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#WorkHuman: Can Harassers, Like Shaun White, Be Forgiven in #Metoo Era?


To learn, discuss and listen to question’s like this, you must join me at this year’s WorkHuman Conference.  Also, at the bottom of the post is the Dawn Magic Discount Code to use when you register…

Shaun White, America’s Olympic superhero and biggest snowboarding success-story, had quite a week. Within 24 hours he won his third gold medal, demonstrated a new grown-up humility after his win, and became the newly outed face of the creepy sexual predator.  Damn. Damn. Damn.

Not long after his victory, the media questioned him about a 2016 sexual harassment case against him which he settled.  For many of us, this was the first we heard of it and a few of my Facebook friends responded in an interesting way. As opposed to immediately vilifying White, they defended him.  One even decided to boycott NBC for not giving Shaun White even a day to celebrate a spectacular Olympic victory.  For context, mitigating factors in favor of White included: a) the case was settled years ago, b) records show White believed the interactions were consensual, and c) the victim had stated “she believed this matter was in the past” .

This begs to question, when is it ok to forgive accusers or proven perpetrators of their misconduct? Is it OK? And by doing so are we stifling momentum of the #meetoo movement?  

How do we as reconcile this in the workplace?  And how do leaders create a forgiving work environment that allows for redemption. I mean, it is easy to ban Louis CK, Kevin Spacey and Steve Wynn from our consciousness. But it is a much more complicated issue when the accused are people we know.  People we’ve worked with for years or leaders we have trusted.

For the record, I am not talking about violent criminals or rapists. Also, my hope is that people in the workplace proven guilty of harassment will be terminated immediately.  I’m talking about accused harassers who thought their gestures were consensual. Workers who immediate changed their behaviors once addressed. Workers who, although were creepy or pushed boundaries, were humble, contrite and never harassed again.  Some may put Shaun White in this category (see my thoughts below).

On a philosophical level, when is the time and place to forgive and allow the accused the benefit of honest redemption?


These questions should be addressed on April 2-5th, at the 2018 WorkHuman Conference.  The conference, sponsored by Globoforce, is attempting something revolutionary in the HR conference space.  This year they are hosting a historic #Metoo panel including Ronan Farrow, Ashley Judd, Tamara Banks and facilitated by Adam Grant.  If you want to witness a conference “Leaning In”, hard, on a controversial topic, this is a must attend.

HR has always been an advocate of harassment free environments, but until recently have felt shackled by poor leadership, lack of courageous practices, and in many environments an unwillingness to open doors that could lead to legal exposure.

We all know, thank God, that #timesup for this.  So what is the next step? What is the “end-in-mind” for the #metoo revolution? Smarter people than me can answer this.

Those people will be on the #metoo panel.

Empathy Is Key In Promoting A “Redemptive” Environment

There is one significant place HR can focus to create a work environment that can, at some point, allow for redemption.  That is to practice empathy.

A great article from Psychology Today, Empathy Is The Key To Conflict Resolution Or Management, gives a few areas to focus on. HR should lean on these practices to facilitate important discussions on harassment.

  • 90% of conflict is due to misunderstanding. Misunderstanding is simply a failure to understand. We must create environments where people listen to understand.
  • Distinguish dialogues from debates. Dialogues require listening.  Debates have a winner-loser. HR should learn skills to stop debates and direct dialogues. A debate between an accused and accuser would be devastating.
  • Distinquish between “acceptance” and “tolerance”.   The article states it best.  For instance, “Tolerating blacks is still racism…Accepting us means respecting us, valuing us and loving us for who we are.”  Some things simply cannot be tolerated.  But in the case that a harrassing behavior has been stoped, for there to be redemption, acceptance of what has happened, consequenses, and impact has to be achieved.

Back to Shaun White.  

He messed up.  He did not practice empathy when questioned by reporters after his olympic win.  He took a defensive stance, called the reports gossip (when they clearly were not), and deflected ownership.  

His accuser, although believing he wasn’t predatory anymore, was furious at his public dismissal. She should have been. There was no empathy shown nor demonstrated by White, who will forever need to own his bad behavior to be accepted or be redeemed. He apologized later, and I think (hope, pray) he was sincere.  Time will tell.  

Until then, I encourage all HR pros and leaders to join me at the Workhuman conference.  A place where open dialogue on an important topic may show us more ways to understand the #metoo movement with understanding and empathy.

Dawn’s Magic Discount Code! 

When you register for the workhuman conference, use code WH18INF – DBU.  You’ll get a nice price reduction of your registration fee! 

See you there! 



#WorkHuman Conference: 2 Words – BRENE’ BROWN!

Hello Friends!

Check out my latest VLOG on why you must attend the 2018 WorkHuman Conference this April.  One of the keynotes is a favorite of mine — BRENE’ BROWN (I love her so much).

Brene’ is an expert on vulnerability.  I mean check this quote out: “Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness”. IMO, this is critical for modern leadership.

ALSO – when you Register for the conference, use the Magic Dawn Discount code WH18INF-DBW

SEE You There!




Register Here! Jobvite/FOT Hangout Series > Getting Ready for the Jan 2018 Hiring Rush

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Hey Gang! 

Join me, Kris Dunn and Jobvite for another great installment of The Recruiter Nation Live Hangout Series! Our next hangout is at 1pm ET on December 14th (this Thursday!).   We’ll discuss the very timely topic:  GETTING READY FOR THE JANUARY HIRING RUSH.


The hangout is an informal thing – we fire up the video and a few slides (emphasis on “few”) and run through a few things in 20-25 minutes.  Kris and I will spread some holiday cheer, delivering recruiting tips to get your team ready for the January recruiting rush. In this hangout we’ll discuss THE GOOD STUFF:

 –How to build your internal and external recruiting “posse” for 2018. 

–What year-end “house-cleaning” (especially within your technology platforms/ATS) must be done to start 2018 with a clean slate. 

–How to partner with your executives and hiring managers to get great results – together. 

–What reporting would help you manage expectations and influence your internal clients to recognize the great work you’re doing?


See you there! 



More on the Jobvite Recruiter Nation Live Series.

If you’re a client or follower of Jobvite, you know the Recruiter Nation Live series.  It started with the Recruiter Nation Live Conference in San Francisco last June, and continued with the Recruiter Nation Live Roadshow that brought real recruiter talk to 9 cities in North America over the last three months.

The feedback was great – you loved it, so we’re back with the latest in the series – the Recruiter Nation Live Hangout Series, hosted by Fistful of Talent and me.  Once a month, FOT will host a live Hangout designed to keep the conversation among recruiters going – focused on things you can use, like the best-kept secrets of today’s smartest and most efficient recruiters, Jedi-mind tricks proven to make you more persuasive/get great candidate response and strategies to hold your hiring managers accountable for their choices–so everyone wins.

VIDEO: HR ON THE RUN: How Not To Be Accused Of Harassment This Holiday

This episode of HR On The Run, I’ll give you tips on how NOT to be accused of sexual harassment this holiday!  Be safe!



Want to Look Smart about Google For Jobs? Recruiter Nation Live Hangout Series W/ Jobvite & Fistful of Talent!

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Hey Gang!  The FOT gang and Jobvite are at it again.  Joining forces to help you have #nobadhires. Join my friends Tim Sackett and Kris Dunn for the inaugural edition of The Recruiter Nation Live Hangout Series 

Our first hangout is at 1pm ET on Tuesday, November 14th 

Google for Jobs/ROI of Recruitment Marketing Spend! What You Need to Know to Look Smart!!


If you’re a client or follower of Jobvite, you know the Recruiter Nation Live series.  It started with the Recruiter Nation Live Conference in San Francisco last June, and continued with the Recruiter Nation Live Roadshow that brought real recruiter talk to 9 cities in North America over the last three months.

The feedback was great – you loved it, so we’re back with the latest in the series – the Recruiter Nation Live Hangout Series.  Once a month, we’ll be hosting a Google Hangout designed to keep the conversation among recruiters going – focused on things you can use, like the best-kept secrets of today’s smartest and most efficient recruiters, Jedi-mind tricks proven to make you more persuasive/ get great candidate response and strategies to hold your hiring managers accountable for their choices–so everyone wins.

Our first hangout is at 1pm ET on Tuesday, November 14th and will be hosted by Kris Dunn and Tim Sackett, focused on the following juicy topic:

Google for Jobs/ROI of Recruitment Marketing Spend! What You Need to Know to Look Smart!!


Let’s have some fun and learn from each other at the same time.  See you at 1pm ET on November 14th!!!

Top Question I Still Get from #HR Pros; What Tech do I need?

I speak around the country at conferences about a variety of things.  Hiring, culture, modern employees, learning and development, and burnout are amongst the topics I cover.  Typically after the sessions, it is normal for attendees to come ask me questions about what I presented on.

Unequivocally, the number one question HR pros ask me is “What HR technology do I need to get for my company?”.  The second question, “How do I pay for it?”. Now, HR technology is such an important topic that I likely I mention it in every presentation I give, regardless of topic.  Since HR tech touches every aspect of our function it is always important and relevant to every topic.

Here are some of my thoughts to pros, vendors and pundits. 

  • Not having HR technology in your organization is like a balloon with no helium.  Yeah, you can blow up a ballon manually, and technically it is still a balloon, but it doesn’t fly.
  • If your CEO/CFO (hell, even CHRO) thinks HR tech is a non–essential, they have a head like a hole. Yes, it is black as their souls.  I want to say quit these folks.  But I know, sometimes “I just can’t quit you!”.  In that case, you need to start the education process. Yes YOU.  Not IT, not accounting, YOU.
  • Education tip one:  Don’t expect divine intervention to pop knowledge into your head.  Don’t expect an epiphany.  The only way to get most things done is to do it yourself.  How?
  • Don’t put the cart before the horse.  The order of your tech purchases does make a difference.  My suggestion:
    • Start with a lightweight HRIS system if you are small to medium sized.
    • If you are a huge company, you probably already have an enterprise system in place.  It’s your job to make sure you are using all components of the HR module.  You have no idea how many HR teams have tools and don’t use them
    • Next, trick out your Applicant Tracking System.  This is still the core component to your tech stack. See last weeks post for more on this!
    • Stop there.  You can worry about other stuff later.
  • Don’t be a victim.  Own this.  You’ll be a rock star.  You’ll prove value
  • Get help from Sales.  Why?  They can teach you how to build a business case.  You need advocates anyway, start there.

Good luck – have fun – and make some magic happen.



Effective Recruiting Teams Using Multiple Softwares via #HRTechConf

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Modern recruiting/ talent acquisitions teams, it is time to roll up your sleeves and get your tech on.  Why?  To be effective most pros are using multiple talent acquisition platforms to provide a soup-to-nuts recruiting experience.  And not just a good experience for candidates, but also for recruiters.  Looks like a one-and-done recruiting platform isn’t quite enough to get the right candidates to you and provide recruiters the data needed to be the most effective.

At the HR Technology Conference in Las Vegas, I attended a panel called “If We Build It, Candidates Will Come: Building the Perfect TA Tech Stack”, facilitated by Tim Sackett.  The panelist included Marriott International’s VP of Talent Acquisition Strategy, Jessica Lee, Intel Corporation’s Recruiting Capability Adoption expert, Allyn Bailey, and Bazaarvoice’s, Head of Global Talent Acquisition, Graham Pionkowski.

These are larger companies, so it stands to reason they have greater resources to adopt several platforms. Never fear smaller HR teams:
–All agreed the center of their “tech stack” was still the Applicant Tracking System.–  
So my HR friends just beginning to build a tech stack or who have limited funds — start there
Also, some of the newer components pushing their way up the TA food chain is are automated sourcing tools such as Entelo and Recruiting Marketing tools such as Smashfly.  So start learning more about how automated sourcing and recruiting marketing are being coming essentials as well.
Alright.  Hold on to your butt’s HR friends, here is what a comprehensive Talent Acquisitions/ Recruiting  “Tech Stack” could include: 
  • Applicant Tracking System
  • Sourcing
  • Employee Referral
  • Candidate Experience
  • Employment Branding
  • Job Descriptions
  • Onboarding
  • Screening/ AI
  • Data & Analytics
  • Recruiting Marketing/ CRM
  • Background Check
  • TA Communications
  • Reference Checking
  • Assessment
  • Contingent Labor
  • Interview Tech
  • Job Boards
  • College Recruiting
  • Career Sites
Go show this list to your resource “decision makers” now.  Or the picture embedded in this post.  Next time you say to that decision maker, “we need more”, this may help prove your point, if even just a little.
All this being said — it is an exciting time in the recruiting world.  It is also a time where our workloads are increasing, pressure is on the rise, and finding candidates is tougher than ever.  My advice:  determine the one pain point you have in recruiting, determine the category above that can help relieve that pain point and start doing some research.
You may just be pleasantly surprised how a few tech pieces can impact your results.

VIDEO>HR On The Run: Sexism & Preventing “Weinstein’s”

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This edition of HR On The Run…

Harvey Weinstein, media mogul, founder of Mirimax, producer of incredible movies is now another cliche’ loser.  Not shockingly, he’s admitted to perpetrating rampant sexual abuse towards several actresses, assistants, or other women in the Mirimax organization.  This is really, really awful.  More shameful, people didn’t talk about this for years.  I call bull-shit that the board, parters, and bother didn’t know — but that’s another post.

Here are my 4 Tips/Takes on how HR pros can help prevent this occurring in your organization.  Check out the video for more! 

  1. Sexism / Harassment is about Power
  2. If your CEO misbehaves — ALL know.
  3. Create a safe space for employees
  4. Remember your legacy as an HR pro


Join Me on #Nextchat: Women in HR Technology #HRTechConf

Hey Gang–

I’m off to the HR Technology Conference and I want to invite you to participate in a very timely twitterchat.  The folks at #SHRM are hosting a special technology themed #nextchat where we are going to discuss women in technology-based STEM careers. We’ll chat about how HR can work inside and outside their organizations to attract, develop and support more women in technical careers.

Please join @shrmnextchat at 3 p.m. ET/12 p.m. PT on October 11 for #Nextchat with me (@dawnhburke) and five other fantastic women in HR: 2017 HR Technology Conference presenter Cecile Alper-Leroux @cecilehcm;  Heather Bussing @HeatherBussing, Heather Kinzie @HeatherKinzie, Jennifer Payne @JennyJensHR and Robin Schooling @RobinSchooling.

The women in technology has been not only top of mind, but also top of the headlines lately.  Remember in August, when Google engineer James Damore posted a 10-page memo claiming that women may be unsuited for tech jobs.  Although many thought his thoughts off-point, many agreed.

Timely indeed.

Click here to read all about the twitterchat on the SHRM Blog, including the list of questions we will discuss.

In addition, for those of you who have never participated in a twitterchat — here is an easy how-to.




Keep Your Conference From Being a S**t Show! My Tips, even a NEW one.

I’ll be attending the HR Technology Conference and will be speaking at the Fall ERE Recruiting Conference over the next few weeks.  As a speaker for ERE I participated in a virtual QA for all attendees.  Of course many were interested in how to prep for this great conference.  I am here to serve YOU, so I’m happy to share a handful of the tip we all had. Some I’ve never thought of.

  1. Download the conference app. If you don’t, you must love winging it.  Winging it can be exciting, and it can be a shit-show.  You’ve paid money > Time is money > don’t waist time.  If you don’t prep a little with the app, or during the conference refer to it often — you’ll end up sitting on a bench on the 2nd floor of the conference, behind a plant trying to figure out what to do next.  By the time your figure it out the session is over.  Tell that to your boss when she asks you what you learned.
  2. Bring your phone charger. When your phone dies, it is like you’ve entered some world that is dark and scary.  And you can’t use your app (See bullet point one).
  3. BEST NEW ONE >> Be sure you don’t accidentally give out someone else’s business card when you are networking.  This one made me laugh out loud.  If you are gathering lots of cards, separate them from YOUR cards.  This can happen a lot at recruiting conferences. Who knew?!
  4. Have LinkedIn up on your phone at all times.  This is the best way to gather contact info from folks you’ve spoken to or heard drop some knowledge in a session.  This actually keeps you from even having to bring cards.
  5. Determine the ONE pain point you are trying to solve in your organization.  Then be sure you come up with 2-4 solves for that pain point from the conference. To me the operative word is ONE, because you then have a fighting chance of implementing that ONE thing at the office.

And don’t wear heals (unless they are sexy aerosols, life stride, naturalizer, bjorns, sketchers….).  And when I say sexy, I mean not-sexy.  Didn’t you know not-sexy is the new sexy.

And bring a jacket.

And have a cocktail at the end of the evening.

And go see one thing in the city you are traveling to outside of the conference.  #getcultured ; #wonderlust is a great thing.

And have fun.