Million Florida brethren, I faced evacuation, but the prevailing question was, “Go where?” Especially since Hurricane Irma’s massive “cone of uncertainty” covered the entire state. The one and only reasonable action, flee Irma. That meant leaving the state with 1.5 million other Floridians residing in mandatory evacuation zones. The biggest hurdle was there are only 3 major arteries out of Florida and only one direction out (North).
During our exodus, we encountered 874,000 other cars, a plethora of car crashes, gas outages and 150 plus cars lined up at the pumps. A huge problem emerged post-storm that I had quite frankly not anticipated. Trying to get back home. The volume of those displaced, the road closures, flooding and fuel delivery delays, all significantly impact the speed Floridians can return home. Additionally, of those that chose to shelter in place, a major portion of this population have no power, no internet/phone service, and must make critical food and fuel rationing decisions.
My friends and family sought shelter in Tennessee. We all have already have been contacted by employers in one way or another inquiring as to when we can safely return to work. Some of us have even received their 2nd phone call with slightly more demanding tones. During breakfast this morning, I overheard a close family friend displaced from Miami, several months pregnant, and without a vehicle hang up on her employer stating, “I’ll return when I can.”
From a Human Resources perspective, it’s reasonable for employers to expect an employee’s prompt return to work contingent on when it’s safe to do so. The primary goal for any for-profit organization is to ensure the financial success of the business and ensure stakeholder protection. But, there is a fine line between “reasonable” and “unrealistic” expectations. To date, I have never truly understood the complexities of such a large-scale evacuation, nor have I understood the intricacies of trying to return home post such an incident.
It is my responsibility as a Human Resources representative to adequately prepare and implement policy on how to handle such matters. Just as important as developing policy, is the importance of maintaining open lines of dialog with operations and executive management prior to an incident to set definitions of what’s realistic and achievable. Without a strategic partnership between human resources and operations, communication post incident to employees may come across far less empathetic than desired.
Having a seat at the big table in an organization is critical to Human Resources. While it is easy to focus on the bottom line in terms of the production of widgets, it can also be easy to overlook the critical needs of our organizations “internal customers”. Our employees are the lifeblood of an organization, and without them, no business can succeed. This is one of our critical roles in Human Resources, and sometimes a gentle reminder to key decision makers on the human condition is required by human resources for a balanced business plan.
By Wayne R. Bodie, MBA, SPHR
Does your organization have a well-designed, informative, and proactive hurricane action checklist? Do you have an Incident Action Plan that establishes what your department role will be pre, during, and post incident? I am confident that many of the larger well-established departments have plans in place. I am also just as confident that smaller departments with limited resources may “shoot from the hip” with little to no guidance on how to establish an effective plan.
Never assume that your employees know how to, have done so in the past, or have access to the required resources to survive a disaster. As the HR Department representative, take a proactive role and educate all your employees and guarantee they have access to basic information. My suggestion is a handout that is prepared and delivered in person, which ensures delivery and provides visual feedback as to the employee’s level of preparation. This document should be custom tailored to your specific region with emergency contacts to the following agencies:
- Ambulance, Police, & Fire
- Social Services
- Highway Patrol
- Marine Patrol
- Local Hospitals
- Local Veterinarians
- Poison Control
- VA Clinic
- Emergency Managers
- Insurance Hotlines
- Emergency Number for your Organization
This document should also have additional information such as basic CPR instructions, wound management, and general safety tips. In years past I have functioned as a professional rescuer. In my experience, most injuries and deaths occur post incident not during. In the case of a hurricane, once wind speeds approach 50 miles per hour, most emergency response departments will cease. During the critical stages of a hurricane, employees must be self-sufficient. All 911 calls at this point are “queued” based on the level of priority, resuming only once conditions are deemed safe for responders.
Be sure to assign an individual responsibility for all communications to employees. This individual should be tasked with updating all employee files with accurate contact information such as addresses and phone numbers. They should also be responsible for developing a check-in process, via phone, email, social network, etc. Facebook offers a safety feature called Facebook Safety Check which allows individuals to check-in virtually during a disaster.
Make sure that your Incident Action Plan allows for employees to have adequate time off to prepare and prep for storms. Likewise, make sure you have a written plan on how you will handle compensation during the emergency. Emergencies happen with sufficient frequency that there should also be a written policy assigning who is responsible for maintaining each critical business activity such as payroll and vendor management pre-and post-incident.
There may be individuals that may need to work on site during the incident, or have no place to go. Choose how you will handle these situations prior to an incident. Either a plan for assistance to local shelters or maintaining an emergency cache of supplies on site are both options. Any required emergency supplies to be kept on site would vary based on need, this task might be best delegated to your Safety Manager.
Hurricane Irma is days away from impacting Florida and putting a written plan in place may not be feasible for some. At the very least, make sure all contact information with your employees is current, make a “touch” and find out if they have any needs, and make sure to check in on them. To those that are going to be affected by this storm, my thoughts and prayers are for you. Everybody please remain safe during this storm and take heed from local officials should they request that you evacuate. God Bless.
By Wayne R. Bodie, MBA, SPHR
Today’s human resources management profession has jettisoned far from its humble beginnings. So far that, with the advent of newer technologies, the ghostly specter of transactional personnel departments with their voluminous paperwork and manual record keeping, seems…well…other worldly, pre historic perhaps. Even after the outgrowth from headcount reporting to more expansive employee services, bleeding-edge technologies have revolutionized the industry even further.
Nowadays, as human resources professionals, you have seen your roles swell into true strategic business partners in every sense of the word. The average human resources generalist is a part attorney, psychologist, project manager, IT professional, and above all champion of human capital. To be fully proficient in this industry now requires an amazing skill package. But, given the dramatic evolution in the past 40 years, especially the milestones reached in the last 10, what effect will tomorrow have on this profession?
In a recording I recently watched of the World Economic Summit 2017, Elon Musk – the CEO of SpaceX and one of the guest speakers presenting, was asked, “What’s next in technology that will disturb the way the world lives and the way we do business?” What a great question for a savvy business magnate, investor, engineer, and inventor with an estimated net worth of $16.1 billion, making him the 80th-wealthiest person in the world. In December 2016, Musk was ranked 21st on the Forbes list of The World’s Most Powerful People.
So given his credentials, I found his answer intriguing and thought-provoking. It made me question what challenges lie ahead for the human resources profession. While this probably won’t affect our generation, but if you have a science fiction bent as I do, you may ponder this question awhile too. In short, Elon Musk said, “The development of autonomous cars and artificial intelligence will have a significant ‘disruption’ on society and employment.” In his vision, “Almost all cars being built will be capable of full autonomy in about 10 years.”
He added, “Somewhere between 20 and 25 years in the future, potentially 12-15% of our society could be unemployed simply due to jobs lost by individuals employed as drivers.” He further warned, “Play close attention to the development of artificial intelligence…we have to be very careful how we adopt artificial intelligence.” He followed with, “There will be fewer and fewer jobs that a robot cannot do better.”
Now, that got me to thinking. I already see dedicated self-automation in checkout lanes at Walmart, my orders from McDonald’s are done on a human-less Kiosk, and artificial intelligence has already reached a point that it can beat the best chess players in the world. If you have never heard of Google’s DeepMind project, there is AI software capable of learning to teach itself how to walk, run, jump, and climb all without someone teaching in a mere matter of hours. Now picture that technology, exponentially more advanced in 20 years, combined with the advancements that will be made in robotics. What will our future workforce look like? Can you picture that?
Elon Musk’s interview ended with this final question, “If you want to advise government officials to be ready for the future, what advice would you give them?”
“What are we to do about mass unemployment?” he asked. “This is going to be a massive social challenge. Um, and I think ultimately, we will have to have universal basic income. I don’t think we are going to have a choice.” From a human capital perspective, his answer evokes deep concerns.
There’s no way for the average layperson to prophesy the future, but there certainly will be mega shifts in business and the workforce if Elon Musk’s predictions come to pass. I can’t help but wonder if the future of Civil Rights and the Equal Opportunity Commission will be the prohibition of discrimination against humans in the workforce. At that point, Generation Z will hold the reins of futuristic Human Resources, and I wish them tremendous success navigating those waters. I surely hope by then, all of us here and now, are in retirement mode, sipping a spritzer, talking to our kids about the good old days and how things used to be.
If you are interested in watching the original interview, here’s the link to YouTube video listed below: