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.

 

 


Twitter's New VP of HR (formerly at Uber) Departs in a Hurry...

In the hiring/candidate business, it's called a miss.  Interesting stuff from the interwebs a couple of weeks ago, as Twitter announced its Head of Diversity was leaving the company.  Of course, for me that wasn't really the news, as Twitter also used the announcement to state that a recent CHRO hire had left the company at some point before the announcement.

More from Techcrunch:

Twitter’s VP of diversity and inclusion Jeffrey Siminoff is leaving the company at the end of the month and its chief human resources officer Renee Atwood has already left, TechCrunch has confirmed.

“Renee has left the company for personal reasons,” a Twitter spokesperson told TechCrunch. “We thank her for her contributions during her time at Twitter and wish her all the best in the future.”

Twitter's departed HR Leader, Renee Atwood joined Twitter in August 2016 from Uber, where she was global head of people and places. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey sent a note around the company letting employees know about Siminoff’s upcoming exit, one source familiar with the situation told me. The internal messaging around Siminoff was that he is leaving on his own accord, the source said.

Twitter hired Siminoff from Apple, where he was the director of worldwide inclusion and diversity, in December 2015 to replace Janet Van Huysse as vice president of diversity and inclusion. At the time of the announcement, some people were skeptical of the fact that Twitter hired a white man to lead its diversity and inclusion efforts.

These exits come shortly after Twitter unveiled its 2016 diversity report, which showed Twitter was making some progress around the hiring of underrepresented minorities. It’s not clear if Siminoff and Atwood’s departures are related, but the timing is interesting, to say the least. Update: A Twitter spokesperson told TechCrunch that the departures are unrelated.

I wrote a piece a few months back about Atwood leaving Uber and the value of knowing what you're best at, where you fit and when in a company's lifecycle it might be time for you leave as an HR leader.

While I have no info about Atwood's departure from Twitter, I'm not sure it means anything for her as a candidate for future HR Leadership roles.  She's been an HR leader in some of the most interesting companies of our time, and let's face it - sometimes you just miss as a candidate.  The job wasn't what you expected, you were told things that weren't true or to no one's fault - you just got to the new company and found you weren't really a fit.

What's more interesting to me is that Twitter didn't announce the departure until they told the world a VP of Diversity of was leaving.  Have we come to the point where a diversity leader leaving mandates a press release, but the CHRO does not?

Maybe in the Bay area we have.  Strange times indeed.

 

 


The Best and Worst Markets For HR Managers....

Had a client at Kinetix ask me last week where in the US I would build out a presence if my goal was to hire capable software developers with limited competition.  Made me think that would be an interesting question for HR positions as well.

With that in mind, here's the best and worst markets to be an HR Manager in America, with data pulled from Wanted Analytics...

Hardest Markets to Fill the HR Manager Role (These will have the highest salaries combined with a limited candidate supply and high competition - Which means conditions are optimum for HR Managers in these markets):

Fort Collins-Loveland, CO 

Columbia, SC       

York-Hanover, PA              

Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC         

Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro—Franklin, TN     

Wilmington, NC  

Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA       

Denver-Aurora-Broomfield, CO      

Dayton, OH         

Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA 

Easiest Markets to Fill the HR Manager Role (These will have the lowest salaries combined with a strong candidate supply and limited competition - Which means conditions aren't great for HR Managers in these markets):

Charlottesville, VA             

Springfield, MA   

Peoria, IL              

Duluth, MN         

Boise City-Nampa, ID        

South Bend-Mishawaka, IN             

Colorado Springs, CO         

Visalia-Porterville, CA       

Tucson, AZ       

Surprised?  Hit me with a note and tell me more in the comments....


Stuff the Capitalist (aka KD) Likes: BLINK 182! As a Metal Band...

Who am I?  Who cares?  Good questions.  It's my site, so I'm going dig in once in a awhile by telling you more about who I am - via a "Stuff I Like" series.  Nothing too serious, just exploring the micro-niche that resides at the base of all of our lives.  Potshots encouraged in the comments.

I know some of you GenX peeps like me grew up on Blink 182 and have it as a channel on your Spotify/Pandora dashboard.

I ran across this - a guy playing Blink riffs, but playing them as they would sound if Blink 182 was a metal band (email subscribers click through if you can't see the video below).

Just goes to show you, innovation is as much about repackaging the ideas of someone else as it is coming up with something new.

Go make the metal version of someone else's ideas today...


The Real Workplace/Economic Issue at the Core of the Trump Presidency...

Lots of polarizing stuff going on across both sides of the political aisle right now.  As always, I'm drawn to views that ponder the center - and to the ones that are all about the workforce we have in the United States.

With that in mind, I offer up the following from Joe Klein of Time (who conservatives view as a dangerous liberal and liberals don't seem to fully own - which makes him someone I'd like to listen more to).  In the February 6, 2017 issue, Klein painted Trump economic policy as a test to long held free market ideas in the following way:

"In addition to a loaded slogan--"America First"--and a questionable demeanor, it is now apparent that President Donald J. Trump actually has a governing ideology. His Inaugural Address, the strongest and most coherent speech he's ever delivered, was a clear statement of that Wal mart
philosophy. It may change the shape of domestic politics. It may overturn the international order that has existed for 70 years. It certainly deserves more than the "divisive" dismissal it received from liberals--and more than the puerile crowd-size diversion that its perpetrator stumbled into during the days after he delivered it.

The traditional argument against free trade is myopic and simple: American jobs are going to Mexico and China. The traditional counterargument is more abstract: the price of children's clothing at Walmart is much lower now that shirts are made in south China instead of South Carolina. Free trade, it is convincingly argued, has been a financial net plus for the U.S. But there has been a spiritual cost in a demoralized middle class, which leads to an existential question: Is the self-esteem inherent in manufacturing jobs long considered obsolete--think of those grand old steel mills--more important than the lower prices that the global market provides? Have we tilted too far toward market efficiency and too far away from social cohesion? Is there a middle ground? Trump's insistence on changing the equation brings a long-neglected issue to the center of our political debate. He may be wrong, but the alienation that seems like a by-product of globalization needs to be addressed. A happier people may be worth the cost of higher prices."

When you really start to think about it, having goods made in America - and they higher costs that would be passed along to consumers - is really just another tax.  With that in mind, I've written before that I'd love to see America's willingness to pay more for good made here tested in the marketplace.  Of course, I wrote that at a time before we had a president that seemed hell-bent of penalizing and tariffing goods made elsewhere.

As Stein asks, is the self-esteem inherent in manufacturing jobs long considered obsolete--think of those grand old steel mills--more important than the lower prices that the global market provides?  To me, that's a crazy interesting question that I don't know the answer to.  To hear a liberal ask it and note that the time has probably come to at least test whether the ultra free-trade is the best path probably gives a lot of conservatives pause.

Hmm.

And yes, Alice, I'm aware that robots are replacing people in factories all around the world. But accounting, engineering and countless other professions are increasingly being shipped to talent bases willing to work at fraction of the cost.

I have to agree with the liberal Klein.  We really don't know the answer related to free-trade vs higher cost American goods, and it sure seems like Trump is hell bent on providing the environment to test those ideas for the first time in 70 years. 

As Klein states at the end of his column: "These are crucial questions, without clear answers. It is good that Trump has raised them. It is unfortunate, however, that he is such a defective messenger."

Truer words were never spoken.


LISA ROSENDAHL IS NEXT UP ON TIM SACKETT DAY! #TIMSACKETTDAY

Today is Tim Sackett Day. It’s the day when HR bloggers honor someone who works in human resources and doesn’t get a ton of press. In the past, we’ve praised people like Kelly Dingee, Paul Hebert, Recruiting Animal and Victorio Milian.  

It all started because my friend Tim Sackett was upset because he couldn't get on a list of the top HR Bloggers.  He was always 26th in top 25 lists.  He'd move up to Lisa R#18 and they'd only do a Top 10.  We gave him his own day, here's the first post.

At the time, it was complete tongue-in-cheek, but it's actually become serious. It's now no longer about mocking vanity, it's about celebrating HR/Talent pros you don't know enough about.

Today we are honoring Lisa Rosendahl.  I first became aware of Lisa back in 2008 or 2009, when she was early to the scene as one of the first HR bloggers.  Here's where you can find her:

lisarosendahl.com/
www.linkedin.com/in/lisarosendahl
instagram.com/lisarosend
twitter.com/lisarosendahl

Go check her out and follow her.  She's a good one.  

Lisa is a former U.S. Army Officer, current acting Associate Director for the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs responsible for HR. Lisa is also a writer at heart, and you can read her stuff on her blog at LisaRosendahl.com, where she writes about HR and Leadership. 

Lisa is an active advocate for HR in Minnesota and beyond. One of the original Women of HR writers, wife, mother and more.  Go check her out and follow her!


At FOT: "He's a Good Guy, Except for the Jihad" (Musings on The Burden of Action within HR)...

In case you missed it - I was up at FOT earlier this week with the following post “He’s a Good Guy, Except For The Jihad”… (The Burden of Action in HR)", which weaves things that organizations like the FBI hear with the crazy things people drop on HR all the time.

You hear something crazy - do you investigate or discount as an HR pro?  Drop over to my FOT post and we'll discuss.

Click the link to get the story - “He’s a Good Guy, Except For The Jihad”… (The Burden of Action in HR)".


KNOW YOUR HR STUFF: The Difference Between U3/U5/U6 Unemployment Rates

The economy is hot and the 2008/2009 recession feels distant, right?

That means now is a pretty good time to review the types of unemployment rates that are available out there for consumption. As it turns out, the one we usually hear about is an incomplete picture.  Here's a primer on unemployment rates that are available from the government and a chart that shows where we've been since 1995:

U3 is the official unemployment rate.

U5 adds on discouraged workers and all other marginally attached workers. These people are still unemployed, but not in the market for a variety of reasons.

U6 adds on those workers who are part-time purely for economic reasons.  

The U6 unemployment rate counts not only people without work seeking full-time employment (the more familiar U-3 rate), but also counts "marginally attached workers and those working part-time for economic reasons." Note that some of these part-time workers counted as employed by U-3 could be working as little as an hour a week, but they prefer full-time employment but haven't landed it yet. And the "marginally attached workers" include those who have gotten discouraged and stopped looking, but still want to work. The age considered for this calculation is 16 years and over

The current U6 unemployment rate as of December 2016 is 9.20, almost double from what's normally reported as the official U3 rate.  See historical chart below:

Unemployment rates

If you consider U6 "real" unemployment, it reached almost 18% post recession in 2009-10.  Damn.

I'd expect the gap between what's reported (U3) and the U6 rate to grow in the future, as the gig economy forces people to become part-time in an increasing variety of ways.

 


Uber: The Right HR Leader Depends On Your Company's Maturity...

This post previously appeared at my other site - Fistful of Talent.  I thought it was important enough to share here as well.

If there's one thing that's true in HR, it's that today's HR leader right for a company may not be right for the same company 3 years from now.  Things change. New leaders come in, new strategies are developed and deployed. And if you're really lucky, your company experiences exponential growth that causes you to need a different type of HR leader. Uber fits that example, and they just had a trade out - an early CHRO has left, and a new one - dramatically different - has entered.  Here's the rundown of the changeout I ran across on the web:

Uber is bringing in Liane Hornsey, a longtime VP at Google and current operating partner at SoftBank, to be its new Chief HR Officer.

The move gives Uber a seasoned executive with public company experience to help manage the $66 billion ride-hailing service's rapidly swelling ranks and to guide it through the various challenges facing startups as they evolve into giant businesses.

Travis Kalanick announced the hiring in an email to Uber employees on Friday, calling her "one of the most sought-after 'people people' in the world," according to a source inside the ride-hailing company.

Uber confirmed Hornsey's hire to Business Insider, but declined further comment. SoftBank and Hornsey didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

The opening at Uber, one of the fastest-growing companies in tech, became available in July when its former head of HR Renee Atwood left to join Twitter. Atwood had been at the company from when it was 605 employees to more than 5,000. 

Hornsey's LinkedIn shows she had spent nine years at Google as its Vice President of Global People Operations before she moved to being a VP on the sales side, reporting to Nikesh Arora. 

She followed Arora to SoftBank International in September 2015 to be its Chief Administrative Officer and operating partner, helping other startups with their HR needs. Arora left his position in June 2016, and now Hornsey's departure follows nearly six months after. Hornsey will start at Uber in January.

Couple of things come to mind here from an HR leadership perspective:

  1. If you go look at the profile of Renee Atwood (former CHRO at Uber, now at Twitter), you'll see a pretty good background.  Now go look at the background of Liane Hornsey.  They're different.  Neither one is right or wrong - they are just different. One's growth and the other one is more mature from a career perspective, focused on things that a 5,000 person company focuses on.
  2. Atwood joined Uber when it had 500 employees and left at the time it had grown to 5,000 (both FTE numbers do not count driving contractors).  Anyone in HR would tell you that those are two dramatically different companies as evidenced by the size and the fact that it's Uber only adds an exponential factor to that difference.
  3. Uber's a unicorn and increased market cap from $13B to $70B during Atwood's tenure.  Atwood chose to leave for a cool company in Twitter, albeit one that doesn't have a clear path moving forward.

I think Atwood's background is very strong.  Former client group leader at Citi and Google, got a great opportunity at Uber - I really like that progression. But Uber's issues today are dramatically different today than they were in 2014.  The fact they changed out the CHRO - a seemingly voluntary move by Atwood - is evidence pointing to the fact that the HR pro you have today may not be right for you tomorrow.

If you're a CEO out there, looking at your HR leader (and determining whether you still have a fit as you grow) should be as important as looking at your CFO fit for the stage your company is in.