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July 2015

The Top 100 Movie Quotes for HR Pros: #73 is Owen Wilson: "Scariest Environment Imaginable. Thanks - That's all you gotta say"...

Recurring series at the Capitalist: The Top 100 Movie Quotes of all time for HR Pros.  In no special order, I break down the 100 movie quotes that resonate most for me as a career HR pro.  Some will be funny, some will be serious... Some will tug at your heart like when the Fox voice-over guy said, "Tonight - a very special episode of 90210"... You get the vibe... I'll do it countdown-style like they're ranked, but let's face it - they're ALL special..

"Scariest Environment Imaginable. Thanks -That's all you gotta say. Scariest Environment Imaginable"

--Owen Wilson in Armageddon

As HR pros, we'll often interview people to find out how bad a situation is.  Think an imploding employee relations situation, or an intake call on the recruiting side to figure out what we'll be sending a candidate into.

The clip below says it all.  When the person we're asking for information opens up and tells us it's awful, we need a response.  Owen Wilson gives us the quote - "Scariest Environment Imaginable. Thanks -That's all you gotta say. Scariest Environment Imaginable"... 

It's bad, we get it.  Let's move on.  (email subscribers click through for video clip below)...

VIDEO: Gary Vaynerchuk on the DNA of an Alpha Candidate for Your Company...

Your company wants the best candidates, right?  You interview, you interview again, hell - maybe you even have an assessment platform to help you find Mr or Ms Right.

One thing we're all probably missing - are we trying to make sure that a certain percentage of our hires are animals when it comes to work ethic? Check out the video embedded below from Gary Vaynerchuk, who discusses what he calls "The Shortest Road to Success". (email subscribers click through for the video)

Quotes from this 3-min video:

"I come with the enormous assumption that you're all too soft to beat me"

"To be great, you have to fight"

"I believe my success is based on my ability to outwork people"

"You're going to waste a ****load of time worrying about being better at things that don't matter"

There's a lot of writing today that talks about work/life balance.  That's true and meaningful.

But when you're staffing your company, never forgot - it's the animals who refuse to lose and will do whatever it takes to win related to effort, hours and sacrifice that are probably going to be the ones who move your company to the next level - or allow it to survive.

10% of your hires need to be these people.  Thanks to GV and Josh Letourneau (my friend who referred me to the video) for the reminder. If you need help, call me at Kinetix, because I'd be thrilled to hear what you think and talk about finding those people.

On Tom Brady and Getting Caught Breaking a Rule at Work...

By now, you've heard that the suspension handed down to Tom Brady by the NFL for improper "deflating" footballs (4 games this season) has been upheld.

Tom, Tom, Tom.  You could have dealt with this 6 months ago. Degronkgate

For the uninitiated, Brady's a quarterback in professional football. The rules state that footballs must be inflated to a certain range of pressure, and each team gets to submit footballs they want to use in a game.  The balls are checked by the officials, who generally - and I'm not making this up - squeeze them to make sure they feel "right".

The charge is that the balls got deflated below legal limits after that official check in the AFC Championship game last January.

Is Tom Brady a cheater?  Maybe.

Have you ever cheated a rule at work?  Yes.

Have you ever been caught?  Probably not.

The right thing to do if you're caught breaking a rule at work is to acknowledge and rationalize.  Acknowledging you did something keeps you out of the integrity police game.  Rationalization is there to call BS on all the stupid rules that get in the way of us doing quality work on a day to day basis.

Let's say you broke a rule and took a prospect out of a database that belonged to someone else.  Someone called you on it.

Acknowledge and rationalize, people. Here's how that looks:

"Oh yeah, I did take Jamie Womack out of Salesforce and yeah, that's under Bob's tag.  The thing was, I just saw Jamie at a conference in Dallas and wanted to give her a call.  I'm happy to put that back under Bob, and if it's that important, I'll even do an introduction.

Always acknowledge.  Usually rationalize, because the rationalizations are usually true, right?

Here's how Brady should have handled it:

"Well, there's no question I like my footballs at the lowest possible limit for pressure.  I always ask my guys to get the balls to that point, and if something happened that they were lower than that, I take responsibility - don't hammer them, hammer me.  My intent wouldn't be to go below that, but I want them as low as possible, there's no question.  So do most quarterbacks."

"Did I mention I'm married to a supermodel?  I kid... (laughter from the press corps...)

Caught breaking the rules? Acknowledge and rationalize.  Next question.

Beyond Fitbit - What the Research Says About Weight Loss That Should Drive Wellness...

I'm feeling all wellness-oriented these days.  A while back, I posted on the opinion that FitBit and similar wearables don't do a damn things for wellness.  The people who exercise aren't your problem.  Here's the money quote from that post:

"Well, Kris - I'll tell you the deal we learned about Fitbit.  We've got over 10K employees.  We've got 1K of those who are actively trying to use a Fitbit.  Here's the problem - about 965 of those were people who were already into fitness - they're already working to stay in shape, etc.  So I got 35 people to change their lifestyle?  That's great, but there's no impact to the bottom line of my healthcare cost."

Is food calorie consumption your problem when it comes to wellness?  Well, that's an interesting question for HR and wellness leaders everywhere...Here's some notes from Aaron Carroll at the New York Times:

"Think about it this way: If an overweight man is consuming 1,000 more calories than he is burning and wants to be in energy balance, he can do it by exercising. But exercise consumes far fewer calories than many people think. Thirty minutes of jogging or swimming laps might burn off 350 calories. Many people, fat or fit, can’t keep up a strenuous 30-minute exercise regimen, day in and day out. They might exercise a few times a week, if that.

2011 meta-analysis, a study of studies, looked at the relationship between physical activity and fat mass in children, and found that being active is probably not the key determinant in whether a child is at an unhealthy weight. In the adult population, interventional studies have difficulty showing that a physically active person is less likely to gain excess weight than a sedentary person. Further, studies of energy balance, and there are many of them, show that total energy expenditure and physical activity levels in developing and industrialized countries are similar, making activity and exercise unlikely to be the cause of differing obesity rates.

Moreover, exercise increases one’s appetite. After all, when you burn off calories being active, your body will often signal you to replace them. Research confirms this. A 2012 systematic review of studies that looked at how people complied with exercise programs showed that over time, people wound up burning less energy with exercise than predicted and also increasing their caloric intake."

Translation - controlling weight and health is easier accomplished by opting not to scarf the Snickers bar, rather than rationalizing that you'll burn it off.

We could probably make a lot more headway into wellness by offering people a variety of behavior modification techniques related to food rather than funding Fitbits.

I'm a gadget guy.  FitBits are cool.  But saying no to calories you don't need is where the money is at from a wellness perspective.  

NO SOUP FOR YOU: LinkedIn Removes Immediate Ability To Export Your Contacts...

Ah yes - LinkedIn.  You love it, but does it love you?

Like a jealous boy/girlfriend, yes - as long as you are loyal, including not doing things that look like you're getting ready to cheat. Linked in

What? Well, LinkedIn just removed your ability to automatically export your contacts - you know, the ones you originally uploaded, then started simply using LinkedIn as your rolodex for future connections.

GOTCHA!  More from PC World:

"LinkedIn users now have to wait up to three days if they want a list of their contacts on the service.

Previously, the social networking site provided a way for users to instantly export their contacts. It was a useful feature for people looking to manage their contacts elsewhere. Under a change made Thursday, users now must make a request to download their account data. In a page describing the new process, LinkedIn says users will receive an email within 72 hours with a link to download the archive when it is ready.

A link to the instructions for the process appears in very small type on the LinkedIn export settings page. The change was reported earlier by VentureBeat."

On a related note, LinkedIn still stands ready to suck ALL the contacts out of your outlook, gmail or other contact manager.  That can happen immediately.  (Italics notes word spoken with snark/irony)

LinkedIn is growing up - and it doesn't need to care about what you think anymore.  Critical mass has been reached.  

Like you, I use it everyday.  Like you, I thought LinkedIn and us were in this together.  Sorry to say, that's incorrect, and this move is a small example of that reality.

5 Reasons Why Your Kid Will End Up Being a 40-Year Old Barista...

Not sure why, but got a couple of notes yesterday on this post I did last year over at FOT.  For those of you with kids who are home for the summer, you're seeing them on the couch vegging out.  You're nervous that they're going to end up underemployed.  This is re-post is for you.


Wow.  That title is harsh.  Time to man up/woman up.

As whatever higher being you believe in knows—I’ve got my own challenges as a dad.  But there’s a couple of things I see out there in the world. And when I see them, I know your kid may end up as a 40-year old barista.  Now, my kid may end up that way as well, and that’s okay for him and for your kids—as long as it’s voluntary.

Being a voluntary 40-year old barista—because you have passion—rocks.  But being an involuntary 40-year old barista?  That’s a place you don’t want your kids to be.  So, gather round the campfire, kids, because I’m highly opinionated and ready to go.

Ready?  Here’s five ways you can tell that your kid may end up as a 40-year old barista:

1.  You aren’t pumping him up on math and science performance-enhancing experiences.  You’re going to allow your child to pick a Liberal Arts major.  And, why the chart to the right shows that it’s not as bad as originally thought, you need to get your kid into math and science.  You should be influencing Johnny with these types of charts right now.  You want to be a writer, Johnny?  Cool… get a kick-ass degree and a minor in English or Journalism.

 2. You give your kids what they want—all the time.  What do they want?  A second game console?  A new pair of kicks even though they just got a pair 1 month ago?  Screw that.  They need to know that denial is the spice of life.  If you’re giving them everything, they’re never going to be hungry.  Start telling them no, or tell them to go out and drum up some business in the neighborhood… unless your neighborhood is tough, at which point they should stay inside.  But then, the 1st-world problems in this post really don’t apply to you, right?

3.  Your helicoptering ways mean they never learn how to manage up.  You helicoptering in on every situation they are involved in, either directly or indirectly.  You should be listening to what’s going on, then giving them advice on how to manage up in any situation— then have them report back to you on how it’s going. Rinse, repeat.  You doing it for them isn’t preparing them for anything.

4. Your kids are 23 or older, and you’re giving them cash flow that’s the equivalent of a low end call center job while they “get on their feet.” This means they never have to take that low-end call center job and feel how bad it sucks.  So, they never get hungry. If you’re giving a 23-year old that much cash flow—and a lot of you are—then you’re basically taking the claws out of the lion.  They’ll never really hunt on their own.  You’d be surprised how many Boomers and late Gen-Xers are bankrolling their 25-year old kids.  It continues for many into the 30s, and even the 40s.

5.  You’re not actively selling your kids on their likely reality—that they are going to an in-state, state school unless they qualify for Ivy.  Private schools—I feel you.  There are a lot of positives.  Unfortunately, unless the private school is Ivy, Vandy or Stanford, the ROI doesn’t come close to justifying the cost.  If you allow them to think that Wistera College (I made it up, but I bet the co-ed scene is awesome and they have a crew team) at 50K a year is a viable option (they’ll study Liberal Arts, by the way), you’re hosed.

Employment. You’re thinking about it as a parent for your kids.  Being a barista isn’t a bad thing.  But for all the polish on that job and the jazzy music, it’s the suburban equivalent of going to work at the plant.  New world order—I wish there were more plants.  It’s the big town equivalent of working at a convenience store, which is what small-town kids do when it all goes wrong.

Small town kids with similar outcomes also used to work as video store clerks.

The new jobs being created are low end.  The competition is going to get rougher for the real careers.  Let’s put on our helmets and get to work as parents. They’re your kids and my kids, so you know they’re going to be smart and witty.  But if we aren’t careful, they’ll be having work conversations that sound a lot like the video below—while they earn $10.00 per hour (email subscribers, click through for video from “Clerks”).

Your Company Has a Dress Code That Transcends The Actual Policy...

You know it's true, right?

It doesn't matter what your company's dress code is.  People naturally filter in a type of caste system when it comes to how they dress.  You can identify the type of employee by what they wear.  Here's a taste of that from a former intern at a tech startup via TechCrunch: Startupguy

"When the doors opened onto the third floor I had my first introduction to the startup dress code. If you’ve worked for a startup before, you know the code I’m talking about. It allows you to subconsciously identify someone’s role at a company just by what they wear.  I won’t give away all the details, but it’s usually something like this:

developers have some variation of the Zuckerberg hoodie,

designers have some sort of bright-colored shoes,

the business guys wear collared shirts, and;

the venture capitalists wear sweaters over a collared shirt.

I fit into none of these categories that day, and stuck out like a sore thumb. Classic intern.

So it's not your formal dress code that matters.  It's the informal one.

If you want a great marketing opportunity to make you look human in HR, have fun with the informal dress code.  Fashion show?  Sure...  Career site parodies?  Absolutely.  I think some type of "natural habitat" feature is a great way to parody the tribe-based dress code in your company.

Make fun of the tribes and how they dress in a nice way.  Everyone will wink and nod, and you'll look smart.

What's the Best Base/Incentive % Mix to Motivate Sales Pros?

One of the things you need to be proficient in as a Talent pro in today's market is what mix of base/incentive towards a total comp number is the best to motivate Sales Pros at your company.

My experience - for best results to motivate hunters, make sure base is no more than 60% of total comp, with the other 40% being at risk with commissions.  Then don't cap what they can earn.

Where lots of HR pros get sideways is not understanding the difference between pure hunting sales and account management.

Here's your primer kids:

1.  True salespeople - start with a 60/40 split (base/at-risk) and try to get to a 50/50 if you can.  Hunters won't be bothered, it's what they expect.

2.  Account Managers - migrate to 70/30 or even 80/20, but AMs should never be in the total comp range of your true hunters.  Typically speaking, they should make 60-70% of the total comp available to hunters, because they manage existing accounts - they don't bring a lot of new business in.

These numbers are backed up by a recent Glassdoor Report,  What It Takes To Recruit Sales Employees. Click on the link for more, here's the money shot: 

Compensation Breakdown: The average corporate and account sales employee reports their base salary is 67% of their total pay, and their commission accounts for 32% of their total pay. They also report a median base salary of $50,000 and a median commission of $25,000.

That includes both true hunting sales pros and account managers, so the 60/40 vs 70/30 or 80/20 is on the money.

Also, want to know which companies have a true hunting sales culture?  Just look at the base vs at-risk for those well known companies:

Screen Shot 2015-07-17 at 1.50.42 PM

Currently hard core sales cultures including SAP, CISCO, CA Technologies and EMC.  Not surprisingly, these are your highest paying Sales Jobs.

Hunters bring in the revenue, so they get paid.

Does LinkedIn Think HR People Are Dumb?

It's a fair question. I first saw this in a post from Laurie Ruettimann - LinkedIn is holding a non-technical hackathon where they'll ask 300 interns with very little work experience to hack their way to a better version of human resources.

So there are no bad ideas when it comes to brainstorming, right?  Well, there are. This might be one of them.

Here's the description from LinkedIn:

"LinkedIn is setting out to revolutionize the way HR is viewed in the eyes of the world. From Friday, July 31st to Saturday, August 1st, LinkedIn will be hosting a non-technical hackathon.

Throughout this 16-hour event, interns will not be building an app or a website, but rather will solve a big, complex business problem with an innovative, game-changing idea. The event is FREE to attend and there will be plenty of FREE food, drinks, activities, music, swag, and networking opportunities. The best teams will showcase their project to a panel of expert, high-profile judges for a chance to win killer prizes.

Registration is now open! Be sure to sign-up, as spots are filling up quickly."

You can go to the site and watch the video.  In that video, you'll see various members of the LinkedIn HR and Talent team talk about what's happening - there excited about it!  Which should be cool, right?

It's cool until you stop and think about the LinkedIn model.  LinkedIn is pure genius.  It rode into town on the cloak of career development - build your network!  That's right up there with Apple Pie, Mom and the American Flag.

We beat down the cop-like HR pros who dared questioned the intent of LinkedIn.  Same thing for the C-level leaders who also questioned whether this might make employees more poachable.  Then LinkedIn pivoted once the network effect was in place and started building a recruiting business. 

Now LinkedIn is going to solve HR - but without any of HR pros who might have great ideas - or real world perspective - on how to do it. 

Interns? Love 'em.  But interns have never had to think about risk management - while attempting to recruit for 100 openings - while being expected to ramp a leadership development academy from scratch - while investigating the Director from Marketing for chronic harassment.  Which is to say the ideas will probably be cool - but will have little to do with the realities that most HR pros in companies big and small face every day.

LinkedIn walked in the back door and built a business model off the access that companies - and HR pros - gave them.

Now there going to fix HR with a hackathon that doesn't include any of the HR people that pay them.  Interesting.

I'm not mad at you, LinkedIn.  I just think it's interesting that you're doing a hackathon to fix HR without anyone who does the work.  

I know, I know - fresh minds. Good luck with that - I'm sure the ideas will be strategic

HEY BIG COMPANY: Are Your Management Trainees Bristling At Being Salaried Employees?

Ah yes... The time honored tradition of the management trainee position.  You know it, you love it. You recognize the value.

But are you legal when it comes to classifying those trainees as exempt?

Sigh - I know.

Someday my boys are going to grow up and they may land in a management training program right out of school.  If they even so much as give a peep about not getting comped appropriately for the work they're doing as grunts, you know I'm going to tell them ST_U and do the job.  Because you and I know that's the way the world works.

They have access to a program.  The best way to get ahead is to work hard and get promoted 5 times before you're 30.  That's what the ballers do.

Of course, most of your management trainees aren't ballers -and that's where most of the lawsuits about management trainees not getting hourly pay get started.  Burger King recently experienced this with I-can-t-keep-calm-i-m-a-management-trainee their class of Management Trainees - More from the always sexy TopClassActions.com:

"According to allegations in a recently filed overtime pay class action lawsuit brought by a former employee, Burger King Corp. misclassified its operations coaches and trainees as exempt employees in order to stiff them of overtime pay, saving the fast-food chain millions of dollars.

By classifying the coaches and trainees as exempt employees with no supervisory or administrative responsibilities, whose jobs consisted of performing “menial laborious tasks, including, operating cash registers, cleaning bathrooms, greeting and serving customers, and cooking food,” Burger King intentionally and repeatedly violated the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, according to the unpaid overtime class action lawsuit filed by plaintiff Ronald R."

Dunn kids - don't ever do complain about this.  I'm serious. I'll hunt you down - maybe even take back the Toyota I did you a solid by giving you.  But I digress - here's more:

“This was done so the Defendant would not have to pay their employees overtime while they were waiting for positions to open up, as Defendant continually hired for this position where the supply far exceeded the available positions,” according to wage and hour class action lawsuit.

“Due to high turnover, Defendant filled these spots like the NFL keeps a practice squad, waiting until someone quit or was fired, but in the interim working many hours in restaurants performing non-exempt duties without being compensated for overtime hours worked. This decision was made at the highest corporate level, was wrong, and the actors knew it,” the class action lawsuit states.

“The policy saves millions of dollars in labor costs,” according to unpaid overtime class action lawsuit.

New hires in Burger King’s corporate leadership development program, who would eventually become coaches and managers, had to work at least four days a week, up to 13 hours a day, cooking hamburgers and French fries and cleaning restrooms, the class action lawsuit alleges. Once in management, the trainees would be expected to know how every aspect of the restaurant is run so that they can train other workers. But the overtime pay lawsuit maintains that overtime is mandated during the training program, during which “reasonable lunch breaks” are denied.

According to the unpaid overtime class action lawsuit, Ronald spent five months in the trainee program, where he regularly worked 60-hour work weeks. Even after he was promoted to a sales, profit and operations coach, Ronald claims that he never supervised two or more full-time employees, the threshold needed to satisfy the executive exemption.

The overtime pay class action lawsuit, filed in a Florida federal court, seeks to represent a nationwide Class of Burger King employees who in the past three years have been classified as trainees in the leadership program and/or who have worked as a sales, profit and training coach in one of Burger King’s more than 10,000 restaurants across the country.

There are some 1,500 employees who may qualify to be part of the Class, the wage and hour class action lawsuit states. Burger King is headquartered in Miami."

Bonus points by the NFL practice squad reference.  BTW, lunch is when the business you joined makes money.  But I continue to digress - you're no baller.  Get prepared for a life in the trenches, my class action suit friends.