How Companies Can Attract, Hire, and Retain Good Workers in a Population Challenged Future

How can companies attract, hire, and retain enough high-quality workers in the population-challenged future?

The future of HR is inexorably tied to the future of demography and technology in the United States and throughout the world. Cultural changes will also play an important role. These changes are overwhelming in their power and even in their novelty. Chief executives who wish for their companies to succeed will have to lead their companies and their communities through these daunting challenges. How can they do that?

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ACES Framework of Organizational Development

A useful organizational developmental framework derived from military sources and adapted to business needs. 

From being the Commander of a small US Army clinic in Schweinfurt, Germany, to being the Chief Medical Officer for all of military medicine in the National Capital Region at the JTF Cap Med, I have led organizations. To train my colleagues, I have developed the ACES Framework of Organizational Development. It is based on the military model.

I have posted it here because some have found it useful in the past and others find it useful in the future. Happy reading!

ACES Framework of Organizational Development

What to do with Tradition

Our ancestors struggled with many of the same problems that we face. Their solutions are not always the best, but not always the worst either. Newer is not necessarily better. Find out why! 

Last week I was on a mission trip to Chicago with the youth choir from our church, and one of my favorite parts was the chance to talk with the kids. I have been going for several years and have seen youth born since 1993 on these journeys. Also for the past three weeks, my family and I have hosted three women in their early to mid-20s working in Washington DC as part of a journalism internship for World Magazine. These groups represent the last half of the generation that demographers call the Millennials, roughly defined as people born between 1980 and 2000.

As we talked, one theme that arose was a tendency among some to dislike tradition. This theme is at odds with some data indicating that Millennials seek tradition, but the difference may be in semantics. Since in the course of normal conversation few people clearly define their terms, and we didn’t either, it is not certain what each person in my non-scientific sample meant. However it was apparent that each speaker had a slightly different definition, many relating the word “tradition” to the phrase “we’ve always done it this way.” Since authors from Tom Peters (born 1942) to Colin Powell (born 1937) have warned readers not to blindly adopt traditional ways of doing things, it is worth asking ourselves“What should we do with tradition?”

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Understanding Problems

Ever feel like your problems are so big that you can’t even understand them, much less deal with them? Ever feel impotent to grasp others’ problems, much less help them with them? Approaching the topic first from a medical and then from a larger perspective, the attached article may provide some insight.

A fellow student from the public health program at Johns Hopkins came to me with a research idea many years ago. Performing publishable research is a requirement of the program, and we were struggling with the most fundamental issue; thoroughly understanding the problem that you wish to address. Our team wrestled with the possibilities, explored lots of dead ends, and sought guidance from more experienced researchers. Eventually a reasonable, although not groundbreaking, plan took shape.

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Administrative Support – How to Manage a Meeting

A dear friend and true expert, Dr. Eleanor Henry, writes on how to manage meetings. 

“Last week’s meeting would have started on time, but the starting time wasn’t emailed out until one hour before, so the participants, the few which showed up, straggled in and began work 15 minutes late. The room was hot and muggy from a recent air conditioner breakdown. The chair opened the meeting but the minutes from the meeting before were not done so the participants could not approve the old minutes. Also, no one remembered all of the open action items. It didn’t matter because 7 people were required for a quorum and only 6 attended. The agenda wasn’t complete and the read-aheads that the briefers provided were not distributed before hand. Others wanted to call in but could not because no one had arranged a dial-in link.  Even if there had been, the racket from hammers and drills of people trying to fix the air conditioning in the other room was nearly deafening. The briefer struggled to make himself heard above the din. The computer, slide projector and screen hadn’t been set up and no copies of the slides were available, so the attendees huddled around the briefer’s 15 inch computer screen. At least they could hear him better.”

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Making Meetings Matter

How to make formal meetings efficient and effective to achieve organizational goals.

Despite the triumph of American arms in the Revolutionary War, by 1787 the former colonies, loosely affiliated under the Articles of Confederation, were suffering severe setbacks at home and abroad. The Articles allowed only for a very weak central government which was incapable of regulating activities between the states at home and equally impotent at defending American interests abroad (such as with the Barbary pirates). Citizens knew that a stronger central government was needed and convened the US Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia from 25 May to 17 September 1787.

The group included delegations of leading men of each state. Each delegate had been appointed by the state legislature and commanded the respect of its citizens. Each state (except Rhode Island) sent a delegation, reflecting the beliefs of their legislatures in the objectives and the importance of the Convention. The Convention had a formal process which was overseen and chaired by the most respected man in the colonies at that time, George Washington. Members included politicians, lawyers, scientists, soldiers, physicians, and businessmen. The Convention almost broke up several times because of the differences of opinion and the personalities of influential members. The Committee of Style and Arrangement, headed by Gouverneur Morris and including several intelligent and ambitious men who wanted to make a mark on history, created the final draft of the Constitution and made important adjustments. Alexander Hamilton’s reputation suffered as a result of his participation, but James Madison’s was enhanced.

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Government Service Civilian Personnel Discipline

Sometimes positive actions do not suffice to prevent or remedy unacceptable behavior. In these cases, disciplinary action is indicated. The following table contains useful suggestions for the manager in a government setting who needs to punish an employee.

Government Service Civilian Personnel Discipline

Religion and the Workplace

What is the role of religion in the workplace? The answer is not none…

A coworker was disciplined for asking people in his section how he could pray for them. Another was rebuked for having Bible verses on his desk. Does religion, especially Christianity, make the work environment hostile for others? How do we balance the freedom of speech for all involved. We must begin with a definition of religion. According to the American Heritage Dictionary, religion is:

1. Belief in and reverence for a supernatural power(s) recognized as the creator and governor of the universe. 2. A particular integrated system of this expression 3. The spiritual or emotional attitude of one who recognizes the existence of a supernatural power(s) 4. An objective pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion

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Whether discrimination is good or bad depends entirely on the basis for making the choice. Groups, employers, and individuals rightly choose to avoid the indolent and the violent. The wrong comes when we discriminate against someone solely on the basis of race, sex, or something like that.

I was having dinner with two Caucasian women in the division dining tent in Baghdad, Iraq, in 2004. One was the division JAG (legal) officer and the other was another staff officer. One of them turned the conversation to discrimination and racial profiling, with the women relating stories from their experience. Our warm joviality cooled like hot cider on a snowy day. The staffer related a time when, while in the Miami airport, someone spoke to her in Spanish. She replied with exasperation, “couldn’t he just have looked at me and known that I couldn’t speak Spanish”. Growing weary of the conversation I replied, “No, because that would have been racial profiling.” The cooling relations froze like dry ice and we departed. We got along famously before and after, but that topic was relational poison.

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