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!!
We all like to think our culture is special. Some of us talk about our culture without really doing anything to support it. Others work hard at culture, to the point where the cynic would claim there’s a cult-like feel to what’s created.
The dirty little secret?
Whether you throw some stuff up on your website as an afterthought or have full time HR pros chasing culture as the sole purpose of their job, the truth about your culture lies somewhere in the middle of what you say it is and how the most cynical, jaded employees react to your cultural framing.
The truth always lies somewhere in the middle. You know this as the strong HR pro you are.
"The offices bear a striking resemblance to the Montessori preschool that my kids attended: lots of bright basic colors, plenty of toys, and a nap room with a hammock and soothing palm tree murals on the wall. The office-as-playground trend was made famous by Google and has spread like an infection across the tech industry. Work can’t just be work; work has to be fun. HubSpot is divided into “neighborhoods,” each named after a section of Boston: North End, South End, Charlestown.
One neighborhood has a set of musical instruments, in case people want to have an impromptu jam session, which Zack says never happens. Every neighborhood has little kitchens, with automatic espresso machines, and lounge areas with couches and chalkboard walls where people have written things like “HubSpot = cool” alongside inspirational messages like “There is a reason we have two ears and one mouth. So that we listen twice as much as we speak.”
Click through that link above and go read the entire excerpt form the book at Fortune. Need a cynical view of how cultural brainwashing occurs for new hires? Lyons has that too:
"Our head trainer is Dave, a wiry, energetic guy in his forties with a shaved head and a gray goatee. On the first day we all go around and introduce ourselves, and tell everyone about something that makes us special. Dave’s thing is that he plays in a heavy-metal cover band on weekends.
Dave is part teacher and part preacher. Every two weeks he gets a batch of new recruits, and he goes through the same spiel, showing the same slides, telling the same jokes. He’s good at it. He loves HubSpot, he tells us, unabashedly. He’s had lots of jobs, and this is by far the best place he’s ever worked. This company has changed his life. He hopes it will change ours as well."
“We’re not just selling a product here,” Dave tells us. “HubSpot is leading a revolution. A movement. HubSpot is changing the world. This software doesn’t just help companies sell products. This product changes people’s lives. We are changing people’s lives.”
Lyons, who was the cynic behind the twitter account FAKE STEVE JOBS, was prepared to stick a dagger in HubSpot from early on. Perhaps he didn’t set out to do this, but he kept his options open and Hubspot never challenged full completion of his new hire paperwork.
One last dagger from the book and situation. Fortune reports that the hiring executive is Mike Volpe, and he was terminated from Hubspot when he attempted to get an advance copy of the book:
"Dan Lyons left HubSpot in December 2014. He never signed the nondisparagement and nondisclosure paperwork the company gave him. (HubSpot says it won’t comment on employee agreements.) On July 29, 2015, HubSpot issued a press release saying its CMO, Mike Volpe—the man called “Cranium” in Lyons’s book—had been terminated because he “violated the Company’s Code of Business Conduct and Ethics” in his “attempts to procure” a copy of a book involving HubSpot, presumably the book excerpted above, a fact that HubSpot confirmed with Fortune."
Let that sink in a bit. t’s hard to know what Hubspot really believes. A person of dubious intent comes to the company and writes a harsh book. The executive who’s not named directly but everyone knows who he is tries to get a copy of the book to assess damage – and gets fired.
I hope there was more to that situation than simply trying to get an advance copy of the book.
I offer up these accounts to have everyone breath deeply when it comes to culture. If you work hard at culture, just know what you think you are creating is not the reality. Something between the cynic's take and what you think it is is the reality.
After all, it’s work. And the middle doesn’t have to be a bad thing.
Get your new hire paperwork signed – all of it – and don’t hire ambitious journalists.
Stereotypes. Sometimes they're out there because they're true.
The safest place to talk about stereotypes in the workplace involving race and gender is to to talk about the demographics you belong to.
I'm a white guy, so I'll give you a workplace stereotype that is 100% true - and curious - about white guys.
White guys who have reached a certain level in their career ALWAYS have a blue blazer as a core part of their wardrobe.
Book it, Dano. It's true. White guys buy blue blazers in their 30's and 40's like most women of the same age watch the Lifetime and Home & Garden channels on TV. Which is to say early and often.
Why do white guys matriculate to blue blazers? I'm basically a workplace anthropologist, and here's what I've learned about white guys and blue blazers:
--Younger white guys buy blue blazers as a form of modeling the behavior of their older white guy elders...
--At a certain earning level, people of all genders and races start becoming customer facing - either in a sales process or in client work. The blue blazer represents the lowest common denominator in corporate dress - you can put a tie with it if necessary or you can dress it down. Nobody ever got fired back in the day for buying IBM - and no one every gets fired for showing up with the blue blazer.
--The blue blazer is a staple that allows for flexibility across companies. Look at any private equity or venture capital firm on the high end of the earning tree and you'll see the blue blazer. Look anywhere on the lower end of the services and consulting chain and there it is - white guy in the blue blazer. Check.
--You can show up to any meeting and immediately adjust. Blue blazer in play as you walk in and find everyone is wearing jeans? Just pop that blazer off and... wait for it... I was prepared for this because now I'm sitting there in a dress shirt with no tie and my shirts sleeves rolled up. I did that before I walked into this meeting. I'm just like you guys and gals - except for the fact that I have a blue blazer - which is now on a side chair.
--There are some subtle differences across ages. Old guys love a blue blazer with gold buttons and generally have it tailored. Younger guys generally go blue buttons and make fun of the gold button crowd.
Nothing says professional white guy like a blue blazer. If you're a white guy and see another white guy in a blue blazer, give him a nod like the members of Project Mayhem did to each other in Fight Club. If you're not a white guy, just grin when you see one of us doing what we do.
Steve Jobs was brutal in many ways, but with his brutality came moments of pure clarity. This quote is one of those moments.
The stale way to make the same point is obvious - "Why do you want to go work for that big company? They're going to bury your talent. You know all those ideas you have? You won't get to chase any of them at IBM. They'll just pod you up in the matrix and suck your energy over the next decade, leaving you a husked-out former version of yourself."
Wait - that's actual pretty good. A more standard version is "You're going to there and be bored immediately."
Still, I like the clarity of the Jobs quote. If you're working for a smaller firm, you need every competitive advantage you can get as you fight for the hires you need. This quote, while not perfect, is a good tool to have.
It just so happens that the only people that it works on are the people who are actually inclined to believe that they're more than cogs in the corporate wheel. Use this quote on a person who's happy being a cog, and they might dance with you a bit - but ultimately they're going to grab for the security that only thousands (often tens of thousands) of employees can provide. Doesn't make them bad people or not talented - it's a preference for security and risk management.
But they're looking to enlist with a big entity like the Navy - not roam the seven seas on that cool, but rickety boat you call a company and wonder if you'll be around in a year.
If you're at a smaller firm, the best hires you will make are the people that don't look like pirates - but have it buried in their DNA. If you think you have one of those people, I'd talk in broad terms about the pirate-like things you're going to do at your company.
Candidates - always with the game face on related to "fit" with your company and culture. It's hard to know exactly what you're going to be like when I get you in the company. I can spend 5 hours with you and still be a bit surprised.
How will you treat others around you? How will you treat clients?
You say you're selfless, humble and appreciative of those around you. You're a great guy/gal.
Me? I say the true test is how you treat someone you're under no pressure to treat with respect. For some, that's why they love to get the view of the receptionist regarding a candidate. I think most candidates are tuned into that. I think that's a better way.
If I could wave my magic wand and put a candidate in a free-flowing situation, I would put them at a pedestrian crossing point that doesn't have a stop sign, with a car driver who stops to let my candidate cross. Think grocery store parking lot or strip mall. Here's the moment of truth:
Did my candidate A) give a quick wave to say thanks, and/or B) pick up the pace with a couple of jog steps to show they appreciate the favor and show they're reciprocating by hustling across?
No wave and no hustle? That means deep down inside you're a turd. You'll treat people like a transaction when you can and it generally won't bite you or us in the ###. Then you'll show that side of you to someone you didn't know was important, and it's going to kill us.
Wave but no hustle? Better than nothing. Meh.
Hustle but no wave? Better than a wave alone.
I don't want to hear about your childhood at the orphanage or about your mobility issues.
Play the game like a normal person.
Are you normal? I don't know, but if I could put you in this situation, I could tell without question.
Being a new leader is hard. Whipping up a bunch of needed change while treating people like humans is even harder.
You probably know what needs to be done. I get it. The problem is that your wave of change is going to cause stress and panic. It's up to you to do that change in a #workhuman way. As it turns out, it's the path that gets you best, most sustainable organizational results over time.
First up, you're probably wondering about the #workhuman hashtag. WorkHuman was a concept started by Globoforce, a recognition and rewards technology solution for your employees. Last year, Globoforce held their first WorkHuman Conference with the focus on how to make our workplaces better for ourselves and our employees. I'm attending the 2016 version of the WorkHuman Conference - this post is part of that coverage.
Back to new leaders. It's probably mandatory that you tear stuff up, right? I was doing work last week on a retained search for a lead exec for an organization with a $90M budget. New leaders are going to push change in order to be successful. As I talked to 5 candidates last week, it became clear to me that the leaders with the best chance to get change with the lowest possible body count (i.e., turnover, both involuntary and voluntary) do three things well.
Here's what I think leaders who get change in a #workhuman way do:
1. They understand the need to take 15 minutes to have a conversation when 30 seconds would have sufficed. I know what I want. I can tell you what to do or I can invest in a conversation, right? If you feel like you've had input, you're much more likely to be down with the program - whether the ultimate idea was yours or not. Good leaders understand that the investment of time is a down payment on getting the best results possible.
2. They understand that the best idea might not be theirs. New leaders tend to remember that there's a whole bunch of organizational knowledge they don't have. They put together groups to brainstorm problems and approaches. They also cool with someone else's idea getting blended with what they already know needs to happen and aren't really concerned about credit for the idea in question.
3. They know that they have to "give" in order to "get" - or "take". Big change can suck. When a new leader is about to do change with a capital "C", the best leaders understand that the best solutions are ones where they can give something to a group impacted by change. They know that providing something to those impacted by change - and using it in the communication while being transparent and honest - always beats change that feels like a zero-sum game (you have to lose in order for me to win).
I had long conversations with 5 candidates last week. 2 of them fit the profile above, 3 didn't. Guess which ones are moving forward in the process?
Want to learn more about creating a WorkHuman workplace? The WorkHuman Conference is May 9-11th in beautiful Orlando, FL, with speakers Michael J. Fox (I liked him in The Secret to My Success), Mr. Happy Shawn Achor, TEDx start Ann Cuddy, and so much more. $300 off your registration by clicking on this linkand using codeWH16KD300.
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.)
And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack And you may find yourself in another part of the world And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife And you may ask yourself Well...How did I get here?
--Once in a Lifetime, Talking Heads
(Cue deep movie trailer voiceover vibe...)
It's a morality tale as old as time itself. Little company does good. Little company cares about all the right things. People at the little company take everything personally and act as owners.
Then little company gets swallowed by a beast. Not just a big company, but a company that has bigger revenue than the GNP of half the world's countries.
Big company slaps process and "structure" into little company. Employees who once acted like owners now find themselves with strange titles and reduced responsibility/autonomy.
One of my friends in the industry recently dropped me a note. She's in that situation above. Here's what I told her, tongue pressed hard against my cheek:
"It's really better for you. All that individuality was just extra work. Mail it in and embrace the extra time you've just gotten back."
"Enjoy your period of low engagement".
Of course, I don't believe that. But her choices seem to be:
Find a new job.
Channel her Rage Against The Machine and keep stirring things up. Get fired after a year.
Mail it in and enjoy the low expectations for awhile.
What did I miss? The hard thing about these situations is that when someone gets to that Director/VP level, it's easy to say you want to walk, but hard to do.
You worked to get there - now you're just supposed to hit the bricks and bolt?
If only Megacompany.com that did the acquisition cared. Mapping the newbies to their job codes and hardwiring them into complex org charts is always more important than growth.
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.