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August 2018

Class Warfare in the Workplace Notes - WeWork in NYC and Office Depot Coworking Space...

If you're late looking into the whole "coworking" space thing, it's probably time you at least became knowledgable at a surface level, because things are changing fast my friends.

How fast you ask?  I offer the following 2 items to illustrate the pace of change in this area and who is absolutely getting rocked.

1.  WeWork is about to become the biggest private office tenant in Manhattan. If it leases just another 74,000-square foot office — a typical size for WeWork — it will be bigger than JPMorgan Chase, currently the biggest office occupant in New York’s Manhattan market.

Let that soak in a bit, people. If you need help understanding where this is going, remember Uber.  You thought that s**t was weird one time too, didn't you?  The fact that WeWork (coworking giant, hater of meat) is set to become the biggest landlord in NYC is crazy.  

Here's what that means for you - companies with less than 100 people everywhere are going to hedge their bets and not secure office space - they'd much rather pass the lease risk to providers like WeWork.  Get rid of the lease, have your employees work from home and give them a basic WeWork subscription so they stop whining about being at home all the time.

It's only a matter of time until WeWork and it's competitors get deep into all the 50 top markets in the US. 

2. Here's another sign that things are a changing my friends. Office Depot is converting some of their space to coworking space.  More from Fast Company:

In the latest sign of the ongoing retail apocalypse, Office Depot has been forced to pick up a part-time job.

The company announced today that it is piloting its first-ever coworking space, neatly integrated into its Los Gatos, California, retail location. Yes, that means you can pull up to Office Depot and work alongside real office supplies. It sounds perfect for road warriors who are tired of working in their cars or, you know, anyone priced out of Staples’s coworking space.

While working at an Office Depot sounds like a beige-carpeted version of hell, on the plus side, you’ll never run out of toner and will always be able to find a pen when you need one. How that will stack up against WeWork’s onsite gym, The Wing’s on-demand blowouts, and Servcorp’s private jets is TBD.

The coworking space comes as the company expands its Workonomy platform in a bid to be less reliant on retail revenue. In addition to the new coworking concept, Workonomy also includes services like DIY copying, printing, packing, and shipping as well as a new line of tech-support kiosks that will offer “direct, on-demand access to Office Depot’s technology experts,” and whatever it takes to survive in the current retail landscape.

It's hard to get my head around wanting to go in to an Office Depot and get some work done.  But if society is going to convert to coworking spaces, everyone needs a place to go, I guess.  

In retail, the masses shop at WalMart.  The rich people avoid WalMart.

When eating, the masses go to Applebee's.  The rich people avoid Applebee's.

What about coworking?  The trendy people will be at WeWork. The professional grade people without a WeWork subscription will still head to Starbucks and feel fine.  I'm guessing everyone else goes to Office Depot.  Feels like a lot of laid off people are going to end up at Office Depot before they figure it out.

Pictures of Office Depot and WeWork coworking space appear below (in that order) so you can get your head around the class warfare to come in our new world of work.

My favorite part of the Office Depot space is that retirees confused by laptops will browse and peer over at me, like I'm a Lion at the Zoo.

"That's right, retired Boomer.  I'm sitting in here and in total control of my laptop, while you can't find help to answer your questions."

Don't you dare ask me for my take on the best laptop.  Can't you see I'm coworking?  Damn.

Office depot
Office depot

 


Founder's Rules: Marriott to Put Copies of Bible and Book of Morman in Starwood/Westin/Sheraton Hotels...

There's a lot of pros and cons about working for a company that's still controlled by a founder.  For me, I think the pros dramatically outweigh the cons.  Every once in awhile, a little company grows into a giant that's still controlled by the founder and because they still call the shots, things get interesting related to what's important to them.

Case in point - Chick-fil-A - while the founder has passed away, the company is still run by the son - Don Cathy, who's conservative Christian views have been front and center in recent years.  There was past drama related to the Cathy's views on same-sex marriage, etc.   Since the company is still thriving, you have to guess that the service and food is still so stellar that the controversy didn't make an impact.

Here's another founder-controlled company with some new ripples - Marriott International plans to place copies of the Bible and the Book of Mormon in 300,000 rooms of its Marriott newly acquired Starwood, Westin, and Sheraton hotels, the Associated Press reports:

The big picture: The number of hotels that offer those kinds of religious materials fell 16% over 10 years, per the AP. Starwood-owned hotels haven't offered religious materials at all until being acquired by Marriott. But Marriott requires "its 6,500 properties to have the books in each room."

Marriott told the AP in a statement: "There are many guests who are not digitally connected who appreciate having one or both of these books available. It’s a tradition appreciated by many, objected to by few." Gideons International provides the Bibles, and the Books of Mormon are purchased with the help of the Marriott Foundation and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Other major hotel chains like Hilton and IHG, owner of Holiday Inn, let hotel managers decide whether or not to provide Bibles in their rooms.

Marriott, whose namesake founding family is active in the Mormon church, has been putting both the Bible and the Book of Mormon in its rooms since opening its first hotel in the late 1950s. Like most major chains, Marriott doesn't own the majority of its hotels. However, it stands out from the other companies by requiring — in franchise or licensing agreements — its 6,500 properties to have the books in each room.

There are some other Starwood properties acquired by Marriott that won't be get the book - the W and Moxy brands won't, for example. Turns out that condom packs in the rooms, etc - is inconsistent with the messages in the books.

A quick scan/text stream of 4-5 Marriott employees I know at decent levels in the company - and having a variety of political views - found my Marriott friends to be comfortable with the decision. They see all the progressive moves that go unnoticed by the company and are happy to shrug off the power play of 300K Bibles and Books of Morman going into rooms.

Founder-driven companies that scale are always an anomaly.  Good enough operationally to get big, small enough via the founder vibe (even at Marriott's size) to do whatever they want - damn the critics.

Long live the American entrepreneur. See you at the Westin, my home away from home, now with new books. 


The Average Fortune 200 CHRO is 54 Years Old...

That age means your average Fortune 200 CHRO is Half Boomer, half Gen-X. 

More stats on Fortune 200 CHROs from a great piece of research from Mark Effron and the Talent Strategy Group:

--Tenure of Chief Human Resources Officers Is Low: The average tenure for a Fortune 200 Chief Human Resources Officer is less than five years. The CHRO’s tenure in role is 35% less than the CEO counterparts.

--CHRO Succession Planning Needs Improvement: 68% of Chief Human Resources Officers were hired internally, from within the organization. In nearly one out of three situations, the CHRO is hired externally. The War for Talent on great CHROs is alive and well, and to ensure continuity in Human Resources, organizations need to better develop their internal talent to take the top role.

--HR Domain Expertise Reigns: 80% of Fortune 200 Chief Human Resources Officers had more than five years of experience in HR before being promoted to the top role. Domain expertise still reigns. However, experimentation with the CHRO role remains abundant with over one in five organizations hiring a CHRO without domain expertise.

--The Chief Human Resources Officer is a Champion for Diversity: 57% of Fortune 200 Chief Human Resources Officers are female, helping add diversity to traditionally un-diverse Senior Management teams.

Click the link above to get the research from Mark and the Talent Strategy Group - Good stuff.

  


Elon Musk Knows How to Embarrass/Frame Talent Leaving for a Competitor..

It's been a tough couple of weeks for an iconic leader in America - Elon Musk.

First, he tweeted/floated an idea for taking Tesla public and may face securities fraud charges as a result.  Then he had a rapper over to the house that started live tweeting a bunch of stuff that was unflattering and the beef continues.

But you know what's going well for Musk?  Embarrassing employees who are jumping to Apple (the companies are infamous Musk2 for training development and design talent) by tagging them all a certain way.  Consider this:

"We always jokingly call Apple the 'Tesla Graveyard.' If you don't make it at Tesla, you go work at Apple. I'm not kidding," Musk told German newspaper Handelsblatt in 2015.

CNBC reports that Apple is on a current hiring spree, poaching "scores" of ex-Tesla employees for a variety of projects, citing better pay at the iPhone giant.

If Tesla was doing an Employer Value Proposition (EVP) study, two of the themes would undoubtedly be "we work on the bleeding edge" and "everyone here is all in".

Then culturally, Musk and his direct reports do what they do - framing defections to a world class company/competitor for talent as the "lazy people" or "not good enough to work here".

Love it or hate it, it's an aggressive approach you can learn from.  Our body language and framing when people leave our companies tends to be too passive.

Play offense when talking about turnover.


Google's Finding Out Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is Harder Than It Looks...

In case you missed it, Google is considering going back to China and launching a censored search engine.  The news is full of coverage of Google employees protesting the move, primary by signing an online letter that's been initialed/signed by 1400 Google employees.

The protest is pretty obvious - In the letter, which was obtained by The New York Times, employees wrote that the project and Google’s apparent willingness to abide by China’s censorship requirements “raise urgent moral and ethical issues.” They added, “Currently we do not have the information required to make ethically-informed decisions about our work, our projects, and our employment.”

Just take a look at this google news search and you'll see what the coverage is - the protesters get most of the ink.  But the true picture of employee sentiment is harder to define than the noise level of protesters.

While the protesters inside Google organize, the silent majority isn't following suit.  As this chart from Statista shows, 65% of the 472 polled are in favor of the company's reversed position.   What's interesting is the 64% of the tech community at large supports the protesters, but 65% of the employees inside Google supports the move to China.

This is why Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is so hard for companies to get their arms around.  Google's taking a PR hit via the protestors inside it's own company, but the super majority of their employee base supports going to China.

You could argue it either way.  Censorship-bad.  Good technology? Might open things up even with a censorship layer.

In any event, HR leaders like us have to be cautious in thinking that a loud group of employees represents everyone.  The Google chart below shows us the reality that is often the case.  (email subscribers, click through for the shot if you don't see it below)

Google and china


Can Organizations Lead by Darth Vader/Nick Saban Thrive When Leaders Retire?

Short post today.  I'm interested in the longevity of performance when a dynamic individual leader either leaves or simply GTDTTKDT.

GTDTTKDT - Gets Too Damn Tired To Keep Doing This

GTDTTKDT happens at the end of a dynamic leader's career.  A good example is Nick Saban, who is the head coach and let's face it, the CEO of the University of Alabama football program.  He hasn't got GTDTTKDT yet, but if he stays around too long, it will happen.

Saban's ruled Alabama Football with an iron fist, and it shows in multiple national championships.  Has he created a culture than can be sustained when he retires? Saban

The answer is probably no.  Leaders who rule organizations with a iron fist are effective because they are control freaks who value process and one way above everything else.  They aren't delegators, which means they generally don't build culture than can sustain results after they are gone.

There's probably a good reason for that. 

Iron fist/command leaders are rare birds, individuals who are willing to focus on things and generally be disagreeable at any moment to people who aren't down with the "plan".

I was watching an ESPN special on Saban and Alabama last night, and Saban went on a 3-minute rant as 30 coaches and hired hands for practice listened regarding the following topic - that there should be a visual illustration of a drill to be ran that's covered in a meeting, then a walk through, before you actually attempt to run a drill in practice.

He was proposing that there was a 3-day process before a new drill should be attempted in a football practice.

He was pissed that it didn't happen on a single drill on an pedestrian August day.

He's a freak, an outlier.  You can't teach it. 

When Darth Vader shows up, you either commit to the process and hand him to the keys to the Space Force complex, or you run like hell.  Once you're in, you're in.

But don't expect the command and culture leader to transfer a culture to his assistants.

As it turns out, no one has the will of the Darth Vader in front of you.  

#wareagle


EMAIL + WORK: We Need Tags Like "Facts", "Opinions" and "Danger"

Most of us have been overwhelmed by email at work.  Even though the advent of the smart phone has made it easier to keep up, it's been pointed out that the digital leash this provides is of questionable value.

When you really think about it, the contrast of traditional Outlook Exchange and Gmail provides a pretty good backdrop for what's possible.  Outlook is clunky, hard to personalize and not very flexible, but it wins a lot of users because it's the defacto choice for the enterprise.  Gmail, on the other hand, has become the defacto choice for everyone else who doesn't have an email choice forced on them by the company.

Gmail features like enhanced search and tagging provide flexibility Outlook can't match.  A recent product annoucement for Google News got me thinking about what else is possible with email.  More from TechCrunch on advanced tagging:

"Today Google added a new “fact-check” tag to its popular Google News service. The site aggregates popular timely news from multiple sources and has traditionally grouped them with tags like “opinion,” “local source” and “highly cited.” Now readers can see highlighted fact-checks right next to trending stories.

The company cites the growing prominence of fact-checking sites as one of the reasons for creating the tag. Content creators will be able to add the new fact-check tag to posts themselves using a finite set of pre-defined source labels.  

ClaimReview from Schema.org will be used to compile and organize stories offering factual background. The Schema community builds markups for structured data on the internet. The group is sponsored by Google but also has support from Microsoft, Yahoo and Yandex."

The fact that tags are in play everywhere got me thinking.  Why can't email be smarter related to the type of email that's flowing into our work inbox hundreds of times per week?  Gmail already has transcended what's possible in Outlook by sorting emails into tags that include "primary/social/promotions" and delivering those types of emails into separate inboxes.

What would help us for work-related to emails?  I'm thinking tags that would separate our non-junk emails into three primary groups:

--Facts - Similar in some aspects to the Google News feature, this would use smart technology to determine an email is an attempt to educate with facts of some type with limited opinion added to it.  We all get emails that are fact-based and designed to be consumed when we have time.  This would be the tag for those data dumps.

--Opinions - This email tag would tell us that an email contains primarily opinion about something in the workplace.  There might be facts in the background, but this email type would tell us that someone or a group is providing their opinion about a topic.  Let's face it, these are the most interesting to us.

--Danger - The most valuable of all my proposed tags, I'd love to see smart technology sift through the emails and tag the ones that cross a danger threshold, telling me I really need to consider the way I respond.  This would sniff out email chains related to my work, a boss or skip level exec who's emotional about something in my wheelhouse, or people I've responded to a in less than optimal way in the past.

It's probably time that email becomes smart and helps us figure out what to prioritize and when more caution/rigor is necessary.

What did I miss?  A "hot take" tag?  A "crazy" tag?  You tell me.


Must Listen Interview: Robert Hohman of Glassdoor...

You hate Glassdoor. Check.

You can't get your good employees to rate you on Glassdoor. Understood.

Are you done? Can I move on?  Ok, finish your tweet - I'll wait.

Look, I know Glassdoor is a sticky issue. But it's a reality in our world.  You might as well seek to understand it.

That's why this interview with Robert Hohman, co-founder and CEO of Glassdoor, is a great listen.  Hohman appeared on Recode/Decode, a podcast hosted by Kara Swisher, one of the strongest female figures in Silicon Valley and the business world.

One to the things you'll learn in the podcast is that Hohman was part of the early team at Expedia, and the goal of that team was to bring more transparency to the travel industry.  After the team gradually left that company after being purchased by Hotwire, Hohman and people on that team looked for other industries that needed more transparency. 

Guess what came up on that list? Careers and a look inside companies - and Glassdoor was born.

Other team members found similar opportunities elsewhere - a Expedia teammate of Hohman's disrupted real estate and founded Zillow.

Regardless of how you feel about Glassdoor, throw this podcast on on the drive home. Hohman is engaging, educational about the thought process behind Glassdoor and insightful about the research the company has on our workplaces.  (email subscribers click through if you don't see the player below)


Why Facilitating Leadership Training Is Hard (Video)...

Spent the Last couple of weeks onboarding a great HR pro to help me facilitate a bunch of Leadership Training via my BOSS series in the next month.  It's reminded me of what I already knew, but sometimes forget:

Being a good to great facilitator of Leadership Training is hard.  Why?  5 quick observations:

1--You can't be a robot. You have to weave your stories into the training if you're going to keep their interest.

2 - Mechanics matter. You've got participant guides, slides, flip charts and a bunch of stuff.  Something that sounds simple - referencing page numbers that you're on in the guide so people don't get lost - is hard when everything's flying at 100 mph.

3--Don't Paraphrase the Exercises - You wouldn't think of this if you hadn't done it as much as we have. Don't be cute on the exercises you have - read the instructions, because if you paraphrase what you want people to do, they get lost and it all goes to hell.

4--Pace, Pace, Pace - Keep your eye on the prize.  If you're doing a day of training and you get 1/2 way through and you've only made it 1/3 of the way through the material, you're in trouble.

5--Conversations involving participants matter more than you covering material - It's an art to how long to let the sharing go on.  Participation is key, disagreements amongst the attendees are gold.  Let them roll, but keep your eye on pace mentioned above.

Bottom line - you need a great SME who's comfortable with high degrees of chaos and ambiguity to facilitate your leadership/manager of people training.

PLUS - they have to be a bit of performer in front of groups.  That's probably the overriding key.

When I say performer, what do I mean?  I'm always reminded of this video from David Allen Grier from In Living Color.  40 second clip (email subscribers click through if you don't see the video below), well worth your time.

BROOOOOADDDDWAYYYYYY!!!!!!!


The Art of Timing Submission of Your Best Candidate to Difficult Hiring Managers...

And they ask you about the game you claim you got
Drop science now, why not?
You start to sweat and fret, it gets hot
How'd you get into this spot?
You played yourself...
Yo, yo, you played yourself...
 
--Ice-T

You know where I'm going with this if you clicked through, right?

Difficult hiring managers.  Not to be confused with those who suck.  Or maybe that's the same thing - I'll let you decide that...

There's an art to dealing with difficult hiring managers that pride themselves on only agreeing to interview candidates who are a direct match to the 15 things they gave you in the intake meeting.  You know how this goes, you work hard, have a decent slate of 3-5 candidates that represents what the market is in the first 7 days - then the difficult hiring manager won't talk to any of them.

That's why you might need to change your strategy with any hiring manager who fits this profile.

Instead of giving them the full slate, hold your best candidate back from your first set of submissions.

The hiring manager who rejects everything but the perfect candidate early usually becomes more flexible later.  Once the opening moves in the 30-60 day age range, pressure to get the position filled mounts.  The same candidates that were rejected at face value early suddenly become what I'll call "possibly viable" late (also know as grudgingly viable).

If you know specific hiring managers are going to hate everyone early, don't give them everyone.  Hold your best back.

Let them cycle through the superiority complex, including the following gems:

--"This is a great job - I need a great candidate"

--"This is a unique opportunity"

--"I think we can find someone who has X, Y, K and Z.  But I really need U, N, Q and E also.  Let's keep looking"

--"I need someone in the 60K range who has all those things. These people want 75k?  Let's keep looking"

If this feels nasty, I get that. But you''re working hard as the HR pro/recruiter on the case.  Your work is good. Don't allow it to be thrown in the trashcan if you know someone is going to do that 9 of 10 times with your first round of submissions.

Let the clock tick. Let the pressure mount. Manage the expectations of the candidate you're holding like the card that gives you the full house.

Then at the right moment, put the candidate/card down.

#winning