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November 2012

NATURAL SELECTION WORKS: Did This Employee Mocking The Unknown Soldier Wave Her Right to Separation of Work/Private Life?

Hey!  Let's roll out the tried and true fun topic of the rights of your employees to avoid accountability at work for anything they do in their personal life that's not work related!

Bonus!  Weave social media into it.  Look at the picture below and let's talk after the jump...


Wow. Indeed.  Check it - From Gawker:

The 30-year-old Massachusetts native, who gained overnight infamy for posting a Facebook photo of herself mock-disrespecting the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier while on a work-related trip to Arlington National Cemetery, was unceremoniously fired by her employer yesterday after it was reportedly inundated with angry emails and calls.

LIFE (Living Independent Forever), a Cape Cod-based nonprofit organization that assists adults with learning disabilities, released the following statement on its own Facebook page:

We wish to announce that the two employees recently involved in the Arlington Cemetery incident are no longer employees of LIFE. Again, we deeply regret any disrespect to members of the military and their families. The incident and publicity has been very upsetting to the learning disabled population we serve. To protect our residents, any comments, however well-intentioned, will be deleted. We appreciate your concern and understanding as we focus on the care of our community.

Speaking with a local Fox affiliate, LIFE director Diane Enochs said Stone had been with the group for 18 months, and was a "good employee."

Did this employee need to be fired?  Should the employer have defended her right to free speech/expression in her personal life?

Funny thing about free speech - people mistake it for the following - "you should be allowed to say anything you want without retribution via the concept of free speech."

YOUR ARGUMENT IS INVALID - The right to free speech just means we aren't going to throw you in the pokey for this photo.  Everything thing else is up to the market to decide.  Ask the Dixie Chicks how that works...

For me, I think this is natural selection at its best.  Every once in awhile, there's an antelope that for whatever reason, doesn't stay with the herd.  That's what lions and tigers are for - to thin the herd of the weak ones, ensuring that the gene pool remains as strong as possible.

The decision to do this at Arlington and post on social?  That's just a human equivalent of a crazy antelope lingering at the waterhole while the herd drifted away.  If your employee displays this judgment, do you trust them with a customer?  I think not.  Natural selection ensues.

Enter the lion.  

WEBINAR: How Collaboration Tools and the BYOD Movement Are Reshaping the Way HR & Recruiting Pros Get S#*T Done...

I know.  You get that video is going to be big.  You've heard the animals talking about how they video skyped someone and you wonder whether charges being filed can be far behind.

Actually, that's not fair.  I think we all understand video, especially with an ever-growing broadband pipe at Blue-Jean-Network-Registration-Badge most companies, is already huge.  And it's just going to get bigger, people.

Which is why you should be in the middle of that transformation at your company.  Add a BYOD environment being embraced in most organizations and it's time - you need to figure out what's going on with the use of video in a company like yours.

That's why my other site - Fistful of Talent - is exploring BYOD and use of video explosion in the monthly FOT webinar entitled, Video Killed the Radio Star: How Collaboration Tools and the BYOD Movement Are Reshaping the Way HR & Recruiting Pros Get S#*T Done”.  Join us this Thursday (11/29/12) at 12pm Central, 1pm Eastern and we’ll hit you with the following: 

  1. A detailed dive into why video collaboration is quickly killing the use of traditional audio conferencing tools and the positive impact the shift is having in modern day organizations.
  2. Five ways you can leverage video collaboration tools in your organization today. FOT is determined to make you a believer, so we’re offering up five scenarios in which video collaboration would be the most effective route to execute challenges in your daily role and ultimately drive business results.
  3. A comprehensive roadmap for driving user adoption of video collaboration across your organization. You’ve got the goods now it’s time to put them to use. FOT will break down the three barriers to user adoption and offer up a resistance free roadmap to implementing video collaboration across any business.
  4. A universal script guaranteed to eliminate pregnant pauses, crickets and speaking out of turn.
  5. BYOD and the Mobile Era – the final definition.  We’ll bring in Jeremy Malander from Blue Jeans Network to define BYOD and the Mobile Era, and break down why they are leading drivers in the shift to video collaboration in the workplace.

Bonus: We’ll wrap this webinar by stocking your toolbox full of free, cheap and accessible video tools and hardware to help you get started with video collaboration in your organization today.

Toss your outdated audio conferencing equipment like a pair of acid wash jeans and start collaborating like it’s 2012 – register now for Video Killed the Radio Star.

This webinar comes with the FOT guarantee – 60% of the time, it works every time.

REGISTER TODAY!!!  See you this Thursday...

What The Capitalist Is Reading This Holiday Season....

Reading.  It's fundamental.  Yo. 

Here's a pic of the books I'm reading over what I'll call the "postmodern industrial complex holiday period".  That's a insider's way of saying that I get a little bit of vomit in my mouth when I see holiday lights up before thanksgiving like I did last night.  But that's me.

I'm not a big fiction reader, but most of what grabbed my attention to read this holiday season was fiction.  Here's the stack, descriptions, links and why I've decided to read them below:


The rundowns:

The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand - I'm pitching this one as true, uncompromising creative mind vs. all the #$#t the world wants to tell you is important.  Click on the link for a better description, but this is our holiday book at Kinetix.  It's a pure play talent book, so that's the reason we selected it.  That and the fact it makes our clients and friends of Kinetix look smart by putting it behind their desk.  They are smart, BTW - we're just helping them market that to the world by giving them this book.  #looksmart

Postmortal by Drew Magary - This one was recommended to me by a Capitalist reader to be our holiday book.  Not even sure what it's about (everyone can stop aging in the future but surprise, surprise, they're hidden downsides to that), but the author is a writer at Deadspin, which is actually a model for everything I've tried to do from a writing perspective.  So there's that.  #snarkysnarky

Machine Man by Max Barry - OK, Max Barry is a genius.  Start with Syrup, then come back to this one.  Barry's a former HP guy who writes fiction that's funny, smart and built around the workplace.  +2. #corporatelife

The Gum Thief by Douglas Coupland - I'm a big Coupland fan through great novels like Generation X and JPOD.  Coupland has a lot of workplace and generation stuff built into his novels, and this is a story about 2 disaffected workers at your local Staples wondering what it all means in a snarky, edgy way.  Ever wonder what Kurt Cobain would write like if he would have changed careers?  I think he would have written like Coupland.  #frustratedincorporated

That's it.  Hit me with what you're reading in the comments, an email or a tweet.  

Thinking About the Big Pipe, Mobile and Innovation From Your Employees...

Remember the Netflix pricing change?  Many of you do, others of you have no idea what I'm talking about.  You undoubtedly know who Netflix is - they're the people who killed the local video store - Blockbuster, et al - by changing the game.  Instead of having costly retail space, Netflix originally provided videos through mail order - you paid a monthly fee, then you could rent a movie that would be mailed to you, then you mailed it back to get another movie sent to you based on what you had reserved.  

Netflix always innovates.  One thing they've spent a lot of time on is the ability to "stream" portions of Netflix their video library - taking advantage of the broadband connections in most homes and the tech savvy nature of their customers. The move to streaming would help make the business more profitable - mailing out all those DVDs isn't cheap, it turns out...

So in 2011, Netflix decided to cannibalize their core business and move people to Broadband - here's the rundown of the details from TechCrunch:

"Netflix is officially on an all-out assault on the DVD — or so says their just-released pricing strategy. The new prices yell loud and clear that streaming is the future and you’re going to pay (literally) if you don’t hop on the bandwagon. Maybe this is why Reed Hastings stated back in May that DVD shipments might go down for the first time ever.

Gone are the plans that include streaming and DVD. Customers previously had the option of selecting the streaming plan for $7.99 and then paying an additional $2 to be able to rent one DVD at a time. Now the plans are separate with the streaming plan costing $7.99 and the DVD plan at $7.99; selecting both options for $16 results in a 60% price increase. Current subscribers will be able to ride the lower price until September 1st, but the plan just went live for new customers. Ouch."

Netflix customers were pissed.  But I'm not sure how many people are still mad about the change.  I got a new TV for the mancave about 4 months ago, complete with the broadband streaming Netflix account.  Not sure what the big deal was.  It works perfectly, looks great - all enabled by the big broadband pipe into your home and a wireless router.

So what's it all mean?  What can you learn from the Netflix pricing change as an HR Pro?  I think the following 4 things:

1. Costs and margins matter.  Don't kid yourself.  If you believe you can migrate the customer to a similar product but a cheaper delivery platform and you choose not to do it because you're scared of the blowback (from employees in your case), you're going to run the risk of having an operator make the call for you.  Put on your big boy/girl pants and make the call.  It's called business, and you have to participate.

2. Take all the pain at once.  If you're making a move that's going to be seen as negative, ask yourself the following question: "What do we need to include in this organizational change, so we get as much of the change out of the way with this single announcement as possible?"  Don't do 2-3 change announcements if you can do it all in one package.

3. Communicate why you're doing it.  Why?  What's the goal?  Does it make the organization more stable as a result?  Sell the reasons - or get judged without your voice present.  Netflix didn't do this - their move was designed to drive people away from the costly DVD model or make them pay dearly for it - and they didn't say that.  You can do better.

4. Consider grandfathered tiers in the change. Can you make the change effective with new employees and protect grandfathered status for existing employees?  May not be the right thing in your situation, but certainly a damage control mechanism (if the math works out) that you should consider.

But that's not all.  If you're really looking for opportunities to innovate as an HR pro, you look at technology trends and figure out new ways to deliver the same value to your customers, who just happen to be employees.  

I’m privileged that I get to speak at conferences to large groups a good bit.  Any time I do any topic that relates to social, I ask the following question:

“How many of you checked your smartphone every morning before you even get out of bed?”

The answer is always 95%+ of the room.  95 freaking percent.  I need to take a picture of the crowd next time I ask that question.  It’s staggering.  It’s also the answer to why you need to think about how broadband and wireless changes how you deliver value to your employees.

Think about it.  You work HARD to get information in front of employees via all kinds of communications..  It’s hard to get people to pay attention at your company.

All the people you really want to pay attention?  They’re checking their smartphone before they get out of bed.  How can you leverage that fact at your company?  Broadband, mobile and smartphones have changed the game.  It's your business, and the issues at play are the same for a VP of HR as they are for the CEO of Netflix.

How can you use those trends to change the way you do HR?   The big winners who answer this question won't be HR Tech vendors, they'll be the VPs of HR who get the opportunity and create a custom strategy to take advantage of the trends at their company.

Today's article is in association with www.broadbandgenie.co.uk, the online price comparison site for the latest broadband and tv packages and deals. Click here for more information.  

DEAR HR: You Might Want to Explore These Charts on Text Messaging

I know, I know.  You all know about text messaging.  All the kids are doing it.  You're doing it.  The bigger question is the following - "is any part of your HR communication strategy focused on SMS/Text Messaging?"

The answer for 99.8% of us is "no".  We don't use text messaging as part of our HR comms platform.  But that's wrong and a missed opportunity.  The following two charts show the opportunity.

Even though texts per month/per user have flattened out, it still equates to 20-30 per day on average. 

SMS per month per user

And, if your trying to reach someone below the age of 34, the usage rates are much higher.

Can you say campus recruiting?  Check out the chart below.   


I know what you're saying - "but Kris, what about the charges for texting?"

You're kidding me, right?  Does it look like anyone below the age of 34 has a pay per text plan?  They are all unlimited, yo.

But if you must worry about that, start an opt in campaign to get people to opt into getting messages from you via text.  Tell them it will cut down on BS emails they don't read, and then change your comms plan for these people to share links to bigger docs, and make sure those pages are mobile ready.

Shake off the rust, ye Dinosaur.  Offspring video about the kids not being alright as a bonus below (email subscribers click through for charts and video):

Reasonable Accommodation: A Cautionary Tale

The world is filled with crazy, horrible stories about employers who played games and either couldn't, didn't or otherwise ran from providing a reasonable accomodation to someone who had a disability.  First up, let me say this - I know all about the litmus test that has to applied to determine is a accommodation is "reasonable".

So don't think about the legal BS for a second.  You know why employers and HR pros really don't want to deal with disabilities, especially mental/emotional ones, in the workplace? Tweetstream 

Because they're never sure, once the commitment is made to provide an accommodation, that the commitment shown by the company will be reciprocated and work will be a top priority for the person in question.  Empathetic HR Pro?  Cool.  Let them be burned a couple of times and left holding the bag while the operations person in question wonders why they can't term and backfill an FTE, and the real world view changes.

Case in point.  Royce White of pro basketball's Houston Rockets.  The Rockets drafted White this summer, even in the face of White's frankness about the anxiety disorder he lives with, which has been written about widely.  The accommodation the Rockets seemed prepared to make was that whenever possible, White would drive rather than fly to games.  They also seemed resigned to the fact that the anxiety disorder would also cause White to miss away games due to the fear of flying.  But, they drafted him with the needed accommodation in mind, and White is enough of a talent that they thought the risk was worth the draft pick.  But it's never that easy.  White's been demoted to the D-League (basketball minor leagues) due to the fact White had not been seen in days, missing Monday’s HOME game and HOME practice on Tuesday.  The Rockets feel like he should show up.  But it's a slippery slope with a condition like this.  

More from the Big Lead:

The Rockets seem to think White should show up – or at least that is the point of view the media is pushing. And ownership isn’t doing much to quiet that notion. Via Ultimate Rockets:

Rockets owner Leslie Alexander said there have been “internal repercussions, which I’m not going to talk about.”

More foreboding, Alexander’s confidence in White’s long-term prospects seem shaken since he expressed enthusiasm for White’s potential during the summer league in Las Vegas.

“That’s tenuous,” Alexander said. “It’s tough to talk about something like that. I think we’re going to handle it internally. If he doesn’t work out, well, it’s tough to lose a draft choice.”

Meanwhile, White said in a statement that the Rockets knew why he wasn’t around.

“In hindsight,” the statement said, “perhaps it was not a good idea to be open and honest about my anxiety disorder — due to the current situations at hand that involve the nature of actions from the Houston Rockets. As a rookie, I want to settle into a team and make progress; but since pre-season the Rockets have been inconsistent with their agreement to proactively create a healthy and successful relationship.

“At this point, the Rockets are aware of my position and the reason for my absence, any other response is inaccurate. This is important to me, it is a health issue. I must advocate for my rights, it is a player-commodity league — the failure to meet my requests for support will end with me being unhealthy and that is not a consequence that I am willing to accept to play any sport.”

The slippery slope is a familiar one for any HR pro.  Company values talented employee, stretches to make accommodation, then things go south.  Attendance is usually the issue front and center, and due to the knowledge of the disability in question, the accommodation that was made, etc, things fester.  Decisions aren't made.  The employee states that yes, they didn't show up as expected, but that's part of the condition in question.

Of course, not coming to work was never part of the reasonable accommodation.  But the accommodation provides an official awareness of the condition/disability in question, so dealing with the situation is now a legal mess that takes time.

That's called a slippery slope where I come from.  Or "holding the bag".  

Which means the next time around, willingness to make a reasonable accommodation from the hiring manager or HR pro is much more limited.   There's a business to run.

Note that I am aware of many, many talented individuals with disabilities who are among the best employees at their company.  But the slippery slope outlined above happens more than anyone wants to admit, which is why you see so much resistance on the accommodation front.

The Rockets thought he should show up to work at home games and practices.  He didn't do that, and now the accommodation request is expanding.  Tough stuff to deal with for your average HR Director.  See the tweet barrage from White to the right of the post.  And have a great day while you feel that familiar pain.

Everything You Need to Know About Mobile Recruiting You Can Find In Your Bedroom...

For real.  There are no dirty pictures involved.  

Did a guest post today over at iMomentous on the topic, a great mobile recruiting startup that can make your boring careers site totally mobile. (full disclosure - they are a Kinetix client)

Not an iPhone app or that kind of thing that everyone downloads,then forgets.  Mobile.

Find out why the key to needing a mobile recruiting presence at your company is linked to the bedroom by clicking here.

Do Your Company Values Match What Employees Want? Or How They Perform?

In Tampa today speaking to HR Tampa (aptly named!).  Topic is company values.  Questions are the following:

Are the company values you put on the wall and in the brochure believable to your employees given their experience with your company?  Do they match what truly drives improved results in your business?

Here's what we'll be talking about.  Below is a dual list of 10 common values found in a meta-analysis of company value statements.   The ones in red are the top 4 that appeared in a cross section of 100 companies.  The ones highlighted in blue are what high performers selected when asked to pick the 4 values (of the 10 listed) they'd most like to see included in the value statements of their companies.  


Keyword/Hashtag:  #Whoops.

Should be fun.  I love talking about lazy concepts that we really don't question the merit of - we just accept it waaaaay too often.

Holla if you're in Tampa today.

Ask the Capitalist: Can I Connect LinkedIn and Twitter to Reduce My Need To Post Twice?

Smart people try to look for hacks that automate work.  For example, if you're trying to create a relevant social content stream as a candidate, manager or recruiter, it make sense to answer the following question:


I do updates to build my professional brand on both Twitter and LinkedIn.  I don't mind doing this, but since the updates are pretty much the same, it would be great if I could update one and it automatically updated the other.  For example, is it possible to set it up so if I post to Twitter it automatically shows up on my LinkedIn account as an update?"



Hi Christine -

I like the way you're thinking.  You're experimenting with the social tools and are looking for ways to be everywhere without taking the time to be everywhere.  Well played.   The answer is.... maybe.  In June of 2012, Twitter announced an end to their partnership that allowed users to sync updates from the two sites. According to Twitter, the site is increasingly focused on "proving the core Twitter consumption experience through a consistent set of products and tools." This essentially means that LinkedIn users can no longer automatically sync their tweets to publish on LinkedIn.

Boo.  That sucked.  It was all Twitter's fault, not LinkedIn's.

Buffer screen shot

Users like you are now be forced to post their LinkedIn updates separately. Or, how LinkedIn positions it, "Simply compose your update, check the box with the Twitter icon, and click 'Share.' This will automatically push your update to both your LinkedIn connections and your Twitter followers just as you’ve been able to do previously."

Basically, users can post from LinkedIn and have that message go out to its Twitter following, but not vice versa.

So no automatic API exists, so doing the manual dance above is one way to deal with it.

The other way?  Use a 3rd party tool like Buffer or HootSuite that allows you to link all your social accounts to the same account, then do an update and select all the social accounts that you want that update to appear on.  This type of system allows you to control your digital life, do one update and blast it out, and even time when you want it to show on each social account.  It's a better way to deal with it.  The picture to the right of this post is a screenshot from Buffer, where I'm sharing a cool HR website via a social update, then sharing it across twitter and LinkedIn at the same time.

No direct API from twitter to LinkedIn?  Just another example of the man trying to hold us down.  Buffer doesn't care.  Kind of like the Honey Badger.


SLIDES: Impress Me Or You're Dead - Ways for Recruiters to Improve Findability...

Hey - did a webinar last week for the good people at Workforce.com and Jobvite entitled "Impress Me or You're Dead v2: More Rules for How Candidates Judge Recruiters."  We had a great time, and the focus this time around was what recruiters can do to influence how candidates view them as value-added partners.

We focused on 4 things:

-Having a social media plan
-Findability once you have a decent social stream as a recruiter
-Likeability as a recruiter - so everyone doesn't think you're a dud
-The concept of "best in breed" vs the "suite" recruiter 

Slides below on the concept of findability.  The four things we mention specifically - email signatures, ATS messaging and header/footer space on posted jobs - sound common sense, but we ran a poll and almost no one was utilizing all three.

Plus - download Wisestamp ASAP to make your social streams more compelling and "must see" from the candidate's point of view.