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January 2015

Paying Fast Food Workers $15 Per Hour - 4 Capitalist Thoughts...

There's been a lot of press recently about raising the wages for fast food workers to $15 an hour.  If you want a sampling, click here for some quick aggregation via Google....

The move to raise wages in this fashion polarizes the dialog.  Most people generally belong to one of two camps:

1. You're a capitalist.  You think the market decides, and any artificial, non-market related move to raise these wage levels is complete BS, or; Fast times

2. You've got a big heart.  You like the idea and think it needs to happen.  Who pays?  Who cares?  Get it done and let the economic impact fall where it may.

Of course, as with anything, there's a middle ground.  Related to raising the wages of fast food workers to $15 an hour, I don't think it's safe to assume that employers would just pay the money and everything would remain the same.

Things I wonder about include:

1. The employment scene is a marketplace.  If fast food workers are paid $15 per hour, does that mean fast food franchise owners now can hire different people?  If so, that really doesn't help the people we thought we were helping.

2. What do owners get for their bigger investment?  Seems like all the advocacy groups really don't talk about this.  I think they should.

3. What's the impact on turnover?  Cost of turnover studies are notoriously opinion-laded, swag-style guesses.  If turnover doesn't really go down, the change would be a failure.

4. If owners get more productivity, can you staff a location with fewer people?  That's a better way to get to the math.

Like the moderate Republican I am, I'm somewhere in the middle on this debate.  I think the liberals making this call are missing the boat by not attempting to answer some of these questions and frame the argument as such.  I think the pure Capitalists who are refusing to consider and cite the pure market forces are tone-deaf from watching too much Fox News.

The truth is somewhere in the middle.  What business benefits happen with the move to $15 per hour?  Prove the benefits or simply get to break even, and most reasonable people would support.  

Refusing to talk about what business owners get for their money?  Good luck with that stance - I wouldn't want you representing me.

Wondering About the New SHRM Certification? I Did a Podcast For You...

First up, let me say that I remain pro-HRCI and SPHR...

That said - SHRM. SCP. SHRM-SCP. SPHR. PHR. How do you figure out what to do?

I know you're wondering about the SHRM-SCP certification path---especially if you listened to this podcast I did on SHRM announcing that it’s going to start offering its own certification program to rival the SPHR/PHR.

Well, we're here to give the people what they want. Tim Sackett, President at HRU Technical Resources, joins me on the podcast embedded below to give you an update on SHRM's process for actually achieving that certification. In this edition, you'll learn:

1. How Tim found out how he could get certified... hint - he saw people celebrating their new certification.

2. The process of going through the certification and actually getting it, (hint, it doesn't require work, which is interesting) and;

3. How Tim feels about it now that he's done the deed. Does he need a shower? A cigarette? We'll let him fill you in on all the juicy details.  (hint - he had a smoke, THEN took a shower)

Check out the podcast below!

Host: Kris Dunn

Guest: Tim Sackett

Producer: Julia Lindsey

Can’t see the player below? Click here to listen now.

All episodes available on iTunes [click for archives]

Here's Your Late New Year's Resolution: Stop Being Anonymous on LinkedIn....

A simple resolution for sure.  Stop being anonymous on LinkedIn.  You're being private for the sake of being private, HR/recruiting/talent pro.  You're not strategic, you're a hermit.

Here's how it works. You're cruising around LinkedIn, looking at people's profiles, for whatever reason.  When the people you were stalking looking at go to the section that tells them who has viewed their account, this is what they see:

Screen Shot 2014-01-03 at 10.44.38 AM

If your mission was to remain anonymous at all cost, mission accomplished.

However, if any part of your mission is to raise awareness across your profession on who you are, who your company is, etc., you've failed.

Do yourself a favor in 2015 and tweak privacy settings so that the people behind the profiles you view on LinkedIn can see who you are.  Once you do that, you'll find that no one gets hurt and you might end up with more connection requests and (gasp!) more meaningful conversations directly related to your LinkedIn activity.  If part of your issue is you think your LinkedIn profile sucks, then download this whitepaper we did at Kinetix featuring 12 simple steps to ramp up your LinkedIn profile.

Once those conversations start, you never know where they might lead.

Or just remain anonymous.  That seems to be working well for you.

Today is Tim Sackett Day, So Let's Honor Victorio Milian!


Tim Sackett Day was created on a lark to honor a guy named Tim Sackett - who worked his A## off in the HR community, but could never seem to break through via the all important "Top 100 HR Pros on Twitter" things... So we created his own day in the social HR community to tell the story, kind of toungue in cheek...

Since then, Tim Sackett Day has gotten more serious - we use the day to give some love to an HR pro we know and love, but we think doesn't get enough attention from everyone else.

This year's honoree is Victorio Milian, a great HR pro in the NYC area.  Things I like about VM include:

1.  He's done HR in a really tough industry - Retail.

2.  He's done HR in a really tough metro area - New York.

3.  He's given a lot of his time back to the HR community with his writing, speaking, etc.

4.  His name is cooler than yours.  Or mine.  Admit it - it's true, Sally.

5.  He's one of the nicest people you'll meet in the HR industry...

Here's more stuff to get the 411 on who Victorio Milian is:

Go follow him and tell him you found out about him on Tim Sackett Day!

Glassdoor Matters Because ALL of Your Employees Are Now Used to Rating Things...

Forgot to share my November Column over at Workforce.com on Glassdoor.  Here's a taste, get the whole column here:

"Sites dealing in company reputation (the best example is Glassdoor) represent the next macro-trend that will change how you recruit and attract candidates. Company reputation providers like Glassdoor and Vault.com have a simple strategy: They are looking to aggregate candidate eyeballs by offering employees a place to go to rate the companies they work for.

If Glassdoor, for instance, can drive enough of that traffic to its site, it’ll be able to sell you the traditional products you recognize (job postings) as well as some new offerings designed to help you manage your brand (Think microsites with video, pictures and other items designed to help you tell candidates you aren’t evil. In fact, you’re actually OK.).

Indeed went after aggregation and the SEO/Google factor. LinkedIn went after the candidate database. Glassdoor is going after what I’ll call the “Yelp factor.” 

The Yelp factor is pretty simple. In today’s digital world, your employees are leading their lives as consumers as part of a review economy. Sites like Yelp, Amazon.com and TripAdvisor have made it normal for average consumers to rate their eating, sleeping and shopping experiences.

The Yelp factor has been undeniably accelerated by the mobile revolution. Company reputation sites have been around for a while and mostly pushed to the side by HR leaders. That’s changing since employees now view rating things as acceptable, normal and even expected.

Before the Yelp factor came into play, Glassdoor was offering jaded employees a place to rant anonymously about how poorly a company treated them. HR pros didn’t get it and didn’t trust it, perhaps rightfully so.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the public flogging. The Yelp factor has actually normalized the gripe volume. Because your good employees have experience with reviews, too, they’re as likely to participate in sites like Glassdoor. But you might have to ask them, and of course that means you have to engage.

Other notable shifts are taking place related to the company reputation segment that is notable. Do a search for your company online; odds are you’ll find a Glassdoor search result, right under the expected Indeed SEO dominance. More anecdotal evidence from multiple companies I work with suggests ads placed on Glassdoor via tools like the Google Ad Display Network perform at high levels.

Translation: Glassdoor is growing up, candidates are using it and smart HR/recruiting leaders are starting to experiment with diverting spend in that direction."

How much spend and attention is what you need to figure out. Go get the whole column here.   

Your Work Identity Is Defined By How Your Deal With Single Issues...

It would be nice if we were all judged by the collective good we do in our lives.  Unfortunately, when it comes to work, we're generally judged by most people by how we deal with single issues.

You know where I'm headed.  You do a nice job overall, but the majority of the organization doesn't judge you on that.  They judge you on how you did on the work issue THEY dealt with you on. Judge

Take a day off, and you're a sub-par performer.

Why's this on my mind?  I'm consuming a lot of media about Lincoln over the last year.  The best resource for me was the biography completed by Doris Kearns Goodwin - entitled Team of Rivals, which followed Lincoln over a long period of time and focused on the complex relationships in his life.

It had depth - 700 pages to explore it all.  But when the movie came around, there's no time for that depth.  With that in mind, the Daniel Day-Lewis movie entitled "Lincoln" framed the great president through the lens of one issue - his late drive to push through the 13th amendment and emancipate the slaves.

You and I will never work on a single issue that important.  But we're being judged with our delivery on single items more than we care to understand, which makes consistency day to day, project to project and call to call all the more important.

It's workplace evolution at it's best.  You either can deliver consistently - and which point you can be great - or you're merely good, and at times viewed by your peers as lame through the lens of a single issue they dealt with you on.

Remember the context today as you deal with someone you wish would go away.  That call is more important than you think. 

This Is What Companies Do When They Are Getting Kicked by Entry-Level Turnover...

Let's say you're an HR leader responsible for recruiting and retention in some entry-level parts of your company, and your turnover rate is the death of a thousand cuts.  Sure, you have a great retention month every once in a while (lucky! probability!), but most months are grim when you look at turnover in those entry level positions.

What do you do?  Commission a study of turnover?  Go on a listening tour?  Hire new leadership?  

You could do all of those things, or you could just write a check.  

Aetna recently decided to write the check to try and buy their way out of a turnover problem.  More from the Harford Courant:

"Aetna CEO Mark T. Bertolini told employees at a meeting Monday the company is raising its minimum wage to $16 per hour in April. It will be a pay boost for about 5,700 employees, of which 26 are in Connecticut. Most of the employees who will benefit are in Texas, Arizona, California and elsewhere. The vast majority of Aetna's 6,121 employees in Connecticut earn more than $16 per hour already.

The wage increase is partly to retain staff as the economy improves, and the cost of increasing wages is offset to some degree in other ways, Bertolini said during a companywide meeting that was video-streamed Monday from Jacksonville, Fla.

"The turnover, lost productivity and recruitment costs that this should help address are significant. I'm willing to make this investment," he said. "I hope it benefits our employees, and we will learn how it helps our overall business. That is the nature of innovation versus just managing a business."

On average, workers will get an 11 percent increase, with some seeing a raise of as much as 33 percent. For example, some workers are making $12 per hour and will now get $16 per hour. A full-time employee making the new minimum wage would make $33,280 annually.

The pay raise largely benefits call-center workers and people in billing, claims administration, health-care customer service, claims processors and health-plan-sponsor-eligibility workers who enter in data."

That my friends, is a company deciding to do something about turnover in jobs where paying a living wage matters.  At some point, you have to decide if there's a better way than just trading call center workers every 12 months with other call centers in your area by paying $10 an hour.

Let's do the math - If Aetna is giving on average a $2 increase to 5,700 employees, that equates to almost 24 million dollars annually - not a shabby investment in people and turnover reduction.  But, the last revenue figure I have for Aetna is 47 billion, which means this investment equates into .005% of revenue - a half of a percentage point.

Put another way, you now have a metric for attempting to solve your entry level call center turnover problem.  If you're a 10 million dollar company, would you spend $50,000 to reduce your turnover issues in the call center?

Play around with the numbers and make your leaders aware of the Aetna metric - it's interesting to see what type of turnover reduction investment your company is willing to make based on the size of your business.

#Patriots (Cheaters, Genius, Hoodie, Supermodels, Culture, Brady)

If I hashtagged this post, it wouldn't be #patriots.  

It would be #GiveThePeopleWhatTheyWant

5K in visitors to The HR Capitalist on a Sunday, most of them googling something to do with the patriots.  So here you go, all the posts I could find that I've done on the Patriots:

-The Patriots and Cheating - By far the most popular on Sunday.  Such cynics.  I'm happy to fuel your hate, haters.

-Patriots and Culture - Not liked as much by the haters.

-Why HR Pros Should love the Patriots - It's all about team.  Or something like that.

-Belichick on Culture and Saying WTF - Doesn't always work out for the Pats.

-Salary Cap Management and the Patriots - On not overpaying talent.

That's all I got. Not a single Gronk post, which is disappointing to say the least.  Have at it.  Me?  I'm hoping for a "you mad bro" moment during the game, followed by Gronk RUNNING over Richard Sherman for a TD.  

Hate in the comments.





The Art of Breaking Non-Solicitations to Recruit: Lessons from Mastercard vs Nike...

I see you.

You think you're cute when you change companies.  But I know the truth.  

It's like one of my favorite scenes from Fight Club, where Ed Norton (known as the Narrator) meets Tyler Durden for the first time, and Tyler reacts to Norton talking about his single-serving friends on the road: Clever

Narrator: Tyler, you are by far the most interesting single-serving friend I've ever met... see I have this thing: everything on a plane is single-serving... 
Tyler Durden: Oh I get it, it's very clever. 
Narrator: Thank you. 
Tyler Durden: How's that working out for you? 
Narrator: What? 
Tyler Durden: Being clever. 
Narrator: Great. 
Tyler Durden: Keep it up then... Right up.  

You think you're clever when you change companies and in order to not violate your signed non-solicitation agreement, you tell someone else in your new company who the best people are that they should recruit.  Hell, if those people just elect to apply, how could you be held accountable, right?

Well, my friends, it's all just a mirage.  The only protection you have in that circumstance related to non-solicitation agreements you signed is avoiding pissing someone off. 

Recently, Nike pissed Mastercard off, and it undoubtedly will have some ramifications in big companies you work for.  More from Venture Beat:

"MasterCard’s decision to go to federal court last week and sue Nike for $5 million because it hired away several IT security people may force the courts to remap the boundaries of corporate recruiting.

At issue are so-called non-solicitation agreements, which are routinely included today in hiring letters. These agreements try to prohibit someone from recruiting fellow employees when they leave the company.

In the MasterCard case, some former employees left to join Nike and help improve its security operations. The rub involves what constitutes “recruiting” and, most critically, how one defines “indirect recruiting,” which is what the MasterCard letter banned.

The topic gets complicated when it’s not an issue of the executive calling former colleagues and asking them to join, nor when it involves instructing someone else to make such calls on his behalf. (Those are clearly banned under non-solicitation agreements.) The issue is when the action is limited to telling a new boss about who some of the best security talent in the industry is — and offering general ranges of salary needed to attract such talent.

Does such behavior constitute indirect recruiting? And if so, is it practical to try and prohibit such behavior?

One thing I learned a long time ago related to non-competes and non-solicitations is that you can think they don't apply all you want, but at the end of the day, if a big company with money to spend wants to go after you, they can make your life hell and at some point, the adults in the company come in and say, "what the hell went on here?"

More from the MasterCard/Nike rumble:

"The lawsuit that MasterCard filed (.pdf) was vague as to exactly how the former MasterCard executives were supposed to have recruited their former colleagues. (Nike has yet to respond in court, but it told the Wall Street Journal yesterday that it regards the lawsuit as “without merit.”) Those execs — William E. Dennings, former MasterCard Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), and Ryan Fusselman, former senior business leader at the payment card company’s IS department, “in charge of security engineering” — apparently recruited at least one employee through LinkedIn, the filing said, but it’s unclear if it was a generic message sent to all of the execs’ LinkedIn followers or something much more specific.

The lawsuit said that Nike hired “at least seven additional” MasterCard managers or employees, beyond Dennings and Fusselman, within six months, all to build out Nike’s security IT department.

In an apparent attempt to suggest that the two former execs knew they were doing something wrong, the filing said that employees were asked to lie to MasterCard about why they were quitting.

An example of the lies told to MasterCard, according to MasterCard? One employee “claimed that she was resigning to relax and to focus on her family and health.” Fusselman himself said, according to the lawsuit, “that he was accepting a job with an aerospace company in California.”-solicitation agreements altogether."

So go ahead and say that those non-competes and non-solicitation agreements aren't worth the paper they're printed on.

You're right, until you try to get clever and you piss someone off with power and budget to do something about it.

At which point someone in your company will ask you: "How's that working out for you?"  (what?)  "Being Clever.

What If Employees Could Say "Leave Me Alone" Related to Professional Development?

Let's face it, any time we talk about professional development, we talk in broad terms.

Everyone needs to be developed.  We're building a shining city on the hill here, people.

But you and I both know that not everyone wants to be a rock star.  There's a lot of your people that just want to do their job, keep cashing those checks and clock in/clock out.  They'd rather not be part of your expansive plan to Go-away make everyone promotable two levels up.

They'd like to define themselves as "well placed."  Of course, when you come around and ask, "what do you want to be?", they're not going to say, "exactly what I am now."  There's risk in America in not having ambition.

Yet ambition is exactly what a large percentage of your employees don't have.

What if you had "opt-in" development plans?  What if your employees had the right to say "leave me alone" when it comes to professional development?   They'd be more satisfied and content, that's what would happen.  

--Option 1 is to build enough trust where you could ask the question and get honest answers.  But that's probably not going to happen at most companies.

--Option 2?  You've got to make a lot of your professional development plans contingent upon the employee actually guiding themselves.  You give everyone access and let them tell you the truth with their actions.  No action across time is the equivalent of the "leave me alone" opt-out.  Then you need to move them to another bucket.

I recently did a post over at Fistful of Talent for Halogen Software on Goal Settting.  My hypothesis was that assuming all employees had big dreams and big goals was a sucker's play.  With that in mind, I outlined the following for the middle class of your employee population when it came to goal setting:

"The Jimmy Eat World Crew (aka, the Middle) – This group doesn’t know who they are, hence my naming convention with a hat tip to an Alt Rock band that should have done better than they did, but didn’t.  Here’s some lyrics from the most popular Jimmy Eat World single, “The Middle“:

“Hey, don’t write yourself off yet
It’s only in your head you feel left out or looked down on
Just try your best (Just try your best), try everything you can
And don’t you worry what they tell themselves when you’re away”

Holy Sh*t.  That sums up all you need to know about this group.  They could go either way.  They could be a star or part of the great class of disgruntled employees that’s dragging your company down, one crappy interaction a time.  BTW, most of the employees in the Jimmy Eat World division are in their first two years.  After two years, they’re either on their way to being a star, or they’ve given up and are more focused on smoking in the boys room than they are about giving you discretionary effort.

All goals for this group should be structured as follows:

–Number of ditches and relative quality of ditches dug in each goal area.

–Something you’re asking the employee to work on skill-wise in each goal area to get better and thus, be more marketable long-term.

Primary Feature of Goal Setting for the Jimmy Eat World Crew:  You’re giving them something that all stars had at one time—access to a coach giving feedback on how to get better. They either take that and run with it or they don’t.  You go through a couple of goal-setting cycles with people in the middle, evaluate their response, then either move them up or down depending on their reaction."

That's what I wrote for Goal Setting, and I think Professional Development is very close to being the same. The key in what I wrote above is this line - "BTW, most of the employees in the Jimmy Eat World division are in their first two years.  After two years, they’re either on their way to being a star, or they’ve given up and are more focused on smoking in the boys room than they are about giving you discretionary effort."

You're all great HR/Talent pros, and I understand you can't allow people to say "leave me alone" when it comes to professional development.  But you can make people do some of the work, and if they choose not to, you could probably quietly restrict your effort (and their access) related to professional development.

Odds are they wouldn't even notice.  They told you "leave me alone" based on their actions if you set your program up in the right way.