YourForce: ‘Laws’ Are Made to Be Broken

By Mike Prokopeak

Nov. 30, 2014

According to Moore’s law, computer processing power doubles roughly every two years.

For proof, just look in your pocket. Dig in there and you’ll find a miniature computer that fits snugly in your hand and yet has more power than a 30-ton mainframe did just a few decades ago.

Because the effect of Moore’s law is so widespread, we tend to think that innovation is now the exclusive realm of high-tech companies. But innovation comes in many shapes and sizes.

Amtrak, the winner of this year’s Workforce Optimas Award for General Excellence, is a case in point.

Amtrak’s Barry Melnkovic and his team are creating a model HR organization in one of the most highly regulated and traditional industries: rail transport. Amtrak — alongside the other Optimas winners — are proof positive that some laws are made to be broken.

Sharing Tanvi’s Selfie

Tanvi Gautam selfie December 2014

Tanvi Gautam, one of our 2014 Game Changers winners, proudly displays her award in this selfie she emailed us. Gautam is the managing partner of Singapore-based Global People Tree, a leadership and development consultancy. She also hosts the India HR Chat on Twitter. Want an opportunity to join the club? Game Changers are awarded to the top human resources practitioners and strategists under the age of 40. Think you’ve got what it takes? Stay tuned for details coming in the next few months on how you could be a part of the Class of 2015.


Reader Feedback

Several readers reacted to James Tehrani’s “Whatever Works” blog post “SHRM-HRCI Dramedy Continues: ‘Glass’ Half-Full?”

Michelle stated:

I think the value of these certifications period is questionable. I have never received more pay, or been given less pay, on the basis of these certifications. Some employers ask for it, but, when I have inquired as to why they desired these certifications, I have met [only one person] who could explain why with any specificity whatsoever. The SHRM organization is simply making itself more expensive and irrelevant, especially to small practitioners, through gimmicks like this.

Linda said:

I’m sure that Hank Jackson and his non-HR board can make up whatever they like about the warm reception for SHRM’s made-up certifications. The vast majority of practitioners that I’ve spoken to about this are less than enthusiastic, and many of us have made the decision to give up our SHRM memberships. We no longer have much faith in SHRM’s leadership and find no value-add in their offerings. It’s a money-grab, plain and simple. SHRM has even branded it with their own initials and are promoting their own preparation tools. In addition, they are strong-arming local chapters into rallying behind the ‘new’ designations if they want to have continued support from the mother ship. HRCI is and will continue to be the gold standard in certification of HR practitioners.

Reader Marc responded:

People forget that the SHRM/HRCI certification was conceived out of a desire to make HR more ‘professional.’ This was back in the day when an undergrad degree in HR was rare and when advanced education (master’s level) was the only place you could get HR expertise.  …  As Michelle correctly points out, the value of a certification is questionable to begin with. SHRM has never advanced the concept that actual ‘hard education’ in the field constitutes the basis for professional HR work and should be the ‘gold standard’ for employers and members to pursue.

Reader Bobbi commented on the Workforce magazine story “House Calls Via Phone Calls”:

I think this is a great idea, but I’m wondering about the staffing and implementation. Offices are understaffed and overbooked now as it is, so who’s going to man the computer for cases like this?

Mike Prokopeak is Workforce’s editor in chief.

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