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June 2012

Slang HR Needs to Know: "PIVOT"

Here's a tech/silicon valley term HR pros need to know: "Pivot".  Let's start with the definition of the type of pivot I'm talking about.  

The Pivot - Sudden shift in strategy that turns a mediocre idea into a billion-dollar company.  Try out new ideas, shed them quickly if they don't catch on, and move on to the next new thing. Pivots-final-large

How it's used:

--“Look at Groupon.  They started out as some political chat forum, pivoted, and now they’re worth freaking $5B.”

--“Like, you know, every startup needs to  pivot like two or three times before locking-in on its final strategy.  That’s the nature of innovation.”

Here's a nice example - Instagram, which started out as a virtual "check-in" site and wound up as a photo-sharing service, is a recent high-profile example.

How's the "pivot" apply to HR?  Our industry is pretty intent on being conservative and getting it right when we do something - often because we do massive rollouts of HR branded stuff to all employees.  What we probably ought to be doing is to never roll out a new HR product/service/feature without testing it in a pilot of less than 10% of our employee base - probably much less than that, actually.  

New performance management process?  Roll out it out to single department - find what's broken, and pivot.  Do it differently until everyone thinks you not only got it right, but that you're a world-class HR shop.

Tech's pivot is your pilot.  Run pilots more and tell people you're testing with live data.  Let them give feedback.  Change your stuff up as a result and roll it out.

Pivot.  If you look around, you'll see 3-4 things you've waited way too long to pivot on.  You're already failing in some of those things if you look closely.  Could a pivot and the resulting skunkworks project really be worse to your customers (i.e. employees)?

Pivot on something this week.  

VIDEO: How to Get Fired By Prepping Your Boss to Present In Front of a Crowd...

Watch the video people... (if this was your boss and you were the lackey in charge of prepping him, you're scanning Indeed.com for your next gig right now)

Don't tell me the technology is buggy.  You put me up there and made me look like an a#@.  And I need your keys and laptop (or surface).  I need results.

Email subscribers click through for the video.  Watch the screen freeze up, then watch his eyes as he determines who he's going to fire.

BOOM - that just happened.   PS - if you're going to make me wear these retro nikes, you better not #@## up the technology and make me look like a fool.  That is all.

Does The Size of Your Company's Brand Impact the Type of Recruiter You Need?

Everybody can use a hunter.  Some companies can live with a few farmers.  More after the jump.

(Editor’s Note: Today’s post is brought to you by Allied Van Lines, proud sponsor of the “2012 Workforce Mobility Survey”, designed to capture the voice of HR on topics related to workforce mobility. Allied has more than 75 years of experience in corporate, household and international relocation.)

Is it easier to recruit at a big company vs a small company?  I'd say yes, as long as the big company's brand is a good one, resources to land candidates are present, etc.  Check out these stats from the last round of the allied HRIQ survey (2012 Workforce Mobility Survey):

According to HR professionals, large companies are more bullish about recruiting in 2012:

--More likely to rate their recruiting, relocation and onboarding programs as “highly successful” Brands
--More likely to search nationally or internationally when recruiting
--More likely to have a formal program and budget for onboarding
--More likely to offer a broad array of recruiting and relocation incentives to job candidates

Still, small companies have advantages, too, according to the survey results. In several respects they are equal to or competitive with larger firms:

--A significant portion of small companies are “highly successful” at recruiting and relocation, suggesting that the playing field can be leveled.
--Perceptions aside, small and large companies perform about the same in terms of securing recruits.
--Small firms retain a slightly higher percentage of new employees.
--In certain areas (e.g., flexible work arrangements, work environment), small companies are competitive with large companies.

Which is to say the following - You're going to be more bullish than the small guys about recruiting this year if you have all the advantages listed above at a big company, right?  Of course you are...

Let's face it - if you're trying to build a recruiting department, a lot of the questions you need to answer before you start building center around whether you're looking for farmers or hunters.  Crosstab that with whether you've got a big company brand that candidates will naturally gravitate towards, and you'll have what you need to profile the recruiters you're going to start trying to hire.

Simple definitions:

--Hunter - a recruiter who knows how to actively source, goes after candidates who aren't looking.  Whether they're talking to a passive or active candidate, they're listening for the candidate's movtivation and using that as they sell the position in question in.

--Farmer - generally is only going to talk to candidates who are direct applies.  Generally smart enough to sell the brand in a small or big company, but not really assertive enough to land candidates the brand couldn't access through their closing skills and demeanor.  

Let's build off that and the big company/small company thing.  Some profiles crosstabbed with size of company brand:

1. Big Company brand + Farmer = you pay less for a recruiter. You can get away with this at times as a big company.

2. Big Company brand + Hunter = you pay more, but you may need it, especially in hard to land positions in technology, etc.

3. Small Company brand + Hunter = what you need to compete.  A hunter is probably necessary if you're hiring a recruiter at a small firm.  You don't have the brand, and a hunter is necessary to sell the opportunity and close the candidates you need.

4. Small Company brand + Farmer = you're probably going to get it handed to you.  You need someone to sell and close, and the Farmer probably isn't it... Of course, the farmer is more affordable than the hunter...

Translation: If you're at a small company, don't bring a knife to a gunfight.  It usually doesn't work out well...

If you would like to learn more about Allied Van Lines, please check out their website or blog. And if you would like to get more information from the Workforce Mobility Survey, you can click here. It’s definitely worth checking out.

HR Capitalist Review of #SHRM12 (2012 SHRM Annual Conference in Atlanta)

I know, I know. Don't most people wait to write a review once a show like SHRM12 is complete?

Yes.  But I already know what I want to say.  I'll update the post once I'm at the show this week with any changes of heart.

Here's the Review: 2461-1-shrm-2012-annual-conference

Big Wins for SHRM12 in Atlanta

Couple of things here, pretty clear ways that SHRM is getting better at the annual event than they used to be...much better:

-Big Names that people actually want to see.  Malcolm Gladwell.  Jerry Seinfeld.  Need I say more?  Pretty good rockstars to build a show around.  In the not too distant past, it feels like Seinfeld wouldn't have been an option based on some of the themes in his show - master of his own domain, etc.  SHRM's starting to connect in this area.  Gladwell is a great choice for the pure innovation/thinking differently angle.  Condeleza Rice?  Not bad, but that just mainly shows that SHRM has a lot of cash.

-SHRM finally gets social.  SHRM has loosened up a lot at the show and is actually encouraging social interaction, which is a function of @shrmsocialmediaguy, Curtis Midkiff, getting traction and support in the organization.  What choice did they have?  None, actually, but it's good to see social traction around the show.

-Some personality in the lead up materials to the show.  Just me, or did anyone else notice that the lead up materials to SHRM12 looked less like a non-profit and more like a organization attempting to build buzz and market?

-ATL.  Our company, Kineitx, is based out of the ATL, so clearly I'm going to think this was a great choice.  Except for the heat.  It's been mild all summer, and it looks like the heat decided to show up.  You're welcome.

Stuff That Still Needs Work

-Sexiness of the sessions.  You've got Gladwell and Seinfeld.  Time to let the hair down a bit on the concurrent content tracks.  No question there's a lot of sessions to choose from, but it's hard to really get excited about the marketing of the sessions, even if they are truly great.  Give me a video pitch, an opportunity to interact with the person presenting, something.  It looks like a librarian wrote them, people.

-Connecting with people attending sessions - would love a tool that allows me to see who's attending what sessions, similar to an evite type of thing.  Just another way the org can join 2012.  Here's your big idea for 2013, SHRM - create profiles of 30 different types of attendees, then have them put together a "playlist" of the sessions they're going to attend - then allow people to select that playlist to get their intial agenda, then modify it and even show the number of people who have intially elected a playlist before they modified it.  Boom - I just solved your concurrent session problem.  You're welcome.

Things That Are Broken

-OK, you've still got the SHRM Members for Transparency group out there, and they sent an email last week saying they got bounced from the space they arranged for their Sunday press conference by SHRM, who told the hotel they weren't authorized, etc.  So the little guys looking to hold the bigger org accountable had to scamble to find space.  Is that true, SHRM?  If so, it's weak.  You need more people (not less) who care enough to spend time, money and energy trying to disrupt the status quo.  #shame.  But hey, you're the boss, right?  Just send one of the administrative bouncers over there to break their collective legs.  

THE OVERALL REVIEW GRADE** - B.  I used to be "C-".  You're doing well.  Don't get too cocky about crushing dissent, though.  That'll cause you to go down even if you keep the production values high.

**How I'll Know You've Really Arrived: At about 50 different prominent spots at the show, you allow a twitter feed to roll allowing registered attendees (no one that's outside the show and no vendors) to say what ever they want to say.  No editing.  At that point, I'll know that you really get a lot of things that you traditionally haven't about transparency and authenticity.  Curtis Midkiff can help you figure that out if you let him, but remember - that suggestion transcends the use of social - it means you're creating an event that's more focused on the thoughts of the user than it is about your organizational level of control. 

Since you're an association, that would make sense.  Have a great show and welcome to Atlanta, SHRM...

Anti-Social Employee Behavior and the Company Elevator...

Face it.  You've had one of those weeks, one of those days, or one of those mornings.  You don't want to talk to people.  It's OK, that makes you human...  Sometimes people aren't the best choice to hang out with.

But don't start the day avoiding the faces you know (if not love) by evading elevator time with others at work.  Here's a chronology I got one morning recently in the walk from the parking lot to the building, then to the elevator.  Bad karma.  Check and see if this is anyone you know:

1.  I park.  Jim (not the real name) has already parked and is 20 seconds ahead of me walking up to the building from another area of the parking lot.  Jim looks intense/troubled/slightly anti-social in his body language.

2.  As I am walking up to the building, I don't give it the old "Hi Jim!" from 30 yards out sinceElevator_3 he looks peeved.  My first thought - "Let's give Jim some space and not do the fake pleasantries".  After all, he'll have to force some small talk out in the elevator (we're on the 2nd and 4th floor of our building) in close quarters.  I don't want him to peak too soon, because nothing's worse than uncomfortable silence in the elevator.  I'm all about taking care of Jim at this point.

3.  Jim sees me out of the corner of his eye and decides to turn the corner to the building doors without saying "Hi Kris!".  That's cool - he's probably doing me the solid of allowing me to save my best stuff for the elevator as well.  Nice.  What am I going to ring up with him in the elevator?  Weather?  Kids?  Red Sox?  Who knows - I'll figure it out in the next 40 yards.  I'm best under pressure...

4.  Jim enters the building.  Through the glass windows as I walk up, I see Jim punch the button for the elevator, then get really close to the doors to make it come quicker.  Can an elevator be willed to come sooner than the national average?  Some would say no, Jim says "yes".  A battle of wills ensues as I make my way to the doors.  At stake?  Jim's ability to ride the trolley up solo, without having to deal with me being all chipper and engaging.

5.  I come through the doors.  I can't see Jim at the elevators since he's locked in the battle of wills, but suffice it to say there's only a 5% probability he's riding the box without me on his shoulder, making small talk.  I've decided to talk about the new Batman movie, just to take Jim's heart rate up a few.  Always thinking about wellness and aerobic health.

6.  I turn the corner and NEWMAN!!  No Jim.  Up button to the elevator still illuminated, with Jim nowhere to be found.  I hear the door to the stairs slam shut.  Jim decided that climbing the stairs is better than making small talk.  That's 60 small steps for Jim, hopefully a lifestyle change for mankind and wellness.

Could it have been me?  Surely not.  Well, maybe.  More than likely, Jim didn't want to make small talk with anyone, especially those voted most likely to tweak him on topics where his views are polarized and he's easily agitated. 

So, here's my new parking lot/elevator rule for decency.  No eye contact or small talk required when separated by more than 20 yards in the parking lot, however, you have to the take the elevator when you've been spotted.

Especially when you've already pushed the button.  Have you no shame?  Do I have to send the guys from a martial arts movie, pictured in the elevator photo above, to straighten this out?

But as I make the rule, I give the olive branch - Dude, we've all been there..  Honk if you've ever avoided human interaction at work...

REQUIRED READING: One of the Most Public Harassment Lawsuits You'll Ever See...

OK - you deal with a lot of stuff as a talent pro, and one of the things you have to deal with every now and then is a harassment charge.  That's why I'm pointing you to this case breakdown page at Business Insider, which details an entire case out of Silicon Valley at a high level of a venture firm.

Check out this page for the full rundown - I'm giving you two of the 12 breakdowns of the primaries involved below.  What the case shows isn't whether it's true or not (who knows, right?) - it's showing just how complex these things become when someone decides that it's time to go public with the harassment charge.

Lots of complexity in this one - you need to read it, no questions.  




How to Be Strategic in Performance Reviews Without Really Trying...

This is a shameless reference for one of my favorite Broadway shows - I've seen 3, so I'm a bit of an expert... Seriously - If you're stuck in a rut related to performance management, you can get strategic without really having to do too much work.  Here's your roadmap - it's worth your time, gang:

1. Make your process simple. Follow the rest of this to learn how. How-to-succeed-poster

2. Take all your MBO/metric/goal BS and re-position it as follows: The 5 Most Important Things.  If your managers could only talk to their employees about 5 things, what would those 5 things be?  That's your goals section.  That's section one of your performance review.

3.  Create a "section two" related to potential factors - come up with 4-5 things that everyone in your company needs to get hired and promoted, and if those things aren't there, fired.   Boom. Don't worry about making it perfect, because it will change and evolve over time.

4.  Get your systems in place that allow you to plot the two section review on an X/Y axis that creates a 9-Box grid.

What I just outlined is the hardest part.  Once you have that done, it's time to have some fun, and look strategic (hell, be strategic) with what follows below:

5.  Once your first performance review cycle is done using what's outlined above, run a "TALENT REVIEW" by doing the following:

-Plot everyone in the company on the graph that looks like the one that appears here (go departments/locations, etc. for large companies)

-Schedule and run a meeting with the managers you define as a leadership team for your company (or the specific unit you're focused on) and tell them you're going to discuss:

a. The overall chart including all employees.  ALWAYS start by showing them the overall graph, because it puts you in charge.

a. The highest performers in the top right box. (superstars)

b. The lowest performers in the company at all three levels (low performance with low potential, average potential and high potential - because one group probably needs to go, and something's broken with the other two).

Then stop there.  Sure, you could do more, but it gets overwhelming pretty quickly.  Follow that roadmap, and by the time you get to the talent review for the top 5% and the lowest 10% of performers, you'll be in charge of a conversation that's sure to get strategic pretty quickly - what do we do about the lowest performers?  How can we save low performers who have potential?  What about the highest performers?  How do we get them a bigger piece of the compensation and rewards pie?  Are the % in each box the right ones?

You'll be in charge of all those questions and more when you get to the Talent Review portion of the roadmap.  Strategy!  Provided by.... you..... But it doesn't happen unless you create it - which is why I'm doing this webinar this week on how to bootstrap a talent review and get started with Succession Planning.  Attend Zombies, Grinders and Superstars:  The FOT Talent/Succession Review and I'll give you a roadmap on this critical way for you to get strategic and change how your practice is viewed at your company.  I'll tell you how to set it up, run a session, etc.  

This one's on me - I'll get you started and you can steal my thoughts and make it better based on your world.

Register today - we're doing it live this Wednesday at 1pm EST/12pm CST. See you there, HR Cap readers.

HEY NEW HIRE: LinkedIn is Telling Me You May leave in 1-2 Months...

That's right - I'm on to you, brother.  I know the game sister.

You joined your company 2 months ago.  I know that you're teetering and not sure whether you're going to stick or bounce.  A couple of things tell me this on LinkedIn, namely the following: Hiding

-You may have taken a step down regarding the brand of your current company.  You've had some great brands on your resume in the past and maybe you got impacted by the recession - not sure.   But if I look at the trail of the companies, I could make the case that you took what you could get in this round of your career.  Not that there's anything wrong with that - your current company looks lucky to have you...

-BUT: You haven't updated your LinkedIn profile yet.  Don't give me the old song and dance that "you've been super busy".  You've got hundreds of connections and you're active on the tool.  There's only one reason why you haven't updated your profile yet, and that's the following reason....

YOU'RE HEDGING.  I saw two of you on Friday.  Gainfully employed by your new company, a month or two in, still taking calls from recruiters.  You haven't updated the LinkedIn profile yet.  That's all I need to know.  You're hedging.  If a better deal comes along, you're out of there in a heartbeat... 

Which is as it should be - free agent nation and all that.  But aren't you lucky that most HR pros (the ones who onboarded you) don't actively use LinkedIn?  And HR pros, if this causes you to check the LinkedIn profiles of some of your recent key hires, that's your bonus for reading the Capitalist.

There's gold in those digital tracks...

AH SNAP!! More Old School/New School Differences in Leadership...

WHAT’S the difference between the billionaire media mogul Mark Zuckerberg (new school) and the billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch (old school)?

"When Rupert invades your privacy, my friend e-mailed back, it’s against the law. When Mark does, it’s the future."

True that.  Or dat.  Or however the #@#@ing kids say it these days.  The old/new school sterotype matters in more ways than one...

LIES, DAMN LIES AND STATS: You Don't Know Your "Time to Productivity" in Your Company....

Had the pleasure of taping my podcast - The CYA Report (check it out if you haven't yet) - over at Fistful of Talent yesterday with the great Steve Boese and the talented Trish McFarlane.  The podcast will be out next week, and we're talking about the Allied HRIQ Mobility survey, which starts with a bunch of great stats on relocation, then quickly gets into some related areas, including recruiting effectiveness and onboarding research.

In the podcast, Trish made the observation that one of the things that interested her most about the Devo Allied research was the fact that most of the research respondents felt like she did about getting new employees to full productivity - that it takes a long time.

Which made me think this - everybody is freaking guessing about what "Time to Productivity" is at their company.   No one has a clue what it is - seriously.

When you see a "this is our time to productivity" stat at a company - especially an overall number that isn't single position specific - just go ahead and assume it's a wild#$$ guess.  Why?  Because truly having a number for "time to productivity" takes an amazing amount of discipline, and I'm guessing your company doesn't have time to really get into it. 

Think about it - you've got to do the following:

1.  Determine what the most important things are you need out of a role and communicate to the newbie.

2.  You've got to set a CLEAR level of performance in each of those areas that illustrates "meets expectations", aka "full productivity".

3,  You've got to evaluate where the person is at constantly until (DING!!) they reach a level of full productivity for the role you have them in.

4.  You need to record that number consistently across all employees and give an average.

Time to productivity is a great buzzword.  Pros like Trish, you and me know it when we see it.  But a hard number for the field to bandy about like a customer service stat?  HR pro, please.  #nosale

And before you blast me with emails, I get you might have a good number for some easy to measure positions, like production floor associates, even a recruiter.  But the rest of us in the murky gray?  You slay me with your "overall metric" for productivity at your company.  

You know it when you see it - like style or porn.  But you can't put a stat to it.  If everyone can't turn in a performance review, how can you know time to freaking productivity?

But all is not lost - I'm throwing "working in a coal mine" by Devo in to raise your spirits on the productivity front...