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Recap of HR Boot Camp

On Thursday, July 12, Dickerson Management and Career Consulting hosted our first ever HR Boot Camp, held at the beautiful Squire Creek Country Club. The morning was a big success, with 14 attendees from a variety of jobs participating. We had 4 human resources professionals, 4 small business owners/entrepreneurs, 2 CPAs (who got 4 hours of CPE credit), 3 university students, and one CEO. A variety of business were represented as well—banks, a restaurant, a corrections facility, a clothing design start-up, and a large multinational nonprofit charitable organization.

At the conclusion of the class, participants were asked to identify the most valuable things they learned, and these four topics were named—HR metrics, policies and procedures, legal issues, and performance appraisal. Below, I’ve shared a few highlights from the Boot Camp class materials and discussions.

HR Metrics

Human resources metrics are the way that we quantify the cost and impact of HR programs in order to measure their success. These assessments of HR’s return on investment have been around for a while, but it’s only been recently that they’ve taken such a prominent role in organizations. Metrics help HR get a “seat at the table” in executive meetings—in other words, they help HR propose and argue for strategic personnel decisions. And, as most organizations have limited time and money, results from these metrics help HR focus on what really brings the most return on investment. HR Boot Camp attendees received a three page chart of possible metrics to use in their organizations, and this section was noted as being one of the most valuable in the class.

Policies & Procedures

Many small businesses can benefit from having a good set of policies and procedures. While having too many strict policies can be limiting to managers’ decisions, most of the time, a well-developed policy can actually make managers’ and employees’ working lives easier. Appropriate policies communicate the organization’s values to employees and help managers make quick, consistent decisions and treat employees fairly (see this blog post about why fairness is so important). Participants in HR Boot Camp received several sample policies in their materials that they could use to create their own organizations’ policies, including a paid time off policy and a sexual harassment investigation policy.

Legal Issues

Understanding how federal employment laws apply to specific situations in the workplace is a challenge in every organization, no matter the size. The section on legal issues in HR Boot Camp took the longest time and generated the most questions, and it was a great opportunity for questions to be discussed by the group of professionals in attendance. Most questions centered around age discrimination, the FMLA, and the ADA. Do you have questions about these laws? If so, check out the summary of legal issues in my free resources to learn a little more.

Performance Appraisal

In many ways, performance appraisals are really part of HR metrics, but only if they’re done properly. Few managers enjoy conducting performance appraisals, but there are ways to make ratings more accurate, to use feedback to improve employee performance, and to keep employees motivated and committed throughout the process. In HR Boot Camp, we discussed the differences among types of rating techniques and how to determine exactly what to rate (e.g., traits, behaviors, or outcomes). And, I gave suggestions for three types of rater training that make performance appraisal more valid. Finally, we covered tips for making the most of the performance appraisal feedback meeting.

Does your organization struggle with some of these same HR issues? Could you use a little help brushing up on the fundamentals while also learning the newest advances in HR research? If so, it’s not too late to join us for the August 27 HR Boot Camp class! To learn more, go to


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