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February 2017

Stuff the Capitalist (aka KD) Likes: The Trailer for "Logan"...

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 not a big comic book movie guy, but I have to say, the trailers for "Logan" (supposedly the final Wolverine movie in the X-Men series) look fantastic.  Take a look (email subscribers click through to see the video) and let's discuss it after the jump.

 What's it take to make a movie trailer like this?  

--Dystopian feel to the color and landscape. Check.

--Characters that are flawed yet cool. Check

--Great music over the trailer - aka, Johnny Cash covering Nine Inch Nails.  Check.

--Huge Jackman.  ##@#*@# @#@@ing Check people!

OK, now to the serious comments.  If you're over 40, how can you watch this trailer and not see yourself from a career standpoint?  You're a hero and talented, but tired.  You've got a mentor or two that's always in your grill about something - and they're usually right.  And yeah, you still have a lot to give, and probably a responsibility to lead some young folks that are coming up.

True - you and the equivalent actors in your life are nowhere near as cool as these characters, but there it is.  You're flawed. The world's going to keep coming.  Might as well flex the claws and get to the business of impaling some bad guys.

(Bonus - the trailer used for the Super Bowl was a cool version of Amazing Grace - click here to see that one)

We are all Logan.  

Uber, Harassment and HR Business Partner Coverage - Let's Look at the Numbers...

By now, you've heard about this post accusing Uber of creating a hostile, harassing environment for women.  Rather than rehash the claim, I'm going to go to the numbers in this post.  See this post by Tim Sackett for analysis of the situation and see my commentary on Uber's former HR Leader leaving the company before all this stuff broke by clicking here.

Let's run some numbers.  Most of the allegations claim that Uber was focused on recruiting above and beyond all else.  But this post on HR at Uber from Recode gives us some interesting numbers to think about related to HR staffing:

"It’s most glaring overall problems seems to center on how the human resources role was conceived at Uber by its brash and commanding leader Kalanick. UberThe issue: He felt the function of HR at Uber was largely to recruit talent and also efficiently let go of personnel when needed, according to sources.

During the first half of 2016, sources said, the company had fewer than 10 representatives — called human resources business partners — who served to train managers or handle things like sexual harassment for its close to 6,000 employees.

Leadership coaching or training is especially important at Uber and other tech companies, where many of the department heads or top execs are often younger staffers who would work their way up at the company. According to sources, Atwood spent considerable time defending the need for more HR business partners.

But, according to one source, there was one HR business partner handling the entire Asia Pacific region; two handling Europe, the Middle East and Africa; three in corporate functions handling engineering, finance and marketing; and only three working in operations and with city teams.

Uber disputed this and says the company had around 20 people dedicated to that role at the time. Today, the company has 35 and plans to add between 30 and 40 more under Hornsey."

Credit to Recode for being sharp enough to think about employee count vs HR staffing as a potential source of the problem.  

Unfortunately, the numbers don't tell us enough.

10 HRBPs for 6,000 employees.  Is that a heavy workload or just right?  You know the answer if you're an HR leader - it depends what their role is and what other HR resources are available.

If you've got specialists working recruiting, benefits, admin and more, it's possible for HRBPs to be effective with a 600/1 count.

If these same HRBPs are responsible for recruiting and more in addition to employee relations, they are screwed from a workload perspective.

Add the flavor of Kalanick prioritizing recruiting over everything else, and the status of the HRBP doing it all with a 600/1 ratio moves from "screwed" to "total screwed".  Qualifying questions like "did he say he liked your blouse alone or the way it made your body look?" become rationalizations for not digging deeper because the HRBP didn't have time and the organization didn't want to hear about it anyway.

600/1 for an HRBP?  It all comes down to what's behind that HRBP in terms of specialized support to determine if that ration is fair.  

Going to be an interesting investigation.



Should You Fight Age Bias By Only Showing Your Last 15 Years On Your Resume?

Old people. The problem with them is there's just so much...well...experience...

You know I'm kidding. But it raises a good point - should older workers looking for their next opportunity show all of their work history and graduation dates from college, or hide it to a certain degree?

I've come to the opinion that you have to hide it a bit - lest you get caught in a bias-filled resume screen process that says things like "What's the Clinton administration? I didn't know she was president before she lost to Trump last year..."

More on the topic of marketing yourself as an older worker from Fortune: De niro

"The new administration h as put some wind in the sails of the market and, some would say, the economy too—which is potentially good news for job seekers. But if you’re one of those seekers and you’re of a certain age, career guru Marc Cenedella has some critical advice: “Don’t list any dates on your résumé before the year 2000.”

Just zap it. Erase it. Pretend those years never happened.

To be clear, Cenedella, who is 46, isn’t saying that age bias is okay. He’s saying that it exists. The first person who reads your résumé will be an HR department screener who will be right out of college. “They’ll say, ‘Wait, this guy was working in newspapers in the 1980s? No way will he understand Snapchat.’ ”

Boom, like that, your paperwork goes into the trash. Sure, this is biased and unfair. But these are the gatekeepers, and you need to get past them.

Trimming the early experience from your résumé might feel dishonest, but the document isn’t supposed to be comprehensive. “Your résumé is an advertisement, not a product manual,” Cenedella says. Confining a résumé to a single page is good advice for anyone."

That's good advice.  Of course, the key is to not be accused of being too old when you get the first call on the job in question - the one that comes for a brief phone screen before you'd be selected to come in and interview live.  

When that call happens, you're probably going to be identified as part of the the older portion of Gen X - or dare I say - a Boomer.

Someone younger than you is going to be screening you.  The best way around any objections to your age is the following path:

  1. Connect with the person phone screening you - if you have a chance to research them, know a little bit about their background and ask them about it.  Because you're interested and see the value, not because you're skeptical if they're capable of interviewing you.  Be interested in what they do for the company and how they feel about the company they work for.  Making them feel like their opinions matter to you is a great track to them giving you a break for being "over-qualified".  
  2. Have work product available to share as a follow up to your call.  I've written about the portfolio effect for candidates before, so click here to see those thoughts.  You should follow up with something that displays your work - hopefully in a contemporary fashion.  Do it at the end of the business day you talk to them so they have to reconsider you before they make their final determination about whether you're going to move forward.

Most older workers are rightfully paranoid about resume reviewers and phone screeners being dramatically younger than them.  Take some years off your resume and be ready to loosen up and show your interest in your phone screener.  Put all your misgivings aside when that call comes for best results.

Good luck out there.  Peak economic cycle has never felt so hard for so many.


Preferred Methods of Communicating with KD, Ranked...

Because email's not dead, it's just been shoved to the side a little bit by a younger, sleeker option called Text...

Here's the preferred methods of communicating with me, ranked with color commentary notes:

1. Text - Took a little longer for me to get here, but there's now a chance a text may get buried before I respond, seems like it Leerules the day for the top 15 people I communicate with daily.

2. Email - Contrary to popular rumor, not dead yet. I'm Gen X, and professional Gen X people tend to run their lives off of email.  I've received admiration just short of a standing O for my folder system when projected on the big screen before I call up Powerpoint to do a presentation.

3. Phone - I'm of the opinion that if you're like a sports GM, looking for the asset that's undervalued, the phone is probably it these days.  Sure, some people will never answer it, but a lot will.  And there's not enough people still using the tool.  #moneyball

4. Crawling in My Window. Hey - what's up?

5. Slack - Only for the people at work, and since I'm Gen X, a message will hit my email box if I don't view it in 2 hours.

6. Twitter DM or Facebook Messenger - Kind of clunky and hidden based on how I live my life.  Use at your own peril.

7. Hiding under my bed for two days and then popping out an hour after I go to sleep.  We have to do this now?  OK.

8. LinkedIn Messaging - Nice move to take away replies from my email inbox, LInkedIn. You just guaranteed I'm going to use the system less. You used to be solid in the number three spot, now even the communication tactics of stalkers are preferred over your ecosystem.

Did someone say "stalker"?  That's a great reason to share this cut of Tenacious D (the series from HBO) and "Lee".

I'm out.


Twitter's New VP of HR (formerly at Uber) Departs in a Hurry...

In the hiring/candidate business, it's called a miss.  Interesting stuff from the interwebs a couple of weeks ago, as Twitter announced its Head of Diversity was leaving the company.  Of course, for me that wasn't really the news, as Twitter also used the announcement to state that a recent CHRO hire had left the company at some point before the announcement.

More from Techcrunch:

Twitter’s VP of diversity and inclusion Jeffrey Siminoff is leaving the company at the end of the month and its chief human resources officer Renee Atwood has already left, TechCrunch has confirmed.

“Renee has left the company for personal reasons,” a Twitter spokesperson told TechCrunch. “We thank her for her contributions during her time at Twitter and wish her all the best in the future.”

Twitter's departed HR Leader, Renee Atwood joined Twitter in August 2016 from Uber, where she was global head of people and places. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey sent a note around the company letting employees know about Siminoff’s upcoming exit, one source familiar with the situation told me. The internal messaging around Siminoff was that he is leaving on his own accord, the source said.

Twitter hired Siminoff from Apple, where he was the director of worldwide inclusion and diversity, in December 2015 to replace Janet Van Huysse as vice president of diversity and inclusion. At the time of the announcement, some people were skeptical of the fact that Twitter hired a white man to lead its diversity and inclusion efforts.

These exits come shortly after Twitter unveiled its 2016 diversity report, which showed Twitter was making some progress around the hiring of underrepresented minorities. It’s not clear if Siminoff and Atwood’s departures are related, but the timing is interesting, to say the least. Update: A Twitter spokesperson told TechCrunch that the departures are unrelated.

I wrote a piece a few months back about Atwood leaving Uber and the value of knowing what you're best at, where you fit and when in a company's lifecycle it might be time for you leave as an HR leader.

While I have no info about Atwood's departure from Twitter, I'm not sure it means anything for her as a candidate for future HR Leadership roles.  She's been an HR leader in some of the most interesting companies of our time, and let's face it - sometimes you just miss as a candidate.  The job wasn't what you expected, you were told things that weren't true or to no one's fault - you just got to the new company and found you weren't really a fit.

What's more interesting to me is that Twitter didn't announce the departure until they told the world a VP of Diversity of was leaving.  Have we come to the point where a diversity leader leaving mandates a press release, but the CHRO does not?

Maybe in the Bay area we have.  Strange times indeed.



VIDEO: 4 Tips From KD On Driving 401 Contributions Up at Your Company...

How do you drive your employees to do more of what you'd like them to do?  Even things that are in their best interest like participating in or raising their contributions to your 401K?

The answer - even in something as non-sexy as your 401K - is for HR pros to think more like marketers.

Check out the video I did below for AXEX - I'm laying out four simple, time-tested tips for driving your employees to take another look at their 401(k) contributions—and put a little bit more into the coffers for their future.

It's three minutes long, you'll definitely learn something...what's not to like?

(Email Subscribers click through for video if you don't see it below)

Facebook Moves to 20 Days Bereavement Leave, Makes Your Company Look Petty As Hell....

It's true.  Facebook just moved their Bereavement Leave Policy to 20 days for an immediate family member, 10 days for an extended family member.

Damn. More from TechCrunch:

"On her personal Facebook account Tuesday, COO Sheryl Sandberg announced an update to the company’s employee benefits, which are newly enhanced to ease the lives of new parents and grieving employees alike.

Sandberg noted that the decision intends to lead the charge for policies that help new parents as well as families that are grieving the loss of a loved one. In the post, Sandberg noted her own experience as a mother and the “nightmare” surrounding the unexpected death of her husband in shaping her perspective.

“Starting today, Facebook employees will have up to 20 days paid leave to grieve an immediate family member, up to 10 days to grieve an extended family member, and will be able to take up to six weeks of paid leave to care for a sick relative,” Sandberg writes. “We’re also introducing paid family sick time – three days to take care of a family member with a short-term illness, like a child with the flu.”

What's your bereavement policy again?  3 days for a family member?  You look kind of petty next to the mighty Facebook.

But seriously - I think every HR Pro looks at this policy and says three things:

  1. Yes - it really does take that long to even begin to move forward when you lose an immediate family member.
  2. No - 10 days or 2 weeks for an extended family member? Well, you hadn't even seen your grandpa for 2 years, didn't really like to be around him at Christmas and let's face it, you loved to make fun of his Milwaukee's Best consumption.  2 weeks is a bit of overkill.  
  3. While I like #1, my company has no chance of taking that stance. The cost, gaps in coverage and paranoia of fraud conspire to make it impossible for us to even increase our policy from 3 days.

Of course, the big thing to remember here is that Facebook is doing organizationally what your best managers have always done with key people who lost a parent, spouse or child - telling them to come back when they're ready, and not rush.

Your managers have to hide that from your company - Facebook is institutionalizing it.



The Heisenberg Rules: What HR Can Learn from Breaking Bad (#3 - Innovation, Sales and Operations are Equal)

Capitalist Note - I finally got around to binge-watching the former AMC hit Breaking Bad on Netflix, which follows high school chemistry teacher Walter White's journey through a lung cancer diagnosis and his subsequent turn to becoming a world-class meth producer.  This series (The Heisenberg Rules) represents what I was reminded of as a HR leader by Breaking Bad.  If you haven't seen the series, you can view a synopsis by clicking here. Spoilers abound in this series.

On a simple level, the basic premise of Breaking Bad is that Walter White, a small-time chemistry teacher, can emerge as one of the biggest meth producers in the United States.  Walter's creativity in Breaking-bad-bryan-cranston-walter-white-aaron-paul-jesse-pinkman-mike-jonathan-banks-gus-fring-giancarlo-espositoproducing quality meth is without peer.

But the vast majority of Walter White's problems as the series unfold are related to the fact that his creativity isn't enough.  

It's one thing to be innovative and create something unique. It's another thing to deal with the business side of getting that idea to the masses. Skinny Pete and Badger weren't enough to get it done.

That's why Rule #3 in the Heisenberg Rules is INNOVATION, SALES & OPERATIONS ARE EQUAL.

Walter White found out that distribution in the drug trade is a huge deal.  In order to make enough money to pay for his cancer treatments, he's under constant pressure to sell more and find new and bigger channels of distribution.  That leads him throughout the series to some interesting partners, most of whom are pathological killers who don't have Walter's knowledge or mode of innovation in the meth business.

BUT - and there is a but - they have something that Walter can't touch.  They've maimed, murdered and intimidated enough people to hold clear distribution rights in territories that Walter needs access to.

All of Walter's Sales/Distribution partners in series (Think Tuco, Gustavo and the neo-Nazi's) have distribution channels that Walter doesn't have.  Think of that as sales. They're also willing to slog through the murders and collections that go with the trade. Think of that as Operations.  

They have sales and ops. Walter doesn't, so in order to make his meth production as profitable as possible, he has to do business with them.  As a result, his risk goes up exponentially.

At the same time, hard core criminals like Tuco and Gustavo have never seen a product like Walter's.  They can't do it on their own.  They NEED his creativity and innovation to maximize their profits.

Along the way, we learn how much our own businesses have in common with the Meth trade.

It's not enough to have a great idea or even have morphed that idea into a great product.  You still have to sell it, and you have to have the operational discipline needed to collect money and deal with the 1,000 other issues necessary to keep the operation going.

In Breaking Bad, the idea guy needed sales and business ops.  The sales and biz ops guys needed the best product in order to put their machine to work. Without all three of these components, you can't maximize your business results.  Take one of three out of the mix and you've got nothing.

Sounds like another day at the office to me.  Except my partners don't have a regional network of fried chicken stores serving as a front for their real business.


CEB Study Shows Eliminating Performance Reviews Causes Managers to Suck More - Not Less.

I know, I know.  You think performance reviews suck. You're probably right, they probably do.  But is the alternative - not doing them at all - really better? 

I've always thought the biggest lie with the sexy, "we're eliminating performance reviews" clique was the assumption that managers of people in your company could deliver what's required to make sure employees still received feedback on how they're doing without the formal performance review.

My experience is that all of our managers could stand to get better at delivering feedback, and most avoid real feedback sessions with employees like the plague.  After all, feedback is confrontation, I-hate-talking-to-peopleand most of us avoid confrontation if left to our own devices.

The formal performance review forced that feedback at least 1X per year. A recent CEB study found a drop in employee engagement and performance across companies that eliminated performance reviews.  More from Fast Company:

A small but growing cohort of Fortune 500 companies made headlines recently when they broke with tradition and ditched the annual review.

Executives claimed performance reviews were often inefficient. Neuroscience backed them up. One study found that the dread filling employees prior to a review can restrict creativity. Another revealed that performance reviews foster a fixed mind-set in which the employee believes they’ll never be able to improve and achieve professional growth.

So it made sense to toss the annual review process. Leadership advisory firm CEB found that the number of Fortune 1000 companies eliminating the annual review increased to 12% in 2015 from 1% back in 2011.

But CEB subsequently found that getting rid of the review didn’t always reverse its restrictive effects. In fact, it proved to drop employee engagement and performance by 10%.

CEB’s researchers polled nearly 10,000 employees in 18 countries. Workers came from a variety of industries and organizational sizes. The researchers then compared outcomes and perceptions of those employees in organizations that use performance ratings to those in organizations without ratings. They also did a series of interviews with heads of HR to get a handle on trends and challenges for performance management.

Why did that happen? CEB’s analysis also found the following contributing factors in companies that dropped the formal/annual performance review:

  • Manager conversation quality declined by 14%
  • Managers spent less time on informal reviews conversations
  • Top performers’ satisfaction with pay differentiation decreased by 8%
  • Employee engagement dropped by 6%

Which sounds a lot like this - when you eliminate the annual performance review, it decreases the pressure on managers to have their s### together related to being able to defend their stance on an employee's performance level .  

When the pressure goes down, it sounds like manager's coach less, not more.

So if you're going to eliminate the performance review, you'll need to become a LOT more formal with your expectations on things like 1-on-1's. If you don't get more formal with those things once you eliminate performance reviews, the CEB study shows managers coach less, not more.

The numbers don't lie.  If you're thinking of being sexy and eliminating the performance review, you better have an alternative structure in place to force managers to coach - or they won't.

The Best and Worst Markets For HR Managers....

Had a client at Kinetix ask me last week where in the US I would build out a presence if my goal was to hire capable software developers with limited competition.  Made me think that would be an interesting question for HR positions as well.

With that in mind, here's the best and worst markets to be an HR Manager in America, with data pulled from Wanted Analytics...

Hardest Markets to Fill the HR Manager Role (These will have the highest salaries combined with a limited candidate supply and high competition - Which means conditions are optimum for HR Managers in these markets):

Fort Collins-Loveland, CO 

Columbia, SC       

York-Hanover, PA              

Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC         

Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro—Franklin, TN     

Wilmington, NC  

Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA       

Denver-Aurora-Broomfield, CO      

Dayton, OH         

Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA 

Easiest Markets to Fill the HR Manager Role (These will have the lowest salaries combined with a strong candidate supply and limited competition - Which means conditions aren't great for HR Managers in these markets):

Charlottesville, VA             

Springfield, MA   

Peoria, IL              

Duluth, MN         

Boise City-Nampa, ID        

South Bend-Mishawaka, IN             

Colorado Springs, CO         

Visalia-Porterville, CA       

Tucson, AZ       

Surprised?  Hit me with a note and tell me more in the comments....