Navigating the Future of HR with AI: Balancing Promise and Caution

Navigating the Future of HR with AI: Balancing Promise and Caution

Samantha Badr


As an HR professional with a keen interest in embracing new technologies, it’s hard not to notice the growing influence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the world of Human Resources. I’ve had the pleasure of using several AI tools for some HR functions, and the potential is there. Is it too good to be true, though? Will this technology completely revolutionize HR and the world around it… or will it contribute to the demise of human connection – the sole purpose of HR departments?

According to recent research conducted by SHRM, 1 in 4 organizations are already leveraging AI to streamline and enhance their HR-related activities, including recruitment and hiring. This data brings both excitement and concern to the table, as we venture into the world of AI-driven HR practices.


The Promise of AI in HR

Undoubtedly, AI has revolutionized the HR landscape, providing tools that can significantly improve operational efficiency and decision-making. The SHRM research highlights that 85% of employers have reported time savings and increased efficiency due to AI. This is largely due to AI’s ability to automate repetitive tasks, from sorting through resumes to identifying qualified candidates. This not only saves time but also enables HR professionals to focus on more strategic aspects of their roles.

One of the most notable applications of AI in HR is within the realm of recruitment and talent acquisition. With AI tools analyzing job descriptions for potential biases and pre-screening resumes, the potential for a more diverse and inclusive candidate pool could be heightened. Moreover, the capability of AI to analyze employee feedback can provide invaluable insights into areas of improvement and employee satisfaction, enabling organizations to make data-driven decisions that enhance workplace culture and engagement.


Challenges and Considerations

However, like any technological advancement, AI comes with its set of challenges and concerns. While AI has demonstrated its ability to improve HR functions, the issue of bias and fairness cannot be ignored. It’s essential to note that 1 in 4 organizations are planning to increase their use of AI in the next five years, but this progress must be coupled with thorough evaluations of AI tools to ensure they comply with equal employment opportunity laws.

A significant point of concern is AI’s potential to inadvertently overlook or exclude qualified candidates, as reported by 19% of employers. This issue could be attributed to biases ingrained in the training data or the algorithms themselves. To address this, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has taken the initiative to ensure that AI systems align with civil rights laws, signaling the need for a regulatory framework to monitor and assess the fairness of AI-driven HR practices.


Balancing Innovation and Ethical Responsibility

While AI holds immense potential to transform HR practices, it’s crucial for HR professionals to exercise due diligence in their adoption of AI technologies. HR must work hand in hand with vendors to understand the transparency and validity of their AI tools. It’s encouraging to see efforts like the bill being considered in New York City, which mandates transparency about the use of AI technology in hiring decisions and enforces bias audits of AI products.

In our journey towards AI-driven HR, it’s essential to remember that AI is not faultless, and its ethical implications must be continuously evaluated. We must ensure that AI-driven decisions do not perpetuate discrimination or biases, particularly with the legal framework of disparate impact in mind. As Illinois leads the way with its AI regulation law, we can anticipate more jurisdictions taking a stand on regulating AI use in HR.



The adoption of AI in HR is a transformative journey that promises efficiency, data-driven insights, and enhanced decision-making. However, we must tread carefully, ensuring that AI tools are free from biases and comply with existing legal frameworks. As HR professionals, we are presented with both the opportunity and the responsibility to navigate this path with care. Balancing the innovation AI brings, with the ethical considerations it demands, will be an ongoing challenge. Through collaboration, transparency, and thoughtful evaluation, we can harness the power of AI to shape a more inclusive, efficient, and effective future for HR practices. If you’re interested in seeing how AI tools can be beneficial, I used it to generate a title for me, as well as summarize some statistics for this blog. We can’t let the AI bots have all the fun, right?



For some laughs:

Michael Scott VS Technology | The Office US | Comedy Bites

Read More

“The Great Resignation” – Coming to an Organization Near You!

“The Great Resignation” – Coming to an Organization Near You!

Samantha Badr


I’m sure you’ve heard at least one person say, “nobody wants to work these days”.  Is it that no one wants to work or is it that workers are tired of being overworked and underpaid? Employees want more than the bare minimum. Companies that are experiencing turnover are most likely not allocating resources to employee retention efforts.

To further clarify, the nation’s quit rate reached a 20-year high last November. About 4.3 million employees willingly left their jobs – driven in part by what’s come to be known as, the “Great Resignation”.


The chart below shows the top reasons workers left their jobs in 2021.

According to the survey conducted in February by Pew Research Center, the top three reasons Americans quit their jobs last year were due to low pay, a lack of opportunities for advancement, and feeling disrespected at work. Let that marinate a little.

The “Great Resignation” signifies standing up for what you believe in and doing what’s best for you. If you approach work with exhaustion, burnout, or dread, then I think it’s time to move on. It’s not just about the compensation either. Lack of opportunities for advancement is also a major reason employees quit their jobs. It seems that a lot of employers are not providing the necessary tools to develop their employees. Let’s not disregard that the chart also shows employees feel disrespected at work. Really? I thought we were adults. Is micromanaging still a thing? The fact that millions of Americans made the scary choice to leave their jobs during a pandemic just shows that changes need to happen, and they needed to happen yesterday.

Oh, forgot to mention that I kind of did something recently. I quit my job. But why Samantha? Isn’t this what you wanted? Welllll, about that. I won’t bore you with the details, but it wasn’t the easiest decision to make. I wish I could say that I quit my job to pursue my dream of becoming a standup comedian, but it was a little deeper than that.

The chart above perfectly describes some of the reasons I chose to part ways with my old job. For a VERY BRIEF second, I thought I made an impulsive and crazy decision. But then I remembered that I did what felt right in my heart, and that’s something to never regret. And don’t forget folks – you are totally replaceable at work. You’re not replaceable at home. Home is your real life. Keep that perspective, always.

Looks like I’m not the only one quitting their job. Looks like other people are doing it too. I hope that this is the catalyst for changes in office culture. We spend the majority of our lives working, so why spend that time being miserable? I have made it my personal mission to spend my career turning the HR world upside down. These systems are old. They’re outdated. They need to be let go. Toxic work environments are not the norm. If you aren’t feeling empowered at work, then do yourself a favor and get out. But please, don’t throw a brick through your boss’s window – an email would be just fine.

Read More

Come for the Job, Stay for the Challenge: Career Fairs in 2022

Come for the Job, Stay for the Challenge: Career Fairs in 2022

Samantha Badr


What a time to be alive, HR professionals. Let’s add recruitment to the list of functions that has completely shifted in the last few years. Forget everything you thought you knew – because I guarantee it has changed. This past week I attended a career fair, except I was looking for applicants and not looking for a job (weird, right?). I also had the luxury of attending from my “home office”. Yup, even career fairs have now become virtual, folks. If I had to guess, I would assume at least 80% of the students attending this career fair were not wearing shoes. Nevertheless, it was an experience – and as always, I will share my thoughts.

Every aspect of HR has been altered, so it’s no surprise that recruiting has changed too. Believe it or not, organizations are having a hard time recruiting talent, even with internet job portals at their disposal. Recruiters have tried to look internally to fill vacant job roles, but it’s simply not enough. With the virtual space at our fingertips, it would be a waste to not participate in any virtual career fairs this year. Virtual hiring event platforms are using chat technology and teleconferencing to replicate the interactions job seekers and recruiters once shared. Job applicants can meet with companies individually in a specified time frame, use chat functions to ask questions, and have “face-to-face” meetings with recruiters.

Virtual career fairs are easier to promote and manage. They can effectively capture attendee data and offer some sort of a personalized experience, but with a lot less overhead. The cool thing about this career fair was that organizations were provided a master list of all attendees, their anticipated graduation date, their majors, and their resumes. Job seekers waited in a virtual lobby before being admitted by recruiters into their own personal meeting room. It was almost like speed dating – five minutes to ask questions and have some light banter before going onto the next meeting.

According to a survey conducted by a recruitment marketing agency, Recruitics, 46% of employers are not using virtual hiring events. But why is that? In a few short hours, I was able to meet with 15 future job applicants. That’s 15 more people than I knew yesterday. That’s 15 more job applications. Why are organizations not utilizing these resources? I know recruiters thrive with on-the-ground efforts and conversing with candidates face-to-face, but that’s becoming more obsolete. The new candidate pool is tech-savvy, and it’s time recruiters match their energy

The most common question I received was “do you have any internship programs”? I was shocked at how many students preferred that over the part-time jobs we had open. It got me thinking though, and maybe it makes sense. College students are more likely to join your organization on an internship basis. Almost like a “free trial” – they get to experience company culture for half a semester without fully committing to the job. Additionally, most internships qualify for college credit and university stipends.

Maybe we’re approaching recruiting all wrong. Maybe organizations should start focusing on providing competitive internship opportunities, instead. These students want to be coached, and they want to get their feet wet without fully drowning in a job and schoolwork. The goal is to get more people in the door, right? I guess it’s back to the drawing board..

Read More

HR & Technology: A Pandemic Love Story

HR & Technology: A Pandemic Love Story

Samantha Badr


Hello my beautiful readers! Before we dive into the juice, let’s talk about how my life came full circle last week. For my veterans, you already know how this story began. For our new readers – let’s give a quick refresher. About a year ago, I was at a critical point in my life. I had received my master’s degree in HR and was hungry for the career I had planned for years. I was applying to numerous jobs with no luck. Countless applications and countless denials. I even considered changing my whole career path, but I guess the universe had a different plan for me.

LinkedIn connected me with my ~favorite~ HR professor from Pace University. You guys might know her. Her name is Lisa Stamatelos – the beauty and brains behind LJS HR Services. Of course I seized the opportunity to reach out for advice or any reason to give HR one last chance before I threw in the towel. Could’ve been LinkedIn or could’ve been sheer luck. Either way, Lisa saw my potential and took me in – giving me this platform to call home, while expanding my knowledge and love for HR along the way.

So, when Lisa asked me to speak to Pace students about HR, I couldn’t have said YES, any quicker. Speaking to the same class that sparked my interest in HR to begin with. That’s when I realized I made it. Life really came full circle. Just one short year ago I was lost, but now I’m more motivated than ever before. Let’s give a shout out to our savior, our president, Lisa! I owe this all to you. To her students – thank you for laughing at my jokes, but also for giving me the opportunity to speak to you and give some heartfelt advice. It means so much to me, and hopefully you will continue to follow my journey.

Now, let’s get into the good stuff, and the topic of Lisa’s class – HR Trends in 2022. It’s no secret that our world has been shaken the past two years. Everything you thought you knew – changed. Organizations completely shifted and altered their procedures, policies, hiring practices, and more. At the forefront of it all – the *star* of the show has been technology. Love it or hate it, almost every organization has had to focus on technology since our world turned remote. Below are some of the HR practices that technology has affected, as well as, influenced, the years to follow:

  • HRIS systems: Losing access to the office meant losing access to hundreds of the paper files that HR needs to onboard/offboard staff, process payroll and benefits, draft job contracts, etc. Organizations had to either invest in a new HRIS system altogether, or utilize the functions of their existing platforms. Paper forms are an endangered species, and recruiting or other HR functions have now been transferred to online filing systems.
  • Teamwork and collaboration: Now that the paperwork has been established, how has teamwork changed? Organizations had to be creative and find ways for staff to continue collaborating on projects, without sacrificing the quality of the work. Que in the Microsoft Teams and Zoom platforms. These modules supply the luxury of scheduling webcam meetings or providing shared screen options to work on projects with teammates – all while still harboring some type of real-time human connection.
  • Hybrid working model: Now that we’ve established a way to bring coworkers together, how can you expect employees to come back into the office when they’ve been enjoying their Zoom meetings on the couch? Organizations might want to consider a hybrid working model, where employees split time between home and the office or continue working remotely altogether. One thing is for sure – if you want employees back in the office, you better sweeten the deal. Who wants to sit in traffic or spend money on transportation anymore?
  • Performance review modules: If you cannot physically see your staff, how can you judge their performance? The traditional performance review is now a thing of the past. Employees are tired of being graded on a scale of 1-5 and attaching their anticipated bonuses to these numbers. I think it’s time to shift the countless hours spent at the end of the year into something more productive. Instead of self-appraisals and yearly meetings with your supervisor, how about trying to have more frequent check-ins with staff. Try setting company-specific and personal development goals at the beginning of the year. Grade an employee’s progression to these set goals, and reward them for meeting their deadlines.
  • Recruitment strategies: Face-to-face interviews are now screen-to-screen interviews. How can recruiters judge you if they can’t see the shoes you’re wearing? Organizations – please be creative and start asking the hard questions. Gauge your candidates responses when asking them about their career goals or preferred methods of learning. The good news is that with remote work, you can recruit staff outside of the city the organization is based out of. More applications means more opportunities to find the right fit for your company.
  • Training and development: Now that we’ve hired the new staff, how has training and development changed? Not every employee will be tech-savvy. Everyone has different learning styles. Be sure to create user-friendly directions for all staff – senior management positions, or not. It’s important that everyone knows how to clock in their hours, access training materials, etc. Set aside some time to work with employees if they are having technical difficulties. The extra attention matters.
  • Employee retention: So, you have recruited, onboarded, and trained new and/or existing employees. Now what? You must work to keep them! Consider your total rewards packages and make some adjustments. PTO is not the hottest reward anymore. How about flextime? How about a Zoom happy hour? Maybe a virtual mural board in which employees can add their feedback or ideas for engagement programs. Involve your staff in your decision-making. I promise it will go a long way.

We’re two months into 2022 – what has your organization implemented thus far? It’s definitely not too late to plan some changes this year. Employees have become unmotivated and disengaged from staring at their computer screens all day. Make their day better by providing support or rewarding them without warning. Ask your employees how they are really doing.

One inspiring question I received from a Pace student was “how has the pandemic changed/shaped HR”? My answer is this – HR is no longer just the gatekeeper for your emergency contact form or timesheet. HR has been completely revolutionized. HR is now considered a business partner and vital in making management decisions. There’s so much more to HR than paperwork. We are now the gatekeepers of change. Move over everyone – HR is coming in HOT this 2022.

Read More

Performance Reviews: Your Annual Dose of Judgement

Performance Reviews: Your Annual Dose of Judgement

Samantha Badr


Happy New Year, everyone! We’ve made it through another year and that’s definitely an accomplishment. Say goodbye to your 2021 PTO – it’s time for a “fresh start”. What better way to kick off the year than by sitting down with your boss and discussing all the things you’ve done right, and maybeeee some of the things you’ve done wrong? But that’s subjective right? Because perfect people don’t make mistakes.

I would’ve LOVED to have a full meeting dedicated to ~ME~ to start this year, but my organization only conducts annual performance reviews for employees with a tenure of 12 months or longer. However, I had the pleasure of creating the form and automating this process for the first time since the company’s inception. That basically makes me the CEO, right?

The organization I work for was used to the traditional method – a paper form and a yearly meeting with your supervisor. Since working from home became the reality, the company shifted to a PDF form over the last two years. Employees answered a series of questions on performance and graded themselves on a scale of 1-5. Supervisors then met with employees and went over the form and goals for the following year.

Luckily for me, the organization decided to finally automate this process by using our HRIS review platform. For the last month or so, performance reviews have become my child. I somehow figured out how to create the self-appraisal form from start to finish. That included the grading scale, the questions, the formatting, the instructions, and every detail in between.

If the organization is already paying for the HRIS system, why not utilize its every function? Working from home has eliminated the possibility of having access to hundreds of paper files. This new format could save hours of filing and lessen the possibility of errors. The HRIS system also allows the company administrator to have access to all employee reviews in one place, as well as run reports with the collected data afterwards.

Shortly after rollout, I received an email from an employee regarding the grading system on performance reviews. One of the questions on the self-appraisal form was about supervisory support. Since the questions were graded, it could technically alter an employee’s overall score if they rated their supervisor with a low score. After that email, it got me thinking about performance reviews in general. Are they even useful? Can they motivate employees, or does it discourage them altogether?

This employee was right. It’s not fair to receive a lower overall score if an employee does not feel supported by their supervisor. Although my intent was to use the scores as data to track employee satisfaction organization wide, I forgot to think about what the employee sees from their end. To an employee, this score holds a lot of value because it determines their yearly bonus. From an HR standpoint, the score is just a number. It’s easy to forget that attached to each score is an employee – a person.

I don’t think it’s super motivating to receive a grade at the end of the year that determines if you did a “good job” or not. I also don’t think it’s motivating to attach that grade to a dollar amount. People should not be graded, and I think maybe the system is outdated. A lot of companies are shifting from the generic performance review method, and I can see why. Maybe it worked back then, but maybe it’s time for something new. Maybe 2022 is the perfect time to start.

Read More

Vaccination Status: Why We Have to Ask

Vaccination Status: Why We Have to Ask

Samantha Badr 


I know, I know – another COVID article. But before we get started, let me first apologize for my absence. I know my fans have missed me but it’s hard work being an HR professional! Since the beginning of this journey, my goal was to develop skills in the career field I so carefully chose. As of today, I can finally say that I have done just that – and I owe it all to this blog. Thank you for sticking around as I navigate my career path and share lessons I’ve learned along the way. This is just the beginning, and I plan to share my experiences with you all. Stay tuned….

The last few weeks were COVID-focused at my organization. That came with a lot of tasks that landed on my makeshift home-office desk. The first item on my to-do list was updating job posts company-wide. I had to make sure that the new COVID language was present and easily digestible for potential candidates. Because my organization hires a lot of field staff workers, we had to make sure to disclose that we comply with all state and federal laws. Whether that be weekly COVID tests or vaccine doses, employees must disclose their status to qualify for employment. I also had the pleasure of following up with current employees who have not yet disclosed their vaccination status. However, contrary to popular belief, the EEOC allows companies to ask for vaccine disclosure – and no, it’s not a HIPPA violation.

Employment law attorneys recommend that organizations practice caution when crafting their vaccination policies to ensure they do not ask for too much information. Employers should be careful to not “dig too deep” to avoid the potential of making medical inquiries that go against the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Asking for proof of a COVID-19 vaccination is permissible under the ADA because it is not likely to prompt an employee to provide disability-related information.

Still, organizations should make sure to keep up to date with applicable state laws, which could differ from federal rules and guidelines. If employers require workers to get vaccinated, they will need to consider reasonable accommodations for employees with disability-related or religious objections. However, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has said that employees may still decline to confirm their vaccination status for reasons that are unrelated to a disability. To summarize, employers ARE allowed to ask about vaccination status, but they ARE NOT allowed to ask follow-up questions about why an employee did not receive a vaccination.

Even if employees willingly disclose their vaccination status, it is still considered medical information that must be kept confidential. If employers do require such proof, they should control access to the information and limit its use. The best way to address employee privacy concerns is to communicate that such records will be strictly confidential and will not be used to make employment decisions.

Regardless of differing company-specific regulations, all organizations are similar in that they are trying to navigate these new policies as they emerge. There will be some push-back, and some employees will not be happy with certain rules. It’s crucial to remain firm when communicating new policies. Organizations – my “professional advice” is to always keep the human aspect alive and remind yourself that your employees are genuinely (and rightfully) scared for their safety. It might not be the most comfortable situation, but I promise it’s for the best. If all else fails, use any parent’s favorite line – “you’ll understand when you’re older”.

Good luck and stay safe!


For helpful tips this cold and flu season, please refer to the video below 🙂

Read More

Recruitment Strategies: The Interview of Champions

Recruitment Strategies: The Interview of Champions

Samantha Badr


Join me on this HR journey as I try to navigate my way through *Recruiting* and all the fun stuff that comes with it. To provide some background – I’m not technically my company’s recruiter, rather an HR professional that wears many hats. Our interview process begins with the recruiter reading through a bazillion resumes. But luckily for me, I showed up just in time to showcase my one true talent – “chitchatting”. This last week was filled with structured panel interviews and I can’t wait to tell you ALL about it.

Interview Types

Before we dive into the good stuff, let’s educate ourselves on interviews in their entirety, because who knew there were so many different techniques? For starters, interviews can be either structured or unstructured. Structured interviews provide the interviewer with the information needed to make a hiring decision. This technique is crucial in defending an organization against allegations of discrimination because all applicants are asked the same questions. In an unstructured interview, applicants can set the stage while many open-ended questions are asked. However, a lack of structure can make it difficult to compare and rank applicants that are not asked the same set of questions.

The most widely used types of interviews are:

  • The telephone prescreen interview
  • The direct one-on-one interview
  • The panel interview

Before being hired in my current HR role, I experienced all the interview types listed above. The recruitment process started with the telephone prescreen interview. The second round included the direct one-on-one interview, and the final round was a panel interview. Now that I’m sitting on the opposite side of the table, I get to witness just how much this process can be designed in different ways.


The three most common approaches to interviews are behavioral, competency-based, and situational. These approaches are used to discover how the interviewee performs in specific situations. The logic is based on the fact that past performance can predict future behavior. In a behavioral approach, a candidate’s experience, personal attributes, and job-related skills can be determined by this style of questioning. In a competency-based approach, questions are designed to determine if the applicant possesses certain attributes or skills. The situational approach provides candidates with hypothetical scenarios and focuses on their past experiences, behaviors, knowledge, and abilities.

Some examples of interview questions are:

  • Behavioral: Give me a specific example of a time you set a goal and how you were able to achieve it.
  • Competency-based: Tell me about a situation in which your spoken communication skills made a difference in the outcome. What did you learn?
  • Situational: You have been hired as the HR director in a 300-employee company and are struggling to perform the necessary HR administrative work by yourself. The CFO tells you that you need to be more strategic. How would you handle this situation?


Now that we’ve discussed interview types and approaches, it’s time to figure out an interview style. Interviews can be either one-on-one or conducted in a group setting. The most common style is the traditional one-on-one interview, where just the interviewer and interviewee are present. As for group interviews, there are two types – a panel group and a candidate group. In a panel group interview, a candidate is interviewed individually by a panel of two or more people. Panel interviews can create a broader picture of the candidate given that there are differing perspectives amongst the interviewers. The less common option, a candidate group interview, is when a candidate is interviewed alongside other job applicants who may be applying for the same position. Each candidate listens to information about the company and position then may be asked to answer questions or participate in group exercises.

Formatting Interview Questions

Most interviews will consist of a combination of open/closed-ended questions and some follow-up questions. Open-ended questions encourage candidates to provide longer answers and expand on their knowledge, strengths, and job experiences. Closed-ended questions can enable the employer to receive direct responses and specific information from the candidate. Follow-up questions are needed if an interviewer does not fully comprehend a response, if answers are vague, or if more specific information is required. Understanding the different styles of questions can help interviewers be creative during the interview design phase.

Some examples of interview questions are:

  • Open-ended: What are you looking to gain from your next position?
  • Closed-ended: How many years of experience do you have as a team leader?
  • Follow-up: Could you please tell me more about . . .?

Something to note: Because interview questions can be pre-determined, it is important to not make any statements that could be misconstrued. It is best to avoid using terms such as “permanent” or “long-term” when describing the job. To minimize the risk of discrimination lawsuits, interviewers must also familiarize themselves with topics that are not permissible as interview questions.

Closing the Interview

The most popular method of closing an interview is to say that the interview is ending and to offer the candidate the opportunity to ask any questions. This enables the candidate to gain clarification on aspects of the position such as hours, salary, and benefits. The interviewer should answer the candidate’s questions as candidly as possible while avoiding compensation discussion if others are present. The interviewer may want to ask if the candidate is interested in the job based on the information provided in the interview, the time frame of the rest of the interviews, and when a decision is likely to be made.

This past week was my first time conducting interviews and I couldn’t wait to learn something new. Candidates started with a pre-screening phone interview, with rounds 2 and 3 being virtual panel interviews. As time progressed, I found that it might be beneficial to play around with different interview styles since some questions could overlap or not provide enough background. Throughout the week I altered introduction styles, interview questions, and scenarios, to observe the outcomes. The key takeaway is that people love me and I’m really good at chatting. With all jokes aside, the one thing that really stood out to me was the interview style. Although my colleagues and I had naturally inviting demeanors, some candidates were more reserved in their speech, which made it harder to judge. However, the best observations were made from the questions that produced personal responses. These last two years have shown the significance of human interaction and how we have lost that through our computer screens. At the end of the day, we are all human beings first, and the more we focus on that, the greater we can be.


Some laughs to get us through the week…

Read More

Job Descriptions: Yes, They Matter.

Job Descriptions: Yes, They Matter

Samantha Badr


‘Tis the season, HR professionals! *Job Descriptions* have made their debut and it’s about time we updated these things. Businesses are beginning to make a comeback and hire new talent, which means job descriptions have made it to the top of the priority list.

Most of the time, job descriptions are updated in conjunction with annual performance reviews or as a part of the recruiting process. However, over the last two years, many employees have found themselves wearing multiple hats to compensate for the loss of staff and/or new workplace procedures. Thus, the importance of updating job descriptions. Employees need a clear guideline of their essential functions so they can be clear on what’s expected of them. While doing so, organizations are given the opportunity to reassess the skills needed to perform in particular positions. Furthermore, job descriptions can play a crucial role in performance reviews, career development, setting salary/pay grade levels, and even recruitment.

Every job description should be based on the results of a thorough job analysis. For my non-HR readers – this is the process of gathering, examining, and interpreting data about a job’s tasks. A job analysis can include interviewing and observing employees to find out what tasks are being performed, having employees fill out questionnaires, and collecting data on jobs from salary surveys. The results should be documented and reviewed by the employee and their supervisor to account for changes such as knowledge, skills, abilities, physical characteristics, environmental factors, and credentials/experience of the position.

Job descriptions include the minimum qualifications and skills needed to perform a job, as well as defining job title and job grade. Other specifics are included such as performance standards, management expectations, scope and limits of authority, hours, job location, and travel requirements. When creating a job description for a new position, HR professionals should work closely with managers to identify what business needs are and why a particular job role is critical to their organization.

It’s important to note that job descriptions and job postings are two different things. A job posting is what an organization uses to sell itself and an open position – while a job description is about compliance and covering the essential functions, qualifications, and physical requirements of the job. Job descriptions should always include the outcomes the position is responsible for, why the outcomes are important, and what the organization’s values are. A common mistake an HR professional can make is writing job descriptions that are too wordy and overly complicated. Instead, they should focus on simplicity and include the minimum requirements needed to achieve desired outcomes. Oh, and by the way, please stop listing unnecessary degree requirements or excessive years of experience. Give employees a chance! More likely than not – they are just as determined to achieve success as the applicants who check off the “right boxes”.

Although job descriptions aren’t considered “fun”, they can help strengthen an organization’s emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion in its recruitment strategies. Surveys have shown that job seekers can experience barriers due to a gap in work history, frequent job changes, or minimal work experience. It’s important that employers consider how they can reach all demographics and provide equal access to available opportunities. To eliminate bias in recruiting practices, organizations should focus on levels of experience rather than years of experience, as well as contextual performance, and an applicant’s ability to collaborate/contribute to company culture.

A long list of requirements on a job posting can deter many good candidates from applying for a role because they may feel they cannot meet every qualification. Speaking from experience, it’s really hard searching for jobs. Even with a master’s degree, I spent almost two years applying to countless jobs. After a while, it became very discouraging to see that I met the educational requirements but not the years of experience needed for an HR role. After many interviews, I was finally granted the opportunity to showcase my capabilities and work ethic. So, from me to you – keep trying! If you’re looking for a job, I feel your pain – and if you have a job, I also feel your pain.

Stay safe everyone! Until next time…

Read More

Strategic Planning: Post-Pandemic Compensation

Strategic Planning: Post-Pandemic Compensation

Samantha Badr


Another day, another COVID blog. Although we can start to see the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, there is still so much work to be done. Sorry folks but looks like we’ll be discussing COVID-19 for a little while longer. This time, *Compensation* is the star of the show – because we all need to get paid right?

It’s no secret that the pandemic has impacted the U.S. economy in more ways than one. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate was a whopping 14.7% by April 2020. Many organizations have been financially impacted – resulting in employees having their salaries cut or being laid off/furloughed. In some cases, businesses had to apply for state aid just to stay afloat.

Businesses with 500 or fewer employees received federal economic recovery funds under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. PPP loans were provided to small businesses for payroll and other costs for up to eight weeks. However, PPP and EIDL loans were limited, and organizations could not use these loans to pay bonuses or any other incentives for employees with annual salaries/wages above $100,000.

Last year, many employers took the “wait-and-see approach” in regard to compensation practices. Based on a survey conducted in May 2020 by consulting firm Mercer – 94% of employers went ahead with planned 2020 pay increases, but only 24% of employers were working on compensation plans for 2021. As organizations begin compensation planning for the rest of the year and into 2022, it’s essential to look beyond pay levels and focus heavily on what their employees value since the pandemic.

It’s a good time to reconsider whether the traditional approach to compensation is still sustainable. Organizations are considering skills-based pay as a way to reward employees with additional pay in exchange for formal certification of skills, knowledge, and/or competencies. Companies like Facebook are planning to offer localized compensation as an incentive for remote employees not living in the same area as their employer.

As employees start heading back to the office, employers are realizing that they may need to offer new types of benefits. Some organizations are renewing their paid sick leave policies so that infected and quarantined employees, as well as those who stay at home to care for sick family members, will receive sick pay. The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) can be offered to help employees deal with COVID-related stress and mental health issues. Employers are also updating their disability benefits as well as work from home (WFH) policies. Working remotely has presented its challenges but many employees are opting for a schedule with flexibility to manage childcare, doctors’ appointments, etc.

Even if an organization updates their compensation/benefits packages, the economy will keep changing. The best practice is to communicate with employees and prepare them for any changes in the future. Whether it’s a cut in wages or reducing benefits, it’s important to always be honest and up front, because employees are physically and emotionally exhausted. Adjustments to salaries or benefits do not need to be permanent – and as the economy recovers, so will organizations.

I know it’s been daunting, but we’re almost there. Have some hope and stay safe.

Read More

“How Can HR Help?” – Part I

“How Can HR Help?” – Part I

Samantha Badr 


Welcome back, my lovely audience. I decided to switch things up this time around with a new segment called “How Can HR Help?” – because sometimes we just need a little break from all the research and the numbers. This is a place where we can come together as human beings and vent about office culture and how we can make our 9-5’s just a little more bearable. I asked some of you guys across all social media platforms to message me with any workplace-related concerns that you might want some advice on. Well, here it goes…

A little backstory – I received a message from someone about their current workplace practices and their downfalls. After pondering further, I have summed up the situation in the following points:

  • All employees are working from home (WFH)
  • Office staff consists of 16 employees (including the manager)
  • Office Manager hired 2.5 years ago
  • New hires: 4 employees hired within the last year
  • 9/16 employees have worked 10+ years
  • 2/16 employees have worked 4+ years
  • 11/16 employees trained one way, while 4/16 were taught something different
  • Tasks are hard to complete, resulting in employee conflicts

The main takeaway from this scenario is that all employees work differently. How can an office run effectively if all employees are not on the same page? If we think of this office’s job tasks as steps to a ladder – if one step is missed or not stable, then everyone can come crumbling down. At what point do we look at management as the sole perpetrator? For starters, these are just my opinions and if there are genuine concerns with your co-workers and/or manager, it is best to reach out to HR to address any issues you may have.

As for my advice – it’s hard for a manager to step into a new position with 15 new employees. However, it is even harder if you do not find ways to engage with your staff. I was told that this manager did not have a welcome meeting, or any meeting with the whole staff, at all. This left senior staff discouraged and often disappointed with office culture – resulting in tension amongst new and older employees.

Another key issue was the training. It seems that the former manager trained the office staff in one way, and the new manager just hired 4 new employees and taught them the basics. Yes, I’m sure everyone is competent enough to fill their roles, but the lack of communication only makes matters worse. It is not the employee’s job to come to a consensus with their co-workers about how certain tasks should be done.

Sorry “new” manager, but it’s been 2.5 years. It’s time to step up for your staff because they need you! Office culture is based on teamwork and collaborative projects, but this staff wasn’t set up for success. My recommendation is this – WFH already has its challenges, don’t add to them. The pandemic has sparked creative ideas around the world, so it’s never too late to reignite the fire in your staff. Unfortunately, employee burnout will be the result if nothing changes.

The good thing is that your employees still care. People want to do a good job. Start by finding a way to have all staff engage with each other on a personal level, such as “happy hour” on zoom or any other platform. As for training – start somewhere. If it seems too overwhelming to start from scratch, enlist the help of your staff to make some templates in a shared document drive, where everyone can see examples of how certain tasks or documents need to be created. This will go a long way.

My closing thoughts – good luck! Keep voicing your opinion to your manager and you might see some change happen.

Hope this advice helped. Stay tuned for next time.

Read More