Five Question Fridays with Sharlyn Lauby

Written by Datis Admin

July 18, 2018

Five Question Fridays with Sharlyn Lauby

We are pleased to bring you the latest installment of our ‘Five Question Fridays’ interview series. This interview series is designed to talk to thought leaders, experts, and executives about their experiences and best practices. Our most recent interview featured CEO of the Buddy Project, Gabby Frost, who discussed how she started a nonprofit organization when she was 15 and has grown it to reach almost 200,000 people worldwide.

This week, we’re excited to introduce Sharlyn Lauby, one of the most influential HR experts on the internet. Aside from being a published author, sought-after speaker, and professional HR consultant, Sharlyn also founded HR Bartender, one of the most popular HR blogs on the web. Sharlyn’s insight continues to solve some of HR’s biggest mysteries and help executives understand the needs of their workforce.

Check out our ‘Five Question Fridays’ interview with Sharlyn Lauby below:

Sharlyn, in 2008 you founded HR Bartender to provide a friendly place to discuss everyday workplace issues. The blog now has almost 100,000 followers on social media and continues to receive recognition as one of the most influential HR blogs on the web. Did you expect HR Bartender to get this big and what do you attribute to its growth?

I had absolutely no idea when I started blogging that this would happen. But I will admit that the reason I started blogging isn’t the reason I write today. When I started HR Bartender, it was meant to be a marketing alternative to my company’s electronic newsletter. Today, I hope that readers use HR Bartender as a resource for all things relevant to work.

My goal for every article is to give readers a takeaway. Some of the most popular articles on HR Bartender are the ones started by readers. I regularly get questions and love answering them. Sometimes I write the answers myself and other times, I reach out to people in the business community. I’m really proud that readers have confidence in me to help them get the answers they’re looking for.

You currently serve as President of ITM Group, a South Florida based consulting firm with over 30 years of combined HR consulting and training experience. Throughout the years, what are some of the most common challenges that you have helped your clients resolve?

ITM Group is very focused on management and leadership development. As a human resources professional, I believe that for organizations to be competitive in business, they need to make an investment in their employees. Let’s face it, since the Great Recession, that’s been lacking a little bit. It’s time for companies to step up their game. It will position them for future success.

According to our 2017 Executive Insights report, over 47% of nonprofit executives that were surveyed reported that they are currently hiring for 10 or more positions. Furthermore, 82% of nonprofit executives believe their organization is understaffed to deal with the current demand for their services. What advice do you have for executives that are faced with the challenges of hiring for multiple positions in a short amount of time?

Organizations have four strategies they can use to find the best talent. They can BUY it from the outside (i.e. hire someone). They can BUILD it from within by developing training programs. And, they can BORROW it in terms of using freelancers, consultants, etc. Another option that is emerging is the use of BOTS for certain activities. Each of these strategies comes with their own advantages and disadvantages.

To address today’s hiring challenges, I believe companies need to rethink their business needs. Not all work needs a full-time employee. For example, it might be possible to engage two freelancers who can deliver work as needed at a lower cost. In addition, senior management needs to consider their long-term talent needs and start developing employees for the future. There might come a point in time when the organization isn’t able to hire what they need from the outside (or that they can’t afford to).

Technology has completely revolutionized the HR landscape. Sophisticated HR software that was once only implemented within multibillion dollar corporations is now available to small nonprofits with limited budgets. Do you see HR software becoming the ‘norm’ for organizations moving forward and what other major trends do you see emerging over the next few years?

Totally agree. HR technology providers are developing solutions specifically for small and medium sized organizations. And it’s amazing the functions HR software can automate.

We were just talking about the challenges of finding talent. Organizations should think about how technology fits into their operation. HR technology isn’t about reducing headcount. A strategic technology solution can free up human resources to spend more time on activities like sourcing, recruiting, training, and retention – which is exactly where HR needs to spend their time.

Aside from authoring a highly-praised HR blog and running an HR consulting firm, you’ve also published multiple books and have been a keynote speaker at conferences that draw crowds from around the country. What keeps you so passionate about human resources and what plans do you have for the future?

I started my human resources career after an automobile accident, where I couldn’t do my role at the time. The company I worked for found a job for me and then trained me so I could do it well. I think that’s what business and HR is all about – hiring the best employees and supporting them. So that’s why I’m proud to be in human resources and to give back to my profession.

Oh, and thanks for asking about my future plans. HR Bartender just launched a new look. I hope people will check it out. And toward the end of the year, I have my newest book coming out about sourcing, selecting, and engaging talent.

We’d like to thank Sharlyn for her participation and incredible insight. Make sure to follow Sharlyn and the HR Bartender on Twitter for more updates. If you’re interested in participating in our interview series, send an email to This DATIS blog may not be shared or repurposed without permission.