The Perils of Your Company Culture Becoming Sales-Focused (Above All Else)...

Nothing happens without sales.  Treat your salespeople right, because unless they kill something, nobody eats.

For the reasons stated above, it's not wrong for the leaders of your company to want to transform your culture into a sales machine.  The problem happens when people who weren't hired to sell suddenly find themselves with quotas but no idea of what to do next.

I was reminded of the perils of leaders trying to transform a decent culture into one that is purely revenue-focused by two things over the holiday weekend.  First, this from Fast Company on the Tesla acquisition of one-time solar energy darling SolarCity:

If there was one sign that the company was flying too close to the sun, it was, many felt, an extravagant sales-team huddle in Las Vegas around March 2015. In a scene straight out of HBO’s Silicon SolarCity.IPO_1Valley, Barnard, then SolarCity’s chief revenue officer, burst onto the stage in front of Lyndon, Peter, and 1,300 employees (Musk would arrive later) at Hakkasan nightclub, rapping over Nicki Minaj and Drake’s hit “Truffle Butter” while surrounded by provocatively dressed dancers. At another point, he appeared dressed as Helios, the Greek sun god, wearing a green suit of armor designed by the same people who created the Iron Man costume for that movie. “The party was cool,” recalls hip-hop artist Chingy, who also performed. “Lots of energy, a beautiful crowd. We shined like the sun.” There was, after all, much for them to celebrate. SolarCity was by then the clear industry leader, owning a third of the residential market and handling more installations than its next 50 competitors combined. (Barnard explains that he was only trying to rally his troops, and strongly denies that the culture became bro-y. “I don’t tolerate that bullshit,” he says.)

OK - that's fun, but what follows shows how the grind to create revenue and keep growth rolling quarter/quarter and year/year can result in less than stellar sales practices:

The company’s growth rate—it was hiring 100 sales reps a week to help hit aggressive targets—led to some dubious tactics when it came to marketing SolarCity’s zero-money-down concept. Many sources felt that the drive to hook customers often eclipsed any concerns about whether they would follow through with the lease purchase. “You had all these poorly trained reps basically going, ‘Just sign here! Don’t worry, you can cancel any time!’ ” says a former sales director. “People were treating it like signing off on iTunes’ terms and conditions.

The company’s average cancellation rate increased to 45% or higher; its door-to-door sales team saw rates of 70%, multiple sources say. (The SEC is reportedly probing the lack of public disclosures around cancellation rates in the solar industry. A spokesperson for SolarCity says that rates have improved, and that the company reports on “installed assets,” rather than “preinstallation cancellation rates.”) With competition in the solar space increasing, SolarCity engaged in a pricing war with many of its rivals, a race to the bottom that hurt deal profitability.

If there's one thing that seemingly happens a lot when companies/employees are under incredible pressure to sell, it's the emergence of low quality/borderline fraudulent sales that might not ever generate revenue as outlined above at SolarCity.

I wrapped up the holiday week by listening to some former Wells Fargo employees talk about the account fraud that happened at the company, with over 2.1 million fake accounts created by associates at the giant retail bank.  To hear my dinner companions tell it, everyone in the company knew it was going on. Find a good rundown of what happened at Wells Fargo here - and here's a great snapshot of what can go wrong when you say EVERYONE NEEDS TO BE IN SALES at your company:

“Cross-selling,” it’s called, and virtually all banks want to do more of it. Once a customer opens a checking or savings account, maybe he or she would also like an auto loan or overdraft protection or a credit card. The more products a customer has with a bank, the more money the bank makes and the less likely the customer is to leave. That’s why all banks cross-sell. But arguably no bank has ever done it with the fevered intensity of Wells Fargo.

Training in “questionable sales practices was required or you were to be fired,” a former employee tells Fortune. “We were constantly told we would end up working for McDonald’s” for not meeting quotas, a former branch manager told the Los Angeles Times in 2013; another former branch manager said employees “talked a homeless woman into opening six checking and savings accounts with fees totaling $39 a month.” 

The message was clear to everyone in the retail bank: “The route to success was selling more than your peers,” the board’s investigation found—not profitability or customer satisfaction, but simply selling more products to each customer. Everyone knew the goals were sheer fantasy for many branches and employees. At some branches not enough customers walked in the door, or area residents were too poor to need more than a few banking products. Bank leaders called overall quotas “50/50 plans” because they figured only half the regions could meet them. Yet no excuses were tolerated. You met the quotas or paid a price.  The predictable result: fake accounts.

Ugh. Companies can't succeed without sales.  But leaders who are trying to transform from product/service cultures to become sales machines at all costs generally fail.  More often than not with jail time being possible/likely for someone involved.


Sometimes Great Teammates Decide To Let Co-Workers Live With the Consequences of Stupid Decisions...

Sometime after your first year with your company, you start to settle in.  All the onboarding is complete, the honeymoon is over and you've accurately assessed your job as a mix of positives and negatives.  If you're still there and not on the market after a year, that generally means you're content.  Hopefully you're learning and things are starting to click related to your role and how you can have success.

Another thing happens after the one year mark - you've settled into a clear understanding of who your teammates are, what their strengths and weaknesses are, and if applicable, the circumstances/topics/conditions that will make them absolutely self-destruct.

You're a good teammate - so you've likely tried to make the self-imploding teammate aware of his self-destructive, hot button issues. 

But.They.Just.Won't.Listen.

So you do what a reasonable human would do after getting nowhere.  They next time the mushroom cloud is getting ready to go up, you grab some popcorn, a Fresca and get ready to watch the show.

That's what happened to Buster Posey (catcher of professional baseball's San Francisco Giants) last week.  A hothead teammate picked a fight with an opponent, and Buster decided to take this scrum off.  If you don't see the picture below, enable pictures or click through to the site to see the setup.  Buster's the one that's standing behind home plate while the #### is getting ready to go down:

Posey

Pretty good analysis from the Mercury News in the Bay area:

Oh, crap. Why do I have to deal with this knucklehead? Whatever.

Buster Posey can say whatever he wishes with his own words about what happened Monday afternoon. He can speak out loud and put his own spin on the way Giants’ reliever Hunter Strickland’s purpose-pitch hit Washington Nationals’ star Bryce Harper in the butt and sparked a bench-clearing meltdown. But anyone who watched Posey’s body language during the play could read and see exactly what was happening inside his brain.

Really, dude? And you expect me to defend you after . . . that?

The unwritten rules of Major League Baseball decree that when an angry batter leaves the box and charges at the pitcher, the catcher is supposed to sprint out and make an effort to hold back the batter before he reaches the mound.

Posey did just the opposite when Strickland plunked Harper, who reacted with a stare and then a sprint toward the pitching rubber. Watch the video. Watch Posey. As Harper storms toward Strickland, the Giants’ catcher actually takes a half step backward, not forward. Then he watches.

You’re on your own, pal. I can’t believe this. But you deserve whatever happens next. 

As everyone knows, Posey is the center of gravity inside the Giants’ room. He has been almost since 2010 when he joined the team full time. He calls the pitches on the field. He calls out teammates when needed. He has a dry and wicked sense of humor but is a very serious man. We don’t see everything that happens when the locker room door shuts. But you get the impression that before any other Giants’ player speaks up, he at least glances over to Posey to see how he’s reacting.

Odds are you've got a couple of people like that pitcher in your organization.  They've got talent.  But they've got a hot button that limits them career-wise.  You've probably already gotten splatter on you from the fallout when you tried to help them.  Either they lashed out at you or someone else in the organization accused you of being in their camp.

At some point, you have to back away, let them implode and let nature take its course.  It's Darwinian in nature.  They've got a flaw and try as you might, you can't help - and you certainly can't fix it.  They couldn't adapt.

You're a vet now.  Sometimes you have to do what Posey did.  Just let it happen and stay above the fray.

The honeymoon is over, right?  


Use This Quote When Convincing Someone to Decline An Offer From a Big Company...

"It's better to be a pirate than join the Navy."

-Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs was brutal in many ways, but with his brutality came moments of pure clarity.  This quote is one of those moments. Johnny-depp

The stale way to make the same point is obvious - "Why do you want to go work for that big company?  They're going to bury your talent. You know all those ideas you have?  You won't get to chase any of them at IBM.  They'll just pod you up in the matrix and suck your energy over the next decade, leaving you a husked-out former version of yourself."

Wait - that's actual pretty good.  A more standard version is "You're going to there and be bored immediately."

Still, I like the clarity of the Jobs quote.  If you're working for a smaller firm, you need every competitive advantage you can get as you fight for the hires you need.  This quote, while not perfect, is a good tool to have.

It just so happens that the only people that it works on are the people who are actually inclined to believe that they're more than cogs in the corporate wheel.  Use this quote on a person who's happy being a cog, and they might dance with you a bit - but ultimately they're going to grab for the security that only thousands (often tens of thousands) of employees can provide.  Doesn't make them bad people or not talented - it's a preference for security and risk management.

But they're looking to enlist with a big entity like the Navy - not roam the seven seas on that cool, but rickety boat you call a company and wonder if you'll be around in a year.

If you're at a smaller firm, the best hires you will make are the people that don't look like pirates - but have it buried in their DNA.  If you think you have one of those people, I'd talk in broad terms about the pirate-like things you're going to do at your company.

Pirates like Johnny Depp, BTW - not Somali pirates.

Go buy some eye patches for your next round of interviews. Dare a candidate to ask you why you're wearing one.


BALL SO HARD: Why You Hate Duke, But Need Hires Like Grayson Allen...

Capitalist Note - If you're not on a couch watching the tourney this afternoon, you're doing it wrong.  Here's a rerun from last year to get you in the mood to hate Duke in the right way...

Let's face it.  If you follow college basketball at all, there's a high likelihood you hate Duke.  Why?

Duke as a university smacks of privilege, and the basketball program polarizes people like the Cowboys or the Yankees, without attracting as much of a loyal following - the concentration and comparison is mainly on the hate side.

And then there's the little issue of race.  Combine the status of the university with the success of the program, then add in chippy white guys doing things that are just a little bit dirty, and you've got the basis for widespread hate inside the basketball culture.

Case Studies - watch the ESPN 30 for 30 episode entitled I Hate Christian Laettner.  It pretty much breaks down why Duke is the team to hate in college basketball, focused on the iconic player from the program - a 6'11" white guy (Laettner) who wore the black hat his whole career. Click here for the full episode.

But Laettner was just one of many white guys that fans learned to hate.  To be fair, there was hate flowing to black players in the Duke program (Grant Hill, Jay Williams), but the true scorn?  Saved for the white guys.

A lot of that has to to with the fact that white guys at Duke always play on the edge.  Take the most recent object of Duke haters - a guard named Grayson Allen who's actually been caught tripping opponents twice this year.  Here's a quick rundown for the uninitiated from the New York Post:

"Mike Krzyzewski stood up for his star player by hiding behind his school, saying that serial tripper Grayson Allen is only getting severe blowback around the college basketball landscape because of the jersey he wears.

After Allen appeared to stick out his leg for the second time in a month to topple an opponent — the latest being Florida State’s Xavier Rathan-Mayes in Duke’s win Thursday — Coach K insisted the ACC’s decision not to suspend his point guard was the correct one, and any contrary thought only exists because of the university’s reputation.

The Duke loathing stretches back to early-’90s Christian Laettner, and Allen already has taken his place on the growing list of villains that the Blue Devils produce. Critics see these stars as entitled and cocky, seemingly above the law. And they play at a university that prides itself on academics, a school they believe turns up its nose at the rest of the scandal-plagued NCAA landscape.

And, more than anything else, Duke wins. It’s a breeding ground for hate. Where others see the Blue Devils getting breaks from officials, Krzyzewski sees his players getting undue criticism from the public."

First things first.  If you haven't seen the trips, check out the video below (email subscribers click through for video) and let the Duke hate fester: 

But wait. There's a Talent/Recruiting nugget here.  Allen's a highly recruited and highly successful player.  He lives off of driving to the basket and with that in mind, ends up in a lot of physical confrontations.

Should Allen have been suspended for the second trip?  Absolutely.

Do you need more employees like Allen?  Yes you do.  Absolutely.

Allen is an alpha employee who competes.  He's wired to be on edge all the time, to force the action.  He's your classic high assertiveness hire who's always going to be pushing for results.

We kid ourselves by thinking the world doesn't revolve around these type of people in our organizations.  There's a role for all behavioral types in our companies, but it's the high assertives who bring it every day who get most of the results.  Take a look at your sales team.  If they're performing, you've got a bunch of Grayson Allens.  Your leaders and hipos?  Mostly high assertives.

Again, we have roles for low assertives and leaders can have that profile as well - you just need balanced teams.

But you need the Grayson Allens of the world to shake things up daily.  When your equivalent does the version of the Grayson Allen trip inside your company, you've got to be swift and decisive to show them where the line is and ensure they don't cross it again - or as often.

You hate Duke. I get it.  You think Grayson Allen is a punk - I get that too.

But you'd hire Grayson Allen in a heartbeat for a results-driven position.  You'd just do better than Coach K about defining what's acceptable and what's not acceptable.


Uber, Harassment and HR Business Partner Coverage - Let's Look at the Numbers...

By now, you've heard about this post accusing Uber of creating a hostile, harassing environment for women.  Rather than rehash the claim, I'm going to go to the numbers in this post.  See this post by Tim Sackett for analysis of the situation and see my commentary on Uber's former HR Leader leaving the company before all this stuff broke by clicking here.

Let's run some numbers.  Most of the allegations claim that Uber was focused on recruiting above and beyond all else.  But this post on HR at Uber from Recode gives us some interesting numbers to think about related to HR staffing:

"It’s most glaring overall problems seems to center on how the human resources role was conceived at Uber by its brash and commanding leader Kalanick. UberThe issue: He felt the function of HR at Uber was largely to recruit talent and also efficiently let go of personnel when needed, according to sources.

During the first half of 2016, sources said, the company had fewer than 10 representatives — called human resources business partners — who served to train managers or handle things like sexual harassment for its close to 6,000 employees.

Leadership coaching or training is especially important at Uber and other tech companies, where many of the department heads or top execs are often younger staffers who would work their way up at the company. According to sources, Atwood spent considerable time defending the need for more HR business partners.

But, according to one source, there was one HR business partner handling the entire Asia Pacific region; two handling Europe, the Middle East and Africa; three in corporate functions handling engineering, finance and marketing; and only three working in operations and with city teams.

Uber disputed this and says the company had around 20 people dedicated to that role at the time. Today, the company has 35 and plans to add between 30 and 40 more under Hornsey."

Credit to Recode for being sharp enough to think about employee count vs HR staffing as a potential source of the problem.  

Unfortunately, the numbers don't tell us enough.

10 HRBPs for 6,000 employees.  Is that a heavy workload or just right?  You know the answer if you're an HR leader - it depends what their role is and what other HR resources are available.

If you've got specialists working recruiting, benefits, admin and more, it's possible for HRBPs to be effective with a 600/1 count.

If these same HRBPs are responsible for recruiting and more in addition to employee relations, they are screwed from a workload perspective.

Add the flavor of Kalanick prioritizing recruiting over everything else, and the status of the HRBP doing it all with a 600/1 ratio moves from "screwed" to "total screwed".  Qualifying questions like "did he say he liked your blouse alone or the way it made your body look?" become rationalizations for not digging deeper because the HRBP didn't have time and the organization didn't want to hear about it anyway.

600/1 for an HRBP?  It all comes down to what's behind that HRBP in terms of specialized support to determine if that ration is fair.  

Going to be an interesting investigation.

 

 


Facebook Moves to 20 Days Bereavement Leave, Makes Your Company Look Petty As Hell....

It's true.  Facebook just moved their Bereavement Leave Policy to 20 days for an immediate family member, 10 days for an extended family member.

Damn. More from TechCrunch:

"On her personal Facebook account Tuesday, COO Sheryl Sandberg announced an update to the company’s employee benefits, which are newly enhanced to ease the lives of new parents and grieving employees alike.

Sandberg noted that the decision intends to lead the charge for policies that help new parents as well as families that are grieving the loss of a loved one. In the post, Sandberg noted her own experience as a mother and the “nightmare” surrounding the unexpected death of her husband in shaping her perspective.

“Starting today, Facebook employees will have up to 20 days paid leave to grieve an immediate family member, up to 10 days to grieve an extended family member, and will be able to take up to six weeks of paid leave to care for a sick relative,” Sandberg writes. “We’re also introducing paid family sick time – three days to take care of a family member with a short-term illness, like a child with the flu.”

What's your bereavement policy again?  3 days for a family member?  You look kind of petty next to the mighty Facebook.

But seriously - I think every HR Pro looks at this policy and says three things:

  1. Yes - it really does take that long to even begin to move forward when you lose an immediate family member.
  2. No - 10 days or 2 weeks for an extended family member? Well, you hadn't even seen your grandpa for 2 years, didn't really like to be around him at Christmas and let's face it, you loved to make fun of his Milwaukee's Best consumption.  2 weeks is a bit of overkill.  
  3. While I like #1, my company has no chance of taking that stance. The cost, gaps in coverage and paranoia of fraud conspire to make it impossible for us to even increase our policy from 3 days.

Of course, the big thing to remember here is that Facebook is doing organizationally what your best managers have always done with key people who lost a parent, spouse or child - telling them to come back when they're ready, and not rush.

Your managers have to hide that from your company - Facebook is institutionalizing it.

 

 


3 Ways to Brainstorm and Reserve The Right To Tell Someone Their Idea Sucks....

If you're responsible for leading a team through change, you ultimately need ideas about what you should do given challenges your company or team are going through.

That means you're going to ask for ideas - usually in the space most often described as brainstorming.

When we lead our teams through brainstorming, we like to say "there are no bad ideas". Ideas

Of course, that's wrong.  Often times, most of the ideas aren't great, and a few suck.

Which begs the question:

"How do you lead a team through brainstorming and keep your ability to tell people their idea IS NOT A GOOD ONE?"

That's hard, right?  Here's my list of 3 ways to do this:

  1. Do a better job of describing the problem/issue and providing a couple of key features the right solution will deliver. This one's on you. You not only need to define what the problem is, you need to define the pain that problem causes, which allows you to provide simple features any solution has to deliver.
  2. Put all ideas on a visual medium.  It's called peer pressure.  If you know your idea is a throwaway, you're less likely to give us a half-baked thought before you flesh it out a bit. Team members that go through a second and third level self-evaluation on any initial idea (often times in under 1 minute!) before sharing provide better ideas and don't hijack the groups.  Putting the ideas on a visual space creates the pressure you need for people to troubleshoot their own ideas for a minute before sharing.
  3. Use a form of Idea Evaluator to guide the team through an assessment of ideas.  I didn't create this, I've seen in multiple places.  Use a evaluation space to talk about the Cost vs. Value each idea provides.  Guide a process where the team - rather than you alone - evaluates each idea and places it on the right spot on the X vs Y of Cost vs Value.  Let the team do the work of evaluating the idea and putting it in the "unlikely to be implemented" category.

You don't have to be the bad guy/gal when it comes to telling someone their idea is average at best.  Define the problem deeper (most of us aren't good at this), make the brainstorming process visual (most of us do this part), then use a Cost/Value chart to guide the team in a conversation to identify the best ideas.

Brainstorming on problems is good. You being Darth Vader and killing the ideas/hope of someone on your team alone is bad.  Broaden your approach and make your stormtroopers evaluate the ideas of their peers.

May the force be with you, my dark prince/princess. 


Apple Pie, Chevrolet and Glassdoor's "Pledge To Thrive" Badge...

Glassdoor - you have to hand it to them - they know how to market their solution.  Just announced at Glassdoor - a "Pledge to Thrive" badge.  Here's the rundown from the Glassdoor blog:

"Now, Glassdoor is partnering with Thrive Global—Arianna Huffington’s new and groundbreaking venture to lower stress and burnout, and enhance well-being and productivity—to showcase employers who prioritize a thriving workplace.

Starting today, employers may sign on to the Pledge to Thrive to show they’re taking steps to prioritize well-being in their workplace. Any employer who has signed on to the Pledge to Thrive may promote their commitment to candidates and recruits as part of their employer brand on their company’s Glassdoor profile. In 2017, Glassdoor and Thrive Global will release a co-branded Thrive Index based on employees’ assessments of how their employer incorporates meaningful “thrive” practices into their workplaces and culture.

Set your company apart by letting your candidates and employees know you prioritize their well-being and understand the connection between thriving employees and a thriving business."  

Pledge to Thrive?  Hell yeah... Who could be against that?  It's up there with Apple Pie, Chevrolet and Mom as being All-American.

Nobody does Pledge to Thrive better than my company. How do you know?  Because I added the badge to our Glassdoor profile, dummy. It's right there - THRIVING.

Now, to be fair, we've got a lot of good stuff going on at Kinetix.  We've got wellness stuff, yoga (which I hear is related to wellness) and other things, all related to well-being. So it's real.

It's just that I didn't have to answer a lot of questions to get the badge added to our site - I actually had to answer none.  Did I want to answer questions?  No. I did not.  But it seems like some questions might be in order to get me to respond in the affirmative to prove the whole thrive thing.

For example, I recently wrote about a recent suicide attempt at Amazon in Seattle over at Fistful of Talent.  A guy sent an email saying he was disappointed in being put on a PIP and then jumped out of a window.

Could Amazon get the Pledge To Thrive badge showing their commitment to well-being?  It seems like they could, since my experience was clicking a checkbox and then "boom", we are a Pledge To Thrive employer.

But then I go on Amazon's Glassdoor profile and this is the first review I see:

Amazon glassdoor

"Exciting work, abusive culture". Hmm.  My gut tells me that's pretty accurate based on what I have read. If you're a baller in your profession, you can go to work at Amazon and work on amazing things - maybe wear a helmet, because it's a contact sport.  But abusive culture? That seems a little bit counter to the whole Pledge to Thrive thing.  But if Amazon wants that employer badge, it's there.  My gut tells me they are waaaaaay smarter than that.

But this example isn't to pick on Amazon.  It's just to show that adding badges with little certification of what they mean or what's required to get them shows the duality of Glassdoor.

What's the duality of Glassdoor? Their model is built on company reputation and reviews, but they sell to employers.  That's a conflict that's hard to resolve at times.

I'm hoping you Thrive in the rest of your week, people.  


How Companies With Great Cultures Manage the Expectations of New Hires...

"What should I expect?"

This is a question that goes through every candidate's mind as soon as they begin considering a new position—and it stays at the back of their mind all through onboarding. As a recruiter and HR leader, it's your job to help manage those expectations.

I had the chance on the latest and greatest episode of Talent Sniper Radio (my company podcast over at my recruiting firm, Kinetix) to talk to Dawn Burke, VP of People at Daxko, to discuss how companies with great cultures (and lesser cultures) should manage the expectations of new employees.

Turns out, companies with great cultures have the same problems rank and file companies have related to managing new hire expectations.

You don't want to crash with a new hire because the difference between what you sold on the recruiting trail and reality is dramatically different.  Dawn gave me some great ideas, so click through on the podcast below on your way to work/way home and here what she has to say!

Email subscribers enable images or click through for podcast player below...


Glassdoor Just Gave You A Gift, HR. It's In a Brown Paper Bag and on Fire Just Outside Your Door...

Ah yes, Glassdoor.  As people like to say when they're in relationship of questionable health - it's complicated.

Many of you saw the new tool Glassdoor rolled out last week, but if you didn't, here's your notification since you missed the PR blitzkrieg.  Glassdoor is launching a tool called "Know Your Worth" designed to (in their words) help US Workers find their current market value.  In the interest of balance, here's Glassdoor's description:

For anyone who has ever wondered if they are being paid fairlyGlassdoor, the leading jobs and recruiting marketplace, has launched a new, free tool that uses patent-pending technology to calculate the Know-your-worth-desktop-exampleestimated market value, or earning potential, of an individual, right now, based on characteristics of his or her current job, work experience and the local job market.Know Your Worth by Glassdoor, currently in beta, is designed to not only help people determine if they are being paid fairly, but also whether they should attempt to negotiate their current salary and/or explore better paying jobs.

Know Your Worth uses sophisticated data science and machine learning algorithms that leverage millions of salary reports shared by employees on Glassdoor, while analyzing real-time supply and demand trends in local job markets, and typical career transitions of people doing similar work. Each person’s market value, and pay range, is unique to them and private, and will be recalculated weekly and tracked over time.

To use Know Your Worth, an individual simply needs to enter a few basic details, including their current job title, employer, current salary, location and years of relevant work experience.  When enough relevant data exists, Glassdoor uses its proprietary Know Your Worth algorithm to instantly calculate the individual’s personalized market value, which is the estimated median base pay he or she could earn in their local job market, right now. To make it easy to monitor over time, Glassdoor plots each individual’s 12-month market value on a chart, and compares it to the median pay of similar workers in their local market.

Most of you who read this space are HR or Recruiting pros/leaders. That means a couple of things.  First, you've dealt with plenty of salary issues in your time and generally have a take on which people in your organization might be undervalued or overvalued in their role.  You've also probably been solicited by Glassdoor to become a customer, with the pitch being they can help manage your company reputation or develop candidate flow as Glassdoor seeks to monetize it's business by becoming a new age job board.  Some of you have signed up. Some of you haven't. I get it.

But becoming a new age job board is where the rub is. To monetize, Glassdoor has to have someone pay for the service.  That's you, the HR or Recruiting leader.

And that relationship is becoming increasingly complicated.

First, let's call the new service out for what it is.  Glassdoor needs to keep your employees coming to the site.  The employee eyeballs/attention are really the product.  For a long time that's been employee reviews.  While this post is critical of Glassdoor's latest direction, the company is intelligent and worthy of our scrutiny.  Evidence of that intelligence is the fact that when employees create reviews, they're given the opportunity to provide their salary.  Glassdoor's been aggregating salary data for a long time.

While that salary data is growing in accuracy, it's far from perfect. But that's not going to stop Glassdoor from launching Know Your Worth and showing HR and Recruiting Pros how they really feel about them.

How does Glassdoor really feel about HR and Recruiting leaders?  Let me walk you through a couple of components to the Know Your Worth launch/product specs.  You tell me how they feel about you:

1. Remember when Glassdoor told you - both customers and non-customers - that promoting company reputation/reviews to your employee base was important?  I agree with that notion and have wrote about it before.  You bought into it (rightfully so) and with or without Glassdoor's help began asking employees to consider writing reviews of your company.  Guess what? Glassdoor just sent an invite to all reviewers (aka your employees) telling them you might be underpaying them and they should fact check whether they should trust your company or not.  All of them.

If this movie had subtitles, that scene would say, "Thanks for ramping up our network, suckers."  But I digress. Back to evaluating the Know Your Worth launch/product specs...

2. The Know Your Worth product is incomplete, but that won't stop Glassdoor from telling your employees it gives you a 100% accurate read. True story here - my company's business is recruiting, and our core position has total comp that's 50% base and 50% commission. We have employees that earn a very good living working for us.  So when I got the aforementioned email asking me to Know My Worth, as an HR leader I wanted to know what employees in our core positions would see. Good news!  When I played the role of a recruiter at our company, Know Your Worth gladly accepted my commission target as part of my total compensation potential. Bad News! Know Your Worth ignored that input when it evaluated if that position was compensated fairly, evaluating the base salary only with no mention of the input of commission that I made, or qualifier that they weren't evaluating the information in its full context I'll talk about shortly - total comp or total rewards.

Translation - Thanks for helping us grow our database to a larger degree by putting all those inputs in, kids!  But all we're prepared to give you is an evaluation of your base salary. And we'll tell you your underpaid by 6K on a salary of 50K even though your target total compensation is 85K, and many in the same position in your company exceed that total target compensation. Note - I used a Salesforce Account Executive in San Francisco to test the outputs and analysis again, entering total comp information.  Same result, analysis of base salary only.  

3. But Wait! Glassdoor shows they care about HR and Recruiting Leaders by providing a whitepaper during the Know Your Worth launch campaign called "Glassdoor's Guide to Salary Conversations".  This proves they're here to help you, HR and Recruiting leaders!  They care so much about you they've created the guide to help your line managers navigate the tough conversations the Know Your Worth campaign is sure to generate. You know the conversations -the ones caused when Glassdoor emailed every employee who has created a review on your company to question their compensation - the same reviews that were generated using Glassdoor templates and communication tools you paid Glassdoor to provide when you said yes to being a paid corporate customer of Glassdoor.  Wow.

But I again digress.  Glassdoor is showing they care by creating this guide.  Until you open it and see the following sage advice (email subscribers click through to see image from guide):

Glassdoor Pro Tip

PRO TIP FROM GLASSDOOR! If your employees are in an uproar about their compensation due to the Know Your Worth campaign, you should get your s##t together and get a total rewards and compensation strategy together.  You know, like the one Know Your Worth fails to evaluate, even when an employee gives it their entire picture of total comp.  

Translation - Communication of total comp is your responsibility.  It's only Glassdoor's responsibility when it benefits them - like when it's time to lecture you, not when it's time to drive eyeballs to the site and continue to collect profiles, page view and free data generation from your employees. 

Final Notes: I'm on record for believing in Glassdoor, more specifically the fact that the review economy is a reality and HR/Recruiting leaders have to acknowledge the presence/power of Glassdoor and have a strategy to engage.

But Glassdoor isn't being a partner with launches like Know Your Worth.  They're attempting to drive more eyeballs, build a database and generally reach critical mass to do what's required to maximize their primary objective - get a slice of your recruiting budget.

All Glassdoor had to do in the launch of Know Your Worth is have better information on total compensation and present it to employees using this tool.  That data is available by partnering with a professional compensation firm.  If that wasn't possible, they could provide warnings related to total compensation that help employees understand the limitations of the data being presented.

Put another way - Glassdoor's business on the employer side is to sell you things like reputation management and job postings.

Glassdoor's business on the EMPLOYEE side is EMPLOYEE DISSENT.  And in that regard, business seems to be good.