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July 2016

HR Capitalist Summer Jobs - My Best and Worst...

The gang at Fistful of Talent (my other blog, multi-contributor) did a weekend post  a few years back on best/worst summer jobs.  Go check out that post here, but in the meantime here's what I outlined as my best/worst summer Best-and-worst-summer-jobs-fistful-of-talent-600x320 jobs:

Worst - was working at a grocery store, bagging groceries.  Was stocking some shelves and saw the classic KD opportunity to exceed expectations.  Some lady was looking for a ham to be sliced and guess what?  Sure – young KD jumps behind the counter and takes care of it – and proceeds to clip half the top digit of my thumb with the blade.  Luckily, the digit got saved because my thumbnail stopped the blade.. I can still see the slice mark.  #goodtimes #childlaborlaws

Best – After my thumb nearly got cut off, I went to the local radio station and got a job as a DJ, with my summers filled plugging in station IDs on the KC Royals baseball network.  No meat saws.  #best #job #ever  Bonus – we were country in the daytime, top 40 at night.  Only in America.  Shout out to KMEM in Memphis, MO.  

You guys and gals are HR pros. Of course, you had weird summer jobs. And they just made you stronger, right?

HR BUDGET SEASON: Recruitment Advertising/Marketing Trends

Hey HR and Recruiting leaders - It's the early days of budget season - or at least prep for budget season - for a lot of you.

If you are like me, you're likely looking at headcount projections for next year - as well as thinking about your overall benefit costs for the coming year. Buzz_1

Smart. Those things are important.

BUT WAIT - There's one thing you won't think about until it's too late - HOW YOUR RECRUITMENT MARKETING/ADVERTISING BUDGET needs to change.

That's why I'm here to give you a primer related to where to look.  I'm a partner in a recruiting firm called Kinetix.  We're headquartered in Atlanta, and in addition to pure recruiting, we help a lot of clients manage their recruitment marketing presence - careers site, social recruiting presence, video, etc.  

We also help clients understand the efficiency of their recruitment marketing spend - job boards, Indeed, LinkedIn and more - as part of a service called Kinetix Buzz.

I know - you don't have time to look at this right now - so I'm going to give you the trends we see at Kinetix related to recruitment marketing spend - and some things I think you'll find when you look at this area via source of hire and source of candidate info.  Here's a top line of what we find when we first start helping companies:

1. Your Careers site is over-reported as a Source of Hire

2. Job Boards and aggregators may need re-balancing based on industry shifts

3. Better targeting of markets is available for job boards, specifically CareerBuilder

4. Fully utilizing LinkedIn Spend is complicated

5. Your recruiting database is underutilized

6. A significant opportunity exists related to creating a sourcing function and measuring it with the same discipline as Job     Boards

7. Experimental spend should focus on bleeding edge tools like the Google Ad Display Network

8. Employment Branding investment at your company lags that of high-performing peers

9. Your Indeed strategy related to sponsored jobs is likely in need of a refresh

That's where you should start when you have time to focus on this area of your budget.  Start with analysis of these areas, and you'll be doing the pre-work you need to understand how your budget needs to change for the upcoming year.

If you're too busy or can't get to it - drop me a note and I'll have someone from my company call to figure out a way to help you.  In addition to this analysis, we've got a package we call Kinetix Buzz that starts with your careers site and works through all of these areas to help you maximize the results of your spend.

Good luck in budget season!  Your Excel skills are going to blow up in the next 3 months!!!

BUDGET SEASON: How Your Finance Team Treats Turnover REALLY Matters...

Welcome to the early days of budget season, American HR Leaders!!

Snuggled up to the friendly Finance and Accounting pros in your organization lately?  Great... Here's a little snigglet to make sure you have enough cash to fund all the hyped pay-for-performance initiatives you are cooking up in the test tube you call a laptop...

The type of budget model you have?  It matters. 

Duhhhhh, you say.  You get the budget.  Hold on there, Donald Trump, because I'm not talking about theTurnover_factor fact you have all the salaries loaded into the budget.  I'm talking about the FORMULAS the Finance quants are using underneath the names and the numbers. 

The big one you need to be aware of is this - Does your comp budget model have a Turnover Factor, or do the funds vacated by positions that are vacant remain in the comp budget, available for proper use?

It matters a lot.  A turnover factor projects the amount of turnover a company/division/department is going to have during the budget year, then automatically reduces payroll by the appropriate amount.  The logic used when putting a turnover factor in the budget model is that those funds should be unavailable in the budget since there won't actually be PEOPLE in those jobs (for that time period).

Details, details....

The effect of the Turnover Factor?  Your compensation budget gets a lot tighter, and you'll have a lot more variances to explain month to month.  And that kind of stinks... But it's actually the right way to do it from a business perspective...

Additionally, the Turnover Factor puts a LOT of pressure on the pay-for-performance system.  Have a lot of managers who have a hard time telling low-performing employees they're not doing that great with no raise or a limited increase?  A turnover factor means you are dealing with a truly zero-sum game.  For every dollar your manager gives to a low performer, he won't be able to give that dollar to the star. 

Especially if you have a Turnover Factor - because there's no built in slush fund.  Budget 4% for increases?  With a Turnover Factor in play, that's exactly what you have - with your active employees.  Without the TF in play, you've got some wiggle room from a budget perspective.

So give your Finance pro a pound today and learn more.  As your company grows, the Turnover Factor is a way of life, but maybe you can delay it a little bit longer.  Remember - you're doing it for the PEOPLE - and who could blame you for that?

HEY GEN X: This Concert In Vegas Proves You're Getting Old...

Two boys on a playground
Tryin' to push each other down
See the crowd gather 'round
Nothing attracts a crowd like a crowd

I'm Gen-X - a lot of you are Gen-X as well.

The Boomers already know that they're getting old.  Some of Gen X understands this is happening to you/us as well.

Need proof?  I give you this billboard I saw in Vegas when I was there last week (email subscribers click through for the picture if you can't see it):


That's right.  Soul Asylum - a band which represents at least some of the angst and disaffection that Gen X loved to simmer in as youth - IS HAVING A CONCERT AT A DRIVING RANGE.

Let that sink in.  Gen X, we're getting old.

Now, it should be said that TopGolf is the Mercedes of driving ranges, and by the looks of the picture, the venue is probably as good as any in the 3K seating/standing range and down in Vegas.


But one of the bands from Gen X's youth is playing at a driving range.

My advice?  Up your 401k contribution, Gen X managers and HR Pros who read this blog, because the end is near!

Here’s To the Crazy Ones: And Why You Don’t Deserve Them

Been doing a lot of performance work for some client companies lately.  As you might expect, I’m trying to push the companies to get out of the mindset that the performance review transaction is the reason for the process.

Repeat after me:  The reason you do any type of coaching or performance management is to migrate employees.   If you’re going to do it, you want a system that allows you to support migrating new employees to good performers, and good performers to great employees.

You don’t get there by focusing on the rating scale.  That doesn’t migrate anyone.  You get there by using performance management as a means to have a different type of conversation - Think_different_postersone that gets an employee thinking and perhaps excited about taking care of the busy work that’s a part of any job, then having time to come up with some different ideas.

Which is code to say this – Innovation doesn’t mean you created the next Twitter or Instagram.  Sometimes it just means you weren’t scared to say the way that we’ve always done it is Bull####, and offer up a new path – no matter how small.   Whether it gets implemented or not is details.  Offer up enough ideas, and you’re bound to have some make it through the machine.

What does great performance look like?  I think it means that you encourage employees to challenge the status quo.  Of course, if you’re going to encourage that, you better be comfortable telling people that their idea sucks and they need to go back to the drawing board.

It’s hard to create a culture where people actually want to give you ideas.  Do you have that type of culture?

Here’s a test: Would your managers be comfortable putting the text from the original sixty-second “Think Different” ads from Apple (narrated by Richard Dreyfress back in the day) in their cube?  Read this and think about it:

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes.

The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.

About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They invent. They imagine. They heal. They explore. They create. They inspire. They push the human race forward.

Maybe they have to be crazy.

How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art? Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written? Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?

We make tools for these kinds of people.

While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

I know.  It’s far reaching BS.  Keep doing what you’re doing, it’s working well…

Or, you can start having conversations with your best people about what’s possible.  It’s funny how those types of conversations and the exploration that results are actually the best retention tool for your top talent.  It’s also funny how your average performers stop bitching about getting a bigger raise when you tell them that ideas are the top currency to getting the $$.

But your managers have to have the conversation to make that happen.

They’ve got to encourage people to think differently, and to accept all the work/draining conversations that come with it.

And that’s why the crazy ones don’t work at your company.

HR Technology Conference Preview: How Many Silos of HR Tech Exist? Too D**n Many...

I'm running a panel at the HR Technology Conference in Chicago in October.  As I've said before, this is my favorite conference in our industry - the perfect mix of HR and Talent topics with solutions and conversation enabled by technology. Click here to get the early bird discount, which ends on 7/27/16.

The shows runs from October 4th through the 7th.  Here's a description of the panel I'll be moderating:

Mega Session: Two Decades, Four Tech Revolutions and Billions of Dollars Later — Why Is Hiring Still So Hard?

Great HR leaders understand the best talent wins. With that in mind, investments in advanced technologies to “solve” recruiting — or at least to make it easier, faster, more efficient and cheaper — have been a hallmark of the HR and HR technology landscape for over two decades. Starting with the first major online job boards, to the emergence of enterprise ATS solutions and the rise of LinkedIn, to more recent developments like video interviewing and mobile capability, there's been no shortage of technology designed to make finding, engaging and hiring candidates easier. But despite significant investments in recruiting technologies, organizations still report that hiring has never been more difficult, with the average time to fill an open position reaching historic levels. You'll learn about the modern recruiting challenge, how technology has evolved to help meet that challenge, and how to best leverage your investments in recruiting technology to achieve better outcomes.

In addition to my session, there's lots of good stuff that's on the agenda.  Here's one highlight I plan on attending:

More from John Sumser at HR Examiner:

A presentation that describes the universe of HR Tech and the most effective paths through the conference itself. Here’s the session description:

CS1: HR Tech: An Orientation to the Conference and All Its Possibilities
Wednesday 05 October
11:00 AM to 12:00PM
If you’ve never attended the HR Technology Conference, this is where to begin your adventure. John Sumser, who has been orienting people to the industry for two decades, will help you maximize your time and your return on investment. He’ll cover all of the elements of HR technology and how they fit together. Plus, give you an overview of the HR technology landscape to help you determine which areas of HR tech you are most interested in learning more about so you can design your ideal conference experience. You’ll know which sessions to attend and which exhibitors not to miss. As a bonus, each person attending the session will get a copy of Sumser’s groundbreaking report, “Optimal HR Tech Stack.”

As I looked around, it became clear that no one has produced an interesting map of the entire HR Technology terrain recently. So, I figured I’d make a stab at it.

So far, my outline has 70 distinct silos. For each element, there is more than one vendor offering a standalone tool to solve the problem. I’ve placed the current version at the bottom of this piece.

Starting next week, I’m going to try to build the following elements for each silo:

  • A short narrative describing the silo
  • A list of vendors who offer best in breed solutions
  • A list of vendors who offer the element in their suite
  • A few of the current trends in the area
  • A sketch of the future for the area.

Wish me luck.

What's crazy about this is John is saying he's ID'd 70 distinct silos that each have at least one vendor offering a standalone product/service to meet the need in question.

That's crazy - I've got to see that session.

Hope you can join me at the HR Technology Conference in Chicago this October. Click here to register and get the deepest discount

My 2016 Vegas Weekend at The NBA Summer League (Featuring As Many Misses on Talent as Your Company)...

Went to Vegas last weekend with a few bloggers of note - Steve Boese and Matt Stollak. Our destination had a nerd quality to it  - The NBA Summer League, where professional basketball hopefuls convene to prove they have what it takes to be one of 450 players who play in the best hoops league in the world.

Now - you should know that only about 20% of the players who attend and play in the Vegas Summer League are actual NBA players - the rest are draft choices and free agents who are scrapping and doing whatever it takes to impress the teams. 

Why go to this event? First, we like hoops.  More importantly, I go because there's a huge morality play on talent going on at the Summer League.  If NBA veterans are the best 450 players in the world, what we saw is 451-1500, and the differences are pretty small between spots 350 to 450 in the NBA and the better players in the summer league.  Who decides? What makes the difference between making a NBA roster and going to Turdistan to play next winter?  

As it turns out, the NBA's probably no better at evaluating talent than the rest of us - and there's a lesson in that.   Here's the story of the weekend as told through my Instagram account (enable pictures if you viewing this in email or just click through - captions and comments included with the picture).


More from my visit with the 8-Man Rotation crew to the NBA Summer League in Vegas. This is Dennis Schröder of the Atlanta Hawks. I call him G-Rondo because he plays like Rondo and hails from Germany. The Hawks just traded Jeff Teague and handed him the keys to the point guard position. That's a smart money move, we'll see if it works out. I'm rooting for him, but I would say there's an inverse relationship to how much time an NBA starter spends hanging out at the Summer League (they don't play, they just watch - and it's Vegas) and how successful he is the following year. GRondo was here for over a week. Do your best employees long to hang out at job fairs you're running? I think not, it's probably a sign that there's going to be some growing pains with G-Rondo this year.

A photo posted by krisdunn183 (@krisdunn183) on


Last post from the NBA Summer League in Vegas. This is Danny Ainge, GM of the Boston Celtics and someone the Celtic faithful love. He was here this week to watch the 3rd overall pick, Jaylen Brown, from Cal, a pick that was panned by the industry as a reach. We saw Danny courtside and it was fun to watch him ride the D-League refs like a dad - still ultra-competitive. He got quiet towards the end as it became evident that Brown's probably going to be bit of a project as he had a hard time finishing - he finished shooting 32% for the week. He'll back up Crowder and get to work it out on the court, I suspect. It's like when you rep the candidate that no one else wanted to hire at your company and they struggle a bit out of the gate. You gotta support, but still, in the back of your mind you're thinking - ugh.

A photo posted by krisdunn183 (@krisdunn183) on

SMALL WORLD: From Now On, Just Call Me "Mr. July", Not KD...

From the category of "too weird to be true", a colleague of our founder/my business partner at Kinetix (Shannon Russo) was traveling the globe and found himself in a conference room in Hyderabad in India.

He glanced at the walls while he was waiting and saw our company name, Kinetix.  Wow, he thought, I travel halfway across the world and I get a ping from Kinetix in this conference room.

How did that happen? Some human capital company/job board in India included me in a calendar that they did, complete with my image, title/company and a custom piece of text ripped from my LinkedIn profile.  I've never heard of the company and no, I didn't authorize this use of my image, but I'm less than bothered.  Seems like a compliment.

See image of the calendar below (email subscribers click through for the photo of the calendar).

Mr july

Do you feel inspired?

First time in my life I've been called Mr. July.  I'll take it.

Dallas Police Department "De-Escalation Training" Looks a Lot Like Great Training for Managers of People...

It's ironic in the aftermath of the Dallas Police Officer shootings/assassinations that given all the violence, the Dallas Police Department is actually a leader in trying to figure out a better way to de-escalate situations that have historically resulted in shootings.

Let that soak in a bit.

I have to say, I'm digging what they are doing in Dallas with this training.  Work with me through this piece that describes what the DPD's initiative to drop shootings looks like (Italics are from this USA Today Opinion piece, bold with green background represents my comments):

Thanks to deliberate changes in tactics, such as officers training in de-escalation techniques and using less-than-lethal force in situations where they’d previously be instructed to fire weapons, complaints DPD
about overly aggressive policing in Dallas had dropped from more than 150 in 2009 to fewer than 20 last year. And most dramatically, police shootings dropped too.

The root of the change, according to the Dallas Morning News, was aggressive and consistent re-training. Officers did not learn to de-escalate in classrooms. They practiced on the streets. Supervisors used footage from real-events — at least half of all department cars have dash cams, and many officers now have body video cameras— and came up with a set of de-escalation protocols that give officers more time (and more tools) to make judgments about whether to use force.

What's interesting about this is how true it rings for the talent pro in all of us.  More training.  More role play.  Practicing skills as close to live as you can get.  Watching others have success, fail and everything in between.  The incorporation of video.  This is all straight from the 2016 talent pro's notebook.

Time seems to be the key factor; no officer wants to get to the point where he or she has to decide in a split second whether the guy who is fishing through his pockets is reaching for a gun. The department wisely assumed that there will be moments during these confrontations when de-escalation techniques truly can work.

Something as basic as noise levels can affect the environment of a given situation. If officers all shout at the same time, that makes a suspect — hell, it makes anyone — really nervous. If an officer approaches that same suspect with open palms and a calm voice, the suspect will usually reciprocate.

Not always, of course. Officers need to have back-up here, and they will still face those horrible moments when only their guts can be their guide.  But in Dallas, and increasingly in other cities, officers have a goal: unless the suspect is armed with a gun, don’t try to end the situation quickly; try to prolong it. Don’t rush the suspect. Give him space and give him time. The more time the police have to de-escalate, the better the odds that the situation will end without anyone hurt or dying.

Hey! Instead of shouting, let's take our time. Let's let that person be heard. Don't be in a rush when you're dealing with someone in front of you.  Sounds like a best practice in manager of people training, right?  Like cops, managers in Corporate America have become too used to simply using authority as the reason someone should do what they want.  You know the answer - as a cop or a manager of people, but you're going to get a better result if you let the person in front of you participate.

If implicit racial bias still makes the lives of black men, women and children more threatened, then we owe their lives sustained attention. New police techniques and mindfulness help officers see suspects — or perhaps, confused people caught up in chaotic situations — as individuals. And although the evidence is tentative and still needs years of field-testing, it seems to work.

I don't claim to understand what's going on at the heart of all the police shootings, and I'm not here to throw in the cursory, "All Lives Matter" comment to the Black Lives Matter movement.  

What I do know is quality training when I see it - that focuses on participation by all parties in any conversation. I'm sad that those police officers lost their lives. But I'm proud as hell of the Dallas Police Department for being the leader in de-escalation training in response to the trend of too many shootings. 

The leadership in that organization must be smart as hell.

VIDEO: Who To Hire When Your Culture Sucks (Kris Dunn at Cayman Islands #DisruptHR)

Let's face it - most of you don't operate in an environment that can be categorized as a "Best Place to Work"... We like to think all of our cultures are unique for the right reasons, and without question, some of them are.  

But most aren't. I could make the case that culture is actually hyper-local, with micro-cultures that exist around each one of your managers of people actually being more important than attempts to define your corporate culture.

That's why my talk at DisruptHR in the Cayman Islands focused on the following topic - "Who to Hire When Your Culture Sucks".  If you exist in a hard-knock environment that you're trying to change on a day-to-day basis as an HR/Talent Acquisition leader, this talk is for you.

In classic DisruptHR form, it's a small investment of time.  20 slides, 15 seconds apiece, 5 total minutes.  Take a look!  The slides move automatically so you can judge how I dealt with that!

(email subscribers click through for video)

Who To Hire When Your Culture Sucks | Kris Dunn | DisruptHR Talks from DisruptHR on Vimeo.