Got HR questions? Staffing service professional has answers

Here’s another installment in an ongoing series of interviews published in the Business Times in a question-and-answer format.
Here, Nina Anderson, owner of the Express Employment Professionals staffing service in Grand Junction and president of the Western Colorado Human Resource Association, interviews Jack Smalley, a senior human resources director with Express Employment Professionals.
Smalley will offer a presentation titled “Managing Conflict in the Workplace: The Buck Stops with HR” at the upcoming WCHRA luncheon meeting in Grand Junction. The meeting is set for 11:30 a.m. Jan. 19 at the Clarion Inn, 755 Horizon Drive. The event is open to HR professionals as well as office managers, administrators and business owners. For reservations or more information about the event, visit the website at

Q: Jack, I know you are a senior human resources director for Express Employment Professionals. What are the responsibilities in your current position?
A: I provide human resource training and consulting for nearly 600 Express offices and our clients in the U.S. and Canada.
Q: Wow, it sounds like you also travel frequently.
A:  I do travel a lot, but I love what I do. In 2008 and 2009, I spoke at over 100 events, including numerous local and state (Society of Human Resource Management) conferences and totaling more than 10,000 attendees.

I also had the pleasure of speaking at the 2008 and 2009 national SHRM conferences in Chicago and New Orleans. Great new numbers include 110 engagements in 2010 and I have been asked to return to the 2011 SHRM National Conference in Las Vegas.

Q: How long have you been in the field of human resources?
A: I have devoted my career to the field of human resources for the last three decades.

Q: At what levels do you have experience and what industries does your career encompass?
A: My experience includes executive-level management in a number of different industries, such as oil, chemical and packaging.

Q: What is your education and do you hold any additional certifications?
A: I have a bachelor’s of science in business administration from Northeastern State University in Oklahoma and I hold the designation of Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR).

Q: Do you have any specific areas of expertise?
A: As is the case with many human resources professionals, we have a number of responsibilities under the HR umbrella. I feel my areas of expertise are labor relations, union avoidance, performance management, wrongful termination, EEOC and state compliance, all forms of harassment investigations and compliance, employee retention management and management training.

Q: During your visit to Grand Junction you will be speaking on two different topics: “Monday Morning Leadership” and “Managing Conflict in the Workplace: The Buck Stops with HR.” Will you share a little about the programs?
A: First, I want to share how delighted I am for the opportunity to return to Grand Junction. I first visited the office last October and the view of the (Colorado) national monument from the office is beautiful! I also have a personal interest in wine education and hopefully during this trip, I will have more time to spend learning about the local wines.
“Monday Morning Leadership” is a training session based on the bestseller by well-known business author David Cottrell. The training highlights eight mentoring methods to become a better leader. The session will enhance the leadership skills of anyone in, or aspiring to be in, a managerial role.

Even today’s strongest leaders must refocus on the quality that helped them earn their position. Most leaders will tell you a key to their success was having a great mentor and the lessons they learned from him or her. It is an interactive session and each participant will share examples and best practices of successful leadership qualities.

The second session is “Managing Conflict in the Workplace: The Buck Stops with HR.” It is the key session for the monthly Western Colorado Human Resources Association meeting. The program is designed to assist HR professionals from individual contributors to the executive level. All professional relationships experience some type of conflict. This is normal, natural and sometimes even necessary for growth and development.  This is also an interactive discussion and we will cover myths and truths of conflict, the need to change your “old thinkers,” sources of organizational conflict and successful ways to overcome them and seven types of conflict resolution and examples of successes of each step.

Q: So the first session — “Monday Morning Leadership” — why is the ability to mentor others an important leadership skill?
A: In 2008, I had the pleasure of speaking at the SHRM national convention in Chicago and I have been the recipient of recognition for participation with the SHRM mentoring program. I am strongly committed to mentoring. I also have a program titled: “Top 10 Leadership Mistakes” and I believe an inability to mentor others is the No. 1 leadership mistake.

Q: And the second session — “Managing Conflict in the Workplace” — why should HR professionals learn to deal with conflict?
A: The typical working adult spends 60 percent of our waking hours in the workplace — more time than we spend at home. However, at home we choose our friends, which neighbors to get closer and we choose which family members with whom we will spend more time.
We don’t always have the opportunity to select with whom we work.
Additionally, there is always going to be change in the workplace.
The key to a company and individual success is how we manage the inevitable conflicts.