I have watched too many loved ones struggle with alcohol so I do not drink. (I too engaged in the past in enough to cover me for a while) Plus, I like bringing my "a game" and I cant do that when I am hung over! What advice would you give to someone who feels their career advancement has been negatively impacted for not "going drinking with the boys" - or "having a few with the team" - I used to excuse myself and pull aside the bar tender or server and ask them to bring me glasses of apple juice (since lt looks like beer) but that can be tough to pull off
Good question. There's always the threat of not being on the inside of team dynamics if you don't drink. I think your instincts are right, you have to engage and be there if that scene is important at your company/within your team. Here's my list of thoughts related to how to deal with it:
1. Have a drink in your hand but nurse that ****** ****** all night long. Get a beer in a dark ass bottle (going with the technical term there) where no one can see the consumption level and make it last two hours. By rounds for others, it will take the focus off the fact that you're running at a clip of one drink per 4 hours.
2. Drink O'Douls. Get a glass to go with it and pour it out of the bottle in a sneaky fashion. Drink the fine pilsner that was never meant to be consumed in volume all night long. Go order it at the bar, pour it in your glass and come back to the group. Act like a fool after three to sell it. Mmmm. #odoulsgoodness
3. Organize drinking outings for the team. You get more grace if you're the equivalent of Julie on the Love Boat. If you don't know who Julie was, let's just say she was the social director on a cruise ship. You should buy the first round as well. You can get inside the team without drinking if you're willing to organize and spend a little bit.
Why is the Love Boat not a Will Ferrel movie?
Option #1 is always best.
That's what I got. Can you make a beer last 3 hours? I can!!
If you're at a company with mixed engagement from employees, you know the reality. You're trying to do some positive things, but you've got people on the bus that don't care if you succeed or not. Can they be saved? I'm not sure. I've kind of always subscribed to the reality you've got people that are for you, fence-sitters you can convert with some effort and people who are disgruntled to the point they probably can't be saved.
This post is about the disgruntled. Last week, the Houston Rockets (professional basketball) were down 2-0 in a playoff series. Their star, James Harden, came down the court for a last shot to win a game and make it 2-1. He made a move, stepped back and hit the game winning shot. Nice, right?
Here's what the bench looked like just after he hit the game winner (email subscribers click through on the title of the post for pictures and video).
The kids in color rather than black and white? Those are actually key players for the Rockets. Let's just say they weren't fully engaged in the positive outcome. #wow
Team chemistry - at your company as well in professional sports - is a fragile thing. There are many contributing factors to chemistry and the resulting engagement you get from the team. Some you control, some are a mix of interactions across the talent you bring in, and some are the responsibility of the employee. I'd tell you if you see reactions like this after your company gets a big win, you might not need to get rid of all three of the employees in red above, but someone probably needs to go.
What about the guy jumping to the right in celebration mode? Silly rookie/new hire. Always with the rah/rah.. He'll learn.
If you need context to the image, the video appears below. (click through if you don't see it) My favorite part? The headband guy catches himself and starts giving a slow clap. To the trained eye, that means while he might be part of the problem now, he could be part of the solution. But only if you get rid of the guy to his left/our right.
The post showed an overweight man wearing a wig and women’s clothing with parts of the T-shirt cut out to expose his breasts. It says: “LET HIM IN! to the restroom with your daughter or else you’re a narrow-minded, judgmental, unloving racist bigot who needs to die.”
To that, Schilling added: “A man is a man no matter what they call themselves. I don’t care what they are, who they sleep with, men’s room was designed for the penis, women’s not so much. Now you need laws telling us differently? Pathetic.”
At issue here is the disconnect between employment and free speech. A lot of people think that free speech in America means they ought to be able to say anything they want - and as long as their performance is good, their employment should have nothing to do with ideas they share as an individual.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Your broad professional conduct policy likely give you the right to fire anyone you want-if they make statements that make others around them at work uncomfortable.
It's a good reminder to talk openly and honestly during your onboarding or orientation process about what your policies could mean related to free speech. It probably goes something like this:
"We believe in free speech and will support you exercising those rights as an individual. However, please note that just because you have that right doesn't mean we won't fire you for something you say. Want to know where the line is? Sorry - we can't tell you. That's where your judgement comes in."
On a personal note, I don't have any transgender friends that I'm aware of. I find myself in the middle ground of a lot of these issues. As a pragmatic, practical sort, I can want everyone to feel comfortable with who they are. Then the world gets in the way. On this single issue, you need look no further than the YMCA locker room.
The average men's YMCA locker room is a freak show. Dudes walking around without towels. Shaving naked. The type of stuff where most Americans aware of the state of this locker room ponder whether they want a young kid to go in by himself.
"When I go to the gym, do I have the right to expect I’ll only see other female bodies showering and dressing and that only other biological females will see me doing those things?
If a man is standing at a public urinal, does he have the right to expect that everyone who enters has the same biology?
At my local YMCA, a sign outside the women’s dressing room cautions that boys older than 6 are excluded, and I’ve never seen an adult male take a female child of any age into the men’s dressing room.
A family dressing room is available, which presumably offers privacy for those who can’t meet the parameters. A similar accommodation could be made for transgender individuals, but the LGBT community has rejected this compromise."
Good luck on there on the bathroom issue from an HR standpoint. I suspect like with many things, we'll allow state laws to guide us on what's acceptable. This one is complicated.
I'm on the record as saying you ought to get engaged with Glassdoor and figure out how to be more of a marketer with sites that include employee reviews.
HR people need to be in the game to win the game.
But that doesn't mean it's all sunshine and puppy dogs. Example - take a look at this charge on employee salaries for IBM consultants - and let's talk after the graphic (email subscribers click through for picture below)
Ah yes, salary info. IBM's going to be one of the better patches of salary data, and there you go - the range for a IBM consultant is 45K to 170K.
Which means you have to arm your managers with a plan to tell your employees how your comp strategy relates to fragments of competitive info they may find on the interwebs. Here's some things you can arm your managers with to say when employees bring them pay data from a 3rd party site:
The data being cited is mostly self-reported and that’s dangerous. Most of the new models are based on incumbents in the role in question self-reporting what they earn. That’s crowdsourced data, which is not exactly scientific in nature.
The data being reported in a wide geography and most zip codes don’t have the volume to truly help you determine what’s real. Even if the data is accurate, in most cases, there’s not enough volume in the zip code in question to give you an accurate picture of a compensation range in the employee’s geographic area.
The biggest challenge with accuracy is related to the match with your specific job. Many of the third-party sites rely on the end user to report what job they’re in and match it to a certain job description on the site. The challenges associated with that means that you’re not always comparing apples to apples. Sometimes there are multiple lemons thrown in there.
The ranges being used on third-party sites are just that—ranges, and you shouldn’t assume that you should be at the max, or even at the midpoint based on your experience level in this job. You can go back to range theory and remind them that a range is used to progress someone through 15 years in the same job.
You have to get your managers prepped via the training you provide them.
By the way, I heard that mailroom boys at Google make 100K. I looked it up and they only make 90K - you can use that..
(but it's a lie - I made that up. The rest of this post is real.)
I wrote about the manager pass-through in 2011. It's an important fact of life in every organization, so I'm writing about it again today. Here's the trick: Imagine you could film every manager in your organization trying to defend a strategy, action, change, etc. taken by the company to their team. Would they own it or point to a higher power as the reason for the strategy, action or change, effectively separating themselves from responsibility for the decision/action?
1. What managers of people do when they don't want to own tough or difficult news with employees.
2. Alive and well in every organization I've ever been a part of, and it's alive and well in your company.
3. Rather than owning bad news or a difficult conversation with an employee, managers look for an easier out. They/you explain deflective reasons why the action is necessary. They/you often end up using terms like "them" and "we" to describe what's going on and why.
"Them" and "we" (and words that mean the same thing) are at the core of the manager pass-through. Rather than explaining to your team member why a particular course of action is necessary for the business, you end up rationalizing - you say that you've been told to do something, and the conversation you're having is the next logical step.
It's not you who's asking for more or something uncomfortable from the employee, it's them. Who is them? Usually it's a tribe known as "management" or "leadership". Could also be the customer.
Whoever "them" is, what you're doing when you use the manager pass-though is making it clear that it's not "you".
And it's lame. Before I step off my high horse, allow me to confess - I'm guilty as well. But the first step in recovery is acknowledging you have a problem.
The next time you're delivering bad news or asking for something you know is going to make a direct report uncomfortable, listen closely. You may not say "them" or "us", but you're probably in the neighborhood. As a manager of people, sometimes you get paid to be in a lonely spot. Own tough news or requests as your own, even if you didn't start the fire.
Good luck with the next conversation. I hope the first day of the rest of your life as a manager goes really well.
Many of you saw this, but it's too good not to talk about here. A Yelp employee recently got fired for writing a post taking her company and CEO to task for not paying her better so she could live in the Bay Area. Here's your summary from The Washington Post:
"The Yelp employee who said she was fired after she blogged about the financial pressures she felt while working for the multibillion-dollar business said Monday that her breaking point came one night when she went to sleep — and woke up "starving" two hours later.
Talia Ben-Ora posted an open letter Friday afternoon to Yelp chief executive Jeremy Stoppelman, saying she wasn't earning a living wage while working in customer support at Eat24, Yelp's San Francisco-based food delivery arm.
She was out of work hours later, she said.
"They knew that I was picking up pennies and that I was having trouble sleeping and that I was cutting back on every single possible thing I could think of," Ben-Ora told The Washington Post. "But I was still working as hard as I could — and being as good as I could possibly be at the job."
In her letter to Stoppelman, which she posted on Medium, she expressed concerns about how the company treated its employees.
"So here I am, 25-years old, balancing all sorts of debt and trying to pave a life for myself that doesn’t involve crying in the bathtub every week," she wrote. "Every single one of my coworkers is struggling."
If you haven't read that open letter on Medium, go do it now. It's interesting and makes you think related to employee responsibility, company responsibility and more. Here's how I break down the issues:
1. It's OK to be frustrated that your company doesn't pay you enough. But it's a marketplace for talent out there, and if you want to live in one of the highest talent areas in the country, you need to be ready to struggle. NYC has been the same deal for young people forever.
2. You're tone deaf if you're calling out your company online with your name attached. Let's assume you're right about the issues. What company would ever hire you if they knew about this open letter.
3. The company has some responsibility here as well. It's San Francisco, people. Maybe 20K annualized jobs don't belong in the Bay Area. It's called workforce planning - put a call center in Detroit and do some civic good.
4. The old "Professional Conduct Policy" continues to be HR's fallback. I've always said you can do 70% of the terms you want to do under this policy if it's written well. Obviously, Yelp has this policy active. Embarrass the company? It's covered by an effective PCP.
5. What ever happened to having roommates - like 7 of them in a 1200 square foot apartment - if you wanted to live in the show before you had the means?
Mamas, don't let you english major babies grow up to move to the Bay area for their first job. Unless they're really good.
One of the things I tell people all time about good HR pros is that they understand the value of listening, or at least appearing to listen.
When it comes to the employee relations side of HR work, one of the most important things is allowing people to vent. I call it steam release. Allow people to release their steam, and you're decreasing the chances that almost all bad stuff from a legal/workforce management perspective will happen - lawsuits, EEOC claims, unionization and yes, workplace violence.
You probably can't change a lot of what you hear. But people will feel better that they've had a chance to say it - you stabilize your organization for every 10 minutes you spend in steam release.
We probably don't train our managers on this enough - they're as important in steam release as HR is...
As work goes, so goes life - and failing to spend the time can also turn positive people negative. Think about someone who just bought a new house. You stop by the new place to drop something off and they want to give you a house tour. You're brutally honest and say you don't want the tour. The owner is immediately put off. Failing to listen and take the time for someone to tell you about something - both on the negative AND positive side - is a way to make enemies and encourage all kinds of bad stuff to happen.
Here's a sexy topic for you - the use of aliases that are uncovered via background checks.
What do they mean? More than you know. Nothing other than someone changed their name, which is their right. Everything in between.
Some quick background - My company (Kinetix) does work for a former friend of mine turned entrepreneur. As part of that talent work, we do transactional things in the talent life cycle like background checks for the people he's thinking about hiring. One of our coordinators CCs me on those so I know he's taken care of, which is important to me.
The other day I see a background check come through for a developer and he's got 2 aliases in his past of the social security number trace. 2 seems like a lot. Background was clear other than that little thing.
I started thinking about it. Here's my practical rules for how to view aliases on background checks:
1. Aliases + charges/convictions means walk away.
2. Females have a lot of latitude to change their names. They get married and have to change their name, and you can see when that happens. Stalkers and weird vibe guys abound. Sometimes a lady has to change her name to get a husband in or a freak out of her life. Check.
3. People with highly ethnic names that change them to more standard American names get a pass as well. Welcome to America, Mr. Smith.
4. WASPy american born males that change their names in their adult life - what is up with that? Red flag. I get that someone might have changed their name due to a stepfather/father situation, but you generally don't see that out in the marketplace when someone is in their mid to late twenties and beyond.
What did I miss?
So yeah - I'm talking to you white American males. What's up with multiple aliases in your adult life? Are you Jack Bauer, recently retired from the CTU? Witness protection program after a run at the lower levels of the Soprano family? I think not. Seems like a reset for whatever reason looms in your closet. Child support? Jumped ship in Tibet before you fulfilled your commitment to the Peace Corp? Lester the molester?
My friend? He hired the guy. Software developers are hard to find. It's not show friends, it's show business.
In the National Football League, "Black Monday" is the Monday following the final weekend of the regular season, and the day of choice for NFL teams to fire underperforming coaches and GMs.
With so much money on the line, there are few apologies in the NFL for firing people 1-2 years into their leadership tenure. NFL teams are quick to make employment calls on coaches. In addition to this reality, the same teams are also increasingly holding General Managers accountable for the state of the franchise. You can read more about Black Monday in the NFL here.
You know where else Black Monday is increasingly happening during the first week of January? In a Sales Organization near you.
I count no fewer than five companies I have decent relationships with making big sales organization changes this week - across both sales leadership and account executives. When you think about it, it makes sense. The year is done, leadership has a view on what the delivery of the revenue line looks like, and they've probably been thinking about changes during the 4th quarter of the year.
In some cases, the sales professionals impacted knew their fate prior to the holidays, but in many cases, they didn't. The first week after the holidays comes with change and decision.
Like NFL coaches who have a performance scoreboard for the world to see related to wins and losses, no professional has a clearer scoreboard than the sales pro.
If you're not in sales and you're muddling through performance management or goal setting with your boss or team across the first few weeks of this year, embrace the ambiguity.
For the sales pro, there's little gray. You say you would love to have things more black and white in your job, but be careful what you ask for.
Black Monday doesn't exist for anyone else in corporate America other than the Sales Pro.
For the Sales Pros who read me and made their year - Congrats. Your scoreboard has now zeroed out and you're starting from scratch. Have a great 2016.
I'm up over at Fistful of Talent talking about the trend of corporate L&D departments striking Tuition Aid deals with single universities. Here's a taste from that post:
I’m on the record as saying there’s no better benefit to put on your brochure than deep support for Tuition Aid. That’s especially true if you employ a young workforce, many of whom haven’t yet achieved a college degree – retail, call centers, etc, come to mind right?
The reasons Tuition Aid is a smart benefit to add are simple. Observe:
1. Employees who haven’t gotten their college degree are attracted to this benefit.
2. BUT, the benefit is hard to use. It can mean working full time while you go to school, takes persistence, sacrifice of time and at times impacts your personal life. It’s easy to like but hard to use, which means that you can offer the benefit with little risk of all who are eligible using it to it’s full potential.
That’s the reality. But there are some big brands who have started to make it even easier to use the benefit by solidifying a single relationship with a university, effectively streamlining distance learning for the employees who work for them. By creating a single relationship and promoting the ease of use, these companies are changing the commitment level they’re making to Learning and Development.
The latest company to take this approach is Pizza Hut.