business psychology, Company Culture, Danny Gattas, Employee Engagement, Employment, Engagement, Event, Uncategorized

Culture is Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Year – For Good Reason

Largely due to its tracking of which words were looked up the most, Merriam-Webster announced “Culture” as its Word of the Year for 2014. Chosen at the end of each year, the word serves as aCulture-resized snapshot of what people have been thinking about and talking about for the past 12 months, and what will
continue to be a hot topic in the coming year. (While “Culture” had one of the largest spikes in look-ups, the words “Celebrity Culture,” “Pop Culture,” “NFL Culture,” “Media Culture” and “Company Culture” also had big years.) And from what I’ve experienced consulting with organizations across the country, thankfully, we can expect to continue focusing on culture in 2016 and beyond.

“Culture is a word that we seem to be relying on more and more. It allows us to identify and isolate an idea, issue, or group with seriousness,” said Peter Sokolowski, editor-at-large for Merriam-Webster, elaborating, “And it’s efficient: we talk about the ‘culture’ of a group rather than saying ‘the typical habits, attitudes, and behaviors’ of that group.”

I am sure that most experts on Employee Engagement were not surprised by Merriam-Webster’s choice.

Legendary management expert Peter Drucker was one of the first to get it right years ago when he coined the phrase “Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast.”

Interviewing for Cultural Fit – Case Study: Google
Determining cultural fit in the interview process can be extremely challenging. When organizations are very large, it can be especially difficult to define what qualities make candidates mesh with a culture of thousands of people who are, essentially, quite different.

When Google started growing at an exponential rate, its Senior Leadership had a “stroke of genius,” according to Russ Laraway, Director of Media and Platforms: they decided to define what it means to be “Googley.” By articulating this concept, it became much easier to assess whether candidates would thrive in Google’s environment.

The definition of being “Googley” includes: Thinking Big, Having a Bias for Action, Being a Good Communicator, and the Ability to Work at a Face Pace in Small Teams.

By specifically defining what type of employees they were looking for, Google was able to attract the right candidates and build an extremely strong corporate culture. Laraway discovered, “We began hiring people who were often more Googley than we were!”

The company grew from 2,500 to 25,000 employees in only six years, Google’s unique culture flourished, building one of the most well-known Magnetic Cultures around the world.

Call to Action #1: Revisit your definition of the perfect person you are trying to hire and carefully interview for these characteristics.

Character versus Skill
Of course a candidate having both excellent character and skills is ideal, but sometimes people fall a little short on one end. Which aspect is a better compromise? Do you hire the person who has years of experience executing the job duties, but seems slightly off in regards to cultural fit? Or do you hire the person whom everyone on the team loves, but will need some additional training to improve his or her skill set?

I would take the person with the right character any day of the week. Character is ingrained in a person’s core being and dictates how he or she will behave. It encompasses one’s ethics, values, dedication, motivation, and outlook. It is nearly impossible to alter a person’s character, for better or for worse. Skills are things that are learned. If a person has everything you are looking for as a potential employee, but he or she does not have the exact skill set desired, it would be prudent to still consider that person for the position.

Of course, as an example, if you are hiring a Search Engine Optimization Specialist and the candidate has never worked with computers, that would be too much of a stretch. However, if you want a candidate who can type 80 words per minute, you should not exclude the perfect candidate because he or she can only type 65 words per minute. A great personality and a high level of motivation will ultimately mean more than those 15 words per minute. A magnetic organization should offer training for employees to improve their skill sets anyway. New employees’ skills should be developed through training initiatives, regardless of their proficiency level. If you try to develop character in training sessions, good luck to you.

In summary and your Call to Action: Skills can be taught, character cannot. Evaluate your Recruiting Process for valuing character and attitude over technical skills and aptitude. Online retail giant Zappos made this famous by actually having two separate interview teams, one for attitude and the other for aptitude.

Call to Action #2: Ensure that you are using the right behavioral questions to assess each candidate’s Cultural Fit with your organization.


As 2015 winds down, we can expect a new word of the year soon. But that doesn’t mean we can forget about the power of Culture.


Kevin Sheridan is an Internationally-recognized Key-Note Speaker, a New York Times Best Selling Author, and one of the most sought-after voices in the world on the topic of employee engagement. He spent thirty years as a high-level Human Capital Management consultant, helping some of the world’s largest corporations rebuild a culture that fosters productive engagement, earning him several distinctive awards and honors. Kevin’s premier creation, PEER®, has been consistently recognized as a long- overdue, industry-changing innovation in the field of Employee Engagement. His book, “Building a Magnetic Culture,” made six of the best seller lists including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today. He is also the author of The Virtual Manager, which explores how to most effectively manage remote workers.

deleteKevin received a Master of Business Administration from the Harvard Business School in 1988, concentrating his degree in Strategy, Human Resources Management, and Organizational Behavior. He is also a serial entrepreneur, having founded and sold three different companies.


business psychology, Company Culture, Danny Gattas, Employee Engagement, Employment, Event, Labor, Labor Laws, Memphis

Learn How Proposed Overtime Rule Changes could Change your Business Forever


The Department of Labor has dramatically increased the number of employees who must be paid on an hourly basis. This change forces employers to consider the implications in employee compensation such as

  • Will cause millions of employees who have been classified as exempt to become non-exempt, and be paid on an hourly basis
  • Will there also be a change to the duties text for exempt employees
  • Will the DOL adopt the new threshold, or will the department implement a different standard

Due to recent and proposed changes to Federal labor laws, HRO Partners is hosting an educational event to explore the implications of these proposed changes. So, please join us on September 30th between 8am-10am, at the Great Hall and Conference Center (Link in Google Maps).

Employers of all sizes must be aware and prepared for these sweeping changes.

Our esteemed panel of experts will include:

  • Cynthia Thompson – Publisher & Editor, HR Professionals Magazine
  • Jonathan Hancock – Labor & Employment attorney, Baker Donelson
  • Whitney Harmon – Labor & Employment attorney, Baker Doneslon
  • Mario Musarra – Compensation Manager, TruGreen

Special keynote by Jonathan Hancock, Labor & Employment attorney with Baker Donelson.

To register for the event or to learn more please visit this page.

For more information, please email or contact Katelyn Tusky at 901-737-0123

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HRO Partners Proud to be Sponsoring The 2015 HR Excellence Award Ceremony

HRO Partners is proud to announce their sponsorship for SHRM-Memphis’  2015 Human Resource Excellence Awards on September the 9th at the Holiday Inn, The University of Memphis. The event begins at 7:00 am with an opportunity to network among esteemed HR professionals and, shortly after, at 7:30 am the program and breakfast begins.

This event celebrates the incredible accomplishments of Human Resource Professionals all throughout Memphis and the Mid-South Area. Honorees will be crowned one of five available awards, ranging from Executive of the Year, Emerging Leader, Human Resource  Practitioner of the Year, Innovative Deployment of HR Technology, and Student of the Year.

Tickets start at $50.00 for General Admission, but go up to $60.00 after 05:00 pm, August the 30th. So act fast to ensure that you are able to attend what is likely to be a joyous time.

Click here for further information and to obtain tickets to this marque event

Click here to add this event to your calendar.

Event, Tech

16 Startups celebrating their graduation at Start Co.’s Demo Day

Here in Memphis, 16 start-ups will be showcasing their business concepts to local invest
ors, industry execk (2)utives, and the community at large at Start Co. Demo Day 2014. This event is being hosted by Start Co, which is a local Memphis company ran by Eric Mathews. S
tart Co. is a company that helps start-ups acquire the mentorship and guidance businesses need to expand. 

The 16 start-ups are graduating from one of four of Start Co.’s accelerator programs. According to Start Co., “accelerators provide $15,000 in seed funding, over 200 hours of technical and business assistance, connections to dedicated mentors, and to access to invaluable resources.” Start Co.’s mission is to “equip founders with the skills, experiences, and connections to turn their start-up into a successful business.”

The keynote speaker is the Honorable Edward B. Montgomery, a dean and professor of economics at Georgetown and formerly a Chief Economist US Department of Labor under Bill Clinton and Director of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers under Barack Obama. 

The event will be held at the Orpheum Thea
ter in Memphis, Tn on August 21 at 1pm. The event is free to attend. There will also be a invite exclusive party at 9pm at the Hard Rock Cafe.

To Register for this event click HERE.



The 16 companies graduating from the accelerator programs are 

  • Troopto – Private crowdfunding for the workplace
  • Phase – Schedule multi-player games without the hassle
  • Pickle – Crowdsource any opinion in less than 2 minutes
  • Well Done – Full featured tablet POS for independently-owned restaurants
  • ORB – High fashion backpacks designed to protect
  • Play-Tag – Smart bluetooth dog tag and LED alert system
  • eDivv – A marketplace for trading excess beauty products
  • Cabsolutely – One cab dispatch API to rule them all
  • Barter Sugar – Bartering platform for small businesses to trade goods & service
  • Graph Story – Graph database-as-a-service
  • Extra Rail – Airbnb for the railroad industry
  • Logistadvise – Platform that matches companies with supply-chain transportation
  • FuelFilm – An accelerator for the film industry (non-profit)
  • The College Initiative – Prepares students for the application & college experience (non-profit)
  • Care2Manage – Simplifies organization & management for families caring for aged loved ones.
  • CoreFire Commandos – an interactive game & web-based portfolio to track the progress of students

Talent Untapped: Solving Work Force Deficits Through Innovation and Workshop

Final logo revision vector (1)We have an two upcoming events on August 28 at Memphis Bioworks Foundation 20 S. Dudley St., Memphis, Tn, 38013. Please join us at our first event as community leaders, senior executives and HR professionals for an inspiring keynote and local expert panel highlighting a new model for Memphis workforce development and how to more effectively hire and retain hard to employ workers. This invigorating  topic will be discussed from 8:30-10:00 am.

Following our speaker led discussion, we will host an afternoon workshop session beginning at 12:00-2:30 with lunch provided. The purpose of this workshop is to go into depth of solving workforce deficit. This workshop will explore comprehensive analysis on the issues that impact our community here. Also, the workshop will discuss successful strategies on hiring and retaining top notch talent. 

The keynote speaker for the group will be David Barrett, director of Talent Management at Cascade Engineering Group.

David A. Barrett has been with Cascade Engineering for 36 years and is the Director of Talent Management with company wide responsibility for talent development, employee learning and education programs as well as organizational and individual development initiatives.

Dave has held various positions in maintenance, operations management, human resources and organizational development.  He views his ultimate role in the company as a keeper of the cultcascadeure working to create an organization where people love to work and helping Cascade Engineering become an employer of choice.  Dave has a BA and MBA from Davenport University and has received his certification as a Certified Manager from the Institute of Certified Professional Managers (ICPM) and James Madison University. He also has a Senior Professional in Human Resources certification (SPHR) from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). Dave is also part of the faculty of Davenport University teaching courses in Sustainability.

David Barrett’s has traveled far and wide sharing the unsung hero’s story of the highly acclaimed and very effective creation and expansion of Welfare-to-Career program at Cascade Engineering.

This session will highlight a very successful and nationally recognized welfare-to-career (W2C) program started in 1998 at Cascade Engineering, a manufacturing firm located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Highlighting the lessons learned at Cascade Engineering as it developed its W2C program with the expressed purpose of helping the unemployed and underemployed bridge out of poverty and off welfare. Participants will learn

  • Why this model can save Memphis businesses millions of dollars a year
  • The opportunities for giving and growing through corporate training
  • The keys for creating a successful (W2C) program
  • The tangible and intangible benefits for businesses
  • What a business brings to the table to help solve the complex issues around disadvantaged workers

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