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October 2015

Stuff the Capitalist (aka KD) Likes: Jackie Moon From Semi-Pro...

Who am I?  Who cares?  Good questions.  It's my site, so I'm going dig in once in a awhile by telling you more about who I am - via a "Stuff I Like" series.  Nothing too serious, just exploring the micro-niche that resides at the base of all of our lives.  Potshots encouraged in the comments...

I'm going as Jackie Moon from Semi-Pro for Halloween. Enough Said.  heck out the clips below (email subscribers click through for video):

#HRTECHCONF: Useful Stuff From The Hallways... FindYourCalling.com

Here's a note from my time at the HR Technology Conference.  Many of you have kids that are in Junior High and High School, and if they're like you, they have no clue related to what they want to be when they grow up.  

But unlike you, the world's a more sophisticated place for your kids related to their potential careers.  That's why I was excited to find out about a CareerBuilder For Employers freebee related to career paths and interests called FindYourCalling.com.

Click the link to get started, and you'll discover that your kids (and yes, you, my wayward son) can answer 6 questions in an online assessment format and be presented with a behavioral profile that should drive career choices.  Here's what my profile said (email subscribers click through for images):

Screen Shot 2015-10-29 at 1.24.06 PM

Then, I picked my state and it served up these career choices...

Screen Shot 2015-10-29 at 1.25.25 PM

Followed by a couple of clicks, where it allowed me to do a deep dive into being a Sales Manager, complete with what I could make and further links to research schools in my area that could help me get there...

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Pretty cool, right?  Use it with your kids - it's a great way that CareerBuilder is using the resources they have and offering something for free to the world.

FRIENDS: How Many of Us Have Them? (At Work)

First up, who caught the Whodini reference?

Friends at work.  On my mind today based on this post by Modern Survey's Don McPherson. If you don't know about Modern Survey, go check them out.

When it comes to engagement, the question "I have a best friend at work" is a part of the G12 by Gallup.  That's kind of a big deal.  Don breaks down how a lot of us feel in a recent blog post at Modern Survey: Friends

"I have a best friend at work. That is the most disparaged survey item my industry has to offer. Gallup asks just 12 questions on their employee engagement survey and that is one of them. I’d be lying if I said I never bashed Gallup for asking this question on their survey. Being connected assists loyalty and having a friend at work makes us feel connected. I get that. What I don’t get is what the manager or organization is supposed to do about it if employees don’t have friends at work. They aren’t going to force you to make friends and they probably aren’t going to hire your poker buddy who is unqualified to work with you."

Don goes on to talk about the dog-friendly workplace at Modern Survey.  He's bragging - but damn, that sounds cool.

But back to friends at work.  I've always been the "it's not show friends, it's show business" type of guy.  But the older I get, the more I soften up.  Employees need friends at work.

What's the best way to make sure employees have friends?  You can't force it, but I think common space that's attractive, low-key event type stuff to bring people together, etc are all key.  

But there's a down side to deep friendships at work as well.  If you have deep friendships that naturally appear over time, it can be tough to integrate new people into a team.  So the smart manager understands who the superfriends in the group are, and actively engages them from an onboarding perspective to take the new guy to lunch, to include the new gal in a break at work, etc.

It's good to have friends at work. It's even better to use those friendships to onboard new people and make them feel welcome instead of an outsider.

Or you can just focus on being "sports-topical" at work. You know what I'm talking about - "Did you see the game?"

In the absence of friends, have your stage banter down.  Have a hot take, people.


Hey Capitalist Readers - A couple of you are giving your notice today after long careers at your companies.

This one's for you. It's Time For You To Fly.  Put the headphones in and listen to the REO Speedwagon goodness below (email subscribers click through for the video): 

I've been around for you
Been up and down for you
But I just can't get any relief
I've swallowed my pride for you
I've lived and lied for you
But you still make me feel like a thief

You got me stealing your love away
'Cause you never give it
Peeling the years away
And we can't relive it
Oh, I make you laugh
And you make me cry
I believe it's time for me to fly

Then go turn in your resignation. They can't stop you, they can only hope to contain you.

Peace Out. A-Town Down.

Watch Your "Time of Possession" in Conversations...

In football, there's a stat called "Time of Possession", which tracks the amount of time one team has the ball. The thought process behind it is that if one team can keep the ball longer than the other team, they're apt to score more points and have a fresher defense, which contributes to winning.

You know where else you should track time of possession? In the conversations you have professionally. 

I had about 20 meetings set up this week at HR Tech.  A funny thing happens to me in those meetings - I become pretty self-aware when I've been talking too long.  How aware are you of this?  If you think you've never felt that way, you might want to reconsider - you may be the one who actually is soaking up 90% of the airtime in your professional conversations.

Other people need oxygen too, my friend.

I love coaching people in the interviewing process to let a hiring manager talk as much as they want - because the hiring manager is sure to think it went well if they get to spend all their time talking.

That holds true for interviewing - but in a networking/biz dev meeting?  I'm not sure, I think you probably need to fight for your share the conversation oxygen.

Of course, you can learn a lot about someone if they decide they need to talk 95% of the time you're together. Usually you learn you don't want to work with them.  Occasionally you become aware that they are the Mahatma Gandhi of your industry.  

Most the time you just learn they like themselves a lot.

Watch the time of possession in your professional conversations, people.

Try asking a question once in awhile.  You can always daydream.


#HRTECHCONF: Your Employment Brand Has A Pecking Order Like Vegas Hotels...

At #hrtechconf this week and if there's one sector that continues to get a lot of buzz, it's all things employment branding.  Lots of solutions on the expo floor designed to help you look better than you really are as a company.

And that may be the problem, right?  Maybe you shouldn't look better than you are.  Maybe you should just Vegas broadcast to the outside world exactly who you are, and then focus on finding the best match for that, as well as occasionally up-selling (or down-selling) the right candidate to take a chance on your brand.

Take Vegas for example.  When you talk to Vegas insiders, the people that come here 2 or more times a year, one thing is painfully evident - they have opinions on every hotel up and down the strip.  The hotels really have a natural pecking order that goes something like this:

High End - Wynn, Venetian, Bellagio, Aria, Vdara, etc.

Mid Range - Trump, Mandalay, MGM, Cosmopolitan, Paris

Lower End - New York/New York, Luxor, Monte Carlo, Polo Towers, etc.

If you're a Vegas junkie, you'll tear apart that list. But the point is that in Vegas, there's a hotel brand for everyone.

The key?  Walk for 5 minutes on the Vegas strip and you'll learn that Vegas is the new Ellis Island. It's not just for rich people, everyone comes here.  

The key if you're a VP of Marketing at a Vegas hotel and you find yourself in the midrange or lower end - is not to try to sell people who like higher end brands that they should try you.  The key is to make sure that everyone that would enjoy your hotel based on their life experiences and relative pocketbook knows who you are and wants to stay in your hotel.

The same is true with your employment brand and what it means for recruiting. You've got a rough and tumble company in comparison to others?  Own it, and start finding the people who think your brand is pretty good.  There's a whole bunch of people in Iowa who think the Monte Carlo in Vegas rocks.  There's a whole bunch of people who think your company, challenged in many ways, is a great option for their career. But they may not be wearing Hugo Boss or a $200 hoodie. 

But there they are - and the higher end brands intimidate them. That's your opportunity from an employment branding and recruiting perspective.

When it comes to your employment brand, don't try to be the Bellagio if you're the New York/New York. Go find the crowd that will love you for who you are and work with them.


#HRTECHCONF: What You Do With An Audience of One (or Two) Is All You Should Care About...

I'm at the HR Technology Conference in Las Vegas this week, and it's the HR industry's best show. Led by Steve Boese (the co-chairman of the conference), the show is basically the intersection of talent problems and how technology can be used in the solutions for those problems.

Nerds. Everywhere. But the cool kind, because tech nerds are cool these days, right?

One of the things that became apparent to me on Sunday at the show is that some people can be disappointed by what the show provides.

I wanted to meet Marcus Buckingham, and didn't.

I hosted a dinner, and the turnout wasn't great.

I was lost in the expo hall - it's just too much.

I was a speaker and the turnout to my thing wasn't great.

Jakob Dylan from the Wallflowers looks like he's 76 years old.

As it turns out, you don't have to be at HR Tech to learn from the disappointment that's sure to occur at times here.

I call it the AUDIENCE OF ONE lesson. The morality play in this lesson is the same for everyone in HR. You want the respect, the big audience and the attention that goes along with it. You don't have to be at a show to have that happen - it happens everyday at your company.  

So the attention/respect/audience doesn't automatically come. A lot of people pout.

What all of us should do is try to be a world-class performer with the person in front of us.  A lot of times that is one person. Feels small time, but it's not.

It's the Audience of One.  If you want to big lights, you have to perform in the smaller venues. Sometimes no one comes in the big venues as well.

How you deal with the small audience is as important as what you do in the big audience.  Think of it as training ground for you to become as good as you think you are.

So if you're at home this week, treat the next conversation with that troubled soul that walks in your office like the most important thing in the world. If you're at the #HRtechconf, treat the salesperson in the small booth at the back of the expo hall like a human.

My role model for this - Jack Black and Tenacious D doing open mic nights (check out the crowd) FTW (email subscribers click through for the video below):

PROJECT GREENLIGHT: The Battle Between Art and Getting S*** Done In The Workplace...

I'm watching a show called Project Greenlight these days on HBO.  The arc of this reality series is Matt Damon and Ben Affleck run a contest to pick a amateur director to make a movie in Hollywood.  The Director is then given a team and a couple of million dollars to make a movie.  

The rookie is then thrust in to the chaos of making a movie in 20 days with a limited budget and everything about the process is filmed for dissection.  Turns out, making a movie is a lot like the political cesspool that happens daily at your company.  See the trailer for this season below (email subscribers click through for the clip): 

This season is the best one yet. A couple of key things have happened.  First, in the lead up to the selection of the director - a artsy fartsy prima donna named Jason Mann, Matt Damon proceeds to lecture a black woman - who's going to be a producer on the project - about diversity. Wow.  

But the real drama is in the selection of Mann. By selecting Mann, the PG team has basically ensured conflict throughout the series because he's unwilling to bend on anything he wants as a director.  He's an artist, not a business person.  He's never had a real job or worked with other people's money.

So the story arc is about someone who wants to be an artist getting hired, and those responsible for results trying to manage him.  Art vs getting #### done.  Here's what I learned, most of which I already knew, but it's a good reminder:

1. When artists in any position refuse to compromise on anything, they look like punks.

2. When the same artist can go to sponsors like Damon and Affleck, they have more power than they should in your organization.

3. People who are responsible for results in your organization start hating someone that's an artist, but unwilling to compromise on anything.

4. The results people actually start rooting for the artist to fail.

5. If the sponsors were smart, they'd be brokers for compromise - not enablers of the artist.

Sound familiar?  Of course it does.  The secret to being a great artist is knowing when to compromise, so you can keep the 90% of what you want that's most important to you.  Fail to compromise on anything, and even the folks on your team start rooting for you to fail.

Go check out the series - pretty good workplace drama.

Which Talent Metric Are You Routinely Hung Out to Dry For?

Ah yes - metrics. HR needs to be more metrics driven, right?

But a funny thing happens on your way to being numbers-driven as an HR pro. You give the people what they want, and the people try to hang you with the numbers you're reporting.

So answer this question:

"Which talent metric are you routinely hung out to dry for?"

If you're like most HR pros, the numbers you report that are most likely to get you jacked up on are as follows:

Time to Fill

Organizational Turnover

We report on those things because they're the standard we know, and because they're the standard we know, they're the numbers automated by most HR Tech systems.

But the mistake we make is allowing people to assume that HR is 99% responsible for the performance of those numbers.

Time to Fill is high?  What is Recruiting/HR doing?  Turnover is up?  What is HR doing about that?  They own the culture, right?

Wrong. The performance of these numbers is always indicative of blended responsibility.  Operations. Line Management. And yes, HR.  But blended.

So I'm here today to give you some thoughts about how to change the perception of ownership related to these numbers.  You can still report Time to Fill and Organizational Turnover, but you need to create some scoreboards that place pressure on your client groups to perform better than they are.

Case in point - organizational turnover.  The next time you report turnover, create a supplemental slide that shows what I call Hiring Manager Batting Average (HMBA).  HMBA simply shows the percentage of people hired by a manager who are still around after one year.  You can roll this up to the departmental level to make it less personal, but its impact is simple - some departments are better at hiring than others.  The ones who are bad have the biggest negative impact to your turnover issues.  Find out more about this by viewing these slides.

Time to Fill? Well, all positions aren't created equal, which is why I would encourage you to follow up any Time to Fill reporting with some recruiting funnel data - what I'll call the "Show/Interview/Hire' statement.  This statement simply evaluates how many candidates a department is shown on average (per open position), then how many they interview out of that to get one hire.

Some departments are pickier than others. Some for good reasons, others... not so much so.  Find out more about this type of reporting by clicking here.

You get hung out to dry for some of the widely accepted metrics that are out there.  Stop playing defense, and start playing offense.

Employee vs. Associate: What Should You Call Your People?

Capitalist Note - had someone lecture me about the need to call people "associates" last week. I like that tag fine, but I told them the story outlined below. On my mind, so I'm rerunning the post.

Short answer: It doesn't matter, your actions are much more meaningful than the tag you use..

Short story.  I was a young up and comer in a Director-level position with a Fortune 500 back in the early Elmo and Darth Vader 2000s - way more responsibility than my resume and age said I deserved.  I was at a national HR meeting - top 20 people in HR in the company, the corporate functional HR heads (comp, benefits, etc.) and all the field leaders.  I don't remember how it came up, but I offered up a cut and dry opinion that we shouldn't call our talent employees - we should be calling them "associates"...

And the Darth Vader of HR at the company (a great guy BTW) proceeded to absolutely assassinate me in front of the group with a 5 minute rant on why that was pure Bull#### (quote).

What he said, I later came to realize, was the truth.  If you're going to be cute with what you call employees, you better deliver on whatever promise you think you're making.  Additionally, you can just keep calling your people "employees" and do all the upstream stuff you think the other names indicate and you'll end up in the same place.  Without risking looking like a moron.

He was right.  He gave me a Nancy Kerrigan whack at the knees.  He later tried to promote me into a higher position in the West that would have required big relo.  I said no based on my gut about the division head I would have been working for.  7 months later Darth flew in and shut down the office I would have been leading from.  

Nothing but lessons from that guy.  Trust your gut when it comes to career.  And it doesn't make one ### worth of difference what you call the people who work for your company.  All that matters is how you treat them and what you've got planned for them.

Thanks Darth.