Laurie Ruettimann

Laurie Ruettimann pushes the boundaries of what’s possible in human resources. Her expertise as an HR leader in Fortune 500 organizations allows her to frame the world as it used to be known. Now, as a woman in the thick of the social world, Laurie blogs about human resources, technology and employment at The Cynical Girl. Contact her at

Articles by Laurie Ruettimann

HR Insights

The Bossy Factor: Great Hiring Means Going Beyond College Frat Brothers

Atlantic Fraternity

I don’t know much about fraternities.

I am too young to have seen Animal House and Revenge of the Nerds, and I was well into my HR career by the time Mark Zuckerberg came around and tried to democratize campus life through technology.

I just assume that most fraternities are full of young dudes who want to get their drink on. That sounds right, doesn’t it? Read more…

Best of TLNT

The Biggest Challenges Facing HR Today

123RF Stock Photo

Editor’s note: TLNT is continuing an annual tradition by counting down the most popular posts of the year. This is No. 30. Our regular content will return next Monday.

Last week, I told you what it takes to be a conference speaker. This week, I want to tell you about some of the things I talk about when I am on the road.

When a technology company brings its customers together, it’s called a user conference. They can’t just spend 48 hours talking about learning software and HRIS systems, so they bring me in for entertainment.

Sometimes, I am the main act. Sometimes, they bring in a celebrity to be the main act and I’m just an “expert” who sits on a panel.

Either way, I get paid and the cats eat. Everyone wins. Read more…

Best of TLNT

The 5 Attributes of a Great Human Resources Department


Editor’s note: TLNT is continuing an annual tradition by counting down the most popular posts of the year. This is No. 46. Our regular content will return in January.

Lots of talk about bad and ineffective HR.

Some say that the antidote to bad HR is to create some hyper-vigilant, technology-driven department of super nerds who obsess about big data and organizational psychology.

I hate that.

And it’s not realistic. Read more…

Classic TLNT

The No. 1 Reason You Should ALWAYS Drink at Office Parties

Office party

Editor’s Note: The holiday season is here, and TLNT is celebrating with classic holiday posts from the past. Look for them through Christmas Eve.

My dear friend Tim Sackett believes that it’s risky to drink at office functions.

You might say something stupid. You might look foolish. You might put your job on the line. And those things are all true if you’re a functional idiot. If you can’t cross the street without holding your mama’s hand, you shouldn’t have a drink at office parties.

If you are like the rest of the world, though, having a drink or two at an office party isn’t a big deal. If anything, it can be a lifesaver. Read more…

HR Insights, HR Technology

The 6 Characteristics of Truly Great HR Tech Companies

HR Technology

I am tough on many HR tech companies who are lazy, dismissive and show no love for their customers; however, I do think there are incredible companies out there who believe in the value of people and understand the power of their product.

These companies don’t get enough credit for trying to make work better. I wanted to tell you about some of them without naming names. Read more…

HR Insights, Leadership

Bad Managers: Sometimes, They Just Need a Little Thanks and Support

123RF Stock Photo

I get a ton of email from people who complain about their bosses.

And I have several readers who never feel supported enough. Some of you think your boss is incompetent. Still others complain that your boss isn’t your friend.

That’s too bad. I always send those readers over to Ask a Manager. She is such a great writer. There is no question she hasn’t been asked. You can search her archives for an answer to your problem.

I think we have a huge problem in the marketplace. Management gurus tell us that a) everyone is capable of greatness; and, b) leaders should make everyone feel capable of greatness even when that isn’t true. Read more…

HR Insights, HR Management

Can You Ever Just Tell Two Adults to Shut Up and Go Back to Work?


A few weeks ago, a young HR generalist reached out to me.

She works for a bank. Two chicks were at war with one another, of course, because we can’t fight institutional sexism until that bitch in the next cubicle gets hers first.

And you know the story behind the drama. There was a young man involved. Accusations were made via Facebook and Twitter. Pictures were pulled from Instagram.

Lots of sniping and gossip at the office. And one woman said to the other, “If you aren’t guilty, why did you block me on Facebook?Read more…

HR Insights, HR Management

A Little Honest Lecture (If You Want to Hear It) About the Future of HR


I know a human resources leader who thinks he knows everything. (Hold on, you don’t know him.)

He lives in London. (Hold on, you still don’t know him.)

He likes to pop in and out of my life and tell me why I am entertaining, but wrong. I didn’t ask for his thoughts. He shares them, anyway.

It is an interesting relationship.

I know he has no incentive to read what I write. When he gives feedback, there is no agenda. And I rarely push back … but this guy just gave me a lecture about the future of  HR and why women are more powerful than I think. Read more…

HR Insights, HR Technology

The Complete Automation of HR: It May Be Here Sooner Than You Think

© Jaros -

I love my friends in human resources, but I am just back from a week in Vegas where a bunch of people told me that HR can be automated.

I think that’s probably right.

When you go to Burger King, it’s a pre-recorded voice that asks you if you’re satisfried. Did you know that voice recognition software can accurately detect your order better than a cranky, distracted employee who hates his job? And it’s not that difficult to whip up a batch of fries. Almost all of the cooking is done through machines and instruments.

Imagine what can happen in your personnel department if we apply that thinking to your job. You’re on borrowed time, yo. Anyone can fill out a payroll change request form. Read more…

HR Management, HR Technology

What Came First? Was it HR, or HR Technology?

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What came first? Human resources or human resources technology?

If you ask some of my friends, they will tell you that you can’t do human resources in 2013 without having an integrated technology platform that addresses workforce planning, talent acquisition, performance appraisals, performance management, goals management, career development, succession management, learning management, social monitoring, employer branding, compensation management, rewards, recognition and payroll.

My buddies also believe that a forward-thinking human resources department must be focused on Saas, the cloud, social technologies, mobile and collaborative work environments, general mobile technologies, project management, online learning, online video, big data, gamification, memory, storage capacity and MOOCs. Read more…