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July 2018

More College Recruiting: Natty Light Knows Their Target Audience Better Than Your Company...

Yesterday, I posted my observations after leading a college recruiting roundtable - which led me to recommend you zig when others are zagging if you're starting to ponder an investment in campus recruiting.

Another observation - if you're a consumer product company, you might have an easier "in" to gather attention from the kids on campus than non-product companies.  No one has done it better recently than Natural Light (that's right, the beer).  Natural Light, better known as "Natty Light," the cheap beer of choice for college students across the country, has done multiple things to garner the attention of the college kid.  Earlier this year, they announced they would be giving away $1,000,000 to help 25 lucky drinkers pay off their student debt. In order to compete for one of these prizes, participants had to submit a short video showcasing a green tab from a can of Natty Light and share what made their college experience special.

Nice. Effective, right?

Well, they're back.  Natural Light has just announced a contest to put a student's resume on a NASCAR ride.  More details below and we'll talk after the jump.

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Natural Light is about to hook it up yet again for a recent grad that’s deep in the job search.

The beer brand is going to turn your resume into a NASCAR paint scheme that will appear on Chris Buescher’s #37 racecar at the South Point 400 in Las Vegas on September 16. Work experience, skills, contact info, head shot and all, will be painted on the car.

Natural Light and Censuswide surveyed 1,000+ employers across America and 4-in-5 agreed applicants need to find new ways to stand out when applying for jobs.

Is there a better way to get your resume noticed than have it plastered all over a car for a nationally televised race? Guaranteed your inbox and voicemail will be full after catching the eye of millions of recruiters while racing 200 mph around the track.

To be considered for the paint scheme, any person over the age of 21 can:

Here's a full mock up of where the resume details are going to go on the car (email subscribers, please click through if you don't see the image below)

Natty

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The interesting thing about these contests is that they really aren't related to college recruiting.  Natural Light is marketing to people who buy the iconic beer, in this case, college kids.  They want them to drink more Natty Light, which is why they're running the contest. 

Still, the creativity is key.  If you're thinking about starting college recruiting or want to make a bigger splash with what you're already doing on campus, think about how your product/service ties in with the lives of those you are trying to recruit.

Contests and awards that meet college kids where they live are key.

Good luck out there.  And if you're drinking Natty Light on campus, please drink Natty Light responsibly...

 


College Recruiting: Know Who You Are and Where You Fit As a Company (Make Relative Deprivation Work for You)...

I had the pleasure of leading a roundtable discussion in Atlanta a few months ago on the topic of College Recruiting.  I hadn't been in a position to really dig into this topic with big and small employers alike, and I can say this as a result of my experience...

It was eyeopening.

As a result of getting to talk to about 35 practitioners - some who were all in on college recruiting and some who were doing nothing - here's my observations on the current college recruiting scene and what you should know: Campus

1--Big employers have brands and spends that are almost impossible to compete with when it comes to college recruiting.

2--If you really have a need to acquire hires from college recruiting and wait until a candidate's senior year, you've already lost.  The big brands invest in large-scale internship programs and actively track conversions to new hires from those programs.

3--It's easy to recruit business and marketing majors via campus recruiting programs.  They're drawn like moths to light towards campus recruiting efforts.  Technical and STEM students are much harder to recruit via these programs.

4--The big brands generally only have so many cycles to spend, so they recruit at the top schools, the state schools with the most candidate flow or my favorite - the school of a top executive - whether it really fits in the strategy or not.

5--If you don't have a big brand, competing against some of the Fortune 500 and their campus recruiting efforts has a really poor ROI.  You're going to get HAMMERED.  It will take you years to get traction at the schools where they are already embedded.  

6--Meanwhile, there are countless schools that go begging for deep involvement from companies related to campus recruiting.

The bottom line of what I heard is this: If you're at a big brand and you're invested in college recruiting, play on.  If you're new to the game, remember that there's a lot of talent that doesn't get touched by this process, but you're going to have to go to places like Kennesaw State, Wayne State, North Alabama, West Georgia, etc. - not Georgia Tech.

There's a lot of big fish in little ponds waiting to be treated like stars - to say nothing of the medium sized fish in little ponds.

Most of the small school talent has a shot to perform as well for you as the big school talent - or even outperform them.  Take a listen to the Malcom Gladwell video below on a topic called relative deprivation to understand why (email subscribers click through if you don't see the video below).


Check Out My Interview on Jennifer McClure's Impact Maker's Podcast...

Recently I had to the opportunity to appear on Jennifer McClure's Impact Makers Podcast.  Jennifer's doing a great job with this podcast - very high end, go subscribe here - and of course, take a listen to my interview by clicking play on the embedded player below (email subscribers, click through if you don't see the player) or simply click this link to go to the landing page for my conversation with Jennifer.

I've never been called the Oprah of HR - but I'll take it!  Excerpt from Jennifer's write up below:

"Are you ready to meet the Oprah of HR? On today’s episode of Impact Makers, Jennifer sits down with the infamous HR wizard, Kris Dunn. He is the founder of two popular blogs The HR Capitalist and Fistful of Talent and is also the CHRO of Kinetix, an Atlanta-based recruiting, RPO and HR consulting firm.

As one of the first well-known HR bloggers, Kris is known for his conversation tone, fun references, and an impressive 5-day-a-week schedule. Jennifer asks him how this consistency has played into the success of his blogging and writing endeavors.

If you can manage to build and maintain a following of readers like Kris has, the potential for meeting new people and finding new opportunities skyrockets. Jennifer and Kris talk about the various relationships – both personal and professional – that have come about through blogging, as well opportunities for career advancement. Kris talks about how his blogging fit into his career at different points in his life."

Take a listen via the player below or through the links above.  Make sure to subscribe to Jennifer's podcast by clicking here as she's doing great things with this podcast.


Let's Break Down the Korean Gate Agent Claim Vs. Delta Airlines...

In case you missed it last week, four former Seattle-based Delta Air Lines employees filed a lawsuit against the company, saying they were fired for speaking Korean.

The old saying I have as an HR leader goes something like this: In America, allegations are free.  You've got the right to bring claims forward. Many people do. Some of those claims are 100% true.  A lot of the claims are afterthought allegations, with the real reasons for terminations being business-related.  Sometimes, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Delta gate agents

This is what we pay the HR generalist (at all levels) with employee relations responsibilities for.  Bigger companies have ER specialists that serve as the gatekeepers for situations that involve terminations.

So let's look at the reported facts of the Delta/Korean worker lawsuit and handicap what's going on from an employee relations perspective.

In other words to my good readers: HR, DO YOUR JOB.  Analysis after the jump for your comments, rundown courtesy of wire reports and The Hill:

"Four former Delta Air Lines employees filed a lawsuit against the company, saying they were fired for speaking Korean.

Ji-Won Kim, Lilian Park, Jean Yi and Jongjin An worked as desk and gate agents for the airline at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, which has daily Delta flights to South Korea.

The four Korea-born women claim in the lawsuit that they were “singled out and admonished” for speaking Korean. Three of the four women are U.S. citizens.

Yi told Seattle TV station KIRO 7 that Korean-speaking passengers who weren't fluent in English felt more comfortable speaking with her at the airport.

One of the plaintiffs said a manager told her that airline employees who didn't speak Korean had complained and asked her to “limit speaking Korean.”

The women, who were all fired in May 2017, claim in the lawsuit that other foreign language–speaking employees were not asked to limit their non-English communications.

The company said the four women were terminated for "offering unauthorized upgrades," according to the lawsuit. The women say the upgrades were standard, particularly for oversold flights, and that other agents who engaged in the same practices were not fired.

An attorney for the women said it is also possible that their firings were related to their reporting of sexual harassment — all four claimed that they were sexually harassed by the same male employee, who is still working for the airline.

A Delta spokesperson told KIRO 7 in a statement that the airline “does not tolerate workplace discrimination or harassment of any kind” and that the allegations against the male employee were “found to be without merit.”

"These former employees were unfortunately but appropriately terminated because the company determined they violated ticketing and fare rules,” the spokesperson said. “Delta is confident that these claims will ultimately be determined to be without merit."

This kind of makes me miss being heavily involved in employee relations issues that can ultimately end up in legal action. Delta's got a solid case if the following elements are present behind the scenes, deep down in the guts of the employee relations file of this case.  Follow me and tell me what I'm missing in the comments.  Delta has a good position IF:

1--There was a clear progressive path related to the the group of 4 employees violating ticketing and fare rules.  Were they warned prior to being termed?  If so, Delta's in great shape.  If they weren't warned, it's a little more mucky.

2--Delta has a clean history of terming similar employees for ticketing and fare rules violation across multiple Title 7 areas - gender, national origin, etc. If there's not solid history across Title 7 classes, it's mucky.

3--The Harassment issue has a full investigation file (I say that in general terms) and whoever brought that to Delta's attention got closure from the appropriate Delta person and they can show it was investigated to an appropriate level.

4--The speaking Korean issue is a bit dicey.  This group of employees was valued for their language skills, so this request is interesting and problematic.  How did the group use Korean when it wasn't a business necessity?  You have to assume they used it to talk to each other and other employees felt on the outside as a result.  Is that worth a conversation?  Maybe.  A lot of merits of this comes down to what was said in the conversation, the timing of it vs. the decision to term, if similar conversations happened with other language groups who weren't termed, etc.  

What did I miss?  LMK.  

The biggest item for consideration here is #1 and #2.  If the employees making the claim were warned before being termed and the company has a history of terming employees for upgrade/ticketing/fare rule violations, Delta is in pretty good shape.  

If #1 and #2 is murky at best, #3 and #4 come into play to a larger degree.

Good HR/employee relations practices (which I'm sure exist to a large degree at Delta) require lots of discipline.  The merits of each case really come down to the level of discipline a company shows.  And if you were wondering, a quick google search shows gate agents are non-unionized at Delta.

HR, do your job.

 


HR Mind Games Webinar - Episode #2 – Does This Cognitive Assessment Tell Me a Candidate Is Stupid?

HR Mind Games is a quick hitting, 20-30 minute webinar hangout hosted by me/KD/HR Capitalist and sponsored by Caliper, the leading provider of Assessments for Selection, Talent Management, and Leadership Development.

In each episode of Mind Games, we’ll cover how general assessment geekiness/expertise helps HR and Recruiting Pros make better hires as well as maximize performance once that talent is in the door!

Episode #2 – Does This Cognitive Assessment Tell Me a Candidate Is Stupid?

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR THIS EPISODE OF HR MIND GAMES!!!!

In our second episode of HR Mind Games, we're going to focus on the use of cognitive tests as part of assessment platforms. Does a low cog score mean someone is stupid? Can low cog person be a high performer? How do you coach a low cog scoring person to be successful in your organization that demands speed?

If you've ever ran into a cognitive test as part of an employment assessment and said, "****", this one is for you. Join us on 7/31 and we'll break down the wide world of cognitive tests in candidate/employee assessments.

Future episodes: Narcissistic Managers, How to Use Assessments for Good, Not Evil….

R THIS EPISODE OF HR MIND GAMES!!!!


WeWork's New Vegetarian Policy for Employees and Company Events: The Market Will Decide...

We live in a world where business owners can make political/moral/society statements and force those world views on their employees - especially if their companies are privately held.  On the conservative side of the aisle, we've seen businesses stand up for their right to not offer birth control as part of their health plan, and we've seen owners on both the conservative and liberal sides of the spectrum put pressure on employees to vote in elections according to the owner's views.

Add a new one to to the list.  WeWork wants you to know that eating meat isn't cool - and they're changing their business practice to reflect that.   We work

More from USA Today:

If WeWork employees want a burger while on business, the money is coming out of their own pockets. The global workplace startup told employees this week that the company will ban employees from expensing meals that contain red meat, pork or poultry, Bloomberg reported.

The company won't provide meat for events at its 400 locations, either — part of an effort to reduce its environmental footprint.

"New research indicates that avoiding meat is one of the biggest things an individual can do to reduce their personal environmental impact, even more than switching to a hybrid car," WeWork co-founder Miguel McKelvey said in an email to staffers.

The no-meat policy will also affect self-serve food kiosks at many of WeWork's 400 locations worldwide, according to Bloomberg. Employees wanting "medical or religious" exceptions can hash those out with a company policy team.

WeWork boasts 6,000 employees worldwide, according to Bloomberg. The company estimates its no-meat policy will save 15,507,103 animals by 2023, according to Business Insider, along with 16.6 billion gallons of water and 445.1 million pounds of carbon dioxide, the heat-trapping gas that alters Earth's climate.

WeWork confirmed the policy change to both news outlets. WeWork is perhaps the most well-known company to emerge offering co-working spaces to freelancers, small businesses and even employees of large companies such as Microsoft. The Motley Fool named it one of the top five most valuable startups in America.

It would be easy to blast this policy, but I'm actually OK with companies making these kind of stands - both on the liberal and conservative side of the fence.

So WeWork won't allow employees to expense a meal involving meat and it won't serve meat at WeWork facilities as part of it's events business.  

Ok!  You know who decides whether WeWork is wrong?  Not you and me.  No, the people who decide whether WeWork has lost its mind are what I'll call "the aggregate."  It all comes down to whether this policy hurts WeWork as two groups consider it for business purposes:

1--Candidates and employees. I can't expense a chicken taco.  Does that make me want to avoid you as an employer? Does it make me want to leave you as an employee?  Ask that question 20,000 times in the next year and if a significant amount of people can't accept the policy and leave or don't join the company to begin with.

2--Companies who want to host events in a WeWork facility.  Same question.  Love your space, going to host my get together at WFW (we <expletive>work).  Wait, what?  I can't cater the brisket through you?  No?  I cam't have someone else cater that in?  Hmm.  Where do I go that can provide that?  Is their space just as good?

At the end of the day, WeWork is standing up for something the founders believe in.  The market will decide.  If I was selling against them, I'd use it to negatively sell every chance I got.

By the way, there is a loophole in the policy - fish is still allowed.  Because you know, not all animals have the same set of rights. 

Sorry, couldn't resist.  


Quit or Be Quiet: Examining Employee Behavior Using DiCaprio's "The Beach"...

We all know that any company isn't a match for everyone.  What's always been interesting to me is the power of the flock - your employees - being the best stewards of who fits and who doesn't.  When someone isn't a match for what's going on (across all factors) at your company, the most talented opt out and gone.  They come in, check it out and say, "this is not for me."  Then they get another job.  Simple as that.  No harm, no foul, they say a couple of things about having a great opportunity they couldn't pass up and everyone moves on.

It's the people who aren't a fit without many options that are often the bigger issue.  Because they fall lower on the talent spectrum, they have fewer options, and don't leave as quickly.  And if others around them are happy, they can serve initially to be a bit of a cancer but before long, the teammates around them just kind of get sick of their BS.  It's what happens next that is the key.

I was reminded of this dynamic in Shea Serrono's description of "The Beach" (starring Leonardo DiCaprio) as he relayed the feelings of San Antonio Spurs fans related to the Kawhi Leonard trade demands and ultimate trade this week.  More from the Ringer:


"Have you seen the movie The Beach? It came out in 2000. It starred Leonardo DiCaprio. He played a character named Richard, a young American kid out exploring culture in Bangkok. One day, he hears a tale of some pristine beach on some pristine island and so, using a rough map given to him by someone who says he’s been there, he heads out after it, eventually finding not only the beach but also a colony of people living there as a mostly self-sufficient community of beach bums. The_beach

The movie ends up being something like 85 percent fun and 15 percent terrible. (It was one of those movies where it felt like they got to where the end was supposed to be and just went, “Umm … what the f**k do we do now?”) But there’s this part in it that serves as a good analogy for this whole Spurs-Kawhi debacle.

While spearfishing one day, two people get attacked by a shark. The shark bites a large chunk out of one of the guys’ thighs and also bites him across his torso, killing him. The second guy lives but is severely wounded (he was bitten on his shin). And so now he’s there at the beach, screaming and miserable and in an unfathomable amount of pain. And he refuses to leave by boat to get medical help because he’s too afraid of the water now, but the leader of the beach community (a woman named Sal) (played by Tilda Swinton) won’t allow for anybody to come to the beach to help him for fear of the beach eventually getting turned into a tourist trap. So the guy, that poor bastard, suffers through it for a few days, just lying there with his leg bitten too far open to ever heal. And after a bit, everyone else on the island gets fed up with him, and the sadness they felt for him turns to frustration and anger.

Leo, narrating the scene, explains the setting, saying, “You see, in a shark attack — or any other major tragedy, I guess — the important thing is to get eaten and die, in which case there’s a funeral and somebody makes a speech and everybody says what a good guy you were. Or get better, in which case everybody can forget about it.”

Then the scene cuts away and we see a group of the people carrying the guy on a gurney into the forest.

“Get better or die,” says Leo, narrating again. “It’s the hanging around in between that really pisses people off.”

Then we see them set the gurney down on the ground, and the guy has a blanket and a tent they’ve set up for him, plus a few supplies. Then they turn around and leave him there to die. The camera cuts away again and we see everyone on the beach playing volleyball and smiling and laughing and having a very good time, same as they were before the shark attack. 


The Beach is your normally functioning company - not perfect, but not bad either.  They guy who died immediately from the shark bite is the employee who decides they're not a fit and gets out.  The guy with bad wounds that's impacting everyone else is the person that's not happy but won't leave.

The people around person #2 is your relatively happy employee base.  

“Get better or die,” says Leo, narrating again. “It’s the hanging around in between that really pisses people off.”

Your employee base can't carry person #2 into the forest.  That part is up to you.

It's knowing when it's time and having the guts to make a call that's the hard part, right?


"No Poach" Recruiting Agreements Continue to Fall Across Corporate America...

If you've been in the business world long enough, you've ran into executives at both small and big companies making agreements to not recruit other company's employees.  These agreements are a by-product of the good-ole-boy network and usually the result of one executive knowing another and agreeing to keep each other's companies "off-limits" to recruiting efforts.

It's called collusion, right?  Funny thing is, HR has never really had a voice in that.  Instead, we find out what the agreement is "ex post facto" and if we're really lucky, we get to ruin someone's life by retracting an offer due to these informal agreements - after that employee has already resigned at their current company. Trading places

It's always been stupid like that.  The good news is that the legal system is rapidly taking these agreements off the table.  First it was Silicon Valley and now seven fast food chains — including Arby's, Cinnabon and McDonald's — have pledged to end so-called "no-poaching" rules that have prevented employees from moving from one franchise to another within the same restaurant chain: More from CNN:

"Washington state's Attorney General Bob Ferguson said Thursday the agreement could end the practice at roughly 25,000 restaurants nationwide.

The move will mean fairer hiring practices for "tens of thousands of low-wage" workers in the United States, Ferguson's office said. His office also said it will take legal action against franchises that violate the agreement, and the companies could face civil penalties or fines.

The fast food chains included in the agreement are Arby's, Auntie Anne's, Buffalo Wild Wings, Carl's Jr., Cinnabon, Jimmy John's, and McDonald's (MCD).

"No-poach" rules bar workers at franchise-owned restaurants from being hired by a separate franchise within the same chain.

Because such rules are usually laid out in company-franchise contracts, and not in worker agreements, employees have often been unaware they existed, Ferguson's office said."

Uh, yeah - the employees didn't know they existed because they are LITERALLY THE LAST THING ON ANYONE'S MIND IN THESE AGREEMENTS.

The no-poach agreement will continue to exist in pockets, but I've got good news for my HR leaders who are expected to enforce them.

You can now tell your company they are illegal as hell.

Score one for the worker.  I'm generally pro-business, but c'mon.  A no-poach agreement that means a counter worker at Arby's can't move to another Arby's?

This is why we can't have nice things.


Amazon Has a Peer Jury Feature In Their PIP Program Called "Pivot"...

Back when I was working for companies that were primarily non-union but routinely had some organizing "bubble-ups", a mentor of mine had the following saying related to making changes to employment practices that felt similar to a union:

"We can give them OUR union or let them choose THEIR union"

The point - and it's a significant one - was that corporations have built employment practices that limit risk, organizing and representation by borrowing the practices from unions. Amazon

Need an example?  How about your progressive discipline process?  Does any company really want a 4-step process?  No, they do not.  It's a standard piece in most people operations because it increases fairness/communication and protects the organization from stupid managers. It was also ripped from the handbook of your local union.

Thanks union folks - we'll be over here doing our thing, using your tools.  

This practice - borrowing best practices from unions - continues and was recently in the news with Amazon.  Last year, Amazon launched a program called "Pivot," designed to help underperforming employees improve their work.  Here's more on how the program works:

"It's been eighteen months since Pivot was introduced and, as Bloomberg's Spencer Soper and Business Insider's Prachi Bhardwaj reported, some employees are protesting that the hearing process isn't fair.

Under the Pivot program, employees who are put on a performance-improvement plan have three options, Bhardwaj reported:

  1. Quit and receive severance pay
  2. Spend the next couple of months proving their worth by meeting certain performance goals set by the manage.

  3. Face a panel of peers in a courtroom-style videoconference, in which the employee and his or her boss present arguments about whether the employee should stay in the Pivot program

Seventy percent of employees lose the trials, meaning they must choose between the first and second options above. If the employee wins the trial, they are removed from Pivot and have the choice to return to their current team or be placed on another team."

This practice is straight from the union playbook.  It's called the grievance process, and the fact that Amazon has started to use it shows us that some of the best ideas have been around forever - and at times came from unions.

Under the Pivot program, employees choose either one manager or three non-managers as their jury, Bloomberg reported. They're also allowed to dismiss some panelists if they think the panelists will be unsympathetic to their case, according to Bloomberg. But overall, the employee doesn't get to select the jurors.

There's a lot of problems with this type of program.  But the intent is clear and always comes back to the manager.  If they manager has clearly communicated goals, they'll get the ability to continue on the Performance Improvement Plan route once they clear the hurdle of the Pivot program.  If they were unclear or didn't communicate at all, there's a chance the employee will be removed from the PIP.

How would you like to return to your manager after saying they were wrong via the Pivot program?  Ugh.  People enter pivot when their managers sucks or - wait for it - they suck.  It's rarely not one of those two things.

Still, Amazon borrowed this step from the union grievance program because there was no better way to handle this step once things have become hostile and adversarial between manager and employee.  

"We can give them OUR union or let them choose THEIR union"  Since my mentor taught me this early, I get it.  Play on, Amazon.


Why I Had To Have The "There's No Crying In the Workplace" Talk With My Son....

When you read the title of this post, you might think I have sensitive sons.  Problems with emotions, crying, etc.

That's not true. I think they're pretty emotionally balanced, in the normal range, and generally OK.

I didn't have to have a talk about "there's no crying in the workplace" with one of my sons because I'm afraid his current behavior will transcend into softness in the workplace.

No - I had to have this talk with my son because all of the business reality shows feature business owners crying.  If not all the time, waaaaaay too much.

The worst offender is CNBC's The Profit. (also see Undercover Boss for crying in the show formula) I like this show, as it features a business investor (Marcus Lemonis) evaluating a business that's broken to decide if he can invest, take control and make money while he helps someone out.

The show goes through the process - Lemonis asks questions, challenges the owner and ultimately invests and takes control.  Along the way, there's always a shot of the owner crying, touting some hardship.

Now crying itself is not a bad thing. But if you were an alien evaluating how business gets done on Earth solely through The Profit, you'd make the assumption that the road to business success is making yourself vulnerable by crying.

Thus, the brief conversation with one of the Dunn boys who always is around and interested when I'm watching The Profit.  Here's what I was compelled to tell him:

  1. Normal people don't break down and cry when things get tough in the business world.
  2. PRO TIP - If you've got to cry, a nuts and bolts conversation about your financial statement isn't the place to do it.
  3. Instead of wanting to help you more, many people will believe you're unstable when you cry and treat you like you have a disease they can catch from you.
  4. Probably the only time its OK to cry in business is when you're showing empathy for other people.  In that way, it's acceptable and you'll be treated as someone who JUST CARES TOO MUCH.  An acceptable fault.
  5. Crying at any other time is risky.  And contrary to what this show illustrates, crying among business leaders is not common.  It doesn't happen every day - in fact, it rarely happens.
  6. PS - Man up.  You'll thank me when you're 30 for this advice.

I love The Profit featuring Marcus Lemonis.  But the crying thing might be teaching young folks things that can get them benched in life.

Clip of The Profit below if you haven't seen it.  Highly recommended for viewing with your kids with the above caveat made clear.