Minimum Viable Product in the World of HR...

If there's one thing that HR could do better at, it's caring less about being perfect and shipping more HR product.

You see it all the time in the world of HR. We have big plans. Those big plans include the need for project planning, for meetings, vendor selection and deep thoughts.  After awhile, the process takes over the original intent, which was trying to serve a need and make the people processes of our company just a little bit better. MVP

We chase big, risk adverse, "get everyone on board" type of wins.  The development of those big wins can stretch into a year - no make that two years - of prep.  

What we ought to be chasing more is Minimal Viable Product, which in the software industry gets defined as this:

minimum viable product (MVP) is a product with just enough features to satisfy early customers, and to provide feedback for future product development.

A minimum viable product has just enough core features to effectively deploy the product, and no more. Developers typically deploy the product to a subset of possible customers—such as early adopters thought to be more forgiving, more likely to give feedback, and able to grasp a product vision from an early prototype or marketing information. This strategy targets avoiding building products that customers do not want and seeks to maximize information about the customer per amount of money spent.

I'm looking at you, Workday.  You're on notice, SAP.  We love the big solution in the world of HR.  But the risk of big failure goes up astronomically when implementation plans are more than 120 days and your own HR team hates the product - after 18 months of work to "customize" "configure" it.

Of course, we'd be a lot better off if we would simply either design/buy the simplest solution to a problem we think needs fixing by HR.  To be clear, you can buy or design these minimalistic solutions.  Which way you go depends a lot on what you are trying to fix/improve.  The general rule of thumb is this related to the following types of HR "needs":

--Technology - always buy. Find the simplest solution you like, buy for the shortest term possible and roll the solution out.  If you prove the use case and gain adoption, you can always seek to upgrade to something more complex, but if it fails, initially buying simple is the smart play. Recruiting, performance and system of record tech falls into the "buy" category.

--Teach - You're buying a tech solution for early forays into Learning and Development?  You're kidding me, right? You know that you may build this and no one will come, right? You also know that the type of training you're generally asked for (manager and leadership training, etc.) is an area where you're the expert, right? hmmm....

--Process - You never buy process initially - you build.  You never spend money on a consultant to help you in any area before you  - the HR leader - has your own hot take related to what you want in this area.  

Thinking in a Minimal Viable Product (MVP) way is simple.  For tech buys, If you're first generation HR (no tech has existed), you should always find the simplest solution you like, buy for the shortest term possible and roll the solution out.   Figure out what's usable and what's not.  See this article from me for Best in Breed vs Suite considerations.  Open API's mean you have limited worries about tying all the data together.  Let's face it, you've got to grow up your HR function before you were going to use that data anyway.  Buy small and learn.  Maybe your v 2.0 tech solution is an upgrade to a more advanced provider.  But you don't by the BMW when you're kid is learning to drive - you buy the used Camry.

Here's some lighting round notes on what Minimal Viable Product looks like in HR - for some specific areas/pain points:

--Manager/Leadership Training - You want to shop big and bring in an entire series from an outsourced partner.  The concept of MVP says you should listen to the needs, then bootstrap a 2-hour class together on your own.  At the very least, you order a single module of training from a provider (I like this one)and walk before you run.

--Redesigning Recruiting Process - Put the Visio chart down, Michelle.  Dig into a job that represents a big area of challenge at your company and become the recruiter for that job for a month.  Manage it like a project and be responsible personally for the outcomes.  Nobody cares about your Visio chart - yet. They would love the personal attention you give them.  Once you run a single, meaningful search in a experimental/different way, you'll have real world stories and experience to create a <shudder> Visio chart that's based on reality.

Doing Minimal Viable Product in HR means you plan less, get to doing, run the action you're taking through a cycle and evaluate.  If it works, build on the 2.0 version with a bit more complexity.  MVP in HR means you ship more product that's lighter than what's traditionally come out of your office.

Get busy shipping more HR product.  Plan less. Play the Minimal Viable Product game and if you're going to fail, fail quickly.

 


The Cold-Blooded Art of Owning/Getting In Front of Huge Career Mistakes...

Let's face it. If you're in the game and playing to win. you're going to have some failures. Sh*t that goes sideways. 

"Regrettable situations", as I like to refer to them. Keep-me-posted

I like to think Teddy Roosevelt had it right at the turn of the last century when he gave a speech widely known as "The Man In The Arena".  It goes a little something like this:

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

TL;DR: People who aren't making sh*t happen shouldn't be allowed to criticize. At worst, we shouldn't listen to those who have never put themselves out there via risk-taking in their own careers.

It's easy to play it safe. But that's what gives birth to boring careers, tract housing and underfunded 401ks.  Whether you're playing to win for a greater cause or you just think careers and the rewards that go with them are the ultimate scoreboards of life, Roosevelt's "Arena" is as true today as it was in 1910.

If you're in the arena, it's going to get messy.  Failure will be in your neighborhood.

So let's talk a little bit about the spin cycle necessary when you do fail, or when your underperformance isn't widely known, but could be held against you by your enemies, or at least those who view you as standing in the way of their own career progress.

Scenario: You're working on an important project. Things aren't going well and some of your co-workers understand (correctly, I might add) that an important client contact has grown to dislike you (this could be either an external or internal client). It seems that in repping the best course of action, you try to play hardball with this individual when they were blocking your progress, and they didn't take kindly to being told what to do/leveraged/semi-threatened.  Now the words out on the street by those in the know - you're in trouble on this project, and while it likely won't destroy your career, it certainly doesn't help.

To make matters worse, you've got people in your own company/department gossiping about this personal sh*t show that you're at least partly responsible for.  As with most gossip, it starts among those who would most like to see you fail and who haven't done 1/4 of what you've done for your company (see Teddy's speech).

Still, it's a problem. You've underperformed, and people are talking.  The good news is that the people who matter most in your career (your boss, perhaps your boss's boss) aren't yet aware.

That's what this post is for. You've got a choice to make, and here are your options:

1--Do your best to muddle though the situation and hope it doesn't explode on you, taking the equivalent of your right leg from a career perspective at your company.

2--Get to the person you wronged and try to make it right.

3--Execute on a policy of no surprises to your boss (as well as proactive disarming of those who would position themselves as your enemy), hitting him/her with the reality of the situation and generally getting in front of bad things.

Most people choose option #1.  Just play the string out and hope for the best.  The weakest view option #2 as the best path, but for purposes of this exercise, I'm assuming you blew that person up for a good reason - they were being unreasonable in their blocking of what needed to happen, etc.

It's option #3 that most true Alphas use - getting in front of bad news and taking the leverage away from all who wish them harm.

I'm reminded of this art by this post from Jeff Bezos of Amazon (No Thank You, Mr. Pecker) - which details the fact that the National Enquirer was blackmailing him under the threat of releasing partially nude and totally nude photos of him that he supposedly had sent to his girlfriend/mistress - to influence him to call off his investigation of why his personal life had earlier come under much scrutiny.

I'll let you go read the Bezos post.  As it turns out, the richest man in the world is probably a bad person to blackmail.

But back to you and me, and our more pedestrian careers. When things go sideways and sharks are circling, it's probably always best to get in front of the bad news with the people who control your career - for the following reasons:

A--The cover up always feels worse than the actual situation.

B--When you tell those that matter, you can control the narrative.

C--Important people with power (those that control your career) hate surprises and being embarrassed.

Do you really want those that want to stick it to you to control that initial narrative?  Of course you don't.

You got sideways on a piece of work. Nobody died. Be a player and march into the office of power, let them know about it and tell them what you're thinking about doing to fix it.

Then ask for their advice. People who believe in you love to be asked for advice when you're having trouble.

Game. Set. Match.  Haters who watch others (you) play in the arena - be gone.


Suck Less: The Reality Behind Your Small Failures at Work...

Let's talk about small failures at work. The kind that stack up and make you feel like you had a crappy week.

Some of you think everyone is watching you when you fail small.  The dirty little secret is no one is watching you unless you beat them (good for you, but watch out) or lose to them (at which point they'll tell others or discretely imply that they crushed you). Of course, life at work doesn't have as many true "L's" as we think.

People are hopelessly self-absorbed.  No one is watching you for the most part, or has time to stop thinking about themselves to evaluate - wait for it - you.  Bask in the fact that your small failures are not really seen or evaluated by those not directly impacted.
 
Then get ***ing better.  Because you might have a problem if you never get a "W".
 
Signed - Your agent KD
 

Chill Out: It Really Doesn't Matter Where Your Kids Go to College...

I've got a senior in High School, and you know what that means - time for admission envy, parental handwringing and everything that goes with along with that.

Sarah's going to Vanderbilt/Harvard/Stanford.  Man, I wish my kid would have worked harder...

I get it - we all want more for our kids. To the extent they've worked hard, we want them to go to the best school.  When that doesn't happen, we start worrying, because not being admitted to a top school is a classic 1st World problem. The volume gets amped up when your kid is a high performer and can't even get a sniff to a top school with a 4.4 GPA and a 32 ACT.  See this post (spend more time on the comments from parents who feel they've been wronged) for some crazy stories, accusations of unfairness and helicopter parents losing their minds.

It's easy to understand your paranoia.  If the school your kid is going to isn't up to par in your mind, or if you think he/she has been wronged by an admissions process, it's easy to rant and wish for more. C-siue

Until you figure out the following 2 things:

1--Comparison is the thief of joy, and more importantly;

2--By the time your kid has his second job and/or 5 years into the world of work, it's not going to matter where he/she went to school.

Couple of things to offer up. First, consider this study that estimates the economic return of attending an elite college, a summary of which appears below:

Stacy Dale, a mathematician, and Alan Krueger, an economist, collaborated in two large-scale research studies (Dale & Kruger, 2002 & 2014) in which they effectively controlled for the background characteristics of students attending colleges that varied in selectivity (based on average SAT scores of the entering class). The first study was of students entering college in 1976, and the second was of those entering in 1989. Essentially, their question in both studies was this: If people are matched in socioeconomic background and pre-existing indices of their academic ability and motivation, will those who go to an elite college make more money later in life than those who go to a less elite one? The overall result was that the college attended made no difference. Other things being equal, attending an elite school resulted in no income advantage over attending a less elite school, neither in the short term nor in the long term. 

The key, of course, is students matched in socioeconomic background, academic ability and motivation.  Match kids up by those factors, and there's no outcome difference in attending Kennesaw State vs Georgia Tech (Atlanta example, plug your own in for your area of the US).

And when it comes to the factors considered, give me motivation over the other factors once a decent level of academic ability is present.  The average GPA of millionaires is said to be 2.9 - I'll be back with more on that later this week.

I see it all the time as a recruiter - people from elite universities with average careers, and people from schools I've never heard of killing it and running the world.

I was blessed to have my first son do the minimum at a really good high school to get a 3.7 GPA and mail in a high 20's GPA.  So my expectations are managed, that's easy when your kid knows not to apply to elite schools.  But he was an absolute grinder in other things in his HS years, so I know he has a shot via transferred motivation to do great things and outperform a 34 or higher ACT.

I'm a recruiter by trade. If you're still recovering from your son or daughter going to the state school, chill out. He or she has a 50/50 shot to outperform the kid of the mom who stuck the Stanford admission in your face.  But only if they grind and the motivation is greater than their peer group.

BONUS - Video below shows a kid wanting Ivy and coming to the realization it's University of Illinois (from Risky Business, click through if you don't see the video player).


Google For Jobs: Is Indeed Dead Yet?

We've talked a lot about Google For Jobs and it's potential impact on your future recruitment marketing spend.  As a quick reset, Google for Jobs was launched in October of 2017 and 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 down 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.

Nobody discounts the power of Google.  But the erosion of Indeed has been slower than many predicted.

HR Wins, a site run by George LaRocque who has more than 25 years in the HCM industry, recently published an article entitled, "Everything on the Internet starts with Google. Sure, but what about online job search?"

His article provides a bit more proof that the erosion of Indeed via the Google for Jobs threat isn't final, and many job seekers still use the Indeed interface to start their job search.  Check out the following graph from HR Wins (email subscribers click through to the site for the graphic), click on the article link above and subscribe for more goodness like this:

HRwinsChart

The disclaimer to this data, of course, is that candidates at times are notoriously bad at self reported data (my favorite is the over-reporting of "I heard about this job from the company's career site", which is rarely true).  

But beyond the candidate self-reporting issue, the directional info seems true with what I've seen. Indeed isn't dead yet.  The info about LinkedIn being secondary to candidate job search is a nugget you won't find elsewhere.

Three certainties in life - Death, Taxes and Google.  But Indeed's not dead yet.  Keep your eyes on your spend, and hit the George/HR Wins article for more great results from this candidate survey.  Make sure you subscribe while you are there.

 


HR Spotify: Fast and Furious Soundtrack Songs, Ranked...

In case you missed it - I did the following review of a Netflix documentary - Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened.  Go read that and watch that Netflix joint.  But at the end of that post, I let my readers know that if anyone could give me a Ja Rule song (one of the organizers of the Fyre Festival that went so wrong), I'd give them the proper recognition in this space and at Fistful of Talent.

Turns out, I have a lot of Ja Rule knowledge amongst my reader base.  Among those offering up a Ja Rule song for reference - Jess, akaBruno, E, HR mime and HR footprints, and that's Fastjust those brave enough to own Ja Rule knowledge with a comment - also got a bunch of emails.

All this Ja Rule talk took me to the topic of the Fast and Furious movie franchise. If you need an explanation of what is is, click the link to the left.  Turns out, Ja Rule has done quite a bit of music for the F&F series.

That made me want to provide the following: Fast and Furious Soundtrack Songs, Ranked.  Spoiler alert - Ja Rule made it, if only because my readers have a s**t ton of Ja Rule knowledge.

HR disclaimer: I'm not accountable for the language in any of these songs. Check your kid's or nephew's playlist before you wag the finger at me.

See the Spotify playlist I made for my hard charging HR pros below (email subscribers, click through to the site if you don't see it).

As always, these rankings are unscientific, unresearched, highly subjective, and 100% accurate. Use at your own risk.

To the list of Fast and Furious Soundtrack Songs, Ranked:

10--Ja Rule feat. Lil Mo & Vita "Put It On Me" (Remix)
The Fast & The Furious (2001) - I had to put Ja Rule in, so here we are.  I'm told that this classic Ja Rule love song not only represented the romance of the first Fast film while capturing the urgency and vulnerability of the respective couples in the movie.  It just made me think he sounds a lot like DMX. 

9--Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth “See You Again”
Furious 7 (2015) - In the wake of the tragic death of leading man Paul Walker in 2013, the somber melody of this hip-hop ballad was an appropriate farewell tune that grew to become a smash.  Can't do the list without this one. I'm putting it at 9 because I like energy in my F&F cuts and this is chill.  RIP, PW.

8 -Teriyaki Boys "Tokyo Drift"
The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006) - I heard they’re doing some crazy **** in Tokyo. This song is by Teriyaki Boyz, a Japanese hip-hop collective that worked with just about every important producer 10 years ago. I don’t think they’re making music anymore, but I could be wrong.  This cut gets included as Tokyo Drift is DISRESPECTED in the F&F series since they didn't use the original cast.  I think Lucas Black is dope.

7 - Bad Meets Evil "Fast Lane"
Fast and Furious 6 (2013) - Dark horse entry to this list, Bad vs Evil is comprised of Royce da 5'9" and Eminem, with this track included in the Extended First Look trailer for Fast & Furious 6.  Great music in the track and it's gotten around, as it was featured on both the soundtracks of the 2011 film Real Steel, and on 2K Sports' NBA 2K12. The track was also used for HBO's Entourage season 8 trailer and for the Final Fantasy XV trailer "Ride Together'

6--NBA (Never Broke Again) Youngboy "Murder"
Fate of the Furious (2017) - Okay, this is a bit of a cheat. This song was a hit before they decided to put it on the soundtrack and it barely even has anything to do with aftermarket parts. Not my scene, but shoutout to the kids who listen to this stuff today, they all love NBA YoungBoy. Filthy lyrics. Don't listen if easily offended.

5--Limp Bizkit, Method Man, Redman, Swizz Beatz, & DMX "Rollin’ (Urban Assault Vehicle)"
The Fast & The Furious (2001) - Out of the more intense records throughout the franchise’s history, this one is top-five material. The original chart topper, “Rollin’ (Air Raid Vehicle)” was already an icon nu-metal smash, but with the help of Swizz Beatz, it has more of a club feel. Fun Fact: “Rollin (Air Raid Vehicle)” was featured in the Fast & The Furious film while its hip-hop remix was only on the soundtrack.

4--Saliva "Click, Click, Boom"
More Fast & Furious (2001) - “Click, Click, Boom” is an iconic nu-metal smash of the early 2000s. The extreme intensity from the M-Town band allows their radio smash mesh with The Fast & The Furious’ rugged and raw energy perfectly.  Of course the white guy is following up Limp Bizkit with Saliva.  

3- Lil Uzi Vert and Travis Scott "Go Off"
Fate of the Furious (2017) - If you're old and trying to represent, your safest choice is ALWAYS Lil Uzi Vert and Travis Scott - hard to go wrong with that duo. Thus, they make the list.

2--Wiz Khalifa & 2 Chainz “We Own It”         
Fast & Furious 6 (2013) - Wiz and 2 Chainz deliver the goods here. 2 Chainz probably appears with the hologram of Conway Twitty next, because he's everywhere. Can't listen without humming along.

1--Ludacris “Act A Fool”
2 Fast 2 Furious (2003) - Luda’s first entry in the Fast & Furious franchise was an outlandish banger that flooded the airwaves and MTV consistently back in ’03. This was also at the height of his career, when his Chicken-n-Beer album was making waves at the same time.  This cut is so Fast and Furious I'd list it 10 times, but that would be boring.  If you have time for one song to capture the essence of Fast and Furious, this one is it.

Disagree? Have something to add?  You're probably wrong, but hit me with your views in the comments.


The Wall Street Journal's Crappy Take on Glassdoor Reviews....

As I've said before in this space, I'm aware of your take on Glassdoor as an HR pro.  YOU HATE IT.

I get it.  Shout it out loud!  The Wall Street Journal did a nice article last week saying you hate it so much, you might be a bit unethical in terms of how you deal with it.

More from the Wall Street Journal below, then I've got the commentary you expect after the jump:

---------------------------

An analysis of millions of anonymous reviews posted on Glassdoor’s site identified more than 400 companies with unusually large single-month increases in reviews. Some companies, including Elon Musk’s rocket company Space Exploration Technologies Corp. and software giant SAP SE , have had multiple spikes.

During the vast majority of these surges, the ratings were disproportionately positive compared with the surrounding months, the Journal’s analysis shows.

Glassdoor

In the Journal’s analysis, five-star ratings collectively made up 45% of reviews in the months where the number of reviews jumped, compared with 25% in the six months before and after. While it isn’t possible to determine from the data alone what caused each spike, a statistical test shows the likelihood that so many would skew positive by chance is highly improbable.

Well-known names with large spikes included messaging-app developer Slack Technologies Inc., professional-networking site LinkedIn, health insurer Anthem Inc., household-products maker Clorox Co. and Jack Daniel’s maker Brown-Forman Corp.

Spokespeople for Slack, LinkedIn and Anthem said their companies have encouraged employees to give feedback. A Brown-Forman spokeswoman said it doesn’t have a formal strategy to solicit reviews. Clorox didn’t respond to a request for comment.

In some cases, companies have encouraged loyal employees to post reviews as part of a publicity campaign. SpaceX and SAP, for example, galvanized employees to leave reviews to make Glassdoor’s annual ranking of the “Best Places to Work.”

Other companies, including Guaranteed Rate, have pressured employees to write positive reviews in order to raise poor ratings, according to interviews with current and former employees.

-----------------------------

Who's ready to rant? THIS GUY.

You should go read the whole article, because the data analysis alone is solid and research based.  My biggest observations are as follows:

1--The implication of the WSJ article is that employers are gaming the system.  No, you know what games the system? CREATING A PLATFORM WHERE THE ONLY PEOPLE WHO ARE NATURALLY INCLINED TO ENGAGE ARE THOSE WITH AN AXE TO GRIND.  Damn, WSJ, can I at least a paragraph about the dubious nature of the Glassdoor business model before you start blaming employers?

2--The WSJ article never mentions that the business model of Glassdoor is to call up struggling employers and offer to help them.  Some call this extortion.  I don't (wink! note to Glassdoor legal).

3--The WSJ never gets to the fact that Glassdoor packages and services in the "offer of help" mentioned above basically does the same thing as the WSJ is accusing employers of.  GD helps employers get their head around how to raise ratings, and that means proactive campaigns to get positive reviews in.

4--FYI, remind me why we would ask a disgruntled employee to proactively do a Glassdoor review?

5--The chart you see above - the one that shows 5-star ratings on Glassdoor growing from 17% of all review submitted in 2013 to 28% of all reviews in 2019 - is EMPLOYERS REFUSING TO BE USED AND ABUSED BY THE GLASSDOOR PLATFORM.

Yeah, WSJ, we asked some employees that don't hate us to do some reviews.  Do better reporting and you'll understand why.

Signed, KD


CHRO Briefing: WalMart/CVS Battle Shows Why Amazon is coming to Rx Business...

Here's your latest CHRO briefing that matters:

CVS and WalMart have agreed to laid down their weapons, reaching agreement and ending a dispute would have prevented some CVS Caremark customers from picking up their prescriptions at Walmart pharmacies.

Walmart and CVS didn't reveal the terms of their new agreement in a joint statement. CVS had said that Walmart, the biggest retailer in the world, wanted to raise the cost of Amazon rxfilling prescriptions by too much.

The dispute could have affected about $4 billion worth of prescriptions, according to an estimate from Eric Coldwell, an analyst at Baird. It also would have prevented CVS customers from picking up scripts from 4,700 WalMart locations.

Of course, the real briefing is this --If you don't think that's Amazon's coming to severely hamper CVS and similar Rx companies by getting into the Rx game themselves, you're not paying attention.

In case you missed it, leading online retailer Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) acquired PillPack in June 2018, an online pharmacy service that allows customers to purchase medications in pre-made doses.  Walmart was also a contender to buy PillPack but lost out to Amazon's better offer. Closely following the PillPack purchase, Amazon announced a program that will include prescription deliveries through its Prime membership program. 

You know there's always a new play annually when it comes to help you get cost out of your benefits program.  You've seen that with the trends you now know well - managed acute care, tele-doc, mail order Rx, etc.

Someday soon, Amazon's going to have a path to offer you a 20% reduction in your company's Rx spend.  It's only being slowed by realities like Aetna being owned by CVS, which muddies the competitive landscape for Amazon to navigate to make becoming your Rx provider of choice a reality.

But Amazon's coming. They might have to buy an retail Rx firm to get it done, but with the aging of the USA that seems like a prudent investment.


Netflix for HR: The Fyre Festival Documentary & Your Employment Brand...

From time to time, I like to be your HR commentator related to your Netflix queue.  

With that in mind, I have a must watch for you - Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened.

This documentary is a primer on two things:

1--How to market and get buzz - which has implications for your employment and cultural brand at your company.

2--The peril of overpromising and underdelivering related to what's possible at your company.

Let's start with the following description of the Fyre Festival from WikiPedia:

The Fyre Festival was a music festival scheduled to take place on the Bahamian island of Great Exuma over two weekends in April and May 2017.

Organized by Fyre Media founder Billy McFarland and rapper Ja Rule as a luxury music festival to promote the Fyre music booking app, the event was promoted on Instagram by "social media influencers" including socialite and model Kendall Jenner, model Bella Hadid, model and actress Emily Ratajkowski, and other media personalities, many of whom did not initially disclose they had been paid to do so. During the Fyre Festival's inaugural weekend, the event experienced problems related to security, food, accommodations and artist relations. Eventually, the festival was indefinitely postponed after some attendees had arrived, finding tents and prepackaged sandwiches, instead of the luxury villas and gourmet meals they had been promised when they paid thousands of dollars for admission.

As a result, the organizers are the subject of at least eight lawsuits, several seeking class action status, and one seeking more than $100 million in damages. The cases accuse the organizers of defrauding ticket buyers. On June 30, 2017, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York charged McFarland with one count of wire fraud. In March 2018, he pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud to defraud investors and a second count to defraud a ticket vendor. On October 11, 2018, McFarland was sentenced to six years in prison and ordered to forfeit US $26 million for wire fraud.

Two documentaries about the events of the festival were released in 2019. Hulu released an original documentary, Fyre Fraud, on January 14, 2019. On January 18, Netflix released Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened.

More of my readers have Netflix than Hulu, so I'm focused on the Netflix Documentary covering Fyre.  Here's the trailer (email subscribers click through if you don't see the video below):

The Netflix documentary is worth 90 minutes of your time.  It's world class seminar on how to use video, imagery and social to create buzz and demand.  One of the things you'll find as you watch is that the organizers of Fyre created demand from thin air by paying influencers (models) to come to the Bahamas for a long weekend and shoot hours of video.  Once they had that raw footage in the bag, they created the promo video below (again, click through to site if you don't see the video below).

Once they had the video, the 20+ influencers in the campaign all posted an orange tile on Instagram with a link to the festival registration page. The festival sold out in 10 hours, and the rest of the show is how it all went to hell.

I like this Netflix special for my HR and recruiting flock for the following reasons:

1--Most of you aren't doing enough to showcase the positives to your employment brand.

2--There's some best practices you can learn from the Fyre Festival.  The imagery gets you thinking...

3--It's clear that Fyre overpromised and dramatically underdelivered.

4--Most of you will treat that as a cautionary tale to keep doing nothing when it comes to being a promoter or marketer of your employment brand.  That would be a mistake.

Have fun watching the Netflix joint on the Fyre Festival. Be in awe of how wrong everything went.  

Then get off your butt and start figuring out a way to market your company better.  Learn from some masters without becoming ethically challenged - or in jail.

BONUS - name 1 Ja Rule song without looking it up and I'll give you a mention on this blog and Fistful of Talent.


Know Your Numbers, HR and Talent Pros: The US/China Trade Deficit...

I know, the whole thing about the wall is sexy to talk about. Caravans of immigrants!  Tear gas! The Government Shutdown won't be resolved until the wall debate is resolved!

Meanwhile, there's another issue that's playing out that arguably more important than immigration for HR and Talent Pros: Trade with China. Trade wars

The USA had a $375 BILLION dollar trade deficit with China in 2017.  Trump said he was going to play hardball with China, and for the most part, that's exactly what's happened.  Other than knowing that the trade deficit was $375B in 2017, here's a laundry list of what has gone on in the last 4-5 months to catch you up so you look smart as an HR/Talent/Recruiting pro when you're talking to operations people:

1--The Trump administration hit China with the first round of tariffs, designed to punish China economically for not coming to the table on a serious of free trade issues, including IP theft from American companies in addition to the dollar amount of the deficit. (Jan-March 2018)

2--China hit back with their own round of tariffs vs the US. (April 2018)

3. The US hit China with a second round of tariffs when China chose not to come to the table, China retaliates with more tariffs of their own. (June-August 2018)

4. Officials from both countries meet and agree to a cease fire related to additional tariffs announced and planned beyond those already in place, agreeing to keep negotiations alive. (December 2018)

5- China blinks first, offering U.S. trade negotiators a six-year boost in imports totaling 1 trillion dollars. (January 2018)

It's safe to say that no administration has hit the Chinese as hard on trade as Trump.  If you hate him, that's cool. Just know the China trade issue is important to win on. There's probably no bigger issue economically to take on, and it seems prudent to pick that fight when the economy is strong by GDP-style metrics.

Couple of other data points on trade with China for you. Jim Cramer of CNBC reports that tech executives support the tough stance, even if they can't say it publicly at the risk of showing support for Trump.  More from CNBC:

Technology executives are telling CNBC's Jim Cramer that they're willing to endure short-term pain from the U.S.-China trade war in favor of the long-term payoff.

"When I went out to San Francisco last week, I heard the same thing from a surprising number of people in the tech industry who do not like President [Donald] Trump one bit," the "Mad Money" host said Monday.

"What they said was 'If we're going to take on China, now's the time to do it,'" he said. "They may not be fans of the president, but they're on board with the trade war."

Part of the reason could be tied to the pain points emerging in China's economy, Cramer said. On Sunday, Chinese government data revealed that China's overall December exports fell by 4.4 percent and imports sank by 7.6 percent year over year. The data also showed the largest trade surplus with the United States in more than a decade.

"This harsher-than-expected view ... may be more realistic than you think" when it comes to how tech leaders feel about China's unfair trade practices, Cramer said.

And finally, this tweet from Brad Setser shows how hard it is to reset the trade imbalance without fundamentally changing where things like smartphones are made, or at least assembled:

Ready to pay more for that smartphone or pair of AirPods?  I thought not.  That's why the 1 Trillion in additional USA purchases by China - or something like it - will have to happen.

Winning the trade war with China is more important than the wall, but gets 1/100th of the coverage.


Daily Pay: Discount it at Your Own Peril As an HR Leader...

Most readers of this blog are blessed in many ways, including financially.  As HR and recruiting pros, many of us live our lives and really don't consider things from our workforce's point of view often enough.

Case in point: The concept of Daily Pay as a tool for retention. IMG_2818

Daily pay is something that doesn't feel natural to HR pros. After all we've long since settled into our 2 week cycles for payroll.  Payroll is due!! What's our error rate on Payroll?  Are the transactions getting done in a systematic way?

Our 2-week payroll cycles make the concept of Daily Pay foreign to a lot us.  I was reminded of this when P Hall, a reader of the Capitalist, sent me the picture you see at the right (email subscribers click through if you don't see the photo) from a Taco Bell in the Carolinas.  My reaction to it was mixed, which underscores what a lot of HR pros and TA leaders would say about the concept of Daily Pay.

"Nobody really needs daily pay."

"Daily pay would cause anarchy in our department"

"Our employees need to wait until payday. We're not the bank"

But our own perspective and experience isn't shared with the rest of the world.  For those of you with large hourly populations, you've got a workforce with a high number of people living paycheck to paycheck. And that means that disruptions in your employee's lives can cause bad things - absenteeism, lower focus on their job at your company via second jobs, moonlighting and turnover.

Payroll technology in the app world makes the transition to daily pay easier than you might think.  More from SHRM:

"We're seeing a lot of traction for instant pay apps in companies with large hourly workforces where employees live paycheck to paycheck and unexpected expenses can cause big disruptions to their lives," said Ron Hanscome, a research vice president at Gartner in Minneapolis who specializes in HR technologies. "It can be a differentiator in markets where turnover is high and organizations are looking to create a more stable workforce." The ability to draw pay right away can keep some hourly workers from jumping ship to competitors for a 25-cent or 50-cent per-hour pay increase, Hanscome said.

Organizations including Outback Steakhouse, McDonalds, Dial America and Maids International are using some version of the pay option, with some saying it has contributed to a reduction in turnover among hourly workers. Walmart has announced it will begin allowing its workers to use an app called Even to access a portion of their wages before standard paydays.

Just as importantly, we're in a peak economic cycle, and your hourly workforce has more options than ever before.  You've got employees who live paycheck to paycheck, and being able to tap into their wages before you decide to pay them every two weeks might be a contributing factor moving forward to you being able to attract hourly workers - or keep them.

Turns out, you might need to be the bank in today's world.


Helping Unemployed/Underemployed People Is Part of Your Job...

If you're like me in the world of HR and recruiting, you get asked for career help as a normal rite of passage. For me, it's tough because there's only so much you can do to help people find opportunities outside of the company you work for.

That process can make you jaded in the world of HR. People think you're more connected than you are, and as a result, you're going to get more of these inquiries than the average person.

But you matter more than you realize, even when you can't help as much as you'd like.  I recently caught up with another HR leader I ran into by chance in our community.  A few years back, she was down but I had references that said she was talented. I introduced her to 5 people I thought might be able to help her in her career.  None of those contacts generated the lead she needed, but she eventually landed on her feet.  Flash forward to our chance meeting a month or two ago - we caught up, and she was borderline emotional about how I helped her, even if it didn't result in the lead that got her the current role.

It's the long tail of career assistance for you and me as HR and recruiting pros. Treat all with respect, do what you can, and underpromise and overdeliver. The results don't matter as much as your empathy and intent.

I've been fortunate to have had a role in helping to start/build some great careers across the direct reports I've had over the years.

Then I get this note yesterday. Take a look and see you below:

--------

From: Kevin
Date: Thursday, January 17, 2019 at 6:02 PM
To: Kris Dunn 
Subject: Hey old friend

KD!

Hope all is well in your world.  I was at lunch with some customers today and we all told our stories of how we wound up in the wireless industry.  

SO... I got to tell them the story one more time about you "lighting me up" in that pickup basketball game in early 1995. Who would ever think a chance thrashing on the basketball court would lead to a new friend and a great career? 

Thanks for all you did to help me get started. I learned so much from you and have tried to replicate as much as possible by helping as many people as possible network and find jobs, especially when they find themselves without one.

I hope things are going good for you and yours! God Bless!

Kevin

---------

I was just starting my career when I met Kevin.  Like you, I have a great bullshit filter, and he was a real person with humility and ambition. So I referred him into the company I worked for and we became co-workers.

The rest is history.  Kevin's built a career in that industry long after I left.  And I get this random email on a Thursday evening, 23 years later.

You have a lot more impact than you know. The next time someone reaches out to you for career help, be patient.  They need you and their expectations are managed.  

Be empathetic and do what you can.  There but for the grace of god, go I.

They need you.  Remember the long tail that exists with this part of your job and identity. Every time you push away the voice in your head that says you don't have time or can't help and provide an ear, everyone wins.

Including you.

 


Call Up The Co-Worker or Boss You Used to Hate and Tell Them You Understand...

We've all had alpha personality co-workers or bosses we couldn't connect with.  

They were overbearing. They had to do it their way. They were too far in the weeds and hyper-critical of your work.  You didn't like them. Hate's a strong word, dislike is not.

So you ran away and got the hell out.  Time to do your own thing. 

Then a funny thing happened. You grew up, got promoted a couple of times and found yourself being a lot like them.  You didn't notice the similarities until you had a flash point with a direct report.  Then it hit you:

"OMG. I've become what I used to hate."

That's probably true. But the failure didn't happen today, it happened with the younger version of yourself.  You didn't know how hard it was to run the show. 

Need an example?  How about Kyrie Irving of pro basketball's Boston Celtics? Kyrie is infamous for running away from the demanding, badgering, bitchy shadow of Lebron James, requesting a trade after winning a NBA Title with Lebron and the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2017.

Now he's around a bunch of youngsters with the Celtics and feels like the parent Lebron tried to be to him. So he called Lebron to tell him he finally grew up, and apologized for being a bratty kid.  More from ESPN:

Celtics guard Kyrie Irving said that in the wake of his outbursts at coach Brad Stevens and forward Gordon Hayward on the court at the end of Saturday's loss at the Orlando Magic and pointed criticisms of Boston's young players afterward, he called LeBron James and apologized for the way he handled criticism from James when the two were teammates in Cleveland.

"Obviously, this was a big deal for me, because I had to call [LeBron] and tell him I apologized for being that young player that wanted everything at his fingertips, and I wanted everything at my threshold," Irving said after scoring 27 points and dishing out a career-high 18 assists in Boston's 117-108 home victory over the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night. "I wanted to be the guy that led us to a championship. I wanted to be the leader. I wanted to be all that, and the responsibility of being the best in the world and leading your team is something that is not meant for many people.

"[LeBron] was one of those guys who came to Cleveland and tried to show us how to win a championship, and it was hard for him, and sometimes getting the most out of the group is not the easiest thing in the world."

Some of the people you used to hate were bad people. Some were good people trying to keep the wheels on the bus as it rolled along at 150 mph and were better than you gave them credit for.

Now that you're running things, you should reach out to the latter group and tell them you appreciate them - if only belatedly.

It might be the start of an important relationship you need professionally.


Nothing Says "Sell Your Stocks" More Than Corporate Events That Feature This...

You know you're living in a peak economic cycle when you go to a corporate event, and the entertainment rivals old Rome in the Coliseum. 

Lions. Tigers. Potential loss of life.  ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?

Email subscribers, click through to the site if you don't  see the Instagram video embedded below. OC Tanner, by all counts a fine, outstanding recognition firm (trying like everyone else in the game to become a cloud-based technology firm) had an analyst event last September in Snowbird, UT.

The video is of some ski stunt jumpers doing something like 15 flips in a row - no snow, so they land in a pool of water.

An HR Capitalist correspondent was there and met at least one of the jumpers, who was on the last US Winter Olympic team.

Post recession, you had a crappy DJ at your company event.

Peak economic cycle? You better get an Olympian risking his life for the mob to the tune of Ozzy's Crazy Train.  After all, that transition to becoming a cloud-based company just doesn't happen. Bells and whistles are needed.

ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?  Make sure you pick up our goodie bag with a t-shirt and a flash drive before you leave the park.

And yes, we all saw this and left our investment accounts in 90% equities.  No shocker the market dropped hard in Q4 when we saw this at the end of Q3.