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September 2011

My #HRevolution Session: Moneyball and the Art of Figuring Out if HR Leaders Are Overpaid...

I'm in Vegas over the weekend to participate in HRevolution - a great unconference for HR Pros.  The title of my session is FOT Live.  Catchy, huh?  A placeholder of sorts because I really didn't know what I wanted to talk about.

But as I began seeing the promotional lead-up to the movie Moneyball, my thoughts on the Pitt moneyball session became pretty specific.  I'm going to talk about how you figure out if an HR Leader is undervalued or overvalued. Are you paying too much?  What metrics can you look at to figure out who (if you had access to the right information) is undervalued in the HR marketplace?

Moneyball for HR Leaders.  Not for HR Pros to determine what others are worth.  To determine what different HR Pros are actually worth.  

The good news is I don't need to have all the answers.  HRevolution is set up in a way where dialog and conversation drive the session.  So really what I have to do is start the conversation and keep it out of the ditches.  

I do have one strong opinion from which my worldview on HR pros is based.  I also think that the value/worth question for HR leaders applies to any generalist who is responsible for a client group of employees.  Unlock the Moneyball for HR formula, and you can apply it all the way down to the HR Manager.  As long as they're responsible for a flock.

A cautionary note: As I thought about the best way I would go about determining whether an HR Leader was undervalued or overvalued, my thoughts were a little chilling.  If any of the past CEOs I've worked for walked up to me with the ideas that came into my head, I would have automatically protested.  

You can't measure me like that.  I don't control all the levers that type of measurement implies.

You're right.  Most HR Leaders don't have as much control as they would like.  But the talented ones find ways to get results without the assigned authority.  That's why they're undervalued in the marketplace before the market figures out what's up.  Then their value gets driven up in a hurry.  Sometimes.

I'm looking forward to the conversation and learning from whoever joins me.  Whether it's 2 people or 50, I suspect I'll learn more than I give.  

Moneyball for HR Leaders.  Should be fun.  Join me if you're attending, I'll do a series of posts related to what I learn from the HRevolution tribe next week.  

STALE AT WORK: Why Are You Doing That Project Again?

Yesterday I wrote about shelf life and becoming stale in the gig you're in.  

My kid called it "the same old @#$#".  By the way, did some research with Mrs. Capitalist and it appears that our 4 year old at the time was quoting a Nickleback song.  Video below, check out the 3:10 mark.  Good times.  I remember him drumming to the intro of this one in the back seat.  Apparently, we let it roll past the intro a time or two.  Whoops.

Back to the point.  If you're stale in your gig, you've got choices to make.  Every job has transactional/daily stuff that has to be done.  Then, the important moment comes.  You've got some choices to make about what can truly add value related to how you spend the rest of your time.

What projects are you working on?  Why did you choose those projects?  Penelope Truck asks an important question in this post:

"If you have a text-based resume, you need to always think in terms of bullets – is your project leading to a bullet on your resume, and if not, why are you doing it?"

You know you're going through the motions and your shelf life has expired at work when you a) aren't working on any projects, or b) the projects you are working on aren't worth space on your resume.

Want to get out of your rut at work?  Start doing two projects that you would put on your resume.  Odds are that's going to help you reinvent yourself at work and extend your shelf life.

If you can't do that, the problem is you.  Maybe it's the profession and not the job.

It's on you.

Kids Say Some Crazy Things (Wisdom On The Value of Shaking Things Up at Work)....

Just got a note from one of our peers in HR.  She's bored.  I get it, sometimes you get in a rut and have to shake it up.

I'm a big believer that everyone has a shelf life at any organization/career they choose.  Once you reach that shelf life, you have to reinvent yourself to get interested again, or you should probably jump to another opportunity.

It's like the honest quote provided by my oldest son when he was 4 years old.  We're sitting around the dinner table in classic American style.  We're having a pasta dish that's a recurring menu item in our household, and this is what he says out of the blue:

"It's the same old shit".

He said it so honestly and with no malicious intent, so all we could do is laugh.

Kids.  Where did he hear that?  Me?  You?  Cartoons?  The Dennis Leary disc that his dad has in the CD player?  Was he listening when I thought he was asleep?

Pure honesty.  What a kid.  He'll learn to mask that window to the soul, lest the world crushes him like a grape.

Actually, I hope he never loses that.  Reinvent yourself when you feel like that at work, or get the heck out.  

Don't be a victim to the SOS.

Global Trend Voted Most Likely to Bite HR Pros in the #$#...

You'll look at the chart below and say, "Yeah, Kris - I knew that.  Big Deal".

Of course you know about texting.  You're a savvy blog reader.  Well played.

But then when you look around, none of the HR technology stacks you use incorporate texting as the equal of email.  Oops.

Look at the chart below and the numbers.  Your HR practice probably needs to be somewhere in that mix.  Does your open position or call for performance feedback have a better shot at being acted upon if it's emailed or texted?

Used to be email without question.  That is changing fo sho...

(see the article and chart at Business Insider)


Here's How to Use Social Media for Retention Purposes...

I had the pleasure of leading a panel on Monday at the Halogen Software User Conference in Atlanta. Halogen puts on a great conference for the HR pros who use their solution in the field, mixing education and user feedback on their solution with general HR tracks.  They're one of the best in my eyes.

I had a great panel talking about Talent Management issues these HR pros should keep their eyes on in the coming year.  The picture below is our panel, including @CathyMartin @MikeHaberman @Havrilla (Chris), with the hashtag for the conference being #HSUC11.

Halogen blogger panel

And yes, that's the panel holding hands.  That's how we roll.  When I do a panel, I'm like Oprah - except I'm white and can knock down a 15 ft jumper consistently off a baseline screen.  Oprah can't do that - I've seen her play... 

Here's the money question from the crowd yesterday: "How do we use social media to drive retention?"

Me: "Start by making sure your employees have access to social media".  Ha.

To be fair, the person who asked the question was undoubted a user and proponent of social media in her organization.  However, when I asked a show of hands related to how many people were blocking social media in their companies, half the hands went up.

So, if you want retention via social media, start with access for all.  Then promote the hell out of the people who are using it for business and professional purposes.  Transparency!  Even if some smart recruiter like Chris Havrilla will ultimately use that tool to try to steal them from you, that's the way you should go.  Use their work on social media in the right way, and chances are they won't go when they get the call.

DOWNLOAD: Please Shut Up! The Idiot-Proof Coaching Tool for Managers...

Coaching for better performance.  Most managers think they're great coaches.  Most aren't.

The big reason?  Coaching isn't telling.  Most managers sit a team member down, tell them what they think and then tell them what they need to do, then close the meeting. Please Shut Up

You really coached that lower performer up dude. Except you didn't.  He just shook his head yes while you were talking to get out of there.  Everything you said sounded like the classic Charlie Brown teacher in the animated specials.  

If you want to be a real coach for your team members, you need to shut the hell up once in awhile.  For real.

That's why I did a whitepaper over at Kinetix called "PLEASE SHUT UP: The Idiot-Proof Coaching Tool for Managers" It's a rework of some content I created in a past webinar we did at Fistful of Talent, and here are the goodies you get when you download it:

1. A clear definition of what performance coaching is (or should be) for the managers at your company;

2. A killer 6-Step Coaching Tool that your managers can use to coach talent on the spot for improved performance at your company; and

3. Advanced techniques on when your managers should shut up in the coaching process to ensure their team members "buy in" to doing what it takes to raise their performance.

If you want to read more, go get the whitepaper here (registration required).  Not a sales pitch, just interesting reading and a great way to help your managers out.  I wrote it, so if you like what you get here, you'll like the whitepaper...

If you find registration for content personally appalling, I don't even know who you are anymore.... Just kidding, just email me or hit me in the comments if you're hiding from the authorities and are naturally suspicious, and I'll send you the PDF...

Groupon Lawsuit: Guess the FLSA Infraction...

Workforce reported earlier this week that Groupon, the hot Chicago-based startup that basically defined the "daily deals" category, has been sued in "class action" style for unpaid overtime.  It's a somewhat tricky suit - not your garden variety unpaid overtime class-action, since it involves sales professionals. Hmmm - let's dig into a bit of the workforce article (find the whole thing here):

"The suit says the Chicago-based 3-year-old daily-deal business didn't pay sales employees overtime, violating wage laws, or didn't pay them enough.  “It's a systemic problem,” said Douglas Werman, a Chicago-based attorney who filed the suit on behalf of Dailey and is seeking class-action status on behalf of her and other sales reps allegedly cheated out of overtime pay.

His firm, Werman Law Office, won the largest wage-and-hour case in Illinois history two years ago, an $11 million settlement against Troy, Michigan-based staffing firm Kelly Services Inc.

The overtime suit could become a problem for the company, which employs more than 4,800 sales reps worldwide out of a workforce approaching 10,000. Roughly 1,000 of the reps are in the U.S. and therefore covered by federal labor laws.

On average, the reps are paid about $32,500 a year, plus commissions equal to a percentage of the value of the deals they line up with restaurants, salons and other local businesses."

Most of you have salespeople that are out beating the street, and most of you classify those sales pros as exempt, meaning they're not generally eligible for overtime.  Which begs the question, why are the Groupon reps eligible for overtime if yours are not?

What's your take?  Think about it and I'll give you my best guess below.  Thinking....(music in background)

Got your answer?  Here's mine:

At a 32K base and knowing a bit about the Groupon model, my take is that these reps might be classified as non-exempt and overtime eligible due to the fact that they're more telemarketer than sales pro.  I'm betting that most of these people report to HQ in Chicago and smile and dial via the phone, rarely seeing customers in the field.  Also playing into that model is the fact that they're probably hooked up to a predictive dialer, which means they're fed one call right after another in their territory and they're banging it out like a telemarketer.

Which means that they don't control what they work on and when they work on it, which is the first test of independence I usually throw up for poor man's overtime eligibility test.

That's nothing but a guess, but I'm thinking it's directionally accurate.  What's your take?

PS - you have to love the model this law firm is operating under.  I can imagine the tweet from a partner - "just took down @kellyservices for 11 large.  will scan #monster for companies who are mis-classifying sales pros after the celebration.  #winning

The Mets and MLB Say No to 9/11 Hats Due to Funky Non-Solicitation Policy...

Say it with me: Too many of the decisions we make are driven by fear of confronting things that suck.

Case in point:  The New York Mets and Major League Baseball forbid players to wear 9/11 hats on Reyes Sunday.  To be more clear:  The Mets and MLB said no to 9/11 hats in NYC, on the 10 year anniversary of 9/11.

Why would they do that you ask?  If you're in HR, you know there's a horribly flawed policy interpretation coming up.

ESPN's Jason Stark reported this morning that the real reason the Mets and MLB said no was to have the ability to enforce their strict uniform rules in the future.  Apparently, the Washington Nationals had asked to wear "Seal Team Six" hats a few weeks back, and were told "no" under the same policy.

Of course, saying no to 9/11 hats wasn't about having the ability to say no to "Seal Team Six".  It's about saying no to the owner who wants to wear "Masonic Lodge 234" hats because that's what he's into.  You get the vibe...

"We're saying no to this one so we can say no to the terrible ones that are coming.  It's a slippery slope"

Yes - just like the non-solicitation rule you have at your company.  You say no to distributing marketing material of great local organizations because you don't want to deal with Jenny from accounting being pissed off because she can't distribute 200 flyers in the call center.  And more importantly, also because you want the ability to say no to the Teamsters if they want to distribute their stuff.  Legally, you have to do that.

"We're saying no to this one so we can say no to the terrible ones that are coming."  9/11 hats in NYC on the 10-year anniversary of...wait for it...9/11.

Use this example to say no to an incredibly inept policy interpretation in your company today, and in doing that, say yes.  Give your team some credit for knowing the difference between good and bad.

Capitalist Definitions: "HR Generalist"...

There's a big difference out there among otherwise like-minded people.  I'm not talking about GOP/Democrat, Coke/Pepsi or even Kobe/Lebron (what? that's just me?)...

I'm talking about the definition of the HR Generalist...

To many, the HR Generalist is an entry level HR pro, either doing transactions or a combination of transactions and early career HR exempt stuff, at a level I would call "HR Representative" or "HR Coordinator.  This tribe hears HR Generalist and thinks career level.

Me?  I hear HR Generalist and I think "responsibility for".  To me, an HR Generalist is someone who holds responsibility for most of the areas included in the HR domain - Recruiting, Performance, Comp, Employee Relations, Training, Payroll, Strategy, etc.  The Generalists I know might have specialists supporting them, but the Generalist is the one in the field, with a large client group, making it all happen.  They've got a flock that they are responsible for, and that flock views them as HR - across all the areas.  

In my world, the HR Generalist can be an HR Rep, HR Manager, Director of HR or a VP of HR.  If they have a client group in the field and they're responsible for supporting that client group across all areas, they're an HR Generalist in my eyes.

Long live the HR Generalist.  They get S### done.

FRIDAY MORNING QUARTERBACK: Would You Approve This Termination?

Got a good one for you this morning.  Let's say you're the superintendent of your school district and you read about an employee of your school being thrown in the pokey and charged with misdemeanor child abuse, misdemeanor possession of a weapon on educational grounds and misdemeanor resisting arrest, delaying or obstructing a public officer - all for an incident that involves choking a 12-year old child in an altercation in his off duty gig as an assistant middle school football coach.  Here's some more detail:

"According to a report filed with the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office, it all started at the school around 5 p.m. after football practice. Dick vernon

Head football coach Douglas Pruitt told deputies that Jared John Gallagher was walking with the 12-year-old boy to the locker room after practice and choked him.

Pruitt tried to intervene, but Gallagher tried to fight him, according to the report. A parent then got involved as Pruitt called 911 for help.  When deputies arrived they approached Gallagher and asked him to put his hands behind his back.

Gallagher did not comply, according to the report, and was tased by the deputy. Gallagher reportedly pulled the prongs out of his body and was shocked again by another officer behind him, the report stated. Gallagher was shocked for a third time and fell to the ground where he was restrained by officers.

Deputies discovered a 9 mm pistol with 79 live rounds of ammunition inside Gallagher’s truck, according to the report. That had parents worried because Gallagher posted his $5,000 bond last week."

Dude, they couldn't put him down when tased - he was pulling the prongs out of his body. 

In a related, yet ironic note from the article, he's actually the In-School Suspension (ISS) Assistant at the school in question.  Yes, he's the real life equivalent of Dick Vernon, the ISS guy in Breakfast Club.

What say ye?  Term now or not?  Get ready to get attacked in the comments if you say "suspend with pay until we sort through this".

Bonus Dick Vernon quote to make you think about this case: "That's the last time, Bender. That's the last time you ever make me look bad in front of those kids, you hear me? I make $31,000 a year and I have a home and I'm not about to throw it all away on some punk like you. But someday when you're outta here and you've forgotten all about this place and they've forgotten all about you, and you're wrapped up in your own pathetic life, I'm gonna be there. That's right. And I'm gonna kick the____ out of you. 

h/t: Deadspin.com