« January 2016 | Main | March 2016 »

February 2016

GLADWELL: Are "A" Players Repelled by Large Concentrations of "A" Players at Your Company?

Capitalist Note: Argued with someone about speaking the truth to their CEO about the reality of recruiting all "A" players yesterday, so this one is going back up...

Got a video you need to see today, so email subscribers, please click through.

You want "A" players in your company, right?  We all do, even to the extent we make generalizations about having all "A" players, even though that is impossible for a couple of different reasons.  First, few companies can aggregate and sign all "A" players.  It's a recruiting and economics issue.  Next, even if you had all "A" players, logic would suggest that to stretch them, you'd raise the bar on performance expectations, because you're a puppet-master architect, right?

Well, don't worry about it.  Watch the video relative to performance from Malcolm Gladwell.

In the video, Gladwell explains that Harvard is filled with the smartest people in the world, and perversely that makes it a dispiriting place to go to school. 

At Harvard, the lower tier students are as smart as the top tier students at an average school. However, the lower tier students get just as discouraged at Harvard as the lower tier students at an average school. The result: They don't get their degrees in math or science.  The problem is that even a smart kid struggles to keep up when competing with the uber smart. As a result, the kid feels inadequate and drops the degree.  Even if they're one of the smartest people in the country.

The drop out rates at Harvard in Math and Science degree programs are the same as a 3rd tier school.  Gladwell takes it a step further and looks at performance of PhD students related to publishing rates.  Same vibe.

Gladwell says the condition is related to something called "relative deprivation".  I'll let you look that up.

My take - Gladwell's findings are one more reason why you can't have all "A" players.  Even if you could do that, a certain number of those "A's" are going to feel like "B's", and flee the scene. Which is coded under "regrettable" turnover, but is nothing you could control.

Watch the video - it's one of the best things you'll see this year.  

LinkedIn Has a Beta Salary Reporting Tool (Code Name: Glassdoor Killer)

First up, let me say that I don't think LinkedIn can kill Glassdoor.  Buy them?  Maybe, but that would have been easier before the street hit their stock hard a few weeks back.

But back to the title of the post - LinkedIn has a beta product that's asking for Salary data.  Here's what it looks like when members get tagged for inclusion in the beta:

Screen Shot 2016-02-24 at 12.19.42 PM

What could go wrong?  Well, there's nothing wrong with LinkedIn making this play - it's an obvious extension into the employment game, as are other areas currently owned by Glassdoor more than anyone else - company reputation, reviews, etc.

The one little problem with this is privacy.  Glassdoor does a pretty good job of making anonymity their calling card.  While I can't say that LinkedIn has problems with that, it's not how they usually market and present member contributions.  For the most part, LinkedIn is all about the public side, as they should be - it's worked pretty damn well.  

But my sense is that a past focus on public identity will give LinkedIn members cause for pause on this type of salary reporting offer.

In addition, the LinkedIn community is smarter than ever about building the LinkedIn database on behalf of LinkedIn, only to have their rights restricted.  Issues with contacts, messaging and access to features that used to be free all but now aren't all combine to make me think twice on whether I would recommend sharing this type of data with the company.  

Here's what you get if you click on someone else's email offer to share your salary - thus, the knowledge that the product is in beta...

Screen Shot 2016-02-24 at 11.36.18 AM

Final note.  Indeed owns SEO and aggregation.  LinkedIn owns the candidate database.  Glassdoor owns company reputation.  All of them want to race to the middle to do it all - with a focus on selling you job postings.  That's why Indeed now has company pages and candidate profiles, Glassdoor has job postings and LinkedIn is moving into candidate data and sentiment.  CareerBuilder has product to do most of these things as well.

Everybody Wants Some... at least that's what David Lee Roth used to say...

5 Things to Know About The Yelp Employee Who Got Fired Complaining About A Living Wage in San Fran..

Many of you saw this, but it's too good not to talk about here.  A Yelp employee recently got fired for writing a post taking her company and CEO to task for not paying her better so she could live in the Bay Area.  Here's your summary from The Washington Post:

"The Yelp employee who said she was fired after she blogged about the financial pressures she felt while working for the multibillion-dollar business said Monday that her breaking point came one night when she went to sleep — and woke up "starving" two hours later.

Talia Ben-Ora posted an open letter Friday afternoon to Yelp chief executive Jeremy Stoppelman, saying she wasn't earning a living wage while working in customer Yelp support at Eat24, Yelp's San Francisco-based food delivery arm.

She was out of work hours later, she said.

"They knew that I was picking up pennies and that I was having trouble sleeping and that I was cutting back on every single possible thing I could think of," Ben-Ora told The Washington Post. "But I was still working as hard as I could — and being as good as I could possibly be at the job."

In her letter to Stoppelman, which she posted on Medium, she expressed concerns about how the company treated its employees.

"So here I am, 25-years old, balancing all sorts of debt and trying to pave a life for myself that doesn’t involve crying in the bathtub every week," she wrote. "Every single one of my coworkers is struggling."

If you haven't read that open letter on Medium, go do it now.  It's interesting and makes you think related to employee responsibility, company responsibility and more.  Here's how I break down the issues:

1. It's OK to be frustrated that your company doesn't pay you enough.  But it's a marketplace for talent out there, and if you want to live in one of the highest talent areas in the country, you need to be ready to struggle.  NYC has been the same deal for young people forever.  

2. You're tone deaf if you're calling out your company online with your name attached.  Let's assume you're right about the issues.  What company would ever hire you if they knew about this open letter.  

3. The company has some responsibility here as well.  It's San Francisco, people. Maybe 20K annualized jobs don't belong in the Bay Area.  It's called workforce planning - put a call center in Detroit and do some civic good. 

4. The old "Professional Conduct Policy" continues to be HR's fallback.  I've always said you can do 70% of the terms you want to do under this policy if it's written well.  Obviously, Yelp has this policy active.  Embarrass the company?  It's covered by an effective PCP.

5. What ever happened to having roommates - like 7 of them in a 1200 square foot apartment - if you wanted to live in the show before you had the means? 

Mamas, don't let you english major babies grow up to move to the Bay area for their first job.  Unless they're really good.  

And that, as we know, is subjective.

LISTENING SKILLS: Sometimes You Just Have to Suck It Up and Spend The Time...

One of the things I tell people all time about good HR pros is that they understand the value of listening, or at least appearing to listen.

When it comes to the employee relations side of HR work, one of the most important things is allowing people to vent.  I call it steam release.  Allow people to release their steam, and you're decreasing the chances that almost all bad stuff from a legal/workforce management perspective will happen - lawsuits, EEOC claims, unionization and yes, workplace violence.

You probably can't change a lot of what you hear.  But people will feel better that they've had a chance to say it - you stabilize your organization for every 10 minutes you spend in steam release.

We probably don't train our managers on this enough - they're as important in steam release as HR is...

As work goes, so goes life - and failing to spend the time can also turn positive people negative.  Think about someone who just bought a new house.  You stop by the new place to drop something off and they want to give you a house tour.  You're brutally honest and say you don't want the tour.  The owner is immediately put off.  Failing to listen and take the time for someone to tell you about something - both on the negative AND positive side - is a way to make enemies and encourage all kinds of bad stuff to happen.

Need an example?  Check out the following house tour clip from Curb Your Enthusiasm by clicking on this link where Susie is feeling good, offers Larry the house tour, he declines, and she's immediately provoked.  WARNING: Video is very NSFW, so be careful with volume.

But the message is clear - Great HR pros and great managers know the value of sucking it up and spending a little bit of time allowing someone to vent (or celebrate).

Be too damn busy at your own peril, my friends.

The Shell Game of Candidate Relocation...(Penn and Teller Edition)

I'm on the record as saying your relocation package (is that what you're still calling it?) isn't enough to get the talent you want. More on that here if you want to read the current state of the relocation economy for candidates.

But just as importantly, candidates take it personally when you get them way down the road and then try to offer relo that will barely cover a DIY U-Haul from that creepy place that also sells boxes and yes, covered shelters for homes without garages.  It's perceived as a shell game that rivals anything Penn and Teller do.

Consider Scott, who hit me with the following note earlier this week:

"I'm a $110,000 professional that is just about to turn down an offer for a "perfect job" because they offered me a $5,000 lump sum for moving (from MS to TX). This is with a 100,000 employee company and you probably know the name. I almost laughed when they made that offer with a straight face. No wonder the job has been open for 14 months. As the article says, "If you aren't offering a relo package with the following three components - Temp Living, a Lump Sum Payment and Physical Move - you're wasting your time trying to relocate professional grade candidates." I couldn't agree more."

If it's a 5K lump sum (is it grossed up? Not grossed up?  Only the shadow knows!), you probably should let candidates know up front.

Non-Competes and Non-Solicitation Agreements: You're a Sucker If You Don't Think They Apply To HR

So you locked down your sales team and the techies who drive the value of your intellectual property (IP) with a solid, enforcable non-compete and non-solicitation executed at the time of hire.  Sure they balk and complain, but you get most of those signed.  Congrads, smart move.

What's that?  You're glad you don't have to do the same with your HR team?  Really?  You don't have your HR Managers, Director and VPs and all your recruiters locked in to anon-compete and non-solicitation? Trust-but-verify

You're either a sucker or rationalizing to avoid the conflict.  Of course, your top HR talent and anyone who recruits should have to sign a fair non-compete.

Think about it - we're talking a narrowly drawn non-compete and non-solicitation.  Your top HR team members (I say manager and up) and anyone who recruits should have to sign one.  We're not preventing them from working by signing the non-complete, we're simply agreeing that they won't take all the training, contacts, employees and candidates that they've cultivated during their time with you to your most direct competitors.

A narrowly drawn non-compete and non-solicitation doesn't mean HR pros can't find work.  If fact, the HR game is one of the best in terms of its talent being able to cross industries and work.  That "career portability" means your HR team can sign a non-complete that's properly drawn (example - we're a software company and you can't go to work for another software company in our city/industry or that recruits developers proficent in the same programming language as our company) and find work pretty easily if they're talented in the HR game.

Why wouldn't you ask them to sign a fair non-compete and non-solicitation?  Because you either don't think they're talented enough to get the same job with your top industry competitor, or you don't want the drama of walking them through it and requiring it.

Either scenario sounds dicey to me.  

Draft the non-compete and non-solicitation and put it in front of them.  Explain the narrow parameters and require them to sign it.  You'll be happy you did somewhere down the line.

WEBINAR: How to Create and Revive The Talent Networks Around Your Careers Site...

What's your favorite Zombie movie?  I like I Am Legend with Will Smith. Manhattan without people is kind of messed up...

Well, your careers website is kind of like Manhattan in I Am Legend.  

Candidates around your careers site are like Zombies - they stumble around and look at your content, lurk at your jobs and then just Screen Shot 2016-02-16 at 9.41.18 AM stumble away when they don’t find anything to take a bite out of. Well, the folks at FOT and Smashfly are here to help you turn those zombies into real-life candidates by reviving the talent networks you probably don’t even know you have.

Who said zombies can’t turn back to real live viable candidates?! Not us, because the FOT crew knows how, and we’re going to show you, too. Click here to join Tim Sackett and I on February 24 at 2pm EST for our webinar "WALKING DEAD: REVIVING YOUR TALENT NETWORKS and we’ll give you the following goods:

--Show you the difference between a Talent Network and a Talent Community. We’ll give you ways to build your talent network into active pools of great candidates. By using and developing talent networks, you’re letting those zombies hanging out around your career site tell you “I’m next…” “Pick me…”, making it super easy to identify your next victim!

--Help you develop a Talent Network Strategy that lasts, with little effort from your team to keep it going. The biggest problem we all face is we just don’t have enough capacity to do more. Talent networks give you the more— without the work. We’ll show you how.

--Show you 5 ways the best companies are engaging their Talent Networks to make real placements.We won’t just tell you the ways, we’re going to hear about straight from a Talent Pro who is using these now to successfully hire and fill position within her company.  The good, the bad, the dead. You’re going to hear it all!

--Give you 3 things you can do with candidate contact information before they even apply to your company. Talent pools aren’t about the apply, they’re about getting you to apply. Some zombies are ready to eat, some are just milling around being zombies. What do you do when potential candidates aren’t ready to eat? We’ve got the answer.

--Provide insight to how you can measure the success of your talent networks. By now we know none of this matters if we can’t back it up with measurable data that proves it works. Talent networks, and the data you get from them, will give you a ton of insight to what is working in your Talent shop and what might need some tweaking.

Don’t let your time get “eaten” up by a bunch of zombie candidates who will never fill the needs your company has. Learn how to build great talent networks that will give you real live placements, with less effort than you ever thought imaginable. It’s time to fight back and win against your walking dead applicant pool!

Come join the FOT Zombie Hunting crew on February 24 at 2pm EST and learn how you can implement and take your talent networks to the next level!  Click on the links above or hit the form below to register.


FRIDAY TEST: Pick the 3 People In Your Company That Don't Matter If You're Doing A Push To Analytics...

I'm in Atlanta today speaking at the Human Capital Institute's (HCI) Workforce Planning and Analytics Conference.  My topic is bootstrapping an analytics program at your company, and in a move that will surprise some, my slides are more about people/behavior than numbers.

The theory - you can have a great plan for metrics/analytics, but unless you're willing to jump in the middle of some blocking activity in your company, numbers and analytics are DOA.

Most of you aren't in the ATL with me today, but have no fear...You can still play along.

Appearing below are 6 people/groups of people in your company that will have a role in any analytics rollout. Your mission, should you choose to take it, is to pick out the three people/groups of people WHO DON'T MATTER when you do your rollout.

Hit me in the comments with the three people that can be ignored. I'll throw in a reply late on Friday if anyone wants to play my game show...

(Subscribers click through if you can't see the images and click through to the site to participate)

Screen Shot 2016-02-11 at 3.00.28 PM

Screen Shot 2016-02-11 at 3.00.42 PM

Screen Shot 2016-02-11 at 3.00.55 PM

Screen Shot 2016-02-11 at 3.01.09 PM

Screen Shot 2016-02-11 at 3.01.25 PM

Screen Shot 2016-02-11 at 3.01.37 PM

Screen Shot 2016-02-11 at 3.01.53 PM


Why Good Interviewers Shut Up and Let You Talk - Johnny Football Edition....

Editor's Note - Johnny Manziel is in trouble.  When I heard the latest in a long line of trouble, I automatically thought of this story about how his dad interacted with him back in the day.  Hard to be friends with your kids, probably better off being their parent.  Know what I'm saying?

When my friends ask me for interview advice, I always say - "If the Interviewer wants to do most of the talking, let them.  They're going to end the interview and think it went great..."

Now flip that around.  Smart interviewers get a candidate talking and let them go.  They pop in and out to clarify, to ask for more, redirect when it's all BS and generally keep the session in between the ditches.

Want to see what the type of info someone can get when they let the subject do all the talking and generally get them more comfortable than they should be?

Ladies and Gentleman - I give you the father of Texas A&M star Johnny Manziel, aka Johnny Football.  More pulled from the Wright Thompson ESPN Article via Deadspin:

"Not long ago, backstage at a country music concert, the two Manziels hung out with some of Johnny's friends. There was Uncle Nate, a high school teammate named Bryan and Johnny's buddy Colton from College Station. Everyone stood around, the band warming up. Without so much as a nod, the Crotch Shot Ninjas struck: Paul punched Nate in the nuts, and, simultaneously, Johnny kicked Bryan and hit Colton, both in the balls, both at the same time, and as the three dudes doubled over and the band howled in laughter, Johnny and Paul gave each other a fist bump. Mission accomplished."

So Thompson is interviewing Paul, the father of Johnny.  I'm guessing after about 8 hours of being comfortable, Paul's telling stories, and this is one he's proud of.  <sigh>

To much piling on related to Johnny Football, but this is the one that caught my eye.  The dad, stories of Crotch Shot Ninjas.  We're friends!  Father and Son!

And this, my friends, is why it is the interviewer's job to let you talk.  As much as they possible can.  Because you get comfortable, and the interviewer gets negative information.  Sure, it might take hours, but isn't it worth it?

The Kids Aren't Alright - How Managers Rationalize Their Role In Turnover...

When we were young the future was so bright
The old neighborhood was so alive
And every kid on the whole damn street
Was gonna make it big and not be beat

Now the neighborhood's cracked and torn
The kids are grown up but their lives are worn
How can one little street
Swallow so many lives

--The Kids Aren't Alright by The Offspring

Stop and think about it.  There's a lot of people that have come through your company in the last three years.  You've had some great hires, for sure.  But you've also had some people you thought were great that didn't work out.

What happened to them?  Like the poets known as The Offspring riff on above, they came in bright eyed and ready to dominate.  Then #### went wrong.  They left or we fired them.  Maybe they left before we fired them. Of course, they have accountability for what happened as well, right?  Consider some of the case by case details:

Jamie had a chance, well she really did
Instead she dropped out and had a couple of kids
Mark still lives at home cause he's got no job
He just plays guitar and smokes a lot of pot

Jay committed suicide
Brandon OD'd and died
What the hell is going on
The cruelest dream, reality

The Offspring aren't talking about your hiring misses. But take a look at the video of this song below (email subscribers click through for video) - I like it because it portrays a bunch of people with broken lives coming through a single apartment.  Your company is a lot like this apartment - people come and go, and like the saying goes, there are eight million stories in the naked city.

What's interesting to me about this video is its connection to your company.  There's no question that in a lot of cases, the hiring misses you have are the responsibility of the employee in question.  They had a broken life, behavioral characteristics that became huge flaws in the workplace and a assortment of dysfunctions you couldn't overcome as a company.

But that's the easy way out. You and I both know that in a significant percentage of the voluntary turnover cases in your company, your managers could have made a difference by acting like they actually gave a sh*t about the employee in question.  Maybe they could have displayed a trace of empathy. Maybe they could have been interested in the person behind the employee, and that would have caused the employee to value your company over other options in the marketplace.

But your manager treated them like a commodity - a tenet in a run down apartment with a month to month lease.

That kind of sucks. Hit the chorus:

Chances thrown
Nothing's free
Longing for what used to be
Still it's hard
Hard to see
Fragile lives, shattered dreams

The company with the best managers of people wins...