Tragedy struck when a 19-year-old former student opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killing three staff members and 14 students on the 14th of February 2018.
The sound of those shots continues to reverberate. Fueled by sorrow, anger and, yes, social media, a group of teenage students committed themselves to making a change and organized a nationwide movement to tackle gun violence.
As our feature story on page 44 chronicles, it also echoes into HR. In Coral Springs, one of the communities served by Stoneman Douglas, HR leaders immediately set up services to support city employees called on to respond to the shooting.
As we highlight Workforce Game Changers, the next generation of HR talent, I can’t think of two better examples to exemplify the power of positive change in the face of challenge.
—Mike Prokopeak, Editor in Chief
The workplace has changed a lot since 1922. That year The Journal of Personnel Research debuted, rebranded later as Personnel Journal and finally Workforce. Now in our 96th year, we take a look back at what was on the minds of past generations of people managers.
Employee Wellness in the 1930s, October 1935
Industrial hygiene specialist Frederick B. Flinn explained the implications of several diet and fatigue studies in “Diets and Efficiency” in Personnel Journal’s October 1935 issue. He concluded that more sleep is better for productivity and went into great detail about how an employee’s food consumption impacted their productivity — that is, at what time they ate meals, how much they ate per meal and how many meals they consumed per day. While today’s employers say their interest in wellness initiatives has business and personal concerns, in 1935, workplace health initiatives seemed much more business-oriented. It was suggested that “fatigue” should be replaced by “impairment of productivity.”
The issue also featured an article called “Pow-wow vs. Conference” about how the personnel man could learn a lot about organizing a meeting from the Indian medicine man. Writer Preseley W. Melton put meetings in two categories: a formal committee meeting, or a “harangue,” and a general mass meeting, or a “pow-wow.”
Finally, it featured an article about widespread unemployment for the college-educated American and how it spurred student discontent. “Disillusioned and embittered, some of them have rallied to the banners of leaders who promise to reorganize the economy,” author W.H. Cowley wrote. Consider that in 1935, global powers cited as examples were Nazi Germany and fascist Italy.
— Andie Burjek
The Rise of the Millennials, February 2000
Before they were known as Generation Y or hung with the moniker of millennials, they were branded the Net Generation. Obviously that did not stick but “Ready or Not, Here Come the Net Kids” profiled several 18- and 19-year-olds at the vanguard of what we call the millennial generation in the February 2000 issue of Workforce.
And thus began the angst and hand-wringing over incorporating this new generation of employees into the workplace as the new millennium dawned. HR’s challenge with the Net Kids? “Given the role models of this generation, the number of dot-com millionaires under 25 and the world view of this group, they present an interesting array of issues to HR.” And who were these role models? Bill Gates, Michael Dell, Tiger Woods and … Britney Spears.
Also in this issue: A Q&A with then-Southwest Airlines VP of People Libby Sartain, the cover story on office redesign (including the sidebar, “What’s With All This Feng Shui?”), a feature titled “AIDS Threatens Global Business,” and a point-counterpoint on domestic-partner benefits regardless of marital status.
Oh, it was also then-editor Allan Halcrow’s farewell issue. Goodbye Allan, hello, Net Generation.
— Rick Bell