People Who Create Find New Ways To Thrive. People Who Manage Process Top Out. That's Life.

To say that I was a little late watching "The Wolf of Wall Street" is an understatement.  Released in 2013, I didn't see it until last week and then suffered through a 4-hour FX version that had 5 minute commercial breaks.  Thankfully, it was DVR time.

I was underwhelmed by the movie.  I get it- Jordan Belfort is a pathological criminal who we're supposed to go back and forth between hating and admiring - "Look! Jordan's great at pumping the troops up!! I just wish he didn't need a half pound of blow to do it, don't you????"

So the movie was a wash for me - right up until the end.  That's when two scenes that underscore a couple of big lessons on talent play out that saved it in my eyes.

To understand and put the final scenes in context, you have to remember that there's a boat scene a little past halfway in the movie when Belfort invites a FBI agent on the boat to try and bribe him.  The FBI agent is played by Kyle Chandler (the coach from Friday Night Lights).  In the scene, Belfort lets the FBI agent know that he has information on the agent's background - that he started out as a stockbroker, but got out early.  He then asks the FBI agent if he ever looks around the subway car when he's on his way home and wonders what might have been - a straight up call to the agent's relative poverty.  The scene ends with Belfort unsuccessful in his bribery attempt.

Flash forward to the end of the movie.  Belfort goes to trial and is convicted and taken into custody.  Two scenes happen after that that underscore the following reality:

People Who Create Find New Ways To Thrive. People Who Manage Process Top Out. That's Life.

Here are your scenes:

-The FBI Agent (Chandler) is riding home on the subway - either that night or the next day - and reads the paper with the headline about Belfort's conviction and sentence.  With Mrs. Robinson from Simon and Garfunkel playing in the background, he looks up from the paper, looks around the car at all the people grinding it out and obviously remembers Belfort's question to him about "what might have been."

-The end of the movie features Belmont's supposed career reinvention after he's released from prison - guess what?  He's now embarked on a speaking career as a sales trainer for people willing to pay 1K to hear him speak - so he can help them unlock the sales tiger within.  Classic.

My take is pretty simple.  It goes to show how unfair the world can be when a criminal can reinvent themselves and have a successful career taking money from people AFTER he's released from prison for the same thing.

But life's not fair. In the talent game, those who have the ability to create within their field will always find new ways to perform and earn.  Those who can't?  Well, they run the risk of topping out in what they do.  

As I get older, I'm no longer willing to applaud the Belforts of the world.  But it underscores a pretty important point to what the market values most - creation of value, OR the perception of creation of value.  I'm not celebrating it, but in the end of this movie, that's your payoff for suffering through a bunch of drug usage and the celebration of ripping people off.

The end of the movie appears below (email subscribers click through for video).  Push the dial ahead to :31 if you're in a hurry, 3 to 4 minutes of video for the perspective - worth your time.


SIMPLE HACKS: Your Initial Call to a Passive Candidate (One Who Didn't Apply)...

I'm not going to lie - I had a couple of rough "first" calls earlier in my career as a young professional.

The first one was doing customer service as a youngster for a wireless company while I was going back to get my MBA.  I went through three weeks of professional training and then the first live call came to me when I was on the floor on my own. Phone

I froze like a deer in headlights.  Couldn't even say my intro.  I disconnected them and gathered myself.  I'm guessing that didn't help the NPS scores, right?

I was young and relatively dumb.  But still, c'mon.  I froze.

Flash forward to my first call working as a recruiter for a contingency firm.  Still remember the call.  I cold-called a candidate from the database and proceeding to blather way too long to some type of IT Administrator, back in the day when that position had a form of market power.

I went on and on.  The candidate - a female - was way too nice and allowed me to do it.  It was as bad as just hanging up, maybe worse.  

Which brings me to the point of today's post.  What's a simple call strategy in a seller's market to connect with a passive candidate in the first 30 seconds of a cold-call to them?  After all, if you get them to pick up the phone, you're likely a nuisance in the course of their day.  You've got to say something in the first 30 seconds that makes them want to talk to you.

For me, it's simple - here's what I would do to hook a passive candidate in the first 35 seconds (I gave you an extra 5):

1.  Tell them why you are calling - 10 seconds.  Who you are, who you work for and what the your company does.

2.  Tell them about the job - 15 seconds.  Name of position, location and some company details - even if you can't give them the company name (for my recruiting agency friends).

3.  Tell them one thing you see on their resume or LinkedIn profile that makes them different from other candidates you've talked to - 10 seconds.

The key, of course, is blazing through #1 and #2 and getting to #3.  Vanity is the key, my friends.

Nobody wants to talk to a robot.

Nobody wants to talk to a transaction.

Everyone is willing to spend a little bit of time with someone who understands that something in their background is unique. 

To tell them who you are and about the job in 25 seconds requires a script, rehearsal and discipline.  But it's required.

Imagine getting through that in one breath and then saying, "I saw your resume and absolutely loved the fact you worked at <_______>.  My experience is that people who spend 2+ years at <________> end up doing some great things in their career."

Lead with that, then stop talking.  But it can't be bullshit - you actually have to have a take.

Try it on your next passive candidate call, and if you don't call anyone who doesn't apply for you job - how about trying to sell your job to someone who doesn't apply?

KD out. 

 

 


Here's 3 Things You Can Do With Talent Claiming "Disruptor" Status...

If you're in the business of thinking about management and leadership, you'll get this post.

We love to celebrate the disruptors, right?  Big ideas, crazy results, etc. Rainman

Of course, the dirty little secret is that we only love the disruptors that don't get capped at the knees by the cultures they are trying to change.  The disruptors who don't make it?  We hate them.

We only celebrate the disruptors who make it.  The ones who don't are freaks/abnormals/cancers.  To tell the difference, you probably need to focus on the ideas rather than the behavior.

On my mind today related to this great post on LinkedIn by Bob Lyons (read it all, but here's a snippet):

"The legend of Steve Jobs is immortal. There have been countless articles, books and movies made about him and the way he founded and ran Apple. He was such a hard ass, he got fired from his own company in 1985. The establishment people he personally hired and surrounded himself with said they wanted him out. These were not strangers he inherited. How bad did it have to be for that to happen? In 1997 , on the verge of bankruptcy, Apple acquired the company Jobs created and made him CEO once again. Shortly after, products like the iPod, and iPhone started to hit the market. Apple even created a phenomenal customer centric experience through its Apple Stores unlike any consumers had experienced before (and some say since). Jobs certainly goes down as one of the great disruptors of our time, but going through it during its formative years was considered "hell on earth."

Bob's got some other great examples in his post so go check it out.

I'll leave you with this from my notebook after thinking about Bob's post:

Shit stirrer + no good ideas = fire immediately.

Shit stirrer + good ideas = incubate from rest of company and find mentor to round the corners.  Fire later if experiment fails in epic fashion.

Shit stirrer + good ideas + ability to execute through others = execute employment contract and find handler similar to Tom Cruise handling Dustin Hoffman in Rainman.

KD out.


THE WORLD'S SALARY CAP: Labor's Share of GDP Across the Globe...

Here's some deep thoughts for today.

If you're a professional sports fan, you know all about the concept of a salary cap, which is defined by Wikipedia as follows in sports:

In professional sports, a salary cap (or wage cap) is an agreement or rule that places a limit on the amount of money that a team can spend on players' salaries. It exists as a per-player limit or a total limit for the team's roster, or both. Several sports leagues have implemented salary caps, using it to keep overall costs down, and also to maintain a competitive balance by restricting richer clubs from entrenching dominance by signing many more top players than their rivals. Salary caps can be a major issue in negotiations between league management and players' unions, and have been the focal point of several strikes by players and lockouts by owners and administrators.

So what? The concept of a salary cap can be transferred to the business world in a couple of different ways:

1--Your company has a salary cap.  It's called the headcount budget, and the cap is all the budgeted money in that headcount budget.

2--Countries across the world don't have a salary cap, but they have something close - it's called Labor's Share of GDP.

What is Labor's Share of GDP?  It's defined as the following:

The wage share can be defined in various ways, but empirically it is usually defined as total labor compensation or labor costs over nominal GDP or gross value added.

The wage share is countercyclical; that is, it tends to fall when output increases and rise when output decreases. Despite fluctuating over the business cycle, the wage share was once thought to be stable, which Keynes described as "one of the most surprising, yet best-established facts in the whole range of economic statistics." However, the wage share has declined in most developed countries since the 1980s.

So add up all the compensation to labor, compare it to Gross Domestic Product (a measure of a country's economy), and you've got Wage Share/Labor's Share of GDP.  Which also serves as a floating salary cap of sorts for your country.

It's interesting to note that Wage Share/Labor's Share of GDP goes up and down and has been falling since the 80's in developed countries.  Take a look at these graphs from France, the UK and the USA from a paper on Labor Share in the G20:

Labor share

If you look at those graphs, you'll see the history of Labor share in those 3 countries, which also gives you some history to which national economies have endured the most change, which economies have a bigger safety net for labor in the midst of global change, etc.  France started at an 80% labor share of GDP and after a brief dip, is right back there.  The UK and the USA started a similar places, but safety nets in the UK have held the line lately at a 70%+ labor share, while the USA is in a bit of a free fall towards a 60% labor share.

Is that healthy for the USA?  Gordon Gekko would say yes, but rational, normal people would have to say no.  Thinking about all the changes that have occurred in our economy - global outsourcing, offshoring, tech deployment in place of human capital - and it's clear that we've been one of the most aggressive developed countries in those areas, and that's left our labor force with a much smaller share of our GDP, and likely has widened the gap between the "haves" and "have nots".

Note - I'm a moderate republican.  I'm not hating on the fact that America has less regulation than other countries - but - this type of change related to Labor Share of GDP has consequences for any economy/society over time.  You can't ignore that and it's worth being educated about the differences.

So America has a salary cap of sorts - call Labor's Share of GDP.  It's not a hard cap, it's been falling for a time and when you think about it from a sports perspective, it basically means this - in America, a higher percentage of the money in the economy goes to owners of capital rather than employees.

By the way, if you're wondering what labor's share of revenue (salary cap) is for American professional sports, a quick scan shows 47% in the NFL and 53% in the NBA.  Major League Baseball doesn't have a salary cap.

Mommas, don't let your babies grow up to be Cowboys - or unskilled labor.


ASK THE CAPITALIST: Are "Acting" or "Interim" Titles Ever A Good Idea?

A reader asks...

Hi Kris -

Do you have an opinion on the use of “acting” in title?  A situation has come up where two ppl in an org would be made “acting”…one person – we’ll call her Abby - would be moving into here boss's role and the boss (Maggie) would be moving to a higher level position.  Maggie didn’t seek out the new role, it was offered to her when the position opened up.  It’s fair to say that Maggie has already been somewhat serving in the higher level position, but without the title or pay, which is why she is the CEO’s pick to fill the role.  As part of succession planning, Abby has been groomed for Maggie’s role for years.  The rub is that the CEO isn’t sure whether she’s the right person to take over for Maggie so he wants to make Abby “acting” and feels it would be cleaner if Maggie is “acting” too.  FWIW, the CEO asked Maggie to commit two years to the role and Maggie has agreed to one year and reevaluating at that time.  Any strong opinions on this?

--Sarah from Syracuse

----------

Hey Sarah - 

Well, you've got a lot going on, don't you?

Here’s my take on the use of acting in this situation. Lucy

1. “Acting” in any role is a crutch when you either aren't sure someone can do the job, or 100% know that it won’t work out, but you need the butt in the seat.

2.  In the scenario you’ve laid out, your CEO’s use of acting for Abby seems appropriate, but if the CEO is sure that Maggie is a fit, he should place her in the role without the interim tag.  She’s already got a commitment issue to the role you want her to move into, and the “acting” tag is going to allow her to bail mentally if times get tough.

3.  I’d put Abby into the “acting” role for a quarter and make definitive call at that time.  If you drag it out past that, odds are you’ll end up with commitment and employee relations issues from Abby as well.

4.  What happens at the end of the one year period for Maggie if she doesn't want to stay in the job? I’d avoid talking about periods of commitment for specific jobs, it just leads to the aforementioned commitment issues once that period is up.

5. Will you take care of Maggie if she’s key and it doesn’t work out?  Sure. I’m just not convinced that talking about a one or two year commitment is the right way to go.  Stalin had a 5-year plan – that didn’t work out well for him.

Bottom line – put Abby in the “acting” tag and make your call in 3 months, at the same time put Maggie in the higher role with no “acting” tag and stop acting like she has the ability to come back down the org, even if she secretly does.

It’s all Jedi-mind tricks and Doug Henning-like illusions in the show.

KD

 


Jobvite 2018 Recruiting Benchmark Report: How Do Your Funnels Look?

If there's one ATS that does a nice job reporting trends, it's Jobvite

Every year they release a Recruiting Benchmark Report offering a unique combination of data and guidance: summary and analysis of industry benchmark data, along with strategic advice to help you measure, improve and optimize every step of the recruiting funnel.

They've got the data - the report is based on quantitative and qualitative analysis of 2017 data from Jobvite’s massive database of more than 55 million job seekers and 17 million applications and includes year-over-year benchmark data by company size, by revenue, by source of applicants and hires, and by industry. The report is objective, it’s free, and it’s your guide on how to improve your recruiting process.

Go download the Jobvite 2018 Recruiting Benchmark Report by clicking here!!!!

--------

Now onto my analysis form the report.  Based on companies that use their system, here's what Jobvite shows as the benchmarked state of the Recruiting Funnel - namely, how many applicants companies are getting and how many they interview to get a hire on average.  

Here's the 3 year tracking data from Jobvite (email subscribers click through if you don't see the image below):

Jobvite2018funnel

What's it all mean?  Here's what I see:

--Applicants per job are down, which makes sense given the hot economy.

--Companies are interviewing an average of 3.5 candidates per job to get a hire, and 90% of the offers are being accepted. 

--Time to fill is down slightly even as the economy continues to heat up, which may mean companies are settling for less than stellar talent at times.

This data matches what we saw at Kinetix (my recruiting company) across 4500 hires for clients last year.  At Kinetix, our data follows our Show/Screen/Hire model, which goes something like this:

Need an overview/executive summary metric that makes sense?  Here's a metric you can provide that's part metric, part statement and part "please look at the big picture."  I call it "The Screen/Show/Hire Statement", and it's designed to take all the noise out of your recruiting metrics.  Here's a real life example of how that plays out at Kinetix (my recruiting company):

Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 3.17.43 PM

So that's the recruiting funnel for a single department in an RPO relationship, and it could also be an annual report overall for a smaller RPO engagement.

There's a lot of info in that picture, but the lead is what you see in box at top - "We screen 49 candidates, show you 7 to 8, you hire 1."

That's The Screen/Show/Hire Statement, and it's designed to show you how healthy a search process is.  Those numbers mean for this client we would make 7 submittals, and out of those 7 submittals, the hiring manager would make 1 hire.  

The Screen/Show/Hire Statement is more of a headline than a metric, but it belongs in the metric family because I haven't seen it.  It's designed to report the number and say, "how do you feel about that?"

The recruiting funnel we show for one of our clients is pretty average - we generally show 6-7 candidates via submittal, our clients interview 3 and hire one.

So the missing link to the Jobvite data - and a question you should ask from a recruiting service level perspective - is how many resumes/submittals are your recruiters providing to your hiring managers?  If it's more than our number (6 to 7), odds are your recruiters are asking the hiring managers to do the real work of recruiting, which isn't great from branding perspective for your HR/recruiting team.

Great data in this report -go check it out now!  Download here!

 


Lesson #3 From #MarchMadness: Unique Talent Helps Cinderella Hang With The Big Boys...

Capitalist Note: Throwing a couple of talent/business lessons I was reminded of as I watched the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament this year.  March Madness has something for all of us.  I think this is the last one - enjoy!

My job would be great if it weren't for the people.

I kid.  HR people think that from time to time, but actually, people are our most valuable resource.  Who just groaned?  I heard that! Cinderella-bracket

I'm going to change that last quote a little bit.  The right people are our most valuable resource.  Which brings me to the third lesson I heard loud and clear from the first weekend of March Madness:

Talent Lesson #3 from March Madness - Great individual talent can overcome huge disadvantages in company size and resources when it comes to your competitors.  If you ever find yourself going up against Microsoft, Google or whoever the 800-pound gorilla is inside your industry, never forget that a key hire with high talent can help you win more than your share regardless of the product or service you're providing.  This is shown to be true time and time again in March Madness as well.  Whether it's UMBC beating Virginia or Buffalo taking down Arizona, once you step onto the court, only five players can play. Get yourself some great talent and unbelievable things can happen.

The right time to pay more for talent isn't when someone asks for more money.  The right time to pay more for talent is when that talent allows you to play above your weight as a company.

Make the right hire, and all the sudden you can hang on a limited basis with Microsoft, Google or whoever the 800-pound gorilla is inside your industry.  Of course, paying more doesn't mean the candidate in question is going to help you do that.  You might find the most powerful candidate at a level below what you're looking for, just waiting for the promotion that gives them the opportunity to shine.

How good are you at evaluating talent?  Do you know the difference between the candidate who will help you take on the world vs the candidate who wants more money but doesn't help you transcend ###t?

That's why talent selection is part art and part science.  Every low seed left in the NCAA Basketball Tournament has a player that they didn't deserve on paper, but ended up at the school in question.

The more of this type of talent you find and sign, the more you win.  The more you hang with the big boys and girls. 

#survive_and_advance 

 

 

 


Miss Robin - A Story on the Value of Employee Retention...

Take a look at this Instagram post below (email subscribers, click through if you can't see it) and I'll tell you more after the jump:

So here's your backstory on this-- I spoke Monday in Atlanta in front of a large group of franchise owners at Primrose Learning Centers.  The Dunn's are former Primrose parents, and
IMG_3669happy ones at that.  So I was excited when Primrose choose my company (Kinetix) to provide Recruiting and HR services for the parent company, which is headquartered in Atlanta.

That would have been enough.  But when pulling together my presentation, I got to tell a great story.  Drew Dunn, my oldest, was a Primrose student for 5+ years before he entered Kindergarten.  He was at Primrose from 2000-2005.  

Flash forward to 2017.  Mrs. Dunn and I are headed somewhere with Drew and he wants to pull into a Taco Bell (that's his hangout, don't judge) to get a drink.  So we pull in there and notice that it's taking a long time for him to get that Mt. Dew.  We look in and see him talking to an adult.  Another couple of minutes pass and he walks out with someone we immediately recognize as a former Primrose teacher - Miss Robin!

Miss Robin (pictured above ) recognized Drew- 13 years after she was his teacher at a Primrose school - and picked him out of a crowd! She’s still at Primrose. How many referrals do you think they will get from us based on the power of that?

Who needs facial recognition from a computer when you have Miss Robin?

That's the most powerful lead I could have for my presentation - The power of committed employees is remarkable, which makes hiring AND retention key.

Looking forward to helping Primrose find better ways to locate talent that makes a difference in our world.  The more people like Miss Robin they can find, the stronger they will be!


What Was the First Day of the Rest of Your Professional Life?

Not going to lie - I'm underwater with work today.  Enjoy this blast from the past and be sure to read the comments...

I'm on a little bit of a Dave Grohl kick - as evidenced by this post I did with a money quote from Grohl that really nails how people become world-class at anything (get your first instruments, start practicing your craft and suck, but keep coming back because you're having fun, etc.)

Grohl is basically a proponent of the 10,000 hour rule.  With that in mind, I've got a question for you today: First day rest of your life

"What Was the First Day of the Rest of Your Professional Life?"

Not following me?  Check out the following clip from Grohl at SXSW where he did a keynote (thanks to multiple readers who sent me the link to this) - I've set it to the point where he talks about the first day of the rest of his life.  Click here to listen to the story - it involves a punk rock relative and a trip to Chicago.  I start it at 14:05, listen to at least 16:40 to hear the reference.

The first day of the rest of your life.  What does that mean?  It means what was the inflexion point in your life where you found purpose and challenge that would define who you are for the rest of your life?

What was the first day of the rest of my professional life?  I think there are two:

1.  I was a sophomore in high school and took a roadtrip with some juniors and seniors from our small town to the University of Missouri to play basketball for a weekend - pickup, ragtag hoops in the on-campus rec center.  Figured out I could hang at a young age, and that cemented a work ethic that would allow me to chase hoops in a way that resulted in playing college baskeball on full scholarship, but more importantly gave me the abilty to chase things I really believe in with a singular, dogged focus.  Almost OC in some ways. It's served me well as a transferable skill, but that's the first time I found it - after that day.

2. I was living in St. Louis as a 29-year old and trying to get back to the Southeast and in networking with some BellSouth Executives they said the following: "Kris, we don't have anything we can put you in within Marketing, but we've got this HR Manager spot.  You used to be a college basketball coach, right?  Why don't you try that?"

DING.  It was the first day of the rest of my professional life.  I have to say the ride has been fun, and I can't imagine myself doing anything else.

What was the first day of the rest of the your professional life?  Hit me in the comments (or in email as many do) and tell me when it all changed for you.


HR CAPITALIST DEFINITIONS: "Edge City" (with notes on Amazon Moving to ATL)...

With all the competition for Amazon's second headquarters (dubbed HQ2) and with Atlanta (home of Kinetix, the company I own part of) being in the mix, I thought I'd share one of my favorite books of all time and give you a Capitalist definition while we are at it.

Edge City is the term.  I picked up the book by the same name over 20 years ago at a bookstore when heading to the beach for a vacation.  The book became one of my all time ATLfavorites, and the definition changed how I viewed the business world forever.  Here's a description of the term, as well as details about the concept.  Take a look and we'll talk about Atlanta/Amazon after the jump.

"Edge city" is an American term for a concentration of business, shopping, and entertainment outside a traditional downtown (or central business district) in what had previously been a residential or rural area. The term was popularized by the 1991 book Edge City: Life on the New Frontier by Joel Garreau, who established its current meaning while working as a reporter for the Washington Post. Garreau argues that the edge city has become the standard form of urban growth worldwide, representing a 20th-century urban form unlike that of the 19th-century central downtown. Other terms for these areas include suburban activity centers, megacenters, and suburban business districts.

In 1991, Garreau established five rules for a place to be considered an edge city:

  • Has five million or more square feet (465,000 m²) of leasable office space.
  • Has 600,000 square feet (56,000 m²) or more of leasable retail space.
  • Has more jobs than bedrooms.
  • Is perceived by the population as one place.
  • Was nothing like a "city" as recently as 30 years ago. Then it was just bedrooms, if not cow pastures."

Most edge cities develop at or near existing or planned freeway intersections, and are especially likely to develop near major airports. They rarely include heavy industry. They often are not separate legal entities but are governed as part of surrounding counties (this is more often the case in the East than in the Midwest, South, or West). They are numerous—almost 200 in the United States, compared to 45 downtowns of comparable size—and are large geographically because they are built at automobile scale.

The book is organized by chapters that dig into various Edge Cities in America, including Tyson's Corner, Houston's Galleria area and more.  Because the book came out in 1991 - you can preview the whole book on Amazon (irony) without buying.

What's the big deal about Edge Cities for HR?  The biggest impact they have is what I call "recruiting center of gravity" - my term, not in the book.

Commute preferences change in metro areas as Edge Cities come online and continue to grow.  In Atlanta - home of Kinetix - Edge Cities like Buckhead, Perimeter and Galleria have pushed the employment center of gravity north, to the point where a study I did in 2009 showed that the location preferred by the greatest number of candidates across Atlanta was the Perimeter, located at 12 o'clock on I-285, the perimeter loop that surrounds downtown Atlanta.

But back to Amazon.  You might expect that given the northbound trend of Edge Cities in Atlanta, Amazon would be looking for a location in the north suburbs.  You'd be wrong, primarily because the airport is south of downtown.  As a result, the patch of land proposed for Amazon is connected to downtown near the old Georgia Dome location in an area called The Gulch.

Edge Cities apply to everyone but Amazon - because 50,000 jobs has its own gravity that transcends the Edge City formula.

Quick math - if the average office space formula calls for 170 feet of office space per employee/worker, the HQ2 project would stand at 8.5 million feet of leasable/owned real estate to support 50,000 employees.

You know - the equivalent of 14 Edge Cities described by Garreau.

As they said in Jaws - we're going to need a bigger boat.