When New CEOs Onboard, CHROs Are Often Gone...

One of the biggest reasons I wrote my new book (The 9 Faces of HR) was the sheer number of friends and colleagues I have in HR who have lost their positions, at least in part, to organizational change. 9 Faces

A recent report puts a number to how at-risk HR is when C-level leadership changes out. From The 2018 CHRO Trends Report from The Talent Strategy Group:

"There is a strong correlation between CEO and CHRO turnover. Within twelve months of a Chief Executive Officer appointment, 43% of Chief Human Resources Officers at that organization turned over. An additional 9% of CHROs came into the role three months or less prior to a CEO transition. Less than half (48%) of CHROs retained their seat for more than 12 months following a CEO transition."

Those numbers are staggering, but I believe them based on the experiences of my friends inside and outside of the Fortune 500.

When a new boss comes in, it's test time. Your new boss is really evaluating who you are as an HR pro.  For best results, you'll need to understand who you are and make sure your new boss understands you have the ability to connect, pivot and change as part of your personal identity.

The 9 Faces of HR is a perfect companion for that prep - a career guide of sorts, but not the boring kind. Change is coming, you may as well dig in and get ready now.  Order my book here.


ADJUST/EVOLVE: The Biggest Thing I've Learned In The Last 5 Years...

Quick thought on a Wednesday.  I've been lucky to have a great career in the world of HR and recruiting.  I've been active on the side in basketball as well.  The two are interconnected when it comes to times that I didn't get the results I wanted.  At work, in projects, on the court, etc.  Here's the common lesson I've learned in both:

When I don't get great results, I can almost always look back and blame myself for not adjusting or evolving quickly enough.  I didn't scrap Plan A quickly enough.  I held onto what worked in the past and didn't experiment with a new approach when performance was flat.

The biggest enemy of sustained success in your career is the success you've already had.  That success makes you hold onto the way you've always done things - even when your present day results are telling you that change is necessary.

It worked before, so it should work now.

Things aren't going well, but if I hang on, it will get better.  My way works.

They're wrong. I'm great.

Your way won't be successful forever. Eventually your competition figures you out, your market tunes you out or you simply become flat in your delivery.  The first time you feel failure with the way you've always done it, maybe it's a fluke.  The second time you feel failure after a great period of success, you should check the crispness of your delivery/plan.  If that detail check doesn't solve it, you probably need to reinvent the way you're approaching your goals.

March Madness is all about survive and advance.  Your career is all about evolve or die.  Or at least evolve or fade away.

Change your approach to something this week.


One Big Difference Between The Naturals In Your Company - and Everyone Else...

First up, let's define a natural in your company.

A natural is someone who:

--Performs at a high level in their current job, and Natural

--Everyone with common sense understands they are promotable at least 3 levels above their current job - all they need is time, experience and a bit of guidance. 

There are many things that define a natural. This post isn't meant to be a comprehensive listing of those things.  This post will only feature the following characteristic of the natural:

The Natural fields inquiries from managers/execs 2 or more levels above them with a incredibly high sense of urgency and always seeks to overdeliver on work product and service related to these inquires.

I know what you're saying. Is this really that important, Kris?

Yeah. It is. 

There's a quote from Don Draper on Mad Man I'd like to throw in here. Enjoy:

"People tell you who they are, but we ignore it, because we want them to be who we want them to be."

We want to believe that all of our employees have the ability to do great things.  It's not true.

I was talking to a CFO I served at a past company and she was expressing frustration at getting things done across the team she had inherited.

She had identified one team member on a team of 20 as being high potential and had tagged the rest at being disposable. The criteria was pretty simple - it was related to how quickly the team members acted when she needed something or gave them an assignment.

Unfair? Maybe.

Are some of those team members good at their jobs? Probably. But most of them aren't naturals who are poised for great things in their careers. How do I know this?  When I think back across my career about the naturals I have known in my career, they could be juggling 30 things and when a request came in from a VIP in their domain, they always made that person feel like they were the most important person in the world.

--They didn't return the email 30 hours or more later.

--They didn't let the request go into the void without updating the exec on how it was going or a status that it was done.

--They didn't fail to engage the exec with their opinions about what might make the project better or how they went out of their way to do the best they could.

Average employees do all the things listed above.  Naturals never do those things.

You can be a good employee and not be a natural. You're just probably not going to be promoted on an annual basis.

As leaders, treat employee urgency and responsiveness to your requests as the test that it is.  Step back and observe who steps up and who doesn't.

"People tell you who they are, but we ignore it, because we want them to be who we want them to be."

Your commitment to coaching is noted. But you can't coach someone into natural status, so don't try.  Take it all in - the naturals are identifying themselves, all you have to do is watch and listen.


Why "Unlimited PTO" Is Stupid and Needs to be Replaced with Work/Life Integration...

Remember when "Unlimited PTO" was a fresh thought and really made you think about the relationship employees had with the organizations they worked for?

Yeah, me neither.

I just did a google search titled, "The Long Con of Unlimited PTO".  It didn't give me what I wanted, which was a simple take on a once hot idea.  I'm probably going to write that post in the future, just for the SEO benefit.

Most people have discounted Unlimited PTO at this point, citing the following downsides: Vacation

--Many jobs don't fit unlimited PTO (work that has to be scheduled).

--The worst employees always take advantage of the system.

--Without official rights to a certain amount of days, politics and perception intervene and employees will actually take fewer days.

--The whole premise of "just perform at a high level, then take all the time you want" is clouded by the fact we're HORRIBLE at measuring performance in most organizations. What's good? What's great?  Hmmm - I know it when I see it, which isn't actual guidance you can use.

Taking vacation was always about having work-life balance.  For those of you that routinely rep the need for balance and the need to disconnect, I feel you.  You do you and let me do me.  Here's my big thought:

For most people with families and complex lives, work-life balance isn't the issue. Flexibility is, which means we should probably be talking about something called work-life integration rather than work-life balance. 

There's a lot of confusion between the two terms. As work-life balance has shifted toward work-life integration, organizations have worked to understand the gap between the concepts. UC Berkeley offers a smart description of the difference between the two. They suggest using work-life integration in place of work-life balance because "the latter evokes a binary opposition between work and life."

Futurist Jacob Morgan suggested in a piece for Inc. that this is simply a progression of the way we do business. Morgan wrote that since it's nearly impossible to avoid work and life merging, today's employees should align their goals and experiences to create the life they want.

Amen. Work and life have been merging for awhile, and the higher up the food chain you go, the less you can uncouple the two sides of your life from one another.

That's why Unlimited PTO should be dead and work-life integration should be what we're working on.  A quick summary of what most professional grade employees need could be summarized like this:

"I have enough vacation (suck it, unlimited PTO!). What I really need is to leave work when I want/need to with you (my manager) not backbiting me when I leave at 4pm to get to an activity for one of my kids/<insert what people with no kids want the flexibility to do here>, because you understand I'm going to be on email later tonight or (gasp) while I'm actually doing the personal thing I left at 4pm to do."

That last part is critical. Work-life integration is a two-way street. As an employee, you've got to be willing to do things when you're not at work (which most of you are, anyway). If we could all grow up a bit and say that's how we're living our lives, maybe our organizations would step up and be more supportive of you booking out from work whenever you want/need to.

If you don't want that as an employee - I get it.

I've got something else for you.  It's called Unlimited PTO, and it's FANTASTIC.


So You Want To Be a Thought Leader, But You Hate Writing...

Readers of this blog often ping me to have conversations about the best way to get started writing and sharing thoughts on the world of HR.

With the exception of the recent period where I finished my book (shameless plug - buy my book,  The 9 Faces of HR, here), I've written most business days since 2007.  

Only freaks do that.

For ideas on starting your own blog, see this presentation I did way back in the day.  Most of it still holds true.

But most people aren't going to start a blog and just grind for a decade.  That doesn't mean you can't be involved and share your thoughts.  Here's you're choices in my eyes:

1--Start a blog and write every day without rewards for a period of 3 years. See what happens.  Good Luck!

2--More realistically, start a blog and write once a week - but hit that schedule come hell or high water. No bitching, people.

3--While you're doing that, become active in promoting your content (and that of others) on platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter. 

4--Become a contributor at a site that has a collection of writers - like Fistful of Talent - with a built-in audience. I like this play for a lot of people since a site like FOT comes with built in traffic and awareness.  See the list of people who have contributed to FOT here - all great, talented people - many left to do their own thing, which is why I like to think about FOT as SNL for HR and recruiting writers (I'm Jay Mohr, not Lauren Michaels).

That's your basic path.  But there's a new angle I'd like to share as well - let's talk about content curation.

I recently saw a social post that encouraged HR pros to share the good work of others as a way to gain influence.  I think that path is valid, but let's be honest - just sharing the work of others doesn't really make you special or add value.

So if you're looking to share your voice but don't have time to write original content, content curation might be a good path for you.

But good content curation is work, as is adding your own voice.  Here's 3 examples of great content curation (2 from HR, one is media), take a look and see my quick notes about what I like about them:

--Lance Haun - Smart guy in the HR space that used to write all the time, now does a weekly curated newsletter called Tech@Work.  It's smart as hell.  Hit the link and subscribe.

--Katrina Kibben - Smart Recruiting-focused pro who writes a letter of the week - see the example and subscribe here.  Also smart as hell. Sharing her own long form writing at times, but the format works even if you don't have OC (original content).

--Jason Hirschhorn - Puts out curated newsletter called REDEF.  Deeper dives and more work that what Lance and Katrina are doing, but gives you a sense of what's possible (maybe as a full-time job).

Why do I share these?  Well, if you're looking to build influence, content curation is a great way to go - but it's more than retweeting shit on twitter if you want to do it right.  Both Lance and Katrina are taking time to share - mostly buy putting together 3-6 articles but MOST IMPORTANTLY:

THEY DON'T SIMPLY SHARE THE ARTICLES - THEY TRY TO TELL YOU WHY THEY THINK THE ARTICLE IS TIMELY AND IMPORTANT.

Which is the whole secret of the curation strategy.  You don't necessarily have to come up with the original ideas, but you HAVE TO HAVE A TAKE.

If you're looking to build influence, have a voice and generally engage with content - but you don't actually like to write - content curation might be a good strategy for you.  Note that both Lance and Katrina are great writers, though.  LOL.

Go subscribe to the curation efforts by Lance and Katrina and be inspired.

 


Using Pictures of Employees on your Careers Site - Do You Need a Release?

So you're ramping up your employee comms materials. A project to refresh the ole' careers site, new collateral, etc. You rightfully detest stock art because it's all fake and your employees don't look that perfect, happy or content.  

That means you've made the decision to take real photos of real people doing work and feature them in new digital and analog comms tools that you're building. That's a smart play, but it begs the following question:

Do you need a signed release form from the people you feature?  The answer is almost always yes, here's a story on why, but stay tuned after the Lineupjump for more analysis:

Several years ago, Jordan Guthmann, a VP at Edelman PR, interviewed for a job at Amazon. While he was on the company campus chatting with folks, someone asked to take his photo and he kindly obliged. Guthmann didn't get the gig, but apparently he at least looked like the right person for the job: Until a few days ago his photo appeared on Amazon's Talent Acquisition website. After Guthmann tweeted about it, Amazon quickly swapped out the photo. As Petapixel commented, hopefully the person in the current photo actually got the job!

Years ago I went to Amazon for a job interview that I did NOT get but they were taking photos and the kind person taking photos asked me if she could snap my picture and I was like sure why not anywho that's why I'm on their jobs website today... https://t.co/ehhRvnYaC6

— Jordan Guthmann (@JGuthmann) July 24, 2019

Every once in awhile, people get sensitive about the use of their likeness in your company's promotional flow. It should be noted that Guthmann was a candidate, not an employee - which raises the need for you to get a signed release if you're taking shots of non-employees as part of your strategy.

But let's talk about the more likely path - you're taking pictures of current employees for your new website or collateral. It's important to get that release - not so much for the time that employee is actually with your company - but for the time after they depart.

The dirty little secret of shooting pictures of employees for use in promotional materials is that most releases are very broad - meaning they don't say anything about a requirement to take a photo down from your website once an employee leaves your company. 

Any release you have an employee sign should give a similar broad release.  After all, you don't want to be changing photos every time someone leaves your company. Assuming the employee left on good terms, most don't request you take down their photo, and that's a good thing. After all, you choose them for a reason!

Oddly enough, the managers in your own company are more sensitive to having pictures of past employees on your website than the departed talent.  That broad release is key to saying, "no, we actually have the right to keep the photo up."

So get the release signed - but understand it's more about being able to deflect removal requests from your own team than it is about disgruntled ex-employees. 


Get My New Book: THE 9 FACES OF HR...

It's true. I just launched a book and it is selling well. It's called THE 9 FACES OF HR.

If you like reading The HR Capitalist or Fistful of Talent, you're going to like the book and you should buy it. Here's the summary from Amazon for your consideration:

"Popular blogger and CHRO Kris Dunn presents a hard, but compelling reality: every HR professional on the planet can be classified as one of 9 “Faces” based on your
9 facescareer level and your ability to innovate and drive change. The book opens with a behavioral assessment, so readers can quickly identify their own “HR Face” then reveals career tracks, behavioral markers, ROI, macro-trends driving behavior, and market demand for each face. Which face are you? Which one do you want to be? Whether you’re a solo HR pro trying to make your way in the world or an HR leader trying to build a cohesive HR team, this is your no-BS playbook to empowering your HR career and elevating our profession."

I wrote the book because there's been a clear change in what CEOs, other leaders and even your CHRO/VP of HR is looking for when it comes to HR Pros at every career level. The pace of change has never been faster than it is today, and I've seen many of my HR friends hired - and fired - based on the new rules.

Things you'll get if you buy and read this book:

1--Entertainment - You know there's going to be snark.  I can't write any other way.  As I dig into some serious stuff, there's going to be some riffs and rants. I'm weaving pop culture through HR-related stories on people like Drake, Elon Musk and the CHRO at Uber, as well as leading every chapter with a related quote from a cast of characters including Lady Gaga, Oprah, Dirty Harry and Kanye. This is a serious book, but I'll be damned if I'm going to bore you.

2--A better understanding the changing HR marketplace in terms of innovation, change management and adding value.  Sh*t's changing fast for us in the world of HR, I've got your back with my model and notes.

3--My model for The 9 Faces of HR is based on a 9-Box grid - You'll see how career level mixed with cognitive/behavioral dimensions (such as assertiveness, rules orientation, detail orientation, etc.) converge to shape one's work world-view and determines which face you are.

4--You'll learn the details/profile on each of the “Nine Faces of HR” and have a blast identifying yourself, as well as thinking about which face the HR pros around you are (the ones you love, the ones you hate and everything in between).

5--Most importantly - You'll gain awareness of how others around you perceive your HR capability and get ready for change happening around you, regardless of your profile.

At the end of the day, The 9 Faces of HR is a guidebook for your career in the world's best profession - HR.  I love HR so much, I wrote this book to prevent you from getting hurt by the change swirling around us in the business world - and to help you reach your career goals - however ambitious they may be!

Buy The 9 Faces of HR on Amazon by clicking here

See the current reviews on my book on Amazon by clicking here

Note - someone pinged me looking for non-Amazon options, so here's a few:

Barnes&Noble.com

Books-A-Million

IndieBound

Target

Walmart

Google Express

eBay - grandeagleretail


"The Villain Is The Person Who Knows The Most, But Cares The Least."

"The Villain Is The Person Who Knows The Most, But Cares The Least." I-Wear-the-Black-Hat-jacket_612x612

--From Chuck Klosterman In I Wear The Black Hat

When it comes to Employee Relations, any investigation you do of general bad stuff is going to uncover a lot of ugly things.  Human nature takes over and people do things they shouldn't.

However, at times you still need to look at all the bad in any situation and determine, who's really responsible?  Who is the bad guy/gal in this situation?

I think this quote gives us the best guidance in those situations.  The true villain is the person who knew the most about what was going on, but never had his/her sense of doing the right thing kick in.  

If you're thinking about firing people for conduct unbecoming of a professional teammate, let this quote be your guide.


New Data Tells Us Which Companies/Vendors Owns Corporate Expense Accounts...

If you've ever wondered (what, just me?) what companies and vendors have the biggest share of corporate expense accounts/submitted expenses for approval, look no further.

The Certify SpendSmart™ quarterly report analyzes the most recent business expense transactions and vendor ratings data to provide valuable insights to Certify clients and the corporate T&E industry at large.

Translation - who is spending money on what?

In a bit of a surprise, Uber Technologies, Inc was the most frequently expensed vendor last quarter, according to Certify, a software provider enabling companies to manage travel expenses. Uber receipts made up 12.7% of all corporate transactions among Certify customers. On average, travelers spent $25.37 per Uber transaction.

Below is the entire trend chart (email subscribers click through if you don't see the the image below), which includes some interesting stuff:

Cerify

Note - being at the top of this chart doesn't mean you're generating the most revenue, only that you own X out of every 100 expensed items.

If you click through to see the entire report, you can add up categories to get a better idea on what the total market share is for each industry 

My hot takes on the data:

--Much has been said about today being a bad time to be a taxi driver.  It would also appear it's a bad time to be in the car rental business from the growth of rideshare total expensed receipts over the past couple of years (from 9.5% of corporate expense transactions 2 years ago to today's 16.5%)

--All airlines cited are down .25% of corporate expense transactions over the same 2 year period. Since we're in a peak economic period, the continuing growth and sophistication of video conferencing and virtual meetings would seem to be cutting in to airline growth.

--The presence of Starbucks in the top 2 shows its continued dominance in morning meetings, but the fact it's down a full percentage point of corporate expense transactions (down 18% over a two year period, per ticket price down significantly as well) means people are finding other places to go, growing a bit tired of Starbucks or finance is challenging the expense.

The only thing missing from the report from Certify is the strangest vendor that shows up in the top 100, 200 or 300 results.  I'd like to see that.  The fact that Amazon and WalMart show up as top 10 in corporate expenses hides many of the expensed items/companies we could have fun with.


Breaking Down the Onboarding Style of Steve Ballmer, Former Leader at Microsoft...

I'm over at my other site today - Fistful of Talent - talking about the leadership style of former Microsoft leader Steve Ballmer.  Ballmer is retired and now owns the Los Angeles Clippers, and his leadership style was on full display earlier this week.

Check out my post at FOT - "Could Your Onboarding of New Hires Be More Like Steve Ballmer?" - by clicking here.


Cut Through All the Reference BS with This Single Question...

No one ever gives you references they expect to be negative in any way. 

You know this, right?

When someone calls you up for a reference check and you do anything short of saying they're unbelievable (they provided your name after all), it's not being borderline neutral.

Neutral is the new negative with reference checks.  And it's been that way for awhile.

Think about that - when someone calls you, you say you can only give name, rank and serial number on a candidate who used you for a reference.   

Or you pivot, and give the ole' "I can only give a personal reference, not a professional reference."

Sure you can, Skippy. Let's do your personal reference then (winks as he says the words)

PS - A reference checker's ability to get any type of true negative information out of a reference is gold.  Try my favorite reference checking question below to get a negative view:

"What job in your organization would you not put this person into under any circumstances?  Why?"

It's up with people day here at the Capitalist.  Go extract some negative info when checking references - just for the contrast and actually learning something you didn't know about the candidate.  

That's what they pay us for.


The #1 Way For Recruiters To Build Creditability With Candidates...

If a recruiter is good at what they do, they'll talk to a lot of people in a given week.

Some of those conversations are short, some are long. There's a variety of information traded between candidate and recruiter - it's a two-way exchange. Phone

But some recruiters are better at building credibility with candidates, which further results in trust, transparency and most importantly - great information.

The #1 way recruiters can build creditability with great candidates is pretty simple:

Great recruiters always include an examination of whether the job is right for the candidate - AS A PART OF THE CONVERSATIONS THEY HAVE WITH THE CANDIDATE.

The intent and meaning behind proactively examining whether a proposed career move makes sense with the candidate is simple:

1--You don't want quick churn as a recruiter, so it make sense to the get the candidate's view of the opportunity, judging what they value most about job in question.

More importantly, here's what making the time to talk about career arc means to the candidate:

2--You're not a transactional recruiter looking to slam bodies into a company. You're looking for true fit.

3--You care enough about candidates that you don't want them to take a step back in what they're trying to accomplish.

Does building creditability with candidates in this way really matter?  That depends on the type of talent you're trying to recruit.  All recruiting is tough in a peak economic cycle, but recruiting entrenched candidates is difficult at best.

If you're looking to hire someone with a lot of options, building creditability as a recruiter could be the most important factor in them making a decision to move from their current company.  You always have imperfect information when you make a career move, so having a recruiter helping you analyze whether a move makes sense is not only comforting, but a competitive advantage.

Of course, if you're recruiting candidates from the lowest of tiers, maybe building creditability doesn't matter to you. 

Good luck with that.


Is Workday Really the Most Used ATS in the World?

If there's one thing that's consistent in the TA/Recruiting world, it's hot takes related to Workday Recruiting.  Which is why a recent report that shows Workday Recruiting is now the most used ATS among Fortune 500 companies is fascinating.  

Many of you object to that finding. But it is science! More from OnGig:

"Workday is the #1 ATS system used by Fortune 500 companies, narrowly beating Taleo.

That’s what we found after a review of the 476 Fortune 500 companies that show their applicant tracking system on their public-facing career sites.

22.6% of these Fortune 500 companies use Workday versus 22.4% that use Taleo.

Oracle is still the #1 ATS provider to the Fortune 500 when you add in Oracle HRMS, iRecruitment and Oracle Cloud (see the long table below). Oracle beats Workday 24% to 22.6% when you add in Oracle’s other software."

It's notable to say that there's a lot of dissatisfaction out there related to Workday Recruiting, as many CHROs are forced into the solution by broader ERP initiatives within their organizations.  

Also notable is the fact this is a survey of Fortune 500 companies - Workday Recruiting most certainly is not the leader in the mid-market ATS category, where a bunch of companies on the tail end of the Fortune 500 full list fare much better (looking at you, Jobvite, Greenhouse, Newton, Lever, SmartRecruiters).  See the top 10 ATS solutions across Fortune 500s in the image below, get the full list here, and see a broader list here from 2017 that includes mid-market companies that probably provides better context and a shopping list for the masses.

Top ATS


Bernie Sanders: Proving the Compensation Side of the People Business is Problematic...

Let me start by saying this is not intended to be a political post. It is intended, however, to show the complexities of running a SMB (small to medium sized business).

Need a case in point?  Try Bernie Sanders.  Sanders is a Democratic presidential candidate, and part of his platform has been the need to pay workers a living wage.  No one really Bernie argues that this is a good idea, but once you get into the execution of the idea, it gets complex.

Let's look at the Minimum Wage in America.  Sanders is on record that the minimum wage should be at $15 per hour nationwide, etc.  That's where it gets tricky as he attempts to build out his campaign organization for his presidential run.  More from the New York Post:

"The Vermont socialist senator made history by agreeing that his paid 2020 presidential campaign workers would be repped by a union, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400, with all earning $15 an hour. But now the union complains some employees are getting less. Worse, someone leaked the whole dispute to the Washington Post. Worse yet, Sanders’ response could be a violation of US labor law, all on its own.

The union’s gripe centers on the fact that field organizers, the lowest-level workers, often put in 60 hours a week but get paid only for 40, since they’re on a flat salary. That drops their average minimum pay to less than $13 an hour.

“Many field staffers are barely managing to survive financially, which is severely impacting our team’s productivity and morale,” the union said in a draft letter to campaign manager Faiz Shakir. “Some field organizers have already left the campaign as a result.”

The campaign’s immediate response, now that it’s all gone public, is to restrict the field workers from putting in more than 40 hours a week. Hmm: If it then brings on more unpaid volunteers to pick up the slack, that’s a different union grievance."

The HR pros who read the Capitalist - regardless of political orientation - know that Sanders has experienced the following:

1--He believed workers should be paid no less than $15 per hour.

2--While he partly accomplished that with how he set up his organization, he either didn't understand or cut a corner by classifying field organizers as "exempt".  My guess is he told his people his intent and they found the path of least resistance to make that marching order a reality while maintaining cost certainty - aka, salary over hourly.

3--The good people that read this site understand it's debatable that field organizers would be classified as "salaried" under the FLSA.  But collective bargaining with a union pushes some of the burden of classification to the background - at least initially.

4--Overtime pay kills all SMBs.  The Sanders campaign has a budget - they can't reclassify those workers to hourly status and make their budget (paying them $15 per hour for all hours worked and OT for hours past 40 per week).  Also, if they reclassified, they'd be on the hook for back pay for OT.  So they do what the only thing available to them - telling salaried field organizers to stop working at 40 hours.

What Bernie Sanders has ran into is a classic small business problem. As a business owner, you'd like for the vast majority of your workforce to be salaried - so you have cost certainty and instruct workers to work until their objectives are met - no overtime. The FLSA exists to provide legal boundaries for SMBs (as well as large companies) related to classification of workers.

The devil is always in the details.  There's never enough resources when you're attempting to bootstrap an organization, and that fact makes you look for the most affordable labor possible in some situations.  

Bernie Sanders is bootstrapping an organization in America.  It's an interesting contrast of ideas, market forces and math.


Let's Look at the Numbers Behind Amazon's Program to Retrain 100,000 Employees...

Odds are you’ve heard that Amazon plans to make a huge investment in retraining its existing workforce, partly due to the displacement of employees by emerging automation and A.I., and partly due to scarcity of talent in key job families.

I want to take a look at the Amazon re-skilling investment with a critical eye, but first here’s a primer of what Amazon has planned for the uninitiated: Amazon

"Amazon (AMZN) today pledged to upskill 100,000 of its employees across the United States, dedicating over $700 million to provide people across its corporate offices, tech hubs, fulfillment centers, retail stores, and transportation network with access to training programs that will help them move into more highly skilled roles within or outside of Amazon.

Amazon’s Upskilling 2025 pledge invests in a range of new upskilling programs to serve employees from all backgrounds and Amazon locations. Programs include Amazon Technical Academy, which equips non-technical Amazon employees with the essential skills to transition into, and thrive in, software engineering careers; Associate2Tech, which trains fulfillment center associates to move into technical roles regardless of their previous IT experience; Machine Learning University, offering employees with technical backgrounds the opportunity to access machine learning skills via an on-site training program; Amazon Career Choice, a pre-paid tuition program designed to train fulfillment center associates in high-demand occupations of their choice; Amazon Apprenticeship, a Department of Labor certified program that offers paid intensive classroom training and on-the-job apprenticeships with Amazon; and AWS Training and Certification, which provide employees with courses to build practical AWS Cloud knowledge that is essential to operating in a technical field."

700M is a lot of money. Let’s do some simple math and then start evaluating how to the investment could intensify if it wasn’t spread evenly (which is never is):

--First the simple match.  700M across 100,000 impacted employees equals a base investment in retraining/upskilling of $7,000 per employee. Compare that to the average annual per employee investment in Learning and Development cited by Bersin ($1,200), and the investment seems solid above and beyond what Amazon already does.

--Now imagine a world where the investment isn’t spread out equally across all employees.  Since the Amazon upskilling initiative will have a voluntary vibe to it (similar to AT&T’s upskilling efforts require the employee to proactively opt in and spend their own time preparing their skills for the future), it’s not hard to imagine the opt in rate won’t approach anywhere near 100%. 

--Spread the 700M investment over 50% of the employees, and you’ve got an investment of $14,000 per employee.

--Spread the 700M investment over 30% of the targeted employees, and you’ve got an investment of over $23,000 per employee.

The devil, as it always is, is in the details.  It's a cool program. Will Amazon spend the same total amount of money if just 30% of the impacted employees opt in to the program? The presence of pre-paid tuition and certification programs suggests no.

The voluntary, opt-in nature of the Amazon Upskilling 2025 program is necessary. After all, employees impacted by A.I. and automation have to WANT to improve their long term career prospects. That's why so much of this program will have to be completed after work hours.

That's going to sound like a second job (unpaid as well) to a lot of employees. That means Amazon likely won't spend as much as projected.

If you were in Vegas, you'd take the "under" related to the bet of whether Amazon will spend more or less than 700M by the year 2025 on this program.