What Is Your Pettiest Reason For Being Lukewarm On A Candidate?

Updating this post for COVID-19, although most of you are bigger than that. But that doesn't mean we're not all small in some way...

I'm asking. You know you have some type of petty thing - that's caused you to rank a candidate lower Pettinessthan they should have been.

Candidates who got impacted by COVID? You'll get through that and not hold it against them. But you'll still be holding something small against a cross-section of candidates.

I'm not talking about bias with a capital "B".  I'm talking about bias with a smaller than lower case "b".   It's so petty that the "b" in bias is actual two font sizes smaller than the rest of the word.  

Mine?  I have a hard time with candidates who take me out of my normal messaging environment.  Namely, the ability to use iMessage across different devices and communicate with team members is a preference - not a necessity.  I've hired people that I can't message on the iMessage platform before, and will in the future.  Best candidate wins. 

But when I pick up my phone to SMS a candidate rather than iMessage from my mac, I need to remind myself best candidate wins.  Twice.

What's your pettiest reason for being lukewarm on a candidate?  Hit me in the comments, or message me.  Unless you're not IOS - if that's the case, definitely hit me in the comments.


Working From Home: Can You Give Me Some More Energy Please?

We know that post-COVID, more work from home is reality. We'll still have offices, but it's going to be hard to get all the way back, right?

How do we know that Jenny and Mike aren't feeling great and maybe aren't giving it everything they need to on a random Monday?  

Simple! Emotional Recognition Software! One provider in this field has the following stats since call center reps went to mostly virtual work during COVID-19:

--Average Customer Experience Scores have fallen by 4% Hugs

--Prompts to call center reps from Emotional Recognition providers to show "more energy" have increased by more than 30% during COVID-19.

Think about that last note for a second. You're doing your thing at work, and a virtual agent pops up and asks you/reminds you to show "more energy."

You probably have two thoughts to that on a random Monday during the COVID lockdown:

1--"###k off, Siri"

2--"Hmm. I wonder what my composite approachability score is compared to the rest of the team?" (becomes a happier person on the next call intro).

Emotional recognition was making great strides prior to 2020, but in an environment with more remote work, rises in importance to business outcomes. More from Bloomberg:

Cogito’s software monitors every call agents make, analyzing metrics like tones of voice to see how the conversation is going. It’s found that since the start of the pandemic, average customer experience scores have fallen by 4%. It can respond by giving agents prompts to, say, be more empathetic to a raging caller. As virtually all call center agents shifted to work from home, Cogito’s prompts for them to show more energy at a work increased by more than 30%. 

This kind of technology, which Cogito calls “emotion recognition,” is controversial. The AI Now Institute, a research center at New York University focused on ethical issues related to artificial intelligence, questions its validity as science, and has urged governments to make sure the tech won't "play a role in important decisions about human lives.” 

Joshua Feast, Cogito’s president and chief executive officer, says he understands the trepidation, but frames the tool as a way to give employers insight into how to improve people’s jobs. “How are my people doing? I want to know. But I don’t want to surveil them,” he told me in an interview last week. When I responded that it seemed hard to argue that Cogito wasn't a surveillance tool, Feast offered a more nuanced take. “There’s a difference between surveilling the work and surveilling the human,” he says. “It’s fine to monitor the call—that’s what we do. That’s the work.” 

Few of Cogito’s clients allowed people to work from home before the pandemic, but Feast thinks that’ll change. This is a big opening for a tool like Cogito, which can be a stand-in of sorts for human management. As workers' stress levels increased, says Feast, Cogito changed the mix of automated feedback it provided to include more positive reinforcement. It also designed new alerts for managers, directing them to give workers attaboys when the tech determines they’ve done a good job on a call. 

Make no mistake - emotional recognition software exists to drive business outcomes. But, if used correctly, it can also drive the need to recognition and other positive interactions - more carrot, less stick.

But there's no hiding when Siri (or whatever they call the agent that pops up) tells you that you need to be more positive. #bigbrother

Another positive application of this type of technology is underscoring the need for broad deployments of mental health initiatives inside companies - note I said "broad initiatives" because eventually emotional recognition will be able to monitor remote comms of all types and tell you who is primed or a breakdown or has bipolar tendencies.

Welcome to the new world. Good luck, HR friends.


Opportunity for Great HR Pros: Making Remote Work Recommendations Post-Covid While Cutting Rent...

It's all going to change! Once people have worked from home for this long of stretch, they're never coming back to the office!

If I could short the stock of every expert who has made these proclamations in the COVID-19 Cubeslockdown era, I would. That being said, the world of work IS likely to change based on what we've learned. But offices aren't going away. They'll change.

In white collar America, the trend has long been leaning towards more remote work. Some companies have taken the full plunge, some have barely dipped their toe in the true "remote workforce" water.

The most likely outcome in a post-COVID world? Companies with large white collar workforces are likely to ask the following questions after we're through this crisis:

What did we learn about our people's ability to work 100% remote?

What adjustments do we want to make to our previous assumptions about using remote workers?

What positive financial implications can this have for our business?

Ding! Ding! Ding! Hey HR leaders and HR pros! Some of the your companies will be late to ask these questions because everyone is in survival mode, even after people return to the office. That's why thinking about the future of work at your company should be something you own. So let's work through what your game plan should be.  Ready? Here we go.

1--Get the number of white collar professional FTEs at any location in your company. For sake of this exercise, I'm going to use "200 FTEs"

2--Get lease info - the amount of rent you pay to a landlord to support those FTEs with office space. For our exercise, I'll use this calculator that says on average, a 25 person company with average space requirements would need an estimated 6,250 square feet (25 people x 250 sf/employee).  Do the math for 200, and you arrive at 50,000 feet of space for a company/location with 200 white collar workers.

3--Calculate your current cost - I'll use an average of $24 bucks per square foot for decent space in Atlanta, which means the annual cost for 50,000 feet is $1,200,000 (note this is an effective per square foot rate after rebates, free rent and T&I).

4--Now you - the HR/Talent Pro - make a recommendation to you leadership team on that we learned a lot about working remote during COVID, and your company should take advantage of more remote work as not only a recruiting advantage, but a financial advantage.  

Run the numbers based on your current state/future state. If your company was almost 100% work in the office, you make the recommendation that we're going to drop the number of days worked in the office by your workforce by 40% (moving from 5 days a week in the office to 3), and the impact is clear. If you already had some remote days, do your own math but make the cuts related to time in the office significant.

5--Calculate the savings and make your recommendation. If your annual cost for rent is $1,200,000, and you propose to drop days in the office by 40% - and you state that over time, that equates into an opportunity not just offer remote work as a recruiting advantage, but as a financial advantage that could deliver $480,000 in savings.

Some of you will say your lease has 5 years to run. That's what subleases are for, Sparky. Some of you will say the owner/founder of your business owns the building. Sounds like a sweet deal for Tommy. You can still sublease, my friend. If you sublease the space you don't need at $12 per square foot, you're looking at $240,000 in annual savings in the example above.

And of course, if your lease and your agreement is up for renewal or will be in the next year, you should do this math quickly and make your recommendation.

THE WORLD OF WORK WILL CHANGE due to the Shelter in Place lockdown we experienced via COVID-19. It just won't go 100% remote.

Grab this opportunity as an HR Leader and make your recommendation for remote work. Regardless of your current position as a company, more remote work is a recruiting advantage - and a financial one as well.


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 World Needs More Businesses that Call Bull**** on Ageism...

In today's cancel culture, it has never been easier to be accused of discrimination, and never been more important to watch what you say. 

But there's one big group that no one really cares if you make fun of, treat poorly or generally ignore and at times, show bias towards.

OLD PEOPLE.

Look around. People over 50 get laid off all the time, get made fun of and generally live in fear of not being able to provide for themselves or their families. To be clear, I don't give a s*** about "OK, Boomer!" - if you can't take that without ID'ing it as discrimination, then you're probably not tough enough to be someone I want to work with, regardless of age.

That's why this ad, from the creative agency FEARLESS, was so awesome. Take a look at the ad and we'll talk about it after the jump (email subscribers, enable images or click through, you'll want to see this one):

Fearless

Ian David from FEARLESS first shared this ad. Here's more of what he shared in his LinkedIn post:

"Our writers, art directors, strategists, producers, directors, editors, designers, and account managers are chosen on talent, not age. They're in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s, and every single one of them is a total badass at what they do. 

Teams that draw on the full gamut of experience are the kind more and more clients are demanding to see looking back at them in presentations and pitches.

This shouldn't be surprising. With the average age of the consumer steadily rising, and the over-50s outspending the under-30s by a country mile, the ability to harness the broadest possible range of creative perspective is a distinct advantage; shallow and narrow are no match for deep and wide.

Adults over 50 buy 60% of all new cars, yet only 5% of advertising dollars are targeted at anyone over 35. Think about that the next time you see a car ad with a young 30-something behind the wheel. The folks buying BMWs and Mercedes are doing so despite the advertising not because of it. Imagine what the sales numbers would be like if we directed our messages to the right audience. It's the same story across a whole raft of industries, and as a consequence, huge opportunities are being lost.

If traditional agencies don't want to take the aging consumer seriously, then we will. We have the people, the know-how, and the chops to speak to them intelligently. There's also a burning desire to end ageism raging in our DNA."

Bravo, Ian David. Keep doing you on this topic. It's awesome.

Closing note. If you're over 40 or 50, it's easy to applaud, right?

Not so fast my friend. You've got a role in this too. While you might not look like dude in the ad (females, think about what the equivalent would be), you've got to do your part as an older worker to stay relevant.

Be curious. 

Stop thinking the kids you work with should get the F*** off your lawn.

Improve your knowledge and skills accordingly.

Upgrade the way your dress to fit the times.

Do what it takes to have the energy required to show you're engaged and ready to get shit done.

Perform.

Don't sit in the back and hope that a layoff doesn't happen to you.

If you're in a management role, you've got two goals this year. Coach older talent to be the things I've listed above to ensure they stay relevant, and think about the value that the right older workers provide given the market opportunity listed by Ian.

Don't discount great older talent.

Older talent - be better.


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. 


Cards Against Humanity Buys Small Company, Makes It Employee-Owned...

Interesting pull from the news for you today with a little Capitalist analysis.

You've heard of Cards Against Humanity. Have you heard of a acqui-hire?  It goes a little something like this: Clickhole

ac·qui·hire
/ˌakwiˈhīr/
noun
noun: acqui-hire
1. an act or instance of buying out a company primarily for the skills and expertise of its staff, rather than for the products or services it supplies.
"this would appear to be a straight acquihire to pick up an engineering and product design team"

The art of the acquihire is alive and well for companies like Google with unlimited resources, who often buy companies strictly for a key group of talent - often 10-20 key employees - even though they think the product of the company they are buying is trash. Put some wealth in the pockets of the targeted talent, lock them in with employment agreements and slowly push them towards projects/lines of business you think have more value.

Back to Cards of Humanity - they're in the news with an acquihire, but with a twist - they're giving a large part of the acquired company to the employees of the company. More from BuzzFeed:

Cards Against Humanity, the card game company, purchased ClickHole.com from its owners at G/O Media on Monday for an undisclosed amount in an all-cash deal, BuzzFeed News has learned. ClickHole’s employees will become the majority owners of the site. Although terms were not disclosed, the Wall Street Journal reported in November that the sale price was likely to be less than $1 million. The Onion, which created ClickHole, will remain a part of G/O Media.

Max Temkin, the cofounder of Cards Against Humanity, told BuzzFeed News that the deal will allow ClickHole to bring on additional staff — it currently has only five full-time employees — and explore new revenue streams. He also said the site would operate independently, with financial support from Cards Against Humanity. ClickHole staffers will not be involved in writing any Cards Against Humanity content.

“We’re giving them funding, and if they ask us, we’ll be an advisor,” Temkin told BuzzFeed News, saying that the ClickHole team will operate independently, with financial support. “We just want to give them a chance to do their thing. They’re really capable — really smart and innovative. And I don't know if they’ve had that opportunity before to try all these creative [ideas for the site].”

The Onion launched ClickHole in 2014 as a send-up of sites like Upworthy and BuzzFeed. It moved on to satirizing online political discourse with PatriotHole and ResistanceHole. Yet it has consistently transcended mere parody and created its own sublimely absurd universe. Quizzes like “Which One of My Garbage Sons Are You?” or its running series of fake banal quotes from celebrities earned it a loyal, independent following.

Cards of Humanity is doing an acquihire with a twist with this acquisition - they found a troubled company for sale, and believed in the talent that existed. BUT - this form of acquihire transfers wealth to the talent not directly to their bank account, but by giving them ownership in the company.  That's a powerful retention tool, and if for some reason they can't make it work, the talent is sure to remember that Cards gave them a chance to save the company and turn it around through their investment and subsequent transfer of ownership.

Moving acquired talent to ownership positions is a powerful play.  And by "talent", I mean people that make up quizzes like "Which one of my garbage sons are you?" It's 2020 - quizzes like these matter!

For great point of view on all things employee ownership and ESOP, follow who I do - Jennifer Briggs.


HR CAPITALIST DOWNLOAD: Building Your Culture Through Great Recruiting Practices...

Most of my readers at the Capitalist are interesting in building the right type of culture inside their organizations, which is a worthy goal. 

But if there’s one thing we’ve learned in the RPO recruiting world at Kinetix, it’s that “company culture” is hard to define. Some of it is real, and some of it is aspirational. As we attempt to build the culture we want at our companies, we focus on engagement surveys, features like free meals, etc, WP-Coverbut at times forget about the messages we send in our recruiting process.

Ever feel like your recruiting process and vibe is disconnected from your true culture? Mmm hmm...

That’s why I created this 2020 roadmap for you – Building Culture Through Great Recruiting Practices (click link to download)Download this PDF, and you'll get my thoughts on how to build your recruiting practice with an towards the culture you're trying to build. Deep dives include the following areas:

1--Keys to building a Recruiting Team and Process that reinforce culture

2--The impact of communicating Mission and Values on the recruiting trail

3--How the right Assessment Tool helps you make cultural matches

4--Building an Employment Brand that shows candidates how you’re different

5--Acquiring Talent Acquisition (TA) Tech that signals who you are as an organization

Whether you're proud of your culture or just getting started in the build, let’s dig in and see if you’re reinforcing that culture in all the gritty details of your talent acquisition/recruiting process. 

Use this roadmap if you want to evaluate how you're currently recruiting or need some leverage to talk to others about it. Have fun and ping me if you see something I missed or just want to toss some ideas around.

Bonus: You get to see some of the great faces we're lucky to have on the team at Kinetix (Smiles everyone! Smiles!!!)

--KD

DOWNLOAD THE PDF BY CLICKING HERE (short registration required)