myCorona: The One Thing To Remember As a Manager of People on 3.20.20...

Short post today, because there's a lot going on.

What, just me?

Seriously, though - what follows is all you need to remember and the biggest value I can provide for the good people that read this blog and are managers.

You've got a lot going on as a manager at your organization in a pandemic world. There's craziness everywhere and lots to do, and nothing to be done all at the same time.

Don't forget this reality - the world likely changed from a candidate's market to something completely different in less than a week. We've yet to see it or hear it, but businesses impacted by decreasing revenues are likely to slow hiring and at times, impact employees through reduced schedules, unpaid leave and yes, layoffs.  

That means for the foreseeable future, it's not a candidate's market anymore.

The flip side of that is that there's a lot of doubt among employee ranks when it comes to what the future holds.

You probably aren't sure what the future holds. That's OK. The most important thing you can do is be available.

I'm coming off of a killer two-week schedule on a couple of projects. I haven't been as available as I would like.

This week is important. I don't have to have all the answers, I just have to be available and around. Faster response time to emails and texts. Quality calls (no face to face, right?).

Don't hide this week.


THE HR FAMOUS PODCAST: E5 – CORONAVIRUS, FACE-TOUCHING AND HR

In Episode 5 of The HR Famous Podcast, long-time HR leaders (and friends) Jessica Lee, Tim Sackett and Kris Dunn get together to talk about all things Coronavirus (COVID-19) and HR, including their personal views, why companies don't plan more for bad things happening and of course, the HR mechanics that have to be figured out by HR leaders in the US if COVID-19 continues to escalate. 

Deep conversations around what a sniffle now means, bias around sniffles, managers with a bias to tell people to come to work, and the sticky mess that navigating pay for hourly workers with the condition or waiting to be tested will invariably cause for organizations with narrow profitability. 

Listen below and be sure to subscribe, rate and review (iTunes) and follow (Spotify)!!! Listen on iTunesSpotify and Google Play.

 

Show Highlights:

1:45 - Tim isn't a fan of the COVID-19 death tally. The gang discusses the requirement for government agencies to be transparent and inform vs the insane media cycle we're in related to the numbers, as well as all the things with huge negative numbers that don't get reported.

3:20 - Are we hopelessly behind in America related to planning for contagion? What's HR's role in preparing for the worst? The gang discusses not being the panicked HR leader vs the appropriate mode of prep and concern for your organization. 

6:21 - Tim brings up the point that it's not the team eligible for "work for home" you must figure out - it's the hourly employees who don't get paid if Funny-meme-about-people-touching-their-face-coronavirus-cdc-covid-19they don't come to work.

7:45 - KD talks about the challenges of someone getting sick - still the cold and flu season - how do you figure out when to let people work with sniffles and when it's a risk?  KD also breaks down what conferences are doing (if they are holding live conferences vs cancelling or going virtual). TRANSLATION: BE PREPARED TO BE TEMPERATURE SCANNED.

9:35 - The HRF team talks about how far we're willing to go as HR pros - are we ready to temperature scan employees before they're allowed to work? JLee talks about the fear that people have when someone coughs, as well as questions she gets asked - "have you been to Asia recently?" (aka, the cough of a PacRim person means more than someone else).

12:45 - KD talks about some hopeful news - that new cases in China have decreased (related to the trend line) for the first time and China is shutting down one of the first pop up hospitals it built in response to the decrease in the trend line.

15:20 - JLee, Tim and KD talk about the complexity of paid time off in the Coronavirus era. If someone comes down with COVID-19, will average companies provide 14 days of paid leave to impacted employees? Are they willing to put people on a form of paid leave when they are waiting for a test?  We're back to the issue of hourly employees who don't get paid if they're not at work being patient zero within a single company - they come to work when they're sick, a time-honored event we don't see changing with COVID-19 unless great HR pros help their companies figure it out.

Resources:

Jessica Lee on LinkedIn

Tim Sackett on Linkedin

Kris Dunn on LinkedIn

HRU Tech

The Tim Sackett Project

The HR Capitalist

Fistful of Talent

Kinetix

Boss Leadership Training Series

 

The Origin of the Executive Compensation Industry...

From a book I'm reading - The Firm: The Story of McKinsey and its Secret Influence on American Business by Duff McDonald:

"A small number of McKinsey consultants did manage to stand out from the rest. In 1951, Arch Patton became the first consultant since the founder himself to Arch pioneer an entire field. General Motors had hired Patton to do a study of executive compensation, and he did so by surveying 37 major companies. The results, published in Fortune and the Harvard Business Review, showed something remarkable. Worker wages had risen faster than management wages. Management tool special note of this development, and demand for Patton's help on executive pay packages went through the roof.  Once started, this demand became a perpetual rotation machine, with Patton writing more than sixty articles on the subject over the years."

I'm only 50 pages in, but I've got a highlighter out for this book. Many things we take for granted in American business and management emulated from early McKinsey practices. 

As for the Arch Patton story above, it's a cautionary tale for giving the people what they want, as well as for giving people in power what they want. It's fair to say that this development at McKinsey created a whole segment/industry (executive compensation) that has a lot of implications for where we find ourselves today - regardless of your belief system.

When creating work product, it's always best to create something that more than one person has a need for. Create something - a process, a service, a product - and be capable of marketing it to many.

That's the gold standard. 

What can you create that could be repurposed multiple times in your job or help you get your next job (or two)?  That's the question all of us should be attempting to answer.


Telling a Leader They're Wrong: A Survival Guide...

One of the trickiest parts of growing your career is the following:

The leaders you work for aren't always going to be right. Council

You're going to see that they are wrong from time to time.

You're got a choice - tell them or not?

If you tell them and don't nail the landing, you will hurt your career.

If you tell them and make them trust you, your career has no limit.

If you don't tell them, you're average like everyone else.

What do you do when a leader you work for is wrong, or at the very least, you've got a different opinion/perspective?

Your should tell a leader they are wrong as needed. But the key is finding a way to tell them they're wrong in a way that makes them trust you more.

There's a couple of great ways to do this:

1--There's a problem, but it's not you - it's them. This is the strategy that tells the leader he/she is wrong, but not because they made a miscalculation, but because someone else is screwing up. You have additional information they need to consider, and you want them to have the information because you're concerned the results might not be what they envisioned.

It's not the leader, it's them. You know, the stupid people.

2--You've got additional information, and you're sharing it because you've always got your leader's back. There's some stupid people doing stupid things. You're leader's plan won't work as well with these people screwing it up.  

I've always got your back. I'm reporting that there are things in play that you might not control.

Again, it's them. Not you.

Your decision was f###ing brilliant. But the damn people with agendas are getting in the way. I'm here to make sure you have all the information and don't get hurt.

Of course, your leader may send you to fix the people/problem. But you didn't want to be average, which is why you're telling your leader he/she is wrong.

So go fix the problem. Congrats on not being average - or scared - like everyone else.


THE HR FAMOUS PODCAST: E4 – Microaggressions

In Episode 4 of The HR Famous Podcast, long-time HR leaders (and friends) Jessica Lee, Tim Sackett and Kris Dunn get together to dip into uncomfortable territory by talking about microaggressions - what are they, how they manifest themselves and what HR leaders can do to make awareness of microaggressions part of their broader D&I stack.

Listen below and be sure to subscribe, rate and review (iTunes) and follow (Spotify)!!! Listen on iTunesSpotify and Google Play.

Microaggressions can be defined as brief and commonplace daily verbal or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative prejudicial slights and insults toward any group, particularly culturally marginalized groups.

There's less laughter in this one - but more real talk. Tough topic, but if you're an HR leader or HR pro, 100% worth your time to raise your awareness and lead your organization accordingly.

Show Highlights:

3:10 - KD intros the topic of microaggression, tells the gang why it's on his mind and gets sidetracked automatically because JLee and Tim don't donate at least annually to Wikipedia. 

6:20 - KD finally gets the definition of microaggression out using Wikipedia as his primary source. Turns out the concept has been around since 1970.

7:40 - JLee and Tim react to the concept of microaggression as individuals and HR pros. JLee talks about being from Cali, but people persisting in asking where she's from. Tim talks about the fact that people seek connection by asking others where they are from in metro/urban environments and may be unaware of the connection to microaggression, as well as the fact they might be offending someone.

11:25 - KD leads the gang through the game, "Is it a microaggression? JLee gives great thoughts about low awareness of those providing the microaggression and why the subject of a microaggression should think about giving feedback to the provider. 

Covered in this game:

--Where are you really from?

--Asking where are you from to white people with accents.

--Gender references (Sir, Ma'am) and being wrong.

--You don't speak Spanish?

--No, you're white!

--Hey Guys!

22:00 - The gang talks about the impact of microaggressions in the workplace, and how HR leaders should start the conversation in their companies, etc.  Linkage to bias training and starting to raise awareness as well as training to lay down a form of behavioral muscle memory across employees is discussed. Framing awareness training as civility rather than the foreboding term microaggression is also discussed.

25:20 - Tim talks about the need to train and coach people to accept feedback (someone telling them they're using a microaggression) in a graceful way rather than feeling attacked or defensive. 

28:00 - KD talks about introducing the topic of microaggressions at your next training session/meeting by conducting a simple quiz like the one performed on the podcast to get people talking.  Get ready! Tim talks about the fact that many people would say that doesn't actually happen, and a better path might be to have people who have experienced microaggressions talk about their experiences.

29:40 - KD points out that the quiz they did didn't include the nuclear bomb of all microaggressions - "You're so articulate". 

30:45 - "OK, Boomer!" Tim drops the fact that when it comes to bias, ageism is an under discussed topic, including microaggressions towards older workers. KD talks about JLee referencing the fact that he looks older while she looks the same. 

31:57 - KD talks about the fact that he routinely calls JLee a Tiger Mom and asks her if she's considered that a microaggression in the past.  JLee provides positive feedback, but notes that others that hear it might consider it a microaggression even if she doesn't.

Resources:

Jessica Lee on LinkedIn

Tim Sackett on Linkedin

Kris Dunn on LinkedIn

HRU Tech

The Tim Sackett Project

The HR Capitalist

Fistful of Talent

Kinetix

Boss Leadership Training Series


THE HR FAMOUS PODCAST: e3 - Companies Get Frisky With Glassdoor, Changes to SHRM Influencer Program

In episode 3 of The HR Famous Podcast, long-time HR leaders (and friends) Jessica Lee, Tim Sackett and Kris Dunn discuss recent legal proceedings designed to force Glassdoor to disclose reviewer identities, take a look at the company involved by reviewing their Glassdoor page and activity, and talk about dramatic changes to the SHRM Annual Conference Influencer Program.

Listen below and be sure to subscribe, rate and review (iTunes) and follow (Spotify)!!! Listen on iTunesSpotify and Google Play.

Show Highlights:

2:45 – Tim walks though recent changes to the Influencer Program at the SHRM Annual Conference.

12:06 – Tim and JLee discuss the challenges of Glassdoor as employers and discuss Tim’s CEO rating on Glassdoor.

13:42 – KD lays out a recent court proceeding where a company (Kraken) is asking for the identities of Glassdoor commenters due to violation of confidentiality clauses in signed severance agreements.

16:15 – JLee labels Kraken as a JV squad. Tim reviews the timing of the layoffs, the targeting of former Glassdoor employees with a cease and desist letter about Glassdoor comments, smart Glassdoor management and more.

21:18 – The gang breaks down the Kraken Glassdoor page and activity. JLee comes in with breaking news of a warning at the top of the Kraken page. Heavy discussion of the relationship between paid customers and Glassdoor ensues.

22:55 – More Kraken analysis as the gang looks deeper into their glassdoor page and starts sorting by low and high ratings and see what’s most popular and reads titles of negative reviews and analyzes traffic to positive vs negative posts. Spoiler – people read the negative reviews more.

26:34 – The gang discusses the right way to respond to Glassdoor reviews to be credible and authentic. Code words in employer responses are also discussed.


Pete vs. Amy: It's the Conference Room Dust Up That Becomes Legend at Your Company...

Regardless of your politics, the Democratic Debate in Las Vegas on 2/20/20 was must see TV.

Because of policy? Nope. Watching everyone try to destroy Mike Bloomberg? Not even close.

The debate was clutch because we saw some good old fashion hate, loathing and rivalry that looks a lot what you see a couple of times a year between workplace rivals in your Amycompany. 

I'm talking, of course, about snipping between Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg. Here's the description of what we saw, we'll talk about why it feels so much like your conference room gone wrong after the jump:

The hostility building between the two Midwestern Democrats burst dramatically into the open in Nevada, as they clashed repeatedly on the debate stage and tried to slash the momentum out of each other’s campaigns. Klobuchar and Buttigieg have fought before over their experience and their political records in past debates — but the feud took a deeply personal turn.

After the Minnesota senator defended her “momentary forgetfulness” when she failed to name the president of Mexico in a recent Telemundo interview, Buttigieg leaped in, surely thinking of the criticism he’s taken from Klobuchar in recent debates.

“You’re staking your candidacy on your Washington experience. You’re on the committee that oversees border security. You’re on the committee that does trade,” Buttigieg said, turning to face Klobuchar just to his left on the stage. “You’re literally in part of the committee that’s overseeing these things and were not able to speak to literally the first thing about the politics of the country to our south.”

“Are you trying to say that I’m dumb? Or are you mocking me here, Pete?” Klobuchar shot back.

That's pure gold. If you're at the Director level or above, you've seen a version of this movie in your career. Here's the workplace-related notes...

In corporate America, Amy and Pete both work for a C-level of SVP type. Amy's been around for awhile and has done great work in her career.  Pete's only been with the company for 18 months and is 10 years earlier in his career, but in that time he's solidified his spot as a go-to guy for the SVP they both report to. There's tension because Pete has a history of framing things with himself as the savior - often at the direct or indirect expense of Amy. Pete's not really interested in paying his dues.

Then it happens. Pete overreaches. Amy stumbles on some issue in the staff meeting, and Pete tries to pounce, talking down to her and pointing out the miss isn't great.

And Amy has absolutely ####ing none of it. She fires back. "I guess I'm dumb, right Pete?"

Suddenly the smoldering loathing is is front of everyone with outright hate. Let it soak in observers, you don't get these moments too often.

Here's how it works in the real world. Pete's boneheaded play causes the SVP to distance himself from Pete a bit. Pete was a dick, and the male SVP values Amy for all her contributions and the last thing he's going to do is side with Pete. He's been through the inclusion training. Pete just left the inside circle.

Amy's good at what she does. She remains in the inside circle, because although her reaction wasn't great, it was human and even warranted.

The rest of us in that conference room? We huddle up and can't stop talking about it.

LEGEND. 


If You're Pointing Me To Your Automated Calendar to Pick a Time, You've Already Lost Me...

Stop me when you've felt one of these before:

1.  You and Person B are friends and/or business associates and have a relationship that is beyond the initial stages.

2.  Person B (without the relationship listed above) has asked you for help/assistance via a meeting where they can have some your your (valuable?) time.

3.  Person B works for a company you're paying for some type of service.

So imagine one of the forms of Person B has reached out to you.  All of those forms of Person B are a bit different, but one thing is for sure - you're at least equal in the relationship, and in #2 and #3, it's fair to say that at least for now, you're the more important party in the 2-way relationship.

Which is neither good nor bad.  Until Person B does the following to set up a meeting with you after you've agreed to meet:

PERSON B SENDS YOU AN AUTOMATED LINK TO THIER CALENDAR AND ENCOURAGES YOU TO SELECT A TIME THAT THEY ARE OPEN.

PERSON B IS VERY BUSY.  THEY'VE AUTOMATED THEIR SCHEDULING.

PERSON B NEEDS YOUR TIME.  BUT RATHER THAN WORK A COUPLE OF EMAILS WITH YOU TO FIGURE OUT WHAT'S GOOD FOR YOU, THEY'RE TELLING YOU WHAT'S GOOD FOR THEM - VIA TECHNOLOGY.

Goodbye relationship.  Hello automated future!

Here's what you signal to me when you are Person B and you send me an automated process that "invites" me to select a block on your busy calendar:

1--You're treating me like the cable company does.

2--The cable company doesn't really give two shits about making me feel like there's a relationship.

3--The last time I checked, you didn't provide HBO (game of thrones) or Showtime (Billions) as part of our relationship.

4--It's fair to say since you aren't the distributor of Game of Thrones, I'm less willing to feel like a transaction related to our relationship and your unwillingness to spend a little time to make me feel like we're connecting when asking me to spend time with you.

Hey Person B (which is all of us from time to time, right?), watch the transactional nature of the scheduling services you're using when you ask me for time.

Or as an alternative - find a service that will easily look at my calendar without setting up an account or will automate the process of you having a brief conversation with me.

Isn't that the promise of AI?  How about automating the process and making me feel like I'm having a conversation with Person B?  That would be cool and acceptable.

Or you can just treat me like the cable company does and see how that works out for you.

Related: Get off my lawn.


HR Capitalist Definitions: "Bespoke" (as Used in Corporate America)

I'll start you off with the regular definition, which is what you know:
 
--------------------------------------------------
be·spoke
/bəˈspōk/
 
--made for a particular customer or user.
"a bespoke suit"
 
--making or selling bespoke goods, especially clothing.
"bespoke tailors"
--------------------------------------------------
 
Sounds awesome, right? You're going to customize it to fit me? Could not be better! Thank you!
 
But there's a slippery slope going on in the corporate world. Providers, especially of technology solutions, are increasingly referring to implementations that aren't supported or standardized as "bespoke".
 
Which is code for, "this could go horribly wrong and cost much, much more in both time and expense than you're ready for."
 
Here's how you'll see it referred to:
 
"Our solution has a standardized integration for iCIMS and Workday. For bespoke implementations, we offer webservices SOAP API to utilize the functionalities of integrated ATS systems".
 
Translation: This is going to hurt you more than it hurts us.
 
But we're using the word "Bespoke" to make it sound like you're getting a custom suit from a London tailor.
 
If someone uses the word "Bespoke" with you to describe an integration, they're talking down to you and downplaying the level of sh#t you're going to deal with.
 
Proceed with caution. 

Manager Training: The Stars Are Never Who You Think They Are, But They're Right In Front of You...

I'm blessed to live a portfolio life. In addition to being a CHRO and partner at the recruiting firm Kinetix, I get to veer from the recruiting/Talent Acquisition world in various HR consulting opportunities, as well as deliver leadership/manager training through my BOSS Leadership Training Series.

This week, I was onsite with a great company looking to help managers get better related to interviewing candidates and making the right selection for open positions Hr-consulting-splash

As the primary facilitator, I was both honored and humbled. Honored because the client was great, the people were authentic and we had a great day. Humbled because what managers have to do to be successful is incredibly hard. 

As you might expect, we did live practice with real candidates on the interviewing skills we trained on.  And there it was, the reality and lesson that's present every time I get to train managers of people on any module in the Boss series:

The Stars Are Never Who You Think They Are, But They're Right In Front of You

What do I mean by that?  Simple - You expect the most experienced people in any manager training class to do the best in role play or skill practice. At times, that's true - but WOW - the most gratifying part of any training class I do is when the more junior people in the class absolute ROCK IT.

It always happens. There are always 1-2 junior people in every training class I do that are superstars related to the tools we're providing.

Those less experienced, often younger stars blow me away by displaying the following in role play:

--They're completely ****ing natural when it comes to stage banter and building trust/relationships. They're fluid, natural and weave what they're trying to get out of the employee session into a conversation that puts the person in front of them with ease.

--They think on their feet. Conversations with people who report to you are never easy. Employees object. They sidetrack you. They try and generally screw up your game.  The stars I'm talking about have a natural ability to bring the conversation back to what's important.  They don't get lost.

--They are technically superior. Got a coaching tool? Behavioral interviewing technique? Doing goal setting? These stars can memorize the outline of the tool and they always make sure they get what they need - and more. 

The most gratifying part of doing leadership/managerial training is when these unexpected stars emerge. It happens in every class I teach, so much so it's unexpected yet expected. I go into the class saying to myself, "OK, who's going to be the underdog out of this cast of characters who kicks everyone's ass?"

I'll leave you with this - if you've done managerial training and haven't seen this trend emerge, you're likely not doing enough skill practice/role play. That's dangerous since people in your training must fail with you in class in order to have the confidence to attempt the new skills with their direct reports/teams. Adoption of the skills your teaching requires in class role play.  Yes, they hate it and will cheer if you don't make them do it. But your adoption rate of the skills you're teaching drops by over 50% if you don't do skill practice/role play as part of your training.

The best part of doing leadership/manager training is the underdog star who emerges. 

You're a superstar, kid. I hope your company realizes what they have. I know I told them who you are, so you got that going for you - which is nice.