A Thank You to SHRM

In anticipation of the SHRM Annual Conference next week in Chicago, we would like to take this opportunity to thank the members of all standards committees and other active participants in the ANSI/SHRM HR Standards process.  Since 2009 the work of SHRM and their focus on compiling standards for the HR world has dramatically changed the way companies large and small conduct HR practices.

The combination of members, non-members and laymen of the HR field brings a unique perspective to each committee.  In addition, SHRM’s affiliation with ANSI and ISO has extended the reach of the developed standards and made the work of these committees all the more important.

Lee Webster’s leadership provides a solid foundation for the taskforce and committee members to examine the current issues related to the HR practices and develop the appropriate and approachable standards regarding the many procedures and metrics within the HR industry.

Aspen is looking forward to the HR Standards events at the SHRM Annual Conference next week.


Featured Video: Sourcing and Recruiting Social Summit

The Sourcing and Recruiting Social Summit was held in Washington, DC in early April and brought together industry experts to share tools, techniques and strategies around the optimization of sourcing and recruiting channels.  Aspen attended to absorb the insights of the recruiting organizations, sourcers and talent acquisitions managers.  This one day event had a number of different sessions focusing on social sourcing and recruiting, using social media in recruiting, mobile recruiting and much more.  Speakers included Shally Steckerl, Carmen Hudson, Glenn Gutmacher and many other industry experts.

Enjoy this quick video of the some of the attendees speaking about their takeaways from the conference, including Aspen’s Andrew Gadomski on the many important uses of digital technology that go beyond sourcing and recruiting.

Corporate Learning & Talent Development Summit 2013

 The Corporate Learning and Talent Development Summit, hosted my Marcus Evans, is coming up next week.  Our Chief Advisor, Andrew Gadomski is looking forward to hosting a roundtable discussion at the event.  His roundtable, titled “HR Big Data–Linking Learning and Development Directly to Profit” promises to be a lively and engaging discussion about what companies are doing to measure L&D’s direct impact to the business. Andrew will introduce the almostunlimited possibilities using your current systems and data integration, and how data can change the way you manage your entire L&D strategy.

This unique event not only covers many interesting topics in the roundtable format, but also helps buyers and sellers come together in an invite only setting.  The Summit offers solution providers, learning, HR and talent management executives from leading American corporations the ideal environment for discussion about new innovations shaping the industry.

CEO-to-CEO Hot Topic: Talent

I recently went to the CEO-to-CEO conference held at the New York Stock Exchange. I was the only chief executive in attendance that leads a human resources professional services or HR technology firm.

The group that was there was made up of chief executives from all types of engineering services businesses, healthcare companies, manufacturing companies and so on.
The number one thing that they talked about at these roundtables was how to engage talent to perform better. Everybody was talking about it. We discussed how to lead our teams better, how to engage them, how to get them to innovate, and how to break down barriers that stifle progress.

Talent and people were the watchwords of the day. I actually don’t find that very surprising. I’ve been to conferences like this before, and typically when business leaders get together they talk about the leaders that work with them. When I go to the World Innovation Forum or World Business Forum that’s produced by HSM and the makers of WOBI, our providers of leadership training for our customers, the same topic is discussed at length.

In addition to talent and talent acquisition, the topic of analysis, decision-making, and data seemed to also pop up. The chief executives talked about their engagement surveys and how they were reaching out into their businesses to understand what was going on, and then reacting to that to make change. We discussed the importance of data and how powerful it can be for decision-making, but the subject of business intelligence wasn’t talked about with a fine point.

A wide array of companies was represented in that room. Some companies were so large that they had thousands of employees, which are typically the types of companies that we work with in their human resource development. Yet others were as small as my business or just a few times larger and they had similar issues.

What I found interesting is that, of the eight hours we talked, I would estimate almost four hours were spent discussing talent and engaging it in one way or another.  The concerns of the chief executives were mostly human resources-related even though I was one of only a few HR centric folks in the room.

This tells me that human resources development has a seat at the table as a major talking point, but we don’t yet have the vocabulary to help it stay there. These leaders were talking about people, leadership and productivity, but they are all complaining about how they don’t have what they need to handle those things. As I reflect on it now, I don’t recall anybody even mentioning the human resources department.

As we were discussing innovation at a long table that reminded me of the dining tables at Hogwarts, we were going back and forth about how to drive innovation within our businesses amongst our leadership. After getting the attention of the moderator, I asked all the CEOs in the room how many of them ask during an interview about how that candidate drives innovation within a team. This question prompted a series of blank stares.

The lack of response again reminded me of how human resources strategy wants a seat at the table but most CEOs don’t understand the vocabulary they need to let it stay there. How am I sitting at a table with 40 chief executives and none of them during an interview ask about innovation when clearly they need innovation in their businesses?

At the end of the day, I was sorry that I had to step away from that session in order to attend a webinar on cost-per-hire (although that was a good webinar). We ended the conference at the New York Stock Exchange having conversations on the exchange floor while sipping drinks and enjoying appetizers. The conversation was great, the company was fantastic, and the dialogue was valuable.

The topic of human resources needs to find a way to get into rooms like this and be a central part of the dialogue we share. When I go to these HSM events, I’m always surprised to learn how few human resource managers are in the room despite the fact that the primary topics are leadership, talent, team development, and engagement.

I truly believe that HR can have a seat at the table. We just need to find the right room for it.

Aspen launches ADVOCATE, a series of talent programs, policies and services to enable economic recovery

March 1, 2011

Aspen Advisors, a strategy consultancy based in New York, is pleased to announce its ADVOCATE initiatives, a set of programs and services built to enable economic recovery. ADVOCATE will build on Aspen’s long standing philosophy of offering assistance to companies with globally and/or socially responsible values by adding income and outplacement opportunities for unemployed people, consultation to government agencies assigned to solved the labor issues of our country, special services for corporations looking to build their staffs and executive teams, and a realignment of its charitable raising and donation efforts to assist families that have been hit hard by this economy.

The first asset in the program will offer income opportunities to job seekers, rather than Aspen expanding itself using a traditional sales force. People will be able to identify globally and/or socially responsible companies in their network that need talent assistance and can refer those companies to Aspen. Aspen will compensate against those referrals that are converted to an account to anyone who participates in the program. The program targets those that have been unemployed for a period of six months or more, amongst other qualifications. The program will provide income assistance to help bridge financial needs, while also providing outplacement and career assistance. And most importantly, it will offer greater opportunities for self-improvement, and a chance to gain the educational background necessary for re-employment. Andrew Gadomski, CEO and Founder of Aspen, and long time Adjunct Professor in the Career Development curriculum at New York University, noted, “We could easily hire commissioned sales people, but I am not convinced that is as responsible as we can be. I would rather provide short-term financial compensation to people who need it now, in return for their access and influence. Their influence may not be able to produce a job immediately, but it may be able to produce income. While they work with us, we will do what we can to augment their job placement with a series of coaching and services. Its really a win-win because people can earn a short-term income while continuing their job seeking, which has been a problem for many in this economy.”

The second asset in ADVOCATE is that Aspen will augment its efforts in assisting local, state, and federal agencies and associations in trying to get people back to work. Aspen will offer its intellectual property system, PANDO, as an included service to these organizations once they agree to work with Aspen in a coordinated and public fashion. Agencies who are trying to get hundreds or thousands of people back to work will be granted access to best practices, tools, and methodologies usually reserved for corporations and staffing organizations. “Our Pando system provides a significant competitive advantage to companies that are battling for market-share, but in a recovery, our agencies and government needs help to get companies to hire people effectively and easily. We are looking forward to working with the associations and agencies in our states, and to assist them in getting people back to work. We should take the best practices we design for Wall Street and get them onto Main Street.”

Aspen will also add a set of services for its corporate clients that make it easier to find key executives and quickly build their staff. The first two services take a series of best practices and services that are rarely combined, and will be targeted to small and medium sized organizations that are trying to make smart expansion investments.

Finally, Aspen has slightly changed its charitable giving program. In the past, Aspen takes referral fees that vendors provide to them and donates it to certain charities of its choosing. It also has raised money and offered matching for those raised funds through 5k, 10k, and other long distance races. Aspen will continue that charge, but has selected the Make-a-Wish Foundation® to be the primary recipient of those funds. Make a Wish® has coordinated with Aspen to have funds targeted at children who are not only battling disease or illness, but also whose families have been hit hard by unemployment. Advisors will then also help those parents in their job search with career counseling. “We have a long standing relationship with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. To focus on helping children whose families have also been hit hard by unemployment is a special thing. We understand how our youth needs hope, but its even more difficult when parents also think there is no hope. We will not only attempt to designate Wishes to such families, but also provide as much career assistance and guidance as we can.”

Aspen Advisors is an efficiency consulting company that uses continuous improvement projects, training, and tools to transform the effectiveness and productivity of small, mid-sized, and large businesses. We design the plans and processes that build and manage workforces, utilize facilities and resources efficiently, and serve customers consistently. We help companies that do great things build and develop great people. Our method, which includes no waste processes and sustainable partners, serves as the platform for clients to access our knowledgebase of programs and change management tools.

For more information about ADVOCATE or Aspen Advisors, please contact Allyson Greenman, our Marketing and Communications Manager. She can be reached by phone at (609) 432-0981, or by email at