Darlene is the newest member of TeamMcKenzie. She joins us as a Senior Human Resources Consultant.

Darlene comes to us with many years of HR experience from fortune 500 companies such as Procter & Gamble, American Express and Masco.

She is also a veteran of the United States Air Force and had her own HR Consulting firm for more than 12 years.

Please join me in welcoming Darlene to the team.
Her e-mail address is dtr@mckenziehr.com


Michelle Darmanie
has also joined TeamMcKenzie
 as a Client Services Representative.

Michelle recently retired from the United States Navy where she spent much of her time as an Equal Employment Opportunity Officer.

We don't have a picture of Michelle yet, but her e-mail address is




  • Hiring Process
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  • Contractor vs. Employee
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Only $300

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Be on the Lookout for Darlene's Award Winning Trainings!

Services Include:

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  • Resolution of harassment and discrimination complaints
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Contact Bob McKenzie or
go to www.mckenziehr.com
for more information


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Are We Managing Talent or Stifling It?

Many of you know that I am not a fan of buzz words or the latest corporate fads. The term "Talent Management" falls into this category. More and more companies are hiring Managers of Talent Management which is just another term for recruitment. Talent management refers to the organization's commitment to recruit, develop and retain the most talented employees available to form a high performance workplace. This sounds wonderful in theory.

The problem with this statement is that the most talented people are not interested in being "managed." They are not interested in spending 45 minutes to an hour completing an on-line application (read an article by Liz Ryan, Why HR Can't Innovate - https://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-01-23/why-hr-cant-innovate ). They are not interested in working in a cubicle. They are not interested in having their mind taken over by most corporate managers. Organizations spend a lot of money hiring the most talented employees, then quickly work to stifle that talent.

Regardless of what business you are in, providing top notch customer service is paramount to your success. The first contact a customer has with your company will make a lasting impression on them. Therefore, a very important "talent"is someone who will provide a great customer experience. Let's talk about the company that recently changed all employee's telephone extension numbers. When employees told top management about complaints from customers who were having trouble getting through to the people they needed to speak with, management's response was "the system was installed by a highly regarded communications company so there could not be a problem". So much for talent management – the talented people who wanted to do a good job were shot down when a customer service problem was brought to management's attention.

Is Talent Management Real?
I recently went into my bank because I mistakenly wrote my business account number on the back of my personal paycheck. I asked the teller what to do. She crossed out the business account number and wrote my personal account number on the check. The deposit into my personal account went through with no problem in about 30 seconds. I thanked the teller and left the bank. A couple of days later, I received a call from someone performing a survey. He started asking me questions about the level of service I received from the teller. "Would you say your customer experience was poor, fair, good, excellent or outstanding?"My first question was what is the difference between excellent and outstanding. By the time he got to the fourth question, I interrupted the poor guy because I noticed that this was going to take more time than I had available. I told him the teller did her job well. I apologized to him for cutting off the survey because I knew he was just doing what he was told to do and trying very hard to do it well. It had to be the most inane survey I have ever taken.

It seems that all of the telephone customer service lines want the caller to complete a survey after the call. What is troubling is the customer service rep (CSR) has to remind us to rate him or her straight 10's on a 1 to 10 scale. Otherwise the rep won't get credit for a good call. I am sorry to say, but I have to respond to the CSR that doing what you are supposed to do does not equate to excellent or outstanding service. In most cases, we don't need excellent customer service. We just need the people to do what they are supposed to do. Another problem is they are often stifled by company "policy." Instead of doing something to help the caller, these people are stuck with a script they cannot deviate from. Any deviation will result in being "written up."

In other cases when completing customer service surveys, we are asked to ignore whether the problem was solved and just rate how the representative handled the situation. Message to Corporate America – the two cannot be separated!! If I call with a problem and it is not resolved by the customer service rep who treats me with empathy and kindness, the problem still exists and your organization has failed to remedy the problem. If your customer service rep does not have the authority to solve my problem, you have made this person a useless voice on the phone.

Worse yet are the automated attendants that are supposed to be able to recognize the English language but cannot understand the words, "Speak to a human being."

We don't see ads stating, "Immediate need for someone who will blindly follow orders, perform mindless duties and immediately jump when the boss speaks. Qualifications include graduation from an accredited dog training institute, the ability to sit and roll over when ordered, speak on the telephone, sit at a computer all day and have a strong bladder as there will only be one bathroom break per 4 hour shift."

How is Talent Measured?
So is talent defined by the service the person who has the first contact with a customer offers or by the practices instituted by management? Is talent measured by stupid surveys or when the employee tells the customer to rate them high so they get a bonus – even when the customer got nothing out of them? If talent management is not measured by increases in revenue and profits than talent is not being managed properly. It is pretty simple.

Attracting Talent
Getting back to the purpose of this article which is to figure out best ways to manage your talent. People want to know they are making a contribution to the organization. They want meaningful and challenging work. They want to be treated with respect. They want to be trusted to do their job without being micromanaged. They want to deliver a high level of service. They want to work in a strong team environment and have some fun. They want to be recognized for doing their job well. They also want to be paid fairly. This is not complicated.

The culture and reputation of the company will either attract or repel talented people. The competition for talent will get tougher as the economy comes back. If you are stifling your talented people with your own absurd practices, you will not attract the best and the brightest.

Commitment to Talent Management is a Cultural Thing
If there really is a commitment to "Talent Management", managers would listen to their employees. Creating an organization that is team driven and customer focused through enhanced communications and empowerment would be the norm instead of the exception.

The fact is, most people want to deliver a high level of customer service. If the internal processes do not allow employees to provide high service, the most talented will leave the company. The mediocre will remain and mediocrity will become the norm in the organization.

Is This an HR Function?
Some of you will say this is not an HR function; that this is a function of the operation or customer service department. My response is, as the keeper of the culture, this is definitely a Human Resources function. In fact, it is probably the most important areas HR should be involved with. There is nothing more important than keeping talented people.

What are you doing to keep your best talent? Have you asked them how they would like to be treated?


The Required Disclaimer
The McKenzie Mailer is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Before implementing any action on this subject, contact an expert in the field.

Thank you for reading The McKenzie Mailer.

Bob McKenzie, President
Winner of the 2012 Ultimate HR Executive by the Jacksonville Business Journal and the Man of Steel Award from Entrepreneurial Anchor Magazine.



Members of TeamMcKenzie
Bob McKenzie, Head HR Guy
Darlene Thomas Rivers – Senior HR Consultant
Chuck Petruska – Senior Advisor
Peggie Leitereg – Senior Advisor
Terrie McDonald – Client Services Specialist
Michelle Darmanie – Client Services Specialist


August 2012
I'm Going to Write You Up
June 2012
Ray’s Story – A Wage and Hour Saga
April 2012
Bob's Common Sense Theory On Leadership
February 2012
Don't be Complacent When it Comes to Compliance
January 2012
Optimism is Flowing
October 2011
UH OH!! Turnover is Starting to Rear Its Ugly Head Again.
May 2011
Small Business Week and Government Agencies are Being a Grinch
April 2011
I Want it All and I Want it Now!!
March 2011
Leadership Essentials
February 2011
Where's the Leadership Fad?
January 2011
Equal Employment Opportunity, Affirmative Action, Diversity. Where does it end???
December 2010
It is That Time of The Year
November 2010
The Department of Labor is on a Mission You have to be Careful Out There
September 2010
Following the Crowd is a Good Way to get Lost in it
August 2010
Customer Service Is Your Competitive Advantage
June 2010
Social Networking – Be Careful out There
April 2010
Is That a Light in The Tunnel?
January 2010
What's Your Theme Song?
December 2009
2009 Was Definitely a Murphy Year
August 2009
Swine Flu Preparations - Knowledge of Risk is the Best Course of Action
July 2009
Are Rising Healthcare Costs Making You Sick?
June 2009
Diversity – Who Cares?
May 2009
Why the Huge Increase in Discrimination Charges?
April 2009
EEOC Charges at a Record High
March 2009
Eaten Any Brains Lately??
February 2009
Just Trying to Keep Up with All of the Changes
January 2009
Compliance Update Handbooks Need Updating Too
December 2008
Employee Free Choice Act – Not a Free Choice at All
November 2008
The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act Clarified
October 2008
Effective Handbooks Save Time and Money
September 2008
Negating the Nattering Nabobs of Negativism
August 2008
What's Your People Plan
July 2008
Human Resources Strange But True People Stories
June 2008
HR Compliance Issues at the Forefront
May 2008
Performance Management Never Stops
April 2008
Don’t Make Tough Times Tougher
March 2008
What Ever Happened to the Personal Touch?
December 2007
It's That Time of Year Again
November 2007
HR Hot Topic #3 - Immigration
September 2007 -
HR Hot Topic #2 - Controlling the Cost of Medical Benefits
August 2007 -
HR Hot Topic #1 Recruitment and Retention
June 2007 -
Strategic Human Resources is Not an Oxymoron
May 2007 -
Is It Really a Hostile Work Environment?
April 2007 -
What happens after a new employee is hired?
March 2007 -
February 2007 -
January 2007 -
Discrimination & Harassment
December 2006 -
October 2006 -
The Why Label Generation Y?
September 2006 -
The World of Recruitment Has Changed
August 2006 -
Keep Your "A" Players
July 2006 -
Traits of a High Performance Workplace
June 2006 -
Is a Mediocre Employee Better Than No Employee?
May 2006 -
The Compliance Vultures are Circling – Are You Prepared?
April 2006 -
Is Administrivia Keeping HR from Getting a Seat at the Table?
March 2006 -
Agreeing to Disagree or Avoiding the Subject
February 2006 -
Happy Valentine's Day
January 2006 -
Be a Talent Magnet and a Talent Utilizer