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July 2016

Merging In Heavy Traffic On Your Commute: A Guide

Rant time people - This topic will be emotional for many of you - Merging on your way to work.

There are rules. You're antisocial and a bit of a moron if you don't follow the rules. Merge

Let's do this:

  1. If traffic is moving, you don't necessary owe anyone the ability to merge if they're at a standstill.  If you're moving at anything above 10mph, you're doing a disservice to anyone behind you by stopping and letting someone merge that was completely stopped.  That's their problem and the problem of the traffic planners.
  2. That being said, if you're moving at 10 mph or below, the right merge activity is to allow one car in front of you before you proceed.  If everyone allows one car in, we'll get this thing done and everyone will be fine.
  3. If you're behind the person I let in, DO NOT THINK THAT I'M PREPARED TO LET YOU IN TOO. I'm not.  Don't be that guy.
  4. IF you're approaching the people trying to merge, a light flash is the right way to tell them you're a human being and you're going to let them in.  They've got two seconds to get going, or you should move.  They've gotta be alert.
  5. If someone allows you to merge from a standstill, THE CLUTCH MOVE IS TO ALWAYS GIVE THEM A WAVE WHERE THEY CAN SEE IT.  You know they didn't have to do it. They did.  Much respect as indicated by the wave.  PRO TIP:  Don't put a single finger up - it can be misunderstood.

Are we good? Can everyone chill the #### out and follow the rules?  

Cool.  I'll be attacking other important work-related guides in the future. Be sure to see this one on the rules for holding the elevator for others approaching.

HR Capitalist Summer Jobs - My Best and Worst...

The gang at Fistful of Talent (my other blog, multi-contributor) did a weekend post  a few years back on best/worst summer jobs.  Go check out that post here, but in the meantime here's what I outlined as my best/worst summer Best-and-worst-summer-jobs-fistful-of-talent-600x320 jobs:

Worst - was working at a grocery store, bagging groceries.  Was stocking some shelves and saw the classic KD opportunity to exceed expectations.  Some lady was looking for a ham to be sliced and guess what?  Sure – young KD jumps behind the counter and takes care of it – and proceeds to clip half the top digit of my thumb with the blade.  Luckily, the digit got saved because my thumbnail stopped the blade.. I can still see the slice mark.  #goodtimes #childlaborlaws

Best – After my thumb nearly got cut off, I went to the local radio station and got a job as a DJ, with my summers filled plugging in station IDs on the KC Royals baseball network.  No meat saws.  #best #job #ever  Bonus – we were country in the daytime, top 40 at night.  Only in America.  Shout out to KMEM in Memphis, MO.  

You guys and gals are HR pros. Of course, you had weird summer jobs. And they just made you stronger, right?

HR BUDGET SEASON: Recruitment Advertising/Marketing Trends

Hey HR and Recruiting leaders - It's the early days of budget season - or at least prep for budget season - for a lot of you.

If you are like me, you're likely looking at headcount projections for next year - as well as thinking about your overall benefit costs for the coming year. Buzz_1

Smart. Those things are important.

BUT WAIT - There's one thing you won't think about until it's too late - HOW YOUR RECRUITMENT MARKETING/ADVERTISING BUDGET needs to change.

That's why I'm here to give you a primer related to where to look.  I'm a partner in a recruiting firm called Kinetix.  We're headquartered in Atlanta, and in addition to pure recruiting, we help a lot of clients manage their recruitment marketing presence - careers site, social recruiting presence, video, etc.  

We also help clients understand the efficiency of their recruitment marketing spend - job boards, Indeed, LinkedIn and more - as part of a service called Kinetix Buzz.

I know - you don't have time to look at this right now - so I'm going to give you the trends we see at Kinetix related to recruitment marketing spend - and some things I think you'll find when you look at this area via source of hire and source of candidate info.  Here's a top line of what we find when we first start helping companies:

1. Your Careers site is over-reported as a Source of Hire

2. Job Boards and aggregators may need re-balancing based on industry shifts

3. Better targeting of markets is available for job boards, specifically CareerBuilder

4. Fully utilizing LinkedIn Spend is complicated

5. Your recruiting database is underutilized

6. A significant opportunity exists related to creating a sourcing function and measuring it with the same discipline as Job     Boards

7. Experimental spend should focus on bleeding edge tools like the Google Ad Display Network

8. Employment Branding investment at your company lags that of high-performing peers

9. Your Indeed strategy related to sponsored jobs is likely in need of a refresh

That's where you should start when you have time to focus on this area of your budget.  Start with analysis of these areas, and you'll be doing the pre-work you need to understand how your budget needs to change for the upcoming year.

If you're too busy or can't get to it - drop me a note and I'll have someone from my company call to figure out a way to help you.  In addition to this analysis, we've got a package we call Kinetix Buzz that starts with your careers site and works through all of these areas to help you maximize the results of your spend.

Good luck in budget season!  Your Excel skills are going to blow up in the next 3 months!!!

Your Leadership Team Wants Hires Only From Elite Schools - They're Wrong...

It's a dance as old as time itself. Your leadership team has opinions on talent - which is good.  They're interested.  That's a positive.

But one of the calls a lot of leadership teams make is this:

"In order to be the best, we've got to recruit from the best. We should really focus on elite schools for our key hires - Ivy and maybe a few other schools"

There are a couple of problems with that stance.  Let's list them:

  1. Your company may not be an attractive destination to graduates of elite college and university programs. Back to school
  2. The graduates of those elite programs may not be equipped or motivated to do the jobs you would place them in.
  3. Other talent, just as capable for the positions you have open, is available for reduced cost, lower retention risk and will perform as well - if not outperform the elite group.

If your leadership team has a focus on recruiting from elite schools and you have concerns, here's some help from a name your leadership team will probably recognize - McKinsey. The July edition of the McKinsey Quarterly has an article entitled "People Analytics Reveals 3 Things HR May Be Getting Wrong".  

It's a good read.  Here's what the article has to say about elite hiring at one of their clients:

"A bank in Asia had a well-worn plan for hiring: recruit the best and the brightest from the highest-regarded universities. The process was one of many put to the test when the company, which employed more than 8,000 people across 30 branches, began a major organizational restructuring. As part of the effort, the bank turned to data analytics to identify high-potential employees, map new roles, and gain greater insight into key indicators of performance.

Thirty data points aligned with five categories—demographics, branch information, performance, professional history, and tenure—were collected for each employee, using existing sources. Analytics were then applied to identify commonalities among high (and low) performers. This information, in turn, helped create profiles for employees with a higher likelihood of succeeding in particular roles.

Whereas the bank had always thought top talent came from top academic programs, for example, hard analysis revealed that the most effective employees came from a wider variety of institutions, including five specific universities and an additional three certification programs. An observable correlation was evident between certain employees who were regarded as “top performers” and those who had worked in previous roles, indicating that specific positions could serve as feeders for future highfliers. Both of these findings have since been applied in how the bank recruits, measures performance, and matches people to roles.

The results: a 26 percent increase in branch productivity (as measured by the number of full-time employees needed to support revenue) and a rate of conversion of new recruits 80 percent higher than before the changes were put in place. During the same period, net income also rose by 14 percent."

That tells you multiple things - that elite programs generally don't outperform what I'll call "the field", feeder groups into key positions are more important than we realize, and by the way, you're always going to do better recruiting the field (conversion rate) than you'll do at elite schools.

I would have loved to see the relative retention rate of the elite schools vs the field as well, but I'll take what they gave us.

Use this article to help calm down any leaders you have who only want to recruit from elite schools.  As it turns out, a lot of gold comes from schools like Kennesaw State or Wisconsin-Milwaukee.




BUDGET SEASON: How Your Finance Team Treats Turnover REALLY Matters...

Welcome to the early days of budget season, American HR Leaders!!

Snuggled up to the friendly Finance and Accounting pros in your organization lately?  Great... Here's a little snigglet to make sure you have enough cash to fund all the hyped pay-for-performance initiatives you are cooking up in the test tube you call a laptop...

The type of budget model you have?  It matters. 

Duhhhhh, you say.  You get the budget.  Hold on there, Donald Trump, because I'm not talking about theTurnover_factor fact you have all the salaries loaded into the budget.  I'm talking about the FORMULAS the Finance quants are using underneath the names and the numbers. 

The big one you need to be aware of is this - Does your comp budget model have a Turnover Factor, or do the funds vacated by positions that are vacant remain in the comp budget, available for proper use?

It matters a lot.  A turnover factor projects the amount of turnover a company/division/department is going to have during the budget year, then automatically reduces payroll by the appropriate amount.  The logic used when putting a turnover factor in the budget model is that those funds should be unavailable in the budget since there won't actually be PEOPLE in those jobs (for that time period).

Details, details....

The effect of the Turnover Factor?  Your compensation budget gets a lot tighter, and you'll have a lot more variances to explain month to month.  And that kind of stinks... But it's actually the right way to do it from a business perspective...

Additionally, the Turnover Factor puts a LOT of pressure on the pay-for-performance system.  Have a lot of managers who have a hard time telling low-performing employees they're not doing that great with no raise or a limited increase?  A turnover factor means you are dealing with a truly zero-sum game.  For every dollar your manager gives to a low performer, he won't be able to give that dollar to the star. 

Especially if you have a Turnover Factor - because there's no built in slush fund.  Budget 4% for increases?  With a Turnover Factor in play, that's exactly what you have - with your active employees.  Without the TF in play, you've got some wiggle room from a budget perspective.

So give your Finance pro a pound today and learn more.  As your company grows, the Turnover Factor is a way of life, but maybe you can delay it a little bit longer.  Remember - you're doing it for the PEOPLE - and who could blame you for that?

HEY GEN X: This Concert In Vegas Proves You're Getting Old...

Two boys on a playground
Tryin' to push each other down
See the crowd gather 'round
Nothing attracts a crowd like a crowd

I'm Gen-X - a lot of you are Gen-X as well.

The Boomers already know that they're getting old.  Some of Gen X understands this is happening to you/us as well.

Need proof?  I give you this billboard I saw in Vegas when I was there last week (email subscribers click through for the picture if you can't see it):


That's right.  Soul Asylum - a band which represents at least some of the angst and disaffection that Gen X loved to simmer in as youth - IS HAVING A CONCERT AT A DRIVING RANGE.

Let that sink in.  Gen X, we're getting old.

Now, it should be said that TopGolf is the Mercedes of driving ranges, and by the looks of the picture, the venue is probably as good as any in the 3K seating/standing range and down in Vegas.


But one of the bands from Gen X's youth is playing at a driving range.

My advice?  Up your 401k contribution, Gen X managers and HR Pros who read this blog, because the end is near!

Here’s To the Crazy Ones: And Why You Don’t Deserve Them

Been doing a lot of performance work for some client companies lately.  As you might expect, I’m trying to push the companies to get out of the mindset that the performance review transaction is the reason for the process.

Repeat after me:  The reason you do any type of coaching or performance management is to migrate employees.   If you’re going to do it, you want a system that allows you to support migrating new employees to good performers, and good performers to great employees.

You don’t get there by focusing on the rating scale.  That doesn’t migrate anyone.  You get there by using performance management as a means to have a different type of conversation - Think_different_postersone that gets an employee thinking and perhaps excited about taking care of the busy work that’s a part of any job, then having time to come up with some different ideas.

Which is code to say this – Innovation doesn’t mean you created the next Twitter or Instagram.  Sometimes it just means you weren’t scared to say the way that we’ve always done it is Bull####, and offer up a new path – no matter how small.   Whether it gets implemented or not is details.  Offer up enough ideas, and you’re bound to have some make it through the machine.

What does great performance look like?  I think it means that you encourage employees to challenge the status quo.  Of course, if you’re going to encourage that, you better be comfortable telling people that their idea sucks and they need to go back to the drawing board.

It’s hard to create a culture where people actually want to give you ideas.  Do you have that type of culture?

Here’s a test: Would your managers be comfortable putting the text from the original sixty-second “Think Different” ads from Apple (narrated by Richard Dreyfress back in the day) in their cube?  Read this and think about it:

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes.

The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.

About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They invent. They imagine. They heal. They explore. They create. They inspire. They push the human race forward.

Maybe they have to be crazy.

How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art? Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written? Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?

We make tools for these kinds of people.

While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

I know.  It’s far reaching BS.  Keep doing what you’re doing, it’s working well…

Or, you can start having conversations with your best people about what’s possible.  It’s funny how those types of conversations and the exploration that results are actually the best retention tool for your top talent.  It’s also funny how your average performers stop bitching about getting a bigger raise when you tell them that ideas are the top currency to getting the $$.

But your managers have to have the conversation to make that happen.

They’ve got to encourage people to think differently, and to accept all the work/draining conversations that come with it.

And that’s why the crazy ones don’t work at your company.

HR Technology Conference Preview: How Many Silos of HR Tech Exist? Too D**n Many...

I'm running a panel at the HR Technology Conference in Chicago in October.  As I've said before, this is my favorite conference in our industry - the perfect mix of HR and Talent topics with solutions and conversation enabled by technology. Click here to get the early bird discount, which ends on 7/27/16.

The shows runs from October 4th through the 7th.  Here's a description of the panel I'll be moderating:

Mega Session: Two Decades, Four Tech Revolutions and Billions of Dollars Later — Why Is Hiring Still So Hard?

Great HR leaders understand the best talent wins. With that in mind, investments in advanced technologies to “solve” recruiting — or at least to make it easier, faster, more efficient and cheaper — have been a hallmark of the HR and HR technology landscape for over two decades. Starting with the first major online job boards, to the emergence of enterprise ATS solutions and the rise of LinkedIn, to more recent developments like video interviewing and mobile capability, there's been no shortage of technology designed to make finding, engaging and hiring candidates easier. But despite significant investments in recruiting technologies, organizations still report that hiring has never been more difficult, with the average time to fill an open position reaching historic levels. You'll learn about the modern recruiting challenge, how technology has evolved to help meet that challenge, and how to best leverage your investments in recruiting technology to achieve better outcomes.

In addition to my session, there's lots of good stuff that's on the agenda.  Here's one highlight I plan on attending:

More from John Sumser at HR Examiner:

A presentation that describes the universe of HR Tech and the most effective paths through the conference itself. Here’s the session description:

CS1: HR Tech: An Orientation to the Conference and All Its Possibilities
Wednesday 05 October
11:00 AM to 12:00PM
If you’ve never attended the HR Technology Conference, this is where to begin your adventure. John Sumser, who has been orienting people to the industry for two decades, will help you maximize your time and your return on investment. He’ll cover all of the elements of HR technology and how they fit together. Plus, give you an overview of the HR technology landscape to help you determine which areas of HR tech you are most interested in learning more about so you can design your ideal conference experience. You’ll know which sessions to attend and which exhibitors not to miss. As a bonus, each person attending the session will get a copy of Sumser’s groundbreaking report, “Optimal HR Tech Stack.”

As I looked around, it became clear that no one has produced an interesting map of the entire HR Technology terrain recently. So, I figured I’d make a stab at it.

So far, my outline has 70 distinct silos. For each element, there is more than one vendor offering a standalone tool to solve the problem. I’ve placed the current version at the bottom of this piece.

Starting next week, I’m going to try to build the following elements for each silo:

  • A short narrative describing the silo
  • A list of vendors who offer best in breed solutions
  • A list of vendors who offer the element in their suite
  • A few of the current trends in the area
  • A sketch of the future for the area.

Wish me luck.

What's crazy about this is John is saying he's ID'd 70 distinct silos that each have at least one vendor offering a standalone product/service to meet the need in question.

That's crazy - I've got to see that session.

Hope you can join me at the HR Technology Conference in Chicago this October. Click here to register and get the deepest discount

My 2016 Vegas Weekend at The NBA Summer League (Featuring As Many Misses on Talent as Your Company)...

Went to Vegas last weekend with a few bloggers of note - Steve Boese and Matt Stollak. Our destination had a nerd quality to it  - The NBA Summer League, where professional basketball hopefuls convene to prove they have what it takes to be one of 450 players who play in the best hoops league in the world.

Now - you should know that only about 20% of the players who attend and play in the Vegas Summer League are actual NBA players - the rest are draft choices and free agents who are scrapping and doing whatever it takes to impress the teams. 

Why go to this event? First, we like hoops.  More importantly, I go because there's a huge morality play on talent going on at the Summer League.  If NBA veterans are the best 450 players in the world, what we saw is 451-1500, and the differences are pretty small between spots 350 to 450 in the NBA and the better players in the summer league.  Who decides? What makes the difference between making a NBA roster and going to Turdistan to play next winter?  

As it turns out, the NBA's probably no better at evaluating talent than the rest of us - and there's a lesson in that.   Here's the story of the weekend as told through my Instagram account (enable pictures if you viewing this in email or just click through - captions and comments included with the picture).


More from my visit with the 8-Man Rotation crew to the NBA Summer League in Vegas. This is Dennis Schröder of the Atlanta Hawks. I call him G-Rondo because he plays like Rondo and hails from Germany. The Hawks just traded Jeff Teague and handed him the keys to the point guard position. That's a smart money move, we'll see if it works out. I'm rooting for him, but I would say there's an inverse relationship to how much time an NBA starter spends hanging out at the Summer League (they don't play, they just watch - and it's Vegas) and how successful he is the following year. GRondo was here for over a week. Do your best employees long to hang out at job fairs you're running? I think not, it's probably a sign that there's going to be some growing pains with G-Rondo this year.

A photo posted by krisdunn183 (@krisdunn183) on


Last post from the NBA Summer League in Vegas. This is Danny Ainge, GM of the Boston Celtics and someone the Celtic faithful love. He was here this week to watch the 3rd overall pick, Jaylen Brown, from Cal, a pick that was panned by the industry as a reach. We saw Danny courtside and it was fun to watch him ride the D-League refs like a dad - still ultra-competitive. He got quiet towards the end as it became evident that Brown's probably going to be bit of a project as he had a hard time finishing - he finished shooting 32% for the week. He'll back up Crowder and get to work it out on the court, I suspect. It's like when you rep the candidate that no one else wanted to hire at your company and they struggle a bit out of the gate. You gotta support, but still, in the back of your mind you're thinking - ugh.

A photo posted by krisdunn183 (@krisdunn183) on

SMALL WORLD: From Now On, Just Call Me "Mr. July", Not KD...

From the category of "too weird to be true", a colleague of our founder/my business partner at Kinetix (Shannon Russo) was traveling the globe and found himself in a conference room in Hyderabad in India.

He glanced at the walls while he was waiting and saw our company name, Kinetix.  Wow, he thought, I travel halfway across the world and I get a ping from Kinetix in this conference room.

How did that happen? Some human capital company/job board in India included me in a calendar that they did, complete with my image, title/company and a custom piece of text ripped from my LinkedIn profile.  I've never heard of the company and no, I didn't authorize this use of my image, but I'm less than bothered.  Seems like a compliment.

See image of the calendar below (email subscribers click through for the photo of the calendar).

Mr july

Do you feel inspired?

First time in my life I've been called Mr. July.  I'll take it.