Monthly Archives: October 2012

Professionalism is another word for “doing your homework”

I don’t need the BLS or ADP or government to tell me when the economy or unemployment rates are doing better – I’ve got LinkedIn for that. Or, perhaps I should say the clueless recruiters that half assed use LinkedIn.

Found @ LinkedIn Training

LinkedIn is a multitude of products wrapped in one slick UI. Many people use it differently – for example I use it as a half networking (more the static type) and half online resume. I don’t post/answer questions, use it as a news feed, or a host of other options on there. I get that other places and my time is mine to decide how I want to use. 😛

I welcome connecting with people. I even on a rare occasion tell someone that they might want to chat with someone else in my network. I can’t recommend any one based  on my company social media policy. I don’t mind hearing about job opportunities for myself or anyone I know – as I told a friend, my philosophy is to go down the rabbit hole to learn more about what is out there, network, and you never know when something really awesome will come along!

However, it really bothers me when people are lazy with LinkedIn – or just about anything. I have been getting a lot of “Hey, I hear you do hiring for your company, want to go to this place to meet candidates?” or “I’ve got a candidate interested in working for your organization, can I send you their resume?” You  know why this is lazy? Because I don’t work in recruiting and my profile clearly states that. And if I am nice enough to respond back – maybe even with a name in my network – don’t ask me for their email when you can easily get it yourself – I’ve already done you two favors.

Bottom line – do your homework before reaching out to someone on ANY platform. If you don’t, it makes you and your organization look like crap.

HR to Employee Ratio

Image from

Believe it or not, this is a hot topic that reoccurs in the HR world on a regular basis. Even scarier is that I’m not sure it is on anyone elses radar.

Take for example a company I recently encountered. They have a ratio of 0.25  (or 1 : 400.) Yikes.

Back when I was taking my first HR Management college course (Thank you University of Richmond and Charlyne Meinhard!) our text book stated that the ideal ratio of HR employees to total employees at the company was 1:100. That was in 2004.

There is now apparently a formula and specifications as to what type of HR employees can count in that ratio. The image, by the way, is a generic equation and not actually for this calculation. 😉 There are also different ideals as to what that ratio should be based on company size (see SHRM chart in same linked article.)

I’ll do you one better. Your industry and the level and amount of technology and/or outsourcing also is a factor. Mike outlines this nicely. Unfortunately I don’t have any handy charts on that – I bet Towers Perrin, Robert Half, the BLS, SHRM, and maybe ADP have that sort of data on hand to create one though. It’s a project I’d love to get my hands on. 🙂 Until that day comes, Ben has a shiny infographic to share.

So, quick and dirty the answer is the typical “it depends” and “you gotta do your homework.” If you want to rely on the 1:100, be prepared to back it up with the C-suite. 😉 With ever increasing technology and the decreasing number of luddites, I would be willing to place a bet that the range is between 1:75 and 1:200. That is a huge range.

By the way, I wrote a best practice for a client that not only covered this topic, but went into the diversification of the HR department (how many need to be generalist vs benefits vs etc.) The information is out there.

What are your thoughts on this hot topic? What ratio (industry/technology/outsourcing/etc) have you found works well and what are the asymptotes that you’d stay away from?


Certifications are a large part of the Human Resources profession. We are urged to get certified and stay certified. There are two core reasons behind this – to know who meets a specific level of knowledge and to stay current with changes to the profession.

Certifications are slowly becoming a deciding factor with regards to hiring and promotions. Ben Eubanks of UpstartHR was the first I saw to post a great infographic about how a certification impacts your income.

I have the PHR and CPP, and both had a wealth of information, numerous resources to help one study, and a clearly defined structure to the test. You knew going into the test how many total questions there are, and what percentage of those questions will go towards specific areas of study. There are even statistics regarding pass rate, how many have those certifications, etc.

I’m currently studying for the CCP offered through World at Work, and it does not have readily available the same level of information about the test that the PHR and CPP have.

Having done well on the other exams, I took the risk of opting to self study for my first test. However, the self study book felt lacking; it is obviously the same book provided to those who take the classroom or blended learning option. It felt as if the book referred to items that were not sent with it or in the “for further study” section, items which may be provided in the eLearning and or classroom levels.

I am very interested to see if the other learning options provide more information about the test such as number of questions, content breakdown, and which areas or type of information to focus on that the next test I will go for (the C1, Regulatory Environments for Compensation Programs) I will test out the eLearning option.

Luckily, my study skills proved helpful, as I passed it with 93% correct. You only need 75% to pass (provided in the material). (70% to pass the PHR and 80% to pass the CPP, for comparison.)

For anyone else searching for information on the T1: Total Rewards Management test, here is some information for you:

  • There are 90 questions.  I don’t know if there are any sample questions that won’t count, but are used to study for future test versions. I don’t know if there are multiple versions of the test.
  • The provided material tells you that you have 2 hours to complete this. It doesn’t tell you that 6 minutes are to practice using the system, and that even if you don’t take the full 6 minutes (I used two) your actual test time is 114 minutes. But don’t worry about time. If you know your data, then you won’t need the full time. I answered all 90 questions in 40 minutes.
  • Don’t worry about international data, that is more nice to have information.
  • The “test your knowledge” and end of module questions are a fair sampling of the style and level of questions asked on the test. Some of those questions were used verbatim!
  • The questions are done in order of module, and are broken down to about as many questions as the size of the module. This means there are more compensation and benefit questions than there are on career development.
  • Do pay attention to examples of things, such as what are behavioral or emotional expressions of employee engagement or of employee advancement opportunities. (Yes, there are lots of those examples in the material; yes, study and know all of them!)
  • HRCI has confirmed that each course will give 16 education credits towards recertification of the PHR. I honestly haven’t checked about recertification credit for the CPP.
  • Unlike the PHR and CPP, there is no survey after the test. Pearson Vue did send an email afterwards to survey you on the testing facility.

Image from

I hope this information helps others who take the T1: Total Rewards Management.