ESPN Prez Wades Into Employee Political Identities with Jemele Hill Memo...

If you follow the media game (and in today's political environment where every outlet has a slant, it's hard not to), you might have seen that ESPN's Jemele Hill was out on her personal Twitter account calling the current POTUS a "white supremacist".

Here's the tweet (click through it you don't see it below, email subscribers):

Jemel

Of course, that led to a bunch of posturing, including conservatives wondering why someone like Linda Cohn (another ESPN anchor) was sent home/suspended for merely stating she thought the media outlet should be less focused on politics, while the Hill tweets were largely unaddressed by ESPN.  

From an HR perspective, I'm most interested in the intersection of someone's professional life and personal views, and how an organization navigates that.  Could Jemele Hill have been suspended or even fired?  Sure - but good luck with that with Trump as the target of her controversial comments. 

So ESPN is in a rough spot - highly visible employee makes comments sure to frustrate some of the base, but what can they do?  Well, ESPN did their best to continue to try and get in front of it with an internal memo.  More from the NY Post:

"ESPN president John Skipper sent a memo to all of the company’s employees late Friday afternoon (9/15/17), outlining his wish that ESPN remain an apolitical organization, regardless of outside perception.

“I want to remind everyone about fundamental principles at ESPN. ESPN is about sports. … We show highlights and report scores and tell stories and break down plays.”

“In light of recent events, we need to remind ourselves that we are a journalistic organization and that we should not do anything that undermines that position,” Skipper wrote in a memo obtained by Sports Illustrated. “We also know that ESPN is a special place and that our success is based on you and your colleagues’ work. Let’s not let the public narrative re-write who we are or what we stand for. Let’s not be divided in that pursuit. I will need your support if we are to succeed.”

Translation - your public views, even as a private citizen, can impact our success as a business.  And hey, I'm asking now - maybe next time I don't ask.  #stopplease

It's a well known fact of life that freedom of speech is alive and well - but just because that right is protected constitutionally doesn't mean your employer can't fire you if your stated views cause them problems with their client/customer base.

But as this column from former ESPN columnist Bill Simmons notes (once suspended himself for comments made publicly), the crazier the political environment gets, the harder it is to suspend/fire individuals for comments that might harm the business.

Interesting times.  Hit me in the comments with any craziness from employees you're seeing related to what I'll kindly call "this Trump thing"....


Early Data On Impact of Google for Jobs on Indeed Sponsored Listings...

As most of you are aware, the launch of Google for Jobs a few months back was thought to be a significant blow to Indeed for 2 reasons:

1--Indeed was not listed as a partner that would automatically have its jobs included/indexed in the Google for Jobs product, and

2--The presence of the Google for Jobs interface on search results for jobs pushes the once dominant SEO power of Indeed way below the fold, which means the ROI of Indeed spend should go Indeeddown over time.  Translation - the first thing candidates see won't be Indeed, which is like Uber customers losing access to its app.  In fact, they'll have to scroll a loooooong way down.

What's happening in the field?  At Kinetix, we manage our own Indeed spend as well as the Indeed spend of many of our RPO clients.  Here's what's happening across the Indeed spend we manage:

A--We currently have mixed results.  Some clients experienced a drop in results related to Indeed spend in August, while others did not.

B.  The Indeed spend at Kinetix actually improved (where we spend our own money to sponsor Kinetix jobs, as well as jobs for clients as part of our overall recruitment marketing spend).

Summary on Google for Jobs impact on Indeed - it's too early to tell.  In addition, keep the following in mind even if Indeed spend is impacted over time, which we and others expect:

--Even if Indeed performance goes down, it doesn't mean it's not still worthy of spend.  Taking a look at CPC (cost per click) and the resulting applies/hires, Indeed performance could drop and it's likely to still be worthy of budget compared to other places to spend your money.

--Indeed tactics will evolve over time to deal with the competitive threat.

--Active management of results and adjusting your Indeed strategy is key.  Companies who actively monitor their sponsored results at Indeed and make adjustments/changes are likely to perform better.  

In a twist of "you get what you deserve", the companies who don't monitor/adjust/tweak their Indeed spend are the most likely to wake up 3 years from now and wonder what happened.

We'll keep reporting what we see at Kinetix.


5 Ways To Determine If You'll Be Leading an HR Function in 2022...

The world is changing, and the people paying the bills want different things from HR.  Here's five things to look inward at and determine if you've got what it takes to lead an HR team and be a viable partner to the business leaders who will hire you in 2022. Remember, I'm talking about leading HR, not participating in running it:

1. You've got a mack daddy processor upstairs.  Meaning you can take large amounts of information in and make quick, accurate decisions.  Not IQ.  Speed with accuracy. 

2. You're as assertive as the salespeople in your organization.  Great HR people have always needed to be assertive, but the need for comfort with confrontation continues to escalate.  Bonus points if you can sell.

3. A comfort with no rules at all.  HR people have always been good at creating structure, but HR leaders are being asked to value structure less as we get further into this century.  You might hire people to do that for the function, but valuing structure over figuring stuff out on the fly for future HR leaders?  Things change too rapidly these days for the old status quo to stick.  High challenge, slightly ADHD HR leaders are on the rise.

4. You are organized enough at the leadership level to execute.  You'd think low rules means low details.  Actually, low rules with mid to high level detail orientation is in vogue.  It's called the ability dream AND to execute, baby.

5. You've got skin like a fat, old rhino (low sensitivity).  When you receive bad news or the rare glimmer of negative feedback, you're down for about 30 seconds and then you're moving on.  Companies are increasingly looking for HR leaders who aren't afraid to fail.  Failure is a necessary byproduct of attempting to add value.  Safe sucks increasingly these days.

Want an easy way to to score it?  Say yes or no to whether you really deliver each of 5 features, add up the yes votes and use this key:

+5 - Welcome to the club.  If you are who you say you are, I'd like your resume for my clients, even if you're 28 freaking years old.

+4 - Yes, please.  You missed on one thing - you're still a player.

+3 - I'm going to call you an HR "citizen".  Good enough to get what the business line owners are talking about. Missing a DNA strand or two, but servicalble.

+2 - The world needs ditch-diggers too.  There's still something for you to do in most HR departments with any size, but it's not leading the function.

+1 - Darwin called. He said the kids these days are growing the HR equivalent of opposable thumbs, and I don't see any thumb buds on the sides of your hand stumps.  Too bad.

That's my list of the behavioral traits I see in play as we move toward the middle of the decade.  Will there still be +1 and +2 HR leaders?  Yes.  

Will the replacements for those leaders look like their predecessors?  My intel says no way.  


Does Apologizing Make You Look Weak as an HR Pro?

I'm sorry to tell you this, but yes.

See what I did there?  I apologized in advance for telling you that you apologize too much as an HR pro.  THAT'S A PRO MOVE, PEOPLE. Apologize

But I digress.  Here's the deal - as HR pros, we're hard-wired to do things automatically that no one else wants to do - tell people nice job, recognize people for their contributions, listen to someone vent when no one else will, etc.

Because we do all those people friendly things, a lot of us apologize more than we should.

A candidate is late for an interview. The turnover numbers are bad. An employee is having a hard time with a challenging manager.

Because we are in the people business, a lot of us find ourselves apologizing for things out of habit - we are simply too nice.

I'm here to tell you to apologize less for the things outside of your control.  You're conditioning people to think that you're not a player - and you most certainly are.

In addition, you shouldn't apologize for things that are in your control if outside factors conspired to make what you delivered less than stellar.

Explain why?  Yes.

Talk about what you're adjusting?  Yes.

Apologize? No.

Stop being weak. The next time you feel like you're going to say, "I'm sorry" in a business setting, catch yourself and explain why it is what it is - and where you/we/they go from there.  

Image from Jessica Hagy at Fortune:

 


Not Blowing Sh*t Up At Work is Hard...

"You think this is hard?  This isn't hard.  You know what's hard?  Riding a bike on a freeway, now that's hard."

--Willard Sims, Head Basketball Coach, Truman State

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Yep - Willard Sims was my college basketball coach at NE Missouri (later renamed Truman State, because, you know, we can't let people think our mission is to simply serve the region we Gunnyreside in - the horrors!), and he had a way with a quote.

He also sounded like Clint Eastwood playing Gunny Highway in Heartbreak Ridge.  Great guy, Willard Sims.

Every time I think about what's hard in life, I think about Willard and that quote.

You know what else is hard?  Not blowing shit up at work.  Because the easiest path to address something is just to blow some shit up.  Observe:

1--I'm on a plane this week.  One of my talented direct reports responds to an email.

2--I get the email on a plane.  I type up a fact-filled observation about said team member's response.  Turns out, feedback is required and there's a bit of tunnel vision.  I'm on the road, so an email back from a plane somewhere on the way to Boston is how it's going to go down.

3--I get distracted by a huuuuuuuuuge basket of snacks.  You're not handing them to me, so I take what I want?  Multiple items?  I take enough to prepare for the next tropical event that impacts the SE United States.  

4--I'm back.  Where was I?  Oh yeah, direct feedback.  Let's do this.  I have a some observations you might be interested in.

5--F***.  GoGoInFlight my ###.  It's down again.  No immediate feedback for you.

6--I read the email after waking up the next day from the hotel.  Might have made someone feel bad if I sent that.  Context is hard via email.

The path of least resistance (for me!) is immediate feedback.  But immediate feedback with face-to-face communication is hard.  Misunderstandings ensue.

I never sent the email.  I put it in the journal and hope to give the feedback 1-1.  Hard to do when remote so much of the time.

Not blowing #### up as a road warrior employee/manager isn't easy.  But if you're not telling someone that they did something right before you give them the notes for improvement, you're probably asking for trouble.

The snacks?  They were excellent.  GoGo still sucks.


BOOM: Amazon Announces Intent to Build Second HQ in a City Outside of Seattle...

 

Damn!

Amazon announced on Thursday that it is planning to open another headquarters called Amazon HQ2 in US city TBD.

Amazon HQ2 will cost $5 billion and eventually house up to 50,000 Amazon staff, Amazon said in a press release.

Amazon said it wants HQ2 to be in a metropolitan area with a "stable and business friendly environment" and more than 1 million people. The company also wants HQ2 to be within 45 minutes of an international airport and in a location where there is potential to attract strong technical talent.

Amazon is inviting city representatives and those working for regional economic development organizations to submit a proposal if they want to host Amazon's second headquarters.

To me, the obvious choice is the ATL.  But I'm biased because that's my second home.  

I'll leave you with this - if you have any doubt of the economic impact of the Amazon HQ2, take a look at the numbers in the chart below related to their presence in Seattle.  This is a much/much/much bigger deal from an economic standpoint that a city landing a sports team.  It's probably the biggest economic development event that will happen in America in the next century.  (email subscribers click through if you don't see the chart below)

Let's go ATL.  Click on the chart below to blow it up and be amazed...

 

Amazon impact

 


3 Candidates: Know Your Role and Your Recruiting Strategy...

"The problem we're trying to solve is that there are rich teams and there are poor teams. Then there's fifty feet of crap, and then there's us. It's an unfair game. And you guys just sit around talking the same old "good body" nonsense like we're selling jeans. Like we're looking for Fabio. We've got to think differently. We are the last dog at the bowl. You see what happens to the runt of the litter? He dies."

--Billy Beane, Moneyball

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Recruiting is sales.  To be effective at either, you've got to know your market.

More importantly, you've got to know where you slot in within that marketplace.  Knowing both of these things allows you to create a recruiting strategy. Bell_curve

Without knowing the market, where you slot and your strategy, you're a spaz.  You're just flopping around and as you do that, you're wasting a lot of time and energy.

Let me give you an example - the following are three candidates, functional area doesn't matter.  Take a look at tell me which one you'd target for your company.

--Candidate A - the best candidate available.  Has the experience you need, but cost 120% of what you'd like to pay.  Works at a company that seems to have a better brand than yours.

--Candidate B - a good candidate with some experience you need, but not the perfect candidate "A" is.  Costs 105% of what you'd like to pay. Looks less accomplished than candidate "A".  Has only been at currently company for 15 months and is in the marketplace.

--Candidate C - recent grad with 18 months of semi-related experience in the area you need.  Can be acquired for 65% of Candidate "A".   No other details available.

Which one do you hire?

We're all attracted to "A", right?  We want all of that, but it's more than we can really pay and the candidate's used to being at a company with some brand swagger.  You, my friend, have no brand swagger.  

If you're chasing "A" without the means to satisfy them, you're going to be disappointed.

That's why the key for most of us is thinking about the options that remain - B or C - and creating a strategy around that.  Are we hiring experienced talent that we can afford and doing our best to pick the players from the rejects in this group, or are we saying "#### it" and committing to a strategy of hiring new grads - and creating the training/development that's necessary to bring the kids on?

If you can chase and land "A", good for you.  Most of you/us can't.  And yes, there are functional area considerations and many candidate profiles you could add to the list above.  Do that and come back to the question - what's your strategy?

Stop wasting time by knowing who you are and where you can be most effective in the talent game.

Knowing who you are and what you can land on the recruiting scene and then creating a strategy to deal with those realities is key.  You've got to make lemonade out of lemons. 

Or you can keep trying to date the hottest candidate and get crushed.


Are People Who Have 8-10 Years at Their Current Company Dinosaurs?

I think an interesting thing has happened when it comes to careers, and it's probably not a good thing.  People have historically judged you by switching jobs too often.  That's why I always counsel people to stick it out a year (preferably two) before jumping out of a less that perfect situation.

But in today's high change environment, there's another way candidates are getting judged:

Candidates who are approaching the decade mark (10 years) with the same company are increasingly being viewed as Get off my lawn being low-change, less-than-nimble dinosaurs.

Too harsh?  Well, I'm working on my 8th year at Kinetix, which far outlasts any other stop I've made in my career (previous record - 5.5 years.  I don't feel less nimble, but I can understand how the marketplace might think I'm "settled in."

"Settled in" is code for:

--set in my ways

--telling young kids to "get off my lawn" at work

--digging the long lunch

--not stirring up necessary change

--understanding it's "beer-thirty" somewhere.

OK, I'm an owner/investor at Kinetix, so maybe my situation is a bit different.  Like the Eagles once said, I can check out, but I can never leave - but I don't feel like I've checked out.

Unfortunately for those of my ilk (minus the ownership part) that would like to make a move - The 8-10 year professional grade worker who has risen to Director level, etc - the market might view them as settled in/tired.   For some, that's absolutely an accurate description.  For others, it's unfair.

If you're part of the latter group - open to a change but wearing the scarlet letter of too much time at your current company - there are things you can do to signal to the world that you don't sleep at work and could actually #### some #### up if they take a chance and hire you.  Things like:

1--update your LinkedIn profile (turn off notifications if you don't want your company to be notified)

2--write something that shows your passion for what you do

3--if you're cranking out killer work product that's non-proprietary, share the slides/excel/word docs publicly

4--participate in professional groups/events outside of work

What am I missing 1-company people?  What else can people who have been at the same place 8-10 years do to show they are open to new opportunities?  

It's hard being a middle-aged professional and straddling the line between being content and being eligible for the external game.

If you want to be in the external game, you've got to act accordingly.

Now get the #### off my lawn.


Stuff the Capitalist (aka KD) Likes: The Band "Against Me"

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.

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East and West could not agree
So their generals gave a call and gathered troops at the border Against_Me!_-_New_Wave_cover
With guns ready, drawn and aimed
each side was praying to a God 
to bless them with strength and courage
it was in His name that artillery lit the sky on fire
the people sang protest songs to try and stop the soldier's gun

Protest Songs in a response to Military Aggression
Protest songs to try and stop the soldier's gun
But the battle raged on......

--White People for Peace, Against Me

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Yep, I'm a moderate republican and the CD this song was on was in my car for almost two years.  Not only was it in my car, but I played it every night for a full year as I took my kids to and from sport practices.  It got engrained in their heads to the point were it showed up in my YouTube music flow recently and guess what?  Both my sons could still sing the chorus to "White People for Peace":

Protest Songs in a response to Military Aggression
Protest songs to try and stop the soldier's gun
But the battle raged on...

Life is funny.  We're fans of the military in casa Dunn and have a lot of pride in our country.  Yet my kids know the words to this chorus?

Let's back up.  The year is 2007 and Mrs. Capitalist and I went to a Foo Fighters concerts.  Floor general admission meant we got there early and there was a band we never heard of opening up not for the Foos, but for the listed opener - Jimmy Eat World.  It was Against Me.  I liked the music so much I bought the CD and put it in the car.  It got played hundreds of times because music was already moving digital at the time and I didn't carry a lot of CDs around.

So my kids learned the words.  Not only to WPFP, but to Thrash Unreal, New Wave and Up The Cuts.  I just missed out on "Dad of the Year" in 2008 as a result.  LOL.  

Against Me wasn't without HR Connections.  In 2012, the lead singer - Tom Gabel - came out as a transgender woman and did a name change to Laura Jane Grace.  The band has continued to tour and produce music, it's just fronted by Laura Jane instead of Tom.  While I don't really know much about transgender issues, I can tell you that early exposure to Tom moving to Laura Jane made me pretty open to the transgender conversation.  And yes, knowing all the words to WPFP made me more open to the protecting the very American right to protest.  That's come in handy recently...

Here's another lyric set from the CD, from Thrash Unreal:

If she wants to dance and drink all night
Well, there's no one that can stop her
She's going till the house lights come up or her stomach spills onto the floor
This night is gonna end when we're damn well ready for it to be over
 
You get mixed up with the wrong guys
You get messed up on the wrong drugs
Sometimes the party takes you places that you didn't really plan on going
When people see the track marks on her arm, she knows what they're thinking
She keeps on working for that minimum
As if a high school education gave you any other options, you know
 
Actually, I always skipped that one with the 7 and 4 year-old Dunn boys in the car.  Gotta have some standards.  #dadoftheyear
 

The Top 10 Reasons Recognition Programs Fail...

A valued reader weighs in below on why Recognition programs fail in reaction to this column I wrote over at Workforce.com... Thanks Ron!

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At 75, I have witnessed several formal Recognition Programs and have seen the flaws in all of them.   The downsides overweigh the upsides. Trophies

1. There is never a substitute for daily recognition from the boss – it is personal and real time.  Anything else is Management by Gimmick. 

2. Bosses are stingy with their thank-you’s because there is a formal program.

3. Recognition Programs typically evolve into personality contests.  Introvert contributors tend to get ignored.

4. For every winner, there are many losers and they feel like losers after the gala is over.

5. The losers tend to downgrade the alleged contributions made by the winners.

6. Instead of emulating the winners, the average person does what they always do.

7. The awards are not always  treasured by the winners, ala, give me money, not a parking space.

8. Most of the programs I have seen evolve into peer recognition programs due to the many flaws in the top down programs which become apparent.

9. The peer programs fade away too, because they are very popularity-driven.

10. A process of every manager of Catching People Doing Things Right is 10X more powerful.

I would have liked your dad.  My dad was a college teacher and I heard his shoes hitting the ground everyday too.  I also learned my work ethic from him.  External hoopla meant nothing to him and he didn’t wear a blue collar.

Employees are starved for meaningful work, a larger purpose and the need for a good boss.  Article after article are saying that employees leave bosses, not companies even the companies with Recognition Programs.

Ron
Ronald Ulrici
HR Director