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September 2015

The Top 5 Cultural Fit Scenes from Hollywood...

Cultural fit. You know it’s real, but you hate it when a hiring manager who is an absolute dufus goes with the most general feedback possible:

“I just didn’t think she was a fit.”

That's BS - you know it is.  That's why I'm up over at Fistful of Talent breaking down the Top 5 Cultural Fit scenes from Hollywood.  Here's one of the 5:

Cultural Fit Scene #4 – Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting
Cultural Fit Component – The best talent thinks deeper about the mission of your company. You better be able to defend it or you won’t be able to hire them.

Head over to the full post at FOT to see the other 4 - and start defining what cultural fit means so you stop accepting this glittering generality - “I just didn’t think she was a fit.”

THE TOP 20 BRANDED HR PROS: Meet Linda Aldred, SVP of HR at Texas Children's Hospital...

Let's face it - Fearful of the spotlight and conservative to a fault, HR pros generally aren't the best examples to look towards when it comes to professional branding. Kris Dunn (Kinetix RPOThe HR Capitalist) and Tim Sackett (HRU Technical ResourcesTimSackett.com) think that needs to change.  That's why they created this series - The Top 20 Branded HR Pros(sponsored by the team at Glassdoor).

KD and Tim searched the globe for HR Pros who used the tools at their disposal (writing, speaking, social and more) to brand themselves in the HR space, but limited the results to actual practitioners in the areas of HR, Recruiting and Talent Management.  No consultants, no vendors. They found out well-branded HR pros who are actual practitioners are hard to find.  

Tim and KD are running the Top 20 they found here on the HR Capitalist and at TimSackett.com.  No rankings, just inclusion in the list and some notes on why.  There are at least 20 well-branded HR Pros in the world.  These are their stories. 


Funny thing about employment branding, personal branding, etc. - the tools change.

Whatever the prominent tools are today, you can bet the tool set will change in the years to come.  That's one of the things that makes what Linda Aldred has helped build so amazing.

Linda's the SVP of Human Resources at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston, one of the premier pediatric hospitals in America.  She's been at TCH 25 years, which is also amazing because it seems like she would have had to start at 10 years of age for that to be true.  Check out the profile below and we'll break it down after the jump:

Glassdoor Top 20 - LINDA ALDRED

Energy is always in ample supply when you talk to Linda, and energy is required when you lead the HR function for an organization as big (13,000 employees) and as dynamic (healthcare in America!) as TCH.

When it comes to being branded as an HR leader, Linda always thinks of the organization - and others - first.  That's represented by her super power as a branded HR pro - she serves as a digital ambassador first and foremost for the TCH brand.  Need examples?  Linda was the driving force behind the vision for two employment brand and engagement initiatives - one called InfinitePassion.org and one called TexasChildrensPeople.org.  Infinite Passion gets into what makes an organization like TCH tick culturally- its tireless work on behalf of children and the stories of those who love and represent that mission.  TexasChildrensPeople.org helps connect top candidates who want to work at TCH to the departments who need them most.  While many were a part of bringing both sites to life, it's fair to say neither would have happened without the work of Aldred.

But the strengths as a branded HR leader don't stop there.  One of the most interesting things about Linda is her work on Twitter, where she's amassed 1.5K in followers but more importantly - has an HR team actively using the tool to communicate and promote the TCH brand.  Corner her on why, and she'll tell you that she poked and prodded the team into social engagement over time.  I suspect there's only so many times your SVP of HR can mention you on Twitter before you get engaged with the tools, right? Linda's org is rare in this regard, and it's all about leadership.

Other tools look solid as well.  Take LinkedIn - In a world where HR leaders with 25 years of experience routinely have 64 connections and no picture, Linda's way past the 500 connection threshold and uses the tool like the kids do.  

What can we learn from Linda Aldred related to branding as an HR Pro?  A pretty important lesson actually - you can spend your entire career at the same organization and stay fiercely relevant - as long as you're willing to learn new tools and reinvent things as needed.  No one does that better than Aldred.

Check out Linda Aldred here - TwitterLinkedInTexasChildrensPeople.org, InfinitePassion.org


The Top 20 Branded HR Pros is brought to you by Glassdoor, who invites you to attend the Annual Glassdoor Employer Branding Summit on September 25th, where a stellar speaker lineup of industry experts and thought leaders exploring the intersection of employer branding and talent acquisition, the candidate experience and employee engagement. 

Tickets are sold out, but wait!  You can attend the livestream online featuring studio coverage with Kris Dunn and Tim Sackett by registering here (click to register).  Fun and games are sure to be a part of that coverage.

5 Ways To Make Yourself a Target Via Your Hiring Decisions...

In every organization, there's an ebb and flow.  How things get done, what the norms are and what's acceptable related to the way you communicate to the rest of the organization.

I've always been interested in how hiring decisions send messages to the rest of the organization.  There's  a hundred positive ways to use hiring decisions to send great messages to the rest of the organization.

Of course, the opposite is also true.  There's a bunch of ways to make yourself a target by the hires you make in any organization.  I was reminded of this by a recent hires Uber has made from the hacking community to make their current and future security airtight.  More on the hirings from Wired:

"IF IT’S POSSIBLE to wirelessly attack an Internet-connected Jeep to hijack its steering and brakes, what could hackers do to a fully self-driving car? A pair of the world’s top automotive security researchers Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 10.23.01 AMmay be about to find out, with none other than Uber footing the bill.

Starting Monday, the ridesharing startup’s Advanced Technology Center will employ Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek, two hackers who have devoted the last three years to developing digital attacks on cars on trucks. Their work culminated last month in a full, over-the-internet takeover of a 2014 Jeep Cherokee, (with me behind the wheel) including the ability to turn off its transmission or engine, and even disable its brakes at low speeds. Their demonstration led Chrysler to recall 1.4 million affected vehicles, the first known automotive recall for a cybersecurity vulnerability."

On the surface, these seem like smart hires and these guys are probably going to do great.  Obviously smart hires based on what they've already done.

The devil is in the details.  The big issue is optics and communication.

By using a PR cycle to announce these hires, you could say that Uber is going to make any future self-driving car even more of a target for hackers that it would have been otherwise.  There's nothing that a good hacker loves more than hearing that a specific target has been designed to keep them out, right?

Uber could have made these great hires and kept it on the down low.  That would have seen the talent go to work and possibly not have the added burden of becoming a target through the PR news cycle of their hiring.

Of course, we do the same thing in our companies, especially when a new manager comes in from the outside.  Here's a couple of ways I've seen it work:

1. New manager comes in and loudly announces she''s going to bring in talent from outside the company for key roles.

2. Existing manager pivots from current feeder groups and isn't shy about saying that hires from the internal feeder groups in question don't seem to be working.

3. Change agent from outside the company is selected from a key role - and her history as a change agent is loudly bandied about for anyone who will listen, including in the formal announcement.

4. Manager promotes internal employee into role that's widely seen as his henchman, oversells his background in the org announcement.

What's the key attribute that ties all of these together?  It's not the selection itself, it's the fact that the communication that accompanied it was a bit of an oversell.  The hire itself was good, but then the hiring manager had to over-promise, often times pointing out perceived shortcomings in the past incumbents.

The result is that all the internals that heard that message - regardless of its merits - are going to be gunning for that person going into the new role.

When looking for organizational change via a hire, by all means go get the change.  

Just understand that overselling the results people can expect can actually hinder the effectiveness of a new hire - and even make them a target at times.

The Best Indicator of Startup Success: The CEO's Salary...

It's an interesting concept, and probably one that can positively transfer to early stage companies where the leadership teams aren't founders, but are passionate (or not) about the business they've joined and are aligned (or not) with the early mission of the company.  

Here's the quote from Peter Thiel from TechCrunch in 2008:

The lower the CEO salary, the more likely it is to succeed.

The CEO’s salary sets a cap for everyone else.  If it is set at a high level, you end up burning a whole lot more money. It aligns his interest with the equity holders.  But [beyond that], it goes to whether the mission of the company is to build something new or just collect paychecks.

In practice we have found that if you only ask one question, ask that.

Of course, a lot of this is related to total comp.  Equity is the best way to find people who are aligned with these interests of early stage companies.  But Thiel's statement is a good one - whether the CEO is a founder or a professional hire, the extent they defer "market rate" comp for the good of the business probably tells you a lot about where the business is headed.  I think that's also transferable to early leadership teams at emerging companies, although not in as direct of a correlation.

Think of it as the earliest indicator of a thousand micro-decisions that will follow.

CAPITALIST WEBINAR: 10 Ways Smart HR Pros Use Glassdoor For Good (Not Evil).

Let’s face it. HR pros have a long history of being uncomfortable with sites like Glassdoor.com. After all, the only people that use Glassdoor.com and sites like it are disgruntled ex-employees that you fired, right?

Wrong. It was wrong 5 years ago, and it’s horribly wrong today. Rather than view these types of sites as a threat, smart HR and Recruiting pros are learning how to use the reputation/rating sites to manage their employment brand, connect with candidates and make better hires.

The days of the employment brand strategy with scripted photos, smiling faces (just the right amount of diversity!) and PDFs are over. Screen-Shot-2015-08-27-at-3.55.43-PM

That’s why we’re going deep on reputation sites like Glassdoor in the September version of the FOT Webinar entitled, Top 10 Ways To Use Glassdoor For Good (Not Evil). Join Tim Sackett from Fistful of Talent and me on 9/17 at 2pm Eastern, and we’ll hit you with the following:

 – How the the yelp-ification of America—the trend towards consumer-based reviews in almost every area of our economy—is changing the way employees and candidates think about job search and employer brands. It’s second nature for your employees to rate a restaurant, a book or a movie online. That means that employees of all types (not just the ones who want to complain) are more willing than ever to participate in your brand through user review.

– We’ll cover the 5 Biggest Myths about company reputation sites like Glassdoor and tell you which ones are completely BS and which ones you actually perpetuate by not fully engaging on sites like Glassdoor. We’ll hit the usual suspects here: “The only comments are from the bad employees”  and “The salary data out there isn’t factual,” and tell you why things have changed. More importantly, we’ll cover how you actually may make the myths a reality by not fully engaging on reputation sites.  Think about that last sentence: You’ve got to be in the game to influence the game.

– Last but not least, we’ll give you a 10-step playbook on how to engage on reputation sites and become more of a Marketer as an HR/Recruiting Pro.  It’s true—you wouldn’t have read this far if you didn’t want to learn more about how to use reputation sites like Glassdoor to maximize your company and your career. We’ll help you get started.

The outside world now has a huge say in how your company/employment brand is perceived, whether you engage or not. FOT thinks you should engage.  Join us for Top 10 Ways To Use Glassdoor For Good (Not Evil) at 2pm ET on  September 17 and we’ll show you how.

(Capitalist Note: Glassdoor is sponsoring this FOT webinar. We’re happy to have them as a sponsor and, true to their commitment to transparency, they’re letting us talk about the myths and a lot of other realities HR and Recruiting pros have experienced related to Glassdoor—without restriction. That type of balance makes them a great partner.  Join us and we promise you’ll get a balanced view—no sales pitch—as well as an insider’s guide to how to use sites like Glassdoor to become a better marketer as an HR/Recruiting pro.)

Fill out the form below to register today!

Hard Work Is Irrelevant, But In The Absence AND Presence of Talent, We'll Take It...

Got a good play for you on the way home today - embedded below (email subscribers click through to see player) is a cool NPR podcast called Planet Money - the episode I'm sharing is with Patty McCord, former CHRO at Netflix.

The hosts do a nice job of tracking the build of the Netflix culture, of which one of the cornerstones is that "hard work is irrelevant", which seems a bit of a stretch.

Take a listen and see if you agree with the premise.  Here's some notes on what I thought about the stance that "hard work is irrelevant":

1. We all want unbelievable people.  However, most of us can never aspire to have all "A" players.

2. While mortal talent is ramping up, we'll most certainly accept hard work as a proxie for great performance.

3. Most of our companies have positions that don't require top talent - we just need someone to plow through some transactional work with excellence that a robot hasn't replaced yet.   

4. It's one thing to say that hard work is irrelevant, but what do you do with the average performer that's clocking in at 9am and clocking out at 4:59pm?  You ask for more work. Hard work would be nice.

5. At the unbelievably talented companies (those with the highest % of "A" players), you need a combination of great talent and hard work.  Just ask the people at Amazon if it's enough to be incredibly talented - the answer would be no - hard work is extremely relevant at those companies.

Take a listen to the story of Netflix from the lens of Patti McCord and hit me in the comments with your thoughts.  One thing I learned that I didn't know is that ultimately Netflix grew and the CEO called McCord up with the thought that it was time for her to leave.  Which means at the best companies, "Ask not for whom the bell tolls - it tolls for thee."