Kelly K. DeStefano Talks Human Resources Lobbying, Advice for Managers (Exec Q&A)

This Week: Kelly K. DeStefano
State Director, Arkansas Society for Human Resource Management State Council

Bio: Kelly K. DeStefano

Experience: DeStefano has been the human resources director at Youth Home since 2001. Before taking on that role, she worked as Youth Home's human resources assistant starting in 1998.

Education: DeStefano has a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and master's degrees in public administration and in human resource development, both from Webster University. She is a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources.

Kelly K. DeStefano, in addition to serving as state director of the Arkansas Society for Human Resource Management State Council, is human resources director at Youth Home Inc. of Little Rock.

Q: What issues are most pressing for HR managers these days? Have they changed over time?

A: The economy is currently the big issue I see. Companies are trying to do more with less, and I think this is a permanent paradigm shift. When was the last time you heard anyone in the workplace say, "I'm all caught up!"? The workplace is also changing rapidly in ways that make our grandparents sneer. If you have not embraced work-life balance yet, your company is behind the curve, and I would suggest tapping into information from the Arkansas Governor's Work-Life Balance Awards. And finally, laws and regulations are constantly changing. Continuing education is imperative, and certifications in Human Resources such as PHR (Professional in Human Resources), SPHR (Senior Professional in Human Resources) or GPHR (Global Professional in Human Resources) show that the HR manager is at the top of her field.

Q: Is SHRM lobbying for any particular changes in federal or state laws?

A: SHRM lobbies nonstop. HR professionals try to strike a good balance between what is fair to employees and employers. The Arkansas SHRM has its own lobbyist, and we often work closely with the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce. SHRM was very active in working on the Jobs Act (Jump-start Our Business Startups Act) that was recently passed and is closely watching the request that the federal government made asking that Blue Cross provide same-sex spousal coverage on insurance. It will be very interesting to see where that leads. In addition, SHRM recently issued an all-member regulatory alert urging members to submit comments to the U.S. Department of Labor on proposed changes to the Family & Medical Leave Act. One change especially troublesome to SHRM would eliminate an employer's limited flexibility to use different increments of the FMLA leave at different times of the day or shift.

Q: How often should employee policy manuals be updated? What policies are generally most outdated and in need of review?

A: Employer policies should be living, breathing documents. In order to keep abreast of current issues and laws, they should change or be updated several times per year. Any business that does not keep its policies current risks, at the least, increasing employee turnover and, at worst, legal violations. The policies I most often see lacking are those around technology, as it changes so quickly.

Q: What are some of the biggest errors you see in resumes?

A: I don't even know where to start on this question. So many resumes that pass through my hands are terrible. The mistakes are usually very basic, such as misspellings, missing information and poor formatting. A resume should be in at least 12-point font, truthful and concise. Don't include superfluous information like photos, religious preferences or hobbies.  Resume help is easily available online from several sources; just do a search from any search engine. There is no excuse for a poor resume.